Subsidised kerosene | Reuters fileThe Modi government has saved about Rs 59,000 crore of cooking gas subsidies after the implementation of direct benefit transfer scheme PAHAL (Pratyaksh Hastantarit Labh) since 2015. The scheme allowed the government eliminate fake and inactive connections, reduce leakages and allow the ‘Give It Up’ campaign to urge the public above the poverty line, to surrender the subsidised gas connections.As per the filings of the Union Budget by Nirmala Sitharaman, the government has closed down about 4.03 crore duplicate, fake and inactive connections excluding the elimination of about 1.03 crore beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana above the poverty line. Reuters fileThe PAHAL scheme allows direct transfer of LPG subsidy to the consumer’s bank account without the implementation of any rebate during the purchase of the cylinder. The scheme was launched in 54 districts of India in 2014, later expanding its branches throughout the country by 2015. The government initiative has added about 24.72 crore consumers.Essentially, government has cut the subsidy outgo by excluding such LPG consumers, including the spouse, having taxable income of above Rs 10 lakh from availing LPG subsidy from January 1, 2015. Otherwise, nearly 8 lakh consumers have either submitted self-declaration or identified for exclusion using the information provided by the Department of Revenue, said a report in Economic Times. India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman arrives to present the 2019 budget in Parliament, New Delhi, July 5, 2019ReutersThe budget has also revealed that the government has saved about Rs 8,265 crore on subsidised kerosene that saw an increase in its retail selling price (RSP) by about Rs 15 per litre. The increase in the retail selling price has led to increasing government savings by Rs 8,265 crore as of April 2019.The ministry of petroleum and natural gases had directed the oil companies to hike the RSP of kerosene by Rs 3.23 per litre, gradually increasing it by Rs 0.25 every fortnight till September 2017. The process was then re-implemented from January 1, 2018.In a process to decrease the usage of kerosene in the country, the government has drastically increased the rates and in turn, decreased the allocation of the fuel in all the states by about 28 percent in 2018. The government even aimed at further decreasing the allocation by 12 percent which seems feasible considering the first quarter reductions of 2019.The Modi government’s oil ministry has pulled down the subsidy bill by about 50 percent from 2014 and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget report stated that the subsidy bill was reduced from Rs 76,308 crore in 2014 to Rs 37,606 crore by 2018.
Four children, including two siblings, were killed as a boat capsized in a water body in Bymile area of Gazipur city on Saturday afternoon while they were having a boat ride on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.Deceased Mim, her brother Sohag, and their neighbours Sadia and Parvin, all are residents of the area, reports UNB.Nine children, aged 8-12, went for a boat ride in the water body in afternoon as part of their Eid celebrations, said Abbas Uddin Khokon, councillor of ward-12 of Gazipur City Corporation.The boat sank around 4:00pm after a crack developed in its bottom, he said.The four children drowned while the rest managed to swim ashore, the councillor added.
Here’s what they had to say:The state’s public education system has – for too long – used “Band-Aid” repairs. Both representatives agreed the Legislature has fallen short of creating an effective public education system. The state’s public education system is in need of a more long-lasting fix, according to the representatives. “The system, itself, has got to be revised,” Thierry said. “I represent students right now that barely have textbooks in their cabinets.” Thierry was speaking about students from the Houston Independent School District, which she said has more than 80 percent of its students on reduced or free-lunch programs.But how can the state do more than “Band-Aid” repairs? The state needs to increase funding in the public education system, according to the representatives. Thierry said the money used for “unnecessary” border patrol security should be rerouted to public education, while Coleman said it would be best to temporarily divert money from voter-approved highway transportation funds.“The answer is still to put more money in the system in order to appropriately fund public education,” Coleman said. “But there is not a will to do that particularly from the Senate, and there’s not a will to do that from the governor.”The state’s maternal mortality rate is an issue. Texas moms, and especially black mothers, are dying at alarming rates. Known for her bills addressing maternal mortality, Thierry said it’s an issue the state needs to take on more directly. She cites socioeconomic factors and implicit bias as some of the reasons behind the high rates of maternal mortality in the state.“Women of color are still being discounted when they are getting treatment from their practitioners,” she said. The state needs to do more than just continue to collect data about these rates, she said.“Right now, in real time, women are dying.”Upcoming Texas primaries. The legislators hope more Texas voters will show up to the polls in March. Thierry said she hoped the national political scene and discontent over the Trump administration will prompt younger voters to get more active in Texas politics. Adding to that comment, Coleman said he hoped Democrats could sweep more seats in the upcoming election as the prospect of choosing a new House speaker looms over the state.Sexual assault allegations at the Capitol. The Texas Legislature is looking into changing its procedures for how people can report allegations of sexual assault at the Capitol. Both legislators agreed that a push for change like what’s happening nationwide was long overdue. Coleman said he hoped victims of sexual assault would begin reporting allegations to the local district attorney. But Thierry said many instances of workplace harassment don’t reach the level of criminal behavior, meaning the Legislature should also have a place for victims to bring “non-criminal” accusations.For the first time in a public format, Thierry also opened up about her own sexual harassment experience when she was in her 20s and working for a law firm. “It was a horrible experience,” she said. “It changed the course of my life, but here I am today as a sitting state representative.”Sen. Borris Miles, D-Houston, who in December was accused of sexual misconduct in a story by the Daily Beast, was originally slated to be a participant in the conversation. He pulled out at the last minute due to a “scheduling conflict.” Share