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Odd-even scheme will fail, AAP looking for escape route, says BJP

She said infrastructure development and better traffic management were ways to deal with pollution and cited the highway project launched by the Centre on Thursday in this regard. The Centre, Lekhi said, had given an additional fund of Rs 1200 crore to the Delhi government for sewage treatment but nothing has been done so far. AAP has also done nothing on its promise of ‘swaraj’, she said, noting that adequate funds were not being given to local bodies. Instead the AAP government was using Delhi’s resources for political purposes, she said, referring to its publicity budget of Rs 526 crore.

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CPI(M) plenum ends, party bats for ‘flexible tactics’ to deal with emerging political situations <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaSaradha scam: Madan Mitra’s bail plea rejected, custody extended till January 14IndiaSnag forces RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to travel in non-bullet proof car in KochiIndiaPM Modi wants bureaucrats to give ideas for ‘transformative change’IndiaOdd-even scheme will fail, AAP looking for escape route, says BJPIndiaCPI(M) plenum ends, party bats for ‘flexible tactics’ to deal with emerging political situationsIndiaFrom Dadri to Yakub Memon’s death: 16 things India outraged about in 2015 <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –> Sourav Ganguly elected in NCC executive council<!– /.block –>CPI(M) plenum ends, party bats for ‘flexible tactics’ to deal with emerging political situations<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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10 things you need to know about the Odd-Even scheme that starts this New Year

-The new rule was announced after a court ordered authorities asked the government to take measures to drastically reduce air pollution which was found out to be over 10 times the WHO safe limits.

dna Web Team

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Six more held over New Year ‘attack plot’ in Brussels <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaDMK chief slams Centre’s decision on LPG subsidyIndiaCensus 2011: Sikhs, Jains have the worst sex ratioIndiaCentre sanctions 4227 additional posts for Delhi PoliceIndiaStarting 2016, devotees can’t wear jeans, leggings, bermudas to Tamil Nadu templesIndiaWill finalise electoral strategy for Tamil Nadu assembly polls at appropriate time: JayalalithaaIndiaNepal’s KP Oli calls up PM Modi; discusses political situation in Nepal <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>United Spirits allays investors’ fears, says company making cash profits<!– /.block –>Six more held over New Year ‘attack plot’ in Brussels<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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DMK chief slams Centre’s decision on LPG subsidy

The DMK President sought immediate withdrawal of the decision and also urged the Centre to drop any plans to cut urea and kerosene subsidy.

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Sebi proposes new norms for public issue of REITs <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaDMK chief slams Centre’s decision on LPG subsidyIndiaCensus 2011: Sikhs, Jains have the worst sex ratioIndiaCentre sanctions 4227 additional posts for Delhi PoliceIndiaStarting 2016, devotees can’t wear jeans, leggings, bermudas to Tamil Nadu templesIndiaWill finalise electoral strategy for Tamil Nadu assembly polls at appropriate time: JayalalithaaIndiaNepal’s KP Oli calls up PM Modi; discusses political situation in Nepal <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Ajit Doval to visit China next week to discuss border dispute<!– /.block –>Sebi proposes new norms for public issue of REITs<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Starting 2016, devotees can’t wear jeans, leggings, bermudas to Tamil Nadu temples

“The department should consider implementing the dress code as follows: for men dhoti or pyjamas with upper cloth or formal pants and shirts and for women saree or half saree with blouse, churidhars with upper cloth, for children any fully covered dress,” the judge had said, adding, it should be followed in temples from January 1, 2016.

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Indonesia arrests three with suspected links to Islamic State <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaDMK chief slams Centre’s decision on LPG subsidyIndiaCensus 2011: Sikhs, Jains have the worst sex ratioIndiaCentre sanctions 4227 additional posts for Delhi PoliceIndiaStarting 2016, devotees can’t wear jeans, leggings, bermudas to Tamil Nadu templesIndiaWill finalise electoral strategy for Tamil Nadu assembly polls at appropriate time: JayalalithaaIndiaNepal’s KP Oli calls up PM Modi; discusses political situation in Nepal <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Bangladesh recalls its envoy from Pakistan<!– /.block –>Indonesia arrests three with suspected links to Islamic State <!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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PM Modi to visit Noida on Thursday, UP CM Akhilesh Yadav to give it a miss

Interestingly Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will not be attending the programme, owing to the so-called “Noida jinx”. Noida jinx, as per political circles, has in the past caught up with several chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, including Veer Bahadur Singh, Narayan Dutt Tiwari, Kalyan Singh and Mayawati, who lost their chairs soon after visiting Noida.

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Congress dubs Centre’s Smart City project as ‘unconstitutional’ <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaRespect for Indians grew after PM Modi’s foreign visits, says Sushma SwarajIndiaCPI(M) thinking about introducing retirement policy in partyIndiaHeroin trade strained India-UK relations in 1980s: UK filesIndiaPM Modi to visit Noida on Thursday, UP CM Akhilesh Yadav to give it a missIndiaCongress dubs Centre’s Smart City project as ‘unconstitutional’IndiaOdd-even formula: Delhi govt tells agencies to allow date-wise parking <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Three things that may negatively affect Indian economy in 2016 according to Arun Jaitley<!– /.block –>Congress dubs Centre’s Smart City project as ‘unconstitutional'<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Congress dubs Centre’s Smart City project as ‘unconstitutional’

“This money will be used by the government for various purposes like waiving off school fees of children and payment of electricity bills of farmers. The government anyway has to do all these works when it declares drought,” he said. The former chief minister also said BJP’s ally Shiv Sena is “aware that Fadnavis is only a man of words and not action”, but cannot do much about it due to the “compromise” it has done with the BJP on several issues. “This has now reduced the Sena into a party that needs to compromise on issues to stay afloat. It has no relation with ‘Hindutva’ and ‘Marathi manoos’ anymore,” he said.

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Odd-even formula: Delhi govt tells agencies to allow date-wise parking <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaRespect for Indians grew after PM Modi’s foreign visits, says Sushma SwarajIndiaCPI(M) thinking about introducing retirement policy in partyIndiaHeroin trade strained India-UK relations in 1980s: UK filesIndiaPM Modi to visit Noida on Thursday, UP CM Akhilesh Yadav to give it a missIndiaCongress dubs Centre’s Smart City project as ‘unconstitutional’IndiaOdd-even formula: Delhi govt tells agencies to allow date-wise parking <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Government stares at Rs 50,000 crore shortfall in disinvestment proceeds<!– /.block –>Odd-even formula: Delhi govt tells agencies to allow date-wise parking<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Odd-even formula: Delhi govt tells agencies to allow date-wise parking

The minister had said that nodal officers would be deployed from various agencies concerned to oversee implementation of the scheme. The city government has already tied up with Twitter for real-time information on availability of public transport for commuters.

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Windfall awaits oil companies as under-recoveries to dip 58%: Report <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaRespect for Indians grew after PM Modi’s foreign visits, says Sushma SwarajIndiaCPI(M) thinking about introducing retirement policy in partyIndiaHeroin trade strained India-UK relations in 1980s: UK filesIndiaPM Modi to visit Noida on Thursday, UP CM Akhilesh Yadav to give it a missIndiaCongress dubs Centre’s Smart City project as ‘unconstitutional’IndiaOdd-even formula: Delhi govt tells agencies to allow date-wise parking <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Congress dubs Centre’s Smart City project as ‘unconstitutional'<!– /.block –>Windfall awaits oil companies as under-recoveries to dip 58%: Report<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Haryana polls: Election Commission issues educational qualification verification rules

“So far, the Haryana Power DISCOMs have recovered Rs 30.60 crore as dues from these candidates before issuing them no dues certificate that was outstanding towards their rural domestic connections. Out of which UHBVN recovered power dues to the tune of Rs 14.18 crore and DHBVN Rs 16.42 crore, respectively,” he said.

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Gurgaon to install household solid waste treatment plants <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaRespect for Indians grew after PM Modi’s foreign visits, says Sushma SwarajIndiaCPI(M) thinking about introducing retirement policy in partyIndiaHeroin trade strained India-UK relations in 1980s: UK filesIndiaPM Modi to visit Noida on Thursday, UP CM Akhilesh Yadav to give it a missIndiaCongress dubs Centre’s Smart City project as ‘unconstitutional’IndiaOdd-even formula: Delhi govt tells agencies to allow date-wise parking <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>La Liga 2015: Ronaldo turns Real’s hero even after missing a penalty against Sociedad<!– /.block –>Gurgaon to install household solid waste treatment plants<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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PM Modi’s nod must for suspending IAS officers working with Centre

An order of suspension, which has not been extended shall be valid for a period not exceeding sixty days and an order of suspension which has been extended shall remain valid for a further period not exceeding 120 days, at a time, unless revoked earlier, the new rules said.

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Alastair Cook compliments his young guns for landmark victory <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaCongress wins 3, Sena 2, others bag 1 seat each: Council pollsIndiaCow urine used only in 5 products, says PatanjaliIndiaEntry denied: US cites immigration assessment, India tell it to honour visasIndiaBJP rubbishes Mamata Banerjee govt’s claims on West Bengal’s growthIndiaPM Modi’s nod must for suspending IAS officers working with CentreIndiaAt Sivagiri mutt, Sonia Gandhi makes veiled attack on BJP <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>BJP rubbishes Mamata Banerjee govt’s claims on West Bengal’s growth<!– /.block –>Alastair Cook compliments his young guns for landmark victory<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Mumbai: Massive fire breaks out in MTNL godown in Parel, fire tenders at spot

“All the residents have been moved away from the fire for safety. Attempts are on to douse the fire, which has erupted inside a godown,” a senior fire brigade officer, from the disaster scene, said.

Kunal Chonkar

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<!– /#sidebar-second –>Nigerian minister claims Boko Haram ‘largely’ defeated<!– /.block –>Here’s why 51 ads were pulled up by ad regulatory body <!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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IAF officer sacked for spying for ISI sent to 4-day police custody

The police said that “with his arrest, they have come across a honeytrapping module, backed by intelligence agents from across the border, which creates fictitious accounts (cyber entities) in popular social networking sites, pretending to be women, befriend defence personnel and officials from security forces and allegedly lure them into espionage.” PTI

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<!– /#sidebar-second –>Silk Road project not a geopolitical tool: China<!– /.block –>Look which starkid Sanjay Leela Bhansali is launching in his next production venture!<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Odd-even formula: AAP volunteers to help implementation within framework of law

Ashtuosh also talked about the lack of necessary “strength” of the Delhi Police. “Various committees have recommended to increase the strength of Delhi Police by double as around 30 per cent of the cops are deployed in security duty. The Centre should look into the matter,” the AAP leader added. The scheme, set to roll out from January 1 for 15 days, has been proposed to curb pollution in the national capital by restricting movement of private vehicles based on their registration numbers.

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Also ReadIndiaOdd-even formula: CNG cars to be given exemption stickers starting tomorrowIndiaAAP leader murdered in New Delhi, body dumped near swampIndiaAfter Congress mouthpiece says Sonia’s father had fascist link, party calls magazine ‘defunct’IndiaTreat citizens as your ‘boss’, Fadnavis tells policeIndiaDDCA row: No clean chit to Arun Jaitley, BJP begging for apology, says Arvind KejriwalIndiaCountry passing through crisis under NDA rule: Sachin Pilot <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Microsoft to work with Telangana for startup push: Satya Nadella<!– /.block –>Watch: Mohammad Yousuf, Ramiz Raja get involved in slanging match over Mohammad Amir issue<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Centre to allow bull taming sport ‘Jallikattu’

The ban on Jallikattu has dampened Pongal festivities in the state, especially in southern districts where it has been a popular event for centuries, and there has been demands for facilitating its conduct.
Javadekar had earlier hinted that the Centre would consider taking steps, including amending laws to allow the sport.

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Also ReadIndiaGirl abducted outside her college in Gurgaon finally rescued after manhuntIndiaSexist comments against Smriti Irani: BJP demands Nilamoni Sendeka’s arrest, protest at Congress HQIndiaChristmas nightmare: When ‘Santa’ threw acid on a mother and child in KeralaIndiaCentre to allow bull taming sport ‘Jallikattu’IndiaJourno’s jottings 2015: When politics over beef claimed a life in DadriIndiaSheena Bora murder case: Peter Mukerjea’s judicial custody extended till January 11 <!– /.block –>

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Only unaccounted mufflers will be found if CBI raids my house: Delhi CM Kejriwal

Kejriwal had launched a scathing attack after the CBI raided the Delhi Secretariat and accused the Centre of orchestrating it. While Kejriwal alleged that his office was raided under the pretext of raiding his Principal Secretary’s office, the investigating agency refuted the charges.

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Also ReadIndia’Akhand Bharat’ a cultural concept, not a political one: RSSIndiaRadhe Maa to Anupam Kher: 8 stars who ‘broke out’ in 2015IndiaGovernment committed to electrification of villages: PM ModiIndiaGovt’s plan to repeal over 1,000 obsolete laws stuck in Rajya SabhaIndiaMann Ki Baat: Address the disabled as ‘divyaang’, not ‘viklaang’, says PM ModiIndiaModi’s Pak visit: What happened behind the scenes to make it possible <!– /.block –>

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AAP image on decline, Congress going strong: claims Amarinder

Sukhpal was like my own son. Sometimes, in politics, such things happen. Congress party is like big sea…there is nothing to worry about. One person goes and several join the party,” he said.

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Also ReadIndiaGujarat open to idea of high-speed racing in Rann of KutchIndiaUP BJP MLA Sangeet Som ‘threatened’ by Islamic StateIndiaDon’t expect much from Indo-Pak talks in January: Sartaj AzizIndiaGovernment plans 50 more research parks to boost Start-up India campaignIndiaATS nabs ‘IS-bound’ Telangana cousins in Nagpur; last year, cops had counselled trioIndiaMissing Malwani youth appears on WhatsApp, says he’s returning home <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Two dead as massive earthquake rattles Jammu and Kashmir<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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UP BJP MLA Sangeet Som ‘threatened’ by Islamic State

Earlier this year, Som was accorded ‘Z’ category security by the Centre after intelligence inputs that the BJP MLA from Sardhana could be targeted by extremist elements.Apart from his alleged involvement in the 2013 riots, Som was in the thick of controversy on being felicitated by senior BJP leaders at a rally in Agra during the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election just before Narendra Modi arrived on the dais.

Deepak Gidwani

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European capitals have been warned of possible attack: Austrian police <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaGujarat open to idea of high-speed racing in Rann of KutchIndiaUP BJP MLA Sangeet Som ‘threatened’ by Islamic StateIndiaDon’t expect much from Indo-Pak talks in January: Sartaj AzizIndiaGovernment plans 50 more research parks to boost Start-up India campaignIndiaATS nabs ‘IS-bound’ Telangana cousins in Nagpur; last year, cops had counselled trioIndiaMissing Malwani youth appears on WhatsApp, says he’s returning home <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Two teens held for extortion<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Here’s what the American media said about PM Modi’s Lahore stopover

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, leader of the opposition Peoples Party of Pakistan, welcomed the Prime Minister’s surprise stoppage at Lahore. “Constant engagement is the only way to resolve all outstanding issues,” he wrote on Twitter.

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<!– /.block –>Chennai’s trade group AIEMA seeks special fund from Centre for flood-hit businesses <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaLG Najeeb Jung questions legality of DDCA probe, Arvind Kejriwal hits backIndiaDelhi emerging as global transit hub for drugs by courier and postIndiaPunjab Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira joins AAP; hits out at Rahul, AmarinderIndiaPM Narendra Modi personally touched by Nawaz Sharif’s welcomeIndiaDiplomats hail move but with cautionIndiaNawaz Sharif gets birthday hug from Narendra Modi in Lahore; surprise move stuns even PM’s own party <!– /.block –>

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Eco-sensitive zones to sink by 60% of Western Ghats?

If the states have their way, nearly 60% of the eco-sensitive, protected area of the Western Ghats, also known as water tower of peninsular India, will be thrown open for development and commercial projects. Five states located along the Western Ghats – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Gujarat and Kerala – have recommended to retain only 20,000 sq km as eco-sensitive area (ESA) and release the rest 36,285 sq.km for development. Among the six Western Ghats states, Tamil Nadu is yet to submit its recommendations on ESA areas to the Centre.A Central government appointed committee led by K Kasturirangan had recommended 56,825 sq km as ESA, nearly three times more than what the states have stated. The Centre too had notified 56,825 sq.km area as ESA in a draft notification in September this year. Western Ghats is one of the eight biodiversity hotspots in the world and is also a UNESCO world heritage site.In their detailed reports on ESAs, the states have rejected most findings and recommendations of the Kasturirangan report, pushing for opening the Ghats to development and commercial activities. The state governments were unhappy with the Kasturirangan report and thus the Central government had allowed them to physically verify their ESAs.The Kasturirangan report had identified ESAs on the basis of natural landscape and cultural landscape. The natural landscape comprises of natural vegetation, forests, water bodies, hills and sacred groves while cultural landscape comprises of human dominated land use of settlements, agricultural land, horticulture and other plantations.For example, the report had identified 4,156 villages across six states as ESA, but the five state governments, in their recommendations, demarcated only 1,666 villages. Each state government has shot down prohibitions suggested in the Kasturirangan report on issues such as mining, township development and forest plantations.An analysis of the state reports by dna shows that broadly they have vouched for inclusion of only contiguous forests that are already notified along with non-forest private lands areas while excluding plantations, industrial zones and even non-cultivable agricultural land.Gujarat, however, is the only state to have increased its ESA area.The ground reality, the states’ reports claim, is that most villages across Ghats rejected the ESA tag, as they feared for loss of livelihood. The reports say that villagers were victims of misinformation campaigns. The villagers, reports said, termed the concept of ESAs as ‘government land grab’.Speaking on the state reports, veteran ecologist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the first Central panel to have given a road-map for conservation of the Ghats, said, “The process states have followed to demarcate ESAs is more important than the area they have retained. It is a flawed process from several angles and most crucially, there is little people’s participation.”He added, “So called ground-truthing exercises involved gathering only select few groups of influential locals across villages. Also, I got first-hand reports of misinformation campaigns that were spread against the concept of ESAs.”While analysing the state reports, dna found each state government has used different approaches for giving ESA tag to villages. As per the Kasturirangan report, villages having more than 20% natural landscape were to be counted as ecologically sensitive. Maharashtra, which has the second largest ESA area has reduced the number of ESA villages from 2,154 to 1,254, reducing the protected area of Ghats to 6,719.3 sq.km.In Maharashtra, the government excluded a total of 879 villages for being isolated, distant from the contiguous, elevated range of the Ghats and for having less than 20% natural landscape. ESA villages that are home to industrial zones have been excluded without studying their pollution load on water resources.In Karnataka, the government thought it more ‘practical’ and ‘rational’ to count only those villages with 50% or more natural landscape and that already fall in the buffer zone of sanctuaries and national parks as ESAs. Karnataka has whittled down ESA villages to 153 from 1,553, shrinking the protected area to 2,020.01 sq.km.Once Tamil Nadu submits its report, MoEF&CC will deliberate on recommendations of all states and map ESA villages using satellite maps. The ministry is likely to meet representatives and MPs from each state before it takes a final call on how much area of the Ghats should be kept as ecologically sensitive.dna contacted Union minister for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar, who said the matter of finalising Western Ghats’ ESA is under process.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

DDCA scam: RSS unhappy with way BJP dealt with Kirti Azad vs Arun Jaitley row

The RSS is not happy with the way the BJP government handled the DDCA row where Kirti Azad targeted Arun Jaitley, says an India Today report. Citing sources, the report says that RSS is unhappy with Azad’s suspension over the matter and believes the government should not have dealt with the issue in such a haste.According to the source, RSS has said that the move to suspend Kirti Azad was a big political mistake on the part of BJP as the issue will give impetus to the Aam Aadmi Party which is gunning against the Centre and Jaitley over the issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kirti Azad who was supposed to meet BJP veterans LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Yashwant Sinha will not meet them but instead will write to BJP President Amit Shah about the issue

Western Ghats to lose 60% protected areas?

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States unhappy with Kasturirangan report, push for lesser prohibitions.

If the states have their way, nearly 60% of the eco-sensitive, protected area of the Western Ghats, also known as water tower of peninsular India, will be thrown open for development and commercial projects. Five states located along the Western Ghats – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Gujarat and Kerala – have recommended to retain only 20,000 sq km as eco-sensitive area (ESA) and release the rest 36,285 sq.km for development. Among the six Western Ghats states, Tamil Nadu is yet to submit its recommendations on ESA areas to the Centre.A Central government appointed committee led by K Kasturirangan had recommended 56,825 sq km as ESA, nearly three times more than what the states have stated. The Centre too had notified 56,825 sq.km area as ESA in a draft notification in September this year. Western Ghats is one of the eight biodiversity hotspots in the world and is also a UNESCO world heritage site.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In their detailed reports on ESAs, the states have rejected most findings and recommendations of the Kasturirangan report, pushing for opening the Ghats to development and commercial activities. The state governments were unhappy with the Kasturirangan report and thus the Central government had allowed them to physically verify their ESAs.The Kasturirangan report had identified ESAs on the basis of natural landscape and cultural landscape. The natural landscape comprises of natural vegetation, forests, water bodies, hills and sacred groves while cultural landscape comprises of human dominated land use of settlements, agricultural land, horticulture and other plantations. For example, the report had identified 4,156 villages across six states as ESA, but the five state governments, in their recommendations, demarcated only 1,666 villages. Each state government has shot down prohibitions suggested in the Kasturirangan report on issues such as mining, township development and forest plantations. An analysis of the state reports by dna shows that broadly they have vouched for inclusion of only contiguous forests that are already notified along with non-forest private lands areas while excluding plantations, industrial zones and even non-cultivable agricultural land.Gujarat, however, is the only state to have increased its ESA area. The ground reality, the states’ reports claim, is that most villages across Ghats rejected the ESA tag, as they feared for loss of livelihood. The reports say that villagers were victims of misinformation campaigns. The villagers, reports said, termed the concept of ESAs as ‘government land grab’. Speaking on the state reports, veteran ecologist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the first Central panel to have given a road-map for conservation of the Ghats, said, “The process states have followed to demarcate ESAs is more important than the area they have retained. It is a flawed process from several angles and most crucially, there is little people’s participation.”He added, “So called ground-truthing exercises involved gathering only select few groups of influential locals across villages. Also, I got first-hand reports of misinformation campaigns that were spread against the concept of ESAs.”While analysing the state reports, dna found each state government has used different approaches for giving ESA tag to villages. As per the Kasturirangan report, villages having more than 20% natural landscape were to be counted as ecologically sensitive. Maharashtra, which has the second largest ESA area has reduced the number of ESA villages from 2,154 to 1,254, reducing the protected area of Ghats to 6,719.3 sq.km. In Maharashtra, the government excluded a total of 879 villages for being isolated, distant from the contiguous, elevated range of the Ghats and for having less than 20% natural landscape. ESA villages that are home to industrial zones have been excluded without studying their pollution load on water resources. In Karnataka, the government thought it more ‘practical’ and ‘rational’ to count only those villages with 50% or more natural landscape and that already fall in the buffer zone of sanctuaries and national parks as ESAs. Karnataka has whittled down ESA villages to 153 from 1,553, shrinking the protected area to 2,020.01 sq.km. Once Tamil Nadu submits its report, MoEF&CC will deliberate on recommendations of all states and map ESA villages using satellite maps. The ministry is likely to meet representatives and MPs from each state before it takes a final call on how much area of the Ghats should be kept as ecologically sensitive. dna contacted Union minister for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar, who said the matter of finalising Western Ghats’ ESA is under process.

7th Pay Commission: Five states ask Modi government to ‘go slow’ on salary hikes

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“Punjab’s finances are under stress and the burden of the Pay Commission’s recommendations will certainly have an impact… Our officials have informally taken up the matter with the Centre,” confirmed Punjab Finance Minister PS Dhindsa.

Arun Jaitley and AK Mathur

Five states have asked the Narendra Modi government to go slow on the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission’s recommendations, says a report in Indian Express.The five states are West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. These states have asked for more time before being able to absorb pay hikes as recommended by the Commission, due to their financially delicate situation.”There are several states who have approached the Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Secretary and Niti Aayog, seeking more time in implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission’s report,” said a government official to Indian Express.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Seventh Pay Commission, headed by Justice AK Mathur, submitted its report to the government last month, recommending 23.55% overall hike in pay, allowances and pensions of government employees with effect from January 1, 2016. This means the Centre’s salary bill will increase by Rs 1,02,100 crore in 2016-17.”Punjab’s finances are under stress and the burden of the Pay Commission’s recommendations will certainly have an impact… Our officials have informally taken up the matter with the Centre,” confirmed Punjab Finance Minister PS Dhindsa.”Normally they (states) adopt the Centre’s recommendations. This is the normal procedure, but it certainly depends upon their (states’) financial health. Some of the states have not even implemented the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendation,” Justice Mathur told The Indian Express.”Some of the states may have suggested (delayed implementation) to the government, but I don’t think the Government of India is in a bad position,” he said.When contacted, Odisha’s Additional Chief Secretary (Finance Department), R Balakrishnan said: “At this stage, we don’t want to comment on it.”The West Bengal government has set up its own Pay Commission to determine the hike. It is expected to be on the same lines as enumerated by the Centre.Meanwhile, the Union finance ministry has set up an implementation cell for processing and implementing accepted recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission.

AAP seeks cooperation from Centre, LG Najeeb Jung on anti-pollution drive

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In a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, Transport Minister Gopal Rai urged them to to issue instructions to Delhi Police authorities to support efforts of the city government in its endeavours in this direction.

AAP government on Thursday sought cooperation from the Centre and the Lt Governor in its efforts to curb pollution in the national capital, with initiatives like observance of ‘car-free day’. In a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, Transport Minister Gopal Rai urged them to to issue instructions to Delhi Police authorities to support efforts of the city government in its endeavours in this direction.On December 22, AAP government held its scheduled ‘car- free day’ at Vikas Marg in East Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar, but Rai in the letter alleged that during the event, some police officials were noticed “stopping” two-wheelers, taxis and even buses, causing huge traffic congestions in nearby areas. “The representatives of Delhi Police and Traffic police had also been part of this planning (‘car-free day’) exercise and a detailed pre-event strategy was chalked out with them.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”However, it was noticed that the police staff at site was found stopping two-wheelers, taxis and even buses, causing huge traffic congestions in nearby areas. Police officials were also seen conveying that the traffic jam has happened due to the policies of Delhi government. This act on the part of police has put the Delhi government in a poor image…” Rai claimed in his letter.Rai said a CD containing visuals of the site during the event has also been enclosed along with the letter. “I request you to issue instructions to Delhi Police authorities to support the efforts of this government to reduce the pollution in the city and expect that Delhi Police will extend their full support and cooperation in this endeavour in future,” he added.

Winter has come: Mumbaikars shocked with 11.4 degree Celsius

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Today, Mumbai recorded minimum temperature of 11.4 degrees Celsius, which was six degrees below the normal for the month of December.

Representational Image

The country’s financial capital has been witnessing lower than normal average temperatures for the last three days, an unusual phenomenon since a decade, a Regional Meteorology Centre official said on Thursday. Today, Mumbai recorded minimum temperature of 11.4 degrees Celsius, which was six degrees below the normal for the month of December. The minimum usually is 17 degrees Celsius at this time of the year. “This was the second lowest minimum temperature recorded during the last ten years,” the official said, adding that the lowest temperature in the month of December in Mumbai was recorded in 1949 when it touched 10.6 degrees Celsius. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Attributing the present chill to the cold northerly winds, the official said, these winds are reaching upto the north coastal Maharashtra from across Rajasthan and Gujarat and thus leading to drop in the minimum temperatures in all these areas. The maximum temperatures too have witnessed a slight dip in the city, the official said, adding that this cold spell would continue till the wind patterns do not change.

Nip out Devadasi practice, Centre tells states in a stern advisory

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A Devadasi is girl “dedicated” to the worship and service of a deity or a temple for the rest of her life, after a dedication ceremony. The Supreme Court had slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 on the Centre for failing to file timely affidavit on women being forced to become devadasis.

Almost a month after being slapped a fine by the country’s apex court, the Centre has directed the states to take stern measures to check the practice of Devadasi under the existing laws.A Devadasi is girl “dedicated” to the worship and service of a deity or a temple for the rest of her life, after a dedication ceremony. The Supreme Court had slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 on the Centre for failing to file timely affidavit on women being forced to become devadasis.In a letter dated December 22, the home ministry said that all the states and Union territories are ‘expected to ensure the implementation of existing law strictly to prevent such practices under guise’ and stressed that all such instances and cases should be dealt with strictly and without exception as per extant law.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Devadasi system is one of the heinous practices against women degrading them to the lowest level. It has come to the notice through various PILs and Media news that ‘Devadasi system’ still exists in the certain parts of the country especially in ‘Beriya’ and ‘Nat’ communities in the name of religious practices,” the home ministry letter said.Ministry further noted that though Devadasi system was abolished long back by passing various enactments by different state government, reports reveal that the absolutely inhuman practice against the dignity of women still persists.State level legislations such as the Karnataka Devadasis ‘Prohibition of Dedication Act, 1982, Maharashtra Devadasis Abolition Act, 2006, have completely prohibited such practices. The practice of Devadasi System in any form is in total contravention of the provisions under section 370 and 370A of the IPC as amended through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 and section 372 of IPC. Anyone found guilty under this section shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and shall be liable to fine. An NGO, SL Foundation had filed a PIL in Supreme Court last year in February seeking Court’s intervention to prevent a temple function that where alleged Devadasi dedication was scheduled to take place.”States and UTs should initiate special drive to identify all such victims and suitably rehabilitate them by providing proper counselling, medical treatment, guidance, support and motivation to lead a dignified life,” home ministry has told the state governments.

Political discourse becoming more vulgar: Arun Jaitley

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Jaitley is currently under attack from opposition over alleged involvment in the DDCA scam

Arun Jaitley

Amid frequent face offs between the government and opposition, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said political discourse in the country has become “more vulgar”.”Though extremely popular to say, the anti-corruption law must be made more and more stringent and more and more unreasonable. That is the more popular way these days in politics, particularly when political discourse also tends to become more vulgar,” Jaitley, under fierce opposition attack over alleged irregularities in Delhi’s cricket body, said delivering the annual Intelligence Bureau lecture.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jaitley’s comments came amidst the ongoing tussle between the Arvind Kejriwal government and the Centre over alleged corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association where he was the president for about 13 years till 2013. Suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad too alleged there were financial irregularities in the DDCA when Jaitley was at its helm.Jaitley has refuted the allegations and filed civil and criminal defamation cases against five AAP leaders, including Kejriwal. About “continuing mandamus”, Jaitley said the whole idea behind the move was to make sure that investigating agency does its job.”This process has gone on for two decades and you have cases of economic offences which are investigated by several agencies, state police, CBI and other agencies which requires an introspection and analytic view, a continuing mandamus alerts the investigation,” he said. Continuing Mandamus is a writ of Mandamus issued to a lower authority by the higher authority in general public interest asking the officer or the authority to perform its task expeditiously for an unstipulated period of time for preventing miscarriage of justice.The Finance Minister said there are not too many cases in which investigating agencies in a case involving continuing mandamus have ended investigation in favour of the accused. “The golden rule which most investigating agencies follow is that if a court is conducting a continuing mandamus, it is easier to file a charge sheet and let the court decide whether evidence exists or not,” he said.Therefore, Jaitley said, after 20 years of this experiment, a call has to be taken, including by the courts, whether the imbalance between a fair investigation and rights of the accused have been created by an institution of continuing mandamus.It is an instrument which can be used rarely in cases where there is reason to apprehend that an honest investigation is not being carried out. “To make continuing mandamus a regular practice, may have a tendency to create an imbalance in the criminal jurisprudence due to the reasoning adopted in the judgement of cases,” he said.

Modi in Russia: Heritage on display in ‘Friends of India’ to greet Prime Minister

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The Prime Minister will address the gathering of ‘Friends of India’ event at the Expo Centre in Moscow. The cultural show, to be performed by Russian artistes, will have two components – ‘Abhinandan’ and ‘Abhivyakti’.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviews an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony at Moscows Vnukovo II airport outside Moscow on December 23, 2015.

AFP photo
A cultural performance reflecting popularity of India’s rich heritage and traditions in Russia will be presented to greet Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a public reception in Moscow on Thursday expected to be attended by around 3,000 people. The show will feature artistes staging a musical enactment of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s famous poem “Geet Naya Gata Hoon” rendered by Lata Mangeshkar just a day before the former Prime Minister’s birthday on December 25.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister will address the gathering of ‘Friends of India’ event at the Expo Centre in Moscow. The cultural show, to be performed by Russian artistes, will have two components – ‘Abhinandan’ and ‘Abhivyakti’.’Abhinandan’ – to feature performances by 52 artistes – envisages performance of Indian art forms by Russian artists. It will display the popularity of Indian cultural traditions in Russia and its importance of inter-cultural understanding while portraying the assimilation of India’s performing arts traditions by Russian artistes.’Abhinandan’ will commence with a Shloka recital and a creative rendering of Vande Mataram by Russian Brahmakumaris, followed by continuing sequence of brief Kuchipudi, Kathak and Dandiya Raas.The programme will conclude with the musical enactment of “Geet Naya Gata Hoon”.’Abhivyakti’ is an attempt to articulate and convey an authentic image of Indian traditions, history and culture by Russian artistes and enthusiasts, which resonates in the hearts, and minds of all Indians and well-wishers of India in foreign countries. It is a reflection of the feeling of brotherhood and amity that exists between the people of India and Russia.”‘Abhivyakti’ is dedicated to the expression of goodwill, joy, and enthusiasm aptly represented by our philosophy of ‘Vasudheva Kutumbakam’ that characterises our interaction with the rest of the world,” said organisers.This component of the show would contain performances by 100 artistes and will majorly consist of Namaskaram, Charishnu, Bharatnatyam, Rudra, Pandattam, Khoria, Lavni, Kalina Taal performances.

Ayodhya row: Opposition accuses BJP, RSS of trying to divide people; raises concerns of preparation of work on Ram temple

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Opposition members voiced concern over reports of two truck loads of stones for construction of the temple having arrived in Ayodhya earlier this week.

The Ayodhya temple row on Wednesday rocked the Rajya Sabha with Congress, BSP and JD (U) accusing the BJP and RSS of trying to divide Uttar Pradesh on communal lines ahead of the 2017 assembly elections in the state, a charge rejected by the ruling party at the Centre. Raising the issue during Zero Hour, K C Tyagi (JD-U) said the circumstances for a communally-charged atmosphere are being created ahead of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.Opposition members voiced concern over reports of two truck loads of stones for construction of the temple having arrived in Ayodhya earlier this week. Such activities are being planned “only to charge up the atmosphere,” he said, quoting a reported statement by Mahant Nritya Gopal Das that there was a “signal” from the Modi government that the temple will be built “now”. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said stone carving for construction of the temple has been going at a site 1.5 km away from the disputed site since 1990. The government and the BJP are of the view that the court decision on the dispute should be accepted, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There was no ban on carving of stones and the religious leaders quoted have been living in Ayodhya, he said, adding that stone carving does not mean that the temple was being built. “Please wait for court decision. All of us should respect it,” he said. Outside Parliament, BSP supremo Mayawati told reporters that “this has been the agenda of BJP and RSS for a long time. But the Government of India should apply brakes on such people.”But more than BJP, she used the opportunity to slam her arch rival, the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, saying if the Supreme Court order to maintain status quo on the site is violated, then the “SP will be responsible as the ruling party.” The former Uttar Pradesh CM said it is the responsibility of the ruling party in the state to ensure that the SC directions are not violated. “In such a scenario, nothing wrong should be allowed to take place,” she said. Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh Pramod Tiwari claimed that BJP and its affiliates rake up such issues before every assembly election, especially in UP. “Be it shila pujan or rath yatra, BJP tries to draw a communal divide before every assembly election, especially in Uttar Pradesh. JD(U) President Sharad Yadav said though BJP tries to divide people on communal lines every time, “this time the people have understood their design”. “They divide people on communal lines before elections. But this time the people have understood their design. Like we did in Bihar, we would counter them in Uttar Pradesh,” he said. BJP MP from Gorakhpur in UP Adityanath rejected the charge that the party was raking up the temple issue again

Aligarh Muslim University divided over campus visit invite to PM Modi

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The teachers’ association also feels that the university only invites personalities, who have contributed to academia.

Aligarh Muslim University

The split between hardliners and moderates at Aligarh Muslim University widened after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was extended an invitation to the campus. University vice chancellor Lt Gen Zameeruddin Shah (retd), whose association with Modi is more than a decade old, wants to invite Modi on the campus. His idea has met with stiff resistance from Leftist and Islamist ideologues. Shah also met Modi in the capital on Friday.”Modi has not yet instilled confidence in the Muslim community. Moreover, he should have something concrete to offer to the university if at all he wants to visit,” said professor Mustafa Zaida, secretary of the teachers’ association.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The teachers’ association also feels that the university only invites personalities, who have contributed to academia. “Modi has no such contributions. Moreover, there has been no trend of prime ministers visiting the campus. After Jawaharlal Nehru, no prime minister visited the campus. We see no reason behind calling him here,” added Zaida.The university administration is of the view that calling Modi to the campus would not just help in boosting the secular character of the university, but will also bring some additional funding from the Centre, which will bring the university out of the financial crisis.This is not the first time that the PM’s visit to an Islamist university has created resentment in the university. Jamia Millia Islamia’s decision of calling Modi for the annual convocation drew similar criticism. Jamia was critical of Modi’s statement made after the 2008 and Batla House encounter. Modi had then said, “There is a university in Delhi called Jamia Millia Islamia. It has publicly announced that it will foot the legal fee of terrorists involved in act. Go drown yourself. This Jamia Millia is being run on government money and it is daring to spend money on lawyers to get terrorists out of jail. When will this vote bank politics end?”However, VC Zameeruddin Shah feels that the PM is very optimistic about AMU. The VC had met the PM on Friday seeking financial assistance for its Kishanganj campus. “He has assured us all possible support,” he said.

Nirbhaya case: It is important not to be swayed by public opinion, says expert

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The juvenile involved in the December 16 gang rape was released by authorities on Sunday.

Delhi police officers escort the juvenile accused of rape, outside the Juvenile justice board in New Delhi on Saturday.
Manit Balmiki
dna
Raj (19)I started doing drugs when I was still in school. It began with bidis and cigarettes, though I soon graduated to the heavy stuff and got hooked onto smack (heroin). I then took to a life of crime to support my smack habit. Nobody told me that what I was doing was wrong. I came from a broken family and was uneducated. The law finally caught up with me and I was arrested for stealing and pick-pocketing. Since I was an addict, I was referred to and enrolled in a de-addiction programme at the Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM). It was difficult at first, but I am clean now. I work here at the Sewa Kutir full-time cooking in the canteen. My next aim is to make amends with my family, it will be a slow process but I will persevere.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rahul (23)My father who was a habitual substance abuser threw my mother and my sisters out of the house, I soon followed. Life on the street was tough and I did what one has to survive. My drug habit compelled me to steal. I would sometimes used a knife to get what I wanted. I was caught by the police in 2004 and sent to a detention centre. At the same time I lost my mother, I remember I was not given leave to attend her funeral. My situation and my environment was such that I did not know any better.I am filled with regret. To atone myself, I now help and volunteer at a de-addiction centre. I counsel those who walk in the centre and help wean them off drugs if that’s what they want.(names of the juveniles have been changed to protect their identity) The juvenile involved in the December 16 gang rape was released by authorities on Sunday. His release was marked by protests and a last ditch midnight appeal by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) to delay his release, which was overturned by the vacation bench at wee hours of Sunday In a stark contrast to the current public sentiments, various experts and welfare officials are of the opinion that rehabilitation and reformation of a juvenile is possible under most circumstances. As the debate for the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 rages on in the public and Parliament, Enakshi Ganguly Thukral, co-founder of Haq – Centre for Child Rights says, “When one considers penalties for a juvenile, it is important not to be swayed by public opinion. One must consider and keep the offender as the primary focus and not the offence.” According to a social worker at SPYM, “It costs Rs3,000 per day to do smack, that makes it Rs90,000 per month. A child on the street hooked on drugs has no option but to take to crime to support this habit,” he added. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the incidence of juvenile crime was 0.5 per cent in 2001, and the number rose to 1.1 per cent in 2011. However, the NCRB statistics attribute this rise in figures mainly due to the increase of the upper ages of juveniles from 16 years to 18 years according to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000. Another reason for the increase can be credited to the addition of 11 new special and local laws added to the list in 2014. Though there is much furore about the rise in crime, statistics also show that there has been a decrease in violent crimes among juveniles in the year 2014. “When a child is deprived of his basic needs, he takes to crime. We have thus economically empowered children who have come in conflict with the law,” says Father Anthony, founder of Empowerment of Child Human rights Organisation (ECHO). Father Anthony has more than 15 years of experience towards understanding juvenile delinquency. “In my experience, I have achieved 100 per cent success rate with juvenile reformation and rehabilitation,” says he. His work with the juveniles have created successful customs officers, traffic police assistants and some are even working in multi-national organisations and jewellery stores. There are around 33,000 juveniles in the system. According to statistics, juveniles are responsible for less than 5 per cent of all rapes. Atiya Bose, Director of a Mumbai-based NGO Aangan feels that “The main issue and the reason why rehabilitation is important for young people is because they are amenable to reform. I have seen huge changes in juveniles when one has worked with them comprehensively on all fronts that includes a combination of a support system.” Bose went on to add that “Juveniles who commit crimes serve the punishment as metted out to them according to the law. Should they then be vilified and damned for life?” Short staff board While the Juvenile Justice Board has been in existence for a while, there does not seem a concerted or well thought out programme. It is understaffed and not enough resources have been allocated for the welfare of children who come in conflict with the law. With public sentiments swaying opinions, experts feel the main issue is being lost in the noise.

Won’t tolerate attempts to suppress inquiry against DDCA: Manish Sisodia

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Saying that AAP government did not object to questioning of Rajendra, he warned that the government will not tolerate any attempt to “suppress” the DDCA enquiry

Manish Sisodia

The AAP government on Sunday said attempts to “suppress” the inquiry into the affairs of the Delhi Cricket body will not be tolerated and said the Centre should not cause any impediments in the probe.Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told reporters that Rajendra Kumar, Principal Secretary to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, has been “threatened” and “pressurised mentally” by the CBI that his career and life will be harmed if he did not disclose the name of DDCA official who handed over certain files to AAP government. He claimed one of the files contained a note in which a Union Minister had purportedly told DDCA official that he would get compounded the SFIO crimes against them and stall a probe against them through Lt Governor’s office.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The questioning so far has shows that Rajendra was merely an “excuse” behind the CBI raid at Secretariat while the “real target” was Kejriwal, Sisodia claimed. Saying that AAP government did not object to questioning of Rajendra, he warned that the government will not tolerate any attempt to “suppress” the DDCA enquiry. “We don’t object to questioning and it should go on and action may be taken if there is any scam. Delhi government will also take action,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.

Uddhav Thackeray takes dig at BJP, says focus on ground realities than making cities smart

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He further said that his party is focusing on improving the conditions of farmers in the state and that it will live up to the aspirations of the people

Uddhav Thackeray

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday asked the BJP-led Centre and the Maharashtra government to pay attention to ground level issues plaguing the people before focusing on Smart City project.”Before focusing on Smart City project, the government should first focus on mitigating the drinking problems of people. Women in villages need money for their basic survival,” Thackeray said while addressing a gathering in Jalgaon. Shiv Sena is the partner in both the government at the Centre and in Maharashtra. Referring to the incident where a 16-year-old daughter of a farmer in drought-hit Latur district of Marathwada allegedly committed suicide by consuming pesticide as her debt-pressed parents could not buy her a monthly state transport ‘bus pass’ to commute to college, Thackeray said that a minister who has no time to listen to the woes of the people, has no place in his party.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is shameful that families in Maharashtra do not have the money to educate a girl child. After Swati Pitale’s (the Latur girl) suicide, I immediately called up Transport minister Diwakar Raote to find a solution to the problem. “Due to his efforts, Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) decided to waive the fee completely for the students of first-year junior college and above in the eight drought- affected districts of Marathwada. Around 4.60 lakh students are benefiting from this scheme,” he said.He further said that his party is focusing on improving the conditions of farmers in the state and that it will live up to the aspirations of the people.”A minister who has no time to listen to the problems of people has no place in the Sena. We do not oppose the government for the sake of opposing but have the courage to oppose what is not beneficial for people. We will live up to the expectations of people,” the Sena chief said.

All CBSE books to be available online for free: Smriti Irani

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The Minister said, NCERT books have already been made available online for free, through e-books and mobile applications a month-and-a-half ago.

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani

File Photo
Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani announced that all CBSE books and learning material will be made available online for free.Irani, who was inaugurating a new Kendriya Vidyalaya building in East Delhi, said the Centre will launch initiatives to help parents analyse performance of their child in Kendriya Vidyalayas from the next academic year.The Minister said, NCERT books have already been made available online for free, through e-books and mobile applications a month-and-a-half ago.Irani also asked officials in her ministry to organise Child Conventions, which would include interactions between children and professionals from various fields including defence. This will help students grow into good human beings, the minister said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Irani reiterated that the Centre will launch ‘Shaala Darpan’ and ‘Saransh’ services in Kendriya Vidyalayas in the next academic year. The ‘Shaala Darpan’ service is aimed at using SMS to keep parents informed about their wards’ attendance, time table and marks in exams.While ‘Saransh’ will help parents compare the subject-wise learning outcomes of their children, with others at the district, state and national levels.

MoEF gives forest clearance for expansion of country’s largest open cast mine in Singrauli

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The block has 483 million tonnes of mineable reserves and with a 15 million tonnes/annum capacity, the life of the project will be about 22 years.

An expert panel of the Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEF&CC) has recommended forest clearance for expansion of India’s largest open cast mine located at Nigahi in Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh, with certain conditions. The expansion of the mine, under the control of Northern Coalfields Limited, is a part of the Singrauli coalfied and is located on a hilly pleateau with an elevation of about 400-450mts above mean sea level.The block has 483 million tonnes of mineable reserves and with a 15 million tonnes/annum capacity, the life of the project will be about 22 years.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The coal from the Nigahi extension block will feed the Vindhyachal Thermal Power Station which is the country’s largest power station with an installed capacity of 4,760MW.The project had come up for appraisal before the forest advisory committee (FAC) of the MoEFCC as it requires clearing of forest areas. Singrauli district, where the project is located, is known as the coal and energy capital of the country is home to dense, rich Sal forests. The Nigahi extension block will spread across 596.11 hectares and out of this the project needs to clear 424.5 hectares of forest comprising of 13,201 trees.During the appraisal of the project, the FAC noted the report of MoEFCC’s regional office at Bhopal that detailed the quality of forests. According to the report, a sizeable part of the extension block is covered by dense forests. Using satellite imagery the FAC confirmed that three major patches of very dense forests are present on the western end of the mine. Of this, two grids are classified as inviolate or out of bound for mining.Thus, even as they recommended forest clearance for the project the FAC has asked Northern Coalfields to not utilise the dense forests for mining owing to their richness. It also asked the company to provide details of the dense forest patches such as its area.The Nigahi coal block is located in the same region as the Mahan forests, where local villagers and Greenpeace India ran a campaign against a proposed coal mine of Essar that was eventually cancelled by the Centre. In fact, the MoEF&CC classified the forests around Mahan coal block as inviolate or out of bound for mining.

National Herald case: Congress workers protest by burning effigy of PM Modi in Lucknow

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The partymen shouted slogans against the NDA government accusing them of framing Congress leaders to harass them and targeting Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were granted bail by Patiala House district court on Saturday, December 19, 2015.
File Photo
PTI
Congress leaders and workers on Saturday burnt an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and took out a protest march here against the NDA government, accusing it of falsely implicating leaders of opposition parties including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.Led by Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Nirmal Khatri and AICC secretary assistant in-charge of state affairs Prakash Joshi, partymen took out a padyatra from the state party office to General Post Office here to lodge their protest against the Centre.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The partymen shouted slogans against the NDA government accusing them of framing Congress leaders to harass them and targeting Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case. Youth Congress activists here burnt Modi’s effigy at the busy Hazratganj Crossing to mark the protest.Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul today sought and got bail in the National Herald case after a local court rejected complainant Subramanian Swamy’s opposition to the relief for them on the ground they are influential and can flee the country. The case is based on a private criminal complaint lodged by Swamy against them of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.

National Herald case: Congress’ drama giving nation a ‘bad name’, says Subramanian Swamy

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”They have got all the top lawyers’six of them who are the most high-priced lawyers. Why are they so scared to have the mob coming and making all this drama and all this abuse and so on’ Let the court process start today,” he added.

Dubbing the Congress protest across the country over the National Herald case as ‘drama’, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Saturday said it is giving a bad name to the nation.”Everybody should learn that we are all equal before the law. All this drama that is being done by the Congress that some people can be prosecuted and some people can’t be prosecuted is giving the country a bad name . It is a court matter and I am not the attorney general or the CBI Director’I am just an ordinary citizen. I have filed a private complaint. The court has accepted that there is prima facie evidence,’ Swamy told the media here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”They have got all the top lawyers’six of them who are the most high-priced lawyers. Why are they so scared to have the mob coming and making all this drama and all this abuse and so on’ Let the court process start today,” he added.Related Read: LIVE National Herald case: Sonia, Rahul Gandhi to appear in court; Manmohan, Ahmed Patel may give suretyCongress leaders and workers are protesting against the Centre and the BJP in the alleged National Herald corruption case.Massive protests have been organised across the country in Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Patna, Nagpur, Kolkata and Coimbatore. On Saturday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi along with the other accused in the National Herald case will appear before Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen in response to summons issued against them. They have been summoned by the trial court on prima facie charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust and dishonest misappropriation of property under relevant sections of the law.Meanwhile, security has been beefed up outside the Patiala House court and the Congress headquarters in Delhi. 16 additional CCTV cameras have been installed in the premises where the hearing would be held.

DGPs meet to focus on community policing as deradicalisation strategy

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Sources said that PM Modi himself along with the national security advisor AK Doval is keen to steer the de-radicalisation programme in which special envoy for counter terrorism and extremism, Asif Ibrahim is playing a lead role. PM Modi is going to be present during all sessions of the DGPs meet.

At the three-day DGPs annual conference that began in Rann of Kutch on Friday, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in conjunction with the union home ministry will impress upon country’s top cops to gear their police stations located in potential terror breeding grounds for community policing by taking community elders in confidence.With threat of IS and Al Qaeda looming large through Internet and social media, the Centre wants to take up de-radicalisation exercise in a big but subtle way and is of the view that radicalisation can be best fought by helping and empowering communities through increased awareness and education.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said that PM Modi himself along with the national security advisor AK Doval is keen to steer the de-radicalisation programme in which special envoy for counter terrorism and extremism, Asif Ibrahim is playing a lead role. PM Modi is going to be present during all sessions of the DGPs meet.The IB will also take up the de-radicalisation strategy that it has prepared with the help of key states and union home ministry at the DGPs conference to have their view in improvising it.Sources said that though the Centre wants to push Sufism, it slowly coming to terms that pushing it too hard can be counter-productive in the present circumstances.Several Muslim scholars of repute debunk Modi government’s strategy of de-radicalisation by propping up Sufism. The warn government that it is fraught with dangerous consequences and could lead to sectarian wars like West Asia and Pakistan. Officials backing of Sufi and Ahmadi conferences also question credibility and motive of these conferences.Well-known Islamic scholar, Dr Zafar-ul-Islam Khan, who is also the president of the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMIM), an umbrella body of Muslim organisations in India, warns the Indian government not to indulge in Sufi adventurism.”This approach is not new as it has been used by CIA and Israel to disastrous consequences. The highest authentic seat of Islam – Deoband has issued fatwa against ISIS and terrorism. It is against promoting Sufism. By promoting Sufism, the government wants to divide Muslims in two categories. This is not good politics,” says Dr Khan.Government sources said after reviewing de-radicalisation strategy the focus is on sensitising officials to distinguish between a religious person and a radical individual.”Engagement with community leaders would ensure that extremism could be combated before it turns into terrorism. The DGPs and IGPs will be sensitised about this aspect to take home the thought and put it as an instrument to counter radicalisation,” said sources.The meet will also take up upgrading technology of state police and their intelligence gathering agencies like SIB and CID for effective monitoring of online radical activities, which is a hallmark of IS’s recruitment process and being used effectively to indoctrinate and recruit Indian youths.

Nirbhaya rape accused to walk free tomorrow

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The victims’ parents, who were present in the court, were crushed and heartbroken upon hearing the order. Visibly moved with tears in eyes, Asha Devi, the mother vowed to carry on the fight for justice.

Nirbhaya’s mother Asha expresses her disappointment after the Delhi High Court refusal to stay release of the juvenile convict on Friday.

PTI
The juvenile convict in the Nirbhaya gangrape case will walk free on Sunday. The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to extend his stay in the observation home saying the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000 has stipulated the maximum period of three years. “Having regard to the fact that the maximum stay that can be directed in the Special Home under Section 15(1) of the Act is three years and that the respondent No.1 (convict) would be completing the period of three years by December 20, 2015, there cannot be any direction to continue his stay in the Special Home beyond December 20, 2015. Hence, we decline to issue any direction as prayed by the petitioner,” a bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The victims’ parents, who were present in the court, were crushed and heartbroken upon hearing the order. Visibly moved with tears in eyes, Asha Devi, the mother vowed to carry on the fight for justice. BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy, the petitioner in the case, was seen consoling the parents in the courtroom, assuring them that he has not given up. “This fight is not just for your daughter alone, it is now for the nation,” Swamy said. Two days ago, the victims’ parents had staged a demonstration at Jantar Mantar here protesting against the release of the juvenile. At that time, the mother had said she would continue her fighting till the very last moment. In its order, the high court also directed the Juvenile Justice Board to take a final decision on his rehabilitation and the management committee of the Delhi government would keep a watch on him for two years as per the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Rules. The convict, who is now 21, is to release on December 20 after his three years stay in the observation home as part of the sentence for the offence of rape. The bench directed Juvenile Justice Board (JJB-II) shall interact with the juvenile his parents/guardians as well as the officials concerned of the department of women and child development, Delhi government regarding the “post-release rehabilitation and social mainstreaming” of the juvenile and pass appropriate orders in accordance with the provisions of the JJB Act and Rules. It referred to the Rules 55 which makes it mandatory for the Management Committee to consider and review periodically post-release or post restoration follow up. Rule 65 also provides for a detailed procedure of restoration of the juvenile back to the family and the follow-up action by the Juvenile Justice Board. The bench also recorded the Rule which restrains the JJ Board from sending the juvenile to his family in case he is reluctant to go home. According to the Rule, a quarterly follow-up report to the JJB by the concerned Child Welfare Officer or Probation Officer or the non-governmental organization for a period of two years. The bench, however, never closed the petition saying the issue raised by the petitioner is “of public importance” which needs deeper consideration. The court has to ascertain the factum of reformation of the juveniles in conflict with law before they are released from the Special Home on expiry of the period of stay ordered by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB). The court sought response from the Centre and Delhi government to file response on the issue within eight weeks, while posting the matter for March 28, 2016. The court’s order came on Swamy’s plea against the release of the “unreformed” juvenile convict. He cited the Intelligence Bureau (IB) report about him having been radicalised after being shifted with a juvenile apprehended in connection with the Delhi High Court blast case. The Centre had told the court that juvenile’s stay in an observation home should be extended till all aspects including mental health and post-release rehabilitation plans are considered by the authorities. The juvenile, who was under 18 when arrested for brutal rape and murder of a para-medical student on December 16, 2012, was tried under the Juvenile Justice Act. He was ordered to be kept in a remand home for three years.Swamy in his plea asked the court to pass order that “such unreformed juvenile not be released until it is demonstrably assured that he has reformed, ceased to be radicalised and is not a menace to the society”. Meanwhile, a trial court had awarded death penalty to four rapists which was upheld by the high court. Out of the six convicts, prime accused Ram Singh was found dead in Tihar Jail and the juvenile was sent to reform home.The appeals for four convicts are pending before the Supreme Court.

DDCA row: BJP President Amit Shah summons MP Kirti Azad

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Amit Shah’s summoning of Kirti Azad came a day after BJP general secretary Ram Lal called him over the same issue.

BJP President Amit Shah
File Photo
PTI
BJP chief Amit Shah on Friday summoned party MP Kirti Azad, who has often attacked Arun Jaitley over “corruption” in DDCA when he had headed it, apparently in a bid to dissuade him from raking up his allegations at a time AAP has used them to target the Finance Minister. Azad, however, stuck to his decision of holding a press conference on the issue on Sunday.”It was a good meeting (with Shah). I will hold the press conference on Sunday,” he said.Though there was no official comment on what transpired in the meeting, party sources said Shah advised Azad to exercise restraint, noting that opposition parties have used these charges to attack BJP. Shah’s summoning of Azad came a day after BJP general secretary Ram Lal called him over the same issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP is understood to have told Azad that these are old charges dating back till 2013 when Jaitley headed DDCA and Congress was in power at the Centre as well as in Delhi but nothing came out of them.”With BJP now in power in Delhi, Congress and AAP are using the same charges to embarrass Jaitley and BJP,” a party leader said.

Go fight in polls, not here, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan tells BJP MP, Mulayam Singh Yadav

Speaker rebukes BJP MP and Samajwadi Party supremo over horse-trading in local body polls.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan

dna Research & Archives
A BJP MP and Samajwadi party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, on Friday, clashed in the Lok Sabha over alleged horse-trading in local body polls in Uttar Pradesh, prompting Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to tell them ‘to go and fight’ in elections in the state.Daddan Mishra, a BJP MP from Shrawasti, raised the issue of alleged horse-trading in the elections of block president and district president.”There is a lot of horse-trading taking place and polls should be conducted directly by the people. I also urge the Government of India to look into the matter,” Mishra said as he raised the issue in Zero Hour.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To this, the Speaker said the issue was not under the purview of the Centre and was a state subject, but Mishra continued speaking on it.It was the SP chief who sprang up to defend the state government.”Let the polls happen under the eyes of people. We have no objection to it. The election results speak for itself,” Yadav said.The Samajwadi Party has fared better than the BJP in the state polls.As his party chief took charge, Dharmendra Yadav rushed to join him. He was also joined by SP member Tej Pratap Yadav, even as the two sides sparred with each other.”Wahaan jaake lado (Go and fight there). The talks on local body polls don’t happen here. Go and work there,” Mahajan said.

State ACB goes on probe overdrive on Delhi government officials

The escalating war between the Centre and the AAP government took a new turn with the CBI raids at Delhi secretary at on Tuesday –but the worst hit in the months-old political crossfire has been the Delhi bureaucracy –more with allegations of the state anti-corruption branch (ACB) going on an investigation overdrive on officials placed with the Delhi government.According to sources, the situation has worsened in the last two months, with the Mukesh Meena-led ACB aggressively digging out age-old complaints against government officials, allegedly putting hundreds of other corruption complaints on the back burner.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A senior government official claimed the Delhi-government’s anti-corruption helpline 1031 has forwarded more than 500 corruption complaints against Delhi as well as central government officials to the anti-graft body after carrying out preliminary investigations on them.“None of those complaints have been acted upon so far. The ACB has decided to investigate complaints only against Delhi government officials, that too those which it has received independently,” the official told dna.“They didn’t even register an FIR against a DDA (Delhi Development Authority) employee who was caught red-handed accepting bribe by our Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM),” the official said. DDA functions under the central government.The ACB’s alleged ‘selective’ investigation also resonates with a memo issued by lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung in September this year, where the bureaucrats of Delhi government were advised not to follow any ‘illegal orders’ of the Delhi government. The memo also warned the officials of disciplinary action if they chose to follow such orders of the government.The situation has now demoralised many Delhi government officials, many of whom fear they might be targeted just for working with the Kejriwal government.Sources say some are even contemplating seeking transfers elsewhere from the central government, to save themselves of uncalled troubles.An example is that of a case registered against the state’s principal secretary Chetan B Sanghi and other officials for converting 350 industrial sheds from leasehold to freehold in 2011-12, when he was heading the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (DSIIDC) – a step which has been taken both by those heading DSIIDC before and after Sanghi.The case was registered weeks after Sanghi submitted a probe report on the alleged complaints of irregularities in Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA), on which the Delhi government was to set up a commission of inquiry, Kejriwal had revealed on Tuesday.While Sanghi has gone on a long leave and was not available for comments, another official said there is not much they can do if they are scheduled to be the next in the line of fire.“If they (ACB) choose to take up an empty case like that of the DSIIDC, they can slap any charge on us out of vindictiveness,” an official said.Similarly, secretary to CM Rajender Kumar who faced a lot of mud-slinging on Tuesday following the CBI raids in his office, was first interrogated by the ACB. He is also facing ACB investigations on a separate Rs100 crore CNG scam that took place during the Sheila Dixit regime. While the charges against him are yet to be proved by CBI, Kumar is still under the ACB net and has faced multiple interrogation sessions in the last few months. The anti-corruption branch is also probing deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, and has sent a notice to the government’s directorate of information and publicity (DIP) department for allegedly giving contracts of government advertisements to his relatives. A few officers from the department were interrogated by the ACB on Thursday.The anti-graft body has also initiated inquiries on an alleged scam regarding the procurement and disbursing of onions at a subsidised rate.Above all, ACB chief Meena had also ordered a probe into the helpline management of the AAP government’s anti-corruption helpline 1031 and an inquiry against the officials involved in setting it up.Talking to dna, an official from ACB said, “We are investigating the cases against Sanghi, Kumar and others and their details can’t be revealed as of now,” said an official. Meena remained unavailable for dna’s queries despite repeated calls and messages sent to him.A joint commissioner-ranked IPS officer, Meena was appointed in June this year by Jung against AAP government’s wishes. This was a first time that a joint commissioner ranked official was put at the helm of the anti-graft body; the post had earlier been occupied by an additional commissioner-ranked official since the start of the ACB.AAP had claimed that following the Delhi High Court’s order that allowed ACB to also act on corruption complaints against central government officials, the Centre had ‘taken over’ ACB from the Delhi government. However, the battle over the control of the anti-graft body continues.

Akhilesh Yadav urges Centre to set up AIIMS in Gorakhpur

it would make provision for other infrastructure in its next budget and start construction

He said that the state has assured to provide 2.5 acre land and if the Centre provides fund,

A day after the Supreme Court slammed the Uttar Pradesh government for failing to appoint a Lokayukta, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday said that there was no laxity on his part and he was not at fault. “There was no dilly-dallying on the part of the state government. It is a known fact that who is responsible for the delay in appointment of new Lokayukta in the state,” Akhilesh said without taking any name. He said that the state government was not at fault from any point. “We honour the apex court’s order,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The apex court had yesterday directly appointed retired Justice Virendra Singh as the new Lokayukta of UP after the state government failed to meet the deadline fixed by it. Akhilesh was speaking after launching 148 projects worth Rs 585 crore. In a veiled attack on the BJP led NDA government, he said, “Those who used to call our laptop distribution scheme a ‘jhunjhuna’ (plaything), are now themselves talking about digital India.” He said that it was known that those who were talking about Swacch Bharat, have gone with the broom. Stating that there were number of challenges before the country and the state, Akhilesh said debate should be held on development, but some people were raising other issues to distract attention.Referring to the issue of Japanese Encephalitis in east UP, he said he has requested the Centre to set up an AIIMS in Gorakhpur. He said that the state has assured to provide 2.5 acre land and if the Centre provides fund, it would make provision for other infrastructure in its next budget and start construction. Akhilesh said UP has come in the category of a state which decided the new agenda of development and other states were forced to follow it. He said that perception of those who used to call UP, ‘Ulta Pradesh’, has changed after witnessing the development.

MK Stalin threatens stir if Centre, Tamil Nadu govt do not lift ban on Jallikattu

The DMK government had enacted a legislation in 2009 to ensure the continuance of the bull-taming sport after introducing due regulations.

MK Stalin

DMK Treasurer MK Stalin today urged the Centre and state government to remove the ban on ‘Jallikattu’ and warned that he would lead a protest unless they took steps to enable the bull-taming sport to be held during the Pongal festive season in January.”If the Centre and state don’t take steps for removing theban and hold jallikattu during the coming Pongal festival, I myself will lead a struggle against this after seeking approval from (DMK President) Kalaignar (Karunanidhi),” he said in a Facebook post.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The DMK government had enacted a legislation in 2009 to ensure the continuance of the bull-taming sport after introducing due regulations.Supreme Court had last year banned jallikattu, bull races,bull-fights and other uses of bulls in performances, but therehave been widespread demands in the state, especially in thesouthern districts, that Centre make adequate amendments to ensure that the sport is introduced again in 2016.Supporters of ‘jallikattu,’ organised to coincide with the Tamil harvest festival of Pongal, have been defending it on the grounds that it is a sport of bravery and is reflective of the local tradition. Recently, scores of celebrities, including actress Vidya Balan and India Test captain Virat Kohli, had signed a petition by an animal rights advocacy group seeking upholding of the ban on ‘jallikattu’.

Supreme Court bars registration of diesel SUVs, cars of 2000 cc above in Delhi

The bench was hearing the pleas of auto dealers and the Centre not to ban diesel vehicles as the same will affect the supply of essential commodities.

Taking a tough stand against rich people using luxury SUVs and ensuring that the common man should not suffer due to pollution, the Supreme Court on Wednesday banned registration of diesel vehicles of 2000 cc and above till March 31 next year in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR). The bench was hearing the pleas of auto dealers and the Centre not to ban diesel vehicles as the same will affect the supply of essential commodities. Issuing a slew of measures to check the pollution level in the city, the apex court directed that commercial vehicles registered before 2005 will not be allowed to enter the city and the cabs, including Ola and Uber, will have to convert to CNG. The court set the March 31deadline for it.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Passing a detailed order, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur said, “It is noteworthy that diesel vehicles of 2000 cc and above and SUVs are generally used by more affluent sections of our society and because of the higher engine capacity are more prone to cause higher levels of pollution.”The court said, “A ban on registration of such vehicles will not, therefore, affect the common man or the average citizen in the city of Delhi. We accordingly, direct that registration of SUVs and private cars of the capacity of 2000 CC and above using diesel as fuel shall stand banned in the NCR up to 31st March, 2016.”It also ordered for the diversion of commercial vehicles which are not bound for Delhi, specially trucks, which pass through the national capital on way to other destinations after finding them the major source of vehicular emissions in the city.”No Vehicle which is not bound for Delhi will be allowed to enter from NH-8 which connects Jaipur to Delhi and NH-1 that connects the states of Punjab, Haryana and other northern states to Delhi… the largest number of vehicles that are entering Delhi are from these two entry points,” the court said. Additionally, the court also doubled the environment compensation charge (ECC) by saying the light duty vehicles will have to pay Rs 1,400 and three-axle vehicles Rs 2,600 as ECC for entering DelhiThis very court had on October 12 ordered the light duty vehicles to pay Rs 700 and three-axle vehicles Rs 1,300 for entering Delhi in addition to the toll tax from November 1 as ECC.Further the court directed the authorities, including the local bodies and institutions within the National Capital Region (NCR), to refrain from disposing of solid waste by burning such waste and to take steps for proper management in a scientific manner as per the norms and the relevant rules.Accepting the suggestions placed by senior advocate Harish Salve, who is assisting the court in this matter, the bench directed the Delhi government to take “immediate steps for repair of pavements and make pavements wherever the same are missing and also to take immediate steps for procurement of the requisite vacuum cleaning vehicles for use on Delhi roads expeditiously” and fixed the deadline of March 31, 2016.The bench was hearing various pleas including the 1984 PIL filed by environmentalist M C Mehta.

Rajender Kumar, Principal Secy to Delhi CM Kejriwal, questioned for nine hours by CBI

Despite repeated queries on the alleged benefits, if at all, received by Kumar for purportedly favouring a software firm, CBI sources limited themselves to saying that the owners of the firm had worked with Kumar “at some point of time”.

Delhi Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar after being questioned by the officials at CBI Headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday.

PTI
Rajendra Kumar, Principal Secretary to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, was subjected on Wednesday to a marathon nine-hour questioning along with two other accused as the agency tried to look for a quid pro quo in a corruption case against him.Despite repeated queries on the alleged benefits, if at all, received by Kumar for purportedly favouring a software firm, CBI sources limited themselves to saying that the owners of the firm had worked with Kumar “at some point of time”.Along with Kumar, CBI also examined owner of Endeavour Systems Private Limited Dinesh Gupta and Managing Director of Intelligent Communication Systems India Limited (ICSIL) R S Kaushik here at its headquarters. CBI sources claimed that Kumar has been providing information which was not given by him on Tuesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The officer arrived at the CBI headquarter at 9.40 AM for the questioning and left at around 6.45 PM in the evening. His lawyer H S Phoolka was also in the vehicle with him.Meanwhile, CBI, which is facing flak from Aam Admi Party and other opposition parties at Centre for its searches yesterday at the office of Kumar, a 1989-batch IAS officer of AGMUT cadre, tried to defend itself saying it has not seized any material which is not relevant to the investigation.”CBI seizures during the searches at all 14 places, were in the presence of independent witnesses, as per the procedures laid down by the law. The search-cum-seizure memo containing details of all seized items will be produced before the competent court,” agency spokesperson Devpreet Singh said. She claimed that blatantly incorrect information is being spread by certain quarters since yesterday to discredit the agency with the intent to obstruct investigation.CBI neither prevented nor disallowed any person in their movement to the various offices in the Delhi Secretariat including the Chief Minister’s office except the Office Chamber of his Secretary, Rajendra Kumar and that of his Personal Assistant.”CBI has already clarified that the office of the Chief Minister Delhi was neither searches nor sealed,” she said.The agency’s action yesterday evoked sharp reaction from Kejriwal who accused it of searching files “unrelated” to the probe against Kumar and claimed that a file relating to DDCA was scrutinised by it.”CBI kept reading DDCA file in my office.They would have seized it. But after my media briefing, they left it. Not clear if they took a copy. Documents seized from my office.No relation to allegations being probed. Item 7-file movement register of last one month,” he said in a series of tweets.Jaitley had dismissed on Tuesday the allegations against him as “rubbish”. Kejriwal also uploaded image of a document listing the files allegedly taken away by CBI from Delhi Secretariat during its day-long raid yesterday.Agency sources claimed that it has recovered documents pertaining to bank balances of approximately Rs 28 lakh from Kumar who is facing probe for allegedly favouring a private firm in government contracts. The documents pertaining to fixed deposits worth Rs 1.66 crore were allegedly found from A K Duggal, former MD, ICSIL, CBI sources claimed.Kumar was questioned by the CBI for about seven hours late last night after the probe agency sleuths raided his Delhi Secretariat office, triggering a political storm between Delhi government and the Centre.The CBI said that it has registered a case against Kumar and others on allegations against the officer that he abused his official position by “favouring a particular firm in the last few years in getting tenders from Delhi government departments”.Kumar has been booked under 120-B of IPC (criminal conspiracy), and 13(2), 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Criminal conspiracy, criminal misconduct etc) for allegedly favouring a private company in five contracts worth Rs 9.5 crore during 2007-14.CBI carried out searches at 14 places connected with Kumar in the national capital, including his residence, and various locations in Uttar Pradesh. The agency has claimed to have recovered about Rs 16 lakh, including Rs 2.4 lakh in cash, foreign currency of the value of Rs 3 lakh from the residence of Kumar.”The allegations against Kumar were raised by Ashish Joshi, former Member Secretary, Delhi Dialogue Commission,” the CBI said.As opposition attacked the Centre over the CBI action, the agency went on an overdrive to convey that the raids were being undertaken after following a due a process of law which included getting a search warrant from the competent court. On Tuesday, Kejriwal had called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “psychopath” and “coward” after the raids and targeted Jaitley over alleged corruption in Delhi’s cricket body under his watch.

No certainty of justice even after 3 years of Nirbhaya case: Activists

Various events including candlelight vigils and art exhibitions are being organised in the national capital tomorrow as a token of remembrance for Nirbhaya.
File Photo
Reuters
On the third anniversary of Nirbhaya gang-rape case, activists on Wednesday said that women continue to face violence in every sphere of life and that it was the certainty of justice which can bring about a change and not the severity of punishment.”In the three years since December 2012, women continue to face violence in every space they occupy, including their own homes, public transport and at workplaces. There have been many attacks on women and girls, some accompanied by huge media coverage, but most taking place away from the public glare,” Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We stand today in hope with millions across the country -and indeed, the world – that justice will prevail in all cases, including the December 2012 case, according to the prevailing laws of the land. We reiterate our demand for certainty of justice and not severity of punishment,” she added.Krishnan is signatory to a statement endorsed by 108 women activists, students and faculty from DU, JNU and Ambedkar university and progressive leaders, issued on the third anniversary of the December 16 gang-rape case today.”The government is using issue of violence against women to push through regressive policies like death penalty, or lowering the age of juvenile — even though the Justice Verma Committee carefully considered and rejected these measures as counter– productive and against the interests of victims of gender violence,” the statement said.”If we turn to cases filed under the new amendments to the law against sexual assault that were passed in the wake of the movement in December 2012, the scene is dismal. Be it the women in Muzaffarnagar, Bhagana or Bastar, or the women employees of Tehelka or TERI, they all await justice. The police and the judicial system, not to mention society, the media and political powers that rule at states or the Centre, have mostly worked to subvert the law. Worryingly, even as women who file cases under the laws enacted to protect women are feeling betrayed and vulnerable, a growing clamour brands the laws against gender-based violence as ‘draconian,’ ‘biased against men’,” the statement added.Six persons including a juvenile, had brutally assaulted and raped a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012. The victim had succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012. Mukesh, Vinay, Pawan and Akshay were awarded death penalty by a trial court in the gang-rape and murder case which was later confirmed by Delhi High Court. Their appeals are pending before the Supreme Court. Accused Ram Singh had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail on March 11, 2013, and proceedings against him were abated following his death.The Centre had earlier this week asked Delhi High Court to extend the observation home stay of the juvenile convict who is scheduled to be released on Sunday, saying several mandatory aspects were missing from the post-release rehabilitation plan which needed to be considered before setting him free.Various events including candlelight vigils and art exhibitions are being organised in the national capital tomorrow as a token of remembrance for Nirbhaya. In memory of their beloved daughter and to reaffirm their lifelong commitment to improving women’s safety, the parents of the victim, in collaboration with women’s and citizens groups, are also marking the day as ‘Nirbhaya Chetna Divas’ at Jantar Mantar.

ISRO’s PSLV rocket to launch six Singaporean satellites today

For the first time, the satellites will orbit around the equator and gather data that will benefit those in the equatorial region. The satellites will be put into a 550 kms circular orbit inclined at 15 degrees to the equator.

Indian Space Research Organisation’s PSLV rocket will on Wednesday launch six Singaporean satellites which would help the city-state gather information on disaster monitoring and urban planning.To be launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in the spaceport of Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota at 6.00 PM on Wednesday, the satellites will be put into orbit by Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)- PSLV-C29 on reaching 550 kms from the earth’s surface.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The satellites would be launched one after another, 30 seconds apart, to avoid collision and set a distance of about 20 kilometres between them. The 59-hour-countdown for the PSLV-C29/TeLEOS-1 Mission began at 7.00 AM on Monday and was progressing normally, ISRO said.For the first time, the satellites will orbit around the equator and gather data that will benefit those in the equatorial region. The satellites will be put into a 550 kms circular orbit inclined at 15 degrees to the equator.”The satellites will be able to produce information at a much higher frequency. This will surely be very important when you use it for disaster monitoring in the region like Southeast Asia,” Project Director of the Satellite Programme at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Professor Goh Cher Hiang said.”For urban planning, before you plan a township, you would want to take a look at the terrain, take a look at the area around it, see what you have there, what kind of obstacles you may face, where are the draining systems, main highway,” President of the Communication and Sensor Systems Group at ST Electronics Tang Kum Chuen said.”If we have our own Singapore-made satellites, we can customise the technology, the sensors and instruments to meet our own needs. For instance, we can monitor haze. We can get the information anywhere, any time,” Channel News Asia quoted Director of the Satellite Research Centre at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Associate Professor Low Kay Soon as saying.The satellite can capture images of Singapore once every 100 minutes and tracks threats in the sea and air as well as natural disaster across the region. The satellites are made by NUS, NTU and engineering- commercial company ST Electronics.ISRO is using its trusted workhorse PSLV which is on its 32nd flight in ‘core-alone’ configuration without the use of solid strap-on motors.Of the six satellites, TeLEOS-1 is the primary satellite weighing 400 kgs whereas the other five satellites include two micro-satellites and three nano-satellites. TeLEOS-1 is the first Singapore commercial earth observation satellite. It would be launched into a low Earth orbit for “remote sensing” applications. Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of ISRO, has provided launch services in PSLV for 51 customer satellites from 20 countries so far.

Car dealers urge NGT to allow sale of 2015 diesel car inventory

The senior counsel went on to add that the car dealers had bought stocks of close to 10,000 cars and more than Rs2,000 crore will be lost approximately.

A group of automobile dealers on Tuesday appealed against the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) order banning the registration of new diesel cars till January 6, pleading the bench to allow sale of existing inventory of cars as an interim relief for car dealers and car companies. Appearing for the group of automobile dealers comprising of Koncept Automobiles, a leading Mahindra and Mahindra car dealer, was senior counsel Pinaki Misra. Misra pleaded that the NGT’s order banning diesel vehicle registration was ‘harsh’ and sought a modification in it. “This (diesel cars) is not a banned article. We are saddled with stocks of 2015 which would be difficult to dispose off in 2016 due to the NGT order.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The senior counsel went on to add that the car dealers had bought stocks of close to 10,000 cars and more than Rs2,000 crore will be lost approximately. “Thousands of stock will be stuck and even car buyers will suffer losses as they have paid advances on the basis of loans. I am sitting on 100% paid vehicles.”After hearing out Misra’s arguments, the bench headed by justice Swatanter Kumar asked the Centre and Delhi government to state their clear stand on the issue of stopping the registration of diesel cars. The bench also said that since the Supreme Court too was hearing a similar appeal by car dealers, it would not be appropriate for them to pass an order.The bench then went onto add that by Wednesday union ministry of environment and forests, ministry of petroleum and natural gas, Delhi government, Central Pollution Control Board and union ministry of road transport and highways should all specify their position on the ban on diesel vehicles and on causes of pollution in the capital.It also asked the union ministry of road transport and highways to explain by Wednesday the delay in switching over to cleaner fuel standards such as Bharat Stage-V or BS-V.

Maharashtra government appoints Chandrakant Patil for border dispute with Karnataka

A notification in this regard was issued by the General Administration Department (GAD), which comes under the chief minister. First time a nodal minister has been appointed for the border dispute with the neighbouring state which is pending since six decades.

Chandrakant Patil is said to be well-informed about the issue

Giving a big boost to the “Belgaum movement” and its supporters, the Bharitya Janta Party (BJP) led government on Tuesday appointed Chandrakant Patil as the “nodal minister” for the border dispute with Karnataka. A notification in this regard was issued by the General Administration Department (GAD), which comes under the chief minister. First time a nodal minister has been appointed for the border dispute with the neighbouring state which is pending since six decades. PWD and Textiles minister and BJP stalwart Chandrakant Patil hails from Kolhapur which is close to Belgaum. He has also taken part in the Belgaum movement earlier and said to be well-versed with the issue. His appointment is seen as government’s renewed assertion on the disputed area and a big support to the people associated with the movement for years.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Patil couldn’t be reached for comments, PS Meena, additional chief secretary of the GAD confirmed the development. “Mr Patil will coordinate with the people of Belgaum. The nodal ministry under his guidance will try to help people of Belgaum who often approach Maharashtra government with complaints of harassment. Until now, all these people used to do approach the chief minister and GAD.” Situated near the foothills of the Sahyadri mountain range, a mineral rich Belgaum has been a bone of contention between two states. There are 865 villages spread in Belgaum, Karwar, Bidar and Gulberga districts for which Maharashtra has been staking its claim for past 60 years on linguistic grounds. In 2004, state approached the supreme court challenging the government of India’s decision of inclusion of 865 Marathi-speaking villages in Karnataka. The case is still on. People from these Marathi-speaking areas of Karnataka often complain about discrimination and harassment by the Kannada speaking civic authorities. They led several agitations in the past with some of them turning violent. Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) and some other groups are still fighting for the cause. Soon after BJP government came into power, the organisations fighting for the merger of disputed district of Belgaum with Maharashtra had intensified their stir with re-branding their movement as “Second Samyukta Maharashtra Andolan”. On the other hand, Karnataka recently erected Assembly building in Belgaum. Devendra Fadnavis had also maintained that the people of the state have deep emotional connect with residents of Marathi-speaking areas in adjoining Karnataka and their fight for a merger will continue till the goal is achieved. “The emotional strength of 12 crore Maharashtrians is with their brethren on the Karnataka border fighting to be part of this state. We will get justice,” Fadnavis was quoted as saying in an event at Mumbai in August this year. Welcoming the institution of nodal ministry, Deepak Pawar, professor of Mumbai University who is associated with the movement, said, “A politician of Patil’s stature can really do justice to the Marathi-speaking Belgaum people who often face apathy of bureaucrats.” Pawar who had dug out all legal documents in this case to understand the complexity says, “Geographical contiguity, wish of the people and linguistic majority since 1951 census, all prove that Maharashtra’s stand is right.” Box: Hearing in the case this monthThe matter in the Supreme Court is expected to come for hearing later this month, said PS Meena adding that at present, the court commissioner is recording the statements of the witnesses. “We are hopeful about the verdict soon,” said Meena insisting that the state has hired a battery of best lawyers, including Harish Salve, in the case. What is the issue The Belgaum district was part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency. After India became independent in 1947, it became a part of the Bombay State. In 1948, the Belgaum Municipality requested the Indian Constituent Assembly and the Boundary Commission to include the Belgaum Municipal District in the proposed Samyukta Maharashtra state due to large Marathi-speaking population. But, in 1956, the Belgaum district was incorporated into the newly formed Mysore state (now Karnataka) in accordance with the States Reorganisation Act of 1956. Following protests from Maharashtra, the Centre constituted a Commission headed by justice MC Mahajan in 1966 which recommended that Belgaum should be part of Karnataka. While Centre and Karnataka accepted Mahajan Commission’s recommendation, Maharashtra approached the court.

Just ahead of deadline, Shiv Sena does a U-turn for a smart Mumbai

Sena has listed a total of 14 suggestions, which it wants to be considered for getting Mumbai included in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project. While MNS too came out with conditional support, Congress-NCP combine and the SP stood their stand and opposed the proposal.

The city has crossed the first hurdle to transform itself into a Smart City.Thanks to last-minute U-turn and conditional support by Shiv Sena, the BJP was able to get the Smart City proposal endorsed in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) council before Tuesday’s 5.30 pm deadline. Sena has listed a total of 14 suggestions, which it wants to be considered for getting Mumbai included in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project. While MNS too came out with conditional support, Congress-NCP combine and the SP stood their stand and opposed the proposal.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The BMC administration has sent the approved proposal to Central government, with recommendations. However, it’s the Centre’s prerogative to decide whether these suggestions should be considered or not. Apprehensive Sena leaders have reiterated that the party would not mind going back on its support if its proposals are not considered. Interestingly, Centre will offer Asia’s richest and biggest municipal corporation a total of Rs500 crore over a period of five years to turn Mumbai into a Smart City. BMC’s yearly budget is more than Rs33,000 crore, and the civic body annually spends more than Rs150 crore to clean its nallahs and drains alone. Until Monday evening, Shiv Sena had strongly opposed the proposal saying the city will suffer as private sectors will enter the city’s administration and eventually nullify the role of BMC. Sena also objects to having a CEO for the city, which is mandatory as part of the proposal. However, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had made clear his party’s stand in the Legislative Assembly on Monday and in the evening Manoj Kotak, BJP leader in the BMC handled the negotiations at Mayor’s Bungalow at Shivaji Park, Mumbai. Uddhav Thackeray was also present in the meeting. On Tuesday, when the Mayor tabled the proposal, Yashodhar Phanse, chairman of the Standing Committee of the BMC took first chance to speak and made a total 13 suggestions to be included in the Smart City proposal. Sunil Prabhu, MLA from Dindoshi and a corporator from Goregaon added one more suggestion before expressing Sena’s formal support to the proposal. “The suggestions are made to ensure that the company set up through ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ (SPV) does not take over the powers of the civic body and corporators. Presently, all the policy decisions are taken in the BMC only after approvals of the elected members in various committee,” pointed out Sunil Prabhu. Phanse said his party will back out on support if its conditions are not met. “We will not be a part of the Smart City concept if our conditions are not considered,” said Phanse. Meanwhile, Sandeep Deshpande, MNS party leader in the BMC also announced his party’s conditional support for the proposal. “We have put forth three important suggestions which should be included to ensure that civic administration’s role is not diluted,” said Deshpande.

Swacch Bharat: Cleanliness and the muck in our minds

It is the height of centralisation where New Delhi grabs extra money from your pocket, ostensibly to clean your locality, but who will clean the muck in New Delhi’s mind that treats the states as irritants at best and revenue plunder zones at worst?

PM Modi promoting the Swacch Bharat campaign
File Photo

Those of us who do not live in Delhi and live far away from the inner-chambers of power, some aspects of the new Union government’s initial pronouncements were indeed exciting.Firstly, in consonance with the tone set by its leader in the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign, the central government wanted to be an enabler and not a micro-manager in people’s lives and aspirations. Secondly, it talked about co-operative federalism, by which, real federalism would be ushered in, in a spirit of co-operation between the constituent states of the Indian Union. Right now, these feel like promises from a different planet.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is true that the government of India increased the percentage of tax money that would be given by the Centre to the states. But that came with a serious catch, the Union government at Delhi was simultaneously either severely cutting back or completely discontinuing their funding of many schemes run in the states where the money used to come primarily from the Centre. Hence, if the schemes were to be continued, the increased allocation for tax money to states would simply be used to continue earlier existing schemes.Many states have protested this because this is no real financial devolution at all. What is important here is how the Union government, that is the so-called Centre, constantly talks about federalism and decentralisation, and in practise has been continuing the centralising policies of the previous government. If the Union government was actually interested in federalism by empowering the states, why has it not given up the revenue collection rights from even a single revenue source in favour of the states? What is the point or meaning of decentralisation when the revenue is collected as before by the Union government only and the states are completely dependent on Delhi’s whims.After all, if states became revenue owners and collectors, they could plan projects and outlays completely, without the Union government as a meaning-less middle-man, which apparently collects the money with the intent of giving most of it up to the states. Then why collect it in the first place and why not let the states collect the revenues and also retain the money? We need to understand why Delhi retains these rights and does not give up any revenue collection rights to the states. Without that, it would not be able to allocate more money to a bullet-train project compared to the whole of a typical annual Indian Railways budget. If the amount of revenue available to Delhi decreased drastically, it would be able to announce financial “packages” for those states from whom the government party tries to gain power. This is precisely why there would be fat financial “packages” announced for Jammu and Kashmir or Bihar but never for West Bengal or Telengana or any other state where the party in power in Lok Sabha has no chance of gaining in the near future. With all its high talk of decentralisation and cooperative federalism, can New Delhi care or dare to give any revenue source back to state, not as alms from babus of finance commission but as an inalienable constitutional right? No, sir.Those constitutional changes are only meant for taking away taxation powers from the state. The feverish enthusiasm to pass the GST is a case in point. The GST takes away several taxation powers from the states. And yes, the Congress will also support it. It is a matter of time. When it comes to imposing the ideology and power of Delhi over the states, the Congress and the BJP are two sides of the same coin.But wait, it is not as if the Union government is content with having less money and less financial obligations. After having gotten out of major funding of various schemes, its has been slapping certain kinds of taxes called “cess”, which are cunningly outside the purview of its sharing-with-states “generosity”. What it means is that the Union government is actually extracting more money from the people, with the new extractions being called “cess”, that is, of the type that won’t be shared with the states. A cess is essentially a tax whose collections are ear-marked for a particular purpose. Among this extra money that the so-called Centre is extracting from us, the people, is the ‘Swachh Bharat’ cess. The money collected from this cess will apparently go in “cleaning up” this land. Given the vagueness of what “cleaning up” entails, this money can be used to pursue any number of pet projects conjured up by Delhi. One thing is for sure – such projects would often involve contractors and thekedars. This is all rather predictable and sad. The party that had come to power by promising decentralisation and being an enabler of people has now officially decided that cleaning your neighbourhood drain is its job, whether you like it or not, and you have to pay for it. The thing is, the real cleanliness issues lie elsewhere and inside the Indian Union itself, there are success stories of communities taking charge of their destiny in cleanliness and hygiene, even before the present bunch of decentralisers in Delhi decided to centralise even the job of cleaning your neighbourhood, or at least collect immense amounts of money under that ruse.It is the height of centralisation where New Delhi grabs extra money from your pocket, ostensibly to clean your locality, but who will clean the muck in New Delhi’s mind that treats the states as irritants at best and revenue plunder zones at worst? While photo-ops of broom-stick wielding khadi-wearers have been a hit, open defecation is something for which photo-ops are a rarity. And while a lot of money is to be made and is being made by building made-to-order government latrines by contractors big and small, communities in many parts of the Indian Union are leading by a very different set of examples. In the canal irrigated zones of the Thar in Rajasthan, IAS officer Arti Dogra, as District Magistrate of Bikaner, took the challenge of open defecation in these zones very seriously. Incidentally, the Indian Union is the top defecator in the world, with nearly half of its population defecating in the open, as per the 2014 Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation report. Ms Dogra empowered local communities through community-led total sanitation approach, a people-centric awareness triggering method that has had astounding success in the much more swachh and nearly open-defecation free People’s Republic of Bangladesh.Local elected representatives were taken into confidence, public meetings were held where women’s concerns were specifically highlighted. The results have been impressive which huge swathes in nearly desolate desert land having humble hutments with newly erected toilets – not sarkari public toilets but private ones built largely with people’s own funds. More than money, it is earnestness, community-centric empowerment and decentralisation of decision-making that matters, when it comes to solving most problems. If the government of India is at all seriously interested in what it calls the Swachh Bharat campaign, these are the examples it needs to look at seriously. It also might want to learn from Bangladesh – there is no shame in learning from areas where best practises have achieved success, especially in cash-poor zones such as the subcontinent.In Haryana, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat, the presence of a latrine at home has been made a mandatory condition for qualifying as a candidate for local-body or panchayat elections. Such rules, made from above, only reflect non-engagement with reality and a deep contempt for communities. Such rules are biased against those who are usually excluded from their rightful share of money and power – the poor and the so-called backward castes. Communities do not need apathetic and criminal rulers from above. What lies behind such election qualifications is a mentality of prejudice and bias which in turn requires cleaning. Empowered communities can take care of themselves.

TMC not engaged in politics of religion, says West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee

Expressing “shock” at CBI raid at the office and residence of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary, Mamata Banerjee said the agency’s move was beyond her understanding.
File Photo
PTI
In a veiled attack on the BJP, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that unlike “some parties” TMC was not engaged in religion-based politics.”Trinamool Congress is not like some parties which love to use religion for petty politics. I believe ‘Saare Jahaan Se Achha, Hindustan Humara’. The soil of Bengal belongs to the legacy of Rabindranath, Nazrul, Dwijendralal Roy. We believe in unity not hatred,” she said.Further, expressing “shock” at CBI raid at the office and residence of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary, Banerjee said the agency’s move was beyond her understanding.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Today they have send the CBI to raid the office of Delhi CM. I am shocked! Why are they doing this?” she said.Addressing a rally at the Gajole college ground, 35 kms off Malda, Banerjee claimed that despite the Centre taking away a major chunk of its revenue as interest on loans, the state’s assets have increased by 600 per cent in the last four years.”Growth in Bengal’s asset has increased by 600 per cent in the last four years. Let them stop taking our taxes. We do not need their funds. We are asking for our right. The state revenue has increased from Rs 21,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore,” Banerjee said, adding that if there was not a huge outgo of the state’s revenue, lakhs of people could have been provided jobs.”We are paying for the sins of the CPI-M. They imposed a debt burden on the youth. Neither the Congress nor the BJP helped us,” she told the meeting.Banerjee said during her visit to Delhi she had also raised the issue of bad condition of national highways in the state. She also said that West Bengal was self-sufficient in power, claiming, “we are developing ‘power bank’. We will export power to other states in future.”

CBI raids: Centre will not be able to terrorise us, says AAP

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, after a high-level meeting attended by Kejriwal and all Cabinet Ministers, “openly challenged” Prime Minister Narendra Modi to dig out anything against the AAP ministers, saying there should not be any misconception that the Centre will be able to “terrorise us”.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
In the midst of its biggest face-off with the Modi dispensation yet, a combative AAP government rejected claims of CBI and the Centre that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was not the target of today’s raid and insisted a room having “key” files and affidavits in his office were thoroghly examined by the agency.Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, after a high-level meeting attended by Kejriwal and all Cabinet Ministers, “openly challenged” Prime Minister Narendra Modi to dig out anything against the AAP ministers, saying there should not be any misconception that the Centre will be able to “terrorise us”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is an open challenge. Seek as many details as you want on any act of corruption that has been committed in the past and we will you provide you all the necessary files. But if you target Kejriwal under the excuse of probing his Secretary, then you will never succeed,” Sisodia told reporters.The Deputy Chief Minister said when the CBI did not get anything against Kejriwal, they started saying that his Principal Secretary was raided.Also read: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal protests CBI raids at his office, dubs PM Modi a ‘coward’ and ‘psychopath'”Why the files of the relevant departments allegedly complicit in the matter were not examined ? They should not have the misconception that they will be able to terrorise us. We won’t be scared by these tactics like other state governments do. We won’t spare those who are trying to threaten honest officials working with us,” said Sisodia.The CBI said it carried out searches at Kumar’s office at the Delhi Secretariat and not that of the Chief Minister. Kumar, like Kejriwal is an IIT alumnus, and has been accused by CBI of favouring private companies in awarding government contracts from 2007-2014.”All this while, from 2006 you did not act. Now all of a sudden your own official files a complaint to the ACB, not even to the CM, and you swing into action. CBI is spreading terror against an honest CM and a popularly elected government. The way Congress used to misuse CBI, BJP is doing the same. If you train your guns at the CM from an official’s shoulder, we will strongly protest,” said Sisodia.When asked about Kejriwal calling Modi a “coward and psychopath”, Sisodia said, “You seek apology for your karma and we will apologise for our words.”

‘Dictator’ PM Modi using CBI as ‘political instrument’: AAP

“The CBI (conducts) raids only when they receive a credible complaint and they want to investigate the corruption. Does Arvind Kejriwal want to protect corruption,” asked Javadekar.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday alleged that a ‘dictator’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi was using the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as a ‘political instrument’ to suppress the opposition.”The CBI is being used as a political instrument by Mr. Modi, who has turned into a dictator after realising that he has lost popular support in the country. I am amazed that the media of the country believes that Chief Minister’s office has not been raided. If the media believes that this is no violation of the federal structure in the country than I am sorry. It is an attack on the democratic fabric of the country,” AAP spokesperson Deepak Bajpai told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A dictator is ruling this country and the people of the country will not take it lying down they will come out and respond,” he added.Bajpai further said the people of the country will stand up and respond to Prime Minister Modi-led NDA Government at the Centre.The government, however, justified the CBI raid on the Delhi Secretariat with Minister of State for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar alleging that the hypocrisy of AAP stands exposed.Javadekar dubbed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s reaction on the CBI raid as ‘atrocious’.”The CBI (conducts) raids only when they receive a credible complaint and they want to investigate the corruption. Does Arvind Kejriwal want to protect corruption,” asked Javadekar.”Instead of immediately taking action against his own officials, who are found for corruption, he is accusing the Prime Minister. This is worst kind of politics,” he added.Javadekar alleged this is the worst scenario Delhi has ever witnessed as a sitting Chief Minister is protecting corruption.Refuting Kejriwal’s allegation on the raid on Chief Minister’s office, the CBI has said that the raid was conducted on the Principal Secretary’s office following a warrant.Kejriwal has accused the CBI of ‘lying’ and asserted that the investigating agency was looking at the files in the Chief Minister’s office.

CBI raids: PM Modi trying to stop ‘honest politics’, says Manish Sisodia

“Modi is trying to stop honest politics by scaring (us) with CBI raids. People are with truth, they will not let him succeed,” Sisodia tweeted.

ANI
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of attempting to stop ?honest politics? following the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)?s raid on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office.”Modi is trying to stop honest politics by scaring (us) with CBI raids. People are with truth, they will not let him succeed,” Sisodia tweeted.He said that the Prime Minister Modi-led Government was trying to instil fear among officers working under Delhi Government<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A Chief Minister’s office has been raided, the files Chief Minister’s office are being looked into. Let Modi ji tell which files he wants to look into. They are trying to instil fear in the officers working under Delhi government,” Sisodia told reporters.He also accused the BJP-led Central Government of indulging in vendetta politics.Refuting Kejriwal’s allegation on raid, the CBI said that his secretary’s office had been searched with a clear warrant, and not the office of the Chief Minister.However, Kejriwal accused them of ‘lying’ and asserted that the CBI was looking at the files in the Chief Minister’s office.Meanwhile, the government slammed Kejriwal of accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the raid on his office and said that it has become a ?fashion? for the Delhi Chief Minister to bicker with the Centre and blame them for everything.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal protests CBI raids at his office, dubs PM Modi a ‘coward’ and ‘psychopath’

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday claimed the CBI has raided his office in central Delhi and launched a no holds barred attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he was resorting to “cowardice”.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday claimed the CBI has raided his office in central Delhi and launched a no holds barred attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he was resorting to “cowardice”.The Chief Minister, who is involved in a prolonged tussle with the Centre, accused the Modi government of resorting to vendetta politics and came down heavily on the agency for the raids at Players Building.”CBI raids my office,” Kejriwal tweeted. “When Modi couldn’t handle me politically, he resorts to this cowardice. Modi is a coward and psychopath,” he said in another tweet expressing his anguish over the raids.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A CBI spokesperson said the searches were being conducted at the office of the Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar and that details would be shared later.Sources said that in the morning, a team of CBI officials went to the Delhi Secretariat, which houses the office of Kejriwal and other ministers, and conducted the search in the third floor of the building. They said the search may be in connection with the multi-crore CNG fitness scam.Sources said that there were allegations that Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary was linked to the scam, but the senior IAS officer as well as the AAP government have been rejecting the charges.The AAP government has been locked in a running feud with the Centre over the control of important functions like law and order, police and land.Read more updates here.

CBI raids: ‘It has become fashion for Kejriwal to quarrel with Centre’: Venkaiah Naidu

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With Arvind Kejriwal blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raiding his office, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said that it has become a ‘fashion’ for the Delhi Chief Minister to bicker with the Centre and blame them for everything.

With Arvind Kejriwal blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raiding his office, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said that it has become a ‘fashion’ for the Delhi Chief Minister to bicker with the Centre and blame them for everything.”It has become fashion for Delhi Chief Minister to quarrel with Central Government and to take Prime Minister’s name for everything. Prime Minister has nothing to do with this. There is a law, there is a Constitution and law has to take its own course,” Naidu told reporters here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Naidu added that he did not have details of the raid as they do not monitor the CBI.Kejriwal slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the raid and accused him of resorting to ‘cowardice’.”CBI raids my office…When Modi cudn’t handle me politically, he resorts to this cowardice,” he tweeted.

Mysterious flying object sighted over ISRO centre by shepherds

However, ISRO officials denied any such ‘flight’ over the Centre at Mahendragiri, about 55 km from here.

A mysterious flying object has reportedly been sighted by shepherds over ISRO’s Mahendragiri centre and neighbouring forest areas.Police said the shepherds, who were grazing cattle, claimed to have seen a mysterious object flying over the cryogenic testing centre of ISRO on Monday.However, ISRO officials denied any such ‘flight’ over the Centre at Mahendragiri, about 55 km from here.Police said the shepherds had told them that the object flew near the seventh watch tower, where no one had been posted for a long time.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Officials of police and forest departments, besides ISRO, were interrogating the shepherds to ascertain what exactly they had seen, they said.

Centre provides ease of online but makes going tough for NGOs

Earlier, the NGOs were required to file these details on an annual basis. The NGOs now would be required to place the annual returns and such data quarterly on their website or website as prescribed by the government.

After going on a spree of cancelling FCRA registration of more than 10,000 fake and non-compliant NGOs, the Centre has introduced new set of rules that have made it mandatory for NGOs to upload and file details of foreign contribution received and utilised every quarter.Earlier, the NGOs were required to file these details on an annual basis. The NGOs now would be required to place the annual returns and such data quarterly on their website or website as prescribed by the government.Moreover, the NGOs will be required to bring all FCRA designated bank accounts and utilisation accounts on the online platform of public finance management service (PFMS) of Controller General of Accounts, Ministry of Finance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The reduction in periodicity has been done to make the NGOs more accountable and introduce transparency, sources said.The amendment to the FCRA rules, 2015 would now require a fresh affirmation from the NGO under Form FC – 4 that foreign contribution is not likely to affect prejudicially the security, strategic, scientific or economic interest of the State.Sources said this has been added as a consequence to the secret IB report that gave adverse comments on several NGOs that had taken anti-mining and anti-nuclear power plant stand during the UPA-II regime.The new rules, however, have made access to all FCRA services much easier as everything would be done online now thereby reducing human interface to a minimum that often resulted in corruption.The revamped FCRA rules offers online filling up of all applications, uploading of documents and even payments of fees through dedicated website – fcraonline.nic.in.Not only applications for new registration, renewal of registration and annual returns would be accepted online now, the digitally signed registration certificates, prior permission sanctions, etc. will also be issued to the applicants through emails. Fee for various services will be paid through a dedicated payment gateway.The condition of applying for renewal one year before the expiry of existing registration certificate for associations implementing multi-year project has been removed in the new rules.The NGOs who do not receive or utilise foreign contribution in a financial year will not be required to submit certificate from Chartered Accountant and audited statement of accounts with annual return.Requirement of seeking prior permission for change of name, aims and objects, address of the association, change of bank/ account, change in governing body members, etc. has also been relaxed to only intimation through FCRA online service.Seeking details of functionaries of the association in annual return has been also been done away with. Secret IB report Sources said this has been added as a consequence to the secret IB report that gave adverse comments on several NGOs that had taken anti-mining and anti-nuclear power plant stand during the UPA-II regime. Launching the new FCRA portal, union home minister Rajnath Singh hoped that the new initiative will offer the genuine applicants seamless services of FCRA with adequate ease and facilitation.

BJP’s Smart City is Shiv Sena’s playground

Uddhav-led party prefers recreation policy; Modi’s pet project to be tabled in BMC today

An aerial view of Mumbai from Lower Parel
Abhinav P Kocharekar
dna
The Smart City proposal is set to be to tabled at the general body meeting of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Tuesday.All political parties – be it the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) or the Samajwadi Party – are gearing up to oppose it.”We will not allow the proposal to get approved, come what may,” declared Trushna Vishwasrao, leader of the Sena in the BMC.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Monday evening, an hour-long brainstorming session between the BJP and Shiv Sena took place at the Mayor’s residence. Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta also participated.Instead of Smart Cities, sources say that the Sena prefers a Recreation Ground and Playground policy for Mumbai. The BJP is opposed to this.At least four senior Sena leaders control prime plots in western suburbs and have developed health clubs and gymnasiums and charge heavy membership fees. Sena wants corporate houses, big NGOs and charitable trusts to adopt open spaces. However, once these open spaces are doled out to private parties, BMC will have no control over the plots.On the Smart City proposal, the Sena’s argument is that when the BMC already has a surplus budget of Rs 33,000 crore annually, the Rs 500 crore the Centre is promising for the project for five years doesn’t mean anything.Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project that envisages 100 Smart Cities, Maharashtra has been allotted 10, including Nashik, Pune, Nagpur, Navi Mumbai, apart from Mumbai.The Sena says the state government wants to appoint a CEO for the city and he will control the day-to-day functioning of the BMC.An editorial on Monday in Sena mouthpiece Saamna alleged that the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to be created for the scheme would be like a corporate entity. This would lead to power shifting from the hands of the BMC to the SPV, which will be controlled by the Centre. The paper said that the SPV is akin to a modern East India Company.Interestingly, both the Sena and the MNS back a Smart City for Pune. MNS made the U-turn after its leader Raj Thackeray had a meeting with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.But the MNS opposes it in Mumbai. The logic? “All aspects of a Smart City are already undertaken by the BMC anyways, and there’ is nothing new in it. The BJP is trying to push the scheme to score points,” said Sandeep Deshpande, party leader in the BMC.Deshpande says his party would support the project, if there’s something new.Congress corporator Devendra Amberkar, who is leader of the opposition, asked why Lower Parel is being given so much importance. How can one area be given so much preference and others left unattended, he asked. Fadnavis wins over OppnIn Nagpur, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday virtually won over the entire opposition to the scheme. He reminded the Opposition that it was they who had advocated SPVs for the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and other schemes when they were in power. He was speaking in the Assembly.

‘Slum demolition and child death are different incidents,’ claims Delhi Police

The Delhi Police have, meanwhile, lodged a case and are investigating the matter. “The post-mortem report has also come which states its death due to shock on chest and face,” Deependra Pathak said.

Delhi Police washes hands of child’s death in slum demolition

PTI
Following a child’s death in Shakur Basti, the Delhi Police on Monday washed its hands of the incident, claiming it took place about two hours before the demolition of hutments in the area took place.”The demolition exercise started at around 11.45-12.00 pm So both the incidents are totally different. There is time gap of 2-2:30 hours. After continuous request from the Railway authorities and with due assessment, this exercise was done. The job of the police is just protection, the land owning agency demolishes. So, taking out a meaning in this is bereft of truth,” Joint Commissioner of Police Deependra Pathak said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have started investigation of the death of the child based on negligent act of 304 (A) of the IPC. On the day of demolition, the family of the kid assembled their heap of clothes, while the kid was sleeping on the floor. They go to another part of the slum to assemble other things. When they return back, they found that the heap of clothes was lying on the kid,” he said.”The kid was gasping for breath. They rushed to the hospital where the doctor declared the infant to be dead. Then they came to the slum at around 10:45 pm where a briefing exercise of the demolition process was going on. They then take the child to the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital where the doctor declared the child to be dead,” he added.The Delhi Police have, meanwhile, lodged a case and are investigating the matter. “The post-mortem report has also come which states its death due to shock on chest and face,” he added.Meanwhile, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi visited the razed Shakur Basti where the Indian Railways had conducted a demolition drive, uprooting around 500 jhuggis and promised the homeless slum dwellers that they would be provided aid at the earliest. While speaking to the slum dwellers, Rahul promised them that he would extend every help possible to alleviate them of their problems.”Call me if they try to break your homes again and I promise I won’t let it happen. I will help you in every way possible. You know we are not in power, its Modi ji and Kejriwal ji who are at power. You’re fight is our fight,” Rahul told a slum dweller.Speaking to the media later, he accused the Delhi government and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Centre for the razing of the slum and asserted that the law had been clearly broken during the demolition.Earlier in the day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hit out at Rahul for questioning the Aam Aadmi Party’s protest against the demolition, saying that he was still a “child” in politics. “Rahul Gandhi is still a child. I don’t think his party has told him that that Indian Railways comes the Centre and not the Delhi Government,” Kejriwal tweeted.Rahul had demanded to know the reason behind AAP’s “dharna” since they were the ruling power in Delhi. Earlier today, the AAP joined by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) protested outside the Parliament against the slum demolition.

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