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Govt's focus to create robust framework for social inclusion: Minister Virendra Kumar

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) The government’s focus is on creating a robust framework that supports the empowerment and inclusion of all sections of society, Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Virendra Kumar has said.

The Minister convened a pivotal meeting with Ministers of State, Ramdas Athawale and B.L Verma, reviewed the progress of schemes, and strategised on key departmental initiatives for the next 100 days.

During the meeting, the Secretary of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Rajesh Aggarwal gave a comprehensive presentation on the department’s initiatives followed by modernisation efforts of the Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO).

“The modernisation of ALIMCO and the achievements of our various bodies are testaments to our dedication towards this goal,” the Minister said.

The participants also engaged in detailed deliberations on the strategic direction and action plans to enhance the department’s outreach and efficiency.

The modernisation of ALIMCO is set to revolutionise the aids and assistive devices for persons with disabilities, while the achievements of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Rehabilitation Council of India, National Institutes, and the National Divyangjan Finance and Development Corporation stress the department’s commitment to inclusive growth and empowerment, the Ministry noted.

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–IANS

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Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh CMs discuss cooperation for progress of states

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Mumbai, July 14 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Sunday met his Maharashtra counterpart Eknath Shinde at the latter’s official residence ‘Varsha’, during which they decided to strengthen cooperation for the development of the two states.

TDP chief Naidu and Shiv Sena leader Shinde discussed the political scenario, especially after the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) formed the government for the record third term.

Incidentally, Shiv Sena and TDP are two crucial allies in the NDA.

The Chief Minister’s Office said, “Both CMs held detailed discussions on boosting development by increasing cooperation between the two states. They discussed a wide range of issues relating to infrastructure development, interlinking of rivers, allocation of river water and further increasing the cultural cooperation between the two states.”

Civil Aviation Minister Kinjarapu Ram Mohan Naidu, Maharashtra Public Works Department Minister Dada Bhuse and Shiv Sena MP and CM Shinde’s son Shrikant Shinde also attended the meeting.

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–IANS

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J&K: Youth jumps in Chenab, body found in Pakistan

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Jammu, July 14 (IANS) The body of a youth who reportedly ended his life by jumping into river Chenab in Akhnoor area of Jammu district, was recovered in Pakistan. His family sought the Prime Minister’s intervention to bring back his body.

Officials said that a youth named Harash Nagotra went missing on June 11 while his motorcycle was found on the banks of the Chenab in Akhnoor.

The family lodged a missing report in the concerned police station and preliminary investigation revealed that the youth might have ended his life by jumping into the river.

Before he went missing, he had lost Rs 80,000 through an online gaming app.

The family got to know about Nagotra’s death through a WhatsApp message from a Pakistani official.

“Subash, father of the youth, said that he had got the WhatsApp message from a Pakistani official who said he was working in the post-mortem department. The official told the family that the youth’s body had been recovered from a canal in Sialkot area of Pakistani Punjab on June 13,” officials said.

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“The relatives of the youth said that they have written to the PMO, Ministry of External Affairs and MHA. The family has appealed to the Prime Minister to intervene and get the body of the youth back to India for last rites,” officials said.

–IANS

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Bengal govt avoiding 'tiff' with Raj Bhavan for oath of 4 newly elected MLAs

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Kolkata, July 14 (IANS) After the recent controversies over the oath ceremony of the two legislators elected from Baranagar and Bhagawangola, the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal is cautious this time to avoid any tiff with Raj Bhavan over the swearing-in ceremony of the four newly elected MLAs.

In a clean sweep, Trinamool won all four constituencies in the Assembly bypolls the results of which were declared on Saturday.

Insiders from the state cabinet said that the right protocol for approaching Governor V. Ananda Bose will be followed strictly to get the latter’s nod for the oath ceremony of the four newly elected MLAs namely Madhuparna Thakur from Bagda, Supti Pandey from Maniktala, Krishnas Kalyani from Raiganj and Dr Mukut Mani Adhikari from Ranaghat-Dakshin.

A communique from the state Parliamentary Affairs department will be sent to the office of the Governor this week only, where the latter will be requested to either administer the oath ceremony of the four newly elected MLAs or nominate anyone for the same, said a member of the state cabinet who refused to be named.

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As per the protocol, such initial communique regarding the oath-ceremony of newly elected MLAs has to go to the office of the Governor from the office of the state Parliamentary affairs minister.

However, in the earlier case of Sayantika Banerjee from Baranagar and Reyat Houssen Sarkar from Bhagawangola, the initial communique was sent from the office of the assembly Speaker and the assembly secretary.

The state cabinet member further said that the reaction from the Governor will determine the next course of action and if the Governor adopts the same path of prolonging the process, the Speaker of the House using his own authority under Section 5 of Chapter 2 of the ‘Rules of Business’ of the state assembly, will himself administer the oath-ceremony of the four newly elected MLAs at any forthcoming session of the House.

In the cases of Sayantika Banerjee and Reyat Houssen Sarkar, a special one-day session of the assembly had to be convened for the Speaker to administer their oath ceremony. However, in the case of the four newly elected MLAs that special session will not be necessary as the oath ceremony can be conducted in the forthcoming monsoon session of the assembly resuming this month — probably from July 22.

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However, in that case too uncertainties will prevail on how far the four elected MLAs will be able to participate in the proceedings of the House in the backdrop of Article 193 of the Indian Constitution which gives the power to the Governor to impose such a financial penalty on newly elected MLAs participating in the assembly proceedings or even occupying their allotted seats in the House without the ascent of the Governor.

–IANS

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NITI Aayog launches hackathon to accelerate zero-emission truck adoption in India

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) NITI Aayog, on Sunday, announced the launch of the GearShift challenge as part of the e-FAST India initiative.

The hackathon is in collaboration with Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore, Smart Freight Centre India, CALSTART/Drive to Zero, and WRI India.

It “will help foster innovative business models for the adoption of zero-emission trucks (ZETs) in India, and also address the nation’s pressing economic and environmental challenges,” NITI Aayog said.

As part of the hackathon, students, transport service practitioners, academics, and researchers will develop innovative business models that address financial, technical, and operational challenges in the adoption of electric trucks.

In the first round, teams will submit their initial business models addressing a specific barrier — technical, operational, or financial — that is supported by high-level strategies and research.

Those shortlisted will then present detailed business models with an implementation roadmap, backed by both primary and secondary research.

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The proposals will be mentored by industry leaders to ensure practical and impactful solutions, NITI Aayog said.

“India’s freight sector is vital to the economy, ensuring the smooth delivery of goods to over 1.4 billion people. With road freight accounting for a staggering 55 per cent of India’s annual diesel consumption and nearly 40 per cent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from road transport, there is an urgent need to transition to more sustainable solutions,” the apex public policy think tank said.

It noted that the “electrification of freight transportation is a key priority, as electric trucks offer a transformative opportunity to reduce emissions, improve air quality, and enhance energy security.”

“The GearShift Challenge marks a pivotal move towards sustainable freight transportation in India,” NITI Aayog said.

The hackathon will tap into the creativity and expertise of participants, and help generate practical solutions that will accelerate the adoption of zero-emission trucks. It will both benefit the economy and the environment.

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–IANS

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Congress appoints Gaurav Gogoi as Deputy Leader, Kodikunnil Suresh as Chief Whip in Lok Sabha

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Congress, on Sunday, wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, informing him about the appointment of Gaurav Gogoi as the party’s Deputy Leader in the House.

Alongside Gogoi, eight-time MP from Mavelikara in Kerala, Kodikunnil Suresh has been appointed as the Chief Whip, while Virudhunagar MP Manickam Tagore and Kishanganj MP Md Jawaid are named as Whips, Congress General Secretary K. C. Venugopal announced in a post on X.

“Hon’ble CPP Chairperson Smt Sonia Gandhi ji has written to the Hon’ble Lok Sabha Speaker informing him about the appointment of the Deputy Leader, Chief Whip, and two Whips for the Congress Party in the Lok Sabha. Deputy Leader – Shri Gaurav Gogoi, Chief Whip – Shri Kodikunnil, and Whips – Shri Manickam Tagore and Md Jawaid,” Venugopal wrote, congratulating the new appointees.

The Congress General Secretary wrote that the party will “champion” the public’s concerns in the lower house of the Parliament.

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“Guided by LoP Shri Rahul Gandhi ji, the Congress and INDIA parties will energetically champion the people’s causes in the Lok Sabha,” the Alappuzha MP added.

Last month, Rahul Gandhi was appointed Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha by the Congress party.

–IANS

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