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Dharmavira Gandhi, Channi, Khaira in Congress' first list in Punjab

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Dharmavira Gandhi, Channi, Khaira in Congress' first list in Punjab

Chandigarh, April 14 (IANS) The Congress on Sunday announced six out of 13 candidates in its first list for Punjab that will go to the polls in a single phase on June 1.

The party has retained the sitting MP from Amritsar, Gurjit Aujla, and announced candidature of former Chief Minister Charanjit Channi from Jalandhar (reserved), Dharamvira Gandhi from Patiala, Amar Singh from Fatehgarh Sahib (reserved), Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu from Bathinda, and sitting firebrand legislator Sukhpal Singh Khaira from Sangrur.

Sacked AAP parliamentarian Dharamvira Gandhi, who won the 2014 polls by defeating Congress candidate and former Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs Preneet Kaur from Patiala, was inducted into the Congress on April.

A cardiologist and social worker, he surprised the Congress when he defeated three-time MP Preneet Kaur, in Patiala, the royal citadel. He was suspended from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in 2015.

Preneet Kaur, the wife of two-time Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and once a prominent face of the Congress, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) last month. In 2019, she defeated her nearest rival Shiromani Akali Dal’s Surjit Singh Rakhra by a margin of 1,62,718 votes. She has been fielded from Patiala.

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In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congres won the maximum — eight seats — in the state, while the BJP-led NDA managed to secure victory in four seats — two each for the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). The AAP was restricted to just one seat.

–IANS

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Maha: War of words erupts between Ajit Pawar & Girish Mahajan over development funds

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Maha: War of words erupts between Ajit Pawar & Girish Mahajan over development funds

Maha: War of words erupts between Ajit Pawar & Girish Mahajan over development funds

Mumbai, July 23 (IANS) Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who also holds the Finance portfolio, and Rural Development Minister Girish Mahajan on Tuesday at the Cabinet meeting were reportedly engaged in a war of words over the allocation of development funds.

The verbal duel between the two leaders shocked the other cabinet members as it took place in the presence of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Girish Mahajan demanded additional funds for his department for the 25/15 scheme (the projects suggested by the elected representatives under this scheme are implemented mainly in rural areas) from the Finance Department headed by Ajit Pawar.

However, Pawar got agitated and reportedly asked Mahajan, “Where will we get the money, what land parcels the government should sell now to mobilise the funds?”

Mahajan also replied to Pawar and insisted that the funds need to be mobilised for the implementation of the 25/15 scheme in the run-up to the upcoming Assembly election.

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He referred to the proposal seeking the Cabinet’s approval for the allocation of crores of rupees for a monument in the Sinnar constituency in Nashik district represented by an NCP legislator.

“If your (Pawar) stand is not to spend or demand additional funds for want of money then why the money is being allocated for the Sinnar monument?” asked Mahajan.

In the recently presented state budget, Pawar announced a slew of welfare schemes worth almost Rs 1 lakh crore which has put an additional burden on the state exchequer.

The Finance Department has hinted that the state government may have to raise loans for the implementation of those schemes.

–IANS

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Rs 7545 cr allocated to Maha, Oppn reacted without reading Budget: Dy CM

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Rs 7545 cr allocated to Maha, Oppn reacted without reading Budget: Dy CM

Rs 7545 cr allocated to Maha, Oppn reacted without reading Budget: Dy CM

Mumbai, July 23 (IANS) Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said that the state’s opposition has reacted to the Budget without reading it.

“We have a slew of state projects which have got the budgetary allocation of Rs 7,545 crore. Our opposition leaders reacted without reading the Budget,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.

He also gave a list of the projects and their allocated funds: Irrigation projects in Vidarbha Marathwada (Rs 600 crore), Maharashtra Rural Road Improvement (Rs 400 crore), Economic corridor for inclusive development (Rs 466 crore), Eco-Friendly Sustainable Agriculture Project (Rs 598 crore), Maharashtra Agriculture and Rural Transformation Project (Rs 150 crore), MUTP-3 (Rs 908 crore), Mumbai Metro (Rs 1087 crore), Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (Rs 499 crore), MMR Green Urban Mobility (Rs 150 crore), Nagpur Metro (Rs 683 crore), Nag Nadi Rejuvenation (Rs 500 crore), Pune Metro (Rs 814 crore) and Mula Mutha River Conservation (Rs 690 crore).

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“When the public elects you, there is an expectation that the elected representatives should read the provisions. I see that many big announcements have been made for Maharashtra,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.

He added that the Union Budget is a future-oriented budget keeping in mind the youth, poor and farmers of the country.

“Many advanced countries are struggling with the economy and in such a situation, India has shown a growth of 8.2 per cent. This growth is a growth that reflects the strength of India’s economy. Social sector expenditure has doubled in 2023-24 from nearly Rs 11 lakh crore to Rs 23 lakh crore,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.

He said that the expenditure on the health sector has now almost doubled to Rs 5.85 lakh crore against Rs 2.5 lakh crore in 2017-18.

“Through this budget, an investment of Rs 11 lakh crore will be made for infrastructure. The Centre has brought two schemes for the states, interest-free loans of Rs 1.5 lakh crore for 50 years and 15 years,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.

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He said that also, a big announcement has been made regarding the new pension scheme.

“As in the state, we have made some rules along with all the employee unions. The Central government is also working along the same lines. This budget has been presented with an eye on the future and not just raining slogans,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.

–IANS

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Court hands 5-year RI to key accused in fake currency seizure case

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Court hands 5-year RI to key accused in fake currency seizure case

Court hands 5-year RI to key accused in fake currency seizure case

Kolkata, July 23 (IANS) A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here on Tuesday sentenced Faijul Sk who was identified as the key accused in a case related to fake Indian currency notes (FICN) in West Bengal’s Malda district to five years of rigorous imprisonment (RI).

Faijul, a resident of Gopalganj area of Malda, has also been fined Rs 5,000, the NIA said, adding that failure to submit the amount will attract an additional three months of RI.

“The trial against three other accused, including an absconding Bangladeshi citizen, is continuing,” an NIA statement read.

On September 16, 2019, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence recovered fake notes totalling Rs 1,99,000.

“The currency was seized from the possession of one Asim Sarkar, who was taken into custody. NIA, which took over the investigation in October 2019, subsequently arrested Faijul Sk, along with another accused, Aladu. A fourth accused, a Bangladeshi national identified as Abdul Rahim, is absconding,” the statement read.

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NIA learnt during the investigation that they have collectively hatched a criminal conspiracy to procure and circulate FICN with the intention to use the same as genuine for unlawful gains.

–IANS

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Goa reeling under Rs 27,489 crore debt: CM replies in Assembly

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Goa reeling under Rs 27,489 crore debt: CM replies in Assembly

Goa reeling under Rs 27,489 crore debt: CM replies in Assembly

Panaji, July 23 (IANS) With the state reeling under a debt of Rs 27489 crores, the Goa government has decided to restrict expenditure within budgeted revenues, said Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday.

The opposition parties on many occasions have attacked the BJP government for increasing the debt of the state.

While replying to the Legislative Assembly Question (LAQ) by BJP MLA Krishna Salkar, the finance department said that the current total public debt of the state as on June 30, 2024 was Rs.2748904.53 lakhs.

“Restricting expenditure within budgeted revenues, restricting borrowings within FRBM limits and restructuring of high interest loans are the three measures being taken by the finance department to reduce the debt,” Pramod Sawant, who also holds the finance portfolio, said.

According to the data provided by the finance department, the total debt of the state for the financial year 2019-20 was Rs 16894 crore, 2020-21 Rs 20729 crores, 2021-22 Rs 23271 crores, 2022-23 Rs 24619 crore, and 2023-24 Rs 27382 crores.

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To counter the attacks by the opposition parties over borrowings, Sawant had said last year that “We have done such a planning and financial management that after two years, we will not require to take loans. We will have mining revenues, GST collections, excise revenues, and 36 per cent share from the Manohar International Airport at Mopa,”

–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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