THE CURIOUS CASE OF SUSHMA SWARAJ’S VIRTUAL HARASSMENT

National News

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June 30th, 2018:

Union Minister for Ministry of External Affairs in India, Sushma Swaraj posted a poll on Twitter. Sushma is among a handful of female cabinet ministers in the PM Modi led cabinet and had been subject to online harassment. Her question was simple, ‘DO YOU APPROVE OF SUCH TWEETS?’

124,305 votes were cast, a vast majority said no, but sadly 53,451 said yes. They approved of the harassment.

But why was the union minister subject to vicious trolling?

Well, the drama began at an RPO office in Lucknow, where a woman named Tanvi Seth was supposed to be interviewed by Regional Passport Officer named Vikas Mishra.

The RPO in question noted two discrepancies in Tanvi’s application. Firstly the marriage document shown by her revealed that her name was Shadia Anas (a name mentioned in her nikahnama as she married a muslim man Mohammed Anas Siddiqui) and that her permanent address was different from the address mentioned in the application. Tanvi who is resident of Noida had applied for a passport from Lucknow. However during the interview, Vikas Mishra allegedly chided Tanvi for her inter-religious marriage. Tanvi then took to twitter to air her grievances and all hell broke loose after media channels picked up the story. The issue polarised the online community.

Subsequently the RPO was transferred and later Tanvi was issued a passport. This too however did not go down too well with many.

Soon they trained guns against the head of the external affairs minister: Sushma Swaraj. Sushma’s integrity was questioned. Her health issues were made fun of and not just that, her family was not spared too.

Soon MEA issued a clarification over this issue. MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “I will clarify these two points. On the marriage certificate, under the revised passport application rules, there is no requirement for submission of a marriage certificate at the time of application of passport. Therefore, the name in the marriage certificate is not relevant to the issue of passport. Second, on the address, Tanvi Seth had submitted her Adhaar Card and a joint bank account as a proof for her name and address which was the same as mentioned in the application form. Therefore, the issue of passport to Tanvi Seth was found in order based on the existing rules.”

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However in the midst of all this drama , what has really caught the attention of many is the ‘shrill pitch’ silence of PM Modi and his cabinet. PM and several top leaders from the cabinet refused to comment on the issue. Till date only Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Ram Madhav and Ram Vilas Paswan have backed Sushma. PM and top BJP leaders have spoken in length of women empowerment and safety, however when their very own leader was in distress, they maintained a not so golden silence.

Many say it is unfair to drag in PM into this controversy as he had no role to play in it. But doesn’t the same logic apply to Sushma as well? As far as transferring Vikas Mishra was concerned, it was a decision by the Lucknow Passport Office, secondly the passport was only issued after necessary verification. Thirdly Sushma was not present in India when the episode took place.

Criticism is a part and parcel of public life and work space, however unfair and unjust criticism can only demotivate a person. We must learn to criticise in a constructive manner and not criticise only for the sake of criticism. Also let’s not forget the good work Sushma’s ministry has done in the past.

Secondly harassment of any kind, be it in workplace or public or private or on social media must be condemned. BJP must learn that silence by their leaders on such a vital issue, will only be in detrimental in the long run for the party.

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15 deaths already, What you need to know about the Nipah Virus Infection

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Earlier this month, the southern state of Kerala was in news after doctors in the state discovered that a rather mysterious and a relatively unknown virus had surfaced in the southern coastal region.

Yes, we are talking about the Nipah Virus Infection, a medical condition that is contagious and has baffled several medical experts who continue to work towards eradicating this virus.

But what exactly is the Nipah Virus and why has the infection claimed so many lives despite a robust healthcare system in Kerala?
Nipah Virus Infection can be called as rather new discovery. Infection in human beings was discovered for the first time just 19 years ago in 1999. The first human infection was seen in Malaysian farmers who were in close contact with pigs.

This however is not first outbreak in India, in 2001 Nipah Virus infection claimed 45 lives in West Bengal’s Siliguri Region.
Now, viral infections are pretty common, but makes Nipah Virus so deadly? Just like any viral infection, common symptoms such as headache, fever, muscle pain and nausea are seen initially, but the symptoms can progress to delirium (mental confusion) and ultimately coma or death in a quick span of 2-5 days. The short time span can make it tough for detection and effective treatment of this infection.
Nipah Virus can be detected by a test called as ‘ELISA’ and this is conducted in National Institute of Virology in Pune.

Is there any antidote or vaccine for this vaccine? Sadly, no. There is no vaccination or anti-viral therapy against Nipah. The age old saying of ‘Prevention is better than cure’ holds true for Nipah. Fruit bats are the natural hosts of this infection. Hence fruits and vegetables must be washed thoroughly with water, or boiled before consumption. If possible avoid consumption of raw fruits until the outbreak is contained.

Pigs are also the carriers of this virus, hence it is best to avoid contact with these animals. It is also best to avoid consumption of pig meat.

The infection can be spread if a person comes in contact with a patient, hence maintaining personal hygiene is of utmost importance. Wash your hands regularly and maintain hygiene. Face masks particularly the N95 variant must be used in the areas of outbreak.

Another cause of worry has been the rumours associated with this infection. Always remember self medication is never advised for any medical condition and also always consult a doctor if you notice any symptoms associated with this infection.

Foul play suspected in Sridevi’s death?

Entertainment

One could call it sixth sense, but this tweet by Amitabh Bachchan seem like an eerie forecast of what Bollywood was about to witness.

@SrBachchan T 2625 – न जाने क्यूँ , एक अजीब सी घबराहट हो रही है !!

In the next 58 minutes of Amitabh’s tweet, what was feared was confirmed, Bollywood had lost a supernova. India had lost an actor par excellence… Sridevi.

@Filmfare Breaking news! Bollywood legend @SrideviBKapoor passes away. https://t.co/JisxQ0hBgZ

The 54 year old actress began her journey as a child star at the age of 4 and leaves behind her husband Producer Boney Kapoor & daughters Jhanvi and Khushi Kapoor. The actress was at Ras Al Khaimah in United Arab Emirates to attend a wedding when she passed away. While the timeline of her final hours are unknown, many sources close to Kapoor family reveal that she may have died following a cardiac arrest. The actress was in the Emirates to attend the wedding of her nephew Mohit Marwah to stylist Antara Motiwala. The actress who is active on social media had posted several photos of the the wedding online. Actress was at her graceful best & looked hale and hearty in the photos, making several wonder if this death was natural or if there was something more.

What really happened ?

Sridevi was at a hotel when she fainted inside the bathroom. It is also unclear as to who found Sridevi unconscious in the bathroom. Reports further reveal that the paramedics rushed Sridevi to the hospital, however she was already dead. Cardiac Arrest is rarely seen in women, but these days post menopausal women are prone to cardiac arrest. Secondly many reports have emerged that Sridevi may have been alone at the time of her death. Boney and daughter Khushi had returned to Mumbai on February 22. However there is no clarity if they flew back to UAE or if they were in Mumbai that day.

No postmortem request?

The authorities at Dubai refused to handover the body without a post-mortem making several wonder if a request was made to repatriate the body without a post mortem. Sridevi’s death of a celebrity ‘fainting in a toilet’ only to be declared dead later is similar to several other Hollywood stars who passed away following an overdose of drugs. Well the preliminary post-mortem report could be out in the near future and hopefully it resolves the mysterious death of the 80s heart-throb.

‘CON-STARS’ WHO CHEATED INDIA

National News

It was an oh-so-perfect plan, but like they say- you can run, but you can’t hide from law. When businessman Nirav Modi hatched a plan to loot the second largest public sector bank in India, the plan was simple- bypass the core banking system and exploit a loophole.

Duplicitous ‘Letters of Undertakings’ (type of guarantee issued for overseas import payments) were issued by two bank officials in favour of Nirav Modi’s firms such Diamond R Us, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds. The employees also relayed SWIFT instructions to overseas branches of Indian Banks to raise Buyer Credit without making any formal entry.

Ni-Mo is on the run and only time will reveal if he evades law like Mallya. But, not just Nirav, there are several who conned Indians and here is list of these scamsters.

SURESH KALMADI, COMMONWEALTH GAMES SCAM

Suresh Kalmadi, Randhir Singh

When India was to host Commonwealth Games in 2010, there was a massive buzz around it, but this excitement soon gave way to embarrassment. Suresh Kalmadi, the organizing chairman of the games was accused of corruption. Bills of common items were inflated, the cost of the games overshot the mandated budget. If that wasn’t enough, 10000 volunteers walked out just one week of the games . All in all, the scam ruined India’s image around the world.

HARSHAD MEHTA-WOLF OF DALAL STREET

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In April 1992, there was blood bath on Dalal Street, courtesy the ‘Raging Bull’ Harshad Mehta who managed to con the banking system. Due to operational restrictions Indian Banks were prohibited from investing in equity market directly. But investment into Fixed Interest Bond was allowed up to a certain ratio. Harshad was aware of this loophole. He then tricked banks to invest their money into share market and promised banks higher returns. In the meantime, Harshad use the money invested by banks into his account to again buy shares. Creating an ‘inflation bubble’. He would then resell these shares and return the money to banks and the pocket the profit.

KETAN PAREKH -THE BUTCHER OF BSE

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Another Dalal Street slayer, Ketan Parekh perfected the art of con. His methodology?Simple: Parekh would purchase large stakes in small market capitalization companies and would inflate their prices by trading with larger companies or traders (called circular trading). These shares were traded in a set of 10s and was colloquially knowsn as K10. Later it was learnt that several businessmen would pay Parekh to ensure the prices were inflated. This scam was busted only after Govt set up an inquiry to find out why markets tumbled in March 2001.

HeliTaxii Service now in Bengaluru

National News, TRAVEL

WATCH A VIDEO REPORT HERE

The heavy traffic en route the Kempegowda International Airport is something every passenger dreads. But all thanks to the HeliTaxii Service introduced by Kochi based Thumby Aviation, relief is in store for passengers.

The helicopter taxi services aim to ferry passengers between Kempegowda International Airport and the Electronic City within 15 minutes, a fry cry from the previous 3 hour ride to the Airport.

The HeliTaxii service due to be launched on February 21 will initially have only 2 Bell 407 choppers. These choppers are capable of carrying either 6 or 13 passenger. While one chopper ferries passengers, the second will remain on standby.

The HeliTaxii service is linked to 90 helipads across the silicon city, but as of now, clearance for operational purpose has been given to one helipad on Residency Road.

Passengers will be chauffeured from the Airport terminal to the helipad or vice-versa in a car.

The prices however could be a major factor in determining the success of this initiative. The services of this 15 minute ride have been priced at Rs 3500 + taxes for each passenger travelling between Electronic City and Kempegowda International Airport.

Not just within Bengaluru, Helicopter services will be extended to other parts of Karnataka.

Re-run 2012? Maldives plunges into another crisis

World Affairs

The political crisis in the troubled island nation of Maldives plunged further after the ruling President of the country, Abdulla Yameen placed his country under emergency for 15 days

The press release said ‘certain rights’ of the citizens would be restricted bringing in sharp criticism from world over. In fact, the former Attorney General, set aside the emergency & termed it illegal

Husnu Al Suood

The declaration of state of emergency in the Maldives by the president is unconstitutional and hence without any legal effect. The legal advisors of the president have wrongly advised him about the provisions in constitution relating to state of emergency.

Arrest of Former President

Post the declaration of the emergency, President Abdulla went on an overdrive and arrested the former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who is also his half brother, for siding with the oppositon.


Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was the President of the island nation for 3 decades until the country’s first democratic elections were held in 2008.

Not just that, Chief Justice and other Supreme Court judges were arrested too.

How did the crisis erupt?

The current crisis emerged after the Supreme Court of Maldives over turned the conviction of 9 opposition leaders including Former president Mohammed Nasheed. This gave opposition the upper hand as they are now a majority in the Parliament as 12 other MPs were reinstated.

The panic struck government then refused to comply to the judgement following which clashes erupted in the country.

While the world is keeping a close eye on the developments, two countries who will keenly follow this is crisis are India & China. While India has diplomatic ties with Male, China could use this to strengthen it’s string of pearls & try to weaken India in Indian ocean.

HIGHLIGHTS OF INDIAN BUDGET 2018

National News

WITH LESS THAN AN YEAR TO GO TO THE GENERAL ELECTIONS, FINANCE MINISTER ARUN JAITLEY PRESENTED HIS LAST FULL BUDGET IN THE LOWER HOUSE ON FEB 1ST. THE BUDGET WAS WIDELY SEEN AS A POPULIST ONE. FINANCE MINISTER PREDICTED 7.2% – 7.5% GROWTH RATE FOR SECOND HALF OF 2017-18. THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE SPEECH WAS THE INTRODUCTION OF NATIONAL HEALTH PROTECTION SCHEME AND THE RE-INTRODUCTION OF LONG TERM CAPITAL GAIN TAX, HERE ARE THE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE FINANCE MINISTER’S SPEECH:

AGRICULTURE SECTOR

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  • MINIMUM SUPPORT PRICE INCREASED TO 1.5 TIMES PRODUCTION COST
  • 470 APMCs CONNECTED TO eNAM NETWORK
  • Rs 2000 Cr CORPUS FOR AGRI-MARKET DEVELOPMENT FUND
  • CLUSTER-MODEL APPROACH FOR HORTICULTURAL PRODUCE
  • Rs 500 Cr FUNDING FOR OPERATION GREEN
  • NATIONAL BAMBOO MISSION RESTRUCTURED
  • Rs 10,000 CR FOR FISHERY AND AQUACULTURE INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT FUND & ANIMAL HUSBANDRY INFRASTRUCTURE FUND
  • INSTITUTIONAL CREDIT FOR AGRICULTURE TO RS 11 LAKH CRORE FOR 2018-19
  • ALLOCATION FOR FOOD PROCESSING UNITS: Rs 1400 Cr
  • 42 MEGA FOOD PARKS TO BE SET UP

ELECTRICITY SECTOR

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  • 8 CRORE FREE GAS CONNECTIONS TO WOMEN UNDER UJJWALA SCHEME
  • 4 CRORE ELECTRICITY CONNECTIONS TO THE POOR UNDER SAUBHAGYA YOJANA

INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT

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  • RS 14.34 LAKH CR FOR RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE:
  • RISE – REVITALIZING INFRASTRUCTURE IN SCHOOL EDUCATION ALLOCATION OF 1 LAKH CRORE RUPEES
  • GOVT PLANS TO CONSTRUCT 2 CRORE MORE TOILETS

SOCIAL JUSTICE

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  • EKLAVYA SCHOOLS FOR SCHEDULED TRIBE POPULATION
  • ‘EKALAVYA’ SCHOOL TO BE AT PAR WITH NAVODAYA VIDYALAS
  • ALLOCATION FOR SC WELFARE – RS. 56,619 CR
  • ALLOCATION FOR ST WELFARE- RS. 39,135 CR
  • NATIONAL LIVELIHOOD MISSION ALLOCATED RS. 5,750 CR

PROVIDENT FUND

  • GOVT. TO CONTRIBUTE 12% OF EPF CONTRIBUTION FOR NEW EMPLOYEES IN ALL SECTORS

HEALTHCARE SECTOR

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  • Rs 1200 CR ALLOCATED TO HEALTH WELLNESS CENTRE
  • 600 cr FOR NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT OF TB PATIENTS
  • 24 NEW HOSPITALS TO BE SET UP
  • 1 MEDICAL COLLEGE PER 3 PARL CONSTITUENCIES
  • NATIONAL HEALTH PROTECTION SCHEME:
  1. WORLD’S LARGEST GOVT. FUNDED HEALTH PROGRAMME
  2. ANNUAL COVER OF RS. 5 LAKH
  3. TO COVER: 10 CRORE POOR FAMILIES

RAILWAYS

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  • CAPITAL EXPENDITURE: ₹1,48,528 crore
  • TRAINS TO HAVE WiFI, CCTV
  • 4267 UNMANNED RAILWAY CROSSING TO BE ELIMINATED
  • REDEVELOPMENT OF 600 MAJOR RAILWAY STATIONS
  • MUMBAI TRANSPORT SYSTEM TO EXPAND
  • SUBURBAN NETWORK FOR BENGALURU

DIGITAL INDIA

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  • 5 LAKH WIFI HOTSPOTS TO BE SET UP IN RURAL AREAS
  • NITI AYOG TO FORM NATIONAL PROGRAMME FOR #ArtificialIntelligence
  • GOVERNMENT TO ELIMINATE USE OF CRYPTOCURRENCIES

COMMERCE

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  • SINGLE ONLINE WINDOW TO LINK ALL STAKEHOLDERS UNDER NATIONAL
    LOGISTICS PORTAL

INSURANCE

  • GOVERNMENT INSURANCE COMPANIES TO BE MERGED INTO A SINGLE ENTITY

TAXES

  • TAXES
    12.6% GROWTH IN DIRECT TAXES IN 2017-18
  • 18.7% GROWTH IN INDIRECT TAXES IN 2017-18
  • REVISED FISCAL DEFICIT ESTIMATE FOR 2017-18 IS 3.5% OF GDP
  • FISCAL DEFICIT OF 3.3% EXPECTED FOR 2018-19
  • 100% TAX REBATE FOR FARMER PRODUCER COMPANIES HAVING A TURNOVER OF RS. 100 CR
  • COMPANIES WITH TURNOVER OF UPTO RS. 250 CR TO BE TAXED AT 25%
  • PERSONAL INCOME TAX RATES UNCHANGED
  • RS. 40K STANDARD DEDUCTION IN LIEU OF PRESENT EXEMPTION
  • LONG-TERM CAPITAL GAINS EXCEEDING RS. 1 LAKH TO BE TAXED AT THE RATE OF 10%
  • ALL SENIOR CITIZENS CAN CLAIM BENEFIT OF REDUCTION RS. 50,000/ YEAR
  • EDUCATION AND HEALTH CESS TO BE INCREASED FROM 3% TO 4%