Budget focuses on roads, but critics see need for more jobs

Budget focuses on roads, but critics see need for more jobs

India's government on Tuesday unveiled its annual budget, which proposed a significant spending increase for highways, roads and airports, but a smaller increase for rural development and employment.

The US$530 billion ($714 billion) budget for the fiscal year beginning April 1 calls for a major investment in infrastructure, but critics said it would do too little to address urgent problems - such as rising unemployment, declines in household income and personal spending and mounting discontent over economic inequality that Covid-19 has made more glaring.

Week of military pageantry capped with drone show

India ended a week of Republic Day celebrations on Saturday with a synchronised drone display showcasing its home-grown tech industry.

A thousand aircraft flew in formation in the night skies above New Delhi, flashing the saffron, white and green of the national flag, before rearranging themselves into a silhouette of independence hero Mahatma Gandhi.

Sri Lanka arrests 21 Indians after clash with navy

Sri Lanka's navy on Tuesday said it has arrested 21 Indian fishermen after a confrontation with two trawlers poaching in the island's territorial waters. A fast attack craft was damaged in the clashes on Monday.

It did not say if there were casualties, but said the navy seized equipment used by the Indians for "bottom-trawling", a fishing method banned in Sri Lanka that snares maritime creatures on the ocean floor.

Troops kill five militants in Kashmir

Indian troops on Sunday killed five militants, including a top commander from the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) group, in stepped-up anti-militancy operations in Kashmir.

"We launched two separate operations on the basis of inputs about the presence of militants in these areas. Five militants, including JeM commander, Zahid Wani, and a Pakistani national, Kafeel, were killed," said Kashmir police chief Vijay Kumar.

Bank withdraws controversial work guidelines

The State Bank of India (SBI) on Saturday withdrew the controversial guidelines pertaining to pregnant women "unfit" for work after the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) issued it a notice.

The SBI, in a circular on Dec 31, said women who are more than three months pregnant cannot work in its offices.

"This is a very serious matter. This action of the bank appears to be discriminatory and illegal as it is contrary to maternity benefits provided under the Code of Social Security, 2020," the DCW had said.

NTPC tells Railways not to use abbreviation for exam

India's largest power producer NTPC has asked the railways not to use the abbreviated form of the Railways Recruitment Board Non-Technical Popular Categories exam - RRB NTPC - to avoid harming its reputation during ongoing protests.

Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have witnessed widespread violent protests by job aspirants over alleged discrepancies in the railways recruitment process for Non-Technical Popular Categories.

The NTPC said the railways must clarify that the power producer was not linked to the exam and use the full form of the recruitment scheme in press releases.

Six killed, nine injured by speeding bus in Kanpur

Six people died and nine others were injured in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, when a speeding bus knocked off a pole, rammed into two cars and hit passers-by near Tatmill crossing on Sunday.

According to media reports, the incident happened when the driver of the electric bus lost control of the wheel at the busy city intersection.

Italy dismisses case against marines over India murder

A Rome judge on Monday dismissed a murder investigation into two Italian marines who killed two fishermen in Kerala in 2012, months after the case was dropped by India's top court.

News agencies said it followed an assessment by prosecutors last month that there was not enough evidence for a trial against Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, who shot dead the unarmed fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012 while protecting an Italian oil tanker as part of an anti-piracy mission.

Humiliated farmer gets apology and new Bolero

The Mahindra Group has delivered a Bolero vehicle to Karnataka farmer R.L. Kempegowda after an employee at its showroom in Ramanapalya, Tumakuru district, ridiculed him over his appearance.

Mr Kempegowda and his friends went to buy a Bolero when a salesman turned him away.

The farmer was reportedly told: "You don't look like you have even Rs10 (70 cents) and nobody comes like this (referring to his clothes and friends) to buy a vehicle."

He went back and produced Rs10 lakh before the salesman in 30 minutes, but the showroom staff were unable to deliver the vehicle.

Mahindra chairman Anand Mahindra later apologised and tweeted: "We regret the inconvenience caused to Mr Kempegowda. As promised we have taken appropriate measures and the matter is resolved."

Street dog given farewell after youth runs car over it

Hundreds of animal lovers in Bengaluru on Tuesday participated in the last rites of Lara - the street dog who was killed after a youth ran his luxury Audi car over it.

The police have arrested 23-year-old Adhi, the son of an industrialist, who allegedly ran his car over Lara while the dog was sleeping by the roadside.

Wild elephant tramples toddy tapper to death

A wild elephant trampled a toddy tapper to death in Kerala on Monday.

The incident took place in the 2,828ha Aralam Farm in Kannur district which is home to around 800 tribal families.

The 39-year-old man, who hailed from nearby Mattanur town, was on his way to work when the elephant attacked him.

India cruise past Australia to reach fourth consecutive final

Skipper Yash Dhull scored 110 as India reached their fourth consecutive U-19 Cricket World Cup final with a 96-run win over Australia in the West Indies on Wednesday.

Dhull shared a game-changing 204-run stand with his deputy Shaik Rasheed (94) to fire India to 290 for five. India then bowled Australia out for 194 in 41.5 overs.

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