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Benefiting poor not some ‘Damaad’: Nirmala Sitharaman’s jibe on Cong

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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman lashed out at the Congress during her response to the Budget discussion in the Rajya Sabha and said the government schemes are meant only to benefit the poor and not meant for “some Damaad” (son-in-law in clear reference to Robert Vadra).

Although she did not take any name but the Finance Minister’s jibe clearly agitated the Congress leaders even as she continued with her volleys at the opposition benches.

She said: “The digital transaction through UPI till January 2020 was over 3.6 lakh crore. UPI is used by who? — The rich? — No.

“Middle class, smaller traders. Who are these people then? Is Government creating UPI, facilitating digital transactions to benefit rich cronies, Some damaads? No.”

She was referring to Vadra, who is the son-in-law of Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, and who has often been targeted by the BJP for his alleged land dealings.

The Congress objected to these charges but Sitharaman went on to target the Congress and said: “Loans sanctioned under Mudra Yojana — more than Rs 27,000 crores. Who takes Mudra Yojana? Damaads?

Attacking the opposition, she said it has got into the habit for some “to constantly level allegation, in spite of what we are doing for the poor and the steps taken for helping the poor and the needy of this country.

“A false narrative is created to accuse saying that this Government works only for cronies.”

The Finance Minister said that 800 million people were provided free foodgrains; free cooking gas provided for 80 million people and cash was directly given to 400 million people, farmers, women, specially-abled and the poor and needy.

Former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday had launched an attack on the Union government and had alleged that the Modi government ignored the poor, unemployed and the MSME sector in the Budget proposals for 2021-22.

“The most deserving were left to their fate — the poor, farmers, migrant workers, MSME sector, middle class, and the unemployed,” he said while speaking on the Budget in the Rajya Sabha.

He said that the Congress “rejected” the Budget since there was nothing in it for the poor. Everybody expected it but cash transfers to the poor was not done, he added.

Chidambaram said that there was no mention of the defence sector in the Budget either, and the numbers predicted therein were not correct.

“The Union Finance Minister did not mention defence in her speech, which is unprecedented. The budgetary allocation for defence in 2021-22 is Rs 3,47,088 crore as against Revised Estimates of Rs 343,822 crore in the current year, an increase of just Rs 3,266 crore,” the former Union Minister added.

source: The Statesman

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Lawyers demand arrest of BJP MLA, to lock courts in 22 districts of western UP on March 4

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In support of their demand of arresting of the accused in the suicide case of a lawyer of Meerut in which BJP MLA from Hastinapur Dinesh Khatik was also named, lawyers of 22 districts in western UP have decided to lock the courts in these districts on March 4.

Lawyers of Meerut have been agitating for the past 15 days to pursue their demand of the arresting of the accused in the suicide case of a senior lawyer Omkar Tomar who was also the General Secretary of Bar Association in Meerut. The accused include BJP MLA from Hastinapur Dinesh Khatik whose name was also mentioned by the deceased lawyer in his suicide note, claimed the sources.

Tomar had committed suicide on February 13 at his residence in Ishapuram Colony of Ganga Nagar police station but the lawyers had to surround the Ganga Nagar police station and jam the Delhi-Pauri highway for more than 7 hours to get their FIR lodged. Since then police action is still awaited.

Meerut Bar Àssociation’s Secretary Sachin Choudhary said that on this issue a meeting of lawyers was held here on Monday in which it was decided that they would intensify the agitation to push hard their demand of arresting of the accused in the case.

He informed that the courts would be locked in all 22 districts of western UP on March 4 and judicial work would not be allowed to be done on that day. Protests would be done at the kutchery (court) gates on that day he said adding that Lok Adalats would also not be allowed to function in different districts.

“Lok Adalats takes place on different dates in different districts and in Meerut it is scheduled on March 6,” said Chaudhary adding that the lawyers of the respective district would ensure that Lok Adalats are not allowed to function as per the schedule there.

Deceased lawyer Omkar Tomar’s son was married to a girl from Khatauli town of district Muzaffar nagar in the month of February last year. But the marriage could not last long and the couple was separated only a few months later. The girl lodged a case of dowry against the lawyer’s son and family members. MLA Dinesh Khatik was a mediator in this case for settlement. He is charged with harassing and humiliating the lawyer due to which he allegedly committed suicide.

Since then the lawyers have been demanding immediate arresting of the accused including the MLA. They are also sitting on a relay hunger strike inside the premises of the district magistrate office for the past 13 days demanding the arrests. The lawyers had taken out a march to ADG (zone) office and handed over a memorandum to ADG Rajeev Sabharwal. They also formed a human chain at the city’s busiest Begum Bridge crossing after taking out a peaceful march last week.

source: The Statesman

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6 states show Covid surge; India’s total cases touch 1.11 crore

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Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have shown a surge in new Covid-19 cases contributing to 87.25 per cent of 15,510 fresh infections reported in a day, pushing India’s tally to 1,11,12,241 on Monday, while 106 fatalities mounted the death toll to 1,57,157 the Union Health Ministry said.

India’s total number of active Covid-19 cases was recorded at1,68,627, comprising 1.52 per cent of the total infections, the ministry said highlighting five states that account for 84 per cent of the total active cases in the country.

Maharashtra alone accounts for 46.39 per cent of India’s total active cases, followed by Kerala with 29.49 per cent.

The positivity rate too has been rising gradually, pushing it to 1.52 per cent. As per the Ministry’s data, there are 1,68,627 active cases at present after 11,288 patients were discharged in a day.

The experts have expressed a number of possibilities which could be due to lax attitude of people towards following Covid protocols to “mutations and new strains” causing the surge, sources in the health ministry said.

This trend is alarming as in mid February the average daily new infections oscillated between 9,000 to 12,000 while the deaths were between 78 to 120.

Delhi adds 175 cases, 1 death:Delhi today recorded 175 new coronavirus infections and one fatality, even as the positivity rate rose to 0.44 per cent, according to the Delhi government’s latest health bulletin. The city’s Covid toll climbed to 10,911, the health bulletin said.

The new cases took its coronavirus infection tally to 6,39,464. These cases came out of 39,733 tests conducted the previous day.

The active Covid cases in the national capital rose to 1,404 from 1,335 the previous day, according to the bulletin.

source: The Statesman

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SUV with 20 gelatin sticks found dumped near Mukesh Ambani’s house

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In a shocking development, an SUV filled with at least 20 gelatin sticks was found abandoned outside Antilia, the lavish multi-storied home of billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani, here on Thursday evening, officials said.

“A Scorpio vehicle with 20 gelatin sticks was found near Mukesh Ambani’s Mumbai residence. The Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police is investigating the entire matter and the truth will emerge soon,” Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said late on Thursday evening.

Late in the night, Mumbai Police spokesperson DCP S. Chaitanya said that a letter has been found inside the vehicle, but declined to reveal its content.

“The registration number displayed on the said vehicle (SUV) matches with the registration number of a vehicle in Mukesh Ambani’s security detail. The SUV has been seized by the police for investigation,” Chaitanya said.

The SUV was noticed at around 3 p.m. after which some people from the vicinity alerted the local police, who rushed to the spot and cordoned off the entire area, sending the state government and the police into a tizzy.

Top police officers, including Joint Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nangre-Patil, a team of explosives experts, sniffer dog squad, bomb detection and disposal squad and others rushed to the spot and inspected the SUV in which the gelatin sticks were kept.

Minister of State for Home, Shambhuraj Desai, told mediapersons that he has instructed the top police officers to probe the matter thoroughly and ensure that the culprits are brought to book.

Desai added that if required, the government would consider other measures, including enhancing the security at the Antilia building and also around the Ambani family, even as the entire locality was brought under a high alert.

CCTV footages of the area revealed that the SUV with a couple of unidentified persons in it was driven and parked beside a tree on the Carmichael Road at around 1 a.m.

The suspicious persons seemed to have fled after deserting the SUV there, but strangely, it was noticed only after another 12 hours.

Chaitanya said that the gelatin sticks recovered in the SUV were “not an assembled explosive device” but details of the risks they posed would be known only after a thorough probe.

Efforts are on to trace the persons who parked the vehicle there, from where they came, what were their diabolic motives, who or what were the exact targets etc., officials said.

Antilia and the south Mumbai neighbourhood house the who’s who of the Indian corporate world, top politicians, official or private residences of various bigwigs, government officials, diplomats, people from the glamour industry and others.

source: The Statesman

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