New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh had a magical connection with the masses, President Ram Nath Kovind said following the demise of the BJP stalwart after prolonged illness on Saturday night.
The President said, "As the Chief Minister of UP, he determinedly pursued clean politics and purged governance of criminals and corruption."
Kovid also said that Singh dignified the offices he held.
Singh died due to sepsis and multi-organ failure in Lucknow at the age of 89. The two-term Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh also served as the Governor of Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.
Since July 4, he had been undergoing treatment at the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Lucknow.
Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu said, "He was a nationalist and an exemplary leader who was deeply committed to serving people. My thoughts are with his bereaved family and followers."
Condoling the demise of Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said, "With the passing away of Kalyan Singh ji, we have lost an eminent personality who left an indelible mark at the national level with his political acumen, administrative experience and development-oriented approach."
Birla also said that Singh was dedicated to the upliftment of the underprivileged and the welfare of all sections of society.
"As the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, he gave new impetus to the development of the state. Both the states of Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh also benefited from his long experience during his stints as the Governor of these states. His death comes as an end of an era in politics," he said.
New Delhi, Aug 19 (IANS) N.K. Singh, who has chaired the 15th Finance Commission, has been appointed as the president of Institute of Economic Growth (IEG) at a meeting of its general body early this week.
He succeeds former prime minister Manmohan Singh who retired from the presidency of the IEG Society earlier this month.
Former CII Director General Tarun Das is the current chairman of the Board of Governors while Ajit Mishra is the director of the institute.
The name of N.K. Singh was suggested for consideration of the general assembly of IEG by Manmohan Singh, widely regarded as the architect of economic liberalisation of 1990s and had served as president of IEG since 1992.
"Mr Sircar spent nearly 42 years in public service and was also the former CEO of Prasar Bharati. His invaluable contribution to public service shall help us serve our country even better," the Trinamool Congress in a tweet said.
The nomination of Sircar is considered to be a master-stroke by chief minister Mamata Banerjee because this public intellectual based out of Kolkata was strongly vocal against the BJP for a long time and Trinamool Congress will try to use his intellect and his 41 years of Bureaucratic experience on the floor of the Upper House. Presently Sircar utilises his experience to stand up for citizens' rights and for multiculturalism, "both of which are under severe strain in India at present", the party said.
Sircar studied at the universities of Calcutta, Presidency, Cambridge and Sussex and has two Masters Degrees in History and Sociology. His main fieldwork has been on social history, popular religion and the cult of Dharma Thakur in western Bengal. He covered numerous field sites in five districts of the state of West Bengal, but could not submit his thesis, as the government did not permit even a short sabbatical. Sircar has, however, published parts of his findings through several articles.
Sircar has published numerous articles on cultural, historical and anthropological subjects for several years in books, as also in noted national and international journals and newspapers. He has also delivered several talks on the subjects of history, religion, contemporary affairs and the intersection between religion and anthropology. The Asiatic Society of Kolkata (established in 1774) has conferred its Biman Behari Memorial Award on him for his contribution to popularising the study of history and politics.
Sircar also has a glorious career in public administration. He has headed India's Culture Ministry from November 2008 to February 2012, the longest for any Secretary. He was CEO of India's public broadcaster, (2012-2016) and had stood up for transparency and objectivity, which finally led him to resign prematurely. He is now on its four-member statutory national-level self-regulatory mechanism, which is chaired by the former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur.
Shimla, July 8 (IANS) Congress veteran and six-time Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh passed away on early Thursday at the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMCH) here after a three-month-long battle with post-Covid complications, doctors said. He was 87.
IGMCH Senior Medical Superintendent Janak Raj said that Virbhadra Singh died at 3.40 a.m., was the sitting legislator from Arki in Solan district, once the pocket borough of the BJP.
He had twice recovered from Covid-19. He had suffered from a heart attack on July 5 and was in the critical care unit of the IGMCH. Later, he was put on a ventilator after he had a breathing problem. His cremation is likely to take place at his native place Rampur.
Popularly known as 'Raja Saab' as he was born heir into the erstwhile princely state of Bushahr, Virbhadra Singh was in active politics for over 50 years. In the last decade of his political career, he was in a regular target of the top BJP leadership, who pointed to his being out on bail and facing corruption charges during the time he was the Union Steel Minister 2009-11.
In his every election -- be it the Assembly or the parliamentary -- Virbhadra Singh single-handedly campaigned and conducted 15 to 20 meetings every day. Political observers say his death will a big vacuum for Congress's leadership.
He was the nine-time legislator and five-time MP. In the last assembly elections in 2017, Virbhadra Singh and his son Vikramaditya Singh won in their constituencies, even as their Congress party lost power.
Rtn Jaspal Singh Sidhu was installed here today as the President of Rotary Club of Chandigarh for the year 2021-22.
Rtn. Sukhjit Singh Gill, the outgoing President presented the collar of leadership to Rtn Jaspal Singh Sidhu.
Past Rotary International President 2011-12, Rtn Kalyan Banerjee was the chief guest and Past Rotary International President 1991-92, Rajendra K Saboo, a member of the Rotary Club of Chandigarh, graced the occasion with District Governor Ajay Madan as the Guest of Honour.
Chief Guest Rtn Kalyan Banerjee from Vapi Gujarat said that to increase Rotary membership worldwide it is time to give chance to youth and bring in young blood and the Rotaractors into Rotary fold. He also implored Rotarians to tackle the issue of drug addition amongst young population in Punjab through special initiatives.
District Governor Ajay Madan said that it is a proud year for the Rotary world which is again being led by the fourth Indian to be the Rotary International as President, Shekhar Mehta.
He asked Rotarians each Rotarian to bring in at least one Rotarian into the family of Rotary and hoped that 1000 new members would be added in District 3080 by 10th July.
He highlighted various projects for clubs to undertake including donation of 10,000 school benches, 1 lakh of blood units, plantation of 15 lakh trees in the District, besides organ donation, Covid vaccination, cervical cancer vaccnination, etc.
Past Rotary International President Rajendra K Saboo recalled the rich legacy of the Club which was formed in May 1958 with the then Justice R.P. Khosla as the first charter president of the Club, and many more members of the Club who rose to hold positions of authorities in High Courts and Supreme Courts as honourable justices including Justice MM Punchhi, Justice AS Anand, and many others.
The Club’s board of directors for 2021-22 includes Vice President Dr.Dinesh Dua, Secretary Rashi Adlakha, Treasurer Baldev Garg, Joint Secretary Kulbir Dogra, Director Club Service Anil Chadha, Director Vocational Service Lalita Grover, Directors Community Service Vanita Talwar and Rahul Bansal , Director International Service Gurmeet S Chawla,, and Director Youth Affairs Suditi Jindal, and Rtn Shuchita Luthra as Sergeant at Arms.
Others in the new board of directors include Past RI President Rajendra K Saboo, Past District Governors Madhukar Malhotra and Praveen Goyal, and club president for 2022-23 Vinod Kapoor.
Rotarian dignitaries who attended the Rotary Club Chandigarh’s installation included past district governors Arun Sharma, Manmohan Singh, Devinder P Kalra, David Hilton, Satish Saluja, Dr Gulshan Thakral, Arun Honi, Shaju Peter, Assistant Governor Salil Bali, Presidents and members of many neighbouring clubs.
Rtn Sukhjit Singh Gill provided an overview of the major landmark projects that the Club had undertaken during 2020-21 which included providing relief to the needy during lockdown and providing medical supplies to the PGI, General Hospital, and setting up Covid centres.
Condolences were expressed to demise of Rtn Past RI Director Yash Pal Das, Rtn PDG Kawal Bedi, mother of RI President Shekhar Mehta, and wife Mohini Singh of late Rtn Pres. Col A.B. Singh, DGN Naveen Gulati
New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) A glimpse into the stupendous athletics career of legendary Milkha Singh, who passed away on Friday aged 91, can be had from this mind boggling fact: his 400 metres Indian national record stood for 38 years and the 400m Asian record for 26 years. In 1960 in Rome, he came closest to winning an individual Olympic Games medal as an Indian, in 400m, eventually finishing fourth in a photo finish.
Milkha was one of the favourites to win the 400m gold in Rome. It was probably natural, too, as going into the Olympics, he is said to have won 77 out of 80 races, including the 1958 Commonwealth Games gold in 440 yards.
But one shortcoming probably cost Milkha an Olympic medal. He had a habit of looking at his opponents over his shoulder while running races, and when he did the same in Rome it was decisive, though he had led the race until 200m. Later he admitted that he had paid a heavy price for his habit.
Interestingly, Milkha broke the existing world record of 45.9 sec in Rome, and so the three who finished ahead of him. He finished fourth with a time of 45.6 seconds, as per a hand-held device, while an unofficial electronic timer at the games clocked him at 45.73 sec. This has been a point of contention, though. Whatever the reality, Milkha emerged from Rome as the ‘Flying Sikh'. A legend was born.
In 1998, Paramjeet Singh broke Milkha's Indian record at a national competition in Kolkata. But Milkha was not satisfied with the procedure of recording athletes' timings in Kolkata. Paramjeet clocked 45.70 secs on a synthetic track while Singh had run on a cinder track in Rome.
Much before Paramjeet broke Milkha's record, the legend had offered to give a Rs 2 lakh prize to anyone who broke his 400m record. But when Paramjeet did that, Milkha gave only Rs 1 lakh to him. Milkha later explained that the Rs 2 lakh prize was for breaking the record overseas while Paramjeet said that the legend hadn't clarified that beforehand. That created some friction between the two.
Currently, Muhammed Anas of Kerala holds the 400m national record with a time of 45.24 seconds. Until Rome 1960, no Indian had come so close to winning an individual Olympic medal; in hockey, though, India had been a dominant force. Milkha's 400m Asian record of 45.63 seconds stood for 26 years, before being broken by Susumu Takona of Japan.
That prize money episode aside, no one can take anything away from Milkha's achievements in track and field – and the example he set for athletes that followed him. He won four gold medals at the Asian Games – two in 400m (1958 and 1962), one in 200m (1958), and one in 4x100m relay (1962).
Milkha was born in Layalpur, in the undivided India, and now in Pakistan. His love for athletics began after he enrolled himself with the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) of the Indian Army in Delhi.
His talent blossomed while being with the Army. Fortunately for him, his officers encouraged him, and that would have played a role in him winning the 200m and 400m races at a Services Athletics Meet in 1955. Milkha practiced on his own while with the Army and clinched gold medals in both 200m and 400m at the 1956 National Games in Patiala, and two years later at the Cuttack Nationals, setting national records in both races.
His sporting achievements won him kudos from the Army, and the Indian government awarded him the Padma Shri in 1959. The same year, he was awarded the prestigious Helms Award. Milkha took premature retirement from the Army and took up the post of Deputy Director of Sports with the Punjab government.
Decades later, a Bollywood film was made on Milkha Singh, starring Farhan Akhtar.
Milkha died at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research in Chandigarh, where he was being treated for Covid-related complications. Six days before he passed away, his wife, Nirmal, had died on June 13. A former India volleyball captain, she was 85, and she too succumbed to Covid and related complications.
The couple is survived by a son, ace golfer Jeev Milkha Singh, and three daughters. Jeev was the first Indian to break into the top 50 of the official world golf rankings in 2007.
New Delhi, May 4 (IANS) Former Governor of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir Jagmohan Malhotra popularly known as Jagmohan passed away on Monday here after brief illness. He was 94.
In a late night tweet, his family members said, "With profound grief, we inform about the sad demise of Jagmohan. Former Union Minister, Former Governor Jammu and Kashmir. In grief : Wife: Uma Jagmohan, children: Dipika and Rajiv Kapoor, Nutan and Justice Manmohan."
He had served two terms as governor in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir - from 1984 to 89, and then from January to May 1990.
When the BJP's Atal Bihari Vajpayee became Prime Minister in 1998, Jagmohan alao served in his cabinet in a variety of portfolios, including communications, urban development and tourism. During the 1990s, Jagmohan had served as nominated MP in the Rajya Sabha in 1990-96 and won a hat-trick of Lok Sabha elections from New Delhi (1996, 1998 and 1999).
He was also the Lt Governor of Delhi and Goa. He was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1971, Padma Bhushan in 1977 and Padma Vibhushan in 2016.
New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANSlife) Manasa Varanasi, a 23-year old Computer Science Engineer who has been crowned Miss India World 2020, says she was never really interested in modeling. Hyderabad-based Manasa was working as a Financial Information Exchange (FIX) analyst with a financial software firm; she says modeling was a pastime for her.
In a candid conversation with IANSlife, Manasa shares details of her journey, how she prepared for the contest, her future plans, besides revealing her beauty and fitness regime.
Q: How did you get into modeling?
A: I was a pretty studious girl, and never really interested in modelling, but I won a contest for Freshers in my college and that ignited a spark. Everything built slowly from there, with a lot of encouragement from friends. The reality is that modelling has been a pastime for me, as I was working full time as a software engineer, but it was a creative outlet and was born of a will to expand my horizons.
Q: Did you have to convince your family to get into this field?
A: My family is very academically oriented and traditional so they really did not feel this was a path to aspire to. However, because I held a full time job, their deepest concerns were allayed and today, they are very proud of what I have achieved.
Q: How has your journey being till you won the title?
A: More than anything, it has been one of growth. I've learned to look at my weaknesses, learn skills -- from walking in heels to styling myself, made friends from all over the country. Most of all, I've learned to trust the energy of the moment, accept change and embrace what I am.
Q: How does it feel to be titled as Miss India World?
A: I feel elated, but it is based on a sense of achievement that comes from having worked very hard and having had the courage to fail. And today, I am filled with a sense of hope and a determination to use this opportunity wisely.
Q: How did you prepare for the contest?
A: I focused equally on the physical aspects of the contest -- rampwalk, fitness, styling and the mental aspects -- being self aware and socially informed. But it is just as important to be emotionally prepared -- a contest like Miss India is not for the faint of heart!
Q: How are you preparing yourself for Miss World pageant?
A: A big focus will be my 'Beauty with a Puropse' project, which is at the heart of Miss World. I will have to balance that with continued work on my ramp walk, talent and interview. And of course, lots of time will undoubtedly be spent on getting the right wardrobe and styling in place.
Q: How confident were you winning the title?
A: In a way, I both expected to win and lose the Miss India title. I was hopeful and confident in my abilities and preparation, but winning is out of one's hands -- destiny, luck, the competition -- they all have a say. The difficult thing about a contest such as this is that everything can change in an instant -- and it only takes one bad answer or one judge to change the outcome. So, while I am very proud of my achievement today, I am also humbled and grateful that the stars aligned for me.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: What matters to me at the end of everything is that I live a life with integrity and without regret. My inspirations are people who continue to reinvent and redefine themselves and I hope I will continue to grow as a person my whole life. Who knows what the future can bring? I came to Miss India to create a new world of opportunity for myself and I am excited to see where it can take me.
Q: Please share your beauty regime.
A: I'm definitely a bit of a minimalist when it comes to makeup, but the competition has taught me to be more experimental, and to focus on creating harmony between my makeup, hair, clothes and most of all, carrying it all off with confidence.
Q: What is your beauty secret?
A: Nutritious food, natural products, and a balanced mind.
Q: What fitness regime?
A: I swear by yoga, it helps my mind as much as it helps my body.
Swami Vivekanand & Swami Paramahansa Yogananda
In a modern fast-paced society, stress is a silent killer. The developed nations are struggling to cope up with the growing human individuality crisis. A learned teacher can guide us to learn contentment in life, leading to extreme happiness. Both Swami Vivekanand and Paramahansa Yogananda were great masters of humanity. No ordinary man surely is worthy of this spiritual title. But now and then, there appears on earth one of the noble lineages of God-realized souls to carry out the plans of Divinity and establish righteousness on earth.
Saints and sages occupy a central place in the Indian spiritual tradition. The saints and sages are an integral part of what is called Hindu or Sanatan Dharma. Their elevated souls exemplify beliefs and their lives in totality. These elevated souls exemplify the essence of the spiritual treasure trove that is continued in the vast and varied spiritual literature in Sanskrit and in other languages. From among the exalted and emancipated souls, first Swami Vivekanand and then Paramhansa Yogananda appeared on the Indian scene to bring solace to the people in the Indian continent and the world at large. Both these masters worked untiringly throughout the period they lived on earth and helped to awaken people from their long slumber of centuries. Their contribution to the cause of uplifting human consciousness is no less than those of great incarnation of God who took birth on earth only under divine command.
How to live?
It is not our fate that decides where your life is going. It is all about how you take life and where you take it to. All of us are born in this world like beautiful clay models ready to learn all talking, walking, eating, drinking and so many other lessons and habits. We go back from the earth saying good bye to life as a hardened solid figure. During the course of life, through experiences gained by growth in the years, we start seeing the world according to our own perceptions. We create meaning, we create friends and enemies. We create our own truth – right or wrong.
The nature of life is to grow towards an ever perfect and joyous expression of itself. Each living cell has a nervous system, no matter how rudimentary. The more develop the nervous system, the more it will express the qualities of the pure consciousness – intelligence, creativity and bliss. Life, its substance and purpose, is an enigma, difficult yet not unknowable.
Presently, humanity is passing through a very critical phase of transition from old values to new values getting developed through moving forward in the field of information technology. Being in its initial stages of development, the information technology is however, having its adverse effects on the young minds. The family way of life, peace and under-standing are getting affected. Technology is being misused by antisocial elements bearing far-reaching effect on how we live today.
Way of life?
Hinduism is not a religion commonly understood terms comprising set of dogmas and belief but it is proven way of life which has helped mankind from millennium to know its true nature that of the infinite which is its source. Hinduism is the most tolerant religion in the world because its one transcendent God includes all possible goals
Why Guru’s guidance?
Swami Vivekanand had handsome face, magnetic presence and wonderful oratory. Never before did an oriental make such an impression on the global society. According to him, nothing else is necessary except love, sincerity and patience. Life is only growth i.e. expansion, love. All love is life; it is the only law of life: all selfishness is death and this is true here or hereafter. For more than 100 years the work has continued and Ramakrishna Mission is now a well-established institution helping everyone to work for One’s own liberalization and for welfare of the world. The mission has rendered yeoman service in all fields for the upliftment of masses fulfilling the dream of great Master-Mystic, Prophet, Disciple, Lover of humanity, Patriot, friend, beloved Swami Vivekanand.
Swami Vivekanand teachings mainly centered on the following ideals:
Swami Paramahansa Yogananda
Paramahansa Yogananda used to explain: Knowing God is not only a privilege and a divine duty but a practical necessity. The guru is the awakened God awakening the sleeping God in the disciple. He gives us all we need to rouse the divine image within methods that take us beyond the restless mind to touch the infinite consciousness that sustains us: timeless truths for spiritual living amongst the ever-shifting values of this world. Swami said – Education must provide life building, man making, and character making assimilation of ideas.
Meditation is strictly prescribed by Yoganandaji to de- lay cell decay, regulate blood circulation and improvement of heart function. The lungs gets extra oxygen, senses get subdued. Perfect state of meditation being human’s true nature, sooner or later; humanity has to learn this lesson to remain on the path to progress. The path of a human life can be identified by -
1 Man’s Eternal Quest 2 Divine Romance
3 Journey of Self Realisation
The joy felt in meditation reveals the presence of Eternal joy spread over all creations. The light seen in meditation is the astral light from which our tangible creation is made.
– Paramahansa Yogananda Spirituality for a common man may best be termed as science of the soul. It is reaching be- yond all sciences. The soul keeps as alive and guides our live on earth and is a part/ reflection of the infinite consciousness pulsating through whole creation, commonly understood as God. Knowledge of this science can help us lead happy, contented, joyful and purposeful lives on earth. The greatest help to spiritual life is meditation (Dhyana) – Meditation is instrument of spirituality.
Paramahansa Yogananda teachings mainly centered on the following ideals:
(Writer is editor-in-Chief / Opinion Express)
New Delhi, Feb 6 (IANS) India's first Budget after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic is prudent, transparent and futuristic and is aimed at making the country self-reliant, Minister of State for Finance, Anurag Thakur, told IANS. Following are the excerpts from the post-Budget exclusive conversation IANS had with Thakur.
Q1. What were your first thoughts regarding the economic impact that will occur due to the Covid-19 lockdown? What was your first reaction?
Ans. Today, you can see that India has emerged stronger from this pandemic. We know what happened in those countries which did not impose the lockdown or those that did but were not able to save as many lives. India on the other hand emerged as one of the countries with the lowest mortality rates as we implemented a systematic lockdown. This was our main goal to save as many lives as possible.
Besides, we have grown our capacity. Earlier, we had negligible manufacturing of PPE kits, today we are a major exporter. We are also exporting vaccines which have been made in India to around 100 countries. Our approach has been to save lives and livelihood, and the results of the same can be seen.
We had taken steps to support the MSME sector and the economy by the way of additional funding, there was also the loan moratorium as well as other schemes and steps which were taken such as partial credit guarantee scheme, additional working capital loans that were given to protect businesses and jobs.
Q2. Is the worst behind us in terms of economic shock that was unleashed by this pandemic?
Ans. If you look at the projections, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects India's GDP growth to be over 11 per cent in FY22, while the RBI's estimates show a growth of around 10.5 per cent. India is seen as the only major economy in the world to have a double-digit growth next year.
This recovery has been made possible because of the structural reforms that we have undertaken under the AatmaNirbhar Bharat package. These reforms range from power, coal, agriculture to defence production, mining and space sector amongst others. These reforms were even bigger than the ones carried out in the 1990s decade. The Prime Minister has turned this crisis into an opportunity which has given the pace to this recovery. This V-shape recovery has been made possible due to the measures taken to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, and the historic reforms that were implemented to support the economy.
Q 3. With stepped up expenditure, as is also visible in the Budget proposals, to counter the adverse effects of the pandemic, are we moving away from the path of fiscal consolidation?
Ans. We have to look back at the period of 2013-14. India was known as among the fragile five economies under the Congress-led UPA Government. After 2014, for the next the Narendra Modi government gave more than 7.5 per cent growth rate, every year, on an average. Now we are among the top six big economies of the world. What is the challenge in the financial year, 2021, which was the Covid-19 year. For us it was important to borrow and more than Rs 12.5 lakh crore has been borrowed by government of India to give food grains, funds, subsidies, to those who actually require this. More than 80 crore people got food grains, pulses for a period of eight months. No other country was able to even afford that, but India did it. Also, 30 crore women have been given Rs 31,000 rupees in their Jan Dhan accounts by the government. Three crores disabled, especially abled, widows and old age people have got more than Rs 3,000 crore, farmers got more Rs 1.10 lakh crore. And during the pandemic time, they got thousands of crores rupees into their bank accounts. Apart from this, the EPF contribution of the employer and employee has been paid by the Government of India totalling about Rs 7,000 crore. Now that kind of money was required. You also wanted to help the states to fight the pandemic. So, virtually for the first three months, the economy was shut in a way and no economic activity was taking place. So, what could you do as a country, you have to borrow and help people.
Now in this budget also we have utilised those funds for the capital expenditure. So that clearly means, more amount in respect of the capital expenditure, close to 35 per cent capital expenditure increase. Now, the multiplier effect will be 2.5 times. There will be more job creation, more revenue for the government. So, I think it is very important for us to borrow, build, monetize and then repay. It will help the Indian economy to grow, create more jobs, and also be among the top leading economies where the growth will take place.
Q 4. The privatisation policy announced in the budget has not found favour in several quarters with certain sections of the political class terming it as an exercise to sell the family silver?
Ans. We have to see the government's decision on privatisation in perspective. The UPA government also tried to do this during the Prime Ministership of Manmohan Singh. But they could hardly raise about Rs 10,000 crore from 2004 to 2009. But the Modi government raised close to Rs 3 lakh crore between 2014-2019. That is the big difference. You have more credibility. You can deliver better. You could have that transparent policy for the disinvestment. We have also divided the companies into priority and non-priority sectors and disinvestment will be based on this categorisation. This while giving opportunity to the government to mobilise more funds will also help companies to grow up the ladder with the infusion of fresh capital that will also generate more opportunities for employment. If in the operation of certain entities, PSUs are not able to do well or the government has too many players in the field, why not to pursue privatisation initiative involving change of management. Government job is not to be in business but to facilitate more people to do more business activities and the government should get more revenue out of it.
Q 5. So, through budget proposals as well, the government wants to make a statement that it is solidly behind the economy?
Ans. Absolutely. Economy needs investment and sentiments improve once the government invests. So, when the government itself increases capital expenditure next year by 35 per cent, it would give a necessary boost to the investment climate in the country and help improve the health of the economy and generate more employment opportunities for its people. Worldwide experience has proven that economies where the government initiates the investment, the growth pick up is faster. This also helps to bring in private investment. The multiplier effect of capital expenditure 2.5 times. The budget also aims to achieve this with higher capex.
Q 6. Will the higher capex announced in the Budget, are we on course to become a $5 trillion economy faster?
Ans. The growth of any economy takes time. But for India, we became the sixth largest economy in the world from earlier eleventh in a matter of just five years. Our effort to raise economic growth has continued but with Covid-19 pandemic we have lost one full year. Any economy takes time to recover from acute slowdown. But the steps that we have taken, have ensured that the recovery is faster. We presented a good budget that was also acknowledged by the capital markets with a consistent rise over the past few days. This clearly shows that if you take the right steps, the overall sentiment improves and investments too picks up.
Q 7. You have also announced privatisation of two public sector banks and one general insurance entity. These announcements have already evoked sharp reactions from bank unions. How do you aim to pursue this critical disinvestment plan?
Ans. During the UPA time, the way the funds were distributed to the banks and loans were given, putting the banks in a difficult situation that were also having higher NPA ratio. And this year, there was a reduction in the NPA ratio by 20 per cent. So that clearly showcases that we have done well in the last five six years. We have done the asset quality review of the banks; we have done the recapitalisation of more than Rs 5.5 lakh crore for public sector banks. India needs more facilities for the consumers or the people who bank. Then what do you do. You have 12 banks. We have done the amalgamation/ merger of banks, we have strengthened the banks, brought them out of the PCA framework. But the government can't keep on investing in the banks, every year. They have to stand on their feet, or they have to earn, they have to be more profitable. That is where we said that out of 12, even if the government does the privatisation for two, and one insurance company, it will also help the employees also to get better salaries and to get more benefits, and those banks and insurance companies can also grow. If the present management is unable to do justice then the new management could be able to do so. If we look at the past experiences, most of the companies have grown manifolds and the employees are also very happy.
Q 8. But will the government take bank employees into confidence before stating the privatisation process?
Ans. The Government will take all steps that are required for healthy disinvestment.
Q 9. Will we also see weaker banks that are in prompt corrective action (PCA) framework being put in the sell off list?
Ans. We have to think from buyers' perspective also. We have to offer something to buyers that attracts investment.
Q 10. The budget has put a cap on tax free interest earnings on individual savings put in provident fund (PF) and ULIPs. Is this not reducing the shrinking list of avenues available to salaried to save in instruments that offer security and assured returns?
Ans. Many have taken advantage of investment in PF that give tax free assured returns. But this advantage is also being taken by high net-worth individuals (HNIs), some of whom have put over Rs 2 crore into their PF accounts. This raises a question, whether the savings is for workers or for ones who have amassed huge wealth and are depositing in excess Rs 50 crore in PF accounts in a year and taking 8 per cent tax free returns. The Budget proposal will keep less than half per cent of EPFO subscribers out of the tax-free savings benefit. But 99.5 per cent of EPFO subscribers will get the services as it is. So, no change for the common man.
Q 11. The Budget is yet to be passed by Parliament. Is the government looking to bring more changes in the Finance Bill to further strengthen proposals required for putting on path of a speedy recovery or there is a rethink on some proposals that may be rolled back?
Ans. I think we have covered everyone from youth to women to farmers to the common man or traders. We have tried to take care of all the sectors. Even if you look at the scheduled caste and scheduled tribes, there is an increase of 51.65 per cent in the budgetary allocation. So, the government has taken care of several sectors and a scientific thought process has gone behind devising schemes for each sector so that a larger population benefits from this Budget.
Maya Elliott is the face of generation, a supermodel, and student by profession; she stands 5'11 inches tall and expands her influence in the fashion world, bringing together the sharpest female brains in the Fashion world. She is born and brought up in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
She has a great camera presence. Her look is flexible ranging from High Fashion, to Fitness/Lifestyle. She was scouted by IMG models and life has changed for since then as she is getting ready to be America’s next top model. She is represented by Ursula Wiedmann models in Women main board and they are specialised in finding amazing models and developing them to be the best models and talent they can be. She is in conversation with team Opinion Express.
First off tell us how you were “discovered” and how your modelling career all started?
I was discovered by IMG models through their Instagram campaign ‘WLYG’ and was shortly signed after that. It all started from there.
What kind of connection do you share with India, considering your Indian roots? Is there a bit of influence that Indian lineage gives to your food and culture choices?
My mom was born and brought up in India until she was thirteen so since I was little I have been introduced to the food and culture of India. Some of the customs and our family dynamics come from that Indian lineage.
Having walked for so many runway shows, you must have had lots of exposure in the high fashion, glamour side of the industry. Which would you say, has been your best show till date and why?
I liked the first show that I did, which was at the Americas mart in Atlanta because everything was so new and exciting and the adrenaline was pumping and all the clothes that I wore were amazing.
Was modelling something you always wanted to do, or did it just happen?
I would always watch reality Tv shows about modelling like America’s next top model and it always sparked an interest and then one day I just thought that it would be a cool thing to try to do and it’s been going since.
What do you do to stay in shape?
I try to stay in good shape by eating healthy, mainly home cooked meals and staying active by going to the gym and participating in sports.
Are you into watching Bollywood films? If yes who is your favourite actor?
I don’t watch as many Bollywood movies as I should but I love watching the music videos from the movies. Of course everyone knows Aishwarya Rai and Priyanka Chopra but I also like Deepika (who doesn’t?) and Alia Bhatt even though she’s technically British.
For the gentlemen I like SRK and Salman Khan. I also like Jishu Sengupta because my mom is Bengali and she watches Bengali movies too.
Do we also see an actress in Maya Elliott? Is acting in your bucket? If yes what kind of characters do you desire to play?
As far as acting is concerned, it’s surely on my list in the future. Atlanta has a lot of movies and television shows that are shot here and I can start out as an extra and move into other supporting roles. I have to wait till I turn 18 because of my height I can’t pass for a teenager. In order to play an adult role I have to be 18. So let’s see what happens over the next year. There are a lot of possibilities but I think I would do better in a comedic/light role rather than a dramatic one.
(The writer is Nithya Ramesh, Bureau Chief – Fashion & Entertainment Desk)