Madhya Pradesh has surrendered more than a quarter of its allotted Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Grameen) houses for this financial year, giving up 2.32 lakh out of a total 8.32 lakh houses. This is the first time any State has done so, according to senior officials from the Union Rural Development Ministry which administers the scheme.The housing scheme aims to ensure that every rural Indian family has a pucca house with basic amenities by 2022, and expects to build a total of 2.95 crore houses by then. The nationwide target for this financial year 2019-20 is 60 lakh houses.“The State targets were determined in February 2019 and Madhya Pradesh was allotted a total of 8.32 lakh houses under the Annual Action Plan approved by the Empowered Committee. However, on July 31, we got a letter from the MP government that they wished to surrender 2.32 lakh houses this year,” a senior Rural Development Ministry official, who did not wish to be named, told The Hindu. “The State indicated that it was not in a position to construct [the original target] this year.”“This is an unprecedented situation and it is not good for the State to reduce its target. At the end of the day, it delays housing for lakhs of its people,” said another senior Ministry official, who also did not wish to be identified. “It seems that the Congress government’s farm loan waiver scheme may be reducing the State’s ability to meet its share for other schemes.”Under PMAY (G), each beneficiary is given a total of ₹1.2 lakh to construct a pukka home, with a hygienic kitchen space. (The amount is ₹1.3 lakh for hilly States, difficult areas and tribal and backward districts which come under the Integrated Action Plan.) The cost is split in a 60:40 ratio between the State and Central governments in plain areas, and a 90:10 ratio in northeastern and Himalayan States. Thus, State governments must bear a share of the cost of the flagship Central scheme.In the last three financial years, Madhya Pradesh has been second only to West Bengal in the number of houses constructed under PMAY (G), completing more than 13 lakh houses since 2016, according to government data.Soon after the Union budget was presented in July, MP Finance Minister Tarun Bhanot had complained that the State’s share of tax revenue had been slashed by ₹2,700 crore, calling it a “huge loss” and a “betrayal” of the people of the State by the NDA government.When the State’s Congress government presented its own maiden budget, it increased its budgetary allocation for farmers by 145% over the previous year to ₹22,736 crore. In keeping with poll promises to implement a farm loan waiver scheme, the State’s Finance Minister said the loans of 20 lakh farmers had been waived, to the tune of ₹7,000 crore, over two months. Asn additional ₹8,000 crore was set aside for the remaining farmers, he said.The Congress government has been slow to come on board with some other flagship schemes of the Central BJP-led government. Only 9,304 of MP’s approximately 80 lakh farmers had received the first instalment of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)scheme’s annual income support of ₹6000, Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told the Rajya Sabha in June. With regard to the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat, on the other hand, MP has created its own version of the health insurance scheme and re-christened it as Maha Ayushman, increasing the amount of coverage and the number of beneficiaries as well.
Australian cricket coach Tim Nielsen on Thursday defended Michael Clarke and Phillip Hughes over allegations that the pair was found drinking at a Melbourne bar well into the night on the eve of their humiliating Ashes series defeat at the MCG.Aussie players Phillip Hughes. AP”These guys are playing cricket all day, every day. And they’re never playing at home. They were out for dinner. All the information we received straight after the incident was that they were out for dinner together and nothing but polite and courteous to the people out in the the public.”They posed for photographs and signed autographs, they talked about the Test match. I can promise you they wouldn’t have been feeling great because we were under pressure in the Test and going to the fourth day looking like the Ashes were going to be lost,” Nielsen said.According to some photographs released by the media Down Under, the duo was spotted drinking at the World Restaurant Bar on the third night of the Melbourne Test, which Australia went on to lose by an innings and 157 runs to help England retain the Ashes on foreign soil for the first time in 24 years.The pictures had raised some serious questions pertaining to the professionalism and discipline of Aussie cricketers but Nielsen said the photographs of the cricketers showed the two players were well behaved and simply enjoyed drinks with dinner.”I don’t really mind what anybody says. (But) I can’t expect – I won’t expect – any of my players to sit in their hotel room for 250 nights of the year, especially if they’re having a bad day or a good day,” Nielsen was quoted as saying by the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’.advertisementNielsen spoke in defence of the players after a 25-year-old local woman, Emily Goodyear, had claimed that the pair drank vodka with her and and told her “it doesn’t matter that we are out, we’ve lost the match anyway.””And Philip added, ‘I’m not batting and I don’t think there’s any chance we’re going to win.’,” she added.Aussie vice captain Michael Clarke. APTest vice-captain Michael Clarke had defended himself and his team-mate Hughes by arguing that they have done nothing wrong.”There’s no doubt Phillip and I went to a restaurant bar, we had dinner there, I had two drinks and didn’t have a late night at all. We posed for a lot of photos with a lot of people, we were polite to a lot of people and there were even a few of the Barmy Army there.”I have absolutely no idea what time I got home, but I guarantee you it wasn’t late,” the 29-year-old Clarke said.- With PTI inputs
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The acknowledgment from All-Stars such as Paul George and Bradley Beal shows that Siakam’s giant leap has caught the attention of more than just the media panel that votes for the NBA awards.“I just enjoy sometimes after the games, guys coming up to me and showing respect for me. That’s the most important thing,” Siakam said. “Like, I don’t care about the rest. I think when your peers respect your game and respect the fact that they’ve seen you work, I think that’s more important.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsThere’s a lot for them to have noticed, including:— Siakam’s scoring. It is up from 6.0 points per game through his first two seasons to 17.0 this season. Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, center, dribbles the ball down court during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 3, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)Pascal Siakam confidently launches shots he may not have dared attempt in previous seasons. He makes plays during times of the game when he would have been sitting on the bench.The Toronto Raptors forward might be the leading candidate for the most improved player award and he’d like to win it. But he’s already received recognition that means more to him.ADVERTISEMENT Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid MOST READ DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. But of them, Siakam has the biggest role on the team with the best chance to be playing into June.The Raptors made major changes after they were swept out of the postseason by LeBron James and Cleveland in consecutive years. Dwane Casey was fired even after winning coach of the year honors, and All-Star DeMar DeRozan was dealt to San Antonio in the trade to bring in Kawhi Leonard.The Raptors have come back with 57 wins and the second-best record in the East, with Siakam’s growth central to their success. He can play in a traditional big lineup alongside Leonard and center Marc Gasol, or in a smaller one if they go with Serge Ibaka in the middle.The athleticism was always there for the 6-foot-9 forward. But now it’s only part of the package for a player who made one 3-pointer his entire rookie season in 2016-17 and now averages one per game, the easiest place to notice his improvement.“I don’t know who else is even really up for it, who the voting’s between, all that stuff. I know that if anybody’s done more than this kid, has improved more, has impacted the team more and continued to improve from even geez, 20 games ago,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “He just keeps taking another step forward, there has been no steps back.“He’s certainly deserving. If there’s somebody else who is deserving, then sometimes that’s the way it works. But he’s had an unbelievable season.”Soon it will be time for the Raptors to show how much they’ve improved along with him. They became postseason punching bags the last couple years who want to show they won’t be pushed around any longer.“We have a new group so it’s going to be definitely tough and I think we’re more focused on that,” Siakam said. “Obviously we think about the playoffs, we’re excited about it, can’t wait for it. We just want to make sure we get the right chemistry and everything going so when that time comes, we’ll be ready to perform.”He got into only two playoff games two years ago, when the native of Cameroon was still learning the game. It was only five years earlier when he had come through the Basketball Without Borders camp in Africa, then headed to Texas for prep school and onto New Mexico State before becoming a late first-round pick.He’s not sure if friends back home are aware of his success. But if he wins the Most Improved Player award, chances are they’ll hear about it. “I’m definitely not a personal-type guy where I care about personal accolades and stuff, but definitely a team-guy first,” Siakam said. “Something like that, in terms of who I am and the person that I’ve become, and people that know my story and how I came up, that would mean a lot just because that’s me. Like, that’s literally who I am as a player and as a person.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte — His 3-point shooting. That’s jumped from 21.6 percent to 36.8 percent.A player who was feared almost entirely for his work around the basket now has to be accounted for even when he’s away from it. Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson called Siakam an X-factor who now demands a much bigger part of the scouting report.“It changes because he’s shooting the ball better,” Atkinson said. “I think at first you could ignore his shot. Now it’s like you’ve got to respect him from 3 and I know he’s worked on it extremely hard, so that changes it.“You could be in the paint, wait for his drives. You still have to respect (that) but I think he keeps getting better and better.”D’Angelo Russell, Atkinson’s All-Star point guard, might be the other top candidate for most improved player after leading the Nets to a surprising playoff berth. Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, Denver’s Malik Beasley and the Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell are some other players worthy of consideration.ADVERTISEMENT Ray Parks signs with Blackwater Elite View comments