SPECIAL SESSION: MOVE TO NEW PARLIAMENT BUILDING ON TUESDAY
On the eve of the five-day special session of Parliament which begins today, the govt announced that House proceedings would move to the new Parliament building on Tuesday, and said eight Bills have been listed for consideration and passage.
The Opposition leaders questioned the “secrecy” over the agenda, pointing out that the tentative list of business circulated earlier had a line saying it was not an “exhaustive” list. They made a strong pitch to bring the women’s reservation Bill, and to keep aside one day for discussion of issues raised by the Opposition.
While the govt did not respond to the demand, the Opposition leaders suggested that if a Bill to reserve seats for women in Parliament and legislative bodies was introduced, parties should be given the right to decide which seats should be reserved. Otherwise, they said, it could be used to keep senior leaders away from their traditional constituencies.
While most of the parties supported a women’s quota Bill, the SP and BSP reiterated their demand for a quota within quota for SC and ST communities.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury demanded discussions on issues outlined in a letter that Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi had written to Modi earlier this month.
“There is still no full agenda for the session. There is a sinister line in the Parliament bulletin which says the ‘statement not to be taken as exhaustive’. This means the govt can bring more Bills. Why are they not taking Parliament into confidence. There is still no clarity,” TMC leader Derek O’Brien said.
Meanwhile, Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar hoisted the national flag at the new Parliament building on Sunday morning.
At the all-party meeting later, which lasted for about two-and-a-half hours, DMK’s Tiruchi Siva tore up the programme circulated by the Lok Sabha Secretariat for the flag-hoisting function, saying the itinerary was only given in Hindi. He said he had urged the govt to circulate such papers in both English and Hindi.
CPI’s Binoy Viswam asked whether the govt was planning any religious function while moving into the new Parliament building. “India is a secular country. There should not be any religious function while moving into the new building,” he said.
Most of the Opposition leaders asked whether it was a “special session” or “normal session”. They argued that if it was a normal session, members had the right to seek question hour and zero hour.
TWO DAY CWC MEET ENDS WITH A RESOLVE TO WIN COMING POLLS
The two-day meeting of the Congress Working Committee in Hyderabad saw members, mostly from Delhi and Punjab, flagging concerns about the party’s possible tie-up with the Aam Aadmi Party. The leadership is learnt to have told them it will take a final call only after consultations with the state units.
The meeting also saw some leaders from the Hindi heartland suggesting that the leaders should avoid commenting on the Sanatan Dharma row, an issue the BJP has used to attack the alliance. Senior leader Rahul Gandhi asked party leaders not to walk into “irrelevant traps of the BJP”.
In his address, party chief Mallikarjun Kharge emphasised unity and maintaining discipline. He asked party leaders to set aside their personal differences to ensure the party’s success. He also asked them to be ready for elections in Jammu and Kashmir, whenever it is announced. Emphasising unity and discipline, he said, “Our goal must be to defeat the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and work diligently to form an alternative govt in the country.”
At the end of the two-day session, the CWC passed a resolution expressing confidence that the party would receive a “decisive mandate from the people of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, and Telangana in the Assembly elections that will be held shortly”.
As for the Lok Sabha elections, it said the party was ready for the battle. “It is confident that the people of our country are wanting change. We will fulfil their expectations of law and order, freedom, social and economic justice, equality and equity,” read the two-paragraph resolution.
PM MODI OPENS YASHOBHOOMI, EYES BIG SHARE IN CONFERENCE TOURISM
Days after hosting G20 leaders at Bharat Mandapam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated Yashobhoomi, a second world-class exhibition centre in Delhi as India geared to raise its share in the global conference tourism market worth Rs 25 lakh crore annually. India’s current share is just 1 per cent.
Dedicating to the nation Phase 1 of the India International Convention and Expo Centre, Yashobhoomi, in Dwarka, the PM said, “Bharat Mandapam and Yashobhoomi will make Delhi the hub for global conference tourism...Jo yahaan aayega, maalamaal ho jayega (whoever exhibits here will go back with loads of money).”
With project area of over 8.9 lakh square metres and built-up area of over 1.8 lakh square metres, Yashobhoomi will be among the world’s largest MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) facilities. The convention centre, built across more than 73,000 square metres, has 15 convention rooms with a total capacity of holding 11,000 delegates.
The convention centre has the largest LED media facade in the country. The grand ballroom at the centre with a unique petal ceiling can host around 2,500 guests. It also has an extended open area that can seat up to 500 people. The 13 meeting rooms that are spread across eight floors are envisaged to hold a variety of meetings of different scales.
VIVEK RAMASWAMY WANTS TO END H-1B VISA SYSTEM
Describing the H-1B visa programme as a form of "indentured servitude", Indian-American Republican presidential aspirant Vivek Ramaswamy has vowed to “gut” the lottery-based system and replace it with meritocratic admission if he wins the race to the White House in 2024.
The H-1B visa, much sought-after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
Ramaswamy himself has used the H-1B visa programme 29 times. From 2018 through 2023, US Citizenship and Immigration Services approved 29 applications for Ramaswamy's former company, Roivant Sciences, to hire employees under H-1B visas.
Yet, the H-1B system is “bad for everyone involved,” the 38-year-old biotech entrepreneur says. “The lottery system needs to be replaced by actual meritocratic admission. It's a form of indentured servitude that only accrues to the benefit of the company that sponsored an H-1B immigrant. I'll gut it,” Ramaswamy said in a statement, adding that the US needs to eliminate chain-based migration. “The people who come as family members are not the meritocratic immigrants who make skills-based contributions to this country.”
When asked about the mismatch in the Republican presidential hopeful's policy stance and his past business practices, his press secretary Tricia McLaughlin said the role of a policymaker “is to do what's right for a country overall: the system is broken and needs to be fixed.”
TRUMP REFUSES TO SAY IN INTERVIEW HOW HE WATCHED US CAPITOL ATTACK
Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday to answer questions about whether he watched the Capitol riot unfold on television, saying he would “tell people later at an appropriate time”.
Trump, the current front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, even refused to say on NBC’s “Meet the Press” how he spent January 6, 2021, once the insurrection began and whether he made phone calls as his supporters stormed the seat of American democracy.
Trump’s former aides have said he sequestered himself in the room off the Oval Office to watch, at times even rewinding and rewatching some parts. In the interview, Trump said in response to moderator Kristen Welker’s pressing him about his public silence during the violence that he had made “beautiful statements” on the day of the attack. Trump said he might consider pardoning some of the rioters charged for their actions that day.
KOKERNAG OPERATION ENTERS DAY 6
The search operation for militants suspected to be hiding in the dense Gadole forest area of Kokernag, in Anantnag district of South Kashmir, continued on Sunday, four days after three officers — a Colonel, a Major and a Deputy Superintendent of Police — were killed in the area.
Security forces have deployed drones for surveillance and are using heavy weapons, including mortar shells, to flush out the militants.
The body of a soldier, who was reported to be missing earlier, was spotted but couldn’t be retrieved yet as it was near a cave where the militants are suspected to be taking shelter.
On Sunday, security forces pounded the suspected militant hideout with mortar shells, setting it on fire. However, there was no confirmation on whether any of the militants were killed.
CONGRESS’S TELANGANA RALLY: SONIA LISTS OUT SIX GUARANTEES
Kicking off the Congress party’s campaign for the Assembly elections in Telangana by announcing six guarantees, Sonia Gandhi on Sunday said it is her dream to see a Congress govt in Telangana that will work for all sections of society.
Addressing a public meeting in Tukkuguda on the outskirts of Hyderabad, Sonia said that “we are announcing six guarantees and we are committed to fulfil each one of them”. Assembly elections in Telangana are due by the end of this year.
“Under Mahalakshmi, financial assistance of Rs 2,500 per month will be given to women; LPG cylinders will be provided at Rs 500 to eligible beneficiaries, and women will be allowed free travel in buses across the state,” she said, explaining some of the guarantees.
Other guarantees are: Rs 15,000 per acre to every farmer every season on the line of Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) govt’s Rythu Bandhu scheme; Rs 12,000 each to every tenant farmer and farm labourer; Rs 10 lakh medical insurance to all.
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that all the six guarantees will be implemented the day the party comes to power in Telangana. Other promises include Rs 5 lakh grant to the homeless under Indiramma Housing poor, and 250 sq yard residential plots for all those who participated in the Telangana movement.
He also dubbed the BRS as “BJP Rishtedar Samithi” and said while opposition leaders were being attacked by govt agencies there were no cases against Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and AIMIM leaders because Prime Minister Narendra Modi considers them his own.
TELANGANA LIBERATION DAY: VOTE-BANK POLITICS KEPT PAST GOVTS FROM MARKING OCCASION, SAYS AMIT SHAH
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday marked the Telangana Liberation Day at an official event in Hyderabad and said past govts hesitated to celebrate the occasion due to vote-bank politics.
“Those who turn their backs on the history of their country, people turn their backs on them,” Shah said recalling as “cruel the 399 days of Nizam’s rule in the region post India’s independence.”
Shah said Sardar Patel ended the tyranny of the Nizam. “Sardar Patel had done the work of liberating this region from the tyrannical Nizam rule. On August 10, 1948, Sardar Patel said there is only one way to solve the Hyderabad problem and that is the merger of Hyderabad with India,” the Home Minister noted.
BRS marked the day as National Integration Day. The CPI, which contends that its cadres led the armed struggle that aided Hyderabad State’s merger into the Indian union, marked the ‘Telangana Armed Struggle Day’. AIMIM held a public meeting.
SOLDIER ON LEAVE KIDNAPPED FROM HIS MANIPUR HOME, KILLED
A day after he was abducted from his home in Imphal while on leave, Serto Thangthang Kom, an Indian Army soldier, was found shot dead by unidentified assailants about 14 kilometres away.
Kom, 41, who was with the Defence Service Corps (DSC), was attached with 302 Company, Army Service Corps (ASC), in Leimakhong, Manipur. He was reportedly abducted from his family’s home in Tarung, in Imphal West’s Happy Valley, at about 10 am on Saturday.
The soldier was from Manipur’s Kom tribe, which is separate from both the Meitei and Kuki-Zomi communities which are currently in conflict with each other in the state.
“The brave soldier who breathed his last at the hands of miscreants is survived by his wife, a daughter and a son. The last rites shall be conducted as per the wishes of the family. Army has rushed a team to assist the bereaved family in all manners possible. Army strongly condemns the killing of Sep Serto Thangthang Kom and stands by his family in these difficult times,” stated an army spokesperson.
NO FRESH NIPAH POSITIVE CASES, 42 MORE NEGATIVE RESULTS: KERALA GOVT
The Kerala Govt on Sunday said that there were no fresh Nipah positive cases with test results of 42 samples, of persons in the high risk contact list, coming out negative. The negative results were announced by State Health Minister Veena George Sunday morning.
She said test results of more samples are awaited and may be available during the day.
Asked how long the vigilance and caution needs to be exercised since no new positive cases are being reported, the minister said according to the guidelines and protocols it is 42 days from the last positive case. The incubation period of the virus is 21 days and therefore, “a double incubation period of 42 days from the last positive case” is considered as the period during which caution has to be exercised, George said.
Police help will be sought to complete contact tracing as many persons who may have been in the area visited by those infected, deny having been there when called over phone. “So we will seek police help to get their mobile tower locations. It is only being done to plug the gaps in the contact tracing,” she said.
SANTINIKETAN ON UNESCO’S WORLD HERITAGE LIST
Rabindranath Tagore’s Santiniketan, the university town in West Bengal’s Birbhum district, has been inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. This was announced by the international agency on Sunday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee is being held till September 25.
Santiniketan becomes the 41st UNESCO World Heritage Site in India and the third in West Bengal, after the Sundarbans National Park and the Darjeeling Mountain Railways. Last year, the state’s Durga Puja got space in “Intangible Cultural Heritage of humanity” under UNESCO.
There had been repeated efforts in the past to secure the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site for Santiniketan, especially in the run-up to Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary in 2010.
Reacting to its inclusion on the heritage site list, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Delighted that Santiniketan, an embodiment of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s vision and India’s rich cultural heritage, has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is a proud moment for all Indians.”
Congratulating the people of West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee posted on X: “Glad and proud that our Santiniketan, the town of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, is now finally included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Biswa Bangla’s pride, Santiniketan was nurtured by the poet and has been supported by people of Bengal over the generations. We, from the Govt of West Bengal have significantly added to its infrastructure in the last 12 years and the world now recognises the glory of the heritage place.”
CENTRE LOOKS TO TAP HERITAGE OF LIGHTHOUSES
For centuries, lighthouses have been the beacon of hope for seafarers. Once part of folklore for coastal residents and built hundreds of years ago, lighthouses today find little crucial value for ships with advanced navigation technology. But for local fishing communities, they bring a sense of hope, heritage, and home even today.
Now, the Centre plans to tap into this heritage and develop these lighthouses and areas around them as heritage tourism hubs. The Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways is looking to attract private interest and has identified 75 lighthouses for development.
To give a further boost, it will also hold a lighthouse festival from September 23 to 25 near the Aguada Lighthouse in Goa and the Madras Lighthouse in Chennai to inspire confidence in the investment potential of these projects.
CLINICAL INDIA THRASH SRI LANKA TO WIN ASIA CUP FINAL
Mohammed Siraj conjured a magical spell of seam and swing bowling with magnificent figures of 6 for 21 as India crushed Sri Lanka by 10 wickets to lift the Asia Cup title after a gap of five years.
This was India's eighth Asia Cup title and also their biggest victory (263 balls) in ODIs in terms of balls remaining.
Siraj's astonishing effort saw defending champions Sri Lanka getting bundled out for 50, in 15.2 overs. India did not bat an eyelid in the chase, as Shubman Gill (27) and Ishan Kishan (23) did the job in just 6.1 overs.
This was India's first title in a multi-nation event after their triumph in the Asia Cup 2018, and in a way, it also exorcised the ghost of India's 54 all out against Lanka in the Coca Cola Champions Trophy at Sharjah in 2000.
The match at Premadasa, forever, will be remembered for the way Siraj reduced the Lankan top-order to mere puppets of his sorcery. The pacer became only the fourth bowler in ODI history to take four wickets in an over, and he matched former Lankan pacer Chaminda Vaas as the fastest to a five-wicket haul in one-dayers -- in just 16 deliveries.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. - Marcus Aurelius
In one class, the teacher asks the students if anyone can give him an example of a "tragedy". One little boy stands up and offers that, "if my best friend who lives next door was playing in the street when a car came along and killed him, that would be a tragedy". "No," the teacher says, "That would be an ACCIDENT."
A girl raises her hand. "If a school bus carrying fifty children drove off a cliff, killing everyone involved... that would be a tragedy". "I'm afraid not, "explains the teacher, "that is what we would call a GREAT LOSS."
The room is silent, none of the other children volunteer. "What?" asks the teacher, "isn't there any one here who can give me an example of a tragedy?"
Finally, a boy in the back raises his hand. In a timid voice, he says: "If an airplane carrying our teacher was blown up by a bomb, THAT would be a tragedy".
"Wonderful!" the teacher beams. " And can you tell me WHY that would be a tragedy?" "Well," says the boy, "because it wouldn't be an accident, and it certainly wouldn't be a great loss!"