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Officials told not to attend training

Kerala has toughened its stand against updating the National Population Register (NPR) and asked its Census officials not to attend training sessions related to the register.

The State is stepping up its resistance even as the national authorities have made it clear that the register will be updated along with the Census in the State.

Kerala’s Principal Secretary, General Administration Department, has written to all District Collectors directing that officials need not attend the training session connected with the NPR, if any.

No references to NPR

The communication was issued to the district and charge-level officers of the Census 2021 operations last week as the State reiterated that “the NPR operations are not undertaken in the State.”

The State authorities had taken care to strike down all references related to the NPR in the circular issued by T. Mithra, Director of Census Operations, Kerala, last week regarding the appointment of enumerators, supervisors and field trainers for house-listing and housing census operations and updating of the NPR.

Two-day training

Incidentally, Vivek Joshy, Registrar General and Census Commissioner, had informed the Chief Secretary that State government officials would be deployed for the Census field work between April 15 and May 29, and the same set of officials would carry out the NPR update in the State.

The Hindu had reported that the national authorities had insisted on updating the register in spite of the State government's resistance to the programme.

The two-day training sessions for most of the districts have been completed. It will begin in Ernakulam and Wayanad districts on Friday.

According to a senior official from a southern district who took part in the training programme, no references were made to the NPR during the training session. There were no questions from the participants too. It was also indicated that the register need not be updated in the State, the official said.

Hands-on training

The training classes focussed on the modules for house-listing blocks (HLB), Census-2021 Management and Monitoring System and App developed for the Census.

It was mostly a hands-on training programme and the booklets distributed in the classes pertained to HLB and related activities. No publication regarding the register was distributed, he said.

A national-level trainer who led the programme also confirmed that there were no references to the updating of the register as the State government was opposed to it.

Deal was signed during Trump’s visit

The helicopter will operate from frontline ships and aircraft carriers.

Lockheed Martin will deliver six MH-60R Multi-Role Helicopters (MRH) to the Navy in 2021 and the order would be completed by 2025, sources said on Thursday. The deal, worth around $2.2 billion, was signed early this week during the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump.

“We will get at least two helicopters within a year and a total of six helicopters in 2021,” a Navy source said.

The Navy said in a statement that as envisioned in the ‘Capability Based Perspective Plan,’ the helicopters were being procured under the ‘Buy (Global)’ Category through the Foreign Military Sales route of the U.S.

“The delivery of the helicopters is planned commencing early 2021 and comes at a time when the Indian Ocean Region is witnessing increasing security threat due to proliferation of submarines,” it stated.

These helicopters will replace the Sea King 42/42A helicopters already decommissioned in the 1990s. They are envisaged to operate from frontline ships and aircraft carriers providing them flexibility of operation, enhanced surveillance and attacking capability.

Nearly 24 nations expected to attend

Ashraf Ghani

India has been invited to witness the ceremony to seal the peace deal between the U.S. and Taliban in Qatari capital Doha on Saturday, an official source has confirmed.

India’s acknowledgement came two days after a source privy to Taliban told The Hindu that some 24 countries are expected to participate in the ceremony where the deal will be signed. Officials here had earlier stated that India’s participation as a witness would depend on the stance of the Government of President Ashraf Ghani.

An Indian official, however, reiterated India’s position that a peace negotiation should be “Afghan-owned, Afghan-led and Afghan-controlled”, and a participation from the Afghan government in the ceremony will indicate that the U.S.-Taliban deal will ultimately take an inclusive turn. His statement hinted that India will take a call about sending a delegation for the ceremony if President Ghani sends a delegation to Doha.

A six-memberAfghan delegation left Kabul on Thursday for Doha to conduct negotiations about the release of 5,000 Taliban fighters who are in the custody of the Afghanistan government. This issue is part of the draft peace agreement, and Kabul is expected to deal with this soon after the U.S.-Taliban deal is signed on February 29.

It is understood that the same six-member delegation will represent the government of President Ghani in the ceremony and begin the intra-Afghan negotiations thereafter.

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