Friday, 13 December 2019

Nirmala Sitharaman ranked 34th in the world's most powerful women list: Forbes

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, HCL Corporation CEO and Executive Director Roshni Nadar Malhotra and Biocon Founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw have been named among the world’s 100 most powerful women by Forbes.
Ms. Sitharaman, a newcomer on the Forbes most powerful women list, is ranked 34th. India’s first female finance minister, Ms. Sitharaman has also served as the country’s defence minister. She is the first female to hold the portfolio full time. Before her, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi briefly took additional charge of the ministry.
The Forbes 2019 list of ‘The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ has been topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, followed by President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde in the second spot and Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, ranked third. Also on the list is Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, ranked 29th.
In 2019, women around the globe took action, claiming leadership positions in government, business, philanthropy and media. These trailblazers are not to be messed with, Forbes said.
Ms. Nadar Malhotra is ranked 54th on the list. As CEO of HCL Corporation, she is responsible for all strategic decisions for the $8.9 billion technology company.
Ms. Malhotra is also the chairperson of the company’s CSR Committee and is a trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation, which is focused on education and has established some of India’s top colleges and schools, Forbes said.
Ms. Mazumdar-Shaw, ranked 65 on the list, is India’s richest self-made woman and founder of the country’s largest biopharmaceutical firm Biocon in 1978.
Biocon has successfully forayed into the lucrative US biosimilars market, catching the attention of investors and it also became the first company to gain approval from the USFDA for two different biosimilars of drugs used in certain cancer treatments.
Ms. Mazumdar-Shaw has invested in research infrastructure and scientific talent with the aim of building a deep R&D-based biotech firm, not a copycat generics maker, Forbes said.
The Forbes list also includes Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Melinda Gates (6), IBM CEO Ginni Rometty (9), Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (18), New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (38), First Daughter and Advisor to President Donald Trump Ivanka Trump (42), singers Rihanna (61), Beyonce (66) and Taylor Swift (71), tennis star Serena Williams (81) and teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg (100).
Referring to Pelosi’s recent “Don’t mess with me” remark to a reporter, Forbes said that could be the mantra for just about every one of the Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women.
“The top-ranked woman for the ninth year in a row, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is crusading against anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe; Taylor Swift is battling industry stalwarts and private equity firms over musician song-ownership rights; and 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg— one of 23 newcomers to the list— is fighting inaction on climate change and galvanizing millions of young people around the globe.”

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

After a heated debate, Rajya Sabha clears Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955, and for the first time, will grant citizenship on the basis of religion to non-Muslim communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered India on or before December 31, 2014. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday.
The debate saw fiery exchanges, with Opposition members accusing the government of violating the provisions of the Constitution. The Opposition also added that the legislation could be challenged on legal grounds. Several members also flagged the violent protests against the Bill in Assam and Tripura. 
Replying to the debate, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said, “The Bill has no provision to snatch citizenship from anyone but to grant citizenship to the refugees. There is no need for Indian Muslims to live in fear. India has given respect to its Muslim population. This Bill does not discriminate against them. India will never be Muslim mukt I (free).” 
He said Muslims need not worry. However, he added, “...If you expect that Muslims from all over the world would be accommodated here, then you are mistaken. This country will not function like this.” 
He said he was mindful of the concerns of people in the Northeast, and all the (Hindu Bengalis) refugees from the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) who came to West Bengal will be given citizenship.
Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government did not have authentic records on the number of persecuted people from the three countries. “While the Home Minister has been counting crores and lakhs of far only 4,400 people have cited religious persecution as grounds to get citizenship,” Mr. Azad said.
The Congress’s Kapil Sibal asked how the government would differentiate between illegal migrants and those persecuted on religious grounds. 
He said the government was forcing people to lie that they had come from Bangladesh as they always claimed they are Indians.
To this, Mr. Shah said, “If you ask someone if they are illegal, they will say ‘No’. But we will tell them that you will be granted citizenship from the date you entered.”
“Had they disclosed earlier they would have been arrested, lost jobs, marriages would have broken. Earlier they couldn’t declare they are illegal; can’t you (Opposition) hear their pain,” the Home Minister said. 
Strongly opposing the Bill, DMK MP Tiruchi Siva asked the government why only one religion had been excluded for according citizenship to illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Participating in the debate in the Rajya Sabha, he said the Bill was polarising and that the government was targeting only one religion.
Mr. Shah said the statements given by Congress MPs were similar to that of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, leading to sharp retort from the party. Mr. Shah said any Muslim could apply for citizenship through the usual channels and in the past five years, 566 persons from Pakistan were granted citizenship.
He said anyone could move a legal challenge to the Bill but he was confident that it will pass the test of law.
He asked Congress to stop fooling the minorities adding that during Congress regime more than 13,000 Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan became Indian citizens.

Monday, 9 December 2019

JNU students lathi-charged by police during march to Rashtrapati Bhavan

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students who were marching towards Rashtrapati Bhavan were stopped by police and baton charged near the Bhikaji Cama Place metro station in New Delhi on December 9.
JNU students began a march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan seeking an appointment with the President, the visitor of the varsity, to urge him to intervene to ensure that the hike in hostel fee is rolled back.
Heavy deployment of police was in place ahead of the students’ march against the hostel fee hike.
When the students reached the cordoned off area, they tried to jump across the barricades and were lathi charged by police.
In view of the march, security was beefed up around JNU since morning.
Roads leading to JNU were shut for traffic and appeals made to students to protest peacefully, a police official said.
The students circulated photos, claiming police have closed all gates of the university before beginning the march. As they began, they raised slogans like “Delhi Police go back” and “Education must be free for all”.
Entry and exit points at Udyog Bhavan, Lok Kalyan Marg and Central Secretariat metro stations were closed by authorities fearing protests there.
“As advised by Delhi Police, entry & exit at Udyog Bhawan, Lok Kalyan Marg and Central Secretariat have been closed. Trains are not halting at Udyog Bhawan and Lok Kalyan Marg,” the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation said on Twitter.
The Delhi Traffic Police said Baba Gangnath Marg has also been closed for vehicular traffic.
The students have been protesting for over a month inside the campus against the hostel fee hike and have also called for boycott of the upcoming semester exams, despite repetitive appeals by the administration to them to return to classes.
The HRD Ministry had set up a three-member committee to look into ways to restore normal functioning in the JNU and mediate between the agitating students and the administration.
The panel submitted its report to the Ministry but no call has been taken yet.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

India-U.S. partnership evolving fast: Shringla

Inherent in India’s growth story is a natural partnership with the United States. This partnership is evolving fast both in strategic and economic domains,” India’s Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Vardhan Shringla told students and faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Friday.

“Our defense procurement relationship has gone up from almost nil 15 years ago to nearly 20 billion today. India is now a major defense partner of the United States. We have signed a number of foundation agreements and our militaries exercise regularly with each other,” he said.
India-US bilateral trade, he said, has been growing at 10 per cent year-on-year basis to reach USD 142 billion in 2018 and has also become more balanced, Mr. Shringla said.
The investment relationship is also bi-directional with 2,000 US companies investing around USD40 billion in India covering almost every sector of the modern economy. At the same time, 200 Indian companies have invested USD 18 billion dollars in the US creating more than 1,00,000 jobs directly, he told the audience.
“Our strategic energy partnership has also grown with India importing nearly 8 billion dollars of oil and gas this year,” he said.
“We have long term cooperation in health technology with US agencies such as National Institute of Health and a range of collaborative research projects focussed on understanding chronic and infectious diseases at basic molecular/clinical level and development of new therapeutics and diagnostics to address healthcare-related issues, including development of new vaccines and treatment of multi drug-resistant tuberculosis,” Mr. Shringla said.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019


South Asian Games | India claims 10 medals in athletics

India dominated the track and field events of the 13th South Asian Games (SAG) by clinching 10 medals
Archana clocked 11.80 seconds to emerge the fastest woman, leaving behind Sri Lankans Thanuji Amasha (11.82) and Lakshika Sugand (11.84), who won the silver and bronze respectively. In women’s high jump, Jashna cleared 1.73m for the gold while Rubina Yadav bagged a bronze with an effort of 1.69m. Kushare cleared 2.21m to win the men’s high jump gold while compatriot Chetan Balasubramanya claimed the silver with an effort of 2.16m.
Saroj won the men’s 1500m gold in a time of 3.54.18 while Ajeet Kumar took the silver by clocking 3.57.18. The bronze went to Tanka Karki (3.50.20s) of Nepal. Kavita won the women’s 10,000m silver in 35m 7.95s. 
Earlier, Chanda (4.34.51) won the silver in women’s 1,500m while compatriot Chitra Palakeez (4.35.46) claimed the bronze. Sri Lanka’s Uda Kuburalage (4.34.34) won the gold.

Indian shooters swept all the medals on offer in the women’s 10m air rifle event, with Mehuli Ghosh winning the gold with a score better than the World record. Mehuli’s effort, however, will not be considered as a World record as the SAG’s results are not recognised by the ISSF for the purpose of records.
India also won the team gold in the 10m air rifle event.
The 19-year-old Mehuli scored 253.3 in the final, 0.4 more than Apurvi Chandela’s current World record of 252.9. Shriyanka Sadangi took the silver (250.8) while Shreya Agrawal (227.2) clinched the bronze.

The Indian men’s and women’s table tennis teams claimed gold medals after defeating Nepal and Sri Lanka 3-0 in the respective finals.
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were awarded a bronze each in the men’s event. Among women, Nepal and Maldives got a bronze each.
Santoo Shrestha gave a tough time to A. Amalraj before the Indian rallied to win 12-10, 14-16, 11-5, 11-8 to put his team in the lead. Soumyajit Ghosh then accounted for Shiva Sunder Gothe 11-3, 11-2, 12-10 and Harmeet Desai finished it off with a 11-4, 11-4, 11-8 win over Purushottam Borjacahrya.
In the women’s final, Sutirtha Mukehrjee beat Sri Lanka’s Ishara Madhurangi 11-9, 11-7, 11-3 and Krittiwika Sinha Roy won 11-6, 11-4, 11-2 over Erandi Waruswithana before Sreeja Akuka accounted for Hansini Piumila 11-5, 11-5, 11-3.