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Panel will study the ‘1 nation, 1 poll’ issue

11 parties, including Congress, DMK, BSP, Trinamool Congress and AAP, skip four-hour meeting

Mapping the mood: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and other Ministers after the all-party meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday. Sandeep Saxena

A committee will be formed by the Narendra Modi-led government to prepare a road map for “One nation, one election”, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced here at the end of an over four-hour meeting with presidents of 21 political parties.

Eleven political parties, including the Congress, skipped the meeting convened by the Prime Minister.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the meeting, Mr. Singh said: “Majority of the parties supported. CPI and CPI(M) raised questions about its feasibility but didn’t oppose the move. The Prime Minister then said he will form a committee regarding this issue.”

All the political parties were given the opportunity to put forth their views, after which Mr. Modi spoke in support of the idea. “The Prime Minister said that this is not the government’s agenda but the country’s agenda. If there are differences of opinion, they are welcome,” Mr. Singh quoted the Prime Minister as saying.

Sources said Mr. Modi stressed that this formula needs to be accepted even if it takes 10 years to achieve synchronisation.

Other than the Congress, the notable absentees included the Trinamool Congress, the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, among others.

The AIADMK sent Tamil Nadu Minister C.V. Shanmugam and Rajya Sabha MP Navaneethakrishnan, both of whom were denied entry since the meeting was only open to the party chiefs. They submitted in writing the AIADMK’s position on the issue.

Among the NDA allies, the Shiv Sena was missing.

PM’s panel rejects former CEA’s paper on GDP growth

‘Lacks rigour, won’t stand up to scrutiny’

The Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) has released a detailed note enumerating its objections to former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian’s paper on India’s GDP growth.

The note said that Mr. Subramanian’s paper “lacks rigour” and would not stand up to academic scrutiny.

Low GDP

The paper, released in Harvard University, postulated that the GDP growth between 2011-17 was significantly lower than the 7% shown by the official figures.

“Having closely read the paper and taking into account all information available until June 19, 2019, the primary contributors of this note reject the author’s methodology, arguments and conclusions in the said paper,” the note by the PMEAC said. “A critique of official GDP estimates must specifically critique coverage or methodology, the author does neither.”

“Given the fact that his paper lacks rigour in terms of specific data sources and description, alternative hypothesis, rationale of equation specifications, use of dummies, and robustness-check diagnostics of estimated equations, and choice of countries in the sample and a specific list, it would not stand the scrutiny of academic or policy research standards,” the note added.

The Council, however, said this did not mean that the paper should not be taken seriously, but that “to believe it as gospel truth is equally problematic.”

In a detailed rejoinder, it said the 17 indicators “cherry-picked” by the former CEA were sourced from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), which was not in itself a primary source of information.

Muzaffarpur AES death toll mounts to 115

The death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) rose to 115 in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district on Wednesday, as a Public Interest Litigation was filed in the Patna High Court urging it to direct the State government to take adequate action to contain the outbreak.

The deaths took place at the Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital where 138 children were still undergoing treatment.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday also agreed to hear a plea seeking a direction to the Centre to urgently constitute a team of medical experts for the treatment of the children suffering from AES in Bihar.

A water clinic for elephants opens in Mathura

Injured, sick and geriatric jumbos undergo specialised treatment for rehabilitation

Water baby: An elephant relaxing in a hydrotherapy pool in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. Special Arrangement

India has opened its first specialised hydrotherapy treatment for elephants suffering from arthritis, joint pain and foot ailments, near the Wildlife SOS’ Elephant Conservation and Care Centre (ECCC), which currently houses 20 rescued animals and is run in collaboration with the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department and the NGO Wildlife SOS.

Situated on the banks of the Yamuna in Mathura, the hydrotherapy jumbo pool is 11-foot-deep and has 21 high pressure jet sprays that create water pressure that massage the elephants’ feet and body and help in increasing blood circulation.

“The hospital started in 2018 already offers state-of-the-art facilities, including wireless digital X-ray, laser treatment, dental X-ray, thermal imaging and ultrasonography to treat injured, sick and geriatric elephants,” said Dr. Yaduraj Khadpekar, senior wildlife veterinary officer.

He said that with each elephant rescue they had observed a disturbing pattern. “In captive elephants their bodies are weakened due to improper nutrition, their bodies and delicate feet are riddled with wounds and painful abscesses. Osteoarthritis and foot issues are common ailments. Water resistance is useful for muscle strengthening and cardiovascular training while water pressure can reduce oedema and swelling,” he said.

The elephants at the Wildlife SOS have been rescued from extreme distress. Some were privately owned and had the cruel history of being used for begging.

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