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PM offers sops to poor, farmers, traders ahead of assembly polls

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New Delhi, 31 Dec 2016  : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced a slew of sops for the poor, farmers and small traders, the groups perceived to be worst hit by the November 8 demonetisation that caused widespread economic upheaval in the country.

In a New Year eve address that sounded more like a budget speech, Modi announced interest subvention on housing for the urban and rural poor, provided enhanced credit guarantees to small traders and MSMEs, gave a 60-day interest waiver on select farm loans, and ensured higher interest earnings for senior citizens.

He also directed cash-rich banks to go out of the way to help the not-so-privileged.

Modi, in his 45-minute speech — first in Hindi and then English — announced that the government would give rebates of four and three per cent for home loans of up to Rs 9 lakh and Rs 12 lakh, respectively, under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in 2017.

He said that the government has decided to enhance the credit guarantee for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore.

Possibly keeping in mind the model code of conduct that will come into force once elections to five state assemblies, including in Uttar Pradesh, are announced next week, the Prime Minister flagged off several schemes aimed at helping the poor.

Farmers who have taken loans from district cooperative banks and societies have been granted waiver on interest for a period of 60 days. “The amount of the 60-day interest waiver will be directly transferred to the farmers’ accounts,” he said.

Striking an emotional note in a speech where he lauded India’s “125 crore people” for bearing with the pain of the demonetisation fallout, he said thousands of people had written to him about the hardships they faced.

Terming demonetisation as a “historic cleansing ritual”, Modi said people of the country had taken the biggest “shudhi yagna” after Diwali, and had, through their stoicism in the face of adversity, proved that a majority of Indians wanted freedom from corruption.

He thanked people for standing by him despite all the inconveniences which have been brought about by the policy of banning Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

He said the note-ban policy was aimed at the dishonest and to rid the nation of black money.

He also said that dishonest bank officials, who may have helped people illegally convert their illicit wealth, won’t be spared.

The Prime Minister, however, didn’t give any figures on the amount of old currency deposited in banks after the demonetisation.

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PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti released from detention after 14 months

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Jammu, 13 Oct : Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti was on Tuesday released from detention. “PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti is being released from detention,” said Jammu and Kashmir administration spokesperson Rohit Kansal.

A government order issued on Tuesday night said her detention was being revoked with immediate effect.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration in July had extended her detention by three months under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).

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Cinemas, theatres, multiplexes to open with up to 50% seating capacity from Oct 15

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Swimming pools for training of sportspersons to open with SOP from Oct 15

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SAD breaks alliance with BJP Leaves NDA in protest against farmers ordinance

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Chandigarh, 26 Sep : The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has severed its alliance with the BJP. The Akali Dal had a 22-year-old alliance with the BJP.

The decision was taken after a meeting of the Akali Dal’s Kaur Committee which lasted for more than four hours today. Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal addressed the press after the meeting and announced that he would no longer be a part of BJP-NDA.

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