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India to host global meet on maternal, child health in December: UNICEF

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New Delhi | India would be the global host for a meet of stakeholders from nearly 100 countries on issues related to maternal and child health, the UNICEF has said.

The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health forum will emphasise the importance of people-centered accountability bringing forward the voices and lived realities of women, children and adolescents through innovative programming and creative projects. The forum will be hosted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) this December.

The UNICEF said on Saturday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Chile President Michelle Bachelet and chair of PMNCH will deliver the keynote addresses.  Gagan Gupta, the Chief of Health at the UNICEF, told PTI that India has made significant progress in improving maternal health and reducing child mortality.

“India has performed better than rest of world in this field and the number of under-five children dying has fallen by 30 percent since 2012, from 1.4 million to 9,89,000,” he said.

According to a new report by the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, the under-five mortality rate in India was recorded below one million in 2017 for the first time in five years. Gupta said the forum to be held on December 12 and 13 at Vigyan Bhawan will see participation from heads of state, ministers, popular champions, and 1,200 partners from nearly 100 countries.

“India will get an opportunity to present its success story in improving its maternal and child health at a world stage,” he said. Moreover, the forum would also bring various stakeholders on a common stage to share their ideas, he said. This is the second time India is hosting the forum — the first was in 2010. Previous chapters of the forum have been held in Johannesburg in South Africa in 2014 and Dar es Salam in Tanzania in 2007.

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Rajasthan High Court asks Robert Vadra and his mother to appear before ED on 12th February

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The Rajasthan High Court on Monday asked Robert Vadra along with his partners in the Skyline Hospitality Limited, including his mother Maureen Vadra to appear before the Enforcement Directorate on 12th February to record their responses to the allegations of money laundering by the firm.

A bench from the Jodhpur high court gave this direction after ejecting its earlier order that averted the agency from taking any forcible action against Vadra and others.

A bench consisting of Justice P S Bhati, while asking Vadra and others to appear before the ED, however, refused to vacate the stay on their arrest and refused any kind of liberty to the ED to take them into custody.

Justice Bhati further gave a clarification that if the need be, the Enforcement Directorate will have to move the court separately to seek permission for arresting them.

Rajdeep Rastogi, the solicitor general, who is appearing for the ED, stated it to the bench that the agency has already started off an inquiry against the owners and the partners of Skylight Hospitality Limited on a complaint of money laundering against the company.

Rastogi stated, “The company moved the court against this inquiry and obtained an order that no coercive action would be taken against them during the investigation”.

The Enforcement Directorate then challenged the court seeking vacation of this order on the account that neither an FIR was lodged in the matter nor any accused was named in the case.

Rastogi argued in the court, “It is just a fact-finding inquiry which is at an initial stage, so the court should not intervene in the matter at this stage”.

Admitting the arguments of the solicitor general, the court removed the “No Coercive Action” clause from its earlier order.

Based on a mutual consent of the lawyers from both the sides, the bench ordered owner and partners of the firms, including Vadra and his mother to appear before the ED and cooperate with the agency in the inquiry.

 

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Legal perspective being sought for quotas for upper castes in Bihar: Nitish Kumar

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Nitish Kumar, the Bihar chief minister today on Monday declared his government will implement quotas for the economically-backward among the unreserved category once they get a legal perspective concerning the suitable modalities.

Nitish Kumar stated that a legal perspective was being sought as to whether the new quotas, which have been brought forth by way of a recent constitutional amendment and are in addition to the existing reservations, could be introduced in the state through an executive order or an Act passed in the legislature.

He also stated that we are bound by the top court judgement, which placed a cap of 50 percent on the quotas for the educationally and socially backward, but added that he is in the support of the demand for increasing the limit to make reservations proportionate to the population of the respective caste groups.

He added, “But opposition parties which are voicing the demand have no clue as to how to go about it. In my view, there should be a fresh tally wherein the separate populations of social segments like SCs, STs and OBCs is taken into account. Based on its report, the nation can move towards ensuring proportional representation for various castes”.

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PM Modi to inaugurate Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas convention in Varanasi on Tuesday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday will inaugurate the 15th convention of the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas in his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi.

It is for the first time that the three-day long convention is being organized from 21st January to 23rd January in place of 9th January to permit the participants for visiting the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad and attend the parade of Republic Day here.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s office stated that the theme of the convention for this year is ‘role of the Indian diaspora in building new India’.

The chief guest of the convention will be Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth, whereas a member of Parliament of Norway, Himanshu Gulati will be the special guest. Further, member of Parliament of New Zealand, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, will be the guest of honour.

The decision to celebrate the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas was taken by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the first event was celebrated on 9th January 2003 in Varanasi.

As a matter of fact, January 9 was picked to be the day for the celebration of Pravasi Bharatiya since it was this day in the year 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi had returned from South Africa to India.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas is now celebrated once in every two years and gives a platform to the Indian community overseas for engaging with the government and reconnecting with their roots said the statement.

Pravasi Bharatiya Sammaan, is discussed on the selected overseas Indians for their imperative contributions to different spheres both abroad and in India.

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