The Tribune – Haryana and Punjab refuse to budge on SYL: Government to Rajya Sabha

Ravi S Singh – Tribune News Service

New Delhi – India, 16 March 2020. The government informed the Rajya Sabha today that in a follow-up to the Supreme Court’s directive, it tried to mediate between the governments of Haryana and Punjab to thrash out a mutually acceptable solution to the ticklish Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, but failed.

Responding to a supplementary by Congress member Kumari Selja, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said the two states refused to arrive on a “middle ground”.

“We have apprised the Supreme Court, which had asked the Centre to explore for a middle ground between the two states,” Shekhawat said.

The minister’s statement was in response to a pointed question by Selja as to what steps the government was taking with regard to the SYL canal, which was meant to provide water to presently parched areas of south Haryana, where ground water had depleted.

He said that the National Green Tribunal had ordered that drinking water supply should be provided to a village in Rewari district in the matter of Raghunath Singh versus Union of India and others.

As reported by the Public Health Engineering Department, Haryana, drinking water supply had been provided to Chirhara village in Rewari district through a tube well installed near the Jalalpur distributor, the minister stated.

He said the Central Ground Water Board and State Ground Water Department had jointly carried out estimation of the Dynamic Ground Water Resources of India. As per the assessment, total annual ground water recharge of Rewari district had been assessed to be 42,7000 hectare metre (ham) and annual extractable ground water resources 38,430 ham.

The total current annual ground water extraction was 35,079 ham, 29,559 ham for irrigation, 5,156 ham for domestic use and 364 ham for industrial use.

The Tribune – Sex ratio at birth static in Haryana; declined in Punjab and Himachal

Bhartesh Singh Thakur – Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 09 March 2020. Sex ratio at birth (SRB) in Haryana has been static at 914 for the last two financial years. It has declined from 907 to 900 in Punjab and from 931 to 927 in Himachal Pradesh.

A total of 13 states and union territories have lower SRB than national average of 931, with Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh among these.

These facts have come to light in the Parliamentary Standing Committee Report to the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The child sex ratio was 918 in this decade and 927 in the previous decade.

After launch of the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ (BBBP) in 2015, progress of the scheme was measured in terms of SRB collected by the health management information system of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Haryana’s SRB was 902 in 2016-17, rose to 914 in 2017-18 and remained static in 2018-19. Punjab’s SRB was 902 in 2016-17, rose to 907 in 2017-18 and dropped to 900 in 2018-19.

Chandigarh’s SRB was 921 in 2016-17, dipped to 897 in 2017-18 and rose to 910 in 2018-19. In Himachal Pradesh, it was 916 in 2016-17, rose to 931 in 2017-18 and dipped to 927 in 2018-19.

“Our SRB figures have further improved to 923 in 2019. We have saved 25,000 girls under the campaign. We have improved from 871 in 2014 to 923, a rise of 52 points,” said Dr Rakesh Gupta, CEO, BBBP.

In Haryana, 60 cases were registered under PCPNDT Act in 2017 and 33 in 2018. The committee pointed out that the Centre had allocated Rs 200 crore to the BBBP for 2019-20, of which only Rs 57.9 crore (20.67 per cent) had been spent till January 31.

The Indian Express – Independent MLA withdraws support from Haryana government, calls Khattar ‘leader of corrupt’

“There is a major difference in what CM Khattar says and what he does,” Balraj Kundu said.

Chandigarh – Haryana – India, 28 February 2020. Haryana’s independent MLA from Meham constituency Balraj Kundu announced his withdrawal of support from the BJP-JJP government in the Vidhan Sabha on Friday.

Referring to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar as “bhrashtachariyon ka mukhiya” (leader of corrupt), Kundu submitted his two-page letter to Speaker Gian Chand Gupta, immediately after the Question Hour concluded in the ongoing Haryana Vidhan Sabha budget session.

“After getting elected from Meham, I had discussed with people of my constituency and given my support to an honest Chief Minister and an honest government. Considering Manohar Lal as a truthful leader, I wanted to work with him with utmost honesty and wanted to fight against corruption for the development of my constituency,” Kundu wrote.

Kundu, who had accused a former BJP minister in two alleged scams, said, “I thought that the chief minister will take stern action against the corrupt former BJP minister.

I had full faith that the CM will take strict action in the sugarcane mills scam and against those who indulged in disturbing communal harmony of the state during Jat reservation agitation.

But, on February 2, the way in which a clean chit was given to that corrupt minister, it becomes clear that there is a major difference in what the CM says and what he does.”

Continuing his tirade, the MLA added, “I do not have any hesitation to say that all this is happening with the blessings of CM Khattar. He is only doing a show-off of honesty.

If I may, I’ll say that the CM is the leader of these corrupt and I am extremely anguished after seeing this face of his. I am a representative of people and member of Vidhan Sabha.

When a voice raised by him is snubbed like this, then how would voice of a common man reach anywhere? I have come to politics to become the voice of a common man, a poor man. I followed honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘na khaunga, na khaane doonga’ policy.

But right under his nose, if his government’s representatives are shielding an anaconda of corruption, then I cannot support such a government. Hence, I withdraw support”.

Alleging that the state’s cooperative sugar mills had recorded a loss of Rs 3,300 crore, Kundu has time and again raised the issue in the House. However, it only led to a heated exchange between him and the CM, to which latter replied, “You may go to the court.

There is a clean chit from my side.” On Wednesday, Kundu had accused Rohtak Medical College’s Vice-Chancellor O P Kalra of indulging in “corrupt practices” and demanded stern action against him.

Later, on the sidelines of the House proceedings yesterday, Khattar had said that he would speak to Kundu, but he added: “We are open to ordering a probe if there is credible preliminary evidence to support his allegations. But if there is no evidence, there is no point in ordering any inquiry.”

The Print – ‘Audis don’t give milk’ – why Haryana farmers would rather buy a Murrah buffalo

Famous for high production of fat-rich milk, Murrah buffaloes have changed the fortunes of their owners in rural Haryana.

Jyoti Yadav

New Delhi – India, 15 February 2020. Around 13 km from the district headquarters of Jind in Haryana lie the cobbled lanes of Bibipur village. The neat row of pucca houses in this small but prosperous hamlet is awash with stories and posters of ‘Mohini’, a nine-year-old buffalo that is more precious than a few Audis parked along the narrow lane.

“We won’t sell Mohini even if we are offered tens of millions in exchange. It has received several awards from the (Manohar Lal) Khattar and (Parkash Singh) Badal governments (of Haryana and Punjab, respectively). Our buffaloes win more awards than our boys,” said dairy owner Jasvir Singh, as he stood watching his herd of buffaloes drink water from a pond near his house.

Mohini isn’t any other buffalo one finds strolling down the roads. It is a purebred Murrah, a coveted, high-yielding variety.

A talk about rural Haryana is incomplete without a reference to the Murrah buffaloes. Famous for its high production of fat-rich milk, Murrahs have changed the fortunes of their hookah-smoking owners in remote Haryana. The per capita availability of milk in the state is 878 grams per day, much higher than the national average of 329 grams a day, all thanks to the Murrahs.

Mohini yields 24 litres of milk on an average every day.

“Murrahs have served us for three generations. We have earned more than Rs 20 lakh by selling milk and breeding these buffaloes,” Jasvir said, grinning ear-to-ear.

Over 70 km from Jind, in Hisar’s Litani village, Sukhbir Dhandha has a similar ‘success story’ to tell. He had recently sold one of his prized Murrahs, ‘Saraswati’, for Rs 51 lakh. With a daily average milk produce of 33 litres, Saraswati reportedly held the world record in milk yield. “It had broken the record previously held by a Pakistani Murrah buffalo.

I earned crores from this buffalo. In comparison, Rs 51 lakh is a meagre amount,” Dhandha added.

Kapoor Singh, a resident of Hisar’s Singhwa Khas village known globally for its Murrah buffaloes, had also made headlines in 2013 by selling his buffalo for Rs 25 lakh. Not only milk, the semen of these prized buffaloes are also in high demand. A Kurukshetra-based farmer earned over Rs 40 lakh per annum by selling semen of his Murrah bull, ‘Yuvraj’.

The demand for these purebreds is so high that their prices are often fixed when a calf is still in the womb. A four-month-old at Dhandha’s house is now priced at about Rs 4.5 lakh, he said. To better understand just how Murrah buffaloes are redefining farm economics in this north Indian state, this reporter travelled more than 500 km across Haryana.

What are Murrah buffaloes?

A breed of water buffaloes, Murrahs originated in India and its home tract is Fatehabad, Gurgaon, Jind, Jhajjar, Hisar and Rohtak districts of Haryana. The breed is also found in Nabha and Patiala districts of Punjab. Murrah buffaloes are in particular demand for its high-fat milk yield, around 7 litres every day, which is used for making mozzarella cheese and preferred for sweets.

India has 57 per cent of the global buffalo population and there are 13 recognised breeds in the country.

Satbir Kumar, a resident of Singhwa Khas, described the “best trick” to identify a purebred Murrah. “You can spot a purebred among thousands of other buffaloes. Slender head and legs, thin black tails and curved black horns are some of the telltale identity markers.”

When told how a Murrah buffalo was costlier than an Audi car, he quickly remarked, “But Audis cannot produce milk, can they?”

‘Murrah hit the ramp’

With a glistening jet black body, curved ring-like horns, a light neck and head, Murrahs have become so popular that many of these beasts also have a huge fan following on social media.

When Dhandha had announced that he wanted to sell ‘Saraswati’, the buffalo’s fans on social media were “disturbed”. He soon arranged for an event so that admirers can “see it for one last time”, he said.

A host of very popular beauty pageants for buffaloes, where the animals are decorated with painted horns, ornaments and garlands are also held across the state. The prize money in these contests can range anywhere between Rs 1,100 and Rs 5 lakh.

‘Murrah hit the ramp’ is one such popular contest that is organised by the state government.

At Jasvir’s house, the cupboards and walls are adorned with awards won by ‘Mohini’. He gives an example of just how popular the buffalo is: “If you ask any one in the village about her or his date of birth, they may have to look for their ration or Aadhaar cards. But ask about Mohini’s and they will promptly give you the answer.”

Many other proud owners similarly displayed photos of their prized buffaloes on their mobile phones.

For the pageants, the animals are groomed from a very young age. A typical grooming session includes bathing, massaging their horns and body with oil and trimming their hooves.

Government incentives for rearing Murrahs

To motivate farmers and encourage rearing of Murrah buffaloes, the Haryana government had recently floated several schemes. The state’s animal husbandry department has launched an Integrated Murrah Development Programme under which owners of high-yielding buffaloes are rewarded at village and tehsil levels.

The owner of a buffalo that gives 15-18 kg of milk every day is given Rs 15,000 and those producing 18-22 kg are awarded Rs 18,000. An owner whose buffalo gives 22-25 kg of milk every day gets Rs 20,000 and those owning buffaloes yielding above 25 kg of milk get Rs 30,000.

Another programme, Departmental Dairy Training, is also organised to attract the youth towards animal husbandry. As part of this training, unemployed youth are informed about the best methods of breeding and raising animals.

Many dairy owners, however, also rued that a growing market of synthetic milk has dampened the business of selling buffalo milk.

Gulshan Pruthi, owner of a private dairy in Jind, said, “The business of selling milk has not been as profitable. Prices of pure milk have remained static for years due to the growing market of synthetic milk.”

“Also, fodder for buffaloes that usually consists of cottonseed and ‘khali’ (mustard cakes) are becoming increasingly expensive. In such a scenario, running a dairy has been a loss-making venture,” he added.

Murrahs are a ‘lifeline’ for women farmers

For several women farmers of the state, rearing Murrah buffaloes has helped them manage the smaller household expenses with ease.

Kavita, a farmer in Rewari district, said, “Our buffaloes give around 19 kg of milk. We can easily manage the monthly expenses with the money received by selling milk. Income from farming comes in our hand only on an annual or half-yearly basis but the buffaloes help get by every month.”

Ravinder Hooda, deputy director of the animal husbandry department in Jind, said, “Buffaloes are the spinal cord of rural economy. A rural woman can easily handle every small expenditure in her household by rearing buffaloes.”

An officer at Jind’s Vita Milk Plant, which is under the Haryana Dairy Development Cooperative Federation Limited, said, “We make payment for procured milk on the 1st, 11th and 21st of every month. A woman farmer can manage her household expenses with the amount she gets once every 10 days.”

‘80% milk come from Murrah buffaloes’

In Haryana, a livestock census is carried out every five years. According to the 2012 census, the state had 60.85 lakh buffaloes, including the Murrah variety. This number was 59.50 lakh in 2007.

While the numbers for 2017 are yet to be officially released, sources told ThePrint that it is likely to come down by 20 per cent.

Hooda cited several reasons for this likely decline. “In the last few years, Andhra Pradesh had procured a large number of Murrah buffaloes from Haryana’s villages. Also, more and more people have started living in cities and the government has denied permission to keep buffaloes in residential areas of towns.”

He, however, believes the numbers will go up again in the next five years. “Thanks to Digital India, every village is now getting connected to the Internet. Several farmers and dairy owners from Haryana have created their own YouTube channels where they upload videos of their buffaloes. This helps them publicise their farms and attract buyers.”

Many government reports ThePrint accessed to also concur with the fact that dairy entrepreneurs have influenced rural economy in a good way. Milk production in Haryana during 2018-19 was 10,72,6000 tonnes, of which 80 per cent was buffalo milk, officials said.

Officials at the Jind’s Vita plant also said more than 80 per cent of the milk coming to their plant is from Murrah buffaloes. With more than 700 dairies, Jind is called the hub of animal husbandry.

‘Audis don’t give milk’ — why Haryana farmers would rather buy a Murrah buffalo

The Indian Express – Whether we win polls or not, won’t allow anyone to take control of our gurdwaras: Parkash Badal

Speaking at Dhindsa’s Sangrur, Parkash Badal says he once considered the senior leader’s advice supreme, but now the same leader had ‘cheated his own party’; Sukhbir calls the rebel a ‘dictator’.

Raakhi Jagga

Ludhiana – Panjab – India, 03 February 2020. SAD leader Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday said that irrespective of whether they win the elections, they will not allow anyone take control of “their gurdwaras”.

He said this a day after his party issued a statement opposing the Punjab government expressing support to Haryana, saying that the state had the right to establish an independent gurdwara body. As of now, gurdwaras of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh are being controlled by SAD-led Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

The former CM chose to make his public appearance after a long gap at a rally in Sangrur, the home town of suspended Akali Dal leaders Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and his son Parminder, where he accused them of “cheating their own party”.

At the rally, Parkash Singh Badal’s son and SAD president Sukhbir Badal said, “The CM must know that the SGPC is an inter-state corporate body and only Parliament can take a decision on any changes to its present set-up.”

He said that despite this, the chief minister had “tried to play politics on this sensitive issue” despite the fact that an elected SGPC member from Haryana was contesting the Haryana government’s authority to create a separate gurdwara management committee for the state.

The SAD on Sunday passed a resolution against this move, which will be the main subject of discussion at their core committee meeting on Monday. The Badals also said that they will never allow party deserters Dhindsas and other leaders to break the SGPC at the behest of Congress party.

Parkash Badal said, “Sukhbir has given (them) a very correct name…they are not Taksalis…but jaali…dhokebaaj…they have cheated their own party.”

Speaking on the Haryana gurdwaras, Sukhbir said, “They want to take control of our gurdwaras…traitor like Dhindsa had said that they want to get SGPC out of control of Badals, let SGPC polls happen even tomorrow and the results will show you who the people want.

SAD and SGPC are 100 years old, the so-called panthic bodies emerge during Congress rule always and even they contest polls, but till date have not been able to win a single SGPC poll. For past 100 years, people are giving majority to this body and they are winning as many as 170 of 180 seats.”

At the rally, the party passed another resolution demanding inclusion of Muslims in the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. This was done in the presence of BJP’s local leader and former BJP minister Madan Mohal Mittal.

The party leadership also passed a resolution against the Dhindsas so as to expel them from the party. Badal senior said, “I always used to consider each decision of Dhindsa senior and Ranjit Singh Brahmpura as supreme. I even used to consult them on personal matters as I took suggestions from them before marrying off my daughter in Kairon family.

Earlier, both of them used to even ask me as why I am not making Sukhbir chief minister, and now they are questioning his leadership and calling us dictators.”

Sukhbir said, “The one who did not listen to the workers of his area is the dictator. He is a dictator in his own house as he forced his son Parminder to choose either him or the party. He did not even think about the future prospects of his son.”

He added, “No one can do anything without the party. Even if I leave the party and contest independently, my security deposit will get forfeited. This party is not my personal property, it is the people’s property.”

Badal senior said, “When someone’s bad time comes, God makes them take wrong decisions. The same has been done by the Dhindsas and the other leaders, they want to wear the crown of some other party.”

Sukhbir then claimed, “During the 2002-2007 rule of Congress, most SAD leaders were put behind bars by Amarinder except for Dhindsas, even during 2014 polls, I have heard that Amarinder had asked his men to help Dhindsas instead of his own party leader Vijayinder Singla. Even now, everything is being done on the directions of Amarinder. “

He further said, “Dhindsa saab must be sitting before the TV and watching this mammoth gathering, this is a referendum of people on whom they want to support. SAD workers were not happy with Dhindsas for the past many years, this is the reason that Parminder Dhindsa came in third place in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Dhindsa saab is saying that he will not allow an Akali sarkar in 2022, jor laga lo jidde naal sangat hai, koi rok nahi sakda, (try your best, no one can stop the one who has the support of the public…”

Urging party workers to organise rallies against the Congress in every district of the state, Parkash Badal said, “Public support will let Akalis come back in 2022 in Punjab yet again. Not only this, we will win Sangrur seat as well after a long time.”

Sangrur party district president Iqbal Singh Jhundan read out a resolution on behalf of the district unit demanding expulsion of the Dhindsas, asked them to resign from the Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Sabha respectively.

A separate resolution demanded immediate dismissal of minister Gurpreet Kangar and advisor Kushaldeep Dhillon for “causing the death” of the key witness in the Behbal Kalan police firing case.

Raveen Thukral advisor to the CM, said, ”We are not supporting or opposing anyone but reiterating constitutional provisions. As per the Constitution, religious practices are a state subject, every state is competent to legislate on it, so is Haryana.

Refer to Article 372 which was used even in the Anandpur Sahib resolution that sought a separate Sikh (religion) state. How do we oppose Haryana if they now want to enact a law as per Constitution for institutions in their territorial jurisdiction?” – Hearing on petition challenging HSGPC’s legitimacy deferred onto 14 January

By Sikh24 Editors

New Delhi – India, 26 December 2019. The Supreme Court of India has deferred hearing on a petition challenging HSGPC’s legitimacy onto January 14, 2020. Notably, this petition was moved by the Kurukshetra based SGPC member Harbhajan Singh immediately after constitution of HSGPC in 2014.

Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda,HSGPC president Jagdish Singh Jhinda with secretary Didar Singh Nalvi celebrating after the state assembly passed the bill for separate body to manage affairs of Sikh shrines at assembly premises in Chandigarh during 2014.

Sharing the development with the media, the HSGPC’s general secretary Joga Singh expressed wonderment over again and again deferring the hearing of this case by the Supreme Court.

He said that the petition is pending in the Supreme Court for more than 5 years and five chief justices have got retirement during the proceedings of this petition.

The HSGPC was constituted by the Bhupinder Singh Hooda led Congress government of Haryana on July 11, 2014.

Before the constitution of the HSGPC, all Gurdwaras and SGPC institutions in the state were under control of SGPC, which has headquarters in Sri Amritsar Sahib. The SGPC claimed that the formation of HSGPC was unconstitutional, as per the All India Gurdwara Act of 1925.

The SGPC has since challenged the HSGPC’s existence by moving a petition in the apex court of India. The SGPC had also refused to return keys to various Gurdwaras in Haryana, to the HSGPC, even though it was given legal status by the Haryana government.

Hearing on petition challenging HSGPC’s legitimacy deferred onto January 14

The Asian Age – Haryana man beaten to death by girl’s family after couple spotted sitting together

A case of murder has been registered against some members of the girl’s family.

Chandigarh – Haryana – India, 08 November 2019. A 20-year-old man was beaten to death allegedly by a girl’s family members, who had spotted her sitting with him on a motorcycle in a village in Haryana’s Rohtak district, police said on Friday.

The 15-year-old girl was seen by her family sitting on a bike with the man in the village on Wednesday, they said. “When they spotted her with the youth, they took him to their farmhouse in the nearby fields and thrashed him with a ‘lathi’ (stick) leaving him badly injured.

“Later, they called the youth’s family and told them to take him away. However, the youth succumbed to the injuries after a while,” acting SHO of Police Station (Sadar), Rohtak, Inspector Jaswant Singh said over phone.

He said a case of murder has been registered against some members of the girl’s family based on the complaint of the youth’s family.

Among those booked are the girl, her father, grandfather and some other members,” he said.

Haryana is like Panjab, but worse, talking about medieval values !
Man in Blue

The Hindu – ‘Kartarpur model’ may help resolve future conflicts: Manmohan Singh

“Peace and harmony is the only way forward to ensure a prosperous future. The Kartarpur model may be replicated in future too for lasting resolution of conflicts,” says the former Prime Minister.

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 06 November 2019. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday hoped the “Kartarpur model” might help in resolving future conflicts, as he and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu addressed a special session of the Punjab Assembly to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu too said a new world of peace and sustainable development could be founded if teachings of the Sikh Guru were integrated in daily lives.

“Peace and harmony is the only way forward to ensure a prosperous future. The Kartarpur model may be replicated in future too for lasting resolution of conflicts,” the former PM said.

The Kartarpur corridor, scheduled to be opened on November 9, links the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, with Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur of Indian Punjab.

The former PM also appealed to take forward the message of mutual love and respect propagated by the Sikhism founder to ensure an equitable society.

“Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s eternal message of oneness of god, religious tolerance and peace can pave the way to end sectarian violence”, Mr Singh said, adding that it was the biggest challenge faced by the world.

“Punjab is Guru Nanak Devji’s karmabhoomi. How will we keep Guru Nanak Devji’s legacy alive if its youth is wasted with drugs, water is becoming poisonous and women are being disrespected. It is the most crucial question on his 550th birth anniversary,” Mr Singh added.

Addressing the session, the Vice-President described Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev as one of India’s most democratic spiritual leaders. Mr Naidu said his vision was timeless and “had as much relevance today as it was when it was expounded five centuries ago”.

Mr Naidu, who started his address in Punjabi, said, “It is quite appropriate that this temple of democracy is dedicating a special session to one of India’s most democratic spiritual leaders.”

“Guru Nanak ji belongs to the long illustrious tradition of India’s visionary spiritual leaders who have illumined human existence and greatly enriched the country’s cultural capital,” said Mr. Naidu, adding that the Guru saw what ordinary people could not.

“They enrich people’s lives through their insights and ideas. In fact, that is the meaning of the word ‘guru’ A guru is one who provides illumination, dispels doubts and shows the path,” he said, adding that for the first Sikh Guru, differences and multiple identities based on caste, creed, religion and language were irrelevant.

“Our world view has been continually broadened by timeless messages of enlightened pathfinders like Guru Nanakji. We, as democratic political leaders, and even as common citizens, have so much to learn from the teachings of this great personality,” Mr. Naidu said.

The vice president further said, “If we can internalise and integrate these messages in our daily lives and reshape our thinking and actions, we can certainly discover a new world of peace and sustainable development,”.

He said the respect for women and gender equality was another important lesson to be learnt from Guru Nanak Dev’s life.

“This spirit of equality began with Guru Nanak Dev’s clear recognition that there is no distinction between a Hindu and Muslim. For him, no country was foreign and no people were alien,” said the Vice-President.

He said it was worth noting that Guru Nanak initiated an inter-faith dialogue way back in the 16th century AD.

“The world needs such spiritual leaders, who can engage in a meaningful dialogue to exchange ideas in order to promote peace, stability and cooperation,” said Mr Naidu. Mr Naidu also said Guru Nanak Dev insisted on earning one’s livelihood by hard work.

“Work, worship and share (kirt karo, naam japo and vand chhako) was the motto he placed before his disciples. Earn by honest labour and share the earnings with the needy,” said Mr Naidu.

Underlining the message of Guru Nanak Dev, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh too stressed the need to protect nature so that future generations do not suffer from environmental pollution.

Recalling the Guru’s thought “pavan guru, pani pita, mata dharat mahat” (air is the guru, water the father, and earth the mother), the Chief Minister underlined the intrinsic bond between the nature and mankind.

This ideology needed to be preserved in letter and spirit to ensure that future generations did not suffer from environmental pollution, as evident from the prevailing air pollution in the entire northern region, including the national capital, said Mr. Singh.

He appealed to everyone to preserve the nature and natural resources to make Punjab clean, green and pollution free in line with the Guru’s philosophy by making the optimal use of groundwater, diversifying into less water-intensive crops and stop burning paddy straw besides checking the use of chemical fertilisers.

Earlier, the session started with MLAs and MPs from Punjab and Haryana taking part in it.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, Punjab and Haryana Governors, VP Singh Badnore and Satyadev Narayan Arya, also attended the special session.

It is for the first time after the carving of Haryana out of Punjab in 1966 that legislators of both states sat together in the Punjab assembly for this special event.

The Print – Modi government is clueless about Indian economy, lacks talent to fix it, says Shekhar Gupta

At ThePrint’s Democracy Wall in Sonipat, Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta spoke on a wide range of topics, free speech, Pakistan & Delhi’s notorious smog.

Revathi Krishnan

Sonipat – Haryana – India, 4 November 2019. The Narendra Modi government is currently clueless about the economy and needs help, as it “lacks talent in economic management”, ThePrint’s Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta said Monday.

Speaking at ThePrint’s free speech campus initiative Democracy Wall, organised at the O P Jindal Global University in Sonipat, Haryana, Gupta said the government lost all its qualified economists as it is “talent averse”, attributing this talent deficit to the likes of BJP leaders who disregarded Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee’s scholarship.

But he also said that just because someone has won a Nobel Prize that does not mean one has to agree on everything. “I don’t agree with Abhijit Banerjee on many things,” he said.

On free speech

The audience at the event mainly comprised law and journalism students, who had several questions for Gupta.

Asked about a quality that good leaders should have, Gupta quipped: “I am no Kautilya who can think of an idea for a Chandragupta.”

A student asked Gupta to explain where free speech ends and hate speech begins. He replied it’s extremely easy to distinguish the two, and characterised hate speech as incitement to violence and hatred against someone.

Gupta also said there is a huge difference between hate speech and criticism, saying: “I have never blocked, reported or muted anyone.”

He further said that values like free speech, democracy and equality come under threat when society starts taking them for granted. “There is a constant need for reminders, the Emergency was one such reminder,” he added.

Pakistan is no threat to India

Speaking about Pakistan and its dominance as an issue in Indian politics, Gupta explained that the issue is not with foreign policy, but India’s domestic policy.

He said: “In today’s world, to think you will completely black out a country, that too a nuclear weapon state and a neighbour, is unsustainable.”

Gupta also explained that people are bored of Pakistan as it is no threat to India, and that it is a cheque that has been encashed, which is why in the recent Haryana and Maharashtra elections, issues like Pakistan and Article 370 did not have any resonance.

People are emotional but not stupid,” he added.

On Delhi’s notorious smog, Gupta said it cannot be reduced by only asking Haryana and Punjab to stop stubble burning, but by sitting down and talking to Pakistan, as the air moves from west to east.

Talking about the world order and India’s place in it, Gupta explained that for India to have a place on top, it needs to work on its strengths.

He listed three main strengths, India’s social composition and diversity, the talent of its population, and its democratic system and institutions. Gupta stressed on the need to develop and focus on these strengths to become a key player in the world.

Modi govt is clueless about Indian economy, lacks talent to fix it, says Shekhar Gupta

The Print – Increase in wind speed drops pollution levels, a day after Delhi records worst air quality

The SC-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority declared public health emergency Friday, following which Delhi government decided to shut all schools.

New Delhi – India, 02 November 2019. Pollution levels in Delhi and neighbouring cities dropped marginally on Saturday with a slight increase in the wind speed, a day after the region recorded its worst air quality forcing authorities to shut schools, ban all construction activities and declare a public health emergency.

The city’s overall air quality index (AQI) stood at 407 at 10 am. It was 484 at 4 pm on Friday, according to official data.

In the National Capital Region (NCR), Ghaziabad and Greater Noida recorded AQIs of 459 and 452, respectively, at 10 am on Saturday. On Friday, they had an AQI of 496 at 4 pm, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said.

Weather experts said there is a significant improvement in wind speed and it will increase gradually. Winds gusting up to 20-25 kilometers per hour are likely in the region from Sunday to Tuesday, they said.

Scattered rainfall in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi is likely on November 7 and 8 under the influence of Cyclone Maha and a fresh western disturbance, the weather office said.

This rainfall, however light, will be significant in terms of reducing the effect of stubble burning, and will wash away pollutants, they said.

On Friday, the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority declared the public health emergency, following which the Delhi government decided to shut all schools.

The EPCA also banned construction activities in Delhi-NCR till 05 November.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal termed Delhi a “gas chamber” and blamed stubble burning in neighbouring Haryana and nearby Punjab for the apocalyptic haze shrouding the city.

The share of stubble burning in Delhi’s pollution stood at 46 per cent on Friday, the highest so far, according to the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ air quality monitor, SAFAR.

The AQI entered the ‘severe plus’ or ’emergency’ category late Thursday night in Delhi, the first time since January this year.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered ‘good’, 51-100 ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 ‘moderate’, 201-300 ‘poor’, 301-400 ‘very poor’ and 401-500 ‘severe’. Above 500 falls in the ‘severe plus’ category.

Increase in wind speed drops pollution levels, a day after Delhi records worst air quality