Assam CM directs state officials to ensure tea garden workers receive bonuses before Durga Puja

Guwahati (Assam) [India], October 13 (ANI): Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday in a meeting with District Collectors (DCs), and Superintendents of Police (SPs) via video conferencing in Guwahati directed the officials to ensure tea garden workers receive bonuses at the fixed rate before Durga Puja.

In a series of tweets, the Chief Minister’s office informed that Sonowal also reviewed the preparations for giving ‘land pattas’ to 1 lakh landless indigenous families by December 2020.

“Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal reviewed the progress of various schemes in a meeting with DCs and SPs via video conferencing in Guwahati. Inter alia, preparations for giving land pattas to 1 lakh landless indigenous families by December this year was deliberated in the meeting,” the CMO tweeted.

“The Chief Minister directed officials to ensure tea garden workers receive bonuses at the fixed rate before Durga Puja and ensure that all eligible beneficiaries avail benefits of schemes like Arundhati and Orunodoi,” it said in another tweet.

Sonowal further directed the officials to give special attention to law and order situation during Durga Puja and asked them to take steps to cooperate with the public during the festival.

“Reviewing law & order situation in the districts, the CM directed officials to give special attention to the same during Durga Puja festivities. The CM directed officials to take steps to cooperate with the public in observance of Durga Puja rituals and create awareness about following #COVID19 protocols,” CMO said.

CMO added that the Chief Minister further directed the officials to take necessary steps to expedite the issuance of Aadhaar card in all districts of the state.

The week-long festivities for Durga Puja will begin from October 22. (ANI)

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White House directs agencies to relax enforcement

A memo produced by the White House and sent to agency heads last week instructs them to make significant changes to how and when they bring enforcement cases, telling them not to open multiple investigations into the same company and urging them to seek political appointees’ approval before proceeding with an inquiry.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Enforcement of federal statutes and regulations has declined under President Trump. (Associated Press)


© Provided by The LA Times
Enforcement of federal statutes and regulations has declined under President Trump. (Associated Press)

The new guidance, released Aug. 31, came from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, or OIRA, a unit of the White House that does not typically get involved in enforcement policy.

Building off President Trump’s May executive order calling for agencies to do away with regulatory hurdles in order to boost the economy, the memo lists “best practices” for enforcing the nation’s laws and regulations. Critics of the administration said it could be used to entangle agencies, potentially stymieing investigations and giving the upper hand to companies suspected of wrongdoing.

John C. Cruden, a former Justice Department official in the Obama administration, called the memo “unprecedented.”

“At a time in our nation’s history when even-handed, statutory-based enforcement should be vigorously supported and encouraged, this policy goes in the opposite direction,” said Cruden, who served as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. He added that the memo “provides an excuse for agencies to reduce or eliminate enforcement.”

Under Trump, enforcement has already slowed. The Environmental Protection Agency’s penalties for polluters are down, there are fewer inspectors working for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and financial penalties against corporations and banks accused of wrongdoing have declined.

Critics of the administration said that amid this concerted push to deregulate, the memo sends a message to agencies to pull back even more.

Amit Narang, a regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer watchdog organization, said the memo could have ramifications for enforcement of regulations concerning the environment, public health and the financial markets. Narang and other government watchdogs said the memo could result in agencies easing up on investigations into polluters and workplace safety matters, curtailing surprise inspections and even placing time limits on investigations before they have started.

“This whole memo is an exercise in what industry would like regulatory enforcement to look like,” Narang said. “This is almost a wish list for industry.”

A spokesperson for the White House Office of Management and Budget, which oversees OIRA, said the document and the executive order on which it is based “protect both individuals and small businesses while at the same time enforcing the law against wrongdoers.”

The memo focuses on administrative cases, which make up the bulk of the federal government’s enforcement activity. These are usually smaller, less severe cases that can result in fines and orders requiring companies or individuals to take steps to prevent future violations.

Though there are already rules dictating the steps agency employees must follow in order to bring an enforcement action, the White House document

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White House directs federal agencies to halt some race-related trainings

The directive targets training on “white privilege” or “critical race theory.”

The White House is directing federal departments and agencies to “cease and desist” funding for certain types of race and diversity training, according to a new memo sent out to federal agencies by the Office of Management and Budget on Friday.

In the memo, OMB Director Russell Vought tells the heads of federal agencies that certain types of racial bias training, reportedly being administered by executive agencies, are “un-American” and “divisive” and said President Donald Trump had directed the agencies to stop these trainings.

“These types of “trainings” not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce,” Vought wrote.

On Saturday morning, Trump retweeted nearly 20 references to this directive. Many of the tweets came from individuals who often tweet far-right leaning perspectives, as well as from several right-leaning publications.

One such retweet was a video of a Fox News’ Tucker Carlson highlighting the use of the race and diversity trainings within the federal government.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump addresses the crowd at a campaign event at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, Sept. 3, 2020, in Latrobe, Pa.

President Donald Trump addresses the crowd at a campaign event at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, Sept. 3, 2020, in Latrobe, Pa.

President Donald Trump addresses the crowd at a campaign event at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, Sept. 3, 2020, in Latrobe, Pa.

In the memo, Vought references press reports of trainings during which attendees have been told that “virtually all White people contribute to racism” or are “required to say that they “benefit from racism.”

The memo was first reported by Real Clear Politics and followed by the Washington Post.

It was not immediately clear what specific trainings the memo was directing to be halted.

ABC News reached out to the White House for additional information on the types of training the White House is targeting with its directive. The inquiry was referred to the Office of Management and Budget, which did not immediately respond.

The White House will be offering additional guidance on carrying out the President’s Directive, the OMB memo states. In the meantime, agencies are being directed to identify these trainings and are encouraged to begin identifying ways to cancel contracts for trainings that teach “white privilege” or “critical race theory.”

Diversity initiatives at federal agencies were implemented in part by a 2011 Executive Order by then President Barack Obama. Advocates say they can be helpful in spotting racial biases and improving inclusivity.

Race has come into increasing focus in the runup to the 2020 election, as protests over police shootings of people of color have led to nationwide protests.

Trump has been critical of these protestors and campaigned on the need for police and political leaders to crack down them.

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