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Congress President Kharge to campaign in Puducherry, Cuddalore today

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Congress President Kharge to campaign in Puducherry, Cuddalore today

Chennai, April 15 (IANS) Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge will visit Puducherry on Monday for the election campaign of his party candidate V. Vaithilingam who is seeking a re-election.

Kharge will address a public meeting at the Agriculture Market Committee ground in Thattanchavady.

The Congress candidate for the Puducherry Lok Sabha seat, V. Vaithilingam is a sitting Member of Parliament from the same constituency.

Vaithilingam, a former Chief Minister of Puducherry, is pitted against Puducherry Home Minister A. Namasivayam, who was also a former Congress leader.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Vaithilingam defeated K. Narayanasamy of AIADMK by a margin of 1,97, 025 votes.

The Congress President will later visit Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu to campaign for the Congress candidate, M.K. Vishnuprasad.

He will address a public meeting at the Neyveli grounds in the Cuddalore assembly constituency.

–IANS

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Budget 2024-25 'exceptional and empowering': Jitendra Singh

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Budget 2024-25 'exceptional and empowering': Jitendra Singh

Budget 2024-25 'exceptional and empowering': Jitendra Singh

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The Union Budget 2024-25, presented on Tuesday in the Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is “exceptional and empowering”, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said.

Calling measures such as “ending of angel tax and introduction of paid internships” as “bold and innovative proposals”, Jitendra Singh said it will boost startups and start-up ecosystem.

“In order to boost the Indian Startup ecosystem, the Union Budget 2024-25 abolished angel tax for investors,” said Singh.

Other proposals like the “increase in Mudra loan limit to Rs 20 lakh, Rs 1 lakh crore for Anusandhan National Research Foundation and planning five times increase in the next 10 years while earmarking Rs 1,000 crore venture fund for space startups all supplement each other to further strengthen India’s startup ecosystem”, he added.

The Union Minister also said that the third term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has nine priority areas as mentioned by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on Tuesday.

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This includes boosting startups, generating employment, skilling, MSMEs and the middle class.

Another priority area is “employment and skilling” which got a major boost under Prime Minister’s package of five schemes, Jitendra Singh said.

The schemes include innovative initiatives for employment, skilling, and other opportunities for 4.1 crore youth over 5 years. He further added that the first scheme under the PM’s package will provide one month’s wage to all persons entering the workforce.

“The 5th scheme launches a comprehensive scheme for providing internship and apprentice opportunities to youth in top 500 companies to 1 crore youth in five years, in order to promote skilling and apprentice culture,” the Science and Technology Minister said.

Jitendra Singh also noted that nearly 20 lakh youth will be skilled over 5 years, while 1,000 industrial training institutes will be upgraded in hub and spoke arrangements in collaboration with state governments and industries for skill development.

Further, to carry forward the acquired skills and promote self-employment, the model skill loan scheme will be revised to facilitate guaranteed loans up to 7.5 lakh which will help nearly 25,000 students annually, he said.

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Increasing the limit of Mudra loans to Rs 20 lakh from the current Rs 10 lakh for those who have successfully repaid previous loans under the ‘Tarun’ category “marks a revolutionary step to promote entrepreneurship”.

Jitendra Singh noted that to promote women-led development, the Budget allocated more than 3 lakh crore for women’s welfare schemes.

–IANS

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Mamata Banerjee hikes Durga Puja donations for clubs to Rs 85,000

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Mamata Banerjee hikes Durga Puja donations for clubs to Rs 85,000

Mamata Banerjee hikes Durga Puja donations for clubs to Rs 85,000

Kolkata, July 23 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday announced a Rs 15,000 hike in donations for clubs organising community Durga Puja in the state, from Rs 70,000 last year to Rs 85,000 this time.

The Chief Minister also directed the two power distribution utilities — WBSEDCL and CESC Limited — to increase the concession for power supply to the community Puja committees from 66 per cent last year to 75 per cent this time.

This year, Durga Puja will be celebrated from October 9 to October 13.

As per initial estimates, the total outflow of the dole package will be to the tune of Rs 500 crore, including Rs 365 crore as donations to 43,000 puja committees, out of which around 3,000 are in Kolkata while the remaining are spread across the state.

CM Banerjee also announced that the donation amount will be increased to Rs 1,00,000 for each community Puja committee from next year.

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Some economic analysts feel that such enhancement in annual donations to the community puja committees is a wasteful expenditure, saying the state government should instead concentrate more on asset-creating capital expenditures besides reducing avoidable revenue expenditures.

The cash crunch in the state exchequer was evident in the recent decision of the state government to go for rationalisation of manpower instead of fresh recruitments.

In a report last year, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) expressed concern over the increase in revenue expenditure in West Bengal resulting in a sharp increase in revenue deficit.

The CAG report also raised questions about the budgetary management of the West Bengal government by pointing out the instances of huge excess expenditure under several grants.

–IANS

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BJP appoints TV journalist Pradeep Bhandari as national spokesperson

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BJP appoints TV journalist Pradeep Bhandari as national spokesperson

BJP appoints TV journalist Pradeep Bhandari as national spokesperson

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday appointed TV journalist Pradeep Bhandari as its national spokesperson.

“BJP President J.P. Nadda has appointed Pradeep Bhandari as the party’s national spokesperson with immediate effect,” said the party in a statement.

Pradeep Bhandari also runs a psephology firm named ’Jan Ki Baat’, which has conducted Opinion and Exit polls during Assembly and general elections.

Bhandari joins the list of 30 BJP national spokespersons headed by Lok Sabha MP Anil Baluni, as mentioned on the party website.

Bhandari, in his previous stints, worked with many news organisations including Republic TV, India News, and Zee News.

–IANS

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Encounter starts in J&K’s Kupwara District

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Encounter starts in J&K’s Kupwara District

Encounter starts in J&K’s Kupwara District

Srinagar, July 23 (IANS) A gunfight started in the forest area of Jammu and Kashmir’s (J&K) Kupwara District between the security forces and terrorists on Tuesday.

Officials said that the security forces started a CASO (Cordon & Search Operation) in Trumkhan forests of Kupwara District after receiving Intelligence inputs about the presence of terrorists there.

“As the security forces came closer to the hiding terrorists, they fired at the security personnel triggering an encounter which is now underway”, officials said.

Earlier on Tuesday, one Army soldier was martyred in Battal area of KG sector in Mendhar Tehsil of Poonch District where the Army foiled an infiltration bid by the ultras.

The operation against the militants is still going on in Battal.

Security forces are aggressively carrying out anti-terror operations after the ultras made their presence felt in the mountainous areas of Jammu Division.

Over 4,000 soldiers including those drawn from the elite Para Commandos and those trained in mountain warfare have been deployed in the hilly areas of Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, Reasi and Kathua districts of Jammu division.

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–IANS

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Over 4,300 students crossed over to India from B’desh in last 4 days

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Over 4,300 students crossed over to India from B’desh in last 4 days

Over 4,300 students crossed over to India from B’desh in last 4 days

Kolkata, July 23 (IANS) Border Security Force (BSF) on Tuesday said that over 4,300 students, including a Canadian and two Maldivian nationals, have crossed over to India from Bangladesh in the last four days.

“Since Friday, 4,315 students have crossed over the Indo-Bangladesh Border (IBB) and have been provided assistance by the BSF. Of those students who have crossed over, 3,087 are Indians, 41 Bangladeshis, 1,118 Nepalese, 66 Bhutanese, two Maldivians and a Canadian,” an official of the BSF’s Eastern Command said.

He said that these students have undergone medical check-ups and have been provided food.

“Special counters have also been set up for documentation, as and when the need arises. Transportation is also being provided to the students by the BSF to their nearest destinations,” the official said.

Eastern Command ADG BSF Ravi Gandhi has issued an ‘Operation Alert’ – all along the IBB – after nationwide violence erupted in neighbouring Bangladesh.

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“While security has been tightened to prevent any illegal immigration from across the IBB, special care is being taken to ensure the safe return of students from India as well as other countries,” the BSF official said.

BSF’s Eastern Command is entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the IBB passing along 32 districts of five Indian states that adjoin 30 Bangladeshi districts. The IBB stretches for 4096.7 km, 23 per cent of which is riverine and unfenced. This is the fifth-longest land border in the world.

“We are closely monitoring the situation across the IBB while facilitating in safe return of students, in close coordination with sister agencies and the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB),” the official said.

He said that the BSF has made all operational and administrative arrangements at the Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) and Land Customs Stations (LCSs) for refreshments, food packets, transportation and health check-ups.

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–IANS

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