116

Soul Of India Resides In Pluralism And Tolerance, Says Pranab Mukherjee

New Delhi: In a much talked about event while speaking at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters in Nagpur, former President Pranab Mukherjee said that attempts to define India’s nationhood on the basis of religion would “dilute our nationality.”

He added that “the soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance,” in what some analysts and politicians saw as a strong message to the ideological parent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Still, Mukherjee’s presence at the Sangh’s HQ in Nagpur, where he paid homage to RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar as “a great son of mother India” and toured the building with the outfit’s chief Mohan Bhagwat and other senior functionaries, was also seen by some others as “bad optics”, especially coming from a man who hold Nehruvian ideologies close to his heart.

115

Cabinet Approves Rs 10,911 Crore For The Launch Of 30 PSLV And 10 GSLV Rockets In Four Years

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave financial approval of Rs 10,911 crore for the launch of 30 PSLVand 10 GSLV Mk III rockets in the next four years. This has given a big boost to India's space programme.

"With the Cabinet approval of Rs 4,338 crore for 10 launches of Isro's heaviest rocket GSLV Mk III (Isro's fat boy) in the next four years, we will be able to launch heavier satellites weighing over 4 tonne. This will be a big leap forward in space technology as we don't have to depend on foreign spaceports for launching heavier satellites," minister of state in PMO Jitendra Singh said.

114

Government Tell NHRC That Withdrawing FIR Against Stone-Peltors To Demoralize Security Forces

New Delhi: The Central government has informed National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that the decisions of withdrawing FIRs against stone-pelters by the Jammu & Kashmir government would demoralise security forces and embolden militants to use civilians as human shield for their terror activities.

Responding to a petition filed by three children of army personnel, the Union government has filed a report before the NHRC saying that "withdrawing of cases against stone-pelters by the state government will demoralise the security forces and may encourage the acts of militants to take help of civilians as their shield for terror activities".

The Centre said, "It is the duty of the state government to take strong action against stone-pelters and provocateurs to safeguard the human rights of members of the armed forces operating in Jammu & Kashmir."

113

Cut-Off For NEET Examination Goes Down From 131 Last Year To 119 This Year

New Delhi: The cut-off for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admissions in MBBS courses for 2018 is down from 131 out of 720 marks from last year to 119 this year. This is for the general category. The NEET results have been declared on Monday. Cut-off for the reserved categories has dropped by a similar margin from 107 to 96. Over 7 lakh students from the 13 lakh plus who appeared for the exam have qualified to join medical college.

A lower eligibility cut-off for NEET would mean that students with even lower percentage of marks will be eligible to get admission for MBBS. In case you thought just being eligible would not allow those with poor scores to get admission, here’s what happened last year. Over 4,300 students who scored 180 or less in NEET actually got admission to MBBS. The overwhelming majority of them in private colleges, where high fees make it difficult for those with meagre means to join even if they have the marks.

14

Gaon Bandh Agitation Sends Prices Spiraling As Farmers Take To Streets

New Delhi: Vegetable and milk supplies have been hit in many areas leading to a spike in prices with the first day of the 10-day ‘GaonBandh’ farmers’ agitation saw cultivators in several states including Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab taking to the streets to express their ire.

The strike has been called by the RashtriyaKisanMahasangh seeking a blanket waiver of farm loans, minimum support price (MSP) for farm produce and rate for milk of Rs 50 per litre, among other things.

In Maharashtra, auction of vegetables did take place at Nashik agriculture produce market committees (APMC), but the produce that reached the market was low in quantity. The strike also hit the country’s largest wholesale onion market, Lasalgaon APMC, as most farmers stayed away from auction. “Only 300 quintals was auctioned at Lasalgaon on Friday as against 15,000 quintals on Thursday,” a LasalgaonAPMCofficial said.