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India’s new maternity leave policy receiving high praise

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — In India, only 27 percent of women work, a deficit which costs the country an estimated 2.5 percentage points of gross domestic product per year. Last week, the nation’s government made an attempt to rectify this issue by doubling its federally mandated paid maternity leave from three months to six.

The new policy surpasses that of France, where maternity leave is 16 weeks, and easily bests the programs of Germany and Japan, who both provide 14 weeks of paid leave. If India was an OECD country it would rank sixth, alongside Israel and Poland, for longest paid leave. Only the U.K., Greece, Ireland, the Slovak Republic, and the Czech Republic offer new mothers more paid time off.

Here in the U.S., maternity leave is not guaranteed for any period of time. The Family Leave and Medical Act, passed in 1993, only ensures that eligible women don’t lose their jobs if they take up to 12 weeks off after having a child. However, the law does not guarantee financial compensation. The prospect of a federally mandated paid parental leave policy received unprecedented attention in last year’s presidential election with both candidates rolling out their own proposals for nation-wide measures.

Since his swearing-in, President Donald Trump has not officially introduced a plan, but he referenced paid leave for “parents” during his address to a joint session of Congress in late February, and First Daughter Ivanka Trump is reportedly pushing for Congressional support for a paid parental leave measure and child care tax benefits. Trump’s campaign proposal would provide mothers with six weeks of paid leave, which—if the measure passes—would put the U.S. in last place among OECD countries, tied with Australia and Portugal.

Despite the additional time, India’s new policy is not without its own flaws — it only applies to the nation’s 1.8 million female workers in so-called organized labor and only if their company employs 10 or more people. Another 16 million Indian women, who are either self-employed or work from home, will not be covered in this classification.

There’s also fear that the new policy will be a disincentive to hiring women because their potential leave is an additional expense and could be seen by employers as an inconvenience.

In the immediate, the hope is that the new policy will serve to do just the opposite, the goal of making Indian businesses more accommodating to women. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the bill a “landmark moment in our efforts towards women-led development.”

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Missing Hindu woman found mutilated in Pakistan

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The mutilated body of a Hindu woman was found in a field in southeastern Pakistan. Police say 40 year old Daya Bheel was murdered in the latest suspected attack against minorities in the Muslim-majority country. Authorities say they have arrested some suspects but have not determined a motive.

The Khosla family has donated nearly 2 million dollars to the Nudge Institute to help fight poverty. The philanthropists have donated millions of dollars for many other causes.

And disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-fried pleaded not guilty to eight different counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy before a U.S. federal court in the Southern District of New York. U.S. prosecutors allege that under Bankman-Fried’s direction, FTX, once considered one of the largest and most-trusted cryptocurrency exchanges, transferred billions in customer assets to his trading firm, Alameda Research. If convicted of these charges, Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Christmas crash kills Indian American toddler

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Tragic news out of Nevada. Authorities say an Indian American toddler has died in a devastating Christmas day car crash and his mother is in critical condition fighting for her life. Authorities say the accident happened on a busy Las Vegas boulevard and they were returning home from a trip in California.

Anil Beephan is now the first Indian American Republican ever to be elected to the New York State Assembly in Albany. So far only Indian American Democrats have been elected to the state legislature. Beephan will also become the first minority to represent Dutchess County and at 29 years old, he’s the youngest GOP rep in the state legislature. He’s currently in the tech industry and has also worked as a volunteer firefighter.

Vice President Kamala Harris has named Indian American Rajeev Badyal to a key national advisory group, responsible for strategy and recommendations to improve and maintain space policy. Badyal already works for Amazon, helping launch satellites into orbit. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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EXCLUSIVE: Warriors host first-ever Bhangra Night

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The Golden State Warriors first-ever Bhangra Night made its debut during the Warriors-Jazz game at the Chase Center in San Francisco. The Warriors say it’s a chance for the team to connect with the Bay Area’s rapidly growing South Asian community and fan base. Only Diya TV was on hand to capture the festivities. This change from the annual Bollywood night was supposed to take place in 2020 but was postponed because of the pandemic.

A federal jury in San Francisco has convicted Sivannarayana Barama of insider trading. Authorities say he used the quarterly financial performance of Palo Alto Networks before that information was released to the public and then traded in that company’s stock while that information was still confidential. Barama worked in IT for several Silicon Valley companies.

U.S. Border Patrol caught more than 4000 Indians illegally crossing the Mexico border in October and November. That’s more than double compared to the same time frame last year. An Indian man recently died climbing a border wall in Texas. The Biden administration is struggling to contain a surge of illegal immigration at the southern border.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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