11.50am, June 2
Mr Modi at the Buddha
Tooth Relic Temple.
Indian PM attends multiple meetings and
events during recent trip to Singapore
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India improves ranking in
childhood global index
INDIA has improved its ranking in the
world childhood index but stays at a
poor 113th position – up from 116th
last year – in the list of 175 countries
indexed by global child rights group
Save the Children.
The report commends India’s
achievements in reducing the rate of
child marriages which it said was a
major factor contributing to an
improved score in the index.
However, it said nutrition, infant
mortality and child labour remained
issues of grave concern in the country.
No Iftar party at Rashtrapati
Bhavan this year
AFTER nearly a decade, the Rashtrapati
Bhavan (official home of the President)
will not host an Iftar party this year with
President Ram Nath Kovind saying that
there should no religious observances at
the expense of taxpayers.
“After the President took office in
July last year, he said there would be no
religious observances at taxpayers’
expense. This is in keeping with the
principles of a secular state and it
applies to all festivities, irrespective of
religion,” said Mr Ashok Tandon, press
secretary to the President, in a tweet.
Officials said that Iftar parties have
been traditionally hosted at the
Rashtrapati Bhavan except during the
term of President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
from 2002 to 2007.
Now Shimla is just 20 minutes
away from Chandigarh
THE travel distance between Shimla
and Chandigarh has been reduced to
just 20 minutes with the launch of a
heli-taxi service on June 4.
The state government in association
with helicopter service operator Pawan
Hans launched a heli-taxi service on the
Chandigarh-Shimla route, cutting down
the four-hour travel time by road.
The heli-taxi can carry 19 people and
a ticket costs Rs2,999 ($59). The service
is available on Monday and Friday
Union government rolls out
guidelines on adventure tourism
IN A bid to make adventure sports
safer in India, the tourism ministry
has announced elaborate safety
Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons
emphasised that, for India to be a
well-sought-after adventure sports
destination, the facilities and support
staff should be developed according
to global standards.
Prepared by a team of experts ,
these basic minimum safety
standards cover 18 land-based, seven
air-based and six water-based
Foreign Minister’s plane ‘goes
missing’ for 14 minutes
AN INDIAN Air Force plane carrying
External Affairs Minister Sushma
Swaraj lost contact with air traffic
control for almost 14 minutes on June 2,
according to the Airports Authority of
Ms Swaraj, who was travelling to
Mauritius while on her way to attend a
BRICS (acronym for an association of
five major emerging national
economies: Brazil, Russia, India,
China and South Africa) meeting in
South Africa, departed from
Thiruvananthapuram at 2.08pm.
The aircraft established contact with
the Male air traffic control (ATC) at
4.44pm but it could not contact the
Mauritius ATC after entering the
After the Mauritius ATC activated
the uncertainty code, the aircraft was
able to establish contact with it at
4.58pm and landed later. The
uncertainty code is initiated when a
flight is out of contact for 10 minutes.
Tripura raises compensation for
women victims of crimes
TRIPURA’S Bharatiya Janata Party-led
coalition government has raised
compensation to Rs3 lakhs ($300,000)
for women victims of various crimes.
“The minimum compensation would
be Rs50,000 ($992) and the maximum
Rs3 lakhs, considering the nature of the
crime,” said the state’s Education and
Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath.
Mumbai airport handled record
1,003 flights on June 5
THE Mumbai international airport,
among the busiest single-runway
airports in the world, set a new record of
handling 1,003 landings and take-offs
on June 5.
It broke its own previous record of
handling 988 flights in a day.
“This is the highest traffic handled in
a single day by any airport in India till
date,” said an airport spokesperson.
Kohli’s statue unveiled at Madame Tussauds in Delhi
INDIAN cricket captain Virat Kohli’s wax figure was unveiled at Madame
Tussauds in Delhi on June 6. The wax figure has been crafted from over 200
measurements and photographs taken during sessions with Kohli. The cricketer
joins other sports sensations in his signature batting pose in the interactive zone.
At the unveiling of his figure, Kohli said: “I sincerely appreciate the efforts and
incredible work undertaken in making my figure... I am grateful to my fans for
their love and support.”
PLANNED 10-day protest by
farmers demanding better
prices for their produce and loan
waivers is a sign of the growing agrarian
unrest in India that poses a challenge for
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is
seeking re-election next year.
Since June 1, thousands of farmers,
especially in the northern and central
parts of India, have refused to take their
produce, including cereals, vegetables
and pulses, to market. This has led to
shortages in many places, and price
hikes of 10 per cent to 20 per cent.
In Lasalgaon wholesale market in Ma-
harashtra, the supply of onions has
fallen by over 95 per cent.
In the latest protests, in which 130
farmers’ organisations are taking part,
farmers are demanding their loans be
waived and higher prices for their pro-
duce. This comes despite government in-
tervention at the beginning of each sow-
ing season to set a minimum price for ce-
reals and pulses, and thus prevent any
steep fall in prices. The government has
invited the farmers for talks.
For years, India’s agriculture has
been beset by multiple problems, from
dependence on the rains for water to
poor irrigation facilities. But farmers say
a large part of the problem is that they
are being held to ransom by middlemen.
Mr Abhimanyu Kohar, coordinator
and spokesman for the Rashtriya Kisan
Mahasangh, a nationwide farmers’
union, said farmers were in distress, but
were not on the government’s agenda.
“They are forced to sell their crops at
lower prices, with traders and middle-
men making money. They are spending
more to grow vegetables and are not
able to recover it,” said Mr Kohar. He
said more than 500,000 farmers sup-
ported the protests.
A crop failure or lower produce price
sends farmers, weighed down by loans,
into financial crisis.More than 12,000
kill themselves each year, according to
government estimates. Farming in-
comes have grown very slowly, by a mea-
gre 0.44 per cent over the last five years.
With farmers making up almost a
third of India’s total rural population of
83 million, the mounting agrarian stress
would be a problem for Mr Modi, who
has been trying to woo farmers ahead of
next year’s general election, said politi-
In this year’s budget, the Bharatiya
Janata Party-led government allocated
14.34 trillion rupees for rural infrastruc-
ture and agriculture, 24 per cent higher
than the previous year.
“If there is anything that really chal-
lenges this government, one is farmers’
distress and the other unhappiness
among younger people about employ-
ment opportunities,” said Dr Sandeep
Shastri, a political analyst and pro-vice-
chancellor of Jain University. “As a re-
sult, farmers are growing closer to state
parties. This would be a cause for alarm,
especially for the party in power.”
The BJP is already feeling the fallout
from the unhappiness among rural citi-
zens. It fared poorly in rural areas in the
December elections in Gujarat and,
more recently, in elections for the parlia-
mentary seat of Kairana, a sugarcane
growing region in Uttar Pradesh.
Farmers’ protests big worry
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