Efforts will be to work for nation's benefit in Budget session, says PM Modi

New Delhi, Feb 23 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday hoped that the Budget session will be productive. He added that efforts will be made to work for nation's benefit. He further said that every issue will be discussed in the depth so as to reach a fruitful conclusion. The budget session began with President Pranab Mukherjee's address to members of both the houses of Parliament. Feb 23, 2015

Budget session to begin today, Venkaiah Naidu says Govt ready to debate, discuss issues

New Delhi, Feb 23 (ANI): The budget session of Parliament is beginning on Monday with President Pranab Mukherjee's address to members of both the houses of Parliament. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said that the government is ready to discuss and debate issues if raised in the parliament. Naidu even appealed the parties let the parliament function and raise the issues they have with the ordinances inside the parliament. He further said Congress President Sonia Gandhi assured him that Congress is also interested in allowing Parliament to function and that they have some issues which will be raised inside the parliament for discussion. Feb 23, 2015

Anna Hazare to sit on protest against Land acquisition Ordinance today

New Delhi, Feb 23 (ANI): Veteran social activist Anna Hazare will sit on a protest at Jantar Mantar from Monday against the ordinance on Land Acquisition Bill. Earlier on Sunday, he had called for the Land Ordinance Bill to be taken back, adding that the government should instead look out for ways to improve the condition of the farmers. A group of farmers who began marching from Haryana's Palwal on Friday will join Hazare at the venue tomorrow to demand withdrawal of amendments to the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. Hazare had earlier lashed out at the BJP-led government for removing provisions which provided taking the farmers' consent before acquiring their land. Feb 23, 2015

Fans ecstatic as India beats South Africa at World Cup after three consecutive losses

New Delhi/Mumbai/Siliguri/Jammu/Moradabad, Feb 23 (ANI): A frenzy gripped India as cricket fans across the country celebrated the team’s first win against South Africa at the World Cup after three previous losses. India announced themselves as genuine contenders to defend their World Cup title by humbling South Africa's vaunted pace attack before bowling out the Proteas for an emphatic 130-run victory at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday. Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal termed the victory of men in blue as historic and congratulated Mahendra Singh Dhoni for his efficient captaincy. Shikhar Dhawan’s father, Mahendra Pal Dhawan, said he hoped his son would take the team forward the same way in the coming matches. Another proud parent, father of pace bowler Mohammed Shami, Tausif Ahmed, said this verdict was expected. Feb 23, 2015

Twenty-seven Indian workers return from war-torn Iraq

New Delhi, Feb 23 (ANI): Twenty seven Indian workers returned from war-torn Iraq to New Delhi and left for their home. They thanked the Indian government and its embassy in Baghdad for the help rendered. The workers were stranded in Basra as the company they were employed with did not give them salary. About 10,000 Indians work in Iraq, mostly in areas unaffected by the fighting, but scores of them have returned to India since Islamic State began its offensive. However, there is no trace of 39 Indian construction workers, mainly from northern state of Punjab, who were abducted in Iraq by the Islamic State last year. Feb 23, 2015

Father Alexis thanks PM, government for his release

New Delhi, Feb 23 (ANI): Indian national, Father Alexis Prem Kumar Ananthaswamy, who was abducted in Afghanistan, thanked the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his release after his arrival in New Delhi. The 47-year-old Jesuit priest was kidnapped by unknown gunmen from Herat in June last year and was being held as a captive. However, he refused to divulge his experience in captivity. The Indian foreign ministry had said it was difficult eight month period and India had pursued the matter quite relentlessly and thanked everybody involved in the process. Feb 23, 2015

Sushma Swaraj meets Bahrain foreign minister in New Delhi

New Delhi, Feb 23 (ANI): Foreign Minister of Bahrain, Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, arrived in New Delhi at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj. Khalifa co-chaired the first meeting of the India-Bahrain High Joint Commission with Swaraj. During the meeting both the leaders discussed issues of common interest including militancy. In a tweet, MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said “India-Bahrain Ministers discuss issues of common interest in 1st meeting of High Joint Commission in Delhi.” He further tweeted “Terror on top of agenda as Minister @SushmaSwaraj discusses regional situation with counterpart from Bahrain.” India and Bahrain are known to share cordial relations marked by regular high level political exchanges. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain had come to India on his first state visit to the country in February 2014. Feb 23, 2015