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MCI (P) 135/03/2018
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
JANUARY 25, 2019
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India’s richest get richer by 39%
Billionaires in India saw their wealth
increase by Rs2,200 crore a day last
year, with the top one per cent of the
country’s richest getting richer by 39
per cent, according to a study by
charitable organisation Oxfam.
On the other hand, there was just a
three per cent increase in wealth for the
bottom half of the population.
The report added that 13.6 crore
Indians, who make up the poorest 10
per cent of the country, continued to
remain in debt since 2004.
Globally, billionaires’ fortunes rose
by 12 per cent last year, whereas the
poorest half of the world’s population
saw their wealth decline by 11 per cent.
First all-women political party
India’s first all-women political party,
the National Women’s Party (NWP),
was launched in Mumbai on Monday.
It will contest 283 of the 545 Lok
Sabha (lower house of parliament)
seats in this year’s elections.
Described as “a party of mothers”,
the NWP was founded by doctor and
social activist Shwetha Shetty.
“This party is a historic step in our
mission to ensure equal representation
for women in parliament,” she said.
Paperless boarding for domestic
travellers in India will soon be a reality.
To do that, travellers will need to
generate a unique Digi Yatra ID
number using the aviation ministry’s
There will be a physical verification
during the first time at an airport, after
which passengers will be required to
give the ID number while booking
their tickets and then go paperless for
domestic flights at smart airports which
offer biometric-based verification.
The system will start in Hyderabad
Researchers find ancient life
A team of researchers from IIT
Kharagpur has found evidence of life in
India dating back at least 2.5 billion
The first signs of life were found in
the form of microbial cells in the
Deccan (a volcanic province in
west-central India) and located at a
depth of 3km.
The team led by Pinaki Sar, from the
institute’s faculty of biotechnology,
said these mirco organisms, mostly
bacteria, date back to a time when the
Earth’s crust was still unstable and
during a time when there were
earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Woman who defied temple ban
abandoned by family
Kanaka Durga, who defied a historic
ban to enter the Sabarimalai temple in
Kerala state, has been abandoned by
The 39-year-old has been in hospital
since Jan 15 after she was allegedly
beaten by her mother-in-law for
entering the Hindu temple, which
traditionally is closed to women of
“menstruating age” – defined as
between 10 and 50.
On Monday, when Ms Durga
returned home, she found the door
locked. Her husband Krishnan Unni
and two sons were not around and she
was taken to a government home for
women, by the police.
Her husband later told the police
that he he did not want to take her
home. Police said the matter will now
be decided in court.
India to get its own apparel sizes
Union minister Smriti Irani said Indian
textiles and garments will soon get its
own country-specific apparel sizes.
She added that a study will be
carried out before introducing the
“Size India” project for apparel
“In the apparel export segment, one
of the biggest challenges is that the UK
has its size, the US has its size and
Europe has its size of measurement.
“But India does not have it (size of
apparels, such as 42, 44 and XL),” said
Ms Irani, adding that the “Size India”
project will be “the first-of-its-kind
project in Indian history”.
Tripura unveils official tea logo
The Tripura government has unveiled
an official logo for the state’s tea to
popularise the beverage and to
The logo features Tripura’s iconic
landmark, the “Neermahal”, which is
the largest and one-of-its-kind water
palace in India.
The palace was built by former
Tripura King Bir Bikram Kishore
Debbarman Manikya (1908-1947) in
the middle of Rudrasagar Lake as his
Tripura produces about 10 million
kilogrammes of tea annually.
Seer laid to rest with state honours
One of Karnataka’s most revered and
influential spiritual leaders Shivakumara
Swami passed away on Monday after a
protracted illness. The 111-year-old was a
popular seer of the Lingayat community.
He was laid to rest with state honours at
the Hindu temple Siddaganga Mutt in
Tumkur after thousands paid homage to his
The seer’s frail body clad in saffron robes
was lowered to the ground in a sitting
posture as per the customs in the newly-built
State leaders from various political
parties and yoga guru Baba Ramdev were
among those who paid their last respects.
Shivakumara was known for his
pioneering social, educational and
philanthropic activities over 80 years.
People pay homage to spiritual leader Shivakumara Swami during the funeral procession.
HIGH COMMISSION OF INDIA
The unfurling of the national flag
on the occasion of
India’s 70th Republic Day
will take place at
0900 hrs on 26 Januar y, 2019 (Saturday)
The High Commission of India,
31 Grange Road, Singapore-239702.
All Indian Nationals and friends of India are
cordially invited to attend the ceremony.
January 25, 2019
‘Voters will see
The great-granddaughter of India’s first prime minister
Jawaharlal Nehru made her long-awaited political de-
but on Wednesday, joining her brother in the fight to re-
store their dynasty to its past glory ahead of looming
Ms Priyanka Gandhi is one of the younger scions of
the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, which has been at the fore-
front of Indian politics since independence.
The 47-year-old – whose father, grandmother and
great-grandfather were all prime ministers – has rarely
been seen in public, except for the rare occasions when
she campaigned for the party.
But, with national polls just months away,
Ms Gandhi has accepted a key post in the opposition
Congress party led by her older brother Rahul, 48.
Members are describing her elevation as “the spark
that ignites” the party, where the well-liked mother of
two is being pitched as a potentially re-energising
force to stave off a repeat of an election wipeout five
“It is a shot in the arm... the catalyst that will gal-
vanise the party and infuse fresh spirits in our veins,”
said Congress leader and former Indian cricketer
Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Far-right regional party Shiv Sena said Congress
will benefit from Priyanka’s entry into politics as she
has a good personality and possesses qualities of her
grandmother Indira Gandhi, who was prime minister
from January 1966 to March 1977 and again from Jan-
uary 1980 until her assassination in October1984.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said:
“While going out to vote, people will see Indira
Gandhi in Priyanka.”
The Congress was obliterated in the 2014 polls by
current Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya
Janata Party, which secured a record mandate amid
widespread dissatisfaction with the Congress.
Mr Gandhi, who fronted that campaign, struggled
to carve out a reputation for political acumen after the
landslide loss. He was further hamstrung by unflatter-
ing comparisons to the charismatic Ms Gandhi.
But Mr Gandhi said on Wednesday that he was
“very happy that my sister, who is very capable and
hardworking, will now work with me”.
“Congress is not going to be on (the) back foot. It
will be on the front foot,” he added.
But his political opponents have scorned the move,
with one describing his sister as “crutches from within
the family” to save Mr Gandhi from defeat.
“I want to congratulate them. For once, they have
publicly acknowledged that Rahul Gandhi has failed,”
said Mr Sambit Patra, a spokesman for the BJP.
Ms Gandhi’s popularity within Congress did not ex-
tend to a serious tilt for party leadership, which went
to Mr Gandhi when their mother Sonia stepped back
from the helm in 2017.
Sonia – the Italian-born widow of former prime
minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1991 –
led the party for 19 years and worked tirelessly to en-
sure her son’s succession.
Ms Gandhi, who is married to controversial busi-
nessman Robert Vadra, has now been tasked with over-
seeing campaigning in the east of Uttar Pradesh – a
must-win state in India’s Hindi-speaking heartland,
where the BJP currently holds a comfortable majority.
It is also home to Mr Modi’s electorate of Varanasi.
“This is a risky but bold frontal challenge and the
Congress is making a big statement,” political com-
mentator Barkha Dutt said on Twitter.
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