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‘Tis the Season: This Gazal and Sufi renditions of Christmas carols truly depict India’s multicultural society

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Candles surround the artists as they play traditional Christmas carols
screengrab
YouTube
While 2015 saw much communal disharmony, this new commercial does a brilliant job of just how beautiful intercultural experiences can be. Tata Sky’s Christmas special video reels in what India has truly stood for for decades – Unity in diversity. Sufi and Gazal artists soulfully play popular Christmas carols on the tabla, sitar and sarangi giving a glimpse of what runs deep in India’s spirit of unity. Apart from being exquitely tasteful the video also echos the sentiment of how music unites the world. It is the perfect Christmas gift to India. Watch it here – <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Children defenseless under new law, say experts

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Child rights lawyer Anant Asthana pointed at the implausibility of the children defending themselves who will be booked under the new law. “Till the time the case reaches the juvenile justice board, the child will be inside the jail. What defence will he or she have,” he said. “Apart from the FIR, the Bill does not mention any other material that the Board can refer to while making its decision.”

As the Rajya Sabha passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Bill, 2000 making it a law to punish children below 18 years committing heinous crimes as adults, experts pointed at the several fallouts of the newest law of the Indian Constitution.Child rights lawyer Anant Asthana pointed at the implausibility of the children defending themselves who will be booked under the new law. “Till the time the case reaches the juvenile justice board, the child will be inside the jail. What defence will he or she have,” he said. “Apart from the FIR, the Bill does not mention any other material that the Board can refer to while making its decision.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Experts also said that in cases of consensual sex involving children above 16, the child will now go to jail and not a child care facility. “When the parents of a girl press charges against a boy, usually the FIR has charges of rape and kidnapping,” added Asthana. Enakshi Ganguly of HAQ: Centre for Child Rights said that she was devastated. “The lynch mob mentality has won, and all these political parties have bought peace at the cost of our children,”she said. She added that it was unfortunate that the minister choose to ignore the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee, recommendations of the Standing Committee, and two Supreme Court judgements. As per the new law, children who will be convicted will be disqualified for employment. And, a financial assistance will now be limited to once. Under the previous law, the state took responsibility of the child till he or she turns 21, with the state providing financial assistance more than once. “The state has totally abjugated its responsibility, and passed responsibility on the child. This is unfortunate,” he said.Lawyer Vrinda Grover said that with the passing of the law, India has given up its commitments to the several international treaties it is signatory to. “Scientific studies have time and again proved that the focus of juvenile justice should be on reform not punitive action. The ministry should come up with a committee and study the effects and publish it after a year of the law’s passing,” said Grover. Grover also added that the state does not have the resources to support the law. “The juvenile justice boards do not have the capacity to carry out the necessary actions. And the act of deciding whether a crime or situation should be pushed for punishment needs skilled people; it is open to abuse,” said Grover.

Narendra Modi to announce accessibility campaign on World Disabled Day

Apart from that, the ministry in collaboration with NFDC, also announced a film festival for the disabled. To be held between December 1 and December 3, the festival will open with acclaimed animator Gitanjali Rao’s film, which has been made specially for the film festival.

The ministry of social justice and empowerment on Monday announced the Accessible India campaign. To be unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 3, World Disability Day, the function will also witness the annual National Disability awards given out to outstanding names from the disabled community. Apart from that, the ministry in collaboration with NFDC, also announced a film festival for the disabled. To be held between December 1 and December 3, the festival will open with acclaimed animator Gitanjali Rao’s film, which has been made specially for the film festival.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> With the Accessible India campaign, the government envisions to have an inclusive society in which equal opportunities and access is provided for the growth and development of persons with disabilities to lead productive, safe and dignified lives, said secretary Lov Verma. The campaign will focus on three verticals: built environment; public transportation and information and communication technologies. As part of the campaign, 50 government buildings in 20 tier one cities and 25 in 20 tier-two cities will be made disabled-friendly by July 2016, by making ramps, lifts and accessible lifts. All the 18 international airports will be made disabled friendly by July 2016, while the remaining 78 domestic airports will be completed by March 2018. In railways, by July 2016, five major stations with the most footfall will be made disabled friendly, while 50% of all railway stations will be made friendly by March 2018. 10% of India’s public transport will be made disabled-friendly by March 2018, while 50% of government websites will be made disabled friendly by March 2018, along with 50% of all public documents. A crowdsourcing initiative and an app will also be launched. “We will work with the I&B ministry so that public programmes on TV have captions and text-to-speech options. We will also train 200 sign language interpreters by March, 2018,” said Verma. “We will also work with the HRD ministry to come up with inclusive education schemes. There is also a new university in the offing.” Apart from Bollywood names like Gulzar, Meghna Gulzar, Kabir Khan, Sanjay Suri and Harshali, the film festival, to be held at Delhi’s Siri Fort Auditorium will also have in attendance Beijing Film Festival director Marco Mueller, Jayshree Raveendran, Aamir Bashir Rajesh Jala, Siddharth Kak and Arun Chadha as the festival’s jury. 2.21% disabled populationAccording to Census 2011, there are 2.68 crore persons with disabilities in India, who constitute 2.21% of the total population. However, estimates vary across sources and in reality this figure could be much higher. India is also a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons withDisabilities (UNCRPD). Article 9 of UNCRPD casts an obligation on all the signatory governments to take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas.

Maharashtra: How this school is helping families in drought-afflicted Aurangabad

Apart from the 200 Aapli Mule students, there are around 400 others who study at HMPS.

Representational Image

In the normal course of things, schools teach students. But a school in Aurangabad in drought-hit Marathwada is teaching an entire state a big lesson on how to face adversity.The institution drawing everybody’s attention is Dr Hedgewar Memorial Public School (HMPS). It offers help to those children who are not able to pursue their education as the breadwinners of their families have committed suicide due to drought. In June, this residential school enrolled over 200 such children in the age group of 5-15. In 2004, HMPS started its operations in Aurangabad to provide education in rural areas at affordable fees. However, after a series of drought-triggered farmer suicides, the school management decided to take care of the educational needs of children affected by such extreme acts across Marathwada.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The school has named this project as Aapli Mule (Our Children). Currently, HMPS is funding this project through donations. Apart from the 200 Aapli Mule students, there are around 400 others who study at HMPS. “My father killed himself six years ago. With great difficulty, my mother used to send me and my three siblings to a local school. One day she came to know about Aapli Mule project and got us admitted. Since then, we all have been studying here,” said 8th standard student Hrishikesh Kapse of Fardapur village in Ajanta.Apart from imparting education, HMPS is planning to secure the future of girl students under the Sukanya scheme of the Central government by opening bank accounts in their names. It is also planning to put some money in their accounts and hand the amounts over to their parents at the end of their education. That’s not all. The school is also mulling over helping in marrying off these girls.Talking to dna, HMPS director Shamsundar Kanke said, “If there is will, there is a way. I know, after some of the months, we are going to face financial crunch. But then, there are lots of good people in the country who come forward and donate in cash or kind. After seeing the performance of these students, many other parents are now ready to send the children to our school. We are appointing widows to take care of our children. We are also creating other jobs for widows through small scale businesses.”Seven month ago, a farmer from Bardapur village of Ambejogai tehsil committed suicide, leaving behind his wife and five daughters. When the school management approached this farmer’s widow Madhuri Suryawanshi, she immediately sent her children to HMPS. “We are five sisters. Since June, we have been studying here (at HMPS) and finding the atmosphere better. The school management is taking good care of us and we are doing well here. We all remember our mother but she doesn’t have money to visit our school. Our school teacher has told us that they will send us home during Diwali vacation,” said 13-year-old Maheshwari Dyneshwar Suryawanshi, the eldest daughter of the dead farmer.To house the children, the school management has rented a three-storey building close to the school. Six women are now working in the hostel as caretakers of these children. Currently, there are 60 girls in the school and management claims the number will gradually increase in the coming years.

Policy draft calls for 20% MP funds for education, social upliftment by institutions

Social services and spirituality will also be key components of the eduction policy. Apart from this, education institutions could be asked to adopt villages and participate in social upliftment, and the National Council for Teacher Education could be asked to make BEd a five-year programme.

HRD minister Smriti Irani

The draft of the National Education Policy (NEP) envisages a separate and permanent cadre for education on the lines of administrative, revenue, foreign and police services. As per the draft, being drawn up by the HRD ministry, MPs will be asked to contribute 20% of their funds to education.Social services and spirituality will also be key components of the eduction policy. Apart from this, education institutions could be asked to adopt villages and participate in social upliftment, and the National Council for Teacher Education could be asked to make BEd a five-year programme.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the consultation process now reaching the final stage, the government has initiated the drafting process.Setting up a separate cadre for teaching, ie taking education out from the hands of the bureaucracy, has been a long pending demand of academicians. The DS Kothari report on education commission of 1964-65 had also recommended setting up of a separate cadre for education on the lines of the IAS and IRS.”Suggestion for a separate academic cadre has come from several stakeholders,” said a ministry source.The ministry is also looking at the option of setting up a separate commission for education on the lines of the Election Commission of India. The HRD ministry is vetting the Hari Gautam Committee report that has recommended replacing the University Grant Commission with the National Higher Education Authority.”As the Authority will only be catering to higher education, the ministry has received suggestions to set up an autonomous commission, which would ensure autonomy to education institutions and facilitate appointments,” explained an officer.HRD minister Smriti Irani has hinted on removing the Right to Education clause of not holding back or expelling students till the completion of elementary education. The new education policy will give it a legal sanctity.RSS-affiliated education bodies have been lobbying with the government to make Std X board exams mandatory. HRD minister Smriti Irani, in a meeting of Central Advisory Board of Education this August, had also managed to bring states on board on the issue of re-introducing the Std X board exams. “We have started receiving letters from states extending their support for bringing back Std X board exams. The ministry is hopeful that this exam will be reintroduced and the ‘not holding back student’ clause will be removed next year,” added the official.Education activist and RSS idealogue Dinanath Batra said, “The current teachers training curriculum is absolutely hollow. No thought process has gone into it. Government should make teaching models more holistic.Students can’t be taught just from books, teachers should be made institutions in themselves.” He confirmed that he has made this suggestion to the ministry and hopes it will be considered.The ministry is likely to come up with its first draft by the end of this year. It is hoping to bring the Bill into the Parliament in the budget session.

‘Rail Roko’ in Punjab: Farmers’ stir to continue till tomorrow

Referring to the cancellation of police cases against the agitating farmers and farm labourers as demanded by the unions, the Chief Minister said that an appropriate action would be taken at the earliest.

Farmers resting under tents on rail tracks at Muchhal village near Amrisar on the fourth day of their rail roko agitation demanding higher MSP of Basmati and compensation to cotton growers for their crop loss, on Saturday.

PTI
The six-day-old ‘rail-roko’ agitation by Punjab farmers will continue till Tuesday, the union leaders announced tonight after talks with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who offered some compensation and promised to take up their demands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”We will carry on with our agitation till tomorrow,” said BKU Ekta (Dakunda) general secretary Jagmohan Singh who was part of the representatives of 12 farmers’ outfits who took part in the three-and-a-half hour meeting with CM here to find an end to the strike which has paralysed the train services. Singh stated this just before the meeting of farmers groups to decide the next line of action on the basis of the parleys held with Badal.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asked whether any offer was made by Badal, Singh said government has offered to pay Rs 64 crore compensation for farm labourers but no assurance was given with regard to raising compensation component on cotton crop loss by pest attack and higher rates for basmati rice prices.”The state government is not ready to pay more than Rs 8,000 per acre on crop loss. The government is also not giving any assurance on giving higher rates for PUSA basmati1121 price,” the union leader said.At the same time, he said Badal assured them that he would take up their demands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The unions have been demanding Rs 40,000 per acre compensation for farmers whose crop got damaged by whitefly attack, Rs 20,000 per family compensation for farm labourers, Rs 4,500 per quintal rate for Basmati PUSA 1509 variety, Rs 5,000 per quintal for Basmati PUSA 1121.Besides, they are also seeking payments of sugarcane dues by private mills, debt relief and Rs 5 lakh financial assistance to the family of farmers who commit suicide.On the issue of debt waiver, Singh said Badal assured them that he would take up the matter with RBI. “Badal said for loans regarding cooperative sector, a policy will be framed,” Singh said. To check exploitation by commission agents (Arthiyas), Singh said the state government would come out with a Money Lending Act in this regard.Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday again appealed to protesting farmers to lift their rail blockade saying being a farmer himself, he was ever ready to resolve any issue related to agriculture through mutual dialogue.Badal said this while presiding over a meeting with the representatives of coordination committee of 18 farmer and farm labour unions here this evening. He termed as “very unfortunate” and “agonizing” the inconvenience caused to various section of people particularly women, children, students, patients, elderly people and traders due to rail blockade.Reiterating Akali-BJP government’s resolve to accept every genuine demand of the farmers, the Chief Minister appealed the union leaders to lift the rail blockade which was causing huge harassment to general public besides causing a whopping economic loss to the nation. He said the state government had already taken several steps for safeguarding the interests of farmers and would leave no stone unturned to bail out the distressed farmers.Badal also said that he was ever ready to resolve any issue related to agriculture, being a farmer, through a mutual dialogue. He said none except him could better under their problems and concerns with regard to agriculture, as he was well versed with them at grass-root level with over 60 years of experience in public life as well as a practicing farmer.The Chief Minister gave a patient hearing to the union leaders and said issues or demands they have put forth before him and which were within the jurisdiction of the state government would be amicably resolved. He, however, said the issues which were not within the ambit of the state government would be taken up with the Centre for their early resolution.Badal said the Akali-BJP Government had always been a votary of the farmers and their rights, and taken appropriate steps to safeguard the interests of the farmers.”Apart from taking these welfare measures for farming community we were fully conscious that agriculture was no longer a profitable venture,” Badal said.He claimed whenever farmers faced any problem or hardship, the Government wasted no time to come to their rescue which was evident from the bold initiatives taken by the Akali-BJP Government in providing free power to farmers since 2007.”The Akali-BJP Government, since 2007 has provided free power to farmers worth Rs 28,000 crore otherwise their problems would have been accentuated manifold if they had to pay electricity bills of tube-wells from their own pocket,” he said. To cope up with the recent situation arises out of extensive damage caused to cotton crop due to attack from white fly in the State, Badal said, the SAD- BJP Government immediately ordered a special girdawri for the assessment of damage and disbursed compensation to the tune of Rs 644 crore to the cotton farmers. The DCs have been directed to ensure that the compensation was paid to actual cultivators, he added.The Chief Minister said the state government again lent a helping hand to the farmers thereby saving them from distressed sale of basmati by impressing upon the Government of India to purchase 1509 paddy at minimum support price.Badal said that the State Government fully realized that the State’s beleaguered peasantry was passing through severe economic distress due to the wrong policies of previous Congress led UPA Government at Centre.”Any monitory compensation could never compensate the loss of human life but at the same time our government enhanced the compensation from Rs 2 to 3 lakh for farmers’ suicide”.Among several other measures to save the crumbling farming sector, Badal said, his Government has enhanced the amount of compensation under Natural Calamity Fund from Rs 3600 above 75 per cent loss to Rs 5,400 above 33 per cent loss and the Akali – BJP Government was now paying Rs 2,600 from its own budget to give Rs 8,000 per acre compensation to farmers in lieu of crop loss.The Chief Minister also informed the union representatives that the concerted efforts on our part with the Central Government resulted in getting the compensation norms revised, under which now our farmers would be entitled to get compensation accordingly for any crop damage including vegetables and fruits. Apart from this, any crop which had been damaged due to hailstorm, frost and pest attack would also be covered under the compensation norms.Referring to the cancellation of police cases against the agitating farmers and farm labourers as demanded by the unions, the Chief Minister said that an appropriate action would be taken at the earliest. Likewise, he also informed the union leaders that the due compensation would be paid to 22 persons who were injured during a farmers’ agitation in Bathinda.

FTII strike enters 100th day amid hope given by offer of talks

As the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) strike against appointment of actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as its chairman, enters its 100th day, a ray of hope is seen by the students with the Centre agreeing to a fresh round of talks this week, to break the impasse.

FTII students protest

PTI photo
As the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) strike against appointment of actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as its chairman, enters its 100th day, a ray of hope is seen by the students with the Centre agreeing to a fresh round of talks this week, to break the impasse.In a softening of its earlier stand that no talks would be held till the students ended the strike which started on June 12, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry conveyed it to the FTII Students’ Association (FSA) a couple of days ago that fresh talks could be held if there were no “preconditions”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>FSA responded positively, saying there will be no preconditions on its part, and it expected the same from the government. The modalities of talks and dates are yet to be finalised.”Today, on the hundredth day of the FTII strike, support poured in from all quarters. Apart from FTII seniors, students from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Hyderabad Central University came all the way to show solidarity with us,” said Rahat Jain, a representative of FSA.The students, who have questioned Chauhan’s credentials to head the premier institute, have also been on a relay hunger strike in batches of three for over a week now. Apart from Chauhan’s removal, they also demand “transparent mechanism” to appoint deserving persons to the FTII governing body.The strike acquired a political dimension with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi visiting the students and supporting the agitation. The government’s intention to end the impasse became further evident when Madhav Bhandari, chief spokesperson of Maharashtra BJP, had an informal meeting with the FSA representatives here a few days ago.

Govind Pansare murder: Sanatan Sanstha alleges vendetta against Hindu outfits

Apart from arresting Samir Gaikwad, the “seeker” of the Sanstha from Sangli in western Maharashtra on Wednesday, police have detained a woman from suburban Mumbai and two persons from neighbouring Karnataka in connection with the case.

dna Research & Archives
Sanatan Sanstha, under cloud after its activist was arrested in connection with the murder of veteran CPI leader Govind Pansare, on Friday alleged that right wing organisations like them are being “targeted” at the behest of “hypocritical progressive elements”.”Sanatan Sanstha is being targeted under the pressure from hypocritical progressive elements, but it is never going to bow down before such elements of the country,” Sanstha spokesperson Abhay Vertak said in a joint press conference with Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad (HVP) and Hindu Janjagriti Samiti (HJS).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Apart from arresting Samir Gaikwad, the “seeker” of the Sanstha from Sangli in western Maharashtra on Wednesday, police have detained a woman from suburban Mumbai and two persons from neighbouring Karnataka in connection with the case.Without taking any names, Vartak said, “These forces were maintaining a studied silence about Raza Academy and those responsible for the gathering of thousands of Muslims to attend the last rites of terrorist Yakub Memon (who was hanged for his role in 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts).” He alleged that state government and the police have been pressurised by these “so-called progressive elements”.”They are consistently hurling false accusations and holding agitations along with the celebrities having the so-called progressive mindset,” Vartak said.Alleging that a “sinister conspiracy” was hatched to prevent police from apprehending the real culprits, Vartak demanded an inquiry to ascertain whether Sanatan was being targeted for “exposing the financial scams of true offenders.”Vartak also said that whatever suggestions being made by the kin of Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar–a prominent anti-superstition activist who was shot dead in Pune in 2013–regarding investigation should also be taken into consideration.”However, the police and the state machinery must ensure that innocent individuals should not undergo needless stress with the investigation getting misled,” he said.Pansare (81), the social reformer and rationalist, was gunned down outside his home in Sagar Mala locality of Kolhapur city on February 16 and succumbed to his injuries on February 20 at Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital.Meanwhile, HVP national secretary advocate Sanjiv Punalekar said they met Gaikwad in Sangli and found that police have arrested him on “baseless facts and inconclusive evidences”.Punalekar claimed that HVP has been dealing with over 70 litigations to support the Hindu cause in different courts of the country. “We are going to extend all-out support to Gaikwad with our group of advocates and are confident that he would come out clean from all the charges,” he said.

Raksha Bandhan: 5 best gifts for your sister

If you are still hunting for a gift for your sister, here is a list of gifts you can chose from.

Raksha Bandhan is an auspicious occasion to celebrate the bond of love and responsibility between a brother and sister. Raksha Bandhan which simply means ‘the tie or knot of protection’ is an ancient Hindu festival. On this day, the sister expresses her love and wishes for her brother’s well-being by performing a Rakhi ceremony. In return the brother pledges to protect and take good care of his sister and also gives a present to his sister to express his love towards her.This festival is mainly celebrated to cherish the sister-brother relationship. Here are 5 nice gifts that a you as a brother can give your sister:<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Books: If your sister is a nerdy this would be the best gift she will receive from a brother. As they say a book is a man’s best friend, find out what your sister likes to read, go to the nearest store and get that book. You can team the book with cute stationary. She would love it, for sure.
2. Shopping vouchers: Girls are shopping freaks, who doesn’t know this. Well, if a sister receives a shopping voucher to famous brands she will jump with joy. Instead of buying her clothes and accessories get her some gift vouchers or hampers. Not only that, find out time to go out shopping with her. You might end up sharing your little secrets with each other while shopping.
3. Holiday: Holidays are the best things that can happen to somebody’s life. Plan a small trip to the nearest hill station or a beach destination or your sister’s favourite holiday destination. It can be just a family trip or you can chose to tag her friends along. Believe it or not, this will definitely make memories for a lifetime.
4. Jewellery: Don’t forget, your sister is also your friend. You can buy her some real jewellery which she will love. If you can’t afford a diamond ring then get something close to that. She might just preserve her brother’s present for lifetime.
5. Gadgets: Gone are those days when you could do away by just giving a chocolate to your sister. This is a generation of gadgets. If you hand an iPad, iPod or say iPhone to your sister on this occasion, she will adore this gift for a lifetime. Find out what your sister likes best or is longing to get. You can just surprise her with that one gift and she can’t be happier.So, these are some gifts you can give your sister on this auspicious occasion. Apart from this, you can also take her out for dinner or lunch at her favourite restaurant. Alternatively, you can just tell her how important she is to you and for your family.

PM Narendra Modi meets Indian workers in UAE at ICAD

Apart from interacting with the blue-collar workers, he also took group photos with them.

Apart from interacting with the blue-collar workers, he also took group photos with them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday reached out to Indian workers in the UAE to know their problems and discussed ways how the Indian government can help them. Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the country in 34 years, interacted with Indian workers at their camps I-CAD Residential Labour Camp that houses thousands of migrant labourers from the Indian subcontinent in an area spread over one square kilometre. Apart from interacting with the blue-collar workers, he also took group photos with them.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Reaching out to the heart of the Indian community. PM @narendramodi visits the ICAD city to meet Indian workers,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.About 2.6 million Indians constitute nearly 30% of the population of this country.

PM Narendra Modi may announce a universal health cover scheme on Independence Day

Apart from four state-run non-life insurers, private players like ICICI Lombard, Bajaj Allianz, Iffco-Tokio Marine and HDFC Ergo are also working with the government on this, according to industry sources.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi may announce on this Independence Day a universal health insurance plan, most probably without any subsidy, which will cover all members of a family under a single sum insured.”We are still working on the proposed scheme and fine-tuning the premium. The new scheme may be announced by the PM this weekend (at the I-Day speech),” a top official of a state-owned general insurance company told PTI.The proposed new universal health cover will not have any subsidy element but the policy has to be sold by insurers at highly subsidised premium rates.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Apart from four state-run non-life insurers, private players like ICICI Lombard, Bajaj Allianz, Iffco-Tokio Marine and HDFC Ergo are also working with the government on this, according to industry sources.In his last I-Day address, Modi had announced a massive financial inclusion drive Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) under which the banks have so far opened over 13 crore new accounts. Later, he announced a low-end life, accident and pension covers at highly subsidised rates as well.The proposed scheme will be available to all families not exceeding five members, including those families headed by senior citizens and the entire family will be covered under a single sum insured, says the draft note.The upper age limit for availing of the benefit is 60 years.The scheme will offer a cover of Rs 50,000 to a family of five on a floater basis, and in those cases where the oldest beneficiary is under 60, then the sum insured will be Rs 1,00,000, says the draft.The government may do away with the existing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, once the universal health insurance scheme is launched, an industry source said.The policy covers cashless hospitalisation for diseases contracted or injury sustained by the insured persons.Pre-existing diseases will be included after a waiting period of 24 months, it added.Welcoming the proposal United India Insurance chairman and managing director Milind Kharat told PTI that “the scheme will help senior citizens the most as now they have to pay a huge premium to get an health cover”.”We hope that it will be lapped up the masses and the resultant increase in volume will help us insurers provide wider cover at a comparatively low premium.”However, if no subsidy is offered to the poor, it will be difficult for them to afford,” he added.

Lion population in Gir increases fourfold

Population of lions has increased 4 folds in the lion territory of Gujarat, Gir. Apart from the one poaching incident, five deaths by electrocution and 13 lions that washed away in the flash floods, Gir by and large has been one of the safe areas for lions.

Population of lions has increased 4 folds in the lion territory of Gujarat, Gir. Apart from the one poaching incident, five deaths by electrocution and 13 lions that washed away in the flash floods, Gir by and large has been one of the safe areas for lions.Around 40% of lion population of Gujarat is concentrated in Amreli and Bhavnagar district alone. 211 out of 523 lions live there. According to forest officials, the area covered by lions has increased from 5000 sqkm in 2005, to 10,000 sqkm in 2010, to 22,000 sqkm in 2015, reports an English daily.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The locals in the areas near Gir, take pride in the growth of the lion population in Gir.

Nashik city police pull up socks after dressing down

“We have increased visible policing and become aggressive in prevention of crime,” said police chief S Jaggannathan

Nakabandis were conducted five times in seven days
—For representation purpose only

Tightening the noose around criminals and their unlawful activities, Nashik city police have taken steps and increased visible policing and are taking stern action against defaulters.After they were pulled up for rise in crime rate last fortnight, Nashik city police have taken steps by firstly making arrests in almost all major crimes that took place recently. Four persons, who were accused in the murder case of Panchavati, six others involved in murder of a youth on ND Patel road, two involved in theft of Rs7 lakh at a wine shop and other such crimes are now behind bars.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have increased visible policing and become aggressive in prevention of crime,” said police chief S JaggannathanHaving analysed the patterns of crime, murders, its locations, situations, age group of those involved, mapping activities, movements of known criminals, the cops have tightened noose around them. After they realised that youngsters loiter around roadside eateries late in the night, cops have strictly enforced closure of such eateries by 10pm.”We also found that there was a direct or indirect connection of alcohol in most of the crimes. So, we are taking steps to ensure that deadlines issued by the excise department to the wine shops are followed. We have asked all wine and liquor shops to display their deadlines on the shop itself,” he added.In a special drive, all police stations in Nashik have been asked to prepare the list of known criminals. “Preventive actions are being initiated against them. If need be, they will also be detained as preventive measure,” Jaggannathan said.Recently, involvement of youngsters in criminal activities was seen largely. “Considering this, we have stopped youth from hanging around in nooks and corners at night,” he said, adding “There are plans to conduct meetings in various localities to prevent youth from mingling with criminals.”Simultaneously, combing operations are being conducted in Nashik slums. Nakabandis have been conducted for five times in seven days and 1,392 cases under violation of Motor Vehicles Act were filed, recovering a penalty of Rs1,41,200. Seven hundred and forty seven cases were effected to control crime on roads, 73 history sheeters were rounded up last week and seven cases of burglaries uncovered; 230gm gold, 120kg of copper and two LCDs were confiscated from them in various crimes.Four countrymade pistols, 18 knives, including daggers and jambiyas, were confiscated in the raids, along with nine stolen motorcycles. Police were also able to uncover a murder case where in four persons were arrested during these raids.In another raid on a shop at Deolali, cops recovered 15 sharp knives brought for sale. Two hardened criminals were arrested when they were on their way to commit crime last week and one countrymade pistol, two bullets and two choppers were confiscated.In another action near Ambad stadium, the police arrested three persons, all residents of Bihar, for carrying unlicensed countrymade pistols and had brought them with an intention to sell them. On a tip-off, cops laid a trap and arrested them. Cops now aim to discipline auto drivers and are taking help of RTO and Nashik Municipal Corporation.”We are conducting unpublicised and sudden combing operations regularly, recoveries of illegal weapons, stolen vehicles and detection of various crimes is taking place. Apart from all this, we have increased policing from 9 to 11pm, especially on poorly lit and side roads,” Jaggannathan stated.The police will soon step up community policing and hold meetings of Mohalla committees to increase people’s participation to prevent crime during Kumbhmela, he added.

Delhi: Traffic cop attacks woman with brick after she refuses to bribe him

Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi has confirmed that the traffic constable has been suspended.

Video grab
In a case of police brutality, a head constable attacked a woman on Monday with a brick in the posh Golf Link area of central Delhi over a minor altercation following which he was suspended pending a detailed inquiry.A criminal case was filed against him after a video clip of the attack surfaced. The victim, who was riding a two-wheeler, alleged that the constable demanded a bribe accusing her of violating traffic rules. She alleged that her small child was also abused by the cop. She said that following an argument, the cop picked up a brick and attacked her.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”On behalf of myself and Delhi Police, I want to express my regret. The Head Constable has already been suspended. Apart from that, I have ordered that a criminal case be registered. We will investigate the matter,” Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi said.The victim alleged that the cop accused her of violating traffic norms and started abusing her after she refused to pay bribe, insisting that a receipt of the fine he was demanding be issued to her. The woman was also seen in the video picking up a brick which she threw on the ground.“I was sitting with my children on the scooter. First the cop broke my scooter. I just want justice. The person who hit me should be punished. The person should think ten times before hitting somebody” the woman told media in New Delhi.Muktesh Chander, Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic), said strict action would be taken against the head constable.”We regret such a shameful act. We will take strictest possible action,” said Chander.The woman also alleged that her two-wheeler was damaged in the incident.Kamal Kant, the man who recorded the video, said, “The lady told me that the traffic cop stopped her as she crossed red light and asked for Rs 200 as penalty. When she refused to pay penalty without a receipt, traffic cop beat her.”Watch the video here:(With Agency Inputs)

Items from ‘Clean India’ memento to Gandhiji idols draw bidders at Surat auction

Apart from the much-hyped monogrammed bandhgala suit and sport tees of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, articles ranging from a memento of his pet project ‘Clean India Mission’ to the idols of gods and those of Mahatma Gandhi are attracting visitors at the exhibition-cum-auction in Surat.

One of the several items that Prime Minister Narendra Modi put up on auction in Surat.

PTI
Apart from the much-hyped monogrammed bandhgala suit and sport tees of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, articles ranging from a memento of his pet project ‘Clean India Mission’ to the idols of gods and those of Mahatma Gandhi are attracting visitors at the exhibition-cum-auction in Surat.A replica of Mahatma Gandhi’s spectacles in a transparent glass cube, marked as item number A 55 at the event being held at Science Convention Centre, has also emerged as a crowd-puller besides the metallic decorative items, including idols of Lord Ram along with Seeta, Laxman and Hanuman.Around 14 idols made up of silver and 17 brass idols of different gods and goddesses are on display at the exhibition. Among other items that have captured visitors’ attention are two photographs of Modi with his mother Heeraba. However, there are not many bidders as only 12 bids are made.While the pinstripe bandhgala suit of Modi continues to be the star attraction, various turbans he has received apart from woollen shawls and idols of gods and goddesses are in high demand at the auction.Jayesh Desai, who is managing the registration desk, said people are pursuing low-key items like shawls and turbans along with idols of various Hindu gods. As per the forms submitted on Thursday, enthusiasts submitted a bid for around 20 woollen shawls and 14 turbans along with an army cap. Other items drawing attention of visitors include nine swords, a bow and arrow, and a ‘khukhri’ like sword to name a few.As many as 455 items, including the navy blue suit that has generated a political heat, that Modi had received as gifts during his nine-month tenure are up for grabs for bidders. The proceeds will go to Prime Minister’s ambitious ‘Clean Ganga Mission’.