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Anna Hazare to sit on hunger strike from October 2; seeks pension for farmers

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Anna Hazare

Ralegan Siddhi | Social activist Anna Hazare will sit on a hunger strike here from October 2 over issues like appointment of Lokpal and welfare measures for the agrarian sector, including Rs 5,000 monthly pension for farmers.

According to a statement here on Monday, Hazare also sought implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations to alleviate the plight of farmers, who have been facing a serious economic crisis for the last few years. The government has not acted on these demands despite repeated requests, it said. Hazare has also sought that each farmer in the country get Rs 5,000 pension per month, an aide of the social activist said.

The 80-year-old anti-graft activist will launch the protest at his native village, on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Hazare sat on a hunger strike in Delhi in March this year raising the demands, but had called it off after assurance from the government that necessary steps would be taken in this regard. He had then warned the government about launching the agitation again within six months if his demands go unattended.

“The demand of appointments of Lokpal and Lokayukta for ensuring speedy justice to people combating corruption and assuring transparency in governance and another demand for implementing the (Swaminathan) Commission report have not been fulfilled despite repeated requests to the government,” the statement said. “As a result, Hazare is firm on launching his protest in Ralegan Siddhi,” it said.

After the activist’s protest at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan in March, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had acted as an emissary of the Centre and had said that the NDA government had taken “positive decisions” in response to the demands. The Swaminathan Commission was formed in 2004 to identify and suggest solutions to problems farmers in the country face. It submitted five reports between December 2004 and October 2006, suggesting various steps to improve the agrarian situation.

Hazare, who has been the face of the Lokpal movement, had first gone on a 12-day hunger strike in 2011 over the Lokpal issue.

National

Government likely to make announcement on RBI soon: Finance Secretary

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RBI

New Delhi | The government is likely to make an announcement regarding Urjit Patel’s successor as Reserve Bank of India’s Governor later in the day, Finance Secretary A N Jha said.

RBI has been rendered headless following Patel’s unexpected resignation, with immediate effect, Monday. Patel, who is the first governor since 1990 to step down before his term ends, in a brief statement, cited “personal reasons” for the decision.

The decision to quit comes four days ahead of a crucial meeting of the board of the central bank that could have discussed issues of simmering differences with the government. It is expected that the board meeting may be deferred as there is no regular governor.

Speaking to reporters, Jha said, some communication from the government on RBI is expected.

Patel’s three-year term was to end in September 2019, and he was eligible for a second term like most of his successors, barring a few like his outspoken predecessor Raghuram Rajan.

A Kenyan national who acquired an Indian citizenship prior to being appointed Deputy Governor of RBI in January 2013, Oxford-trained Patel was initially seen as toeing government line after he backed the November 2016 shock decision to overnight junk 86 per cent of the currency in circulation.

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National

Former Kerala Minister C N Balakrishnan dead

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Kochi | Veteran Congress leader and former Kerala minister C N Balakrishnan died at a private hospital here, party sources said Tuesday.

He was 84. Balakrishnan, a former Cooperation minister, undergoing treatment for pneumonia at a private hospital here and the end came late Monday night, the sources said.

He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala were among those who condoled his death.

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National

Eminent economist Surjit Bhalla resigns from EAC-PM

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New Delhi | Eminent economist and columnist Surjit Bhalla on Tuesday said that he had resigned as part-time member of Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister(EAC-PM) on December 1.

“I resigned as a part-time member of PMEAC on December 1,” Bhalla said on social networking site Twitter.

The EAC- PM is headed by Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy. Economists Rathin Roy, Ashima Goyal and Shamika Ravi are other part-time members.

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