Right to disconnect at workplace: An Indian perspective - Business Guardian
Connect with us


Right to disconnect at workplace: An Indian perspective



Technology has revolutionized the way corporations do business and conduct themselves. The use of technology has become the new normal which has manifested dramatic changes in the way employees work now. While many employees have begun to work from home as a result of the Covid-19, however the distinction between the hours when they are working and when they are not, have predominantly blurred.

Pandemic has accelerated a dynamic shift in the employee’sefficiency – in the sense that now in select companies, they have an option to select their mode of working viz. either entirely work from home or from the office itself or to adopt ahybrid of the two. An employee’s spare time, which was once used to converse with their loved ones has now become a shackle that ties them to their work. As a result, many aspects of professional lives have infiltrated personal lives. The always-on work culture and poorly regulated flexible working arrangements, generated by extensive use of electronic communication can have significant negative consequences on employee’s and their families’ health and well-being.


In order to create a corporate feel inside the employee’s home, corporations are creating a virtual office environment.Companies are taking an active step in implementing several tools for easy communication or task handing by either utilizing the available applications like ‘Slack’ or ‘Proofhub’or developing their own unique custom-made applications. Regardless of the existing benefits, remote working has significantly contributed to an increase in an employee’s to-do list. Improving the work culture is essential for companiessince research suggests that when an organization’s culture is favourable, employees are less stressed about their jobs. With positive approach from the employers’ side, employees tend to enjoy the working atmosphere and handle their job responsibilities efficiently.

The World Happiness Report (“WHR”) 2022, that ranks 156 countries, has placed India at the 136th place on the index of global happiness. This is lower than India’s rank in 2018 that was at 133rd place. While India’s underperformance may be linked to a variety of variables, there is no hesitation that anemployee’s happiness while they are working is an important factor. All this boils down to one question, how employeescan be, or should be compensated for undertakingassignments outside of their work hours even if it is as basic as answering business-related phone calls or e-mails?

In 2020, the Global Survey conducted by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence brought out the difficulties that employees had to face globally with respect to their work as well as career. According to the Survey, 70% of employees feel trapped in their careers and it also had a bad influence on their personal lives. Whereas 40% of employees claim that working from home has contributed to extra stress and worry in their personal lives. The Report quotes “while our professional and personal lives have always been intertwined, it’s clear that the lines between work and life have blurred even further as more people shift to remote or hybrid working models.”

When we have mountain of problems, we address them one-by-one. So, let’s take an insight into the Right to Disconnect policy as being supported by many employers worldwide. What is it? How does it aim to balance the employee interests while securing no major business loss to the companies? Let’s answer.


All of us require a minimal break from our work for some time in our day. To refresh oneself, there is a need to disconnect yourself from your work so that you may address other personal engagements. However, it won’t be possible to relax when your employer is always reminding you of the upcoming agenda. To relax, one must have a clear mind, which is not always attainable owing to job pressure in vivid industries.

For any individual, home is a place to rest and replenish energy by taking some time away from the day-to-day stress of work life and if they receive work calls or have to respond to emails when at home, the person is certain to be disturbed. The long-standing equilibrium has not been altered despite being a significant cause of depression. Aside from the Global Survey mentioned above, many other studies have equally found that people who have a high imbalance in their work and personal lives are more likely to suffer from anxiety-related disorders than those who have a better life balance. This is in addition to other health issues such as obesity, gastric and heart issues, constant headaches, and eye problems from sitting in one place for long periods of time.

In 2016, the first national survey on mental wellness, conducted by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare presents a more accurate representation of the prevalence of anxiety disorders in India. According to the survey, the total prevalence of anxiety disorders in India is 3.1 percent of the population. The UBS (a Swiss Investment Banking firm) research highlights Mumbai to be one of the busiest cities in the world, with people working an average of 3,314 hours each year, thus being the reason why this city never sleeps. All this is not just related to the right to disconnect, but is a depiction of the inadequate labour laws in India.

Another significant issue of which we hear about on a daily basis, is about the consequences of excessive screen time: people regularly suffer eye dryness and irritation as a result of excessive screen time. It is vital to take a break from technology after continuous staring at a screen, nevertheless, this cannot be done at job that requires entire concentrationespecially while working from home. A timely update is necessary, as is frequent telephonic and electronic connection. This interrupts the personal timetable which might have been assigned to our hobbies or to anything else after office hours.

People can only function at their best when there is a healthy mix between professional and personal life. They are unable of operating to their full potential unless they are given the due hours of personal life daily. It has been discovered that persons who disconnect from work after office hours and spend quality time with friends and family or participating in a sport of their choosing, are better than those who put in extra hours. If a government wants a stronger workforce, it must provide workers with the much-needed distinction by either encouraging strict overworking policies or monthly extra work activities.


The beginning of the right to disconnect can be attributed to a decision in the case Labor Chamber of the Cour de Cassation, October 2, 2001, n°99-42.727, before the Labour Chamber of the French Supreme Court on October 2, 2001. The English Court, through this judgement, emphasised that the employees are under no duty to either accept working at home or to bring his papers or instrument there after the working hours. The same ruling was reiterated by the French Supreme Court in the case of Labor Chamber of the Cour de Cassation, February 17, 2004, n°01-45.889, where the Court held, if an employee is not available on his cell phone outside of business hours, then the conduct of the employee shall not be deemed as a misbehaviour. France was the first country to implement this right by enacting the El Khouri law, later amending Article L.2242-8 of the French labour code to provide for the right to disconnect. In 2017, France passed a new employment law for organisations with more than 50 employees to negotiate the right to disconnect. Several other nations, including Germany, Italy, Belgium, and Spain, havealso enacted similar municipal laws recognising this right, by following France’s lead. The latest in the series, the province of Ontario, approved Bill 27 i.e. Working for Workers Act, 2021, which requires employers with more than 25 employees to have a policy governing the freedom and discretion to disconnect after work hours. Instead of a law establishing the policy, the employer is needed to create an in-house policy stating these privileges.

In 2014, Germany has taken a step ahead by calling for a ‘anti-stress’ law comparable to the ‘Right to Disconnect’ policy in other countries. Further, Mr. Andrea Nahel, Germany’s Employment Minister, published a study in 2017 that revealed some troubling data about how workers tend to retire early due to persistent stress. Germany has been grappling with the subject of how one can decrease work-related stress and aim for a positive working balance for some years.

The Indian Parliament’s winter session of 2018 witnessed the introduction of a Bill that had never been seen before, at least in the Indian workplace. Ms. Supriya Sule, a member of Parliament for the Nationalist Congress Party, submitted a Private Member’s Bill to allow employees to refuse answer any call or emails after work hours and no disciplinary action shall be taken for the same. The Bill moots for no calls or emails after work hours or on weekends, as well as no work-related calls or emails during the holidays. However, passing a law in India, particularly in this digital age where some organizations have permanently transitioned to a work-from-home structure, may not be the most effective answer. Indiandemographics, resources and culture is different from west and hence it won’t be desirable to use legislation to regulate the relationship between employers and employees. The Bill applies to enterprises with 10+ workers, and mandatesformation of an Employee Welfare Committee (“the Authority”) to oversee compliance of the Bill provisions. The Authority shall comprise the Ministers of Information Technology, Communication and Labour.

The Authority, so to be created as per the Bill, is required to publish research on the influence of digital technologies outside of work hours, including yearly reports, and create a format charter for employee-employer agreements.Furthermore, the Government would be required to fund employee counselling, digital detox centres, and other such tools ‘to liberate an employee from digital distractions and allow them to properly interact with the people around.’ In addition to these, non-compliance of the conditions of the Bill would result in a penalty of 1% of total employee salary on the employer.


While the right to disconnect is rational in theory, there are inherent complexities in executing it in a workplace. There may be concerns with employment that need emergency assistance or involve human lives such as those of a medical practitioner. Any right to disconnect must take into account the fact that, in the case of MNCs, workers operate across many temporal and physical zones. It can be argued that turning off oneself completely from work in certain industries isn’t possible. Moreover, if an entity is disconnected, especially in India, it may cause a disruption in the seamless supply chain. This may result in customer or client drop-outs if customer expectations are not met.

One great thing about humankind is – the power to adapt. Individuals have the ability to change work schedules in any circumstances, thus eliminating the need to total disconnect. One argument is that because no one is normally penalised for failing to respond to phone calls or emails after work hours, it is fine to blur the lines a bit. Considering Indian labour law is continually evolving in response to the changing working setup in India, other pressing issues must be addressed before addressing the right to disconnect. On the contrary India can apply a soft approach to envelope the right to disconnect in Indian companies.

Corporate’ priorities in India have evolved from just focusing on earnings to optimising the workplace with the goal of enhancing employee satisfaction. Reduced work hours and increased leisure time have resulted in lower absenteeism as well as enhanced health and productivity. Work time and leave are arranged in such a way that the workflow is maintained. Even in work-obsessed Japan, corporations are going against the grain and challenging the ‘Always-ON’mentality by allowing employees to disengage. Implementing the right to disconnect will involve a realistic evaluation of staff workloads and re-scheduling. There is a need to establish clear operational guidelines. Some firms, such as those in Japan, have established a staggered ‘disconnect structure,’ in which one person takes over the responsibilities of another who has disconnected.

Companies will have to figure out how to control the system if the freedom to disconnect becomes a legal right. Will people be penalised if they call during the disconnect period? Will the legal system intervene? To put the right to disconnect into action, the basics must first be addressed. Even after three years of adoption of right to disconnect, there are still loopholes in the said policy enforcement in France. This subject requires more examination in an era where laws are increasingly reactive, regulatory, and punishing.

Furthermore, the issue remains, can a ‘one size fits all’strategy will work for the diverse industries in which employees work? Some businesses require that they must have their personnel available outside of usual business hours. Furthermore, others worry that mandating employees not to respond to emails after work may merely push them to stay at work longer. Alternatively, it may create pressure on staff to complete work by the end of the day. Also, the question of successful implementation has to be dealt.

It’s time to shift the paradigm — to refocus policymaking language toward the broader satisfaction of both employer and employee. As a result, it is critical to minimize the involvement of strict Government policies and instead opt for a flexible policy regarding the expectations of employees outside of working hours that is unique, adequate and wholesome.

The Indian Parliament’s winter session of 2018 witnessed the introduction of a Bill that had never been seen before, at least in the Indian workplace. Ms. Supriya Sule, a member of Parliament for the Nationalist Congress Party, submitted a Private Member’s Bill to allow employees to refuse answer any call or emails after work hours and no disciplinary action shall be taken for the same.

The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.

For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.


Election Commission declares 253 RUPPs as inactive, bars them from availing benefits of the Symbol Order, 1968



Election Commission declares 253 RUPPs as inactive, bars them from availing benefits of the Symbol Order, 1968

Additional 86 Non-existent RUPPs shall be deleted from the list and benefits under the Symbols Order (1968) withdrawnAction against these 339 (86+253) non-compliant. RUPPs takes the tally to 537 defaulting RUPPs since May 25, 2022

In continuation of the earlier action initiated on May 25, 2022 for enforcing due compliances by Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs), the Election Commission of India led by Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Shri Anup Chandra Pandey today further delisted 86 non-existent RUPPs and declared additional 253 as ‘Inactive RUPPs’. This action against 339 non-compliant RUPPs takes the tally to 537 defaulting RUPPs since May 25, 2022.

As per statutory requirements under section 29A of the RP Act, every political party has to communicate any change in its name, head office, office bearers, address, PAN to the Commission without delay. 86 RUPPs have been found to be non-existent either after a physical verification carried out by the respective Chief Electoral Officers of concerned States/UTs or based on report of undelivered letters/notices from Postal Authority sent to the registered address of concerned RUPP. It may be recalled that ECI had delisted 87 RUPPs and 111 RUPPs vide orders dated May 25, 2022 and June 20, 2022, thus totalling the number of delisted RUPPs to 284.

This decision against 253 non-compliant RUPPs has been taken based on reports received from Chief Electoral Officers of seven states namely Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana & Uttar Pradesh. These 253 RUPPs have been declared inactive, as they have not responded to the letter/notice delivered to them and have not contested a single election either to the General Assembly of a State or the Parliament Election 2014 & 2019. These RUPPs have failed to comply with statutory requirements for more than 16 compliance steps since 2015 and are continuing to default.

It is also noted that of the above 253 parties, 66 RUPPs actually applied for a common symbol as per para 10B of the Symbol’s Order 1968 and did not contest the respective elections. It is pertinent to note that privilege of a common symbol is given to RUPP based upon an undertaking for putting up at least 5 percent of total candidates with regard to said legislative assembly election of a State. Possibility of such parties occupying the available pre-election political space by taking benefits of admissible entitlements without contesting elections cannot be ruled out.

Continue Reading


Coastal clean-up campaign receives a huge response: Dr. Jitendra Singh



Coastal clean-up campaign receives a huge response: Dr. Jitendra Singh

The 75-day long ongoing Coastal Clean Up Campaign is receiving a huge response from across the sections of society and besides others, Governors, Chief Ministers, Union Ministers, celebrities, film and sports personalities, civil society groups etc. are joining the campaign with overwhelming enthusiasm and pledging their support to the longest and largest beach cleaning campaign in the world titled “Swachh Sagar, Surakshit Sagar”, coordinated by Union Ministry of Earth Sciences with collaboration from all the other Union Ministries, departments as well as governments of the coastal States.

Addressing a press conference today, three days ahead of “International Coastal Clean-up Day” on 17th September, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said, he will join the campaign at Juhu beach in Mumbai on 17th September and informed that Governor Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, BJP MP Poonam Mahajan and several personalities as well as NGOs will also join at Juhu.

The Minister also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his support through social media. The PM has stressed on keeping India’s coasts clean as he praised efforts of volunteers to remove garbage from the Juhu beach in Mumbai. Responding to a video posted by Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh about the clean-up at the beach, Modi tweeted, “Commendable… I appreciate all those involved in this effort. India is blessed with a long and beautiful coastline and it is important we focus on keeping our coasts clean”. The Minister said, “A cleanathon was organised at Juhu Beach in Mumbai, saw participation in large numbers especially by youngsters and Civil Society.

Dr Jitendra Singh informed that Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan will take a lead in the clean-up campaign at world famous Puri beach, while Pratap Chandra Sarangi, former union minister will be at Chandipur. BJP MP from Hooghly, West Bengal Ms Locket Chatterjee will be at Digha on D-Day. R.K.Mission head will lead the campaign at Bakkhali in southern Bengal.

Chief Minister of Gujarat Bhupendrabhai Patel will be at Porbandar (Madhavpur), while Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala will join the clean-up operation at Jafrabad, Amreli.

Governor of Goa P. S. Sreedharan Pillai and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant will take part in beach cleaning campaign in South and North Goa beaches on 17th September.

Similarly, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan will be at Kochi, while MoS External Affairs V. Muraleedharan will be at Kovalam beach at Thiruvananthapuram.

Governor of Karnataka Thawar Chand Gehlot will join the campaign at Panambur beach in Mangalore, while the Governor of Telangana, Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan will lend her helping hand at Puducherry beach.

Governor of Mizoram Dr. K. Hari Babu will take part in Vizag beach while L. Murugan, Union MoS, Information and Broadcasting will join the event at Chennai

Dr Jitendra Singh informed that the campaign has entered the mode of whole of Government approach plus whole of nation participation.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, apart from active cooperation of Ministries of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Jal Shakti, Health and Family Welfare, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, External Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, organisations and associations like National Service Scheme (NSS), Indian Coast Guard, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Seema Jagran Manch, SFD, Paryavaran Sanrakshan Gatividhi (PSG), along with other social organizations and educational institutions are participating in the clean-up campaign.

The MPs of coastal states have also pledged full support to the first-of-its-kind and longest running coastal clean-up campaign in the world and they also advised the Ministry of Earth Sciences to undertake a variety of activities by involving local NGOs.

Continue Reading






Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today announced setting up of a Dashboard to share the best technology practices among the Centre and the States.

Presiding over the concluding session of the two-day “Centre-State Science Conclave” at Science City in Ahmedabad, Dr Jitendra Singh informed that a high level mechanism will be developed by the Department of Science and Technology to monitor and coordinate the follow up action of the conclave. The Minister also asked the States to appoint a Nodal officer in each of the States to coordinate and cooperate with the Special Committee for knowing and sharing the best practices.

Giving the example of heli-borne technology launched from Jodhpur, Rajasthan in October, 2021, Dr Jitendra Singh said, to start with, the States of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana were taken up for this latest heli-borne survey.

The Minister pointed out that if the same technology is uploaded on Dashboard, other States may join and share this CSIR technology from source finding to water treatment and thus benefit millions of people across the country.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, it will also positively contribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Har Ghar Nal Se Jal” as well as “doubling farmer’s income” goals. He said, the latest state-of-the-art technology is being employed by Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) for mapping groundwater sources in arid regions and thus help utilise groundwater for drinking purposes.

The 2-day ‘Centre-State Science Conclave’ was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Science City, Ahmedabad, yesterday. Dr Jitendra Singh expressed satisfaction that important plenary sessions with State S&T Ministers discussed in detail on issues like Agriculture, Innovation for producing portable drinking water including application of technologies like Desalination, Heli borne methods developed by DST, Clean Energy for All including S&T role in Hydrogen mission, Deep Sea Mission of MoES and its relevance for Coastal States/UT, Digital healthcare for All and Synergizing Science with National Education Policy.

A special session with the CEOs of over 100 Start-Ups and industry at the Centre-State Science Conclave’ in Ahmedabad came up with scientific solutions in the field of agriculture, drone, artificial intelligence, biotechnological solutions, single-use plastic alternates, irrigation and digital health amongst others.

Many of the State governments have shown keen interest in some of the technologies and agreed to partner with some of the startups for State-specific technological solutions.

Continue Reading


Floods, economic crisis and political bickerings: A saga of Pakistan’s mismanagement & insensitivity




Floods, economic crisis and political bickerings: A saga of Pakistan’s mismanagement & insensitivity

The worst floods in several decades have wreaked havoc in Pakistan, one of the most populous countries of South Asia. The floods have touched the country’s 220 million people’s lives directly or indirectly. More than 1,300 people have died with 81 out of 160 districts directly affected by the floods, leaving at least 33 million people homeless.

The heat waves followed by rains and glacial melting has been a global trend this year bringing out the stark reality that despite all talks and conventions, the world community has failed to contain and reverse climatic change. But Pakistan’s case is unique.

Beyond the human losses, the country’s economic managers have the most challenging task ahead as floods ravaged the country’s road and communication network, damaged an incalculable number of houses, and destroyed millions of hectares of crops.

Niaz Murtaza, a political economist, describes present crisis as “a triple whammy”, putting together economic, political and natural. “The poor had been suffering the first two months because of inflation, job loss and political paralysis. Now the floods have pushed millions into ruin,” he said.

Despite this, the political masters are not only busy in bickering and allegations against each other, but have also triggered a blame game on social media as usual, pointing fingers on India for the flood havoc. The bombardment of propaganda, nevertheless, cannot change the reality that Pakistan government and its institutions have utterly failed in fulfilling their duties towards its citizens.

Ludicrous as it is, it cannot absolve the leadership of Pakistan that has failed people in terms of economic mismanagement, entrenched corruption and naked cronyism in the system. Added to these are the wrong policies and priorities of Islamabad which have been instrumental in bringing economic crisis and political instability. The floods have only abetted it.

The natural disaster has struck Pakistan while economy is passing through the difficult phase of multiple challenges including Balance of Payment (BoP) crisis, heavy debt burden and solvency-related issues. The protracted economic crisis is likely to deepen further despite conclusion of talks with the IMF for release of Extended Fund Facility credit.

While Finance Minister Miftah Ismail estimates that the country has incurred a total loss of “at least $10 billion”, independent analysts, including Uzar Younus, Director of the Pakistan Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia centre and economist Ammar Habib Khan, put the figure between $15-20 billion, and expect it to rise further as information is coming with a great lag.

Existing infrastructure is collapsing with the flooding submerging one-third of the country, pushing 37 per cent of population into poverty. Pakistan is literally and figuratively under deep water, writes Nasir Jamal. It may take a few more months before the damages can be assessed. Even before the flooding, 60 per cent of the population was suffering from hunger, malnutrition and related diseases and the figures are bound to shoot up now.

In view of the mammoth loss, the IMF’s $1.2 billion credit now seems to be a peanut. Pakistan was earlier wounded and now it is bleeding. Floods will exacerbate the economic crisis that had shown initial signs of abating with the IMF deal. Twin deficits, growth prospects and inflationary expectations will be worsening, inflicting misery on the poor. Despite increasing gravity of the situation, saving people’s life and livelihood have not still become the priorities among the political class who are revealing in an ugly slugfest.

The real cost of the natural calamity is being borne by millions of poor kids, pregnant women, elderly and sick persons crowded under the open sky or tents, prone to hunger, diseases and insecurity as they wait for aid. It will be weeks before many can even return to their villages as the land drains and dries. It will take months, even years, to recover from the loss of housing, animals, crops and cultivable land.

Covid-19 had only disrupted economic exchange without damaging the economic base. But the flood has destroyed crops, land, animals, bridges, etc. negatively impacting deeper on the poor and the economy. And the insensitive political class in Pakistan is still deeply engrossed in political maneuver and cunning tricks against each other rather than presenting a united face at the time of calamity. That is the character of Pakistan’s politics.

In view of the contribution of agriculture to the extent of one fourth of the GDP, the country would have to face major revenue loss due to crop losses. As per the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s August 29 report, almost 80 per cent of crops in Sindh, which produces roughly 30% of Pakistan’s cotton output, were destroyed.

Close to 70 per cent of Pakistan’s textile industry, an important source of employment and foreign exchange, uses the cotton produced in the country. Floods are likely to cause severe shortage of cotton, said Abdul Rahim Nasir, Chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association. He added that instead of earlier average import of cotton estimated at about 4 million bales, Pakistan would now need to import just the double of that figure, at a potential cost of $3 billion.

Shahrukh Wani, an Oxford economist, says the flood will make it terribly difficult for the government to reduce the trade deficit because while the country will need to import food to “compensate” for lost crops, the textile sector will find itself struggling due to “potential shortage” of cotton crop.

The biting inflation which rose to 25% in the month of July from a year earlier, the highest since May 1975, is taking its own toll on the living conditions of masses. The flooding would further push up the inflation and accentuate the scarcity of even essentials.

Amreen Soorani, Head of Research at JS Global Capital Ltd, said that “the main concern from the floods is the impact on inflation”. Even the IMF warned that the runaway inflation could trigger protests and instability.

Islamabad secured funds from the IMF for immediate bailout of the economy from the saturating forex crisis. However, the problems would be far from over for Islamabad. As the advanced countries are focused more on the impact of Ukraine-Russia war and trying to cope with recessionary pressures while some of the development partners including Middle Eastern countries and China are down with donor fatigue, Islamabad has scant probability to get any major international relief.

For now, the immediate challenge that government will face is to fulfil the conditions of raising taxes and applying austerity measures as part of its agreement with the IMF for its bailout package. This might turn out a politically unpopular move and could flare up the political bickering. The condition is rife for mass protests in view of increasing cost of living for many months now, which opposition could take advantage of. Anger is rising across Pakistan over the slow pace of government relief efforts.

The catastrophic floods have put a downward pressure on growth prospectus. Initial estimates suggest that the economic growth rate may slow down to just 2 per cent. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the recent floods caused more damage than the 2010 calamity wherein the economic losses had been estimated at $9.7 billion. The floods have already caused supply chain-related issues.

Even during natural calamity, politicians are concerned about their political agenda rather than allowing international aid agencies to import essential food items from the neighbouring country. Cases after cases of corruption are cropping up, “you reveal mine, I will reveal yours”, an unending slugfest continues.

Instead of fighting the fallout of the devastating natural calamity united, they are engrossed in manoeuvre and cunning tricks and a regressive thought process whether or not to allow aid flow from India. Some of the government top officials have suggested importing essential commodities such as food and medicine from India, while others are still the victim of the old rigidities and anti-India mindset.

India is an undoable reality of being the most potent vehicle of South Asia’s growth vision as it is a responsible regional power and the fastest growing economy of the world, which offers a big market for exports and sourcing imports. Islamabad needs to understand that cooperation with neighbours does not reduce the stature of a calamity hit country.

Continue Reading


Separated in 1947, Sikh brother meets sister reunite




Separated in 1947, Sikh brother meets sister reunite

The Kartarpur Corridor has once again reunited another family after a man who separated from his parents when he was only a few months old in 1947, finally met his sister in Pakistan.

Amarjit Singh was left out in India along with his sister while his Muslim parents came to Pakistan. All eyes went teary as they saw the emotional scenes of the brother-sister reunion in Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, Geo News reported.

Amarjit Singh arrived in Pakistan via the Wagah border with a visa to meet his Muslim sister and to remain as her guest.

His sister, 65-year-old Kulsoom Akhtar, could not control her emotions after seeing Amarjit.

Both hugged each other and kept crying. She had travelled from her hometown in Faisalabad along with her son Shahzad Ahmed and other family members to meet her brother.

Kulsoom said that her parents came to Pakistan from the suburbs of the Jalandhar region of India in 1947, leaving behind her younger brother and a sister, Express Tribune reported.

Kulsoom said she was born in Pakistan and used to hear about her lost brother and a sister from her mother. She said that her mother used to cry every time whenever she remembered her missing children. Kulsoom said that she did not expect that she would ever be able to meet her brother and sister. However, a few years ago, a friend of her father Sardar Dara Singh came to Pakistan from India.

Kulsoom’s mother told Singh about her son and daughter she left behind in India. She also told him the name of their village and the location of their house in the neighbouring country.

Amarjit then visited her house in Padawan village of Jalandhar and informed her that her son was alive but her daughter was dead. Her son was named Amarjit Singh who was adopted by a Sikh family back then in 1947, The Express Tribune reported.

After getting the brother’s information, Amarjit and Kulsoom Akhtar contacted on WhatsApp and using the Kartarpur Corridor and the meeting between the two siblings became a reality.

Now an elderly man, Sardar Amarjit Singh came to Gurdwara Sahib in a wheelchair. Kulsoom Akhtar also could not travel due to back pain, but she showed courage and reached Kartarpur from Faisalabad along with her son. Both the siblings kept crying while embracing each other and remembering their parents.

Amarjit said that when he first learned that his real parents were in Pakistan and were Muslims, it was a shock to him. However, he comforted his heart that many families were separated from each other in addition to his own family.

Many Muslim children became Sikhs and many Sikh children became Muslims, Express Tribune reported.

He said that he always wanted to meet his real sister and brothers. He said that he is happy to know that three of his brothers are alive. However, one brother who was in Germany has passed away.

He said he will now come to Pakistan via the Wagah border with a visa and spend time with his family. He also said that he will take his family to India as well so that they could meet their Sikh family. Both the siblings had brought many gifts for each other.

Shahzad Ahmad, son of Kulsoom, said that he used to hear about his uncle from his grandmother and mother. He said that all of the siblings were very young at the time of Partition and no name was given to Amarjit or perhaps, after so many years, the name had slipped out of mind.

“I understand that since my uncle was brought up by a Sikh family, he happens to be a Sikh, and my family and I have no problem with this,” he added.

Shahzad said that he is happy that even after 75 years his mother has found her lost brother.

Continue Reading


22 officers of different cadres to serve in J&K




The Centre has relaxed Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) deputation rules to encourage IAS and other all-India service officers as well as those of the Central Services get posted in Jammu & Kashmir, in a bid to address the shortage of officers in the Union Territory.

Union Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said that due to relaxation of DoPT rules, 22 officers belonging to various services and different cadres have been posted in Jammu & Kashmir at various levels at a crucial time.

He said that DoPT has played a major role in facilitating induction of Jammu & Kashmir Administrative Services officers into the IAS by coordinating with UT administration, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the UPSC.

As a result, recently 16 officers from JKAS have been inducted into IAS and another 8 such vacancies will be filled up shortly giving opportunities to the JKAS officers to become part of prestigious IAS service after a long gap of 12 years.

The Minister added that mid-career training of JKAS officers of various seniority was carried out in collaboration with the LBSNAA and this has provided a new level of exposure to the JKAS Officers and more than 200 offices. Some other initiatives by the Ministry include special concessions or incentives to the Central government employees working in the Kashmir Valley in attached and subordinate offices or PSUs falling under control of the Central government.

They have been extended special concessions for a period of 3 years with effect from August 1, 2021 and the incentives include an additional house rent allowance, composite transfer grant, per diem allowance, incentive for period of temporary duty, messing allowance, and facility to draw pension at place of settlement in relaxation of relevant provisions.

Besides, facilities for retention of general pool accommodation available to officers who have served in the Central government has also been extended to officers posted in Jammu & Kashmir on the pattern of northeastern states.

Continue Reading