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
For his 80th birthday, security guard
Mr Govindan Samy donated $80,000 to various organisations,
including the Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda),
Singapore Children’s Society, Singapore Tamil Movement and Sree
Narayana Mission (Singapore).
The father of two and grandfather of three gave out the cheques
during a dinner at the Banana Leaf Apolo restaurant in Race Course
“I wanted to make a special contribution. I have whatever I need.
Whatever I have in excess, I want to donate to help those who need it
more,” he said.
Mr K. Barathan, 61, chief executive officer of Sinda, said: “It was
heartwarming to know that on his 80th birthday he had the altruistic
notion of donating to charity and that Sinda was on his mind.
“Although he could have kept the funds for his personal needs, he
wanted those in need to benefit from it. We are very fortunate to have
donors such as Mr Govindan, who put others before self.”
Singapore safest place in the world,
according to Law and Order Index
SINGAPOREANS feel safer than residents of any
other country in the world, a global study has
found. Research firm Gallup said that 94 per cent
of adults here feel safe walking alone at night,
compared with the global average of 68 per cent.
Singapore tops the list in the Law and Order
Index, ahead of Norway, Iceland and Finland.
Hong Kong and Uzbekistan are joint-fifth.
The result is consistent with other studies.
The World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index
2017-2018 ranked Singapore first for order and
security and Singapore also took the spot of safest
city in the world in the 2017 Global Smart City
Performance Index, published this year.
Ms Nicole Naurath, Gallup world poll regional
director for Asia, said the result was “no surprise”
as “Singapore emphasises safety and security
throughout all facets of society as a means to
ensure its prosperity”.
People’s Association to screen World Cup
matches at CCs live – and free
THE People’s Association (PA) has announced that
it will screen all 64 matches of the football World
Cup in Russia free at its community clubs (CCs)
around Singapore from June 14 to July 15. It is
expecting more than 600,000 residents to throng
the CCs during the period.
Most of the screenings will be held at the CCs’
multi-purpose halls, auditoriums, theatrettes and
sheltered outdoor facilities. Selected CCs will also
make arrangements for food and beverages to be
sold or given out.
The PA started screening World Cup matches at
CCs in 2010 and this is the first time all 64 games
will be beamed live.
This year’s initiative is in partnership with
Singapore Pools, Singtel and StarHub.
$398m investment in key Indian cities
PROPERTY firm Ascendas-Singbridge and
Temasek Holdings will invest about 20 billion
rupees ($398 million) in warehouse and
manufacturing hubs in key Indian cities such as
Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru and
The initiative will be carried out by
Ascendas-Firstspace, a joint venture between
Ascendas-Singbridge and Indian industrial real
estate specialist Firstspace Realty. The programme
aims to develop a portfolio of 13 million sq ft to 15
million sq ft of space.
“We view the logistics and industrial sector as a
good proxy to growing middle-income populations
and transforming economies,” said Mr Promeet
Ghosh, Temasek’s managing director for India.
“The positive momentum of the sector,
underpinned by the Indian government’s Make in
India vision as well as healthy consumption trends
presents opportunities for us to further invest in
India’s continued growth.”
Government services to go digital by 2023
IN A few years, Singaporeans will be able to
apply for public housing, receive their Edusave
Merit Bursary and handle nearly all their
government dealings without having to leave
They will also be able to complete between 90
per cent and 95 per cent of transactions with the
Government digitally by 2023.
One would still have to physically collect the
keys to one’s flat or one’s passport – transactions
that cannot be completed digitally – but the
direction has been defined and an ambitious set of
targets spelt out.
These include offering the option of cashless
payment for every government service in five
years’ time. The public will also be able to sign
digitally for all government services by then.
INGAPORE is the best country in the world for
children to grow up in, according to the second
annual End Of Childhood report published by
non-governmental organisation Save the Children.
It tied with reigning champion Slovenia for first
place out of 175 countries, performing well across the
eight indicators – under-five mortality rate, child stunt-
ing, out-of-school children and youth, child labour,
child marriage, adolescent birth rate, population dis-
placed by conflict and child homicide rate.
These indicators represent life-changing events that
signal the disruption of childhood and demonstrate ba-
sic rights that can be quantitatively compared across
Singapore scored 987 out of a possible 1,000. Scan-
dinavian countries Norway, Sweden and Finland
rounded off the top five.
The report, released in the lead-up to International
Children’s Day on June 1, improved on last year’s by us-
ing national estimates rather than solely relying on
United Nations’ numbers, making the ranking more ac-
curate, according to Save the Children.
“This is a stunning result for Singapore, where chil-
dren enjoy some of the healthiest childhoods possi-
ble,” said Save the Children’s Asia regional director
Hassan Noor Saadi.
“Singapore is a great place for children to grow up
with good access to high-quality education and medi-
cal care services, while also being one of the safest
countries in the world. Threats to childhood that
plague other countries – like early marriage, poor ac-
cess to education and war – simply don’t exist in Singa-
pore or at extremely low levels.”
for kids to
grow up in
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