Smriti Irani promises a new Hajj policy 'which reflects PM Modi's resolutions'

News Network
January 12, 2023

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The Union government is likely to announce a new Hajj policy after scrapping the discretionary Hajj quota that was available with people in top constitutional posts and the minority affairs ministry. 

Earlier, union minister Smriti Irani announced govt’s decision to do away with VIP Hajj asserting that the step has been taken as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's resolve to end 'VIP culture'.

Around 500 people could go to Hajj through seats allocated to the President, Vice President, prime minister, minority affairs minister and Haj committee under the VIP Haj quota. The quota has now been scrapped.

Now all Haj pilgrims will go through the Hajj committee and private tour operators only. The move, as a letter states, is to stop the VIP culture.

There were 100 seats in the President's quota, 75 in the Vice President's quota, 75 in the PM quota and 50 in the minority affairs minister quota. Even the 200 seats with the Hajj Committee of India have been done away with.

“Prime Minister Modi had put forward his resolve to end VIP culture on the very first day of his term. VIP culture was put in place with respect to Hajj during the UPA rule under which there was a special quota allocated to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Haj Committee and all those in top constitutional posts," Irani said.

She said that when it was started in 2012, there were around 5,000 seats under this special quota and if one knew someone in the government, one would be given a special category seat. 

"The government has ended that... The PM believed that if we have to do away with VIP culture completely then if there is any such special categorisation in any department, it should be ended," Irani said. She also said an exhaustive Hajj policy reflecting the PM's resolves and one that will take care of the poor's needs would be announced in the future.

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News Network
July 8,2024

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Moscow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here on Monday on a two-day high-profile visit to Russia during which he will hold summit talks with President Vladimir Putin to review all aspects of bilateral ties and explore opportunities to further boost cooperation in sectors like trade, energy and defence.

It is Modi's first trip to Russia in nearly five years. His last visit to Russia was in 2019 when he attended an economic conclave in the Far East city of Vladivostok.

During the 22nd India-Russia annual summit on Tuesday, Modi and Putin are expected to explore ways to further expand bilateral relations in diverse areas, including trade, energy and defence.

"The special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia has advanced over the past 10 years, including in areas of energy, security, trade, investment, health, education, culture, tourism and people-to-people exchanges," Modi said in his departure statement.

"I look forward to reviewing all aspects of bilateral cooperation with my friend President Vladimir Putin and sharing perspectives on various regional and global issues," he said.

"We seek to play a supportive role for a peaceful and stable region," he said without making any specific references.

The annual summit between the Prime Minister of India and the President of Russia is the highest institutional dialogue mechanism in the strategic partnership between the two countries.

So far, 21 annual summits have taken place alternatively in India and Russia.

The last summit was held on December 6, 2021, in New Delhi. President Putin had visited India to attend the summit. Putin, as head of the Russian state, has visited India nine times.

Prime Minister Modi and President Putin last held bilateral talks on the margins of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at Samarkand in Uzbekistan on September 16, 2022.

In the meeting, Modi had famously pressed Putin to end the conflict in Ukraine saying, "Today's era is not of war".

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Modi has held several telephonic conversations with Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

In reflection of its strong friendship with Russia, India has not yet condemned Moscow's invasion of Ukraine and it has been maintaining that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue.

In Russia, the prime minister will also meet the vibrant Indian community.

From Russia, Modi will travel to Austria on Tuesday in the first visit by an Indian prime minister to that country in over 40 years.

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coastaldigest.com news network
July 11,2024

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Mangaluru: Two athletes from Mangaluru are gearing up to represent India at the Paris Olympics starting on July 26. Poovamma MR, a seasoned member of the Indian women’s 4x400m relay team, and Mijo Chacko Kurian, selected for the men’s 4x400m relay team, are poised to showcase their talent on the international stage.

Poovamma MR had a notable moment recently, marking her third interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reflecting on her journey, she shared with the Prime Minister that she was just 18 when she served as a reserve member for the 2008 Olympics and was part of the team again in 2016. 

Determined to break a longstanding barrier, she mentioned that the team hadn't reached the finals since 2002, but this time, they aim to create a national record and secure a spot in the finals. The Prime Minister commended her confidence and dedication.

“This was my third interaction with the PM. I met him in 2014 and 2018. Earlier, we showed him our medals, and he congratulated us. This time, he asked us questions about our experiences and aspirations. It felt wonderful,” Poovamma remarked. Currently training in Patiala, she is set to depart for a 20-day training camp in Poland before heading to Paris.

In contrast, Mijo Chacko Kurian is making his Olympic debut. His journey began in class XII when he switched from cricket to athletics upon seeing runners at the NMPT stadium while Mangala Stadium was under renovation. 

Living nearby, he approached the coach and joined the training sessions. Despite initial struggles, he balanced his studies in engineering with his growing passion for athletics. His dedication paid off, leading him to leave college after two-and-a-half years to focus fully on his athletic career. Now a junior warrant officer with the Indian Air Force, Mijo is ready to make his mark in Paris.

As these athletes prepare for their Olympic journey, their stories of perseverance and dedication inspire many back home, highlighting the vibrant sporting spirit of Mangaluru.

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News Network
July 12,2024

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United Nations, July 12: India’s population is projected to peak in the early 2060s at about 1.7 billion and then decline by 12 per cent, but the country will remain the world's most populous throughout the century, the United Nations has said.

The World Population Prospects 2024 report, released here on Thursday, said that the world's population is expected to continue growing over the coming 50-60 years, reaching a peak of around 10.3 billion people in the mid-2080s, up from 8.2 billion in 2024. After peaking, the global population is projected to start declining gradually, falling to 10.2 billion people by the end of the century.

India, which surpassed China as the world's most populous nation last year, will continue to hold that position through 2100.

"The population of India, which is expected to remain the world's largest throughout the century, will likely decline by 12 per cent after reaching its peak in the early 2060s at about 1.7 billion," the UN report published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Population Division said.

According to the report, India's population in 2024 is projected at 1.45 billion and this will peak to 1.69 billion in 2054. After this, India's population is projected to decline to 1.5 billion by the end of the century in 2100, but the country will still remain the most populous nation on earth.

Responding to a question by PTI on population projections for India, Senior Population Affairs Officer, Population Division, UN DESA Clare Menozzi said at a press conference that "India is currently the largest country in the world in terms of population, and it is projected to stay so throughout the century. The population is currently estimated at 1.45 billion, and it's supposed to increase further" to 1.69 billion.

"It's supposed to peak around the 2060s in size and then it starts to slightly decline. So by the end of the century, India is projected to be around 1.5 billion, but still the largest country in the world by a large margin.” The report said that China's population, currently 1.41 billion in 2024, will fall to 1.21 billion in 2054 and further decline to 633 million by 2100.

"It is anticipated that China, the country currently with the world's second-largest population, will likely experience the largest absolute population loss between 2024 and 2054 (204 million)," followed by Japan (21 million) and Russia (10 million). "Longer-range population projections are more uncertain" for China, it said.

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