India News Politics

Double engine govt working with double speed, says Modi

The projects will benefit the significant tribal population of the region, said Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in an official statement…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing Jan Jatiya Mahasabha in Jhabua said on Sunday that the double-engine government is working at double speed for all development while reiterating his government’s commitment to serve the people.

“Some of the many developmental projects in the state show that the double-engine government is working at double speed for all the developmental work…,” PM Modi said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was addressing Jan Jatiya Mahasabha in Jhabua.

Expressing his gratitude to the people for offering their blessings, PM said, “There have been a lot of discussions about this visit of mine to the state, and various things are being said. Some say that Modi is starting the fight for Lok Sabha elections in Jhabua. But I am not here for election campaigning; I am here to serve the people…”

He also highlighted the achievements of his government in the last ten years.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a road show in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua on Sunday.

People gathered on both sides of the road,, showered petals on the PM and chanted slogans as the Prime Minister greeted them on his way to the venue of his public rally in Jhabua.

The visit assumes significance ahead of the Lok Sabha elections just a few months away.

He was accompanied during the roadshow by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav.

Before holding the roadshow, PM Modi inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of various developmental projects worth Rs 7,500 crore at Jhabua.

The projects will benefit the significant tribal population of the region, said Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in an official statement.

“Prime Minister will dedicate and lay the foundation stone of multiple initiatives that will benefit the significant tribal population of the region. Prime Minister will disburse monthly instalments of Aahar Anudan under Aahar Anudan Yojna to about two lakh women beneficiaries. Under this scheme, Rs 1,500 per month is provided for nutritious food to women of various especially backward tribes of Madhya Pradesh,” the PMO said in a statement.

Prime Minister Modi will also distribute 1.75 lakh Adhikar Abhilekh (record of rights) to beneficiaries of the SVAMITVA Scheme. “This will provide documentary evidence to people for the right to their land,” PMO said earlier.

He will also transfer Rs 55.90 crores for 559 villages under the Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana and will lay the foundation stone of ‘CM Rise School’ in Jhabua.

“The school will integrate technology to provide modern facilities like smart classes, e-Library etc to students,” PMO said.

Prime Minister will also lay the foundation stone of multiple projects that will strengthen the water supply and provisioning of drinking water in Madhya Pradesh.

According to PMO, the projects for which the foundation stone will be laid include the ‘Talavada Project’ which is a drinking water supply scheme for more than one thousand villages of Dhar and Ratlam; and 14 urban water supply schemes under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) 2.0, benefitting more than 50 thousand urban households across multiple districts of Madhya Pradesh. (ANI)

PM launches Rs 7,550 crore development projects in MP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday visited Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh and inaugurated and laid the foundation stones of Rs 7,550 crore development projects for the state.

He also disbursed monthly installments to nearly two lakh women beneficiaries under the ‘Aahar Anudan Yojana’ of the state.

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Under the scheme, Rs 1,500 per month are provided for nutritious food to women from especially the backward tribes.

PM Modi also distributed 1.75 lakh ‘adhikar abhilekh’ (record of land rights) under the SVAMITVA scheme, which will provide documentary evidence to people for the right to their land.

He also laid the foundation stone of the Tantya Mama Bhil University which will cater to the youth from tribal-dominated districts of the state.

To be developed at a cost of Rs 170 crore, the university will provide world-class infrastructure for holistic development of students.

ALSO READ-This is India’s time, says Modi

-Top News Asia News PAKISTAN

Pakistan’s National Assembly dissolved by president Arif Alvi

Addressing the federal cabinet, he confirmed it was his government’s last day in power…reports Asian Lite News

Just three days before the completion of its five-year tenure, Pakistan President Arif Alvi has dissolved the National Assembly shortly after a summary signed by Prime Shehbaz Sharif advising the dissolution of the Lower House of Parliament, was sent to the Presidency.

A statement issued by the Presidency just before Thursday midnight read: “President Arif Alvi has dissolved the National Assembly under Article 58(1) on the advice of the Prime Minister.”

The dissolution of the National Assembly, which elects the federal government, has brought an end to the Sharif-led coalition government, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to the Pakistani constitution, if the Assembly is terminated before its stipulated time, the general elections would be held within 90 days and if it completes its mandated period then the election will take place within 60 days.

Following the end of the government, the Prime Minister will discuss with the opposition leader of the house to decide on a caretaker premier who will take charge until the next general elections.

On his last day in power, Sharif on Wednesday chaired a meeting of the federal cabinet, made a farewell address in Parliament and chaired two separate meetings on overseas Pakistanis and the setting up of an ‘Olympic village’ in Islamabad, Dawn news reported.

Addressing the federal cabinet, he confirmed it was his government’s last day in power.

The Prime Minister said the coalition government sacrificed their political capital for the sake of the country as they had a “gigantic task to save the motherland from looming default”.

After the cabinet meeting, he went to the Parliament House to address the National Assembly.

In his farewell speech in the Assembly, Sharif said he would start consultations on Thursday to decide about a caretaker Prime Minister within three days, who will choose his cabinet for three months or until the formation of the next elected government.

Soon after the National Assembly’s late-night dissolution, troops were seen at different points in Islamabad.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the soldiers’ presence was because of security reasons or VIP movement.

ALSO READ-Peking Snubs Pakistan

-Top News UK News

UK govt promises 45,000 seasonal agricultural worker visas

The British agriculture ecosystem has traditionally relied on EU member states to thrive but tougher immigration rules and Brexit have made it difficult to hire workers from the bloc…reports Asian Lite News

In what surprised many political observers, the UK government promised to award 45,000 visas for seasonal workers in the agricultural sector next year.

The announcement was made on Tuesday despite calls from within the ruling Conservative party to discourage and reduce immigration. Official figures on immigration are expected on May 25th but British media says net migration is expected to hit a record high this year.

A day earlier, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said at a conference that there was “no good reason” Britain cannot train its own lorry drivers and fruit pickers to cut immigration.

Despite such a stance, Downing Street seems to go contrary and defended the decision to grant the visas again.

A spokesman said the current rules “provide us the flexibility to flex the system depending on UK need,” adding that Britain has a “historically low” unemployment rate.

The announcement of the visa allocation coincides with a new package of measures to support the farming industry and the government is also vowing to help the farmers who have had a hard time tackling soaring costs.

The British agriculture ecosystem has traditionally relied on EU member states to thrive but tougher immigration rules and Brexit have made it difficult to hire workers from the bloc.

The government seems to be pushing the agenda forward while providing succor to the farmers and said on Tuesday it will give farmers greater protections in future trade deals and prioritize new export opportunities.

“British farming and British produce simply cannot be an afterthought. I know that is how some of you felt in the past,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in an open letter to British farmers.

While the government at one end is announcing visas for seasonal agriculture workers, it is also exploring plans to prevent family members from joining foreign masters students at the country’s universities.

Three of the departments, the United Kingdom’s Department of Education, Home Office and Treasury are currently discussing the plan to stop dependents from traveling with masters students for one-year courses. If the plans to curb family members joining the students are materialized, students from India and Nigeria would be affected largely.

ALSO READ-UK, EU agree to collaborate over cross-Channel migration

-Top News Arab News UAE News

UAE implementing new methodology for govt action

The UAE government has organised meetings that were attended by 70 ministers and government officials from over 40 federal government entities, to roll out a new methodology of government action…reports Asian Lite News

The UAE government has organised meetings that were attended by 70 ministers and government officials from over 40 federal government entities, in implementation of the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to roll out a new methodology of government action by launching major transformative projects that will drive the creation of the world’s best and most vibrant economy.

Sheikh Mohammed said, “Today, the UAE Government launched the new methodology for federal government work, which focuses on short-term transformational projects and gives greater authorities to federal ministries, guided by the ‘Principles of the 50’ in paving its new government path.”

The UAE is seeing a rapid growth phase, he added, noting that the world is experiencing unprecedented geopolitical and technological shifts, and that successful countries will be quickest in adapting to these developments.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed stressed that the modern government work model is different from that from ten years ago, as well as what is expected from ministers, noting that the Emirati people deserve the best and most efficient government.

The UAE Government organised several sessions to discuss major projects aimed at supporting the efforts of ministers and federal authorities in drafting plans, presenting proposals for major projects in vital sectors and linking them to national priorities, in a way that would benefit the UAE community, improve the government’s readiness for the future, and help achieve the ‘UAE Centennial 2071’.

During the launch of the sessions, Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, said the new methodology embodies the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed to achieve progress in government work, and will boosts the UAE’s regional and global excellence and leadership.

ALSO READ:UAE unveils sweeping visa reforms

In September 2021, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed announced the new methodology to accelerate achievements and establish priorities, in line with the ‘Principles of the 50’.

Two days ago, the UAE Cabinet, headed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has approved the executive regulations of the Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners aimed at strengthening the UAE’s position as an ideal destination to live, work, and invest.

The executive regulations provide comprehensive information on the types and conditions of entry visas and residence permits. The new system of entry and residence aims at attracting and retaining global talents and skilled workers from all over the world, boosting the competitiveness and flexibility of the job market and fostering a high sense of stability among UAE residents and families.

Arab News News World

Israeli government sites crash in cyberattack

The websites of the interior, health, justice and welfare ministries had been taken offline, as was that of the Prime Minister’s Office…reports Asian Lite News

A number of Israeli government websites went down in an apparent cyberattack as the country’s cyber authority confirmed it was a DDos attack that had blocked access to government websites, and that all websites were back online.

According to Haaretz, the websites of the interior, health, justice and welfare ministries had been taken offline, as was that of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Earlier on Monday, a senior defence official confirmed to Haaretz that a massive cyberattack was carried out on Monday evening against Israeli government websites, and cyber security industry sources said that the operation was a wide-scale distributed denial of service (DDos) attack.

A defence establishment source claims that this was the largest-ever cyber attack carried out against Israel. They believe that a state actor or large organization carried out the attack, but cannot yet determine who is behind it, the report said.

ALSO READ: Russia may be behind cyberattack in Ukraine

The defence establishment and the National Cyber Directorate have declared a state of emergency in order to study the extent of the damage, while checking strategic Israeli websites and government infrastructure, such as Israel’s electric and water companies, to see whether they were also attacked.

The defence establishment claims that the attack hit websites using the .GOV.IL domain, which is used for all government websites save for defence-related ones. Another website that uses this domain is the government database. Despite this, some of the websites can still be accessed via smartphone.

-Top News Arab News Dubai

Dubai launches saving fund for expats in public sector

The Scheme is the first of its kind in the region which will enhance end-of-service indemnities in the Government of Dubai, reports Asian Lite News

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, approved the launch of the “Savings Scheme for Foreign Employees in the Government of Dubai” to enhance the end-of-service benefits system.

The Scheme will be supervised by the Dubai International Financial Centre in partnership with several international investment firms that provide attractive and safe investment opportunities.

The initiative will also ensure that Dubai remains an attractive career destination that appeals to outstanding talent through an integrated system that offers employees various saving opportunities across financial portfolios that can grow their benefits and savings for the future.

Sheikh Hamdan stressed that the Scheme will play a pivotal role in the continuous development of the government sector’s capabilities and will enhance its attractiveness to qualified professionals across various fields, while ensuring that all employees, whether citizens or residents, are provided with the support they require.

Sheikh Hamdan said, “The steering committee, led by the General Secretariat of The Executive Council, will implement an integrated plan to ensure that the objectives of the Scheme are met, through which we seek to offer equitable opportunities for our brothers and sisters in the Dubai Government in recognition of their efforts and determination.”

“We seek to enhance the flexibility and attractiveness of the market in Dubai through the continuous development of our systems. The Savings Scheme is a new step towards attracting more talent, innovators and investors across various fields, as we look to consolidate Dubai’s position as a leading city that delivers optimum work and living standards”, he added.

The Scheme provides employees with a number of financial benefits, most notably the opportunity to save across different financial portfolios to grow their savings and provide financial sustainability for them and their families.

ALSO READ: Hamdan launches ‘Dubai Can’ initiative

The Scheme will also protect and manage dues more effectively by depositing them in the Scheme starting from the date of enrolment; hence, it will not include any financial dues from former years of service to which the current legislation applies. Additionally, employees will be able to choose multiple investment structures including traditional investment funds, and others compatible with Islamic Sharia. Employees who do not wish to invest their benefits will also be provided with options that ensure capital protection.

The Savings Scheme has been conceptualised after the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) successfully implemented it for employees working within the DIFC in the year 2020. The Scheme is expected to boost financial liquidity in Dubai in the coming years and enhance the quality of the evolving financial environment in the emirate.

The Executive Council also approved the Dubai Traffic Safety Strategy 2022-2026, which was developed by the Roads and Transport Authority and the Dubai Police Headquarters.

The strategy’s objective is to make Dubai one of the safest cities in the world and achieve the zero road deaths vision through the development and implementation of 53 strategic initiatives that fall under four key categories, traffic control, vehicle and highway engineering, traffic awareness, systems and management.

Lite Blogs

Govt benefits elude neglected Kela tribe

In the past, Meena Das said, the members of the Kela community would eat anything they could find — from dead birds to snakes. But now, things have changed as many look forward to a dignified life…reports Asian Lite News

“Amara jati pramana nathibaru ame sarakari sahayataru banchita heuchu (We are deprived of government entitlements because we do not have a caste certificate),” said Meena Das (34) before a gathering of academicians, researchers, and journalists in Odishas capital, Bhubaneswar, in late September.

Das belongs to Sabakhia Kela, one among 13 listed Kela communities found in Pipili, Brahmagiri and Sadar blocks of Odisha’s Puri district. They have lived for generations as a nomadic tribe. Some members of the community are still snake charmers, while others perform stunts for money and food. Many of them play instruments like the Tingi Khadu as they go door-to-door, collecting alms.

Murali Shikari (41) from the Mundapota Kela community said, “The male members of the community bury their heads under the earth and hold their breath while the women beat the drums to attract the public so that they can collect alms. We have also been performing a typical dance form, the ‘ghoda nacha’. That was our livelihood.”

The Kela tribes have been subject to continuous neglect and social stigma. All because the community has never been entitled to the all-important caste certificates that can open the doors to various kinds of government support, claimed Meena Das.

A district official on the condition of anonymity said that it is difficult to issue certificates to the Kela community as they do not have past records or any information about their origins in Odisha.

“One of the key problems in placing these communities on India’s developmental map is the unavailability of authentic and relevant data. It is not available as no caste-wise census was undertaken between 1931 and 2011,” said Sandip Patnaik, a researcher studying the socio-economic conditions of Kela communities.

Patnaik added that most of these communities are nomadic and their numbers are not likely to be enumerated in the Census data.

“A number of states have not prepared the list of de-notified or nomadic communities,” he said, adding, “the lack of official records has made them invisible in the development process. Many of them are still struggling to get a caste certificate so that they can avail government benefits.”

In search of home

The study revealed that Kela communities have limited access to land, housing and sanitation, forcing them to live in neglect.

Murali Shikari said that the government has not been able to provide proper housing for his family either through the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana or the Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana meant for the poor. “We are living in a marshy place and are vulnerable to diseases,” he said.

Lata Shikari (65), a widow living in Pipili block, has been waiting for 40 years to build a house through government support. She has attended most of the rallies conducted by the ruling party in Bhubaneswar with the hope that her demand will be fulfilled. She has not succeeded so far.

In the past, Meena Das said, the members of the Kela community would eat anything they could find — from dead birds to snakes. But now, things have changed as many look forward to a dignified life.

“Now, we either work as seasonal labourers or farm labourers and sharecroppers,” she said, adding that the people of her community would be able to live a better life if they had a home.

No jobs, no school

The lack of caste certificates, for example, has left the Kela community unable to access job cards that are given under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

This was particularly tough when job prospects were further dented by the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide lockdown imposed by the government in March 2020. “The meagre income we used to get as labourers stopped. We had to depend on the five kilograms of rice that we got from the public distribution system. It was insufficient,” Meena Das said.

Lakhia Shikari (44) of the Beherasahi in Pipili block, who belongs to Mundapota Kela community, said that the pandemic forced them to once again take up their traditional occupation.

“The sudden lockdown announcement crushed our livelihood. We lived hand-to-mouth. When there were no work opportunities due to the pandemic, we fell back to our traditional occupation — begging for alms,” she said.

Muna Das (21), from Ghusuria Kela community, had to quit college during the pandemic and work at a farm to provide for his family. He was unable to procure a stipend when he was completing his degree as he had no caste certificate. He had to pay regular fees like his counterparts from the general category, ultimately making it difficult for him to continue his studies.

“I approached government officials and even the district collector to request a caste certificate, but to no avail,” he said.

Muna Das’ dreams of becoming a teacher were shattered due to the lack of caste certificates. “We are so invisible in the eyes of the government that even after so many years of independence we are deprived of a caste certificate. Now, the pandemic has broken all our hopes,” he rued.

Murali Shikari’s children studied for free till Class 8 in a government-run school. However, to put them through high school, he will now have to pay fees. “Due to lack of caste certificates, our children are unable to get a stipend to continue studies. Many children drop out from schools as their parents fail to pay school fees,” he said.

Stigma that follows them everywhere

The stigma attached to the Kela communities has followed them even in dire situations, highlighting rampant discriminatory practices. They were not spared even during natural calamities.

When Cyclone Fani killed 74 people in Odisha in April 2019 and caused damages worth Rs 1200 crore, several shelters were built to temporarily rehabilitate those who were displaced. Here, the members of the Kela communities were allegedly subjected to casteist behaviour by people of the upper caste.

“In the multi-purpose cyclone shelter, the upper castes had already occupied the space and they didn’t allow us to enter,” said Meena Das. “Thus, we returned and took shelter in a school verandah. Here, the upper caste people did not allow us to use the washroom. We were forced to urinate at a faraway place even when it was raining heavily,” she said.

Even in their day-to-day lives, the women of Kela community have had to face discriminatory remarks, like while foraging for date leaves that they use to stitch mats or make brooms.

Rupa Shikari from the Mundapota Kela community said, “People either deny or demand money for the leaves. How will we pay the amount? Moreover, the availability of plastic mats and brooms have made it difficult to sell our traditional skills,” she said, adding that they were now working as construction labourers to make ends meet.

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Africa News News World

Sudan’s Sovereign Council agrees to form government led by civilian PM

Sudan’s ruling and military-dominated Transitional Sovereign Council has agreed to the formation of a government led by a civilian Prime Minister to complete the tasks of the ongoing transitional period…reports Asian Lite News

Chairman of the council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan made clear the council’s stand when he received a SS delegation, headed by Assistant State Secretary Molly Phee and Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa David Satterfield, at the Republican Palace here on Thursday, reports Xinhua news agency.

In a statement, the council said it expressed readiness to make amendments to the constitution to adapt to the new developments and the conduction of free and fair elections in Sudan by the end of the transitional period.

ALSO READ: UN allocates $1.9 billion aid to Sudan

The Sudanese and American sides stressed the inclusion of all Sudanese parties into a comprehensive round-table national dialogue involving all political and societal forces, excluding the dissolved National Congress Party, to reach a national consensus out of the current crisis, the statement added.

Sudan has been suffering a political crisis after Al-Burhan, who also serves as the general commander of the Sudanese Armed Forces, declared a coup on October 25, 2021 and dissolved the Sovereign Council and the government led by then Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

Since then, violent street protests have erupted across the country demanding for a civilian rule.

Till date, more than 55 people have been killed and thousands others injured in the demonstrations.

Europe World

New Dutch government sworn in 299 days after election

Almost one year after the resignation of the previous government and 10 months after the last elections, the fourth cabinet of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was sworn in by King Willem-Alexander…reports Asian Lite News

Just like the previous one, the new coalition government consists of Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), the centre-leftist party Democrats 66 (D66) and the smaller centrist party the Christian Union (CU), reports Xinhua news agency.

According to Rutte, his new group of ministers is not comparable with the previous one and has “new impetus”.

One of the new faces is the new Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport Ernst Kuipers on behalf of D66. Until now, he was the CEO of the Erasmus Medical Centre and the chairman of the National Emergency Medicine Network (LNAZ).

Kuipers succeeds Hugo de Jonge, who, as health minister, has led the Dutch Covid-19 policy over the past two years. De Jonge (CDA) moves to the new post of Minister of Housing and Spatial Planning.

In addition, Rob Jetten (D66) takes on the new post of Minister of Climate and Energy, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigrid Kaag will be the new finance minister and Wopke Hoekstra moves from the Ministry of Finance to be the new foreign minister.

Kaag was not present at the inauguration on Monday as the D66 leader had to stay at home due to a positive Covid-19 test. So the King swore Kaag via video link, which happened for the first time in Dutch history.

The former government with the same four parties stepped down on January 15, 2021 as a result of the so-called child benefits tax scandal, in which innocent parents were wrongly accused of fraud.

Since that time the government served in a caretaker capacity.

From March 15 to 17, 2021 the general elections took place, in which Rutte’s VVD was declared the winner with 34 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives, or the lower house of the parliament.

D66 ended second with 24 seats in Parliament.

Together with CDA (15 seats) and CU (five seats), the new government has a majority of 78 seats.

After long, difficult negotiations, the parties reached an agreement on December 13, 2021.

ALSO READ: Elections in 5 Indian states from February 10 to March 7

Now, 299 days later, the new government has been installed.

It was the longest formation in Dutch history, breaking the record of 225 formation days before the inauguration of the previous government in 2017.

According to tradition, the new ministers took an oath, promising their allegiance to the Dutch constitution and to discharge their duties faithfully.

After the swearing in on Monday, the ministers were traditionally photographed together, this time on the steps of Noordeinde Palace in the Hague.

Normally, that photo is taken at the Huis ten Bosch Palace, but there was too little space there to comply with the Covid-19 rules.

For the first time in parliamentary history, the government has exactly as many female and male ministers.

Before that, men were in the majority.

Arab News News World

Turkey changes regulation for granting citizenship

The Turkish government has changed the regulation for foreigners to acquire citizenship in a bid to support the national currency, or the lira, according to a decree…reports Asian Lite News

Foreigners who make a certain investment in the country, buy real estate or make a fixed capital investment could get Turkish citizenship, Xinhua news agency quoted the decree issued in the official gazette as saying.

For example, foreigners who own real estate in Turkey worth at least $250,000 and hold the property for at least three years will be able to acquire Turkish citizenship.

ALSO READ: Turkey’s annual inflation surged to 36.08 percent, highest in 20 years

According to the new regulation, the foreign currency obtained from the sale of the property to foreigners will be sold to the central bank through a local bank and converted into Turkish lira.

The currency that foreigners keep in the bank for investment will also be converted into the local currency, it said.

The regulation comes amid the currency turmoil in Turkey.