CM Vijayan was accompanied by ministers VN Vasavan and V Sivankutty during his press conference in Kasaragod…reports Asian Lite News
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday hit out at the Centre saying that the state is facing an economic crisis due to the former’s policies.
“Our state is facing big challenges. Even though the state has achieved unprecedented growth in its own tax revenue and domestic production, we are facing an economic crisis caused by the central government’s policies that are destroying the federal structure itself,” CM Vijayan said while interacting with reporters in Kasaragod.
He also took a dig at the Opposition Congress, accusing the party of acting with an intent to “destroy the government’s popularity”. “The opposition, which should naturally join the government against those policies for the good of the state, takes it with malice intention as an opportunity to destroy the government’s popularity,” he added. Further, Criticising the media for not calling out the same, the CM said, “A large section of the media has unfortunately joined them in hiding the status quo from the public. ‘Nava Kerala Sadas’ is organized to make the people aware of the hidden realities and to ensure the integrity of dealing with the people’s problems.”
CM Vijayan was accompanied by ministers VN Vasavan and V Sivankutty during his press conference in Kasaragod. The Chief Minister along with other ministers from the state cabinet attended the state government’s public outreach programme ‘Nava Kerala Sadas’ which was held at Manjeswaram in Kasaragod earlier today. (ANI)
Over 18,800 polling stations have been set up for the voting that commenced from 8 a.m. and will continue till 5 p.m…reports Asian Lite News
The voting for the second and final phase of the elections in Chhattisgarh was underway on Friday for the remaining 70 seats in the 90-member Assembly.
The electoral fate of many prominent candidates, including the Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, his deputy T.S. Singh Deo, and BJP state president Arun Sao will be determined in this phase.
Over 18,800 polling stations have been set up for the voting that commenced from 8 a.m. and will continue till 5 p.m.
However, voting in nine polling booths — Kamarbhaudi, Amamora, Odh, Bade Gobra, Ganwargaon, Gariba, Nagesh, Sahbinkachhar, and Kodomali — in the Maoist-affected Bindranawagarh seat in Gariaband district will take place from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. due to security reasons.
A total of 958 candidates are in the fray across the 70 seats, including CM Baghel, deputy CM T.S. Singh Deo, eight state ministers, and four members of Parliament.
Like in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh is also witnessing a bipolar contest between the BJP and Congress.
The BJP’s campaign was largely spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who addressed four rallies in the state where he targeted the current Bhupesh Baghel-led government — especially over the issue of corruption and the alleged Mahadev betting app scam.
Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge along with state party leaders, including CM Bhupesh Baghel did extensive campaigning.
The first phase election for 20 out of 90 Assembly seats was conducted on November 7, which saw 78 per cent voter turnout. The counting will be held on December 3 along with four other poll-bound states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram.
The BJP, which ruled the state continuously between 2003 and 2018, is seeking to replace the Congress government led by Chief Minister Bhupesh Bahgel.
The Indian naval assets have also tracked a Chinese quasi-military research vessel, Shi Yan 6 in the IOR since the middle of September…reports Asian Lite News
Amid the ongoing global instability, Chinese submarines and warships are moving towards Pakistan for likely wargames and are being closely tracked by the Indian Navy assets including the P-8I surveillance planes and MQ-9B Predator drones.
The Indian Navy keeps a close watch on the activities of the Chinese naval movements in the Indian Ocean Region which is considered globally as the area of responsibility of India.
“Three Chinese Navy warships including a destroyer and frigate along with a tanker are in the Persian Gulf region and are likely to be joined by the Pakistan Navy for maritime exercises,” sources in the security establishment told ANI.
The three warships were part of the 44th Anti-Piracy Escort Force since May 2023 and have now handed over the responsibility of anti-piracy roles to the 45th APEF in the Gulf of Aden.
The 45th APEF entered the Indian Ocean Region in the IOR in October and has been there since then.
The agencies concerned suspect that the Chinese and Pakistani warships may move closer towards the areas in the Persian Gulf from where they can monitor the American deployments after the Israel-Hamas conflict broke out in that region.
The Chinese warships have been joined by a Song Class submarine along with a submarine Support Vessel Chang Dao (ASR 847).
These vessels were monitored closely by the Indian Navy’s assets.
The Indian Navy has been deployed in the areas surrounding the Malacca Straits and flies its P-8I anti-submarine warfare planes and the Predator drones very extensively.
The wargames with Pakistan Navy are planned to be held in mid or end November and will see the participation of Pakistani assets.
The Indian naval assets have also tracked a Chinese quasi-military research vessel, Shi Yan 6 in the IOR since the middle of September.
The research vessel is currently undertaking Joint Scientific Research in Sri Lankan EEZ, sources said.
Indian Navy also has a major presence in the Persian Gulf as well as the Gulf of Aden and keeps its surveillance against any movement of the adversaries in the region. (By Ajit K Dubey/ANI)
Analysts are unanimous in noting that Nawaz lowered his attacks on the military that he launched from his London exile two years ago … writes Dr Sakariya Kareem
The return of thrice-prime minister Nawaz Sharif from his self-imposed exile after four years may be part of the plans of the military-civil ‘establishment’ to facilitate his return to power after the elections, analysts watching Pakistan say.
If he does win the elections, the army may retain control of some key parts of the governance – mainly the relations with the United States, China and Saudi Arabia, the nuclear policy and India, the last including the Kashmir dispute.
Nawaz is seen as having purchased his peace with the military that he had defied thrice before – and paid for it by being deposed from power. The fourth tenure, as a report in Dawn newspaper – adroitly credited to an unnamed leader of Nawaz’s party – would be one wherein Nawaz, now 73 and supposedly ailing, would require him to ponder over what kind of political legacy he will leave behind.
The newspaper’s editorial comment on the day Nawaz returned was one of scorn towards the supposed ‘deal’. It said that Nawaz was “on the wrong side of history” in that he was succumbing, yet again, to the might of the ‘establishment’ instead of defying it. This sentiment could be attributed either to the democratic ideals that most Pakistani politicians have sacrificed to the altar of power or to the sentiment that Nawaz is back in favour with the establishment, directly at the expense of his arch-rival, Imran Khan. Khan retains a considerable support base among the middle classes and the intelligentsia.
Analysts are unanimous in noting that Nawaz lowered his attacks on the military that he launched from his London exile two years ago. “Homecoming humbles Nawaz’s stance on the establishment. Contrary to the previous hardline stance of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif against the establishment, the former prime minister has adopted a “neutral policy” to soften his stance on his homecoming, sources revealed to the Express Tribune (October 21, 2023).
In any case, Nawaz’s attacks were political in nature, even if directed against the then-army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa who was supposed to have engineered his ouster and facilitated Khan’s ascendance.
By contrast, Khan was seen as interfering with the army’s internal affairs like transfers and promotions. When ousted from power – even if that was ‘engineered’ by Gen. Bajwa – he launched a diatribe against the military and combined it with attacks on the United States, charging the Biden administration of hatching a ‘conspiracy’. This was more than what Pakistan’s military, among the most significant beneficiaries of American military and financial largess in Asia, could take.
Khan’s worst ‘offence’, however, was his men taking to the streets on May 9 and vandalising key military offices with the hope of polarizing the military top brass against the current army chief, General Asim Munir. Analysts say whether or not Khan ordered or encouraged these attacks as he is accused of, it was a humiliation the military cannot leave unpunished.
This explains Imran Khan being in jail with prospects of being there during the elections or being disqualified from contesting. This is also the time Pakistan is trying to mend its fences with the US that frayed during the months Khan conducted his campaign.
The Biden administration has paid little attention to Pakistan. With Afghanistan on the back-burner, the Biden team, embroiled in Ukraine and now in the Middle East, has little time for Pakistan.
Clear signals are emanating from the ‘establishment’ favouring Nawaz from the way the PPP of the Bhutto-Zardaris, on being ignored, have moved away from Nawaz’s party and are seeking “a level playing field”.
For now, the military has set its target of rehabilitating Nawaz with relief from various corruption cases – Azizia and Avenfield – but also on Toshakhana on which Nawaz faces charges identical to Khan. Nawaz gets relief even as Khan remains in jail on this count. As Dawn observed: “It has never seemed more obvious that neither Mr Sharif’s past conviction nor this sudden relief has much to do with the law.” This apart, Nawaz used his first public outing in Lahore to send out two signals: that his family is united behind him and that he is not for retribution and revenge, be it the ‘establishment’ or his political rivals. He exuded subdued confidence, media reports said. This could only come from the tacit support of the powers that be.
Not having many options before it, come January elections, the Pakistan Army seems to have opted for a safer bet in Nawaz.
The ruling party has fielded Ambica Singh Deo from Baikunthpur, Chaturi Nand from Saraipali, Ambina Markam from Sihawa and Omkar Sahu from Dhamtari..reports Asian Lite News
Congress on Sunday announced its third and final list of seven candidates for the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, fielding party leaders Ambica Singh Deo and Omkar Sahu.
The ruling party has fielded Ambica Singh Deo from Baikunthpur, Chaturi Nand from Saraipali, Ambina Markam from Sihawa and Omkar Sahu from Dhamtari.
Earlier on October 18, Congress announced the second list of 53 candidates for the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections that are due to be held in November in two phases.
While, the ruling party has decided to again field Arun Vora, son of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Motilal Vora, from Durg City, Chhaya Verma, a former member of the Rajya Sabha has been given a ticket from Dharsiwa constituency.
Moreover, the party has fielded Mahant Ram Sundar Das from Raipur South City Assembly seat against BJP stalwart Brijmohan Agrawal.
The elections for the 90-member Assembly of Chhattisgarh will be held in two phases.
The first phase of polling for 20 seats will be held on November 7, and the remaining 70 seats will go to polls on November 17.
Meanwhile, among the 53 candidates list, announced today, Congress has pitted Gulab Singh Kamro from Bharatpur-Sonhat – ST constituency, Ramesh Singh from Manendragarh, and Purshottam Kanwar has been fielded from Katghora.
Earlier, the party released the first list of 30 candidates, fielding Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel from Patan and Deputy Chief Minister TS Singh Deo from Ambikapur.
The counting of votes will take place on December 3 in all the states.
Earlier after the 2018 assembly polls, the Congress witnessed a landslide victory winning 68 seats out of 90 of those against the then ruling-BJP, which acquired 15 seats.
Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party are the key players in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Telangana is expected to witness a triangular contest between the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi, Congress and BJP.
The BJP aims to wrest power from the Congress-ruled state which is expected to set the tone for the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Kuldeep Singh happy on his name being included
Congress leader Kuldeep Singh Juneja on Sunday expressed happiness over his name being included in the third list of candidates for the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections saying he would strive to repay the faith that the party has reposed in him.
Speaking to ANI on Sunday, Singh said, “I am happy to know that the party has reaffirmed and reposed its electoral trust in me. I will strive to make sure that this trust isn’t broken. I will work for the people by being among them, just as I have been doing for the last five years.”
Also expressing his gratitude to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, he said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, the party’s national president Mallikarjun Kharge and general secretary KC Venugopal took note of his work and showed their trust in him.
The Congress on Sunday announced its third and final list of seven candidates for the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, fielding party leaders Ambica Singh Deo and Omkar Sahu. (ANI)
The changes have been proposed by the US Department of Homeland Security, which stated that the changes will also lead to a reduction in cases of misuse and fraud.
The Joe Biden administration in the United States has proposed changes in the H-1B visa program to streamline eligibility requirements and make it more efficient and flexible.
The changes have been proposed by the US Department of Homeland Security, which stated that the changes will also lead to a reduction in cases of misuse and fraud.
“The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would modernize the H-1B speciality occupation worker program by streamlining eligibility requirements, improving program efficiency, providing greater benefits and flexibilities for employers and workers, and strengthening integrity measures,” the department said in a statement.
The US Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N Mayorkas said that the priority of the Biden administration is to attract global talent and reduce undue burdens on employers.
“DHS continues to develop and implement regulations that increase efficiency and improve processes for employers and workers navigating the immigration system,” the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N Mayorkas said.
He added, “The Biden-Harris Administration’s priority is to attract global talent, reduce undue burdens on employers, and prevent fraud and abuse in the immigration system.”
According to the department, the proposed changes would streamline eligibility requirements. Under this, the criteria for speciality occupation positions would be revised to reduce confusion between the public and adjudicators and to clarify that a position may allow a range of degrees, although there must be a direct relationship between the required degree field(s) and the duties of the position.
The proposed rule also codifies that adjudicators generally should defer to a prior determination when no underlying facts have changed at the time of a new filing.
Aiming to provide more flexibility, the department has proposed certain exemptions to the H-1B cap to be expanded for certain non-profit entities or governmental research organizations as well as beneficiaries who are not directly employed by a qualifying organization.
DHS would also extend certain flexibilities for students on an F-1 visa when students are seeking to change their status to H-1B. Additionally, DHS would establish new H-1B eligibility requirements for rising entrepreneurs, the department stated.
According to the US department, misuse and fraud in the H-1B registration process would also be reduced by prohibiting related entities from submitting multiple registrations for the same beneficiary. The rule would also codify USCIS’ authority to conduct site visits and clarify that refusal to comply with site visits may result in denial or revocation of the petition.
Notably, H-1B is a non-immigrant visa, which is highly sought after including in India. This allows US companies to employ foreign workers in occupations that require some technical expertise.
“The H-1B non-immigrant visa program allows US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations, defined by statute as occupations that require highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty, or its equivalent,” the DHS stated.
The issue of H-1B visa made headlines recently after Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy vowed to end the H-1B visa program if elected to power.
Terming the H-1B visa as “indentured servitude”, Ramaswamy called it to replace the “lottery system” for an “actual meritocratic admission”
Notably, the issue of H-1B visa also came into discussion during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the United States in June this year.
Following the meeting between PM Modi and President Biden, the US authorities announced that they will introduce ‘in-country’ renewable H-1B visas to smoothen the process of H-1B visa renewal for several Indians.
“It has now been decided that the H-1B visa renewal can be done in the US itself,” PM Modi said during his address to the Indian diaspora. (ANI)
The seikei bunri principles for engaging with China economically are giving way to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s new “economic realist” diplomacy….reports Asian Lite News
The Japanese government has become concerned about its economic dependency on China amid intensifying US-China strategic competition, China’s track record of economic coercion and its long-term objectives to secure its own “core interests”, Asia Times reported.
Japan is now developing economic relations with China through a policy that separates politics and economics or seikei bunri.
The seikei bunri principles for engaging with China economically are giving way to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s new “economic realist” diplomacy.
Policy approaches to address concerns about the impact of politics on Japan’s economic security include selective diversification of supply chains away from China, reshoring, friend-shoring and national technological development, as per Asia Times.
Japan’s political leaders have already committed significant strategic and financial resources to enhance economic security through selectively diversifying supply chains and reducing reliance on China.
Initiatives include the adoption of supplementary budgets for economic security, such as securing domestic production bases for advanced semiconductors. Supplementary budgets have focused on promoting domestic investment to support supply chains and encourage their diversification.
Despite the political and security complexities, the mutually dependent economic relationship remains largely intact and is deepening and highly complementary. There is no replacing China as Japan’s major market for goods and services, as per Asia Times.
Japanese companies have invested heavily in China, particularly in the automobile, electronics and machinery sectors. China is also a major source of low-cost goods and components for Japanese companies. This role has kept prices low and enhanced the competitiveness of Japanese products in global markets. (ANI)
China’s chip imports drop 15%
China’s semiconductor imports dropped 14.6 per cent (year-on-year) in the first nine months this year amid tightened US export controls, the media reported on Saturday.
China imported 355.9 billion units of integrated circuits (ICs) from January to September, down from 416.7 billion in the same period last year, according to data published by the General Administration of Customs, reports South China Morning Post. The total value of IC imports fell 19.8 per cent to $252.9 billion.
However, “the year’s IC import trend for China shows a modest improvement over the past several months,” the report noted.
China’s huge demand for advanced semiconductors to power new artificial intelligence (AI) development projects has created a fast-growing market for graphics processing units (GPUs).
The drop in chip imports came amid increased export controls by the Joe Biden administration. In October last year, the US announced a set of rules that restrict exports of certain advanced semiconductor manufacturing equipment and items to companies in China in an apparent bid to slow Beijing’s technological advances.
According to reports, US rules restricting shipments of AI chips and chipmaking tools to China are set to be tightened in the coming days. The US has been seeking to halt the rise of China’s artificial intelligence capability as China’s AI capability depends on its access to US chips, the reports mentioned.
The Federal Trade Commission is maintaining its opposition to the deal but it cannot prevent Microsoft and Activision from completing it…reports Asian Lite News
The UK’s competition watchdog has cleared Microsoft’s $69bn (£54bn) deal to buy Activision Blizzard, the maker of games including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, in a move that paves the way for both companies to complete the transaction.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) moved to block the megadeal in April, citing concerns that Microsoft – the maker of the Xbox gaming console – would dominate the nascent cloud gaming market.
However, last month the watchdog said a revised deal that included selling cloud gaming rights outside Europe to Activision Blizzard’s French rival Ubisoft had addressed its concerns, indicating the tie-up would be approved.
Sarah Cardell, the CMA’s chief executive, said on Friday that the competition regulator had ensured that Microsoft could not have a “stranglehold” over cloud gaming, which allows users to stream video games stored on remote servers on to their devices.
“As cloud gaming grows, this intervention will ensure people get more competitive prices, better services and more choice,” Cardell said.
The acquisition agreement with Activision Blizzard had been due to expire on 18 October.
Activision Blizzard’s chief executive, Bobby Kotick, said in a note to staff that the company was now ready to finalise the transaction.
“We now have all regulatory approvals necessary to close and we look forward to bringing joy and connection to even more players around the world,” he wrote.
The UK regulator had appeared increasingly isolated in its position blocking the takeover after its EU counterparts passed the deal – when Microsoft offered alternative concessions on cloud gaming rights – and the US competition regulator failed to secure a court injunction to stop it.
The Federal Trade Commission is maintaining its opposition to the deal but it cannot prevent Microsoft and Activision from completing it.
The CMA, having been accused by Microsoft and Activision Blizzard of being anti-business with its original decision to block the deal, also turned on Microsoft in its statement.
Cardell said Microsoft had initially persisted with a deal structure that would not work, before amending its proposal.
“Businesses and their advisers should be in no doubt that the tactics employed by Microsoft are no way to engage with the CMA,” she said. “Microsoft had the chance to restructure during our initial investigation but instead continued to insist on a package of measures that we told them simply wouldn’t work.”
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav who are well aware of the caste combinations of Bihar, released the data of the caste based survey on October 2 with the aim to clear the confusion among people about their numbers.
Caste is the biggest factor to define the social structure of Bihar and people choose their life partner and elect their representatives from the same caste as theirs.
There is a perception here that people from the same caste may be better disposed and more trustworthy than people from other castes.
Politicians, especially in the current ruling parties, understand this mentality of the people and went for the caste based survey to make people aware about their actual strength.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav who are well aware of the caste combinations of Bihar, released the data of the caste based survey on October 2 with the aim to clear the confusion among people about their numbers. Also, the chance of creating confusion in the minds of voters by the political parties would no longer fully apply in Bihar following this report.
The Bihar government has counted 215 castes and their actual numbers. This would turn out to be a master stroke by Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad, to counter the Narendra Modi led BJP.
For Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad, the caste based survey is similar to the Mandal Commission report that was brought by Vishawanath Pratap Singh after assuming power at the Centre. At that time, he was confronting the Congress party which was represented by and large by people of the upper castes. Now, the upper castes are the core voters of the BJP and Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar released the caste based survey to defeat the saffron party.
The two know that the Lok Sabha election 2024 would be fought around the OBCs and PM Narendra Modi will play this card to lure the voters in the country and Bihar. Nitish and Lalu Prasad knew that the numbers of OBC and EBC are higher in Bihar and they came up with the actual numbers to avoid any confusion among the voters. Moreover, they do not want the BJP to create confusion in Bihar in the name of the OBCs.
Shivanand Tiwari, the national vice president of the RJD said: “Narendra Modi became scared after the release of the caste based survey and the way he is choosing his words betrays his uneasiness. On the other hand, the deprived section of society is also feeling uneasy. They have contributed their labour and hard work in building the nation but their status is similar to second class.”
Over the years, the BJP has come to be known as the party of the upper castes. They are the core voters of the BJP and are 15.52% including Bhumihars who are 2.86%, Brahmins are 3.66%, Rajputs are 3.45%, and Kayasthas are 0.60% in Bihar.
On the other hand, Nitish Kumar has core voters who come from the Lav-Kush equation where Lav stands for Kurmis having 2.87% and Kush stands for Kushwaha who are 4.21% in Bihar. Moreover, he has a stronghold among OBC and EBC voters. Lalu Prasad has the Muslims and Yadavs who are 17.7% with the Yadavs at 14%. A sizable vote bank of Scheduled Castes (19%) EBC and OBC also support Lalu Prasad. So, these two are well ahead of the BJP on this count.
In the past, the upper castes who are lower in numbers, dominated over the OBC, EBC and Scheduled Castes who have higher numbers. Lalu Prasad had given voice to the these suppressed castes and turned out to be a leader of social justice. Following that, a number of massacres took place in Bihar especially in Bhojpur, Jahanabad, Gaya and some other districts. Nitish Kumar has also carried the same baton and the pain of untouchability and massacres are in the minds of the upper and lower caste people. They have chosen their political parties in Bihar.
The people of the lower castes know that the BJP is a party of the upper castes and hence they cannot go with it. As a result, the BJP failed to form the government in Bihar on its own. The upper castes do not have enough strength to form the government. The BJP stayed in power in Bihar but with the help of Nitish Kumar.
Nitish Kumar also knew that his individual position would not be good enough to secure power in the state as the Kurmi and Kushwaha are 2.87% and 4.21% respectively and hence he took support of either the BJP or the RJD.
Lalu Prasad emerged as the biggest beneficiary of the caste based survey with his core voters Muslims at 17.7% and Yadavs at 14%.
The political parties more or less knew about the strength of their core voters but the voters themselves did not know until the caste based survey report. Now, they know their actual strength and creating confusion by any particular party will not be possible from now on.
This is probably the reason why, the BJP started the game of Hindus and Muslims in Bihar.
As per the report, Bihar has a population of 13 crore, 7 lakh, 25,000 and 310 with Hindus at 81.9%, Muslims 17.7%, Christians are 0.05%, Sikhs 0.01%, Bodh 0.08%, Jains 0.0096% and other religions at 0.12%.
BJP MLA from Madhubani (Bipsi assembly constituency) Haribhushan Thakur Bachaul demanded that the Nitish Kumar government declare Bihar as a Hindu state with the aim to avoid polarizing voters on the basis of caste and sub castes and that they vote on the basis of religion.
BJP national president Jagat Prakash Nadda came to Patna on October 4 and held a closed door meeting with the party MPs for 30 minutes.
Sources said that he asked them to go to their constituencies and take feedback from the voters. He also said that if the feedback is positive they should establish good relations with them and if anyone gives negative feedback, try to resolve their grievances.
He also told them to spread awareness about women’s reservation, concentrate on the OBC vote bank, target Lalu Prasad but avoid Nitish Kumar and alliance partners.