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1400 HRS

24th May, 2018


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi says poorest of the poor have benefited in over 16 thousand villages in 20 days through Gram Swaraj Abhiyan.
  • Prime Minister and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte hold talks in New Delhi; several agreements to be signed, enhancing economic and political cooperation.
  • One CRPF sub-inspector killed and another jawan injured in IED blast by Naxals in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.
  • Power supply to Sterlite plant in Thuthukkudi suspended in the wake of killings in police firing.
  • North Korea renews threat to cancel meeting between its leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed happiness that through Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, the fruits of development were taken to the poorest of the poor in 16,850 villages from the 14th of last month to the 5th of this month as a tribute to Dr B.R. Ambedkar. In a series of tweets, Mr Modi said, as part of the Abhiyan, various teams went across villages and ensured complete coverage of seven leading Central government schemes. The Prime Minister said, during the period, over 20 lakh 53,000 Jan Dhan beneficiaries and more than 16 lakh 14,000 Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana beneficiaries were added. He said, over 26 lakh 10,500 beneficiaries were also added under the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana. More than 7 lakh 50,000 Ujjwala connections were distributed and over five lakh 2,000 households were electrified under the Saubhagya Yojana. Over 25 lakh LED bulbs were also distributed across 16,700 villages. Mr Modi also said, over 1 lakh 64,000 children and 42,000 women were immunised under Mission Indradhanush.

The Prime Minister said, Gram Swaraj Abhiyan was a success due to the active participation of Ministers, MPs, MLAs, representatives of various local bodies, officials of the state governments, topmost officers of the Central government, civil society members and Self Help Groups. He said, the movement is a great example of effective service delivery at the doorstep and enhancing ease of living.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now holding talks with his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte in New Delhi. The two leaders will review the entire gamut of bilateral relations and discuss issues of mutual interest. Several agreements are expected to be signed after the talks. Both Prime Ministers will also address the India-Dutch CEOs forum.

Later in the evening, the visiting dignitary will leave for Bengaluru. Mr Rutte will visit the ISRO campus in the city.

Mr Rutte arrived in New Delhi this morning on a two-day visit to India. The visit aims to boost economic and political co-operation between the two countries.

The Dutch Prime Minister's visit comes within a year of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the Netherlands last June.


In Chhattisgarh, a CRPF sub-inspector was killed and another jawan injured in an IED blast by Naxals in Sukma district this morning. Police said, the incident occurred in a forest near Puswada village around 7.45 am, when a road opening party of the 206th CoBRA battalion was on a patrol. While the security personnel were cordoning off the area, a pressure bomb, planted by Naxals, beneath the dirt track exploded, killing one and injuring another CRPF personnel.


The power supply to the Sterlite Copper Smelter plant in Tamil Nadu's Thuthukkudi has been suspended. 13 people, protesting against the plant, have been killed since Tuesday in police firing. The decision to suspend power was taken following the orders of the State Pollution Control Board. The board had instructed its Joint Chief Environmental Engineer, Tirunelveli to conduct an inspection of the plant. The District Collector and the Superintendent of Police have been transferred in connection with the incident. More from our correspondent :-  $C3D784FA-BE06-4454-B82E-C6F1F208E67C$

"Day to day life in the district has been seriously affected. Shops are still not functioning on the third consecutive day. Buses and auto rickshaws are not plying. The newly transferred District Collector of Thuthukkudi Shri Sandeep Nandoori assured news persons today that normalcy will be restored within a day or two in the district. In a related development, the state administration has cancelled all Internet based services like email, Facebook, Whatsapp etc in Thuthukudi and neighboring districts of Kanniyakumari and Tirunelveli since last evening. In the meantime, the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board has ordered the suspension of power connection to the Sterlite factory. This is Dr K Parameswaran, AIR News, Tiruchirapalli."

Home Minister Rajnath Singh has appealed to people to remain calm and maintain peace.

"The MHA has taken cognisance of the incident and sought a report and the prevailing situation from the state government. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and I pray for the speed recovery of the injured. I appeal to the people in Thuthukkudi to remain calm and maintain peace in the area."

Mr Singh said, the Prime Minister has expressed concern over the situation and is pained by the loss of lives.


As part of the special series on the NDA government completing four years in office, we will bring you an interview with Minister for Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu at 9.30 tonight on FM Gold channel. The theme of today’s programme is “Make in India”. The Minister said e-commerce policy focuses on benefiting small scale businesses, traders and shopkeepers.

"-कॉमर्स पॉलिसी में हम लोग इस बात पर ध्यान दे रहे हैं कि किस तरह से मार्किट एक्सेस बने। सभी लोगों को इसका ज्यादा से ज्यादा लाभ मिले। हम यह भी कोशिश करें कि हमारे जो उपभोक्ता हैं उनको भी उसका प्रोटेक्शन मिलना चाहिए। साथ ही हमारी यह कोशिश है कि -कॉमर्स द्वारा जो छोटे छोटे कारोबारी हैं, जो छोटे छोटे दुकानदार हैं उनको भी उसके साथ जोड़ दे रहे हैं ताकि उनको भी उसका लाभ मिले।"


In Sikkim, more than 76,000 hectares of land have been converted into certified organic farms under the Organic mission  providing employment to over 400 local youths. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had officially declared Sikkim a fully organic state in 2015. The state agriculture department has said, six centers have been established to certify farming land following international standards. Our correspondent has filed this report:

"The state government has recently announced the cash award of one crore rupees to a local farmer for qualitative organic farming. In addition, the state is also considering a “Kisan Pension Scheme” with the provision of pension for all the Organic farmers in Sikkim. The farmers, who are actively engaged in organic farming upon reaching the age of 50 years, will be provided a monthly pension of 1,000 rupees. This benefit will be provided to one person in the family. Efforts are also being made to connect agriculture with tourism. AJIT SINGH, AIR NEWS, SHILLONG."


In Kerala, one more person succumbed to the Nipah virus in Kozhikode district today, taking the death toll in the state to 11. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan chaired a high-level meeting in Thiruvananthapuram and reviewed the steps taken by the state government to contain the outbreak of the virus. An official release said, directions have been given to continue vigil and strengthen the state's monitoring mechanism, besides increasing awareness about the virus and strengthening precautionary measures. More from our correspondent:
"Kozhikode district medical officer, Dr Jayasree said that 160 samples were sent for testing at the Pune virology institute out of which 13 cases have been found to be positive and  around 18  people are under observation. The distribution of  two thousand Ribavirin tablets  imported from  Malaysia have started. Meanwhile the  State government issued an advisory that travelling to any part of Kerala is safe and the situations is under control. However, if travelers wish to be extra cautious, they may avoid visiting the four districts of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Waynad and Kannur. Mayusha, AIR News, Thiruvananthapuram." 


Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi conferred Nari Shakti Puraskar to all the six members of INSV Tarini team in New Delhi today. She congratulated the all-woman crew for sailing across the world. The mission was led by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi and the crew comprised Lieutenant Commander Pratibha Jamwal, P Swathi, Lieutenant S Vijaya Devi, B Aishwarya and Payal Gupta.

Talking to AIR, Lt Commander Vartika Joshi said, it was not an easy journey and everyone in the crew knew at the very start of the voyage that there is a daunting task ahead. She said, the Indian Navy and the family members of the crew supported them to complete the circumnavigation. The Lt Commander said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked them to write their experiences about the journey.

Sharing her experiences, Lieutenant Commander Pratibha Jamwal said, the crew members celebrated the festival of Holi at Capetown in South Africa and also celebrated the birthdies of the crew members on the sea.


In International News, North Korea has renewed threat to cancel the much-awaited meeting between its leader Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, after the US President said, the fate of the talks will be decided next week. In a statement released by state-run KCNA news agency, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui said, Pyongyang will neither beg Washington for a dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together for talks. She said, she would recommend Kim to cancel the talks if US continues to make such threats. Ms Choe also called US Vice-President Mike Pence ignorant for his warnings over the Kim-Trump summit.

Pence had, earlier, warned Kim Jong Un that it would be a great mistake to try and play Trump. He also said, if Kim doesn't make a deal, North Korea could end up like Libya whose former leader Moamer Qaddafi was killed by US-backed rebels years after giving up atomic weapons.

Trump and Kim are due to meet in Singapore on the 12th of next month. But potential success of the meeting has been thrown into doubt in recent days with both Washington and Pyongyang raising the prospect of cancelling the talks and trading threats.


In Iraq, at least seven people, including a policeman, were killed and 16 wounded in a suicide attack in Baghdad today. Police said, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a park in Shoala district. The police said, they intercepted the bomber along with emergency workers, but he managed to set off the bomb before being caught. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, so far.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi today accepted Indian skipper Virat Kohli's fitness challenge. Replying to Kohli, Mr Modi said in a tweet that he will be sharing his own fitness challenge video soon. A report :-

"Virat Kohli had challenged Mr Modi for the hash tag fitness campaign #HUM FIT TO INDIA FIT. The cricketer had also challenged his actress wife Anushka Sharma and former captain MS Dhoni. Kohli uploaded his fitness video on social media after accepting the challenge by Information and Broadcasting as well as Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore.

Earlier, the Minister and Olympic silver medalist, had posted a video  urging everyone to shoot a video of their "fitness mantra" and share it on social media.

मैं जब भी प्रधानमंत्री जी को देखता हूं तो उनसे प्रेरित होता हूं। एक जबरदस् ऊर्जा है, दिन-रात काम करते हैं और वो चाहते है कि पूरा भारत फिट हो जाए। आपके फिटनेस का मंत्र क्या है। एक वीडियो बनाइए पिक्चर खीचिंए और सोशल मीडिया पर डालिए।

Besides Kohli, the Minister had challanged actor Hrithik Roshan and shuttler Saina Nehwal to join in. With Ritu raj, Savvy Hasan Khan, AIR News."


In IPL Cricket, Kolkata Knight Riders have set up the 2nd Qualifier clash with Sunrisers Hyderabad tomorrow. Kolkata beat Rajasthan Royals by 25 runs last night. Chasing a target of 170 runs, Rajasthan finished with 144 for four. 
Chennai Super Kings will play the final with the winner of tomorrow's qualifier in Kolkata.
The Final will be played on Sunday in Mumbai.


At the stock markets, the Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange gained around 310 points to 34,655. The Nifty surged 73 points to 10,504, a short while ago.


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