Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Opposition can use any words they want, government has provided relief to poor, migrants: Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
New Delhi (ANI): Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said that opposition parties can choose their words to target the government but it has made sincere efforts to provide relief to people in the lockdown induced by coronavirus crisis and asked about the performance of the state governments headed by opposition parties in dealing with the issues relating to migrant workers. In an interview with ANI Editor Smita Prakash, Sitharaman said she did not initially react to Congress calling her press conferences on the comprehensive Rs 20 lakh financial package a "drama" and "TV serial" but decided to hit back on the party on the issue of migrant workers.

"If Congress can call Government of India announcing a package at a time like this...one said it's like a TV serial, every day she comes at 4; other said it's a drama. I didn't respond to anyone of them. Even on fifth day when I was announcing, I didn't respond to any of them," she said. "But somebody asked me on migrants, I had to say. If ours - official press conferences telling what package govt wants to give - is called a drama, stopping migrants when they're walking, at that time you go, sit and have a 'gupshup'. Don't I have a right to comment on it?" she asked.

The Finance Minister said the Narendra Modi government came up with PM Garib Kalyan scheme within hours after the first phase of lockdown in March. "In opposition, you can always use any words that you want and this was the government which gave PM Garib Kalyan scheme within hours after the lockdown was brought in. That Garib Kalyan meant that they would have food so that no one goes hungry," the minister said.

"They have not flattened the curve, they have not had the migrants handled in a very exemplary way that all of us can learn from them," she added. She asked opposition parties about their handling of issues pertaining to migrant workers in states ruled by them.

"We thought of giving them cooking gas and some amount to run the house. I would ask the opposition, have those state governments, where they're in power, handled this matter any better? Wouldn't the attention be towards those governments where their party/alliance partners are in power?" she asked. Asked if she faced excessive criticism because she is a woman finance minister, Sitharaman said, "there is definitely a lot of criticism, I suppose every finance minister gets it".

"But now because the stress is in the ground so much and affected people are probably a lot more, so there is a lot of criticism and I don't mind it, I have to take it," she said. Sitharaman held five press conferences to give out details of the special comprehensive package of Rs 20 lakh crore announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help various sections of society deal with COVID-19 situation and make India self-reliant.
By: ANI.

PM Modi's approach has never been supportive of any cronyism, says Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
 New Delhi (ANI): The approach of BJP-led Central government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has never been supportive of any "cronyism" in any way, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday. In an interview with ANI Editor Smita Prakash, Sitharaman said that there was not any complaint "about us calling and instructing banks."

"This government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's approach has never been supportive of any cronyism in any way. In the last five years, you have seen clearly. No one had any complaint about us calling and instructing banks," she said. "So, I think that is not an issue. If anything that the banks are hesitant is to extend loans, which may go bad for which the way we have devised the schemes that we would definitely guarantee any loss that happens," she said.

Speaking further, the minister said: "We don't promote corruption or cronyism. Banks have to take genuine decisions. They will take and I am giving them guarantee about decisions going wrong that they will not be held responsible. But if at a local level, somebody does cronyism, it is for the banks to say no."
By: ANI.

Google Photos adds new control for sharing albums


California (ANI): Google on Tuesday said it is rolling out new controls to Google Photos, enabling users to share albums with a specific person or people via their Google account. "Last December, we launched direct sharing to make it easy to share one-off photos and videos in Google Photos by adding them to an ongoing, private conversation in the app. Today, we're bringing a similar experience to shared albums. Rolling out this week, when sharing an album, the default option will be to share with a specific person or people via their Google account. This gives you more control over who's added to the album," said Google Photos Sharing Engineering Lead, Sanjukta Mathur, in a statement.

"You'll still have the option to share albums in Google Photos via a link, which you can embed in an email, text, or blog to make it easy to share photos with people who don't use Google Photos or have a Google account," she added. Mathur further stated that users will be able to remove someone from the album, which will remove the photos and videos they added.

"You have the option to turn link sharing on or off at any time and you can decide if you want to let other collaborators add photos to an album. You'll also be able to remove someone from the album, which will remove the photos and videos they added," she said.
By: ANI.

Over 1 lakh evaucated in Odisha as cyclone Amphan hurtles towards Bengal coast

Paradip in Odisha received rainfall on Wednessday monring ahead of cyclone Amphan that is expected to make landfall later today. (Photo: ANI)
Bhubaneswar (ANI): As many as 1,19,075 people have been evacuated from 13 vulnerable districts of Odisha as Cyclone Amphan is expected to make landfall on Webnesday between Digha in Webst Bengal and Hatia Island in Bangladesh.

Due to the cyclone, rainfall and strong winds are expected to batter several districts of Odisha today.

As many 1,704 shelter camps have been set up in anticipation of the super cyclone. Maximum number of people were evacuated from Kendrapara, (32,060) followed by Bhadrak (26,176) and Balasore (23,142).

"As the storm approaches, the fear of the storm is growing in people's minds as time goes on. We are becoming more and more afraid of the wind. The India Meteorogical Department (IMD) has warned that it will pass near Paradip by this afternoon. As a result, winds are expected in the northern coastal areas of Odisha," one of the locals told ANI.

"I stay at Bengali Sahi and have faced the 1999 Super Cyclone. When the administration announced that a similar cyclone is going to hit Odisha, we immediately fled from our shelter centres with our documents," said Panchanan Das, another local.

As per the latest update issued by the IMD, the 'extremely severve' cyclonic storm lay centred over northwest and adjoining westcentral Bay of Bengal, about 125 km south of Paradip in Odisha, 390 km south-southwest of Digha and 540 km south-southwest of Khepupara in Bangladesh.
By: ANI.

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