NEW DELHI: In a veiled warning to its ally BJP,
Shiromani Akali Dal
(SAD) chief Sukhbir Badal on Wednesday said his party can sacrifice anything for farmers’ interests as he came out strongly against the three farm sector-related bills introduced by the government in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament and asked the
to address the concerns of farmers.
The SAD has been requesting the Centre not to introduce the three agriculture-related bills for the approval of Parliament until all reservations expressed by farmers’ organisations, farmers and farm labourers are addressed, Badal told PTI.
On Tuesday, Badal, the MP from Punjab’s Ferozepur, voted against the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill in
the Lok Sabha
, saying the proposed legislation is against the interests of farmers.
The government introduced the Farmers’ Produce Trade And Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill in Parliament on Monday to replace ordinances promulgated earlier.
“Before introducing these bills, they should at least have consulted the parties that are essentially farmers’ parties and their allies. Our minister,
Harsimrat Kaur Badal
, had expressed her reservations when the matter was taken up during a cabinet meeting,” Badal said.
Expressing concerns over the proposed legislations, he said it would impact the entire farm sector and procurement system.
Badal said in Punjab, the system is robust and efficient as there is a grain market in every six villages and the entire procurement gets completed in 25 days.
“The SAD will oppose the remaining two bills on Wednesday if they are taken up for consideration and sacrifice anything for farmers’ interest as it is at the centre of our politics,” the former Punjab deputy chief minister said, asserting that his party will stand with farmers in their cause.
Demanding that the government should organise a meeting with farmers, Badal said before moving forward, it should address their concerns.
“The government should not have brought these bills without taking farmers and their organisations on board,” he said.
Badal made an emotive speech in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, where he said the SAD is essentially a party of farmers and has always championed their cause.
The legacy of the party cannot and will not be compromised or diluted no matter what price it has to pay, he said, speaking in Punjabi.
IIT-Guwahati convocation: NEP will turn India into global education destination, says PM Modi
GUWAHATI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 will bring fame to India by turning it into a global education destination.
The PM said this while addressing the 22nd convocation of IIT-Guwahati through video conference from New Delhi.
“NEP advocates opening up the education sector. The goal is to set up campuses of foreign universities in the country so that our students can get global exposure,” Modi said, emphasizing on promoting research collaboration and student exchange between Indian and foreign universities.
The PM added that high-performing institutions from India will be encouraged to set up campuses on foreign lands as the country is opening up its education sector for foreign universities. “The credits acquired by our students in foreign universities can now get counted in the institutions of the country,” he said.
The PM added that the education policy will make India a global leader in science and technology and features policies that were on top of their wishlist. Modi urged the youth to be future-ready and future-fit.
“Education and examination should not be a burden on students. They should get more freedom to study subjects of their choice and that’s why the NEP has been designed. Flexibility has been given in choosing subjects, multiple entry and exit options have been given and most importantly, technology will become an integral part of education,” Modi said.
He added that NEP has paved the way for use of artificial intelligence in education and growth of online education.
Modi said the country is heading towards such an ecosystem where the youth will learn from technology and will innovate new technology for teaching. He added that the National Research Foundation will coordinate with all funding agencies, irrespective of disciplines — whether it’s science or humanities. “The potential research works, which have the scope of practical implementation, will be recognized. For this, coordination and close linkage will be established between the government and the industry,” the PM said.
Modi expressed high hopes that IIT-Guwahati will play a key role in this “beyond boundary expansion” from the northeast. “The NE region is the focal point of India’s Act East Policy and gateway to connect with the southeast Asian countries. The foundation of the relationship with these countries with us has been culture, commerce, connectivity and capacity. Now education is going to be the new medium of engagement with these countries. IIT-Guwahati can be a major centre of this,” he added.
The Prime Minister said new opportunities are being created in the northeast as the government is ramping-up infrastructure in the region. He added that the northeast has huge potential in solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric energy as well as rice, tea, and bamboo as resources. Modi appealed to young graduates to explore how innovation can boost the tourism sector in the diverse NE region of the country, known for its exquisite natural beauty.
“Here in the northeast, we have the biodiversity and immense sources of traditional knowledge. Transmission of science and technology has been linked with traditions, passing from one generation to the other. Can we build new technology with this fusion?” he asked.
Modi suggested IIT-Guwahati to set up a centre for Indian knowledge system through which the premier technology institute can offer “invaluables” to the northeast as well as the country and the world. He also urged the institute to come up with a centre for disaster management and risk reduction with expertise to manage disasters — natural and industrial — often encountered by the region and turn it into blessings.
The PM lauded the efforts of the institute in contributing towards making the country self-reliant in spite of the difficulty in conducting academic sessions and continuing research work during this pandemic. “Convocation is a special day for every student. But this year, it is a different experience for them in the time of pandemic. The pandemic has changed the way convocation is conducted. But still it is as special as it was before. I congratulate students for their bright future. The future of the nation is in what the youth think today. Your dreams will shape the reality of India in future,” said Modi.
Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal, Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Union MoS for education Sanjay Dhotre and several other dignitaries were virtually present in the convocation with a graduating class of 1,803 students (1532 males and 271 females).
“IIT-Guwahati has also worked towards the idea of Atmanirbhar Bharat during Covid-19 pandemic. Convocation is not the end of education but a new beginning. You came to the institute as a student but now you will enlighten the world. You are the ambassador of the country. The key to success is positive attitude and positive aptitude,” said Pokhriyal.
The CM lauded the role of IIT-Guwahati in the battle against Covid-19. “Right from the initial stage, we have been striving hard to prevent and contain the spread of this pandemic. IIT-Guwahati has played an important role in assisting the state government in fighting this disease. I acknowledge and thank the IIT-Guwahati team for their contribution in developing Covid-19 kits and other infrastructure help.”
IIT-Guwahati director Prof TG Sitharam said there are 291 research projects in progress with a total sanctioned value of about Rs 437.00 crore. “In the year under report, we received 131 new projects with a sanctioned value of Rs 183.00 crore. A total of 153 new consultancy projects were carried out during the year. The total value of consultancy projects undertaken during this year is Rs 10.76 crore and Rs 11.27 crore was received for all consultancies,” he added.
India, China agree to stop sending more troops to frontlines in bid to defuse LAC tensions
NEW DELHI: India and China took initial steps on Monday with the first decision to stop sending more troops to the frontlines in eastern Ladakh. This is intended to ensure a halt to the relentless build-up on the LAC, as a precursor to further steps in the disengagement exercise. That, according to sources familiar with developments, was the limited achievement of the meeting.
Halting the build-up is the first step towards disengagement, without prejudice to current positions held by both sides.
Given the trust deficit between the two sides and the fact that this was the first commanders’ meeting after almost two months, the aim of the two sides, according to high level sources, was to reopen communications and stop sending troops.
In the past few weeks, the ground situation too has changed in a way that is less disadvantageous to the Indian side. Therefore, the Indian side too is unwilling to give up its new positions. That particular discussion will only happen down the line, not immediately.
However, sources from the meeting said the discussions were reasonably positive. “The understanding is to keep the situation stable until agreement on disengagement is reached for which further rounds of talks have been proposed.”
This was not a meeting that would have achieved full agreement on disengagement. That was not the intention, according to sources. In the future rounds of talks, both sides will get an opportunity to both test their intentions and ability to follow through on their decisions, they said.
Sonia Gandhi, Rahul return from abroad after her medical check-up
NEW DELHI: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi returned from abroad early Tuesday, sources said.
Gandhi, 73, had gone to the United States for her routine medical check up on September 12, two days ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament. Rahul Gandhi had accompanied her during the visit.
Sources had said her medical check-up was overdue and was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gandhi had cleared the Congress’ organisational restructuring before leaving for the US
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