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February 22, 2019

India’s cash crunch tamps down retail inflation

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s retail inflation hit a two-year low in December as businesses resorted to price discounting to boost flagging sales following the government’s cash crackdown, fuelling hopes of an interest rate cut by the central bank.

Personally monitoring quality of food served to Army: Parrikar

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Manohar Parrikar (File | PTI)

GANDHINAGAR: Amid a row over a BSF jawan’s allegation of poor-quality food being served to paramilitary troops at border areas, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said he personally monitors quality of food served to Army and has ordered serving of only FSSAI-approved chicken.      

Speaking to reporters on sidelines of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, he said he would not be able to comment much about BSF as it comes under Home Ministry. “But in last two years, for the Army we have been continuously evaluating that whether satisfaction level for the food being served has increased or not. I am myself monitoring it,” he said.     

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in 2012-13 had made certain observation in a report and “we are improving it”, he said. “We have supplied frozen chicken to 26 centres. Now we have issued direction that in next two years FSSAI-approved frozen chicken is supplied to every unit. So that quality automatically improved,” he said.

BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav in a Youtube video alleged poor-quality food being served to paramilitary troops at border areas. While the Home Ministry has ordered a probe into Yadav’s claims, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) too has sought a report from the ministry.

Calender boy for changing times: Gandhi loses currency, replaced by Modi in Khadi

Delhi/India/Politics by

MUMBAI: In a surprise development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ‘ejected Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi in the 2017 wall calendar and table diary published by the Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC), official sources said here on Thursday.

Most employees and officials were taken aback to see the cover photo of the calendar and diary showing Modi weaving khadi on a large ‘charkha’, in the same classic pose as Gandhiji.

While Gandhi’s historic picture weaving khadi on a simple charkha, wearing his trademark loin cloth, is legendary and imprinted in the minds of the masses since generations, Modi comes across in his signature attire of kurta-pyjama-waistcoat, weaving khadi on a slightly modern charkha.

Virtually rendered speechless, employees of KVIC at its Vile Parle headquarters plan to stage “a silent, soul-cleansing” protest wearing black bands on their mouths, during lunch hour on Thursday.

When contacted KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said this was “not unusual” and there have been deviations in the past.

“The entire khadi industry (udyog) is based on Gandhiji’s philosophy, ideas and ideals, he is the soul of KVIC, so there is no question of ignoring him,” Saxena told IANS.

He added that Modi has been wearing khadi since long, and has popularised it among the masses and even among foreign dignitaries, while developing his own styles around khadi.

“In fact, he is khadi’s biggest brand ambassador, and his vision matches KVIC’s, of ‘Make In India’ by making villages self-sufficient, ‘skill development’ by generating employment among the rural masses, infuse modern technology for khadi weaving, innovations and marketing. Plus, the PM is a youth icon,” Saxena explained.

“We are pained at this systematic easing out of Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas, philosophy and ideals by the government. Last year, the first attempt was made by including the PM’s photos in the calendar,” said a senior KVIC staffer, requesting anonymity amid fear of official reprisals.

In fact, in 2016 the staff unions in KVIC had raised the calendar matter strongly with the management and were assured that it would not be repeated in future.

“However, this year it’s a total washout. The pictures and teaching of Gandhiji – who created khadi for the poor masses and made it a symbol of the ‘swadeshi’ self-reliance during the struggle for Independence – are completely left out in the calendar and diary,” the staffer rued.

Incidentally, Modi already has a khadi garment unofficially named after him – the casual and comfy, half-sleeved ‘Modi Kurta’ – since the days he was Gujarat Chief Minister and sported it regularly in public in various shades and styles.

During the four-month period between Gandhi’s birthday on October 2 and his martyrdom on January 30, the KVIC launches special promotions and offers special rebates to boost khadi sales across India.

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