Nearly 50 per cent of Rs 2K notes in circulation has already come back: RBI Governor

News Network
June 8, 2023

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Reserve Bank Governor Shaktikanta Das on Thursday said about 50 per cent of Rs 2,000 notes in circulation has come back in the banking system since the RBI announced withdrawal of the highest denomination currency last month.

As on March 31, 2023, he said, Rs 2,000 notes worth Rs 3.62 lakh crore were in circulation.

"So far, Rs 1.80 lakh crore have come back after the announcement," he said during an interaction with media after releasing the bi-monthly monetary policy here.

About 85 per cent of Rs 2,000 notes are coming as deposits in bank accounts and this is in line with expectation, he said.

On May 19, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced the withdrawal of Rs 2,000 denomination banknotes as part of its currency management and permitted the exchange of such notes (up to Rs 20,000 in one go) from May 23 onwards. The exchange or deposit window is available till September 30, 2023.

The governor also urged the public not to panic for exchange or deposit of Rs 2,000 notes but should avoid last minute rush.

He also made it clear that RBI is not thinking of withdrawing Rs 500 notes, or even re-introducing notes in the Rs 1,000 denomination, and requested the public not to speculate on this.

Last month, the RBI governor had said the majority of the withdrawn Rs 2,000 currency notes are expected to be returned to the banking system by the September 30 deadline.

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Agencies
June 18,2024

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Expelled Congress leader Acharya Pramod Krishnam on Tuesday claimed that attempts are being made within the Congress party to diminish Priyanka Gandhi's stature by giving her a ticket to Lok Sabha in the by-elections. 

His comment came a day after Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge announced that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will contest the bypoll from the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat and Rahul Gandhi will retain Rae Bareli. 

"Priyanka Gandhi is the most popular face in Congress. She should have been made the Congress president... By giving her a ticket to Lok Sabha in by-elections, attempts are being made to diminish the stature of Priyanka Gandhi," he said. 

Krishnam further trained his guns at the Congress and claimed the grand old party has proven that it "does not trust Hindus" by fielding Priyanka from Wayanad. 

While wishing Priyanka good luck, Acharya Krishnam said, "But Congress has proven one thing by making Priyanka Gandhi contest from Wayanad, that Congress doesn't trust Hindus. Had they trusted Hindus, she would have been made to contest from elsewhere."

Not only Acharya Pramod Krishnam, BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla also attacked the Congress over its decision to field Priyanka Gandhi from Wayanad, stating this decision proves that the Congress is not a party but a "family business."

Priyanka Gandhi on contesting from Wayanad

After Kharge's announcement that she will contest from Wayanad in the upcoming by-poll, Priyanka Gandhi said that she was happy to be able to represent Wayanad. She added that she would not let the people of Wayanad feel her brother's absence. 

"I will work hard and I will try my best to make everyone happy and be a good representative. I have a very old relationship with Raebareli and Amethi and it cannot be broken. I will also help my brother in Raebareli. We will both be present in Raebareli and Wayanad," she said. 

In the Lok Sabha elections 2024, Rahul Gandhi contested and won from both Raebareli and Wayanad Lok Sabha seats. Rahul Gandhi won the Raebareli Lol Sabha seat by a margin of more than 3.90 lakh votes whereas he clinched Wayanad by a margin of more than 3.64 lakh votes. 

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News Network
June 19,2024

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An alarming rise in the frequency and intensity of heat waves, along with other ill-effects of climate change have plagued the world at large in recent years. The vice-grip of extreme heat has now affected the pilgrims of Hajj -the annual Islamic pilgrimage.

According to reports by news agency AFP, Saudi diplomats have revealed that more than 550 pilgrims lost their lives while doing the hajj this year due to heat-related issues, highlighting the arduous nature of the journey, especially under this sweltering heat.

Among the deceased, at least 323 were Egyptians. One of the diplomats stated, "All of them (the Egyptians) died because of heat" - barring one, who died from injuries sustained in a minor stampede incident due to overcrowding. Egypt's foreign ministry had earlier mentioned that they are in touch with Saudi authorities to look for Egyptians who disappeared en route to Mecca. The overall death toll was derived from the Al-Muaisem hospital morgue in Makkah.

Apart from the Egyptians, about 60 Jordanians have also died during this year's Hajj.

As per data released by concerned Saudi authorities last month, Hajj is becoming more and more impacted by climate change, with temperatures in the pilgrimage area rising by 0.4 degrees Celsius every ten years. The Saudi National Meteorological Center said that temperatures around the Grand Mosque area in Makkah reached a whopping 51.8 degrees Celsius on June 17.

Currently, over 2,000 pilgrims affected by heat exhaustion are being treated by Saudi authorities, officials have said. However, neither have they updated this tally, nor disclosed any information regarding fatalities since Sunday, June 16.

The death toll during Hajj stood at around 240 (mostly from Indonesia) the previous year.

Pilgrims in Mina, outside of Makkah, were seen dousing themselves with water from their bottles, as volunteers provided them with chilled beverages and fast-melting chocolate ice cream to help them cope with the scorching heat.

The authorities have set out advisory guidelines to the pilgrims, urging them to carry umbrellas, stay hydrated, and avoid staying under the sun during the hottest parts of the day.

Many pilgrims have also claimed to have spotted lifeless bodies lying on the side of the road on their way to the Grand Mosque; ambulance services struggled to handle the unprecedented amount of emergency situations, they said.

An estimated 1.8 million pilgrims performed the Hajj this year, with 1.6 million coming from outside Saudi. A huge number of pilgrims seek to complete the Hajj through unofficial means every year because they are unable to afford the heavy expenses required to obtain official Hajj visas.

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News Network
June 10,2024

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet in his historic third term will retain the known faces in the big four ministries - Amit Shah will retain the Home portfolio, Rajnath Singh Defence, Foreign ministry will be retained by S Jaishankar and the Finance ministry by Nirmala Sitharaman. 

The Prime Minister himself will handle the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, the Department of Atomic Energy and the Department of Space.

Many of the ministers have been retained with their last jobs in the interest of continuity as well. Among them is Nitin Gadkari, who will retain the Road Transport and Highways ministry with two juniors under him -- Ajay Tamta and Harsh Malhotra. The 67-year-old has been the longest serving minister in the department and has been credited with the building of construction of more than 54,858 km of national highways over the last 10 years.

Piyush Goyal has retained the Commerce portfolio.

JP Nadda, the health minister in PM Modi's first cabinet, has been brought back with the same portfolio. He has also been given additional charge of the Chemicals and Fertilisers department.

The plum portfolios of I&B and railways will be handled by Ashwini Vaishnaw. The Civil Aviation Ministry has changed hands from Jyotiraditya Scindia to TDP's Ram Mohan Naidu, the youngest minister in the cabinet. Mr Scindia has been put in charge of the Telecom ministry.

Two former Chief Ministers from the key BJP states of Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, who have been brought to the Centre, have been allocated significant responsibility. Manohar Lal Khattar will handle two key ministries -- Power and Housing and Urban Affairs. For the first, he would have the assistance of junior minister Shripad Naik, for the second, Tokhan Sahu, the first-time minister from Chhattisgarh.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the four-time Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, will handle the key ministry of Agriculture, and the related Farmers Welfare and Rural Development ministries.

Former Minister for Earth Sciences and Food Processing, Kiren Rijiju, has been put in charge of Parliamentary Affairs, previously handled by Pralhad Joshi. Mr Joshi has been moved to the Food, Consumer Affairs and Renewable Energy department.

CR Paatil will be in charge of Jal Shakti ministry and Bhupendra Yadav, Environment. Giriraj Singh has been shifted to Textiles -- a department handled by Smriti Irani. Annapurna Devi will be in charge of the other portfolio handled by Ms Irani -- Women & Child Development. Mansukh Mandavia has been put in charge of Labour and Employment and Sports and Youth Affairs.

Ravneet Singh Bittu -- the grandson of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh who was assassinated in 1995 -- will be the junior minster for food processing and railways. Mr Bittu has lost the election from Ludhiana and will have to get a seat in either house of parliament within the next six months.

Among allies, former Bihar Chief Minister and HAM chief Jitan Ram Manjhi will have charge of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises with Shobha Karandlaje as the Minister of State.

South ally and Janata Dal Secular chief HD Kumaraswamy has been put in charge of the Heavy Industries and Steel portfolios.

Key Bihar ally and LJP chief Chirag Paswan has been given charge of the Food Processing department.

Among the Ministers of State with Independent Charge, Dr Jitendra Singh is expected to be the busiest. A third-time Union minister from Jammu and Kashmir, he has been put in charge of multiple portfolios -- Science and Technology, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Space and the Prime Minister's Office.

Arjun Ram Meghwal will have Independent charge of for Law and Justice and will also be the junior minister for Parliamentary Affairs.

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