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Time for Congress to bounce back as Modi’s credibility shaken: Sheila Dikshit

I am ready, but am not seeking any role. I am underlining the word seeking. I am ready to take any role if the party asks me to.

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Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is not averse to returning to active politics if her party asks her because the time is ripe for the Congress to bounce back as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s credibility has hit “rock bottom” due to the “all-talk, no-action” politics of the BJP government.

But the 80-year-old Congress politician does “not have the confidence” to say if her party can beat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) riding a Modi wave in the 2019 general election.

“I don’t have the confidence to give you the answer on this. The Congress knows it well; its leader (President Rahul Gandhi) knows it well. Rahul is doing as much as he can and as much as is possible,” Dikshit told IANS in reply to a question on the Congress’ chances in the next Lok Sabha elections.

She, however, said if the Congress talked about real issues and didn’t get lured by the BJP’s Hindutva agenda, it can stage a comeback.

“We have to talk about issues, the aspirations of people that the Modi government has failed to address, failed to meet. People are suffering because of rising prices, people find it difficult to buy fuel, there are no jobs, India’s growth is declining… These should be our political planks.

“We have to scrutinise the promises made by the BJP and seek answers from Prime Minister Modi on why he has failed to keep them.”

She said BJP’s Hindutva narrative may no longer be saleable to the electorate of India because “by now they must have understood that Modi is all talk and no action”.

“Modi’s and the BJP’s credibility has hit rock bottom… it is shaken. The BJP has not delivered on its election promises. Mere foreign visits (by the Prime Minister) don’t bring jobs, don’t bring growth. The country has not progressed. In fact, it is on a regressive path. We will have to counter that,” the three-time Delhi Chief Minister said.

Asked if she was ready to return to active politics after she withdrew her nomination as the Congress’ chief ministerial face in last year’s Uttar Pradesh elections, Dikshit said: “I am ready, but am not seeking any role. I am underlining the word seeking. I am ready to take any role if the party asks me to.”

She said she withdrew from the Uttar Pradesh elections only after the Congress allied with the Samajwadi Party much against her wish.

“There was a mismatch. We fought elections with a slogan ’27 saal UP behaal’ (27 years of Uttar Pradesh’s sorry state). It was a reference to the number of years that the state remained in the hands of non-Congress governments, including the Samajwadi Party. However, the alliance contradicted the slogan and I voluntarily announced that I am stepping down.”

About Delhi politics, she said she won’t mind either returning to the capital where incumbent Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has also failed to keep the promises he made before coming to power.

She, however, regretted how “we underestimated” Kejriwal when he was debutting as a politician in Delhi and thought he won’t make unrealistic promises for contesting elections.

“Kejriwal made promises that he cannot keep because an elected government in Delhi has limited powers. He made promises without understanding the realities of Delhi’s limited statehood and today you see people are realising it. I am not sure if people at the grassroots level have understood it, but I know he (Kejriwal) won’t be able to do much about it.”

Having grown and lived most of her life in Delhi, Dikshit, who is largely credited with transforming the capital during her 15-year rule, said it “of course hurts” to see the city called unsafe for women or the crime capital of India.

She has penned a 175-page autobiography “Citizen Delhi: My Times, My Life” (published by Bloomsbury India), recalling her childhood days cycling around the city in a carefree manner.

“The times were also such that it never occurred to my parents that something could go wrong if we were left largely to our own devices,” she recalls in the book, wishing if only those days of innocence could return and children of Delhi could be safe and carefree.

“Rape was not talked about, at least in our family and in our circle. We didn’t know what it was. In fact, I didn’t know what rape was until after many years of my marriage when I read about it. That was the age of innocence, those were times of innocence,” she said.

(Sarwar Kashani can be contacted at [email protected])

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Hotel industry’s recovery to pre-Covid levels profits 3 yrs away: ICRA

“This will keep revenues moderated, resulting in operating losses and stretched debt metrics during FY2021 and FY2022.”

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Park Hotel Delhi

New Delhi, Oct 24 : The Indian hotel industry’s recovery to pre-Covid levels profits is at least three years away, ratings agency ICRA has said.

The ratings agency said that road ahead for the industry is rough as revenues and margins are expected to post record decline in FY21 with losses mounting over the next two years.

The hotel industry has witnessed one of the worst revenue declines, in Q1FY21, with revenues for the industry sample declining by 85 per cent.

“Given the high operating and financial leverage in the industry, the revenue decline led to huge operating and net losses in Q1 FY2021 despite the extensive cost-cutting measures adopted by most entities in the industry,” ICRA said in a statement.

“Despite sharp weakening in interest coverage, recourse to the RBI provided moratorium on debt servicing as part of its Covid relief package announced in March 2020 supported the industry.”

As per the statement, about 66 per cent of ICRA’s hospitality portfolio applied for moratorium under this scheme and several of these will apply for restructuring under the K.V. Kamath committee too.

“Although hotels have been gradually allowed to reopen, occupancies have remained subdued in H1FY2021,” the statement said.

“This will keep revenues moderated, resulting in operating losses and stretched debt metrics during FY2021 and FY2022.”

The industry has reported a 2.7 per cent de-growth in topline with flat operating margins at 22 per cent in FY2020.

“With an 85 per cent YoY decline witnessed in revenues in Q1 FY2021 and subdued occupancies witnessed in Q2 FY2021 as well, industry wide revenues are expected to witness sharp de-growth of 60-65 per cent for FY2021,” ICRA said.

“Despite several measures taken by the companies to variabilise the fixed costs, the industry is likely to report massive operating and net losses in FY2021.”

–IANS

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31% adolescents battled extreme anxiety in past few months due to COVID-19, says survey

About 31% surveyed adolescents battled extreme anxiety in the past few months worrying about the impact of coronavirus pandemic on their family’s financial status, according to a survey

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About 31 percent surveyed adolescents battled extreme anxiety in the past few months worrying about the impact of coronavirus pandemic on their family’s financial status, according to a survey of over 7,300 adolescents from four states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Odisha.

The survey on ‘What do the Adolescents have to say? COVID-19 and its Impact’ by NGO Centre for Catalysing Change was conducted in two rounds in the months of April, July and August.

Out of the 7,324 adolescents surveyed, 31 percent admitted to battling extreme anxiety worrying about the pandemic’s impact on their family’s financial status.

The survey also found that adolescent girls faced significant gender discrimination in these months due to the pandemic.

“Only 12 percent of surveyed adolescent girls had access to their own mobile phones to be able to attend online classes, while 35 percent boys had access to their own mobile phones,” the survey found.

“Further, 51 percent of the adolescent girls surveyed lacked access to essential textbooks in comparison to boys, highlighting how the pandemic had jeopardized girls’ access to education,” it said.

About 39 percent of the girls were found to be contributing to housework as opposed to the number of boys at 35 percent, it said.

Under the survey, the adolescent girls also stated how their mobility has been curbed, with only 39 percent girls saying they were allowed to go out alone in comparison to 62 percent boys of the same age who were allowed to go out alone.

“At the same time, only 36 percent adolescents knew the correct helpline numbers, while awareness about the use of the helplines was even lower. Only 18 percent was aware that the helplines could be used in reporting domestic violence and only 22-23 percent knew that it could be used in reporting child labour and child trafficking cases,” it added.

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Sahir Ludhianvi death anniversary: Top Bollywood songs penned by the legendary poet

On Sahir Ludhianvi’s death anniversary, here’s looking at top Bollywood songs written by the legendary poet!

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Sahir Ludhianvi

Born in Ludhiana, Punjab, in 1921, Sahir began writing since childhood. Born as Abdul Hayee, he found the word ‘Sahir’ while reading Iqbal’s poetry and decided to use it as his pen name.

Sahir’s poetry was remarkably concerned with socio-economic and political problems of the country. He often voiced problems of the downtrodden with his words.

Sahir’s debut as film lyricist was with Azadi Ki Rah Par and Baazi. In recognition of his contributions, he was honoured with Padma Bhushan. Sahir died in Mumbai on October 25, 1980.

On Sahir Ludhianvi’s death anniversary, here’s looking at top Bollywood songs written by the legendary poet.

Dekha hai zindagi ko kuch itna kareeb se

Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shayar hu

Kabhi Kabhi Mere DIl Mein

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