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Highlights of 2018: Budget Session of Parliament

The first leg of the budget session of the Parliament begins on January 29 and will go on until February 9. The Economic Survey is presented today and the Union Budget will be presented on February 1. The second leg of the session will run from March 5 to April 6.

The all-party meeting was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union ministers Rajnath SinghArun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar, besides leaders of the opposition and other parties.

Here are the highlights of the 1st session:

  • Baba Saheb Ambedkar had said that without economic and social democracy, political democracy is unstable: President Kovind
  • We will realise the dream of ‘New India’ in 2018, says President Kovind.
  • It is our duty to make our country completely clean by the time we celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary in 2019: President Ram Nath Kovind
  • President Kovind highlights the actions undertaken by the government, including approving a bill granting working woman paid maternity leave for 26 weeks.
  • The government is committed to double the income of farmers by the year 2022: President
  • 2.70 lakh Common Service Centres have been set up across the nation. These centres provide digital services at low rates, even in the far-off remote areas: President Ram Nath Kovind
  • I hope the Triple Talaq Bill will be passed soon so that Muslim women can live a life of dignity and without fear: President
  • To bring everyone closer to development, work under ‘Pradhanmantri Gram Sadak Yojana’ is being done speedily. In 2014 only 56% villages were connected by roads, today more than 82% villages have road connectivity with the majority being in remote areas: President Kovind
  • Empowerment, and not appeasement of minorities, is our government’s mantra: President
  • It is a matter of pride for us that UNESCO recognised Kumbh Mela as ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’, says the President of India
  • The government has increased minimum wage of labourers by more than 40 percent: President Ram Nath Kovind
  • With help of Aadhaar, facilities are reaching poor beneficiaries directly without involvement of middlemen, says the President.
  • There should be more discussion on simultaneous state and Lok Sabha elections: President Kovind
  • Our fight against corruption is continuing. In the past one year, registration of about 350,000 suspicious companies have been cancelled: President
  • I appreciate the soldiers and offer condolences to those who lost their lives in action. J&K Police, defence and paramilitary forces are working together to fight terrorism in J&K: President Ram Nath Kovind
  • “Under the ‘Jan Dhan Yojana’, so far, about 31 crore bank accounts have been opened for the poor. Women have especially benefitted from the scheme with the percentage of savings bank accounts held by them going up to more than 40% from the earlier 28%.”

At the end of the session Economic survey records states that India’s economy to grow at 7-7.5 percent in 2018-19, from 6.75 2017-18. For now, Lok Sabha adjourned for the day; to meet on February 1 and Rajya Sabha is adjourned till February 1, 2018.


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No more a crown prince; Rahul Gandhi officially named as Congress Vice President

Ending the 19-year long, the Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Monday officially declared as the Party President. The announcement came amidst the Gujarat election where Rahul Gandhi is proving his mettle to take on the higher post.

Congress’ Central Election Authority (CEA) chairperson Mullapally Ramachandran announced Rahul Gandhi as the party president.

The party CEA also said that Gandhi will be taking over the party reigns from December 16, following the submission certificate at the All India Congress Committee office in Delhi.

The announcement came soon after the deadline to withdraw nomination papers ended at 3 pm on Monday.

From the beginning, the internal poll was a one-horse race with Gandhi being the only one to file the nomination, which was supported by 89 signatures.

The party which has ruled the country for over half-a-century since Independence, and which has lost all grounds of the political field, the 47-year-old scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family has a daunting task to revive the lost glory to the party.

Speaking to CNN News18, Member of Parliament (MP) from Assam and Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi said, “This is a new day and a new beginning for Rahul Gandhi. He will take us away from the fractured path of Narendra Modi and BJP. Today starts another era for the Congress Party”.

Media reports quoted former union minister and senior party leader M Veerappa Moily said that outgoing Congress president Sonia Gandhi will continue to play an effective role and guide the destiny of the party.

Ex-Obama photographer trolls Prez Trump with Times cover page story

The burn scars of President Trump hasn’t seen the healing spirit as another flying bow has found its way to hit the Achilles heel of the U.S President. After getting ruthlessly trolled for his remark on denying the TIME’s person of the year, former President Obama’s photographer has found a way to target the current President of the United States.

Pete Souza shared the compilation of photos which was originally posted by an account named @michelleandbarack on Instagram with the caption: “Someone has a lot of catching up to do.”

The photos thus include the collage of 15 photos, where the former President of the States was chosen TIME’s person of the year. Wherein, one of the cover pages has the former first lady of the United Nation, Michelle Obama.

The controversy came into the light after President Trump claimed that he turned down the chance to be selected as TIME’s “’Person of the year”

He tweeted, “”Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named ‘Man (Person) of the Year,’ like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!”

Trump faced the pushback from TIME magazine, which tweeted that the president is “incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year.”

“TIME does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6,” Time tweeted.

A Time executive also called the claim “total BS.”

Multiple people on social media also mocked the president for his claim.

Pete Souza often trolls Trump, regularly posting photos taken during Obama’s presidency meant to contrast with the current administration.

BJP MP Poonam Mahajan was sexually harassed

Sexual harassment is not new to women. BJP MP from Mumbai North, Poonam Mahajan, said on Sunday that every Indian woman, including herself, has faced sexual harassment at some stage. Speaking at The Red Brick Summit at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM-A), she said that self-pity should not be the response to such experiences.

“I used to take a train to my classes in Versova from Worli, I could not afford to travel by car at the time. But I did not feel self-pity that someone was looking at me in a disagreeable way. Every woman on this planet, especially in India, has faced that.” She went to say: “Every Indian woman has had remarks passed about her or has been touched inappropriately.” Mahajan was speaking on the theme ‘Breaking the Glass-Ceiling’.

Mahajan, the president of the Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha, later said: “Men can afford mediocrity in politics but women cannot.” She said that mediocrity does not suit women. “We need strength and we have shown that,” said Mahajan, the daughter of the late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan.

“We connect goddesses to every aspect of life. In some respects, we are ahead of America,” she said. “They do not have a woman president. But in India, women have assumed the role of President, Prime Minister, defence minister, and chief ministers. These leaders have broken the glass ceiling. It is up to us to continue that tradition. It is up to us not to harbour self-pity. If someone harasses you, slap him and don’t think why he did that.”

Mahajan said that IIMs demonstrate diversity with women students. She said that 20% of faculty members are women. Taking a potshot at Hindi serials, she said they spoiled women’s image.

‘Healthy, Stable’ Ties Necessary, President Xi Tells Prime Minister Narendra Modi

In a move to mend the fences that have caused by the Doklam stand-off, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping hold bilateral talks in China’s port city of Xiamen. In the bilateral talks, giving the friendly hand to India, Chinese President, Xi Jinping, called to work with India on ‘Healthy and Stable’ ties. The two leaders held discussions for more than an hour.

Briefing the media, Foreign Secretary, S Jaishankar said, “The discussions were very constructive on where the relationship should be going and will be going.” Describing the meeting as “forward-looking”, and constructive.

President Xi also told PM Modi that India and China are each other’s major neighbours. “We are also two of the world’s largest and emerging countries,”

President Xi also told PM Modi that China is prepared to work with India to seek guidance from the five principles of the Pacnhsheel Treaty signed between 1954. The treaty lays the foundation of

1. Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

2. Mutual non-aggression.

3. Mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.

4. Equality and cooperation for mutual benefit.

5. Peaceful co-existence.

While addressing the Emerging Markets and Developing Countries Dialogue, PM Narendra Modi highlight’s India’s growing engagement with Africa in multiple sectors and the International Solar Alliance, he said, “We need coordinated action and cooperation in areas such as counter terrorism, cyber security and disaster management”

PM Modi also congratulated Xi Jinping for “successful execution of BRICS Summit” at the bilateral meet.

PM Modi and President Xi had met informally at the G20 summit in Germany in July, but their last bilateral talks were in June this year, when they met in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Earlier, Modi also held a bilateral meeting with President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Former CIA agent wants to buy Twitter to keep US President Donald Trump off the Twitter

Former undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson is looking to crowdfund enough money to buy Twitter so President Donald Trump can’t use it.

Wilson launched the fundraiser last week, tweeting: “If @Twitter executives won’t shut down Trump’s violence and hate, then it’s up to us. #BuyTwitter #BanTrump.” The GoFundMe page for the fundraiser says Trump’s tweets “damage the country and put people in harm’s way.”

As of Wednesday morning, she had raised less than $6,000 of the billion-dollar goal.

In an emailed statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the low total shows that the American people like the president’s use of Twitter.

“Her ridiculous attempt to shut down his first amendment is the only clear violation and expression of hate and intolerance in this equation,” the statement read.

Wilson wrote on the fundraiser’s GoFundMe page that she hopes to raise enough money to buy a controlling interest of Twitter stock. If she doesn’t have enough to purchase a majority of shares, she said that she will explore options to buy “a significant stake” and champion the proposal at Twitter’s annual shareholder meeting.

If Plame were to hit her billion-dollar goal, she’d still fall far short of gaining a controlling interest in the company. As of Wednesday, a majority stake would cost roughly $6 billion. But a billion-dollar stake would make her Twitter’s largest shareholder and give her a very strong position to exert influence on the company.

Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Wilson’s identity as a CIA operative was leaked by an official in former President George W. Bush’s administration in 2003 in an effort to discredit her husband, Joe Wilson, a former diplomat who criticized Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. She left the agency in 2005.

“You’re Like My Father Figure” PM Modi Says In A Letter To Former Prez Pranab Mukherjee

Prime Minister Narendra Modi describes Pranab Mukherjee – Pranab Da – as his “father figure” and mentor in a letter that he wrote to the veteran on his last day as President of India.

“On my last day in office as the President, I received a letter from PM @narendramodi that touched my heart! Sharing with you all,” Mr Mukherjee tweeted today.

In the letter, PM Modi says tribute to Mr Mukherjee’s “simplicity, high principles and exemplary leadership” and expresses what he calls his profound admiration and gratitude.

“Three years ago, I came to New Delhi as an outsider. The task before me was huge and challenging. In these times, you have always been a father figure and a mentor to me. Your wisdom, guidance and personal warmth have given me greater confidence and strength,” the Prime Minister writes.

“You have been so warm, affectionate and caring to me.” Describing Mr Mukherjee as a repository of knowledge, PM Modi says his intellectual prowess “constantly helped my government and me”.
The Prime Minister referred to a phone call that the 81-year-old had made to him.

“Your one phone call asking me ‘I hope you are taking care of your health’ was enough to fill me with fresh energy after a long day at meetings or on a campaign tour.”

He also commented that despite their different political journeys, they were able to work together.

“Pranab Da, our political journeys took shape in different political parties. Our ideologies, at times, have been different. Our experiences are also varied…Yet, such is the strength of your intellect and wisdom that we were able to work together with synergy.

“You belong to a generation of leaders for whom politics was simply a means to selflessly give back to society,” PM Modi writes.

Signing off, the PM says: “Rashtrapati ji, it has been an honour to work with you, as your Prime Minister!”

Mr Mukherjee became President two years before PM Modi’s BJP came to power after decimating the Congress, the party that the veteran served for decades in various posts including union minister.

Bihar Power Shift: Sharad Yadav Is “Unhappy” With Nitish Choosing BJP In The State

After all the power-shift faced by Bihar, Sharad Yadav today broke his silence Nitish Kumar’s stunning the Mahagatbandhan in the state. Sharad Yadav openly states that he whatever happened over the night is unfortunate. Whatever happened is very unfortunate, the mandate by the people was not for this,” the veteran Janata Dal (United) leader told reporters outside Parliament.

Nitish Kumar, who came to the power in Bihar by forming grand alliance naming Mahagatbandhan, ended the 2-year long alliance with Lalu Yadav and the Congress and revived his partnership with BJP.

Upon resigning, the CM of the state on Wednesday said that he felt “suffocated” and referred Lalu Yadav’s son Tejashwi’s refusal to resign as his deputy despite corruption charges.

Many of the Janata Dal (United) leaders went public with their criticism of the swap but Sharad Yadav had till now communicated only through his silence and occasional tweets critical of the BJP-led central government.

After Nitish Kumar parted its way with the opposition and backed central government Presidential candidate Ramnath Kovind, the question began rising in the ranks of the oppositions on whether Sharad Yadav really represented his party.

According to media reports, Sharad Yadav was in touch with the opposition leaders and shared his disapproval of Nitish Kuar reuniting with the BJP.

Critics have suggested that Sharad Yadav, a former union minister, is angling for a cabinet berth in the Modi government and his silence on Nitish Kumar is a bargaining tactic.

On Saturday, Lalu Yadav asked Sharad Yadav to lead an anti-BJP front and then repeated the offer for the cameras. “I appeal to Sharad Yadav-Ji who has been our leader… whom we consider our leader, to come forward and fight the BJP. Take the lead role in this,” he said.

Read: Here Is The Full Transcript Of 14th President Of India Said In His Swearing In Ceremony

As Ram Nath Kovind sworn in for the top job in the country, and officially become the 14th President of India after taking the oath of office. Polling over 65 percent of the votes in the electoral college, Mr Kovind defeated his opponent, Meira Kumar.

Mr Kovind is India’s second Dalit President after KR Narayanan, but what is more significant is he is the first from politically significant Uttar Pradesh and the first person from the BJP to hold the office of President since Independence.

As Mr Kovind took the oath of his office, here is the full transcript of what he said in the Parliament:

Respected Shri Pranab Mukherjee Ji,

Shri Hamid Ansari Ji,

Shri Narendra Modi Ji,

Shrimati Sumitra Mahajan Ji,

Shri Justice J. S. Khehar Ji,


Hon’ble Members of Parliament,

Ladies and Gentlemen, and

Fellow Citizens

I thank you for electing me to the responsibility of the President of India, and I enter this office with all humility. Coming here to Central Hall has brought back so many memories. I have been a Member of Parliament and here, in this very Central Hall, have had discussions with many of you. Often we agreed, sometimes we disagreed. But we learnt to respect each other. And that is the beauty of democracy.

I grew up in a mud house, in a small village. My journey has been a long one, and yet this journey is hardly mine alone. It is so telling of our nation and our society also. For all its problems, it follows that basic mantra was given to us in the Preamble to the Constitution – of ensuring Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity and I will always continue to follow this basic mantra.

I bow to the 125 crore citizens of this great nation and promise to stay true to the trust they have bestowed on me. I am conscious I am following in the footsteps of stalwarts such as Dr Rajendra Prasad, Dr S. Radhakrishnan, Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, and my immediate predecessor, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, whom we address out of affection as ‘Pranab Da’.

Our Independence was the result of efforts by thousands of patriotic freedom fighters led by Mahatma Gandhi. Later, Sardar Patel integrated our nation. The principal architect of our Constitution Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar instilled in us the value of human dignity and of the Republican ethic.

These leaders did not believe that simply political freedom was enough. For them, it was crucial to also achieve economic and social freedom for millions of our people.

We would be completing 70 years of our Independence soon. We are also well into the second decade of the 21st century, a century that so many of us intuitively believe will be an Indian century, guided and shaped by India and its accomplishments. We need to build an India that is an economic leader as well as a moral exemplar. For us, those two touchstones can never be separate. They are and must forever be linked.

The key to India’s success is its diversity. Our diversity is the core that makes us so unique. In this land, we find a mix of states and regions, religions, languages, cultures, lifestyles and much more. We are so different and yet so similar and united.

The India of the 21st century will be one that is in conformity with our ancient values as well as compliant with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. There is no dichotomy there, no question of choice. We must combine tradition and technology, the wisdom of an age-old Bharat and the science of a contemporary India.

As the gram panchayat must determine our consultative and community-based problem solving, the Digital Republic must help us leapfrog developmental milestones. These are the twin pillars of our national endeavour.

Nations are not built by governments alone. The government can at best be a facilitator and a trigger for society’s innate entrepreneurial and creative instincts. Nation building requires national pride:

— We take pride in the soil and water of India;

— We take pride in the diversity, religious harmony and inclusive ethos of India;

— We take pride in the culture, heritage and spirituality of India;

— We take pride in our fellow citizens;

— We take pride in our work; and

— We take pride in the little things we do every day.

Each citizen of India is a nation builder. Each one of us is a custodian of India’s well-being and of the legacy that we will pass on to coming generations.

— The armed forces that protect our borders and keep us safe are nation builders.

— Those police and paramilitary forces that fight terrorism and crime are nation builders.

— That farmer toiling in the blazing sun to feed fellow citizens is a nation builder. And we must never forget that so much of our farm labour comprises women.

— That scientist concentrating tirelessly and 24 x 7 to send an Indian space mission to Mars, or invent a vaccine, is a nation builder.

— That nurse or doctor helping the sick to recover and fighting disease in a remote village is a nation builder.

— That young person who founds a startup and becomes a job creator is a nation builder. The start-up could be on a small farm, converting mangoes to pickles. Or in an artisans’ village, weaving carpets. Or at a laboratory lit up by giant screens.

— That tribal and ordinary citizen striving to preserve our ecology, our forests, our wildlife, to push back climate change and to advance the cause of renewable energy, is a nation builder.

— That committed and driven public servant who works beyond the call of duty, whether on a flooded road, directing traffic; or in a quiet room, poring over detailed files, is a nation builder.

— That self-less teacher who equips young children and shapes their destinies is a nation builder.

— Those countless women who take care of families with so many other responsibilities, at home and work, and raise children to become ideal citizens, are nation builders.

People elect their representatives from the Gram Panchayat to Parliament. They vest their will and hopes in these representatives. In turn, the people’s representatives devote their lives to the service of the nation.

But, our endeavours are not for ourselves alone. Down the ages, India has believed in the philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (वसुधैव कुटुंबकम) – the World is My Family. It is appropriate that the land of Lord Buddha should lead the world in its search for peace, tranquillity and ecological balance.

India’s voice counts in today’s world. The entire planet is drawn to Indian culture and soft power. The global community looks to us for solutions to international problems – whether terrorism, money laundering or climate change. In a globalised world, our responsibilities are also global.

This links us to our global family, our friends and partners abroad, and our diaspora, that contributes in so many ways across the world. It brings us to the support of other nations, whether by extending the umbrella of the International Solar Alliance or being first responders following natural disasters.

We have achieved a lot as a nation, but the effort to do more, to do better and to do faster should be relentless. This is especially so as we approach the 75th Year of our independence in 2022. What must also bother us is our ability to enhance access and opportunity for the last person and the last girl-child from an underprivileged family if I may put it so, in the last house in the last village. This must include a quick and affordable justice delivery system in all judicial forums.

The citizens of this country are the real source of strength to me. I am confident that they will continue to give me the energy to serve the nation.

We need to sculpt a robust, high growth economy, an educated, ethical and shared community, and an egalitarian society, as envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi and Deen Dayal Upadhyay ji. These are integral to our sense of humanism. This is the India of our dreams, an India that will provide equality of opportunities. This will be the India of the 21st century.

Thank you very much!

Jai Hind

Vande Mataram

Japan’s First Lady Avoided President Trump By Pretending She Doesn’t Speak English?

The US President was seated next to Akie Abe, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo, at a dinner to mark the end of the meeting in Hamburg on July 8.

But in an interview with the New York Times, Mr Trump admitted dinner conversation was not particularly forthcoming.

He said: “So, I was seated next to the wife of Prime Minister Abe, who I think is a terrific guy, and she’s a terrific woman but doesn’t speak English.”

Claiming she was unable to even say as much a “hello” in English, he went on to say the evening had been “hard” because the meal went on for “probably an hour and 45 minutes.”

He said: “So I’m sitting there. There was one interpreter for Japanese, ’cause otherwise, it would have been even tougher.

“But I enjoyed the evening with her, and she’s really a lovely woman, and I enjoyed — the whole thing was good.”

However, there seems to be some discrepancy about Mr Trump’s version of events – as Mrs Abe apparently speaks very good English.

And while it may be that the president, who had a Japanese translator with him, just assumed she did not speak English and refused to speak to her, social media has other ideas.

Many have suggested the First Lady could have pretended not to speak the language to avoid talking to the controversial politician.

One Twitter user said: “‘Look, I’m just going to pretend I don’t speak English.’

“’You worked at the world’s largest ad agency.’

“’I don’t care’.”

Another said: “Well played Akie Abe. Well played.”

The pair has actually dined together before, as the Japanese heads of state visited the US a month after President Trump’s inauguration.

The president was joined by wife US first lady Melania Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Abe’s wife Akie in a restaurant in Palm Beach, Florida on February 10.