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Rahul speaks to victims of Rajkot game zone fire tragedy, says Cong stands behind them

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Rahul speaks to victims of Rajkot game zone fire tragedy, says Cong stands behind them

New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday spoke with some of the victims and affected families of the Rajkot game zone fire tragedy via video conferencing, and assured that the party fully stands behind them in their pursuit of justice.

Speaking with the families of fire tragedy victims, Rahul Gandhi assured them that the Congress will rally behind them and will pressurise the government to ensure a fair and independent investigation and also speedy trial and increased compensation.

A couple of Gujarat Congress leaders also joined the virtual interaction with Rahul, impressing upon him on how the party’s state unit took up their cause and held demonstrations before the state government for enhanced compensation and speedy justice for the affected families.

In a video of virtual interaction shared by the Congress, some of the families could be heard sharing their pain and agony and how they are still waiting for justice.

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Rahul Gandhi, in his bid to soothe the frayed nerves, said that Congress should keep turning the heat on the state government for speedy justice and increased compensation.

“If you want, we can raise the matter in Parliament also, this will further put pressure on the state government,” he told the victim’s families.

Meanwhile, the Congress has called for ‘Rajkot Bandh’ on June 25, when the blaze episode completes one month.

On June 15, party workers had organised protest outside the city police commissioner’s office.

At least 27 people, including four children, were charred to death in the massive fire that engulfed the game zone in Nana-Mava locality of Rajkot city on May 25.

When the police launched investigation into the devastating fire, several glaring lapses were found.

The gaming zone was found to be operating without necessary clearances from government departments and also without ‘No Objection Certificate’ from the Rajkot Municipal Corporation.

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The state government had formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the causes of fire and also to identify loopholes in the system.

Till date, the Rajkot Police have nabbed five owners of the game zone and six government officials in connection with the blaze.

–IANS

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Centre fuelling rapid infra growth but states need to pitch in too: Eco Survey

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Centre fuelling rapid infra growth but states need to pitch in too: Eco Survey

Centre fuelling rapid infra growth but states need to pitch in too: Eco Survey

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) The Economic Survey released on Monday states that buoyant investment by the Centre has played a pivotal role in funding large-scale infrastructure projects in recent years in highways, seaports, railways and airports but the state governments and private sector need to pitch in to accelerate development.

It highlights that National Highways construction increased by three times from 11.7 km per day in FY14 to 34 km per day by FY24 while capital expenditure on Railways has increased by 77 per cent in the past five years, with significant investments in the construction of new lines, gauge conversion and doubling.

Similarly, in FY24, new terminal buildings at 21 airports have been operationalised, which has led to an overall increase in passenger handling capacity by approximately 62 million passengers per annum.

Besides, India’s rank in the International Shipments category in the World Bank Logistics Performance Index has improved to 22nd in 2023 from 44th in 2014.

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“Given that infrastructure-creation efforts in India are currently predominantly public sector-led, a higher level of private sector financing and resource mobilisation from new sources will be crucial for India to continue down the path of building quality infrastructure. Facilitating this would not only require policy and institutional support from the Central government, but state and local governments would have to play an equally important role,” the Survey states.

It also states that 945 km of metro rail or regional rapid transit (RRTS) railway lines are operational, and 939 km are under construction in 27 cities while 86 km of metro rail/RRTS lines are operationalised in FY24.

Similarly, the Survey highlights that the clean energy sector in India saw a new investment of Rs 8.5 lakh crore (USD 102.4 billion) between 2014 and 2023. The UJALA Scheme resulted in an estimated energy savings of 48.42 billion kWh per year, GHG emission reduction of 39.30 million tonne CO2 per year, and annual monetary savings of Rs 19,335 crore in consumer electricity bills, it adds.

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–IANS

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BJP will continue stir till K’taka CM quits: LoP Ashoka tells House

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BJP will continue stir till K’taka CM quits: LoP Ashoka tells House

BJP will continue stir till K’taka CM quits: LoP Ashoka tells House

Bengaluru, July 22 (IANS) Senior BJP and Opposition leader, R Ashoka announced on the floor of the House on Monday that his party will continue its agitation until the resignation of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

While BJP legislators staged a protest in the Well of the House, Ashoka stated that the BJP MLAs were protesting regarding the alleged scam in the tribal welfare Board.

“The money belongs to the government and Dalits. The funds need to be brought back to the state treasury, and the guilty need to be punished,” he said.

“The House has debated the issue for three days, and it needs to be taken to a logical end. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah spoke about everything except the scam when he made his statement in the House. The CM reserved his speech to target the BJP,” Ashoka claimed.

The government has published CM Siddaramaiah’s response as an advertisement in the media, this is not good and is an insult to the House, Ashoka said.

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“The BJP will continue its agitation until CM Siddaramaiah resigns,” Ashoka announced.

BJP MLAs staged a walk out from the Assembly following this remark.

Congress MLA Nayana Motamma chided the BJP MLAs, saying they were walking out of the House fearing a discussion on the Hassan case.

“The whole state is observing them,” she stated.

–IANS

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Odisha: Budget session begins with Guv’s address

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Odisha: Budget session begins with Guv’s address

Odisha: Budget session begins with Guv’s address

Bhubaneswar, July 22 (IANS) The budget session of the Odisha Assembly commenced on Monday with the inaugural address of Governor Raghubar Das.

The session will continue till September 13 with 27 working days.

The Governor in his speech highlighted the BJP government’s goal to create a Viksit Odisha by 2036, the centenary year of formation of Odisha as a separate state.

He stated that his government will give utmost priority to ‘krushak’, ‘shramik’, ‘janajati’, ‘yuvashakti’, ‘anna-daata’ and ‘naarishakti’ to ensure farmers thrive, youths find employment, and women are empowered in a developed Odisha.

“With abundant growth opportunity in various sectors, my government envisages Odisha to become the powerhouse of eastern India in industrial and infrastructure development, leveraging natural resources sustainably, improving education and skill development, boosting agricultural productivity, promoting tourism, implementing policy reforms, ensuring financial inclusion, investing in healthcare, and nurturing innovation and new age technology. The biggest thrust of my government would be the creation of employment opportunities for youth,” he asserted.

The Governor stated that the government will develop cold storage facilities, processing units, and efficient supply chains to reduce post-harvest losses and enhance the value of agricultural products.

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He also noted that the Mandis will be upgraded with granaries, farmers’ rest sheds, and warehouses, which will be connected to e-NAM. The women landless farmers will be encouraged to enrol in the Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) and Large Area Multipurpose Societies (LAMPS).

He claimed that the BJP government will promote drip irrigation and that ten irrigation projects will be taken up in Balangir, Kalahandi, Bargarh, and Nuapada and completed on time. The PM-KUSUM scheme will be fully implemented to empower farmers with renewable energy solutions for microirrigation.

The Governor said that the fishing industry will be revolutionised through the modernisation of fishing harbours and landing centres, offering subsidies for cold warehouses and processing houses. The Odisha State Co-operative Milk Producers’ Federation Limited (OMFED) will also be strengthened with the setting up of more Milk Collection Centres and Milk Chilling Centres to address challenges faced by dairy farmers.

He reiterated the BJP government’s poll promise about creating 25 lakh Lakhpati Didis in the state by 2027 with the establishment of industrial clusters for SHGs, and assistance in product marketing and promotion.

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“My Government will enact a State-level Education Policy aligned with the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP-2020) ensuring swift progress toward holistic educational reforms. This includes providing legal, medical, and engineering courses in Odia,” said the Governor.

He noted that 800 government schools will be developed into PM-SHRI Schools, the flagship programme of the Narendra Modi government.

He also stated that 3000 new doctors will be appointed soon across the State to address the shortage of doctors. The Sub Centres and Primary Health Centres (PHCs) will be upgraded into Arogya Mandirs.

He made another major announcement during his address regarding the implementation of Ayushman Bharat Yojana in the state.

“My government is going to implement the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan AarogyaYojana (AB-PMJAY) in Odisha, which provides health assurance for all eligible Odisha residents ensuring critical financial protection and access to quality healthcare,” announced the Governor.

He also announced the introduction of a new sports policy with a focus on providing infrastructure for players starting from the village level to creating a support ecosystem and also asserted that a corpus fund will be set up for the establishment of Odia Asmita Bhawan, palm leaf manuscript museum, Odia Translation Academy, development of Paika Rebellion Memorial, e-library and Odia chair at national and international universities.

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“My government will focus on labour-intensive and futuristic sectors of industry such as textiles, information technology, electronics, chemicals, petrochemicals, tourism and food processing,” he asserted.

He said the government will ensure the recruitment of 1.5 lakh vacant government posts in a fair and transparent manner, with 65,000 positions to be filled within the next two years. Priority will be given to vacancies for SC, ST, SEBC, PwD, Sports persons and ex-servicemen.

Reiterating the government’s resolve to fulfil promises made during the recently held polls, the Governor also noted that his government took the decision about the opening of all four gates of Jagannath Temple in Puri, creation of a corpus fund of Rs 500 crore for the protection, maintenance and development of 12-century shrine, implementation of Samruddha Krushak Niti‖ in the State under which rate of paddy procurement in both Khariff and Rabi would be Rs 3100 per quintal, and implementation of Subhadra Yojana in its first Cabinet meeting.

–IANS

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Private capex picks up in FY24; spending in transport, railways, defence to boost growth: Eco Survey

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Private capex picks up in FY24; spending in transport, railways,
 defence to boost growth: Eco Survey

Private capex picks up in FY24; spending in transport, railways,
 defence to boost growth: Eco Survey

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) Increased spending in sectors such as road transport and highways, railways, defence services, and telecommunications will deliver higher and longer impetuses to growth by addressing logistical bottlenecks and expanding productive capacities, the Economic Survey said on Monday.

The government’s capital expenditure for FY24 stood at Rs 9.5 lakh crore, an increase of 28.2 per cent on a YoY basis, and was 2.8 times the level of FY20.

The capital expenditure by private companies has picked up in the financial year ending March this year compared to FY23, according to the Survey.

It noted that Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) continues to emerge as an important driver of growth, as indicated by its rising share of nominal GDP.

The government’s thrust on capex has been a critical driver of economic growth amid an uncertain and challenging global environment.

The focus of capex has been broad-based. Government capex has also begun to crowd in private investment.

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Additionally, the government continues to disburse grants-in-aid for the creation of capital assets to the states, thereby incentivising them to increase their productive spending, said the Survey.

“The focus of the government should be on creating an enabling policy and regulatory environment for the upgradation of capacity and know-how of component manufacturers, increasing the availability of trained human resources, and addressing resource bottlenecks and regulatory impediments,” the survey noted.

–IANS

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K’taka govt should address underperformance of other sectors before IT: BJP

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K’taka govt should address underperformance of other sectors before IT: BJP

K’taka govt should address underperformance of other sectors before IT: BJP

Bengaluru, July 22 (IANS) Karnataka BJP on Monday slammed the state government regarding the setting up policies for the IT and ITES sectors, saying that the government should be more worried about its underperformance across the sectors.

“Siddaramaiah’s government itself is in a sleeping mode but he plans to propose a bill that will force the IT sector to work for 14 work hours a day, 70 hours a week,” State BJP President B.Y. Vijayendra wrote on X.

He said that the government should worry about its underperforming productivity, the collapsing state economy and degrading infrastructure before setting policies for a sector that’s efficient and thriving.

On Monday, Karnataka Minister for Labour Santhosh Lad said that the Congress government is under pressure from the IT industry to bring forth new legislation proposing extra hours of work for techies.

He clarified that the government is still evaluating the bill that would allow software professionals to work for 14 hours a day.

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The Karnataka State IT/ITeS Employees Union (KITU) expressed its concerns over this potential change, highlighting the significant impact it would have on employees.

–IANS

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