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Telecom panel proposes VRS for MTNL employees

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Mtnl Vrs

New Delhi, April 30 : The inter-ministerial Telecom Commission on Saturday proposed voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for state-run MTNL employees who are 50 years of age and above.

“Employee cost for MTNL is about 78 percent of its revenues against an industry average of 3 percent. The government would spend around Rs.2,000 crore in all for VRS and can save around Rs.500 crore-Rs.600 crore in a year,” said an official.

The company has around 46,000 employees, out of which 26,000 will be retiring in the next 10 years. The government plans to give VRS option to 20 percent of its employees who are above 50 years of age.

The proposal will go to the cabinet for approval in a month’s time.

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CWC meet: Senior leaders engage in verbal spat over internal elections

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Ashok Gehlot

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Friday witnessed some heated exchange of words among Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, senior leader Anand Sharma and several other dissenters over internal elections, party sources said.

According to a party source, Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad and P. Chidambaram raised the issue of the elections for the CWC post.

Following the issue of the elections, Gehlot ticked off the dissenters without naming them and said that a few party leaders keep on demanding for the organisational elections instead of discussing how to deal with the BJP.

The source also said that the Rajasthan Chief Minister has stated that party leaders are wasting time discussing irrelevant issues like party elections.

“We should leave the matters and decisions to the party’s president,” Gehlot said.

He also questioned the party leaders: “If they don’t believe the party leadership (Sonia Gandhi) or not?”.

Gehlot was backed by senior party leader Ambika Soni, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Tariq Anwar and former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Hitting back at Gehlot, Sharma said that few members of the party keep on disrespecting the senior leaders.

Following the ugly verbal spat among the senior leaders, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi intervened to placate both the groups.

However, party leaders at a press conference maintained that there was no such verbal war in the CWC, which is the highest decision making body of the party.

After the CWC meet, Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K. C. Venugopal said that the party will have an elected president by June this year at any cost.

“The CWC discussed the schedule of Congress president’s elections in May-end, proposed by its election authority. All CWC members unanimously requested Congress president that the internal elections should not interfere with the Assembly polls,” Venugopal said.

Congress national media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said that “don’t get misguided and don’t fall for rumours”.

“The leaders whose names have been taken are not dissenters — they are our respected leaders and they are our family members. And we all were unanimous that the party election schedule be postponed for a month,” Surjewala said at a press briefing after the meeting.

Responding to the question of senior leaders sparring over the organisational election issue, Venugopal said, “There was no big debate in the CWC. We will conduct party election as per its constitution. And the schedule will be out very soon.”

“Some change in schedule was required due to coming Assembly elections (in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, and Puducherry) and that was taken into consideration; the party will announce the election schedule accordingly,” he said.https://df6bd6113aa2538c990afac925a9dc43.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

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11th round of talks breaks down, deadlock on farm laws continues

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Farmers

The eleventh round of talks between the government and representatives of the farmers Union ended on Friday without any solution in sight as Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar urged the Union leaders to rethink about rejecting the government’s proposal to suspend the new farm laws for one and half years.

No date for the next round of talks has been decided and the meeting will be held whenever farmer leaders are ready for a dialogue on the proposal given by the government in the 10th round of talks, on January 20.

After the meeting, Parminder Singh Palmajra, a Bharatiya Kisan Union leader from Punjab, said the farmers will now further intensify the agitation. The ministers present in the talks — Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways, Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash — will shortly address the media about the dialogue.

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Centre to SC: Can’t give extra attempt to UPSC aspirants who couldn’t take last chance

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Supreme Court

The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court it is not keen on granting an extra attempt to civil services aspirants, who could not take the last attempt of the exam amid the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.

Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, representing the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) submitted before a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar “We are not ready to give one more chance.”

Raju sought time to file an affidavit citing that he had received instructions last night, informing that the Centre is not willing to give an extra chance.

The bench, also comprising justices B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari, scheduled the plea of a civil services aspirant Rachna Singh for further hearing on January 25. The bench asked the Centre to serve the affidavit to parties involved in the matter.

In the previous hearing in the matter, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had informed the top court that the government was considering the issue to grant an extra attempt to UPSC aspirants who missed their last chance.

On September 30 last year, the top court had declined a plea seeking direction to postpone the UPSC civil services preliminary exam, scheduled on October 4, citing the ongoing pandemic and floods in several parts of the country.

The top court had suggested that a formal decision on the last attempt issue should be taken expeditiously by the Centre. The bench noted it was suggested during the hearing in the matter that the merging of 2020 prelims and 2021 prelims be done.

“We are not impressed by this. Resorting to this will lead to a cascading effect on other exams as stated in UPSC affidavit”, the top court had said.

The bench had said the UPSC should ensure separate sitting arrangements for candidates who are suffering from cough and cold during the test.

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