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NEW DELHI: Amid widespread agitation against the three central farm laws in Punjab and Haryana, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday asserted that the farmers’ welfare and the growth of agriculture sector in the state are his government’s top priorities.

Enlisting a slew of pro-farmers measures by his government in Uttar Pradesh, the chief minister said his government ensured the crop procurement without any disruption due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Addressing an online CII event, Aityanath pointed out that over 100 sugar mills functioned successfully in Uttar Pradesh following all anti-Covid precautions and protocols.

The chief minister said as the Rabi crop in UP got ready for harvesting amid the lockdown, the state government set up 6,000 procurement centres to help farmers sell their produce and these centres functioned successfully adhering to all precautions.

He said these centres procured 36 lakh metric tonnes of wheat.

For the Kharif crop too, 4,000 procurement centres have been established, he noted.

In the next four years, the state government has also decided to build over 5,000 godowns at the grassroots level to store farm produce, he said.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

Pakistan still a haven for terror, India says on FATF decision eve

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NEW DELHI: With the ongoing plenary of terror watchdog FATF likely to decide on Friday if Pakistan should remain in its grey list, India reiterated that Islamabad continued to provide safe haven to terrorist entities and individuals.

The government also said Pakistan had not yet taken any action against several terror entities and individuals, including those proscribed by UNSC like Masood Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim and Zakir-ur-Rahman Lakhvi. All indications are that Pakistan will remain in the grey list for not fulfilling all its commitments to check terror financing and money laundering.

As the MEA said in its statement, it’s understood that Pakistan has addressed only 21 action items so far out of the 27-point FATF Action Plan.

“Six important action items are yet to be addressed,” said spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, adding it was well known that Pakistan’s a haven for terrorists. All six remaining points are said to be related to terror financing.

The issue of Pakistan’s compliance is being looked at the virtual FATF plenary meeting that will get over on October 23. As the official said, Parisbased FATF makes public announcements of its decisions according to its rules and procedures after its Plenary meeting.

“FATF has well laid out standards and procedures for putting a country in its Black List and Grey List. After a country is put on a List, an action plan is given to it and the country concerned is expected to fully complete the action plan within the stipulated time. Those found wanting in implementing their obligations are held accountable and subjected to appropriate action,” he said.

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INDIA

LAC stand-off: India rejects China’s demand, but talks on

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NEW DELHI: As India and China maintain stable but confrontational positions in eastern Ladakh, the external affairs ministry on Thursday said that “the immediate task is to ensure a comprehensive disengagement of troops in all the friction areas”.

The two sides are reportedly engaged in high-level talks to resolve the stand-off. According to sources, China has been asking for a de-escalation of armoured and artillery units before disengagement. That is unacceptable to the Indian side because China has a much easier route to re-arm its troops, unlike India.

“India and China continue to have discussions through both diplomatic and military channels to peacefully resolve the issues along the LAC in India-China border areas. This is in keeping with the agreement reached between the two foreign ministers during their meeting in Moscow on September 10,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at a media briefing.

Srivastava also referred to the last round of diplomatic parleys between India and China on September 30 and the seventh round of military talks on October 12.

“The two sides have reiterated their desire to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels, and arrive at a mutually acceptable solution for disengagement as early as possible,” he added.

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INDIA

Covid: Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka too say they’ll give free vaccine doses

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NEW DELHI: A Covid vaccine might still be some time away, but it’s already raining promises of free vaccination across states. Hours after BJP’s election manifesto for Bihar offered free coronavirus vaccination to all if the NDA retained office, at least two states — Tamil Nadu and Karnataka — vowed to vaccinate every citizen for free while a third — Madhya Pradesh — reserved its commitment for the poor.

Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami was first off the blocks, promising free vaccination for all as and when a mass-produced vaccine was made available.

DMK president M K Stalin promptly accused the CM of “trying to show off”, saying it was the responsibility of any government to safeguard people during a pandemic by making available critical vaccines free of cost.

“EPS did not have the heart to offer a dole of Rs 5,000 to the common people who lost their livelihood (during the lockdown)” he said. With bypolls to 28 MP seats just 11 days away, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan jumped onto the bandwagon late on Thursday and announced it would be free for the poor.

“BJP has said a very good thing in Bihar. And I am saying the same thing here. Let the corona vaccine come, every poor person in MP will be administered the vaccine for free,” he said at a poll rally in Gwalior. Around 9.30pm, he took to Twitter to reiterate the promise, inviting criticism from Congress.

In Karnataka, the vaccine would be free for everyone if and when commercially available, health commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey said. State health and family welfare minister K Sudhakar said the state was working with experts on a plan of action for distribution of the vaccine, including determining which vulnerable groups must be covered first.

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