The Hindu Morning Digest: December 28, 2023

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Government working to make cooperatives strong part of rural life: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said his government is working to make cooperatives a strong part of rural life, asserting that they are being scaled up massively in sectors like agriculture and fisheries after making a mark in fields such as dairy and sugar production. In an interaction with beneficiaries of the ongoing ‘Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra‘, he said the change in the lives of crores of beneficiaries of his government’s welfare schemes in the last 10 years has been a story of courage, satisfaction and dreams.

Ayodhya railway junction renamed as Ayodhya Dham

Ayodhya railway junction in Uttar Pradesh has been renamed as Ayodhya Dham junction, local MP Lallu Singh said on Wednesday. The announcement came days before the inauguration of the redevelopment railway station by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In a post on X, Mr. Singh said, “Ayodhya Junction has become Ayodhya Dham Junction.” Under the guidance of Prime Minister Modi, the renaming has been done respecting public sentiments, he said.

President Vladimir Putin invites PM Modi to visit Russia

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Russia next year as External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar called on the Russian leader at the Kremlin. “We will be glad to see our friend, Mr. Prime Minister Modi in Russia,” Mr. Putin told EAM Jaishankar. Mr. Jaishankar, who is here on a five-day official visit to Russia, earlier met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

After rout in Hindi heartland, Congress reviews readiness of State units for Lok Sabha poll

The Congress leadership on Wednesday held a meeting with leaders of the party’s Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh units to discuss its strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha election. Party president Mallikarjun Kharge, former chief Rahul Gandhi, and general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal are among the top leaders from the Congress who have been reviewing the election preparedness of various States. On Tuesday, the party high command had reviewed electoral strategies with the units of Bihar, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Amrit Bharat fare for second, sleeper class 15-17% higher than normal express trains

The minimum ticket price to travel on Amrit Bharat Express trains for a destination within one km to 50 km is ₹35, exclusive of the reservation fee and other charges, the Railway Board has informed all zones. It has issued a circular on the fare structure of Amrit Bharat trains and attached a “Fare Table” with the distance slabs and ticket prices for second-class and sleeper-class passengers. As the first Amrit Bharat train, which will be flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh on December 30, has only second-class and sleeper-class compartments, the Railway Ministry is yet to work out the fare table for the air-conditioned classes, sources said.

Supreme Court forms panel to prepare SOP for adjournments

The Supreme Court has constituted a committee of judges for preparing a standard operating procedure (SOP) for lawyers seeking adjournment of proceedings. The panel has invited suggestions of the Bar and other stakeholders on the issue. The decision to form a committee came after the Supreme Court Bar Association and the Supreme Court Advocate on Record Association raised concern over circulars issued in December about the discontinuation of the practice of circulation of adjournment slips.

Delhi Police arrests former cricketer for duping several 5-star hotels

Having cheated multiple five-star hotels and resorts of lakhs of rupees as well as cricketer Rishabh Pant of ₹1.63 crore, a conman was arrested from Delhi airport while trying to flee the country, the police said on Wednesday. Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Ravikant Kumar said Mrinank Singh was planning to fly to Hong Kong on Monday, but immigration officials detained the 25-year-old as a lookout circular had been issued against the accused and handed him to the police.

Hasina announces Awami League’s poll manifesto, pledges to build ‘Smart Bangladesh’

Bangladesh Prime Minister and ruling Awami League’s president Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday launched her party’s poll manifesto, pledging to build a “Smart Bangladesh” if elected for a fourth consecutive term in the January 7 general elections, being boycotted by the main opposition BNP. “Come; once again allow us to serve you by voting for the ‘boat’, the election symbol of the Awami League,” Ms. Hasina, along with senior party leaders and sympathisers, said while unveiling her party’s poll manifesto in a crowded press conference.

BJP had no role in Ram Janmabhoomi movement, says Uddhav’s Sena faction

A war of words has erupted between the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) and the ruling BJP over the upcoming Ram Mandir inauguration, after Mr. Thackeray was not invited to the event slated for January 22 next year. Sena (UBT) spokesperson Sanjay Raut on Wednesday questioned the BJP’s “actual” contribution to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and the demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya in December 1992, while accusing it of having forgotten the Shiv Sena’s and Bal Thackeray’s contribution.

Won’t take any step that hurts Samajwadi Party, says Pawar on Mayawati’s induction into INDIA bloc

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday reiterated that it was not necessary for the Opposition INDIA bloc to announce a prime ministerial face as an alternative to Narendra Modi. Speaking in Maharashtra’s Amravati district, Mr. Pawar, replying to a query on the induction of Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) into the INDIA bloc, made it clear that the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) was the alliance’s important ally in the Uttar Pradesh and that it would not take any decision that would hurt it. 

Rajya Sabha MP writes to Railways Minister over avoiding exuberant expenditure on PM’s selfie points

Expressing dismay over the fact that the Central Railway spent nearly ₹1.62 crore on installing selfie photo booths with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cut out image, Member of Parliament from Rajya Sabha Dr. V. Sivadasan wrote a letter to Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.  Dr. Sivadasan requested urgent intervention from Ministry of Railways so that wastage of money for partisan political propaganda is avoided. The Hindu reported on December 27 that Central Bureau of Communication under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had approved L1 contract rates for installing temporary selfie booths at ₹1.25 lakh per installation and ₹6.25 lakh for every permanent installation, to be installed at railway stations. 

Axis Bank moves NCLT to seek insolvency proceedings against Zee Learn

Private sector lender Axis Bank has filed a petition against Zee Learn before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) seeking insolvency proceedings against the the education services provider firm. The company has received a notice from the Mumbai bench of the NCLT in this regard, Zee Learn said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday. “A petition under Section 7 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 has been filed by Axis Bank Ltd to initiate Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) of the Company before the National Company Law Tribunal, Mumbai,” it said. The company is compiling information to verify the facts claimed.

Parliament security breach case: Accused Neelam Azad moves Delhi HC, calls police remand illegal

Neelam Azad, an accused arrested in the December 13 Parliament security breach case, on Wednesday approached the Delhi High Court alleging her police remand was illegal as she was not allowed to consult a legal practitioner of her choice to defend her during the trial court proceedings. In her petition, seeking a writ of habeas corpus directing her production before the high court as well as an order to “set her at liberty”, Azad said not allowing her to consult a lawyer of her choice amounted to violation of her fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution, making the remand order unlawful. The trial court has remanded her in police custody till January 5.

Union Minister Anurag Thakur dismisses Congress’ Bharat Nyay Yatra, evokes 1984 riots

Union Minister Anurag Thakur dismissed the Congress party’s announcement on Wednesday to hold a ‘Bharat Nyay Yatra’, labelling it a spurious attempt to provide justice by “those who could not provide justice to the victims of the anti-Sikh riots of 1984”. The Congress had, at a press conference earlier in the day, announced it would be undertaking the Bharat Nyay Yatra, to be led by Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi from Manipur to Mumbai, passing through 14 States and 85 districts from the east to the west of India in 67 days, beginning January 14.

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