Babita Phogat, Mahavir Phogat join BJP

Agencies
August 12,2019

Chandigarh, Aug 12: International wrestler Babita Phogat and her father Mahavir Phogat, a noted wrestling coach, joined the BJP on Monday.

They joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in the presence of Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju, party's general secretary in-charge of Haryana Anil Jain and its state chief Subhash Barala.

Lauding the father-daughter duo, Rijiju said Babita Phogat has brought laurels to the country by bagging medals at several international events.

Her father is also an exemplary person for coaching his daughters and making them international level wrestlers.

The BJP believes that the induction of Phogats into the party will help it politically in the poll-bound Haryana. Assembly elections are due in the state later this year.

The Phogat household came to be known nationwide following the success of Hindi film Dangal, which is loosely based on the lives of Phogat sisters, all of them wrestlers, and their father who coached them against all odds.

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Rahul Gandhi issues warning, India's COVID-19 count could touch 20 lakh by Aug 10

News Network
July 17,2020
New Delhi, Jul 17:  Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that as India's COVID-19 tally has crossed 10,00,000 mark and issued a warning that by August 10, more than 20,00,000 people may be infected in the country. He called on the government to take concrete steps to control the pandemic.
 
Taking to Twitter, Gandhi marked his earlier tweet from July 14 that stated: "This week the figure will cross 10,00,000 in our country."
"The tally has crossed 10,00,000 mark. If COVID-19 continues to spread at the same speed, by August 10, more than 20,00,000 people will be infected in the country.
 
The government must take concrete, planned steps to stop the epidemic," he tweeted today.
With the highest single-day spike of 32,695 cases and 606 deaths, India's COVID-19 tally on Thursday reached 9,68,876, informed the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday.
 
The total number of COVID-19 cases includes 3,31,146 active cases, 6,12,815 cured/discharged/migrated and 24,915 deaths. 

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'Ad hoc lockdowns by state govts hurting struggling retail sector'

Agencies
July 21,2020

The Retailers Association of India (RAI) has said that ad hoc lockdowns by state governments are impacting the businesses of already-stressed retailers, along with hurting the economic revival of the country.

In a statement, the body of the organised retail industry said that the long road to recovery for the Indian retail industry continues to meet stumbling blocks with numerous restrictions being imposed at the state and local levels.

"Total lockdowns in some places and limited operational hours and days in several others are creating setbacks for retailers as the already stressed retail businesses are getting further interrupted and in turn, dampening consumer sentiment," it said.

According to RAI, although the intentions are that of citizen safety and social distancing, the recent instances of local lockdowns and ad hoc restrictions being imposed in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are having a distressing impact on retail businesses.

Retailers are already facing huge setbacks in terms of payment of wages and rentals due to very low sales of about 40 per cent as compared to last year, thanks to the extended lockdown, it said.

Contesting the restrictions on operating hours, Sandeep Kataria, CEO, Bata India said: "Restricted shopping time can lead to unnecessary overcrowding of stores, which is unfavourable towards the personal safety of both store staff and customers. Longer operational hours will support recovery for retailers as well as help adhering to social distancing norms."

Arvind Mediratta, MD and CEO, METRO Cash & Carry India said that these lockdowns will create severe inconvenience for all citizens as they also bar operations of food and grocery retail and wholesale stores.

Such hastily-implemented decisions by states undermine investor confidence and would come in the way of making the country "aatmanirbhar" or self-reliant, he said.

Voicing the concerns of retailers, the RAI has submitted representations to various state and local authorities that puts forth recommendations to get businesses and life of consumers on the track to recovery.

It has said that authorities should mandatorily allow essential shops including kiranas, general trade shops, supermarkets, hypermarkets and wholesalers to operate every day of the week until 9 p.m. to cater to the daily needs of the customers.

It has also sought ensuring uniform and regular opening of all categories of retail for full working hours while following stringent hygiene practices and adhering to social distancing norms. This will help avoid overcrowding outside stores as demand will get distributed over all days of the week, it said.

The industry body has also asked the local authorities to open malls in all states. Malls can ensure a safe shopping experience wherein safety measures are taken by both, the mall authorities and the retailers, it said.

Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, RAI, said: "The need of the hour is concerted efforts by all stakeholders. While retailers are doing their bit by following stringent hygiene practices, the policymakers too need to support to ensure economic revival across the country. Consumption is important for the country and supports the business environment."

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Early signs of India economic recovery wane as coronavirus cases surge

News Network
August 11,2020

india.JPG

India’s economic activity monitors are beginning to flatline just months after showing signs of returning to life.

Latest data from Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google showed mobility suffered in recent weeks after notching up an increase since May, when Asia’s third-largest economy began exiting a nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Elsewhere, high-frequency indicators from purchasing mangers’ surveys to fuel sales show growth plateauing in July. And that’s not all.

Bank credit shrank 0.8% in the two weeks to July 17 from a fortnight ago, tax collection moderated last month, while a measure of inter-state movement of goods traffic by road and rail was little changed. Data from private research firm, Centre for Monitoring India Economy Pvt., shows unemployment rising slightly after some improvement in June and July.

The drop in activity may be directly linked to India’s efforts to fight the virus outbreak. The nation, which is adding more than 50,000 cases daily, is seeing some of its most-industrialised states reimposing lockdowns to stop the spread of Covid-19.

India’s exit from the lockdown is not calibrated, said Soumya Kanti Ghosh, an economist with the State Bank of India. “We have been resorting to unplanned lockdowns that might be acting as a constraint on sustenance of economic activity.”

The economy is already headed for its worst slump in more than four decades, with the International Monetary Fund estimating the nation’s gross domestic product will shrink 4.5% this year.

More Indicators

The Nomura India Business Resumption Index, which tracks the pace of economic activity, showed a slight improvement in the week ended Aug. 9, but economists led by Sonal Varma said the data point to an uneven recovery and largely reflect pent-up demand.

“However, a second wave of Covid-19 cases, combined with a ‘rolling wave’ in traditionally safer states (in the south and the east), increase risks of protracted quasi-lockdown measures and tempering of sequential improvement in activity once the post-lockdown momentum ebbs,” wrote Varma and Aurodeep Nandi.

India, which hogged TomTom NV’s 2019 Traffic Index for congestion, saw fewer jams in July as people cut down on venturing out, showed an analysis by Rini Sen and Sanjay Mathur, economists at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. Recovery is still a long way off as consumption indicators continue to slump, they said.

“We are worried that the economic recovery will remain unstable with rising infection rates,” said Kunal Kundu, an economist with Societe Generale GSC Pvt. “Contraction would likely be deeper. This would prolong the uncertainty especially around jobs and salary cuts.”

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