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Congress-led UDF demands judicial probe into Kerala 'bar scam'

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Thiruvananthapuram, May 25 (IANS) With the Kerala government deciding to give the nod for a Crime Branch probe into an audio clip where bar owners were purportedly asked to pay Rs 2.50 lakh each for “favourable liquor policies”, the Congress-led UDF, which met here on Saturday, demanded a judicial probe into the issue.

UDF convenor and veteran Congress leader M.M. Hassan said the ploy of the Pinarayi Vijayan government in announcing a police probe is to save state Tourism Minister P.A. Mohammed Riyas, the CM’s son-in-law, as the amount involved is in excess of Rs 20 crore.

“The police probe is meant to save Riyas and Excise Minister M.P. Rajesh. We demand a judicial probe into the bar scam that has surfaced with the audio clip. All aspects with regards to the sanctioning of bars have to be probed,” he said, demanding both these Ministers quit.

“In 2015, this very same Vijayan-led Left had created a ruckus both inside and outside the Assembly and even then state Finance Minister K.M. Mani was literally attacked when he tried to present the annual Budget in the Assembly. Then the allegation this Left raised was corruption to the tune of Rs 5 crore, whereas now the audio reveals a massive corruption,” Hassan added.

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When the Vijayan government assumed office in 2016, there were 29 bars in the state, and now that figure has crossed 900 and many fresh bar license applications are likely to be cleared soon. In the past three years, a record 130 new bars were sanctioned.

With both the Congress and the BJP attacking the Vijayan government for this “massive corrupt deal”, Rajesh demanded a probe into this audio clip by writing to the state police chief and soon thereafter, Vijayan, who is also the Home Minister, gave the nod for it.

Though Rajesh and others have said no decision has been made, it was Riyas who is reported to have held discussions with players in the tourism industry, but on Saturday, he broke his silence on the issue and said no such discussions had taken place at all.

–IANS

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MUDA land scam: Complaint lodged with Karnataka Lokayukta against CM Siddaramaiah

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MUDA land scam: Complaint lodged with Karnataka Lokayukta against CM Siddaramaiah

MUDA land scam: Complaint lodged with Karnataka Lokayukta against CM Siddaramaiah

Bengaluru, July 20 (IANS) A complaint was lodged on Saturday with the Karnataka Lokayukta against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in connection with his alleged involvement in the Mysuru Urban Development Authority (MUDA) land scam.

The complaint has been lodged by former Bengaluru South District BJP President N.R. Ramesh. He also lodged a complaint against the officials involved in the scam.

Ramesh submitted more than 400 pages of documents and ‘proof’ along with the complaint, urging the Lokayukta to investigate the matter.

“CM Siddaramaiah, who was the Deputy Chief Minister in 1997-98 during the tenure of the late J.H. Patel-led government has ensured that the acquired land in Devanuru Third Stage Layout is let off through de-notification using influence,” he alleged.

N.R. Ramesh further alleged that “Siddaramaiah, who was again the Deputy CM in the late N. Dharam Singh-led government in 2004-05, had got conversion of the same land in the name of one deceased person, Linga”.

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During his first tenure as the Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, violating all the rules, got consent from the MUDA to allot 14 alternative sites measuring 39,000 square feet. Later, in 2022, when he was the leader of the opposition, he got 14 alternative sites registered in the name of his wife, the BJP leader said.

“The estimated value of the allotted sites is about Rs 50 to Rs 60 crore. CM Siddaramaiah, using his influence and power, being in a higher post, had misused his position and indulged in the scam,” Ramesh mentioned in his complaint.

–IANS

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Amit Shah sounds poll bugle in Jharkhand, slams 'most corrupt' Soren govt

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Amit Shah sounds poll bugle in Jharkhand, slams 'most corrupt' Soren govt

Amit Shah sounds poll bugle in Jharkhand, slams 'most corrupt' Soren govt

Ranchi, July 20 (IANS) Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday launched the BJP’s campaign for the upcoming Assembly elections in Jharkhand, calling for ousting the Hemant Soren government and bringing the BJP to power with a full majority.

Addressing BJP workers during the extended executive committee meeting at the Prabhat Tara ground in Ranchi, Amit Shah described the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress-RJD government led by Hemant Soren as the “most corrupt in the country”.

He also alleged that the Jharkhand government is embroiled in multiple scams, including a Rs 1,000 crore MGNREGA scam, a Rs 1,000 crore mining scam, and a Rs 300 crore land scam.

The Home Minister recalled that Rs 300 crore was recovered from the house of a Congress MP while Rs 30 crore was seized from the house of a personal assistant to a minister in Jharkhand.

“But the Congress is planning to give ticket to the same minister whose PA was detained with Rs 30 crore and is currently in jail,” the Home Minister said.

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Holding Chief Minister Hemant Soren responsible for the ‘Bangladeshi influx’ into the state, Amit Shah said the JMM leader calls himself a tribal CM but instead of caring for the tribals, he is “protecting the intruders who, through land and love jihad, are looting their land”.

“The number of tribals in Jharkhand is decreasing continuously. Intruders are snatching away their rights. They are getting jobs instead, but Hemant Soren is only concerned about increasing his vote bank,” Amit Shah said.

He also promised that as soon as the BJP forms the government in Jharkhand, a white paper will be released to ensure that the tribal population does not shrink, and they get the actual benefits of reservation.

Highlighting the BJP’s commitment to tribal welfare, he cited the elevation of Babulal Marandi as the state’s first tribal Chief Minister, and Droupadi Murmu as the country’s President.

He also claimed that the Narendra Modi government had done more for the tribals, Dalits, and backward classes than any previous government, including ensuring 27 per cent reservation for the OBCs and setting up a commission for the backward classes.

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Shah also compared the BJP’s development initiatives in Jharkhand with the Congress’ alleged neglect of the state during its 10-year rule at the Centre, claiming that the BJP allocated Rs 3,84,000 crore for the state’s development, compared to the Congress’ Rs 84,000 crore.

The event was also addressed by Union Agriculture Minister and Jharkhand BJP election in-charge Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, Union Minister Annapurna Devi, Jharkhand BJP in-charge Lakshmikant Vajpayee, Union Minister of State for Defence Sanjay Seth, Jharkhand BJP President Babulal Marandi, former CM Arjun Munda, and leader of opposition Amar Kumar Bauri, among others.

–IANS

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School children in K’taka to get eggs all six days a week (Lead)

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School children in K’taka to get eggs all six days a week (Lead)

School children in K’taka to get eggs all six days a week (Lead)

Bengaluru, July 20 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced on Saturday that the students of government and government-aided schools will get eggs six days a week in partnership with Azim Premji Foundation.

Earlier, the state government was providing eggs for school children two days a week already. With the new arrangement, the students will now get eggs for all six days.

Siddaramaiah spoke while inaugurating a programme, in partnership with the Azim Premji Foundation, to provide free supplementary nutritious food six days a week to children in government and aided primary and secondary schools.

Quality food is essential for mental health and good education, said the Chief Minister. “Creating opportunities for good education for the children of the poor is our aspiration,” he said.

“I have seen children come to school without breakfast and stay until noon without lunch. Hence, we decided to provide meals and eggs two days a week. The Azim Premji Foundation has joined hands with the government in this noble cause to provide eggs and supplementary nutritious food to children four days a week,” he said.

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He called on school children to develop scientifically and intellectually, stating that only then can they become socially responsible.

“Creating opportunities for good education for the children of the poor is our aspiration. For this reason, we are providing uniforms, shoes, and socks, and opening more residential schools,” he said.

Azim Premji Foundation on Saturday entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Karnataka to support the nutritional enrichment of the state government’s mid-day meal program in government and government-aided schools for three years.

Eggs will be added to the mid-day meal for the 55 lakh students in these schools — from Grade 1 to Grade 10 — to provide nutritional enrichment. Eggs are laced with a wide range of essential nutritional content from proteins to minerals.

Currently the state government’s mid-day meal program provides eggs on two days of the week to the students. The Foundation’s support will enable the provision of eggs on all six days of the school week, substantially enhancing the nutrition for students.

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An alternative high nutrition supplement will be provided for those students who do not consume eggs because of cultural preferences.

This initiative is aimed to improve the nutritional status of school students and contribute to their physical and cognitive development. The Foundation works extensively across the country to help improve the quality and equity of the public (government) education system.

The Foundation will work closely with the Commissioner of School Education and Literacy (CSE) to implement mechanisms to ensure high-quality eggs are delivered to each child in the schools covered by the program.

Education Minister Madhu Bangarappa, Wipro Chairman Azim Premji couple, the government’s Additional Chief Secretary L.K. Atheek Ahmed, Chief Minister’s Political Secretary Naseer Ahmed, and Guarantee Implementation Committee Vice President Mehrooz were present.

–IANS

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International Excellence Award presented to distinguished forensic investigator and visionary leader

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International Excellence Award presented to distinguished forensic investigator and visionary leader

International Excellence Award presented to distinguished forensic investigator and visionary leader

London, July 20 (IANS) The House of Commons at the British Parliament witnessed a momentous occasion as CA Arpit Jagdish Kabra was honoured with the prestigious International Excellence Award. This recognition celebrates his outstanding contributions to the field of forensic investigation and his unwavering commitment to social impact initiatives.

Contribution to CA Society recognised

CA Arpit Jagdish Kabra, originally from Ajmer, Rajasthan, and now residing in Mumbai, has been honoured with the International Excellence Award 2024 for his significant contributions to forensic auditing. This prestigious award was presented to him at the House of Commons, British Parliament UK, highlighting the international recognition and impact of his work.

At a young age, Arpit Kabra took on the role of Chairman of the Western India Regional Council (WIRC) of ICAI. His efforts towards the empowerment of women and youth, as well as the projects initiated under his leadership at WIRC, have made him deserving of this honour. Under his leadership, the team at WIRC also created a world record for the Largest Human Mosaic in Mumbai.

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The news of his achievement has brought immense joy and pride. His recognition has not only infused new energy into society but has also established his dedication and character as an inspiration for the younger generation.

CA Arpit Kabra’s exemplary work has set a new benchmark at both national and international levels, influencing a broad spectrum of people from common citizens to professional circles. Arpit Kabra has dedicated this achievement to his family and his team at WIRC.

–IANS

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Institutional child deliveries have gone up to 95 pc in Assam: CM

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Institutional child deliveries have gone up to 95 pc in Assam: CM

Institutional child deliveries have gone up to 95 pc in Assam: CM

Guwahati, July 20 (IANS) Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday claimed that the state has immensely progressed in providing care to mothers and most of the child deliveries across the state have been institutionalised.

He said just a decade ago, Assam had just over 80 per cent of institutional child deliveries which has now gone up to 95 per cent.

The Chief Minister asserted that the lack of institutional child deliveries was making a huge chunk of mothers and newborns vulnerable, especially in the rural areas of the state.

In 2023-24, only 22,294 child deliveries occurred at home while 5,22,943 child deliveries occurred at healthcare institutions.

In 2022-23, 32,195 child deliveries happened at home while in 2021-22, the figure was 50,052.

The Chief Minister said that the state government has been eyeing to achieve 100 per cent institutional child deliveries in the state.

He said that when Congress was in power in Assam during 2012-13 around 1,00,088 child deliveries occurred at home.

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He argued that the scenario has changed drastically in just 10 years and mothers and newborns are being provided good support by the Health Department.

“A decade ago, Assam had just a little over 80 per cent child institutional child deliveries, making a large section of women and newborns, particularly in rural areas, vulnerable,” Sarma said.

“Today, we have over 95 per cent institutional delivery and aim to take it to 100 per cent in the coming days,” he added.

–IANS

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