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In Swipe At China, India Says It Ensured Help Doesn’t Create Indebtedness – dot newz

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The open debate at UNSC was held under presidency of Mexico. File

United Nations:

India today told the UNSC that it has always strived to foster global solidarity across the world with its development partnership efforts fully respecting national priorities and ensured that its assistance does not create “indebtedness”, in an apparent swipe at China.

Addressing the UN Security Council open debate on ‘Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Exclusion, Inequality and Conflict’ held under the current presidency of Mexico, Minister of State for External Affairs Dr Rajkumar Ranjan Singh said whether it is with India’s neighbours under the “Neighbourhood First” policy or with African partners or with other developing countries, “India has remained and will continue to be a source of strong support to help them build back better and stronger”.

“India has always strived to foster global solidarity across the world with our development partnership efforts fully respecting national priorities and ensuring that our assistance remains demand-driven, contributes to employment generation and capacity building and does not create indebtedness. This is particularly true in countries in the post-conflict phase,” Mr Singh said.

Mr Singh’s remarks appeared to be a thinly-veiled reference to China.

There have been global concerns over debt traps and regional hegemony by China using its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects. China is doling out huge sums of money for infrastructure projects in countries from Asia to Africa and Europe. The Donald Trump administration had been extremely critical of the BRI and had been of the view that China’s “predatory financing” is leaving smaller counties under huge debt endangering their sovereignty.

Mr Singh further said that international efforts in the maintenance of peace and security need to be inclusive. The process of implementing a peace agreement must run along with the provision of humanitarian and emergency assistance, resumption of economic activity, and the creation of political and administrative institutions that improve governance and include all stakeholders, particularly women and disadvantaged sections.

“We also need to avoid politicising humanitarian and developmental assistance in conflict situations. The humanitarian action must be primarily guided by the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence,” he said.

India also stressed that the international community needs to “walk the talk” by ensuring a predictable and enhanced flow of resources to countries in the post-conflict phase.

Further, he said it is important to actively support the post-conflict reconstruction agenda, particularly in Africa and in this regard, the UN Peacebuilding Commission’s efforts should be strengthened.

“These efforts should include prioritising the needs of the host state and coordinating the role of international financial institutions, the private sector and civil society organisations,” Mr Singh said.

Mr Singh noted that some regional and sub-regional organisations have become more capable of addressing the conflict situations and member states have reposed faith increasingly in their capacity, bringing positive synergy to the actions of the UN and Security Council.

“The Security Council has the responsibility to support this trend and encourage and enable those regional and sub-regional organisations,” he said, adding that India believes the existing framework of cooperation such as the Joint UN-AU Framework for an enhanced partnership in Peace and Security needs to be implemented more proactively.

Initiatives such as AMISOM, G-5 Sahel Joint Force and Multinational Joint Task Force need more robust support from the Security Council and the international community.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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High Altitude Areas In Uttarakhand Receive Season’s First Snowfall – dot newz

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The sky remained overcast in the plains with isolated light showers at several places (File)

Dehradun:

The Himalayan temple of Kedarnath and the high altitude areas of Chamoli district received the season’s first snowfall on Thursday while it drizzled in the lower areas intensifying the chill across the state.

Besides the Kedarnath shrine in Rudraprayag district, the Musk Deer Park, Valley of Flowers and the Nanda Devi National Park in Chamoli district also received snowfall, officials in Dehradun said.

The sky remained overcast in the plains with isolated light showers at several places, including state capital Dehradun.

The temperature recorded in Dehradun on Thursday was 15.4 degrees Celsius, Tehri 10 degrees Celsius, Pantnagar 18.4 degrees Celsius, Mukteshwar 8.4 degrees Celsius and Almora 13.4 degrees Celsius, the MeT Department in Dehradun said.



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37 Years On, Bhopal Gas Tragedy Victims Still Await Adequate Compensation – dot newz

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“In 1984, Congress was in power in Madhya Pradesh and at Centre”: Bhopal Gas Tragedy Minister

Bhopal:

Thirty-seven years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, termed as the world’s worst industrial disaster, the survivors and the family of the dead are still waiting to be compensated fairly with an organisation working for them claiming that each victim has so far received less than one-fifth of the allotted sum.

The leak of methyl isocyanate, a toxic gas, from the pesticide plant of Union Carbide on the intervening night of December 2 and 3, 1984, had killed over 3,000 people and left 1.02 lakh others affected at that time. However, the number of affected later rose to over 5.70 lakh.

Talking to PTI, Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vishvas Sarang said, “In 1984, the Congress was in power in Madhya Pradesh and at the Centre. The two governments did not put forth the case of the victims in a right manner to enable them to get more compensation.”

Bhopal Gas Peedith Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti (BGPSSS) co-convener ND Jayaprakash said the Supreme Court assisted settlement on February 14-15, 1989 worth Rs 705 crore was based on the assumption that only around 3,000 persons died and 1,02,000 were affected.

“This compensation was a complete sham as each gas victim ended up being given less than one-fifth of the sum allotted even as per the terms of that unjust settlement,” he added.

When asked to explain, he said that the financial aid was USD 470 million in 1989. The dollars turned into more than Rs 3,000 crore in 2004, when the disbursements started.

“But the number of the victims swelled to 5.73 lakh and this amount was distributed among them. So, each victim got one-fifth of the compensation,” he added.

“The failure on the part of the Supreme Court to hear the long-pending curative petition against the unjust settlement of 1989, has had an adverse impact on the interests of the gas victims,” he said in a media statement.

The curative petition (civil), which was filed by the Union of India on December 3, 2010 to challenge the unjust settlement of 1989 and to seek additional sum of at least another Rs 7,724 crore as compensation was last listed before the Constitution Bench of the Court on January 29 last year, he said.

“However, the hearing was postponed to February 11 last year. Sadly, the matter was never listed on that date or ever since then,” he said.

Failure to dispose of the curative petition has also meant the indefinite postponement of the hearing of the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed on March 17, 2010 by eight members of Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sangathan (BGPMUS) and BGPSSS, he said.

In the SLP, the two NGOs have sought enhancement of settlement sum by a factor of five in terms of the magnitude of the disaster as assessed by the claim courts and in terms of the gravity of injuries suffered by the gas victims on the basis of their medical records, Jayaprakash said.

Failure to dispose of the pending curative petition and the SLP for over a decade has effectively denied the gas-victims several thousands of crores of additional compensation that they are legitimately entitled to, he added.

In the curative petition, the Centre has sought Rs 7,724 crore as additional funds from successor firms of US-based Union Carbide Corporation, now owned by Dow Chemicals, for giving compensation to victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy.

The Centre, in its plea, is seeking a direction to Union Carbide and other firms for Rs 7,722 crore additional amount over and above the earlier settlement amount of USD 470 million in 1989 for paying compensation to the gas tragedy victims.

On June 7, 2010, a local court had convicted seven executives of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) to two years of imprisonment in connection with the incident. The then UCC chairman, Warren Anderson, was the prime accused in the case but did not appear for the trial. On February 1, 1992, the Bhopal CJM court had declared him an absconder. He died in the US in 2014. 



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5 Contacts Of Bengaluru Omicron Patient Test Positive For Covid, Isolated – dot newz

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Bengaluru:

Five contacts of an Omicron patient have turned out to be Covid positive, Karnataka announced today, shortly after the Union health ministry said the first patients of the new Covid variant have been found in the state. The patients have been isolated and their samples have been sent for genome testing, Karnataka said amid concern over the highly infectious strain that has set off global alarm.

One of the two initial patients is a 46-year-old health worker from Bengaluru, who developed symptoms of fever and body ache on November 21.

He tested positive the following day and was admitted to hospital; his sample was sent for genome sequencing on the same day.  But three days later he was discharged.

After extensive contact tracing, the Karnataka government said he had 13 direct contacts and more than 250 secondary contacts.

The other confirmed Omicron patient is a 66-year-old South African national who came to India with a negative Covid report.

The man, who received both vaccine doses, tested positive on arrival and was asymptomatic, following which he was told to self-isolate.

A week later, with a negative Covid report from a private lab, he flew to Dubai. Samples from his 24 primary and 240 secondary contacts have returned negative test results.



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