QBullet: Farmers Push For Policy Change; Govt Plans Relief For AI

1. Farmers Gather in Delhi to Push For Policy Change

Durgam Chinna’s life turned upside down last October, when her 40-year old husband Venkatayya was found dead in his cotton fields in the village of Ankushapur, in the Jayashankar district of Telengana. Faced with mounting debts which had touched ₹8 lakh, the tenant farmer consumed pesticide.

For his widow and three children, his death was just the beginning of the nightmare — thrown off the land Venkatayya had leased, they were forced work as daily wage labour to survive.

One year later, 38-year old Ms Chinna got a framed portrait of her late husband and boarded the train for Delhi, determined to tell her tale and fight for her rights in the capital.

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: Kisan March: Hundreds of Hopeful Farmers Camp at Ramlila Maidan

2. Govt Plans Rs 29,000 Crore Relief For Debt-Laden Air India

Air India

In an attempt to reduce the annual interest burden of Air India, the government has decided to transfer Rs 29,000 crore of the Rs 55,000 crore owed by the national carrier to a special purpose vehicle (SPV), civil aviation secretary RN Choubey said on Thursday, 29 November.

Air India Asset Holding Limited (AIAHL), as the SPV will be known, will either raise money to clear the debt directly or pay lenders monthly at different interest rates. To transfer the debt to the SPV, the government will need to secure permission from various creditors, which can be a lengthy process. To avoid that, the government is also weighing the option raising money and paying off the debt in one go.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Government to sell Air India's ground handling arm

3. There Is A Clampdown on Hafiz Saeed… I have Inherited (The Problem): Imran Khan

Imran Khan

A day after he declared that his government, army and all political parties in Pakistan are “on the same page” to improve ties with India, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday, 29 November, came up with his first categorical statement on cross-border terrorism and said that it was not in his country’s interest to become a base for “terror activities outside.”

Responding to a question during an interaction with Indian journalists, Khan said: “It is not in Pakistan’s interest to have our territory used for terror activities outside.” Khan also pointed out that there were UN sanctions on 26/11 accused and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, and court cases against him in Pakistan in the Mumbai attack case.

(Source: Indian Express)

Also Read: NIA Issues Non-Bailable Warrants Against Hafiz Saeed, S Salahuddin

4. There Was No Interference in Malik’s Decision, Says Rajnath

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satyapal Malik

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that there had been “no interference from Delhi” in Jammu and Kashmir.

Singh said no instructions were given to Governor Satyapal Malik on handling the political situation, which led to the dissolution of the Assembly on 21 November.

Singh, who is here to campaign for the BJP in the Telangana Assembly election, told The Hindu: “It was left to the Governor to take the decision depending on the situation (unke vivek par faisla chhod diya gaya tha).”

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: Guv Malik’s Gaffe: Does Centre Always Manipulate J&K Politics?

5. Indians Get More UK Visas as European Union Citizens Exit Over Brexit

New figures released on Thursday, 29 November, show a rise in the number of visas granted to Indian professionals, visitors, students and family members, but also reflect the Brexit reality of more EU citizens leaving the United Kingdom.

Indians were granted the highest number of visitor visas during the year ending September 2018: up 41,224 (or 10%) to 4,68,923; Chinese and Indian nationals alone accounted for just under half (47%) of all visit visas granted.

The demand for Indian professionals continued during the year, with 55 per cent of all Tier 2 (skilled) visas granted to them, the figures released by the Office for National Statistics show.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: UK signs post-Brexit open skies aviation treaty with US

6. Johnson & Johnson Pushed Another ‘Faulty’ Hip Implant in India, Faces Music in US, Not Here

Johnson & Johnson has been indicted by a Government committee for “suppressing” key facts on the aftermath of its ASR knee implant surgeries. Over 3,600 patients with the implants remain untraceable and, at least four deaths were reported from those who got these implants — that case, filed by the family of a patient who died, is now in the Supreme Court.

What slipped under the radar is a story of how Johnson & Johnson used a loophole in US laws to push into the Indian market, just like it did with ASR, another hip implant product, Pinnacle, without any clinical trials in the country, an investigation by The Indian Express has found.

(Source: Indian Express)

Also Read: Hey India, Sue Johnson & Johnson in US & Take Care of Victims Here

7. Back Series GDP Data: Jaitley Accuses Congress of Opportunism

Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday, 29 November, retaliated against the Opposition’s criticism of the back series GDP data released on Wednesday, saying they supported the new series when it showed strong growth during the final years of the UPA government, but are now criticising it when the same method lowered the growth estimate during the earlier years.

“The CSO [Central Statistics Office], in the year 2015, changed the way of calculating Gross Domestic Product [GDP],” Mr. Jaitley wrote in a blog post.

“GDP growth rate estimates were revised from the year 2012-13 onwards with 2011-12 being the base year… The immediate impact of the revision based on the new GDP series was on the last two years of the UPA Government.”

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: Jaitley defends GDP back-series data that slashed UPA-era growth rates

8. Centre to Bring Bill to Prevent NRI Husbands From Abandoning Their Wives

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

The government would bring a bill in the coming winter session of the Parliament as part of its efforts to check the menace of NRI husbands abandoning their wives, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday, 28 November.

“We have already launched an institutional mechanism, where you must have seen that 25 passports of such NRI husbands have been revoked. We are also bringing a bill in this session where some more measures are being taken against those husbands,” she told reporters in Hyderabad.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

9. Kerala Floods: Centre Approves Additional Rs 2,500 Cr Relief

Kerala: Rescue operations underway in various flood-affected areas of Kerala, on Aug 16, 2018. 

Four months after the devastating Kerala floods, the Centre has approved an additional Rs 2,500 crore for relief and rehabilitation work. The Centre had earlier sanctioned Rs 600 crore for the same.

In September, the Kerala government had submitted a memorandum demanding Rs 4,800 crore with details about the loss of human life, properties, infrastructure and damage to crops. However, a committee headed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba cleared Rs 3,100 crore, which includes the Rs 600 crore sanctioned earlier, officials confirmed.

(Source: Indian Express)

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