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PM Narendra Modi returns from the US, reveals why he couldn’t sleep all night three years ago

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned home to a rousing welcome by BJP workers and supporters after concluding his week-long US visit and said that he saw for himself how India’s global profile and prestige had grown in the last five years. He also paid tribute to soldiers on the third anniversary of the surgical strike conducted on terrorist launchpads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

Comparing his experience of his 2014 US trip to the current one, Modi said the global recognition was for “India’s 130 crore people”.

“After assuming office in 2014, I went to the United Nations. I went to the United Nations even now. In these five years, I have seen a big change. The respect for India, the enthusiasm towards India has increased significantly. This is due to the 130 crore Indians,” the prime minister said.

Marvelling at the enterprise of Indian-Americans for the impressive organisation of the diaspora event, ‘Howdy, Modi!’ , the prime minister said, the event fascinated all the leaders he met during his visit.

“The world today talks about India’s growing might and profile and the credit goes to all the Indians, both inside and outside the country,” Modi said.

Prime Minister Modi then went on to say that exactly three years ago on the night of September 28, 2016, he was very restless while waiting for news on the surgical strike launched by the Indian armed forces across the LoC.

“It was also the night of September 28 three years ago when I couldn’t sleep all night, waiting for the phone to ring, that night of September 28 scripted a golden story of our soldiers valour who conducted the surgical strike,” he said and added, “I bow before the courage of our soldiers today.”

The prime minister was welcomed by a gathering of ministers, leaders and thousands of party workers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit included two meetings with the US President Donald Trump and the address to the United Nations General Assembly among several other engagements.

Before taking off for New Delhi, the prime minister thanked the American people for “exceptional welcome, warmth and hospitality” and said the diverse range of programmes he attended during his US stay will greatly benefit India.

Prime Minister Modi was also awarded the Global Goalkeeper Award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign during his trip that also saw him attend bilaterals on the sidelines of the UN summit along with a hugely successful Indian diaspora event in Houston, Texas, ‘Howdy, Modi!’

PM thanked US president Donald Trump for attending the Indian diaspora event.

“Community connect is at the heart of India-USA relations. I will never forget the #HowdyModi programme, made more special by the coming of @POTUS. That gesture showed how much he personally, and USA values ties with India as well as the role of our talented diaspora” he tweeted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s week-long visit to the US also marked progress in resolving the differences over trade stand-off between India and the US.

Several experts quoted by news agency IANS have said that his trip focused on the big picture as Modi made a case for India’s global leadership.

Former diplomat Ashok Sajjanhar told IANS that while the ‘Howdy Modi’ event at Houston was extremely successful, the presence of President Trump “was a testimony to the growing political and economic influence of the Indian community, and also the salience of the strength of India-US relations and how both leaders are politically invested to take it forward”.

Harsh V. Pant, Director of Studies, ORF, told IANS that PM through the Houston event conveyed that India’s Kashmir policy “is part of the democratic process, and is about a constitutional framework” and that it would have “hopefully helped to shape the narrative in the American establishment as there is a lot of misinformation about India’s Kashmir position”.

Former diplomat Sheel Kant Sharma said Modi’s was a “stellar performance, as a PM and a statesman” as he effectively conveyed that mediation on Kashmir is not needed and talks with Pakistan were incumbent on Islamabad putting an end to cross-border terrorism.

Former diplomat G. Parthasarathy told IANS that the Prime Minister’s visit was good for trade and investment and the energy sector, and there was an outreach to a large number of countries, from across Europe, Latin America and Asia.

On Imran Khan, he said that “Imran seemed determined to escalate tensions. I think he didn’t do himself any good by the sort of the language he used. And it spoke of a certain degree of political immaturity, and that’s not surprising as he’s not been a politically mature person.”

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No, RBI didn’t introduce new Rs 1,000 note. The claim is fake

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Images of what appears to be a note of Rs 1,000 is going viral on social media. Several people – on Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp – are sharing the images with the claim that the pictures are that of a new currency note of 1000 denomination that has been introduced by the RBI. The claim and the images are fake.

A closer look reveals that there are several discrepancies in the images. If you zoom in on one of the images – claiming to be the front side of the note – on the topmost right corner there are two words written, “artistic imagination.” Though that’s enough to prove that the image is a work of imagination, here are some more points.

The claim and image that RBI has introduces Rs 1000 note is fake.

There is no notification regarding the introduction of Rs 1,000 notes on RBI’s official website.

A note of any denomination bears a signature of the RBI governor. Though there is a signature on the image, it reads MK Gandhi.

Image and claim of RBi issuing new Rs 1000 notes is fake.

Another search on YouTube revealed that a video with the same image was also shared on February with the same claim.

So, the images claiming that RBI has issued a new Rs 1,000 note are false.

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Delhi air gets toxic, NASA’s crop burning images point to worse days ahead

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The concentration of particulate matter — PM 10 and PM 2.5 — shot up twice the safe limit on Tuesday, when the national capital region’s (NCR) emergency action plan to tackle bad air came into effect, which includes a ban on diesel generator (DG) sets.

Vacuum and water-cleaning of roads will be intensified, pollution hot spots put under closer scrutiny and emission regulations are enforced under GRAP.

The Delhi government is monitoring data from NASA satellite imagery that warned that air pollution is set to worsen in Delhi on account of increase in the number of incidents of stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab.

The red dots indicate stubble burning in neighbouring states.

There was a steep rise in PM 10 and PM 2.5 — the prominent pollutants in Delhi air — over the past five days, when compared to the levels recorded in the first week of October, an analysis by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) shows.

According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, on Tuesday, PM 10 was recorded as 263ug/m3 while PM 2.5 was 120ug/m3. The permissible standards for PM 10 and PM 2.5 are 100 and 60, respectively. The air quality index (AQI) till 4pm was 270 in the ‘poor’ category.

There was a steep rise in PM 10 and PM 2.5 — the prominent pollutants in Delhi air — over the past five days, when compared to the levels recorded in the first week of October, an analysis by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) shows.

According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, on Tuesday, PM 10 was recorded as 263ug/m3 while PM 2.5 was 120ug/m3. The permissible standards for PM 10 and PM 2.5 are 100 and 60, respectively. The air quality index (AQI) till 4pm was 270 in the ‘poor’ category.

“There has been a rise in PM 10 levels because of dust emissions. Road dust and open storage of construction material are the major factors contributing to high PM 10 levels. We have found huge amount of dust in the air in a series of inspections,” said Bhure Lal, chairperson, Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority.

The pollution watchdog has also warned the India Metrological Department (IMD) that the air may turn ‘very poor’ on Wednesday.

“The smoke travelling to Delhi from stubble burning contributes to PM 2.5 emissions here. With the rise in number of farm fires in the past few days, there is a rise in concentration of particulate matter. Calm surface winds blowing over Delhi from the west and northwest are not able to disperse pollutants,” the analysis stated.

However, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), a unit under Union ministry of earth sciences (MoES), said that stubble burning activity in Haryana and Punjab has shown a slight trend over the past 24 hours. The effect from stubble burning to PM 2.5 level in Delhi was 5% on Tuesday, which was lower than 9% on Sunday.

The ban on DG sets in Delhi and vicinity towns came as a pre-emptive measure under the Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) that was enforced in Delhi-NCR from Tuesday. The plan defines specific actions to tackle different levels of air pollution throughout the year.

According to a senior DPCC official, so far no violations of the generator set ban had been recorded. “We have developed a mechanism for monitoring such violations and have alerted all district heads as well as municipal corporations to inform us of any such complaint.”

Delhi sees a rise in pollution during this time of the year owing to a change in meteorological conditions, combined with local emissions and the effects of crop residue burning in neighbouring states. This is because wind patterns change and blows from the northwest during , bringing pollutants such as smoke, to Delhi with it.

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Delhi govt to announce fitness fee, GPS charges waiver for taxis

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The Delhi government on Monday gave its nod to fully waive the fitness test fees and GPS-related charges for all taxis in the national Capital. It also slashed charges of other documentation and penalties by 60-80% for all cabs registered in Delhi.

The move comes ahead of the assembly elections scheduled in Delhi early next year. As per government data, the scheme will benefit at least a lakh taxis in the city.

Transport minister Kailash Gahlot said the revised fees will be applicable only for those cabs, which are registered under an individual and not in the name of private companies.

“There are only over 15,000 such taxis that are registered directly under cab-aggregators or other taxi companies. So, the scheme will cover most of the cab drivers in Delhi. Also, after the steep hike in penalties under the amended Motor Vehicles Act, these reduced rates will come as a relief for them. It will encourage them to regularly get their cars checked for fitness and help in curbing vehicular emission,” the minister said.

In August, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had announced a similar scheme for auto-rickshaws which is now benefiting nearly 95,000 autos.

The decision to waive fitness test fees for taxis, be it manual or automatic and GPS related fees (Rs 1200 for tracking and Rs 450-Rs550 for SIM card) was taken by the Delhi Cabinet led by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday. The transport department has been asked to issue an order and roll out the scheme from November 1.

The government also slashed the fees for taking a new permit and renewing the same from the existing rate of Rs 1500 and Rs 2,000 to a flat rate of Rs 500. The revision specifically of the permit-fee will, however, need an amended in the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules which transport department officials said will be done soon.

Besides, registering a newly bought cab will also get cheaper by 70% and so will the subsequent re-registration charges. This fee is currently Rs 1000 which has been revised to Rs 300. Duplicate registration rates will be Rs 150 instead of the current fee of Rs 500.

For drivers who have bought their taxis on loan, the government has reduced the ‘hire purchase’ or hypothecation charge from Rs 1500 to Rs 500.

Similar reductions have also been done in various penalties that are levied by the state government. The fine for delay in getting a cab checked for its fitness will be Rs 300 instead of Rs 1000.

Officials said an estimate of how much this latest scheme is going to cost the government is being ascertained. “It is likely to be less than Rs 20 crore, could be between Rs 10-15 crore in all likelihood,” said an official.

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