Communist Party of India Marxist leader Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday took oath for a second consecutive term as chief minister of Kerala breaking the decades-old alternate shift of power between Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) in the state.
Vijayan’s CPM-led Left Democratic Front bucked the trends in the state registering a dominant win in the April-May election, the LDF won 99 of 140 seats.
Governor Arif Mohammed Khan administered the oath of office to 76-year-old Vijayan. It is the second stint of the Marxist veteran in the top office.
The oath ceremony took place with Covid protocols in place at the Central Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram. Opposition Congress-UDF leaders kept away from the function in view of the spike in coronavirus cases. The Kerala High Court had on Wednesday directed the state government to restrict the number of participants in the ceremony in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 1964, Vijayan joined the Communist Party, eventually became Kannur district secretary of Kerala Students’ Federation (KSF), which became the Students Federation of India (SFI). He was arrested in 1975, during the Emergency. In 2002, he was elected to the politburo.
Except for the CM face, all ministers of the new cabinet will be fresh faces, a blend of youngsters and veterans, CPI(M) leader AN Shamseer has said.
Vijayan has also been subjected to criticism as his son-in-law Mohammad Riyas is getting a berth in the new cabinet. Apart from Riyas, the new cabinet includes MV Govindan, K Radhakrishnan, KN Balagopal, P Rajeev, VN Vasavan, Saji Cherian, V Sivankutty, Dr R Bindu, Veena George, V Abdul Rahman among others.
Former Kerala minister KK Shailaja’s omission from the new cabinet has set off a debate with many including celebrities backing her and demanding that she be reinstated in the ministry. Shailaja, known as Shailaja Teacher, has been dropped as the state health minister in the second Pinarayi Vijayan-led government in Kerala. She played a leading role in the state’s fight against Covid-19 and was especially lauded for her handling of the pandemic in the first wave.
Vijayan’s rising popularity in the last year of the pandemic came under scrutiny following the party’s decision to drop KK Shailaja — the former health minister — from the cabinet, as it was interpreted as a race of popularity between Vijayan and Shailaja. Commenting on this, Vijayan said it was the party’s decision to not include anyone for two consecutive terms.
AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh arrested in connection with money laundering case linked to Delhi liquor policy
The Enforcement Directorate has mentioned Sanjay Singh’s name in its charge sheet. According to the investigating agency Dinesh Arora a middle man said he had met Singh during a party in his restaurant. The name of the restaurant is Unplugged Courtyard.
The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday arrested Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh after searches were conducted at his residence in connection with the Delhi liquor policy case. The central investigating agency questioned Sanjay Singh for 10 hours before arresting him.
Houses of several people close to the AAP MP were also searched. The Enforcement Directorate had named Sanjay Singh in its charge-sheet. According to the investigating agency, Dinesh Arora, a middle-man, said he had met Singh during a party in his restaurant, Unplugged Courtyard.
Before leaving his home with the ED officers, Sanjay Singh touched his mother’s feet to take her blessings. Sanjay Singh’s father said they would cooperate fully with ED officials. He added he told his son Sanjay not to worry. He said the future was positive for them as the government will change soon.
AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the move showed BJP’s desperate measures as it stares at defeat in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Delhi Education Minister Atishi tweeted the BJP’s fear of losing to the INDIA alliance is clearly visible. She said Sanjay Singh worked for the people of Delhi and wondered why they don’t open an ED office in the AAP headquarters itself. Atishi added the BJP is surviving by making false allegations against AAP.
The Enforcement Directorate had arrested then Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and AAP leader Manish Sisodia in connection with the Delhi liquor policy case. Large number of comments from different political leaders of different parties started coming immediately. BJP MP Manoj Tiwari said the way the AAP leaders used to write letters it seemed there was no one as honest as them. Tiwari added the AAP leader’s co-accused have turned approvers. He said the flame will not end with Sanjay Singh, Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain but will reach Arvind Kejriwal as well.
Government hikes subsidy for Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries from Rs 200 to Rs 300 per LPG cylinder
Ujjwala beneficiaries are paying Rs 703 per 14.2 cylinder as against the market price of Rs 903. After this announcement they will pay Rs 603.
Union Minster Anurag Thakur announced the Central government has hiked the subsidy amount for Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries from Rs 200 to Rs 300 per LPG cylinder on Wednesday. Anurag Thakur said the subsidy will bring an additional financial implication of Rs 7680 crore for the financial year 2023-24.
Ujjwala beneficiaries are paying Rs 703 per 14.2 cylinder as against the market price of Rs 903. After this announcement they will pay Rs 603. The decision has been made one month after the central government reduced the price of the price of cylinders for domestic cooking gas by Rs 200 for all customers.
The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was launched by PM Modi on May 1, 2016 in UP’s Ballia. The scheme aims to provide cooking gas like LPG to the people of rural India. The scheme focuses on offering LPG connections to women from disadvantaged groups, forest dwellers, Antyoday Anna Yojana (AAY), Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), SC/ST communities and BPL households.
The Union Cabinet has approved the extension of PMUY for release of 75 lakh LPG connections over three years from the financial year 2023-24 to 2025-26. The 75 lakh additional Ujjwala connections take total number of PMUY beneficiaries to Rs 10.35 crore.
The decision to give additional subsidies for Ujjawala beneficiaries has come ahead upcoming elections in Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Congress has repeatedly attacked the BJP government at the centre as it is an important issue. It was also a part of BJP’s election campaign in 2014 when Congress was in power at the centre. The decision has been taken by the Union government at a time when domestic LPG cylinders are available at a retail price of Rs 1103 per LPG cylinder.
Rasabali: Famous sweet dish of Odisha’s Kendrapara district gets GI tag
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took to X (formerly twitter) and said it is a matter of pride for Odisha to get the GI tag for Kendrapara Rasabali. Patnaik added Rasabali has special importance to tradition and food culture of Odisha.
The Geographical Indications Registry, Chennai under the ministry of Commerce and industry gave the GI tag to the sweet dish, which is known as Kendrapara Rasabali. Kendrapara Rasabali Mistanna Nirmata Sangha and the rural infrastructure development and employment department had applied for GI tag for Rasabali. They had submitted the supporting documents to the registry.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took to X (formerly twitter) and said it is a matter of pride for Odisha to get the GI tag for Kendrapara Rasabali. Patnaik added Rasabali has special importance to tradition and food culture of Odisha. The origin of the sweet dish is from the 262 year old Sree Baladevjew temple. The presiding diety of the shrine is offered Rasabali as bhog. Rasabali finds its place among the chappan bhog at Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri.
The tag is a matter of pride for the sweetmakers. The recognition gives the product its own identity and image. Baishnab Panda, president of Kendrapara Rasabali Makers association was delighted and said the sweet will get better exposure now. Kendrapara’s Rasabali is one of the most delicious sweets in India. But it is not getting marketed properly due to poor export facilities and poor promotion.
Kendrapara Rasabali Mistanna Nirmata Sangh had prepared a dossier in the year 2021 in order to claim geographical identification tag for the sweetdish. Basudev Das a researcher of Kendrapara said the request had been submitted to the state government. The government further forwarded the request to the office of Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai.
The GI tag will help Kendrapara Rasabali to get more prominence in the market. This will in turn help the makers to fetch a better price for the sweetdish. According to NandaKishore Parida This GI certification will help in stopping the adulteration of Kendrapara Rasabali. As a result the sweet dish will fetch better prices in the market.