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Imran govt sells 70 luxury cars

Press Trust of India

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Islamabad, Sep 17: The cash-strapped Pakistan government on Monday sold 70 cars “above their market price” as it started the process of auctioning of 102 luxury vehicles of the PM House under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s austerity drive, a media report said.

Apart from luxury cars, the government, facing huge debts and liabilities, plans to auction eight buffaloes kept by deposed and jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif at the PM House for his “gastronomic requirements”, a senior aide to Khan said last week.

It will also sell the four surplus helicopters lying unused with the Cabinet Division, Naeem-ul-Haq, the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant for Political Affairs, said.

 

A man writes down the details of a government owned car on sale during an auction at the premises of Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad. (REUTERS)

Speaking to reporters on Monday, information minister Fawad Chaudhry said the first batch of 70 vehicles have been sold.

“These cars were sold above their market price,” Chaudhry claimed.

He added that vehicles which are classified as protected (bomb and bullet-proof) would be sold next.

The cars that are being auctioned include four recent models of Mercedes Benz, eight bullet-proof BMWs, three 5000cc SUVs and two 3000cc SUVs of 2016 model.

A woman with her child visits an auction of government owned used cars at the premises of Prime Minister House in Islamabad. (REUTERS)

Twenty-four 24 Mercedes Benz of 2016 model are also being auctioned. Two of the 28 cars are 4,000cc bullet-proof vehicles, the report said.

Further, 40 Toyota cars, a Lexus SUV, and two Land Cruisers are also up for auction.

Other vehicles that are being auctioned include eight Suzuki cars, five Mitsubishi vehicles, nine Hondas and two jeeps.

The cars will be sold to those who have the highest bid, the report said.

In his first address to the nation, Prime Minister Khan had emphasised on cutting government expenditure. As part of the cost-cutting initiative, he had announced the auction of surplus PM House vehicles.

People visit an auction of government owned used cars at the premises of Prime Minister House in Islamabad, Pakistan. (Reuters Photo)

Pakistan’s debt and liabilities rose sharply to nearly Rs 30 trillion or 87% of total size of the economy at the end of previous fiscal year, according to media reports.

Statistics released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) last month showed that in the last five years, Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities increased Rs 13.5 trillion or 82.8% to stand at Rs 29.9 trillion. Five years ago, Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities were Rs 16.4 trillion, the Express Tribune reported.


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Mental Health: JK puts MSF, Royal College of Psychiatrists’ recommendations on back burner

Fails to constitute crisis team in four years

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, May 26: Jammu and Kashmir government has failed to constitute the crisis teams to identify and treat increasing psychological illnesses in the valley even four years after the same was recommended by Medicine Sans Frontiers (MSF) and Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) London.

MSF and RCP, in a report to J&K in 2015, had suggested forming crisis teams in the state to deal with the psychological ailments, cases of which have lately witnessed a surge.

Director J&K Health Services, representatives of Psychiatry Disease hospital, Department of Psychology and Sociology, Kashmir University, representatives of RCP, and State Coordinator of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Mental Health Gap Action Plan (mhGAP) were part of the meeting when the report was submitted.

 

The concept of formation of crisis team was later incorporated into the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between RCP and Jammu and Kashmir’s Health Department, which was to be assisted by the WHO.

Dr Sayeed Aqeel Hussain, Srinagar-based International Coordinator for mhGAP, said he was ready to facilitate the entire process but “the concerned government departments seemed not interested.”

“I personally appealed the RCP to visit (to help implement the suggestions), but they demanded a formal invitation from the Jammu and Kashmir government, which was not offered,” he said.

According to the MoU, a crisis team would include a group of psychiatrists, who would visit places across Kashmir and identify people with mental illness.

These patients would be provided treatment in their homes through medication and constant counseling.

“The project proposal was discussed by me in the mhGAP forum at WHO assembly in Geneva. It highlighted the need to train the psychiatrists as trainers for establishing crisis team in the community, followed by invitation to psychiatric trainers to UK, where they will have an opportunity to get an insight into the working of the crisis team in the Kingdom,” Dr Hussain said.

Director Health Services Kashmir, Kunzes Dolma said she was unaware of the programme. “I don’t have any information about it. Still, I will first confirm and then comment on it,” she said.

Head of Department, Psychiatric Diseases Hospital Srinagar, Prof Mohammad Maqbool said the department has its “own crisis teams to work on mental health.”

“We had desired to work with Royal College of Psychiatry but later the programme was not followed up by them too. We have drug de-addiction centres in SMHS, Kathidarwaza and other places which function to provide medical aid to the mentally-ill patients. The workload here is too much and the manpower is limited,” he said.

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GoI lauds JK’s performance under AB-PMJAY

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Srinagar, May 26: The Government of India Sunday appreciated the performance of Jammu and Kashmir State under Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) scheme.

In a letter addressed to Chief Secretary, J&K, B V R Subrahmanyam, Chief Executive Officer National Health Authority, GoI, Dr Indu Bhushan, lauded the efforts of the State Administration in ensuring the benefits of the AB-PMJAY to the targeted beneficiaries at the grassroots level.

The Government of India has maintained that the J&K has successfully reached out to the needy and issued e-cards covering 57 per cent of families in the state in less than six months, which is highest by any state in the country, as of now.

 

 “There has been a remarkable growth of 150% in the last couple of months in terms of utilization of services in the state,” the letter reads.

It also mentions that in J&K more than 95 per cent of the claims have been paid in time as per the defining timelines. Authorities have wished that Jammu and Kashmir would continue the momentum for this upward trajectory in terms of implementation of AB-PMJAY and will become a model state in the country.

Meanwhile, the Governor, Satya Pal Malik has also congratulated the State Administration for this ambitious achievement and hoped that the implementing agencies shall continue to maintain the tempo to achieve necessary goals in the health sector.

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Modi to be sworn in as PM on May 30

Agencies

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New Delhi, May 26: Narendra Modi will be sworn in as country’s Prime Minister for the second term on May 30, the Rashtrapati Bhavan said here on Sunday. A communiqué from the President’s House said the oath taking ceremony will be held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday.

“The President (Ram Nath Kovind) will administer the Oath of Office and Secrecy to the Prime Minister and other members of Union Council of Ministers on 30.05.2019 at 07.00 p.m. at Rashtrapati Bhavan,” the communiqué issued by President’s press secretary Ashok Malik said. Modi was elected unanimously as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance on Saturday. Later, he called on the President in his capacity as leader of the BJP Parliamentary Party, which has majority support in the House of the People following the general election to the 17th Lok Sabha.

The President, exercising powers under the Constitution, appointed Modi to the office of Prime Minister of India and sought his advice about the names of others to be appointed members of the Union Council of Ministers and indicate the date and time of the swearing-in-ceremony to be held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Earlier on Saturday, a delegation of the NDA led by BJP president Amit Shah, along with Prakash Singh Badal, Rajnath Singh, Nitish Kumar, Ram Vilas Paswan, Sushma Swaraj, Uddhav Thakeray, Nitin Gadkari, K Palaniswami, Conrad Sangma and Neiphiu Rio, called on the President at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

 

They handed over a letter to the President stating Modi has been elected the leader of the BJP Parliamentary Party. Letters of support from NDA constituent parties were also handed over to the President. The NDA together has strength of 353 MPs in the 543-member Lok Sabha out of which the BJP has a majority of 303 Members of Parliament.

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