BJP Ally Janata Dal-United To Visit Northeast Over Citizenship Bill


Janata Dal-United vice-president Prashant Kishor will lead the delegation.

Guwahati: 

The fight against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill may soon receive support from unusual quarters, with the Janata Dal-United – a key constituent of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) – planning to send a delegation to meet civil society bodies in the Northeast later this month.

They are expected to cover several parts of the region through January 28 and 29, speaking to the public as well as different stakeholders at a time when many political allies of the BJP have already conveyed their displeasure over the bill. The Asom Gana Parishad went as far as to quit the NDA in protest against the controversial legislation.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to amend the Citizenship Act-1955 for granting expedited Indian citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants from three neighbouring countries. While people hit the streets to protest against facilitating the entry of outsiders, social groups alleged discrimination against immigrants on religious grounds.

The Janata Dal-United delegation will comprise party vice-president Prashant Kishor, secretary general KC Tyagi, general secretary (northeast in-charge) Afaque Ahmad Khan and Nagaland unit president NSN Lotha. A senior leader said on the condition of anonymity that the party has already decided to vote against the bill in the Rajya Sabha, and it will try and convince other NDA partners to do so too.

At least four chief ministers from the Northeast have raised their concerns on the bill until now. Recently, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga visited the national capital in a combined effort to make the centre scrap the controversial legislation in the face of raging protests across the region. Mr Sangma’s National People’s Party and Mr Zoramthanga’s Mizo People’s Front are both part of the NDA.





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jdu will oppose citizenship amendment bill in rajyasabha


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Misinformation Being Spread Over Citizenship Bill: Sarbananda Sonowal


Sarbananda Sonowal said the efforts will go long way in protecting the interests of the indigenous people

Guwahati: 

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Sunday claimed that misinformation was being spread about the Citizenship Bill and asserted that interests of indigenous people will not be harmed.

Even as protests continued at many places across the state, Mr Sonowal appealed to all those opposing the controversial bill to support the Centre’s “pragmatic steps” for implementing the Clause-6 of the Assam Accord.

Sadou Asam Karmachari Parishad, the recognised body representing government employees, extended its full support to the ongoing agitation led by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) against the bill and warned that the Centre will solely be responsible for any untoward situation due to the protests.

During a function to inaugurate the newly-established branch of Auniati Satra at Bandardewa in Lakhimpur district, Mr Sonowal said that a misinformation campaign was being unleashed by certain organisations on the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

“While people pay utmost respect to movements led by the non violent values of Mahatma Gandhi, misinformation always lends negative impact in society and such campaigns are always discarded by people,” he said.

Trying to alleviate fears among the Assamese people, he explained that even if the bill was enacted as law, no one will get citizenship automatically, as one has to apply to the concerned district’s deputy commissioner, who will then review and forward it to a competent authority to make the applicant an Indian national.

Talking about the recent high-power committee set up by the Centre, Mr Sonowal said, “Though several governments came to power in the state as well as the Centre after the signing of Assam Accord in 1985, no government made any tangible effort to implement Clause 6 of the Accord, safeguarding the constitutional, legislative, administrative interests of the indigenous people.” 

“The present central government has for the first time taken pragmatic steps for implementation of Clause 6 by constituting a high-level committee and also taking steps for granting ST status to six communities of the state.” 

These efforts will go a long way in protecting the interests of the indigenous people of the state, he said.

Protests against the bill took place at various places in the state with the All Maran Students’ Union holding an economic blockade for all vehicles for Arunachal Pradesh, and organising a bike rally at Makum.

Black flags were shown to Congress MP Sushmita Dev for her reported move to support the bill, which favours Hindus coming from Bangladesh.

The bill, passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India, even if they do not possess any document.

Massive protests broke out across the state and other parts of the northeast after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in Silchar on January 4 that the controversial bill would be passed as soon as possible in Parliament.





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Small Number Of Bangladeshis To Benefit From Citizenship Bill: Home Ministry Official


Those opposing Citizenship Amendment Bill in north-east say it nullifies provisions of Assam Accord

New Delhi: 

Only a small number Bangladeshi nationals are likely to benefit from the Citizenship Amendment Bill, as less than 200 people from the neighbouring country have so far availed the long-term visa (LTV) regime introduced in 2015, a senior Home Ministry official said.

The majority of those who are likely to apply for Indian citizenship under the Citizenship Amendment Bill will be from Pakistan, as nearly 35,000 of such people have got LTVs so far.

“The number of LTVs issued by the Home Ministry to Bangladeshi nationals from 2011 to January 8, 2019, is just 187, while total LTVs issued to Pakistani nationals during the same period is 34,817,” the official said.

Those who will apply for Indian citizenship under the Citizenship Amendment Bill must fulfil similar criteria of LTVs.

“There cannot be too many Bangladeshis applying for the Indian nationality under the proposed new law. Otherwise, they would have already taken the LTVs for which criteria are the same,” the official said.

Of the 187 LTVs granted to Bangladeshi nationals, only two were given in 2018, three in 2017, 50 LTVs were given in 2016, 26 LTVs were issued in 2015, 74 in 2014, 27 in 2012 and four in 2011. No LTV was issued to any Bangladeshi national in 2013.

Of the total Pakistani nationals given LTVs between January 1, 2015 and January 14, 2019, as many as 15,107 have been living in Rajasthan, 1,560 are living in Gujarat, 1,444 are living in Madhya Pradesh, 599 are staying in Maharashtra, 581 in Delhi, 342 in Chhattisgarh and 101 in Uttar Pradesh.

According to the Citizenship Amendment Bill, Indian nationality will be given to persecuted people belonging to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who have been living in the country for six years instead of current 11 years. This is applicable to those who have come to India till December 31, 2014.

A large section of people and organisations in the north-east have opposed the bill, saying it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.

There have been protests against the bIll in the region ever since it was introduced and passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh had already said the bill will apply to all the states and the Union Territories and the beneficiaries can reside anywhere in the country. “The burden of these persecuted migrants will be shared by the whole country. Assam alone would not have to bear the entire burden and the government of India is committed to give all help to the state government and people of Assam,” Mr Singh had said.





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Northeast Chief Ministers Knock On Delhi’s Door Against Citizenship Bill


Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma was among those who visited Union Minister Rajnath Singh.

Guwahati: 

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga visited the national capital today in a combined effort to make the centre scrap the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill in the face of raging protests across the region. Mr Sangma’s National People’s Party and Mr Zoramthanga’s Mizo People’s Front are both part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

The two leaders visited Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and told him that all the six coalition partners — including the United Democratic Party and People’s Democratic Front — believed that the bill would disrupt the social fabric of Meghalaya and the Northeast by causing law-and-order problems in the region. “The Citizenship Amendment Bill will affect the Northeast to a great extent. The bill is against the spirit of its people of North East, and is likely to give rise to serious repercussions. It will also create law-and-order problems,” said Mr Sangma.

Meghalaya Health Minister AL Hek, who is from the BJP, maintained that everybody was opposed to the bill. “I urge your good office to reconsider the decision and resolve a solution for the people of Meghalaya and the Northeast,” said West Garo Hills legislator Saleng A Sangma. “The bill will finish the identity of Meghalaya and lead to various social problems in the state.”

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has already clarified that the BJP-led coalition government will not support the passage of the bill unless it includes a provision for protecting the indigenous people of the region. One of its allies — the Asom Gana Parishad — quit the alliance in protest last month.

The party leadership has assured NDA constituents in the Northeast that it will take every step to ensure that the people’s interests are protected. “We’re reaching out to our alliance partners who have expressed concerns over the bill. We assure them that the interests of each and every state will be taken care of. We’re confident that those who have left will come back,” BJP troubleshooter and general secretary Ram Madhav said.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which has triggered massive protests in the Northeastern states, was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8. It seeks to amend the Citizenship Act-1955 for granting expedited Indian citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants from three neighbouring countries.





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Chief Ministers Of Meghalaya, Mizoram Meet Rajnath Singh, Urge Scrapping Of Citizenship Bill


All coalition partners from Meghalaya are against the Citizenship Bill, said Conrad Sangma.

New Delhi: 

As the northeast stands united against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, two chief ministers from the region met Home Minister Rajnath Singh today to urge the centre to scrap the controversial bill. Conrad Sangma, who is heading the government in Meghalaya in alliance with the BJP, and Mizoram’s new Chief Minister Zoramthanga said there should not be any dilution of the 64-year-old Citizenship Act.

“We have expressed our concerns over the bill. All coalition partners from Meghalaya are against the amendment. We have urged the centre to reconsider its decision and not to go forward with the Bill,” Mr Sangma said.

All northeastern states are unhappy, and the Meghalaya cabinet has even passed a resolution opposing the bill, he added.

“It (amendments) should not be there. Let it be as it is. Let it not be amended as it is proposed. That’s what we want,” Mr Zoramthanga told reporters.

Mr Sangma said that the Home Minister has assured them that he will look into it and that he will also call a meeting with all chief ministers from the northeast.

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has already made it clear that the coalition government in the state led by the BJP will not support the passage of the Bill unless there is a provision for protecting the indigenous people of the northeast.

Several allies of the BJP have also made their opposition to the “discriminatory” bill known to the ruling party, but it maintained that the “bill is not any state or region specific, it is for the entire country”.

“We’re reaching out to our alliance partners who have expressed concerns over the bill, we’ll reassure them that interests of each and every state will be taken care of. We’re confident that those who have left will come back,” BJP’s troubleshooter and general secretary Ram Madhav, said referring to the Asom Gana Parishad’s (AGP) exit from the NDA over the bill.

Even though Mr Madhav accepted that some of the concerns are valid, he accused those opposing the bill of spreading misinformation.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which has triggered massive protests in the northeastern states, was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8. The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to grant Indian citizenship to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan who entered India before December 31, 2014.





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women reservation bill will be introduced in rajasthan assembly after punjab


मुख्यमंत्री आवास पर गुरूवार को हुई कैबिनेट की अनौपचारिक बैठक में राज्य सरकार ने इस पर नीतिगत फैसला ले लिया है.

लोकसभा चुनाव के पहले राजस्थान सरकार विधानसभा में लाएगी 'महिला आरक्षण बिल'

इससे पहले पंजाब सरकार ने भी महिला आरक्षण बिल विधानसभा से पारित कर दिया है.





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Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thanks Bill Gates For His Appreciation Of Ayushman Bharat Scheme


Congratulations to the Indian government on the first 100 days of @AyushmanNHA: Bill Gates tweeted (File)

New Delhi: 

A day after Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates congratulated the Indian government for the successful completion of the first 100 days of the healthcare scheme Ayushman Bharat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked Mr Gates for appreciating the scheme on Thursday.

Ayushman Bharat “stems out of our commitment to provide top quality and affordable healthcare to the poor”, PM Modi said in his response to the tweet.

The response from Mr Gates came after Union Health Minister JP Nadda informed that 6,85,000 beneficiaries have availed free health care in just first 100 days of the scheme and the number is rising rapidly.

“Congratulations to the Indian government on the first 100 days of @AyushmanNHA. It’s great to see how many people have been reached by the program so far. @PMOIndia”, Mr Gates had tweeted.

The scheme, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Ranchi in Jharkhand on September 23, aims to provide health cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family annually to more than 10.74 crore poor families or 50 crore people for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of empanelled health care providers.

In 100 days, seven lakh poor people have received treatment under the Pradhan Mantri Ayushmaan Bharat scheme, he said.

(With inputs from Agencies)





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Bill Gates Congratulates India For Ayushman Bharat Scheme


Congratulations to the Indian government on the first 100 days of Ayushman Bharat Scheme.

New Delhi: 

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has congratulated the Indian government for the successful completion of the first 100 days of the healthcare scheme Ayushman Bharat from its launch.

“Congratulations to the Indian government on the first 100 days of @AyushmanNHA. It’s great to see how many people have been reached by the program so far. @PMOIndia”, Bill Gates tweeted.

The response from Bil Gates came after Union Health Minister JP Nadda informed that 6,85,000 beneficiaries have availed free health care in just first 100 days of the scheme and the number is rising rapidly.

“In just first 100 days of #AyushmanBharat, 685000 beneficiaries availed free health care & the number is rising rapidly,” Nadda tweeted.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on January 3 praised Prime Minister Modi and the Health Minister for their visionary leadership which helped around seven lakh people avail benefits of the healthcare scheme.

“In its first 100 days, #India”s ambitious #AyushmanBharat scheme has provided free care for almost 700,000 people. I applaud Prime Minister @narendramodi and Health Minister @JPNadda for their visionary leadership for #HealthForAll (sic),” Ghebreyesus tweeted.

On January 1, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley termed the government”s flagship scheme Ayushman Bharat a “game changer” in healthcare and said on an average 5,000 claims is being settled every day since its rollout on September 23, 2018.

The scheme, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Ranchi in Jharkhand on September 23, aims to provide health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family annually to more than 10.74 crore poor families or 50 crore people for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of empanelled health care providers.

The world’s largest ambitious health care scheme PM-JAY will cover medical and hospitalisation expenses for almost all secondary care and most tertiary care procedures. PM-JAY has defined 1,350 medical packages covering surgery, medical and daycare treatments including medicines, diagnostics and transport.





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US Bill Seeks to Give Americans More Control Over Online Data


US Senator Marco Rubio introduced a bill on Wednesday aimed at giving Americans more control over information that online companies like Facebook and Alphabet’s Google collect on their location, financial data, job history or biometric data like fingerprints.

Lawmakers from both parties have criticised the tech giants and others over data breaches, a lack of online privacy options and concern about political bias.

Congress has been expected to pass some sort of online privacy bill to pre-empt a stringent law passed by California.

Rubio’s bill, which would pre-empt the California law if passed by Congress, would require consumer protection regulator the Federal Trade Commission to draw up rules for companies to follow that are based on the Privacy Act of 1974, with a goal of having them in place within 18 months of the Republican senator’s bill becoming law.

The bill won early praise from Marc Rotenberg, president of the independent Electronic Privacy Information Center. “Senator Rubio has put forward a very good proposal to address growing concerns about privacy protection. The federal Privacy Act is also the right starting point,” he said.

The 1974 measure requires government agencies to give public notice of what records they keep, prohibits most disclosures of records unless the person gives written consent and gives people a way to fix inaccurate records.

Three lawmakers on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee – Republicans John Thune and Jerry Moran and Democrat Richard Blumenthal – talked about potential privacy legislation last year.

The Washington-based Center for Democracy and Technology proposed a bill in December that strictly limits collection of biometric and location information and calls for punishment by fines.

In November, Intel Corp began seeking public comment on a bill it drafted that would shield companies from fines if they attest to the FTC that they have strong data protection measures.

© Thomson Reuters 2019



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