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“Annadata Victorious, Anti-Farming Laws Have Lost”: Sonia Gandhi – dot newz

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Congress chief Sonia Gandhi issued a statement on the farm laws scrapping (File)

New Delhi:

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Friday night hailed the Modi government’s decision to cancel the three controversial farm laws, calling it “the victory of the struggle and willpower of 62 crore farmers and farm labourers (and) sacrifices of more than 700 farmer families”.

The “anti-farming laws have lost and the annadata (farmer) has emerged victorious”, she said, slamming the “anti-farmer, anti-labourer conspiracy… (and) arrogance of dictatorial rulers”.

Mr Gandhi also underlined the importance of the MSP system for the farmers – something farmer leaders have said they will continue to protest for even after the three laws are repealed.

“After almost 12 months of Gandhian agitation, today is the victory of the struggle and willpower of 62 crore farmers and farm labourers… sacrifices of more than 700 farmer families have paid off… Today is the victory of truth, justice and non-violence,” she said.

“Today, the anti-farmer, anti-labourer conspiracy hatched by the people in power has been defeated and the arrogance of the dictatorial rulers too. Today, the three anti-farming laws have lost and the annadata has emerged victorious,” Mrs Gandhi declared.

The Congress chief emphasised the importance of MSP – farmers have demanded legal guarantees for the price support system in addition to the scrapping of the “black” laws.

“… according to the Government of India, the average income of the farmer has come down to Rs 27 per day and the average debt burden is Rs 74,000… the government needs to think again on how farmers can get the fair price for their crop by way of MSP,” she said.

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Farmers have welcomed the cancelling of the laws but will insist on legal guarantees for MSP

MSPs are critical in helping farmers weather the vagaries of farming – these risks include bad weather, demand volatility, natural disasters, infestation by pests, etc.

The government had said it would only offer a written (non-binding) offer on this count.

Farmers protesting the laws have welcomed the decision but have underlined their determination to get legal guarantees for MSP before backing down. They had expressed fears MSPs would be scrapped under one of the (to-be-cancelled) laws, something the government had denied.

Mrs Gandhi also took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, particularly over the way the laws were passed in September last year – amid ruckus in Parliament as opposition parties accused the government of steamrolling the laws through both houses.

“In a democracy, any decision should be taken only after holding discussion with all, the consent of all those affected and after consultation with the opposition. Hope the Modi government has at least learnt some lessons for the future,” Mrs Gandhi said.

Earlier today senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and former Union Minister P Chidambaram also spoke out on the cancelling of the laws.

A January tweet by Mr Gandhi has been widely shared online; in it he had said: “Mark my words, the government will have to take back the anti-farm laws.”



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China Poses Significant Challenge To India’s Strategic Goals: Air Chief – dot newz

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Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said the Indian Air Force needs to be rapidly modernized. (File)

New Delhi:

Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari said that China poses a significant long term challenge to India’s strategic goals. He said it should be made clear to the world that today’s India has the capability and will to respond at a level that the nation deems appropriate.

“China poses a significant and long-term challenge to India’s strategic goals. Both People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) have enhanced their military capabilities in equipment and infrastructure. The Indian Air Force (IAF) needs to be rapidly modernized, expand its fleet and improve indigenous manufacturing capabilities,” the IAF chief said at a seminar conducted by the Centre for Air Power Studies.

The IAF needs to be rapidly modernized, expand its fleet and improve indigenous manufacturing capabilities, he urged.

The IAF chief said that China’s hegemonic and entrapping policies can provide opportunities for India to leverage in trade and military domains.

He also asserted that India has demonstrated its capabilities during a standoff on the northern border while simultaneously handling the national COVID-19 response.

“In the future, we could be attacked from all fronts, starting from economic strangulation to diplomatic isolation and military stand-offs to information blackouts, in the form of attack by a distributed denial of services. We will need to prepare for the full spectrum,” the Air Force chief cautioned.

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



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Gen Rawat Was On “Very Safe” Mi-17V-5, Crash Confounds Experts – dot newz

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India owns a fairly large fleet of Mi-17V-5 helicopters that are often used to ferry VIPs.

New Delhi:

The Mi-17V-5 helicopters are extremely reliable and are the workhorses of the Air Force, several former army officers told NDTV after one of these choppers crashed in Tamil Nadu, with Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat and several members of his family on board. The crash perplexed the experts, who said the flight from Sulur to Wellington did not involve complications.

Four people are dead and another four who survived, have been taken to a hospital. It is believed that there were 14 people on board, including the chopper’s crew and passengers.

The Indian Air Force has already ordered an inquiry into the crash.

The Mi-17V-5 is the latest twin-engine iteration of the Russian-made Mi-17 transport helicopter and is used regularly for high-altitude operations. One of the most advanced military transports that can be used in any topography and weather, it is one of the most powerful choppers used by Indian defence forces.

India owns a fairly large fleet of these helicopters that were purchased and inducted between 2013 and 2018.

Most experts NDTV spoke to described it as a “very reliable, safe, stable, and large” helicopter that is also used to ferry VIPs, including the President and the Prime Minister.

According to information available on the website of Rosoboronexport — the Russian arms supplier — the chopper is designed to “carry personnel, cargo and equipment inside the cargo cabin or on an external sling, drop tactical air assault forces and reconnaissance and sabotage groups, destroy ground targets and carry the wounded”.

“Its armament system includes unguided rockets (up to 80 S-8 80mm unguided aerial rockets), cannons (suspended pods with 23mm cannons and 250 rounds each) and small arms,” the website says.



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‘Smartphones, Scootys, Security’: Congress’ “Women’s Manifesto” Before UP Polls – dot newz

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UP will vote for a new government in 2022, with the Congress challenging the BJP

Lucknow:

Girls studying in Classes 10 to 12 in Uttar Pradesh schools will get smartphones and female graduate students will get scooters, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said Wednesday as part of a six-point “woman’s manifesto” ahead of an Assembly election in the state in a few months.

Ms Gandhi Vadra – who is leading her party’s campaign in the poll-bound state – read out a number of measures and schemes the Congress plans to implement should it win next year’s election, and demanded that all parties understand “the fact women have to bear with exploitation”.

Promises made by Ms Gandhi Vadra today include the offer of three free LPG cylinders for women – a significant offer given the skyrocketing prices of gas cylinders in the country, something for which the BJP (in power in UP and at the centre) has been severely criticised.

“I hope this women’s manifesto will put pressure on other political parties to also speak about similar issues. We want to release a women-specific manifesto so women have freedom of choice… I have seen that women ka bahut shoshan hota hai but they are fighting for their rights,” she said.

Ms Gandhi Vadra also highlighted the Congress’ promise to reserve 40 per cent of its election tickets for women; “this is not only on paper,” she said, giving late Indira Gandhi – India’s first woman prime minister – as an example of the Congress’ contribution to women in politics.

“Our attempt is to bring real women’s empowerment… at the grassroots level. Women’s empowerment is usually spoken about before elections and then mostly restricted to being on paper. We want to actually empower women on ground,” the Congress leader said.

“Parliament and legislative assemblies have an average of 14 per cent participation by women representatives. That needs to increase… we want that 40 per cent of all seats should be represented by women. This will increase their participation in policy-making,” she stressed.

Apart from smartphones, scooters and free gas cylinders, Ms Gandhi Vadra said women senior citizens and widows would get a monthly pension of Rs 1,000, and every new-born girl will get a fixed deposit in her name. All households with women will get a free internet connection.

Ms Gandhi Vadra also flagged the issue of women’s security – a serious subject given the worrying number of violent crimes against women reported from Uttar Pradesh.

“We want 25 per cent of the police to consist of women. All chowkis to have at least one woman officer and constable,” she said, reminding reporters that many crimes were unreported as the police is reluctant to file a case. “More women in the force will help the cause of women,” she said.

The Congress also promised Rs 10 lakh medical cover for women “for any kind of illness or disease”.

UP votes for a new government in a few months time.

The Assembly election here – for 403 seats – is widely seen as an indicator of how the ruling BJP might fare in the 2024 general election, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party will seek a third consecutive term in power.



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