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INDIA

PM Modi launches 7 urban projects worth Rs 541 crore in Bihar, praises Nitish govt

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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister

Narendra Modi

on Tuesday slammed previous governments in Bihar for indulging in “vote bank politics” and catering to their “selfish interests” over governance, and lauded chief minister Nitish Kumar’s rule, as he launched seven urban infrastructure projects worth Rs 541 crore in the poll-bound state.

Modi inaugurated four projects under ‘Namami Gange’ Yojana and ‘Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation’ (AMRUT) in the state, and laid foundation stones for water supply and riverfront projects at a virtual ceremony attended by

Niitsh Kumar

, his deputy Sushil Modi and a number of Union ministers.

The state had “politically, socially and economically strong cities” along the Ganga river once upon a time, but they were degraded during a long era of “slavery”, the Prime Minister said.

While the state had tall and visionary leaders for some decades after Independence but an era came when focus shifted from governance, he said.

Either they were not tackling the basic problems in Bihar or the development-related works became part of various scams, PM Modi said in an apparent attack on Lalu Prasad’s RJD, which ruled the state for 15 years, and some Congress governments preceding it.

When “selfish interests” overtake governance and “vote bank politics” come into play, then it is the marginalised and deprived who are the worst affected, Modi said.

People of Bihar have endured this pain for decades when the basic needs like water and sewerage were not met, he said, asserting that the Centre is working in coordination with the state government for the overall development of the state and boost ease of living by providing clean drinking water and launching sewerage treatment plants to clean the water of Ganga.

He said in the last four to five years, lakhs of families in the state were provided access to clean drinking water.

Noting that over 20 Bihar towns are situated near Ganga, Modi said more than 50 projects of over Rs 6,000 crore had been approved in the state to keep the holy river clean.

Assembly polls in Bihar are likely to be held in October-November.

Modi said ‘Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan’ has played a big role in providing water connections to more than 57 lakh families in the rural areas in Bihar even in the last few months of the coronavirus pandemic due to the work of the migrant labourers.

He said the work for providing clean water to 12 lakh families in urban areas is also fast progressing and out of this about six lakh families have already been provided connections.

Noting that earlier development in urban sector meant upgrading a few aspects of life in some big cities, he said his government has taken a holistic view and is working to develop entire urban space.

He added that the cities should be such that everyone, especially our youth, get new and limitless possibilities to move forward, and where every family can live life with prosperity and happiness.

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

India, China agree to stop sending more troops to frontlines in bid to defuse LAC tensions

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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.

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INDIA

Sonia Gandhi, Rahul return from abroad after her medical check-up

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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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INDIA

Maratha quota: Post SC stay, Maharashtra announces sops for community

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MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Tuesday took several measures to give relief to the agitating Marathas, including giving community members benefits meant for EWS, in the light of the Supreme Court staying the implementation of quota in jobs and education for the community.

According to an official statement, the Maharashtra Cabinet also decided to offer jobs in Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation to heirs of those who lost lives during the Maratha quota protests.

It said action will be taken on proposals in this regard within a month of their submission.

The government’s decisions came after the Supreme Court earlier this month stayed the implementation of the 2018 Maharashtra law granting reservation to Marathas in education and jobs.

This was followed by community members staging protests on the issue in several parts of the state.

The Maratha community members will get the benefits announced by the government on Tuesday till the Supreme Court vacates the stay on quota, the statement said.

The Maharashtra government on Monday filed an application before the larger bench of Supreme Court, seeking to vacate the apex court’s stay on implementing the quota, the statement said.

“The benefits meant for economically weaker section (EWS) will be given to those from socially and economically backward category (SEBC),” the statement said.

The government said the Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Shikshan Shulkh Shishyavrutti Yojana, a scholarship scheme earlier meant for SEBC students, will now be made applicable to EWS students too.

“The state government has approved Rs 600 crore fund for the current fiscal. Provision will be made if there is a need for additional funds,” the statement said.

Similarly, the Panjabrao Deshmukh Hostel Maintenance Allowance Scheme meant for SEBC students will be applicable to the EWS students, the statement said.

“Rs 80 crore fund has been approved for the same. More funds will be made available if need be,” it added.

The government said substantial funds and manpower will be made available to the SARTHI institute.

The Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research Training and Human Development Institute (SARTHI) is a non-profit government company for research, policy advocacy, training etc. for socio-economic and education development of Maratha, Kunbi communities and families dependent of agriculture.

“SARTHI has demanded Rs 130 crore fund for the current financial year. Provision will be made if more funds are required,” the statement said.

The statement said financial assistance is being provided to unemployed youth through the Annasaheb Patil Financially Backward Development Corporation, and the capital for its has been increased by Rs 400 crore.

Speaking on the process of withdrawing cases against Maratha quota protesters, the state government said only 26 were pending and action on them will be taken in a month.

Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, PWD Minister Ashok Chavan said the government moved the vacation application before the Supreme Court’s larger bench after holding discussions with ministers, opposition leaders, representatives of Maratha outfits and legal experts.

Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde, who accompanied Chavan during the press conference, said, “The chief minister and the cabinet has taken a decision that there will be no shortage of funds. These decisions will give relief to the community.”

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