Age of expansionism is over, this is the age of development: PM Modi in Ladakh

News Network
July 3,2020

Leh, Jul 3: Taking an apparent dig at China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the age of expansionism is over and added that the new age of development is here.

"Age of expansionism is over, this is the age of development. History is witness that expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back," Modi said addressing soldiers in Ladakh's Nimmoo. However, the Prime Minister did not mention China at all in his address to the soldiers.

The remark comes amidst the ongoing tension between India and China at Line of Actual Control in the eastern Ladakh. In a violent face-off 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley on June 15-16 when Chinese troops attempted to unilaterally change the status quo during the de-escalation.

The Prime Minister also said that the people of Ladakh have rejected every attempt to create separatism in the region.

"Ladakh is the head of the country. This is the symbol of pride for the 130 crore citizens of India. This land belongs to the people who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the country... Every attempt to create separatism in the region was rejected by the nationalist people of Ladakh," Modi said.

He also said: "We are the same people who pray to the flute playing Lord Krishna, but we are also the same people who idealise and following the same Lord Krishna who carries the Sudarshan Chakra."

The two countries -- India and China -- have been involved in talks to ease the ongoing border tensions since last month.

Lauding the bravery displayed by the soldiers, the Prime Minister said: "The bravery that you and your compatriots showed, a message has gone to the world about India's strength."

"Your courage is higher than the heights where you are posted today," he added.

"Atmanirbhar Bharat ka sankalp aapke tyag, balidan, pursharth ke karan aur bhi mazbut hai,"(The determination of self-reliant India gets strengthened from your sacrifice and courage)," the Prime Minister said.

The soldiers were observed maintaining social distancing while PM Modi's address here.

PM Modi on Friday made a surprise visit to Ladakh and was briefed by senior officers at Nimmoo amid ongoing tension with China. The Prime Minister was accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane.

He reached Nimmoo, early morning today and interacted with Army, Air Force and ITBP personnel.

Located at 11,000 feet, this is among the tough terrains, surrounded by Zanskar range and on the banks of the Indus.

Sources had earlier informed about CDS Rawat's visit to Leh today. General Rawat's visit holds importance since it comes in the wake of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's visit to Ladakh being rescheduled.

Earlier, the Defence Minister was scheduled to visit Ladakh today to review the preparedness of the army amid the ongoing standoff with China.

The situation at the India-China border remains tense after 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives in a violent face-off in the Galwan valley on June 15-16 when Chinese troops attempted to unilaterally change the status quo during the de-escalation. India and China have been involved in talks to ease the ongoing border tensions since last month.

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With highest single-day spike of 55,079 cases, India's COVID-19 tally breaches 16 lakh mark

Agencies
July 31,2020

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New Delhi, Jul 31: With the highest single-day spike of 55,079 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, India's coronavirus tally breached the 16 lakh mark on Friday, informed the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

With this latest spike, the total cases in the country stand at 16,38,871. Among these cases 5,45,318 are active. A total of 10,57,806 patients have been cured/discharged/migrated.

779 deaths due to COVID-19 have been reported in the country in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 35,747.

As per the Union Health Ministry, Maharashtra has a total of 1,48,454 active cases and recorded 14,729 deaths due to COVID-19.
Tamil Nadu has a total of 57,962 active cases and 3,838 deaths in the state.

Delhi has a total of 10,743 active cases and 3,936 deaths.

The Indian Council of Medical Research on Friday informed that a total number of COVID-19 samples tested up to 30th July is 1,88,32,970 including 6,42,588 samples tested yesterday.

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Air India justifies leave without pay, says it's in very challenging financial situation

Agencies
July 18,2020

New Delhi, Jul 18: National carrier Air India on Friday said that it is in a ‘very challenging financial’ situation and is taking recourse to several initiatives, with a view to ensuring the continuance of its operations.

The airline, in a statement, noted that it has introduced the partially voluntary 'Leave Without Pay' (LWP) scheme on July 14.

"The scheme primarily enables employees to avail the benefits of proceeding on leave without pay on a voluntary basis. The LWP scheme has been introduced for grant of leave without pay and allowances for permanent employees for a period of six months or two years, which is extendable upto 5 years," the statement said.

"Air India had brought out similar scheme earlier... Several hundred employees have, in the past, availed of the LWP Scheme."

As per the statement, in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there may be employees who are unable to attend their office duties in person on account of personal reasons.

"The LWP scheme enables employees to take a break from their office responsibility for a defined period of time with the approval of the management, while retaining their employment with the company," the statement said.

"They will continue to avail facilities such as passage, medical and housing at specified rates."

Accordingly, the LWP scheme provides the opportunity to employees to take up alternative employment with the approval of the management during the period of the said leave, the airline said.

"The LWP scheme is a win-win situation for both the management as well as employees as it provides flexibility to employees and simultaneously reduces the wage bill for the company," the statement said.

"It is important to note here that the Covid-19 outbreak has very seriously impacted the airline sector and currently, the airline operations of the company are a small fraction of the prior Covid level operations."

The airline said that employees are encouraged to apply for availing the benefit of the scheme, in the prescribed format, by August 15.

"The only addition in this scheme as compared to the earlier LWP scheme is that the management can pass an order requiring the employees to go on leave for a period of six months or two years (extendable upto 5 years) compulsorily taking into consideration 'Suitability, Efficiency, Competence, Quality of performance, Health, Non-availability of employee and Redundancy'," the statement said.

Furthermore, the airline said that this provision has been introduced for use, "very sparingly", with a view to ensuring that the overall efficiency of the organisation, improves and the management will ensure that this will be implemented with complete fairness and transparency as per prescribed procedure.

Consequent to the announcement of the scheme, Air India unions are discussing their strategy against the move which might involve legal recourse.

An Air India union leader on Friday told IANS: "This is going to affect the livelihood of many. Why not every employee of AI take LWP a few days every month. This way the burden can be shared."

"The motive of the top management is to save their money by snatching money from lower employees."

According to Air India PIM document, as on November 1, 2019, the airline, on a standalone basis (without subsidiaries), had around 14,000 employees, including fixed term contract staff.

The development comes as the Centre has re-initiated the airline's divestment plan with new norms.

Interestingly, this time, it has sweetened the deal by substantially reducing the debt on the airline's account books and offered a 100 per cent stake in the loss-making airline.

The last date for bid submission to acquire Air India has also been extended to August 31.

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RIL overtakes ExxonMobil to become world's 2nd most valuable energy company, market cap crosses USD 189 billion

Agencies
July 24,2020

Mumbai, Jul 24: Reliance India Limited (RIL) on Friday overtook ExxonMobil to become the world's second most valuable energy company and 46th among the world's largest companies by market capitalisation.

RIL's market capitalisation stood at Rs 14.16 lakh crore (USD 189.3 billion) at market close on Friday. ExxonMobil's current market value is USD 184.77 billion.

"Reliance Industries, with a market capitalisation of USD 189.3 billion now is the second-most valuable energy company in the world. Reliance Industries now stands at 46th among the world's largest companies by market capitalisation ahead of well-known names like ExxonMobil, Abbott Laboratories, Oracle Corp, Chevron and Unilever Plc, and just below PepsiCo," RIL said in an official release.

RIL continued its rally on Friday, notwithstanding overall weak market conditions.

RIL shares made a new all-time high of Rs 2,163 and were last traded at Rs 2,148.8 on NSE with a gain of 4.4 per cent. The market capitalisation of fully paid-up shares stands at Rs 13.62 lakh crore (USD 182.06 billion), the release said.

Reliance partly paid-up shares gained 9.33 per cent on NSE today to last trade at Rs 1289.95. The partly paid-up shares now have a market capitalisation of Rs 0.55 lakh crore (USD 7.29 billion).

"Reliance's share price had touched a bottom of Rs 867 on March 23, 2020, when the total market value of the company stood at Rs 5.5 lakh crore or $73.5 billion. Thus, RIL has added $115.9 billion to shareholder wealth within just four months - one of the highest value creation feats in the world in such a short time," the release said.

Reliance had earlier raised Rs 212,809 crore through Rights Issue, combined investments in Jio Platforms and investment by bp.

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