The International News Weekly EDIT 08 February 02, 2018 | Toronto The w w w . canadianparv asi. c o m Publisher & CEO Associate Editor Editor (India) Online Graphic Designer Official Photographer Contact Editorial Sales Rajinder Saini Meenakshi Saini Gursheesh Kshitiz Dalal Naveen Bashir Nasir email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Budget 2018-19: Balancing populism with economics The Budget is finally out and to put it simply, Mr. Jaitley did not disappoint. In fact, a majority of it was along expected lines. Most importantly, as promised, the governmentmanaged to do a commendable job of balancing economic populism with prudent economics. However, as is always the case, the good did come with a tinge of bad. It was a no-brainer that the Budget would focus on the agricultural sector after BJP's electoral performance in rural Gujarat. Mr. Jaitley went a step further and, in a major departure from the past, began his Budget speech with the government's plan for the farming community. He unveiled a litany of measures in line with the government's aim of doubling farmer incomes by 2022. First, the Budget allowed for setting the minimum support price (MSP) at 1.5 times the production cost for kharif crops. Even though this support to farmers will help increase their incomes, there are two questions that need to be asked. Will the effect of this jump in MSP be inflationary? Also, will it take away the incentive to reduce production costs? The answer to both of these questions is probably in the affirmative. Only time will tell if the move has any such negative externalities for the economy, but the government should be prepared with commensurate remedies to tackle the eventuality. The second significant move on the agricultural front has been a push to boost agri-business activities across the country and improve agricultural markets. Allocation has been doubled for enhancing food processing and specialised agro-processing networks from Rs 700 crores to Rs 1,400 crores. The government has also decided to follow a cluster-based approach for stimulating agricultural production. Further, in a bid to formalise agricultural markets, the 470 Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) promoted markets would be connected to the e-nam market platform and over 22,000 rural agricultural markets would also be developed. These are positive moves to remove the middle man and ensure farmers receive the bulk of the prices paid by the consumer. However, the e-nam platform is still in its formative stage and its performance has not been adequately tested. A bulk of the sale of agricultural products is still done through commission agents and it is doubtful that the practice will be done away with any time soon. On the other hand, the development of agri-business clusters provides a viable solution to formaliseagricultural markets. The gains from all of these measures, however, can only be expected in the long-run. Another major highlight of the budget has been its focus on the social sector. Healthcare and education received their fair share of budgetary focus. In fact, Mr. Jaitley took pride in announcing the "world's largest healthcare programme" that would provide Rs 5 lakhs per family per year for medical reimbursement under National Health Protection Scheme for around 10 crore families across India. This is a positive move by the government towards universal health coverage in the future. As for education, digitalisation of education and training of teachers was given a boost. No roof for patients at AIIMS, scores brave cold in the open Indo-Asian News Service New Delhi : Fouryear-old Aashirvaad Kumar has had the hole in his heart fixed by the doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the country's premier government-run research and referral hospital, but he is still trying to the fix the hole over his head to find a shelter in the national capital's chilling winter. The reason? He is back in Delhi four months after his heart surgery for consultation and is unable to find a shelter to brave the bitter chill. This is because the night shelters near the hospital are completely packed. But his grandfather finally found a space for him and his mother near the gate of the AI- IMS Metro Station gate -- where scores of other patients and their attendants are huddled. Grandfather Mahendra Singh, covering his face with a blanket and pointing towards Aashirvaad, told IANS: "We came here some days ago for some medical checkups. But we cannot find a shelter to protect ourselves against the winter nights. So we spend the night here." Dimshri Mukhiya, a resident of Darbhanga in Bihar, is suffering from some nervous disorder and is unable to walk or even stand. Now the street outside the hospital has become her permanent abode. "I have been getting treatment at AIIMS for over the last two years," she said. "And due to me, my husband Pradeep, who was a good farmer, has become a labourer." "When we were in our village, we never slept on the streets, but for the last two years we had to brave all this," she said. Mukhiya and her husband too are sleeping under the open sky with plastic sheets over their blankets for added protection. Asked why she was using plastic sheets, she replied: "Due to the dew and the rain, the blanket Four-year-old Aashirvaad Kumar has had the hole in his heart fixed by the doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the country's premier government-run research and referral hospital, but he is still trying to the fix the hole over his head to find a shelter in the national capital's chilling winter. gets wet but the plastic sheet saves it from that." Several patients, along with their attendants, were found sleeping at the bus stop near the hospital's gate. The Delhi government has opened four night shelters near AI- IMS, one even in the subway connecting AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital across the road. Mobile toilets have been stationed outside the night shelters, but this IANS correspondent could not find a single attendant manning them. Enqiries revealed that all the night shelters are packed by 9 p.m. Lokendra, a resident of Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh, said: "By the time we got free from the hospital, all the night shelters were full." Lokendra, a daily labourer, said that he had arrived in the city for his wife's treatment. "My wife has some intestine problem and I had to come here for better treatment," he said. The AAP government's Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), while announcing its Winter Action Plan on December 15, 2017, said it is running 251 shelters -- 83 of them housed in permanent buildings and 113 operating out of porta-cabins. Fifty-five temporary shelters in tents have also been put up for the winter season. Although the Board claims that the night shelters can accommodate close to 20,000 people, only about 10,000 homeless people are using them. The Delhi government has also announced that it will serve breakfast of "tea and rusk" till the end of January to those occupying the night shelters. The DUSIB said that to bring the homeless to the night shelters, 20 rescue teams have also been pressed into service and will be doing the rounds every night. They can be contacted by citizens who want to report on the homeless by dialling a 24X7 control room number (011- 23378789/8527898295/96) and a "Rain Basera" mobile application. To check the effectiveness of the DUSIB helpline, the IANS correspondent, who was accompanied by Sunil Kumar Aledia, Executive Director of the NGO Centre for Holistic Development, clicked the picture of a man sleeping in the open at AIIMS' gate No. 1 and shared it on the Rain Basera app. But even after 30 minutes, no rescue team arrived to take that man to any of the nearby shelters. To the contrary, the status of the complaint was shown as closed after 30 minutes. Thousands of people in the national capital are still forced to live on the streets of the city. According to a 2014 DUSIB survey, the number of homeless in Delhi is 16,000, while various NGOs estimate that the number may run up to 100,000 or more. "At least 40,000 homeless people have died between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2017," Aledia said. He also said that in the first two weeks of January, over 50 people have died. In December last year alone, over 200 people have died in Delhi. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress have earlier attacked the Arvind Kejriwal government over the deaths of the homeless people in the city. Delhi BJP unit chief Manoj Tiwari has accused Chief Minister Kejriwal of being insensitive, while city Congress chief Ajay Maken has accused the government of not taking any steps to provide them help or relief. 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The International News Weekly INTERVIEW/OPED February 02, 2018 | Toronto 09 With menacing eyes, eccentric mannerisms and powerful acting, Ranveer Singh has upped his own ante as Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji in "Padmaavat". But the actor says it's a character whose ambitions and greed he does not relate to, even though he has his eyes on building a vast legacy of filmography to be proud of. After captivating cinegoers with his powerful performance in films like "Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram- Leela", "Bajirao Mastani" and the latest "Padmaavat", actor Ranveer Singh is set to dive into projects that are as different as chalk and cheese. There's "Gully Boy", "Simmba" and a biopic on India's 1983 Cricket World Cup victory. "I have a very large vision for myself, my body of work, my career. I hope to build a vast legacy with a filmography which I can be proud of when I am done. I want to look back and feel like I made a significant contribution to the art and yes, keep pushing the envelope and keep exploring to things that have not been done before," Ranveer told IANS over phone from Mumbai. With Khilji, Ranveer has achieved that. Where did the inspiration for his eccentric antics in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial come from? "There's no references (for the character) as such and it definitely didn't come from within. I cannot really relate to Alauddin Khilji at any level. I am not as ambitious, as greedy and as manipulative," Ranveer said. However, the actor, 32, believes "there's no end to what you can achieve". "The more work I do, I realise how much I can do because it is limitless. So, I hope to keep going," he added. Ranveer made his acting debut in 2010 with "Band Baajaa Baaraat", and by his own admission, he has "grown leaps and bounds as an artiste" ever since. "I think the past seven and a half years have been I'm not as ambitious, greedy as Khilji: Ranveer very solid. It has been an amazing journey from 'Band Baaja Baaraat' to 'Padmaavat'. I have learnt a lot. I have been able to showcase my versatility and I have been able to learn and work with very different styles," he said. Wasn't it a risk to play an anti-hero? "It was a huge risk. I was very apprehensive about taking the risk but Bhansali was very persistent in his pursuit of me and he is the one who convinced me that I would be able to pull it off. I went with his conviction. I can never say no to Bhansali, given the amount he has contributed to my career and to me as an artiste. "Once I committed, I put my everything into it. But, yes, initially there were apprehensions," said Ranveer, who found the character "mentally, physically and emotionally" draining. The movie was mired in a row as protests erupted over alleged distortion of facts. After the film released following a long-stretched battle, reviews pointed out at how Khilji's character has been demonised. "As an actor, I just have to stick to the character that I find in the script," Ranveer justified, saying he used the film's bound script "as my textbook and my bible" to create a character around it. Ranveer says he can always choose to add to the script from the "research and homework" he does during the prep phase, but his job as an actor is to do justice to the character. Excited about his upcoming slate of films, Ranveer said: "I am working with films and filmmakers who are very different from each other. Zoya Akhtar, Rohit Shetty and Kabir Khan... It is again a very good opportunity to showcase my versatility... In my own estimation, I am attracted towards actors who are able to transform themselves with each character. "I always hope to be that way. I always endeavour to be that way." North America’s Largest Punjabi Culture & Sikhism Store Wedding Decor Available for Rentals Tel: 905-791-1515 / 905-799-9400 30 Malenie Drive, Unit 10, Brampton, ON L6T 4L4