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India lauds continuity of G20 focus on quality jobs, gender equality

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Brasilia, March 27 (IANS) India on Wednesday commended the continuity in the G20 multi-year agenda for creating quality employment and gender equality in the workplace at the Employment Working Group (EWG) meeting under the Brazilian Presidency.

India as a member of the G20 Troika, is co-chairing the two-day EWG meeting, along with Brazil and South Africa.

India’s representative Sumita Dawra noted that the priority areas of the 2nd EWG at Brasilia align with the priority areas and outcomes of previous G20 presidencies including the Indian presidency.

On the first day of the meeting, deliberations were held on the over-arching theme of promotion of gender equality and promoting diversity in the workplace. The Indian delegation emphasised the need for creating inclusive environments by ensuring equal representation and empowerment for all, irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic background.

The focus areas for the 2nd EWG meeting are (i) creating quality employment and promoting decent labour; (ii) addressing a just transition amidst digital and energy transformations; (iii) leveraging technologies to enhance the quality of life for all; (iv) the emphasis on gender equity and promoting diversity in the world of employment for inclusivity, driving innovation and growth.

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In this context, the Indian delegation elucidated significant strides taken by India in the promotion of gender equality in the workplace and beyond and steps taken for migrant workers.

India’s achievements that were highlighted on the first day of the meeting include the increase in female labour force participation.

India has enacted the Occupational Safety Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 which entitles women to be employed in all establishments for all types of work with their consent at night time. This provision has already been implemented in underground mines.

In 2017, the government amended the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, which increased the ‘maternity leave with pay protection’ from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for all women working in establishments employing 10 or more workers. This is expected to reduce the motherhood pay gap among the working mothers.

To aid migrant workers, India’s innovative policy ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ allows migrants to access their entitled food grains from anywhere in the Public Distribution System network in the country.

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We have also implemented multiple schemes to provide social security and welfare benefits while ensuring portability across states. These schemes provide for affordable housing, enhanced employability through skill development and old-age pensions to such workers.

Dawra also mentioned India’s landmark step in fostering inclusion in the workforce is the e-Shram portal, launched to create a national database of unorganised workers, especially migrant and construction workers.

This initiative, providing the e-Shram card, enables access to benefits under various social security schemes.

The portal allows an unorganised worker to register himself or herself on the portal on a self-declaration basis, under 400 occupations in 30 broad occupation sectors.

More than 290 million unorganised workers have been registered on this portal so far.

–IANS

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Bihar hospitals see surge in cases of heat-related illnesses

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Patna, June 13 (IANS) Hospitals in Bihar seeing a surge in cases of heat-related illnesses as the state continues to reel under high temperatures and humidity.

Cases of heat stroke, diarrhoea, stomach ache and headache saw a significant rise in recent days, paramedics said on Wednesday. Around 400 such patients visited the sub-divisional hospital in Patna’s Masaurhi on Wednesday. A similar trend was seen in other government and private hospitals in the state capital.

“Majority of the patients who are coming to the hospital are suffering from heat stroke. We have advised them to avoid going out in the scorching sun and consume liquids, easily digestible and vitamin-rich foods. A heatwave ward has been permanently set up in our hospital,” said Dr Sanjita Rani, incharge of Masaudhi sub-divisional hospital.

The situation in PMCH, NMCH, IGIMS, AIIMS Patna, Kurji Holy Family and other hospitals in the capital city remained the same. Several other parts of the state also reported a significant surge in heat-related illnesses.

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In view of the scorching heat, Patna’s District Magistrate (DM) S. Kapil Ashok on Wednesday ordered the closure of all schools and coaching institutions till June 15.

The maximum temperature in Patna remained between 43 and 46 degrees Celsius during the last few days.

“In the light of the weather department’s forecast, there is a possibility of students falling ill due to the heat wave. Thus, all the educational institutions and coaching institutes of the district will remain closed from June 13 to June 15,” the Patna DM said in an order issued on Wednesday. The DM said coaching institutes can conduct their classes through online modes during the period.

“The Met Department has issued a heat wave alert in Bihar for the next 48 hours. There is a red alert in the districts of North West, South West and South Central Bihar, while there is a yellow alert in other districts. In this season, there is a need to follow the instructions given by the Disaster Management Department regarding protection from heat,” said Anand Shankar, Meteorologist at the Patna Meteorological Centre.

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Chief Minister Nitish Kumar directed all DMs and civil surgeons to ensure adequate arrangements of medicines in hospitals of their respective districts. He also directed the power distribution companies to ensure electricity supply round the clock in the state.

Besides heat-related illnesses, administration during the month of June also remains on alert for Chamki fever (Acute Encephalitis Syndrome) which led to the death of several children in Muzaffarpur and its adjoining districts in 2019.

As per studies, Chamki Fever remains at its peak from June 9 to 21.

“The Health Department is fully alert and special precautions are being taken till June 21. ASHA workers have been directed to visit door-to-door in their areas every day. Special attention is being paid to weak children. It is advised to immediately consult a doctor if any child’s health deteriorates,” said Dr Satish Kumar, Vector Borne Disease Control Officer-cum-ACMO of Muzaffarpur.

–IANS

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NCP decides to nominate Sunetra Pawar for June 25 Rajya Sabha bypoll

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Mumbai, June 12 (IANS) The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Wednesday decided to nominate party chief and Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar’s wife Sunetra Pawar for the Rajya Sabha bypoll to be held on June 25.

Sunetra Pawar’s name was finalised at a meeting convened by Ajit Pawar with the party ministers at his official residence in Mumbai.

Incidentally, Sunetra Pawar lost to her sister-in-law and NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule from Baramati in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections.

Sunetra Pawar will file her nomination on Thursday, the last date for filing nominations.

With her nomination, the party has taken a conscious decision to rehabilitate her ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections likely to be held in October this year.

The party’s move is aimed to checkmate NCP chief Sharad Pawar and his party MP Supriya Sule in Baramati in the run-up to the Assembly elections.

While Ajit Pawar is likely to contest from Baramati in the Assembly elections, the NCP (SP) is promoting Yogendra Pawar, his nephew, against the NCP chief.

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At Wednesday’s meeting, NCP Working President Praful Patel proposed Sunetra Pawar’s name and asked the ministers to express their views.

Agriculture Minister Dhananjay Munde supported Patel’s proposal, saying that it would boost the morale of the party cadres, especially in Baramati following the defeat of Sunetra Pawar in the general elections.

However, senior NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal, who was an aspirant for a Rajya Sabha nomination, said that while he has no objections to Sunetra Pawar’s nomination, why was a parliamentary board meeting not called to recommend her name?

–IANS

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669 candidates, including 238 women, file nominations for Nagaland civic polls

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Kohima, June 12 (IANS) As many as 669 candidates, including 238 women, have filed their nominations for the much-expected urban local body (ULB) elections in Nagaland to be held on June 26, officials said on Wednesday.

After more than 20 years, elections for the three municipal councils and 36 town councils will be held in the state amid the vote boycott call given by the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO).

Officials in the State Election Commission (SEC) said on Wednesday that the scrutiny of nomination papers will take place on Thursday with June 20 as the last date for withdrawing candidatures.

Importantly, the upcoming local body polls are the first-ever municipal elections in the state to be held with 33 per cent reservation for women.

The government took initiatives several times in the past to hold the ULB polls, but objections from the tribal bodies and civil society organisations against the reservation for women and the tax on land and properties had held back the polls.

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The elections were finally announced following the intervention of the Supreme Court.

Municipal elections in Nagaland were last held in 2004, and the terms of the civic bodies ended in 2009-10.

Meanwhile, ENPO, the influential Naga body, has already announced to boycott the June 26 civic polls, and urged the people of the six eastern Nagaland districts to abstain from voting.

Governor La Ganesan, the state government, the State Election Commission, and various other authorities have separately appealed to the ENPO and the people of eastern Nagaland to participate in the polls scheduled on June 26.

The SEC also severed a show-cause notice to the ENPO, but the Naga body remains firm on its decision.

The Lok Sabha polls for the lone seat in Nagaland were held on April 19 amid a call by the ENPO to the people of the six districts to abstain from voting over its demand for a separate state.

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The people in the six districts, which have over four lakh voters, remained indoors on April 19, responding to the ENPO’s call to press for its statehood demand for ‘Frontier Nagaland Territory’.

Since 2010, the ENPO has been demanding a separate ‘Frontier Nagaland Territory’, or a separate state, comprising six eastern Nagaland districts — Kiphire, Longleng, Mon, Noklak, Shamator, and Tuensang, inhabited by seven backward tribes — Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Phom, Tikhir, Sangtam, and Yimkhiung.

–IANS

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Tribal welfare board scam: SIT arrests man behind creating fake bank accounts, seizes Rs 10 crore cash

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Bengaluru, June 12 (IANS) In a major development, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the tribal welfare board scam and suicide of an employee of the board has arrested a person behind the creation of fake bank accounts and seized 16 kg gold and Rs 10 crore cash, sources said on Wednesday.

The arrested person has been identified as Satyanarayana Varma, a resident of Hyderabad in Telangana.

According to the police, the accused had opened 18 fake accounts in various banks and huge funds were transferred to these accounts from the Karnataka Maharishi Valmiki Scheduled Tribes Development Corporation (KMVSTDC).

The accused’s role had come out during the verification of bank accounts to which the reserved government funds were transferred. The SIT sleuths are likely to bring him to Bengaluru.

The scam in the corporation came to light following the suicide of Chandrashekaran (50), who was working as an Account Superintendent in the Tribal Welfare Board.

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He was allegedly pressurised to move large sums of money to various illegal accounts.

It was alleged that the funds were diverted to Hyderabad to be used by Congress for the Lok Sabha election in Telangana and other states.

Congress has denied all the allegations.

B. Nagendra who was Minister for Youth Empowerment, Sports and Tribal Welfare has tendered his resignation in connection with the case. The BJP has been demanding the resignation of the Medical Education Minister Sharan Prakash Patil.

The BJP has also been pointing fingers at Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.

–IANS

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PM Modi reviews Kuwait fire tragedy, announces Rs 2L ex-gratia for Indian victims

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New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a review meeting on the fire tragedy in Kuwait in which a number of Indian nationals died and many were injured, here at his residence on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Modi also announced ex-gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh to the families of the deceased India nationals from the Prime Minister Relief Fund.

The Prime Minister expressed his deep sorrow at the unfortunate incident and extended condolences to the families of the deceased. He wished speedy recovery of those injured.

Prime Minister Modi directed that the government should extend all possible assistance. “MoS External Affairs should immediately travel to Kuwait to oversee the relief measures and facilitate expeditious repatriation of the mortal remains,” he said.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs Kirtivardhan Singh, Principal Secretary to PM Pramod Kumar Mishra, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra and other senior officials were also present in the meeting.

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–IANS

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