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Congress issues showcause notice to former Chhattisgarh CM Ajit Jogi’s son

“As far as Ajit Jogi is concerned, he is a Congress Working Committee member and only Congress President can take action against him. After going through the report of the state unit into this matter, the AICC Disciplinary Committee headed by A K Antony will take a call on action about Ajit Jogi,” he said.

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Also ReadIndiaDear news channel, how does a rape victim’s ‘Facebook lover’ matter?IndiaOdd-even move only to avoid media glare on MLAs’ salary hike, asks CongressIndiaTelangana DGP denies Hyderabad more prone to ISIS radicalisationIndiaGovernment decides to relax adoption conditions in certain casesIndiaIntolerance Debate 2015: Who is under the radar?IndiaModi govt a failure on all fronts, pursuing vendetta politics: Congress <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Union Minister hits out at Congress for criticising Centre on ‘bull taming sport’ row<!– /.block –>Daljeet Kaur demands Rs 1.5 lakh monthly maintainance fee from estranged husband Shaleen Bhanot<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan pitches for new Parliament building

About a year back, a suggestion to build a new Parliament was reportedly made at a meeting of Budget Committee of Parliament including Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha M Thambidurai, Public Accounts Committee Chairman K V Thomas and Estimates Committee Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi. Thomas had said that the existing building was “old” and a new Parliament building should be thought of as provision needed to be made for the next 100 years.

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Also ReadIndiaIndian Muslims don’t let their children get radicalised by ISIS: Rajnath SinghIndiaLok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan pitches for new Parliament buildingIndiaCongress says ‘odd-even’ scheme a Muhammad Tuglaq-like act from KejriwalIndiaIndia, Pakistan and Bangladesh can become a ‘federation’: Ram Vilas PaswanIndiaFormulate common population policy, redefine minority: Union Minister Giriraj SinghIndiaRemove Modi to save India, remove Mamata to save West Bengal: Sitaram Yechury <!– /.block –>

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Arun Jaitley hits out at Arvind Kejriwal, asks if vulgarity is new norm of Indian politics

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Jaitley has also accused AAP govt and its supporters of lowering level of public discourse in the country

Arun Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has launched a scathing attack on Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal for using unparliamentary language against PM Modi. In a Facebook post, Jaitley said that, “People in positions are expected to act with restraint. They cannot be outlandish.Vulgarity is not a right available to them. The political discourse cannot be couched in vulgar language. Falsehood delivered with vulgar overtones is not a substitute of truth. Lumpenisation of public discourse can never be high point of politics. “<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jaitley has also accused AAP govt and its supporters of lowering level of public discourse in the country. Jaitley’s attack comes at a time, when AAP has alleged him of being involved in DDCA scam and has even constituted an enquiry committee to probe the matter. BJP MP Kirti Azad has been suspended from the party for his harsh comments about Arun Jaitley. Jaitley believes that now Congress is also ‘misled’ in believing that politics of vulgarity will bring votes. Jaitley in his post has also hit out at Congress for paralysing Rajya Sabha. According to Jaitley, the tradition of Standing Committee will be hurt in recent times. Jaitley alleges that the current generation of Congress leaders are weakening legacy set up by their ancestors. Here is the full post: STRAY THOUGHTS AFTER THE WINTER SESSIONThe Winter Session of Parliament has just concluded yesterday. The Winter…
Posted by Arun Jaitley on Thursday, 24 December 2015

Government mulling doubling MPs’ salaries

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Parliament affairs ministry recommends hike in salary and two allowances raising itfrom Rs 1.40 lakh to Rs 2.80 lakh

2010The year when salaries and allowances of MPs were last revised SalaryCurrentRs 50,000ProposedRs one lakh Constituency allowanceCurrentRs 45,000ProposedRs 90,000 Office expense allowanceCurrentRs 45,000ProposedRs 90,000 Hundred per cent salary hike for Members of Parliament? This is one proposal that is neither likely to run short of numbers nor be sent to a House committee for scrutiny.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The parliamentary affairs ministry is recommending raise in salaries of MPs from Rs 50,000 to Rs one lakh, constituency allowance from Rs 45,000 to Rs 90,000 and office expense allowance (for stationery items and secretarial assistance) from Rs 45,000 to Rs 90,000, according to sources. This would take the total of salary and two allowances of MPs from Rs 1.40 lakh to Rs 2.80 lakh a month.The new recommendations would be placed before the finance ministry, which has to approve it and provide for budgetary allocations. Once that is done, a bill amending the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, would be brought before both Houses for approval.The parliamentary affairs ministry has also approved the demand by the Joint Committee of MPs on Salaries and Allowances of Parliamentarians to raise the pension from Rs 20,000 to Rs 35,000. There is unlikely to be any change in their daily allowance as the ministry had turned down the proposal to raise it from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000, sources said.In fact, it has rejected around 75 per cent of the more than 60 proposals made by the panel, headed by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath, on several other allowances and perks. The last time salaries and allowances of MPs were raised was in 2010. The bill to raise salaries of lawmakers generally gets support from both sides of the political aisle, but last time some MPs suggested than an independent body be set up to decide on future pay of parliamentarians in view of public criticism on them deciding their own salaries.”The Left parties have been opposed to the existing procedure of MPs deciding their own salaries. It is unfair. We have suggested that it should be left to an independent body,” said CPI MP D Raja.The AAP government had set up an independent committee on revision of pay and allowances for Delhi MLAs. The panel had recommended an increase from Rs 88,000 to Rs 2.10 lakh per month, including an increase from Rs 12,000 to Rs 50,000 in salary. The Delhi assembly cleared a bill on the same lines.In the case of MPs, changes in their salaries and pensions are done through legislative route, while perks and other allowances can be revised through a notification.Renowned journalist and former parliamentarian Kuldip Nayar said it was fair to increase the salaries of MPs but suggested that a mechanism on the lines of the Pay Commission could be considered.”When India got independence, Gandhiji said it should be only Rs 500 for lawmakers. But as time went by, they started feeling the pinch. Now, when everything is so costly it is justified to increase their salaries and allowances. I was an MP and I know that they get no subsidy actually except in the railway canteen of Central Hall… But it may have been better if there was something on the lines of Pay Commission,” he said.Among the suggestions of the panel of MPs that the ministry has rejected are providing canteen facilities on the lines of defence personnel, fourth of travel fare as incidentals, former MPs to be entitled to diplomatic passport and have access to VIP lounges at airports, the word “spouse” to be replaced with “companion” to accompany MPs in AC First Class train travel, increasing free air tickets between sessions for MPs from 34 to 43 and travel allowance during sessions.

Proposed Bill to lower culpability age violates international treaties: Experts

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Currently, under the Indian law, juveniles cannot be tried as per adult laws, and the minimum age under which a juvenile can be charged for an offence under the Indian Penal Code is seven years.

As the debate to pass the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Bill, 2000, hots up in Parliament, with the Bill most likely to come up for discussion on Tuesday, several voices have come up against the Bill’s passing. Many experts argue that it needs an afterthought as it violates several international treaties.Currently, under the Indian law, juveniles cannot be tried as per adult laws, and the minimum age under which a juvenile can be charged for an offence under the Indian Penal Code is seven years. The juvenile offender, as per present law, can’t be sent to jail. If the Bill is passed, juveniles involved in cheating, theft, etc, will serve anywhere between three and seven years in prison. And for heinous crimes (murder, rape and robbery), punishments will be the same as for adults — life imprisonment with a possibility of release. There will be, however, no death penalty for juvenile offenders.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the United States, those aged under 13 committing assault, murder, robbery, aggravated sexual abuse and drug abuse are punishable like adults, with the exception of life imprisonment and death penalty. In England, the juvenile culpability starts at 17, with those involved in murder, rape and causing explosions endangering life or property facing the same punishment as adults, without life imprisonment or death penalty.In Germany, however, children above 14 who commit sexual abuse, child abuse leading to death, and abuse of the disabled are punishable for up to 10 years. In France, children above 16 who commit murder, armed robbery, serious drug offences and rape are punishable on case by case basis with the maximum punishment being life imprisonment. In Australia, Pakistan, Syria and Thailand among others, the minimum age of criminal culpability is seven. While in Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay, the age is 18.The Justice Verma Committee, formed in the aftermath of the December 16 gang rape, recommended that the age of juvenile culpability should not be lowered to 16.Article 37 (A) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that no child aged under 18 should be subjected to capital punishment or life imprisonment without the possibility of release. India became a signatory to it and ratified it in 1992. The Bill also violates Article 14 (right to equality) and Article 21 (requiring that laws and procedures are fair and reasonable) of the Indian Constitution.The Bill has also been criticised because of the number of rapes committed by juveniles formed 3.1% of all rapes, and the number of murders constituted 1.2% of all murders.

JNU professor sacked for alleged sexual abuse of foreign student

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The decision was taken today at an emergent meeting of of Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Executive Council (EC), the varsity’s statutory decision making body.

Jawaharlal Nehru University
File Photo

JNU on Monday terminated services of an assistant professor after a varsity inquiry committee found him guilty in a case of alleged sexual harassment filed by a foreign scholar pursuing research under him. The decision was taken today at an emergent meeting of of Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Executive Council (EC), the varsity’s statutory decision making body. The complainant, a Bangladesh national, was pursuing research under the professor’s supervision in the varsity’s Department of Sociology.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A research scholar from Bangladesh working under supervision of the professor, had alleged that she was sexually abused by the professor. Subsequently, an inquiry was instituted by the Gender Sensitization Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH), the university watchdog for dealing with such issues,” official sources said.”In its enquiry, the GSCASH found him guilty and recommended action against him, following which the EC meet was called to take a call on the issue. The EC decided to terminate his services with immediate effect,” they added.Meanwhile, repeated calls and text messages to the professor for his comments on the issue went unanswered.The EC’s decision comes at a time, when JNU is under criticism over the maximum number of sexual abuse cases reported from all the higher education institutes in the country.Only last week, Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani had informed the Lok Sabha that 25 cases of sexual harassment were reported from JNU in 2013-2014, the highest among 104 higher education institutions from where such matters were reported, according to the University Grants Commission (UGC) data.Last month, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal had also said that as much as 50 per cent of the 101 sexual harassment complaints filed in 16 educational institutions in the national capital since 2013 were from JNU.The varsity had recently notified its new sexual harassment policy which also includes a penalty provision for false complaints filed before the probe panel. GSCASH was instituted by the university in 1999 under the Vishaka guidelines of the Supreme Court. The panel has representatives from JNU Students Union (JNUSU), JNU Officers’ Association (JNUOA), hostel wardens, faculty and administrative staff.However, a group of JNU teachers had last month questioned the working of GSCASH, alleging that its “processes are perverted”.Demanding that JNU be a “gender-sensitive and gender-just” campus, a group of teachers has written an open letter to the varsity administration seeking its intervention to improve the functioning of GSCASH.The teachers had also alleged that the confidentiality with regard to complaints was being “blatantly violated”, leading to defaming the complainants and the putting their integrity on “public trial”. The committee had come out with a clarification saying that “it engages and encourages the community to file such cases in a confidential manner, without engaging unwanted attention and speculation at the same time”.

As juvenile in Nirbhaya case is released, debate rages over bill

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Women and Child development minister Maneka Gandhi blamed the delay of bill passage on the stalemate in Rajya Sabha

Delhi police officers escort a juvenile accused of rape, outside the Juvenile justice board in New Delhi.
Manit Balmiki
dna
In the British era, the India Jail Committee had recommended separate trials and institutions for children. Nearly 100 years later, a bill, proposing to open a window for juveniles in the 16-18 age group to be tried as adults in cases of heinous crimes, has sparked off a heated debate.As memories of the brutal 2012 Nirbhaya case returned with the release of the juvenile, the government and the BJP cashed in on protests against his release to blame the Opposition for delay in passage of the juvenile justice bill. The Opposition, apprehensive of the fallout of certain provisions of the bill pending in Rajya Sabha, wanted it referred to a Select Committee.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the two sides slug it out, the juvenile would have been released anyway by December 20, 2015, as criminal laws cannot be used with retrospective effect.Child’s rights lawyer Anant Asthana, one of the members of the drafting committee of the bill, heaved a sigh of relief that it was being referred to a select committee, amidst the sharp divide on it. “Seeing the conditions in jail, in 1919 the first India Jail Committee was of the view that children should not be lodged in jail. Now, this new bill, if passed as it is, will take us 100 years back,” he said.Calling the bill regressive, he said “it will be a recipe for more crime and more criminals in the long run. You cannot bring laws dictated purely by public sentiment.” Reports of the juvenile being the most brutal accused in the gang rape had raised the question that he should not be treated as a child.Asthana said it was not as simple as that. According to him, the bill follows the recommendations of the Justice Verma committee in retaining age of juvenile at 18, but created a window through which certain category of children can be pushed into adult criminal justice system. “This is called the judicial waiver, a concept being brought in for the first time in India,” he said.The bill also takes into purview issues like foster care, easier adoption guidelines, apart from criminalising juveniles committing heinous crimes. However, it must be noted that a standing committee headed by JP Nadda in February rejected several recommendations put forward by the WCD ministry, stating that the Bill violated article 14 and 21 of the Constitution. Activists have also argued that the Bill also violates the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child.As the release of the juvenile became imminent, Women and Child development minister Maneka Gandhi blamed it on the stalemate in Rajya Sabha. She has also said giving the juvenile Rs 10,000 and a sewing machine was incentivising the crime.BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi admitted that even if the bill, brought to Parliament in 2014, was passed, it would not have applied to the juvenile in the Nirbhaya case, but said because of the delay in the legislation, it has also let off others in such cases in the past three years. “In my reading, the sexual maturity age has come down and the law should be changed as per the changing times…. The Nirbhaya case is not just rape but a case of murder and immense brutality,” she said quoting statistics of juvenile crime.Till 1999 the juvenile age was 16 and it was raised to 18 in 2000 during the NDA regime. After the outcry over the juvenile getting away with a three-year sentence in the Nirbhaya gang rape in 2012, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014, proposing that children in the 16-18 age group be tried as adults if they commit heinous crimes, was passed by Lok Sabha. However, in Rajya Sabha, where government is in a minority, several opposition parties were of the view that it required further scrutiny. Opposition members, including those from Congress, Samajwadi Party, JD (U) and TMC, wrote to Chairman Hamid Ansari that the bill be referred to a select committee as there were provisions that should be examined before taking it up in the House. Divided opinionCongress’ Ashwani Kumar, who was law minister during the Nirbhaya rape and murder, said opinion has been divided on decreasing the age of a “juvenile”. While he agreed that governments have to respond to public opinion, Kumar cautioned “there is evidence that harsher the laws, the more ineffective they are.”CPM politburo member Brinda Karat said “we are opposed to dealing with those below 18 as an adult. It goes against international convention. There should be proper monitoring and supervision of the juvenile once released.”

Subramanian Swamy to get government accommodation on security ground

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Sources informed that CCA has taken into consideration that Swamy is a Z-category protectee with CRPF cover and there is no place at his present place of residence for deployment of armed guards

Subramanian Swamy

Centre has decided to allot government accommodation to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on security considerations and also allowed former Punjab DGP K P S Gill and Chairman of Anti-Terrorism Front M S Bitta to retain their accommodations on the same grounds.Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Harish Rawat has also been allowed to retain government accommodation in the national capital on medical grounds, according to the decision taken by the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation (CCA) chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday. According to sources, CCA also decided to allot government accommodation to A Surya Prakash, Chairman of Prasar Bharati for the period of his tenure.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources informed that CCA has taken into consideration that Swamy is a Z-category protectee with CRPF cover and there is no place at his present place of residence for deployment of armed guards. Swamy’s security is being reviewed from time to time by Security Categorisation Committee in the Ministry of Home Affairs. As per security threat assessment carried out by central security agency, there is a felt need for proper government accommodation for Swamy for effective deployment of security and accordingly recommended government accommodation for him for five years, the sources said.The former Union Minister will have to pay five times the normal license fee. Gill and Bitta were allowed to retain their present government accommodation for three more years – till May, 2018 based on security considerations at special license fee of five times the normal. Uttarakhand CM Rawat has been permitted to retain government accommodation for one more year in New Delhi on medical grounds and keeping in view that state government guest house is being demolished.CCA also decided to allot government accommodation for Surya Prakash, Chairman of Prasar Bharati keeping in view that appointment of Chairman and Members of the Board is made by the President of India on the recommendation of Selection Committee headed by Vice-President of India and key functions required to be performed including supervision of functioning of AIR and DD.Present Members holding Personal and Finance portfolios have also been made eligible for accommodation. The committee noted that in the past former CEO and Members of Prasar Bharati and present CEO were allotted government accommodation.Prakash and the two present members were made eligible for government accommodation for the period of their tenure. Sources informed that CCA also made the Chairperson, Member and Member-Secretary of National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes eligible for government accommodation as also Chairperson of National Company Law Tribunal and DG, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sanghatan, an autonomous body under the Ministry of youth Affairs and Sports.

Hold simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and state assemblies for the sake of development: Parliament panel

A parliamentary panel has asked the government as well as the Election Commission to explore possibility of holding simultaneous elections, to reduce frequency of polls and enforcement of code of conduct that impedes economic development. “This is important for India, if it is to compete with other nations in developmental agenda on real time basis as robust democratic country,” said the 31-member panel headed by Congress party’s Tamil Nadu MP Dr E M S. Natchippan. The panel said massive costs could be saved with the conduct of simultaneous elections. Only the Election Commission spends around Rs 4,500 crore for holding staggered Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, currently. The costs incurred by political parties are enormous.

A parliamentary panel has asked the government as well as the Election Commission to explore possibility of holding simultaneous elections, to reduce frequency of polls and enforcement of code of conduct that impedes economic development. “This is important for India, if it is to compete with other nations in developmental agenda on real time basis as robust democratic country,” said the 31-member panel headed by Congress party’s Tamil Nadu MP Dr E M S. Natchippan. The panel said massive costs could be saved with the conduct of simultaneous elections. Only the Election Commission spends around Rs 4,500 crore for holding staggered Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, currently. The costs incurred by political parties are enormous.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Committee has envisaged holding of elections of some state assemblies at mid-term of Lok Sabha and remaining with the end of tenure of Lok Sabha. It said the proposed first phase could be held in November 2016, involving states like West Bengal, Kerala, Puduchery, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland and Karnataka. The states whose terms end between May 2016 to May 2018 should be clubbed together. In Phase two, rest of states, whose terms end between December 2018 to June 2019 should be held in June 2019 along with Lok Sabha elections.The MPs in the Standing Committee looking after the Ministry of Law and Justice said if all the political parties cooperate, the necessary steps can be taken without hurting the interests of any political party.First three general elections to Lok Sabha were conducted simultaneously with all state legislative assemblies till 1967. However, the cycle got disrupted due to premature dissolution of some assemblies in 1968 and 1969. In 1970, the Lok Sabha was itself dissolved prematurely. The panel reminded the practice in South Africa, where elections to national and provincial legislatures are held simultaneously for five years and municipal elections are held two years later. In Sweden, elections are held on a fixed date on second Sunday in September for four years.Though admitting that it may not be feasible in 2016 or even in a decade, but it has expressed confidence that a solution will be found in a due course of time.

Dogged Opposition: VK Singh booed in parliament by for his ‘dog remark’

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When he was again called to make a statement regarding status of implementation of the recommendations of the Standing Committee, BSP members joined their Congress counterparts to jeer at him. Some of them also shouted “V K Singh Murdabad” (down with V K Singh).

File Photo

Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, who has been at the centre of the ‘dog analogy’ controversy, was today jeered by some Opposition members in Rajya Sabha when he rose to lay the listed papers. Some Congress MPs booed him when he was called by Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to lay the papers listed against his name in the day’s list of business of the House. When he was again called to make a statement regarding status of implementation of the recommendations of the Standing Committee, BSP members joined their Congress counterparts to jeer at him. Some of them also shouted “V K Singh Murdabad” (down with V K Singh).Singh had kicked up a row when he reacted to the killing of two children from a Dalit family reportedly saying if someone throws stones at a dog, why blame the Govt for it. The opposition had targeted him over the remarks during the earlier part of the winter session, seeking his resignation. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh laid the statement regarding status of implementation of recommendations and observations contained in the 14th report of the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance on Demands for Grants (2015-16) pertaining to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. Singh is also a minister of state for statistics and programme implementation. Order was restored in the House once he sat down after laying the papers.

PM Modi-led panel finalises Chief Information Commissioner; suspense over announcement

The Central Information Commission is working headless, for the second time since the BJP Government came into power in 2014, after Vijai Sharma completed his tenure on December one.
File Photo
PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Committee on Wednesday met and is understood to have decided on the new Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), a post lying vacant for about a fortnight.The meeting of the Committee, held in the Prime Minister’s office in Parliament, was attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Leader of the Congress Party in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjuna Kharge, official sources said. The name of the next CIC has been finalised, they said. However, the name was not disclosed.The Central Information Commission is working headless, for the second time since the BJP Government came into power in 2014, after Vijai Sharma completed his tenure on December one. The transparency watchdog was without its chief for nearly 10 months after completion of the tenure of the then Chief Information Commissioner Rajiv Mathur in August 2014.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At present, there are seven Information Commissioners– Basant Seth, Yashovardhan Azad, Sharat Sabharwal, Manjula Prasher, M A Khan Yusufi, Madabhushanam Sridhar Acharyulu and Sudhir Bhargava– in the Commission. As per convention, the senior most Information Commissioner is chosen as chief. Presently, Seth is the senior-most Information Commissioner. The Commission comprises of one chief and ten Information Commissioners.A total of 33,724 complaints and appeals are pending in the Commission as on today, as per official data.

No India-type nuclear agreement with Pakistan: US

Olson said Pakistan is well aware of the extremist and insurgent threats to the security of its nuclear weapons and has a professional and dedicated security force.

US flag

The Obama Administration today ruled out any India-type nuclear agreement with Pakistan as top American lawmakers expressed serious concerns over the growing Pakistani nuclear arsenal. “We are not negotiating a 123 agreement with Pakistan,” Richard G Olson, Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told lawmakers during a hearing on Pakistan convened by the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee. “We had a very candid discussion with Pak about some of the concerns that we have including about short range nuclear weapons. Pakistan is prepared to have discussions with us,” he said in response to a question.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Olson said Pakistan is well aware of the extremist and insurgent threats to the security of its nuclear weapons and has a professional and dedicated security force. “As with all nuclear-capable states, we have urged Pakistan to restrain its nuclear weapons and missile development and stressed the importance of avoiding any developments that might invite increased risk to nuclear safety, security, or strategic stability,” he said. Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in his remarks alleged that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is on a track to be the third largest. “It’s addition of small tactical nuclear weapons in recent years is even more troubling. This is a country which spends a fifth of its budget on the military, from long-range missiles to F-16s, but under 2.5 per cent on education,” he said. “Through all of the double-dealing, US policy has essentially stood still. Security assistance, cash, and arms has continued to flow under the occasional temporary delays,” Royce said. “Indeed, despite some Department of Defence assistance for Pakistan being held because of inadequate efforts against the Haqqani network, the State Department is currently seeking more arms for Islamabad,” Royce said. “We have a very stringent end use monitoring requirements with security co-operation with high tech. The results have been satisfactory. The end use monitoring systems have been effective,” Olson said in response to a question.

Govt blocked 844 social media pages this year: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Out of the total, the government blocked 492 web pages under Section 69A of Information Technology Act, 2000 based on recommendation of a committee set up in this regard, compared to 10 blocked in 2014, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The number of social media pages blocked by the government for carrying objectionable content rose to 844 till November this year, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.Out of the total, the government blocked 492 web pages under Section 69A of Information Technology Act, 2000 based on recommendation of a committee set up in this regard, compared to 10 blocked in 2014, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.Under Section 69A of IT Act, the government has power to block any information in any computer resource in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, national security, friendly relations with foreign states or for maintaining law and order.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A total of 136, 13 and 10 and 492 URLs of social media websites were blocked in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, till November 30, 2015, respectively under Section 69A through the Committee constituted under the rules therein,” Prasad said. The social media links that were blocked on court orders stood at 352.”Further, a total of 533, 432 and 352 URLs of social media websites were blocked in compliance with the directions of the competent courts of India in 2013, 2014 and 2015, till November 30, 2015,” Prasad said.The minister said that the government does not separately maintain data on web pages blocked for anti-religious content. He said that in 2014, a total of 4,192 cases were reported under Section 66A of IT Act which had provision of jail term for sending offensive messages online, but the section is no longer valid since Supreme Court annulled it in March 2015.As per data of 2014 shared by Prasad, 2,423 persons were arrested, out of which 1,125 were charge-sheeted and 42 were convicted under Section 66A of IT Act.

Air pollution ‘falls’ in Delhi, research says

A System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) study termed it as the “first good indicator” of the season and said a “sudden fall in influx of emissions” may explain the fall.

Delhi air pollution

The level of suspended particulate matters, PM 2.5 and PM 10, have seen a “steady fall” in Delhi’s air despite a drastic fall in temperature over the last four days, which has the potential to elevate the quantity of such pollutants. A System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) study termed it as the “first good indicator” of the season and said a “sudden fall in influx of emissions” may explain the fall. Gufran Beig, Chief Project Scientist of SAFAR, told PTI that PM 2.5, harmful microscopic particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs, have decreased “very significantly” in the last two-three days.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “This is another indicator that indeed something worked in favour of relatively much better PM figures for this time of the year with such cooler weather conditions. There is one rider though, the wind speed is not high but at the same time, it is not really as calm as it should have been at this time,” said a report, prepared by Beig. The average level of PM 2.5 has been 129 microgram per cubic metre of late, still “very poor”, which at this time last year was 196 with not only the minimum temperature in the same range but also much lesser maximum temperature (16 degrees Celsius as opposed to last year’s 24 degrees Celsius). A dip has also been observed in the real-time readings of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), SAFAR and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) figures where the air quality index hovered between ‘moderate’, ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’. PM 2.5 was at 96 micrograms per cubic metre at around 6 PM in Anand Vihar, one of the Delhi’s majorly polluted spots. In areas such Punjabi Bagh and Mandir Marg, the corresponding figures were 83 and 22 around the same time. The safe limits of PM 2.5 and PM 10 are 60 and 100 and anything beyond that poses threat to a healthy respiratory system. They have been consistently high, at times multiple times, in the capital, prompting the government to resort to a host of anti-pollution measures. Beig said the fall was noteworthy as the weather conditions, “drop in temperature, normal wind flow pattern and relatively calm local wind”, were congenial for the formation of off-white (light brownish) haze. “The haze which has contribution of both fog and particulate matter reduces visibility faster and last longer which is not the case so far,” he said. SAFAR has also observed a slight increase in the level of gaseous pollutants like Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Ozone (O3) “although, still well within the permissible limit.”

New Delhi: Stricter traffic rules to be implemented starting tomorrow

The senior officers and field staff have been briefed through meetings and a detailed circular about implementation of the new guidelines will come into force from tomorrow morning, the officer said.

PTI
Driving licences of traffic violators in the national capital will be suspended for three months as Delhi Traffic Police is all set to implement Supreme Court-appointed committee’s recommendations from tomorrow.”Seizing and suspension of driving licences, even for the first offenders, will take place for jumping red light, drunken driving, over-speeding, using mobile phone while driving, and carrying passengers in goods vehicles,” said Muktesh Chander, Special Commissioner (Traffic).”We are going to implement the recommendations of the Supreme Court’s Committee strictly from day one and all the Traffic staff have been readied to handle violators as per the new guidelines,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The senior officers and field staff have been briefed through meetings and a detailed circular about implementation of the new guidelines will come into force from tomorrow morning, the officer said. Besides, the violations of traffic rules will also be punished with heavy fines.Fines for first offence and subsequent offences in case of over-speeding will be Rs 400 and Rs 1,000 respectively, the officer said. In case of drunk driving, court challans will be issued and such drivers could end up paying a fine of upto Rs 2,000, besides serving jail term of upto 6 months on being sentenced by magistrate on their first offence.On subsequent offences of drunk driving, the accused will pay fine of upto Rs 3,000, besides being sent behind bars for a period of upto 2 years, he said. The fines for using mobile phone while driving as first and subsequent offence will be Rs Rs 1,000 and Rs 2000. People not wearing helmet and seat belt will be fined with Rs 100 and Rs 300, the officer added.

Phoolka demands Amarinder Singh’s apology for ‘clean chit’ to Jagdish Tytler

Phoolka, who recently quit all posts he held in Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to concentrate on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases, said Singh had several times issued statements claiming that his party colleague Tytler was never involved in anti-Sikh riots though the matter was pending in court.

Amarinder Singh

Noted lawyer H S Phoolka on Sunday took out a cycle rally from Tarn Taran to Amritsar, demanding an apology from newly-appointed state Congress chief Amarinder Singh for giving clean chit to 1984 anti-Sikh riots accused Jagdish Tytler.Phoolka, who recently quit all posts he held in Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to concentrate on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases, said Singh had several times issued statements claiming that his party colleague Tytler was never involved in anti-Sikh riots though the matter was pending in court. Phoolka said he travelled 30 kms by road, along with his followers, to seek apology from Singh for issuing “wrong statements to please his political bosses”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The rally culminated in the evening at a town hall near Golden Temple. Phoolka later went to Jalianwalla Bagh to pay his respect to martyrs and paid his obeisance at Darbar Sahib Golden Temple. Congress MP from Amritsar Singh was recently appointed Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president, replacing Partap Singh Bajwa.

Parliamentary panel slams judicial activism, Supreme Court monitoring of probes

The remarks assume significance as probes in most of multi-crore corruption cases like 2G spectrum allocation, coal blocks allocation and Vyapam scams are being monitored by the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court

A parliamentary committee has criticised judicial activism of Supreme and higher courts by overseeing investigation and passing interim directions to CBI saying it may appear to be a colourable exercise of power by them.The committee also noted that various high courts and Supreme Court are frequently issuing directions to CBI to handle cases relating to Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 as also of “Public Order”.The superior courts are even directing CBI in a number of cases to report day-to-day progress in a sealed cover bypassing Sections 172 and 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 and performing functions envisaged under the criminal justice system of the country for the lowest rung of criminal court, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice said in its report.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Judicial activism of higher judiciary by taking pains of overseeing an investigation and passing interim directions to CBI and even pre-empting the rights and remedies available to affected persons under criminal justice system.”It may, therefore, appear to affected persons as a pre- emptive and colourable exercise of power by the superior courts,” it said.The remarks assume significance as probes in most of multi-crore corruption cases like 2G spectrum allocation, coal blocks allocation and Vyapam scams are being monitored by the Supreme Court.

Ruling Left Front wins landslide victory in Tripura civic polls

CPI(M) supporters celebrate their victory in civic polls in Dharmanagar, north Tripura on Saturday

PTI
The ruling Left Front in Tripura has won a landslide victory in the election to 20 civic bodies in the state, including the 49-member Agartala Municipal Corporation.The CPI-M-led LF bagged 45 out of the 49 wards of Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) leaving only four to opposition Congress, member secretary to the state election commission, Tamal Mazumder said. In the civic polls held on December 9, the LF candidates secured absolute majority in 13 municipal councils and six nagar panchayats in the state, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Altogether, elections were held in 310 seats in 20 civic bodies in which Left Front candidates won 291 and the opposition Congress secured 13 seats and BJP just 4. The rest two were won by independent candidates.This was the first time that BJP won seats in civic bodies. Of the 291 seats won by LF candidates CPI-M won 279, CPI five, RSP 6 and Forward Bloc just one seat.Convener of Left Front Committee and CPI-M central committee member Khagen Das congratulated the people of the state for LF’s thumping majority. “It is people’s verdict for Left Front’s good governance and relentless endevour for peace, tranquility and development,” he said.Agartala Municipality was elevated to the status of Agartala Municipal Corporation two years back. The civic body was formed in princely Tripura state in 1871 during the reign of Maharaja Bir Chandra Manikya.

Delhi’s air quality to remain ‘very poor’ over the weekend: IMD

The average levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 were 174 and 285 microgram per cubic metre on Friday, a senior IMD official said and added that such conditions are expected to remain over the next two days due to atmospheric conditions.

dna Research & Archives
Delhiites would do well to avoid outdoor activities over the weekend as the city’s ‘very poor’ air quality brings with it the possibility of respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.The average levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 were 174 and 285 microgram per cubic metre on Friday, a senior IMD official said and added that such conditions are expected to remain over the next two days due to atmospheric conditions.”The wind is not that strong so suspended particulate matters won’t get easily dispersed. Winds from the himalayas have also brought in moisture and resulted in a drop of day- time temperature,” the official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Real-time figures of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) were more alarming as PM 2.5 and PM 10, fine pollutants which can penetrate deep into the respiratory system, were multiple times higher than the safe limits of 60 and 100. Anand Vihar’s PM 2.5 and PM 10 were 316 microgram per cubic metre and 781 at 8.50 PM while the same were 242 and 480 in the RK Puram area at 5 PM. However, the average level of pollution has seen a dip over the last two days.On December 9, 24-hour-average reading of PM 2.5 was 204 and the Central Pollution Control Board’s real-time air quality index in places like Mandir Marg, Punjabi Bagh, RK Puram had touched the ‘severe’ category at many points during the day.’Very poor’ quality air signifies PM 10 and PM 2.5 levels between 351 and 420, and 211 to 252 micro gram per cubic metre while ‘severe’ is declared when PM 2.5 and PM 10 cross 253, 421 micro gram per cubic metres respectively. PM 2.5, microscopic in size, is considered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the best indicator of the level of health risks from air pollution.

In wake of Chennai floods, PAC finds proposed disaster communication network still at preparatory stage

The NDCN project was aimed at providing networking for integration of various disaster management tools during disasters in the country. NDMA

It is no surprise that India was caught fully unaware and unprepared when major disasters such as floods in Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and the most recent one in Chennai stuck the country. What’s more, the disaster management authorities are likely to display the same unpreparedness if high-magnitude earthquake hits Delhi or Mumbai, both of which are high risk zones.The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has found that the National Disaster Management Authority’s (NDMA) ambitious communication project of setting up a National Disaster Communication Network (NDCN) is still at a preparation stage despite a lapse of more than four years.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The NDCN project was aimed at providing networking for integration of various disaster management tools during disasters in the country. NDMAhad also proposed to establish the National Disaster Management Informatics System (NDMIS) to utilise the GIS platform tool in disaster management in March 2008. The NDMIS was to host the core database and disaster specific database for carrying out vulnerability analysis and risk assessment.In defence, NDMA has said that it has already submitted a standalone project on communication network, which was examined by the government.The reply further said that a technical committee was constituted under the chairmanship of Department of Space to suggest a comprehensive framework on disaster communication, that would integrating existing communication networks, while including for all the disaster manager of the country through a single window.It said the NDMA will be preparing a detailed project report including execution of a pilot project in three states to check if the communication system is functioning properly, based on which, the project on National Disaster Management Communication Centre would be prepared.The report tabled in Parliament has punches holes in country’s disaster preparedness.The committee also inquired about setting up of radars at Goa, Kochi, Karakal, and Paradip. Paradip in Odisha has been ravaged by floods several times.They were, however, informed that four doppler weather radars meant for Goa, Karaikal, Paradip and Mumbai could not be installed due to objection from the Ministry of Defence. However, while one had been set up, three are lying uninstalled in Goa, Karaikal and Paradip, as they have to meet certain pre-conditions proposed by MoD.In another question, the PAC asked if the lack of doppler radars in higher altitudes had prevented the IMD form forecasting Uttarakhand floods, to which authorities from the home ministry admitted the problem of beam blockage of radars over high tall terrain region, but said it is a global problem.

Illegal wall delayed fire operation in Kandivali slum: Official

Fire engines had to wait for the civic administration to pull it down * It was constructed by a Mangal Karyalay office

The wall that prevented fire engines from entering the spot.
Aadesh Choudhari
dna
Monday’s fire in the Damu Nagar slum in Kandivali (E), which killed two people and destroyed all the 2,000 shanties, could have been contained better, but for an illegal wall fencing the Bhim Nagar slum in Damu Pada.The wall was built by a ‘Mangal Karyalay’ office to prevent slum-dwellers from sneaking into wedding functions and eating food meant for the invitees.This wall delayed fire-fighting operations. “We have no authority to break the wall. It falls under the civic administration. We could only wait for civic officials to take up the job,” said a senior fire official.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The fire brigade received the first call at 12:33 pm, and the first fire engine reached the spot at 12:52 pm. When the information about a massive fire and cylinder blasts was relayed, 16 fire tenders and 11 water tankers rushed the to spot. But the vehicles could only reach after 45 minutes due to the traffic jam on Akurli Road.After struggling with the traffic jam on Akurli Road, the illegal wall further delayed their operation. While a team of firemen started spraying water from the periphery, the wall proved to be a biggest hurdle.A fire official said that if fire officers were to have broken the wall, it could have led to a situation they couldn’t handle.”Hence it was better that firemen waited for the civic authorities to take up the job. Though civic officials reached the spot and pulled down the wall partially to make way for the fire engines, the hilly terrain did not help either,” he said.”Our men had started spraying water to control the fire from all the small entries to the slum. But the cylinder blast was so strong that by the time we could take control, everything was destroyed,” fire official added.S R Gaikwad, assistant commissioner of R – south ward, said that when fire officers sought help, we immediately helped them with pulling down the wall.”Yes, fire officers did seek help for pulling down the wall. We promptly responded to it, after which they could start their operations,” said Gaikwad. Rs, 3800 compensation is rubbing salt to injuries, say slum-dwellersDamu Nagar slum-dwellers were upset with the state government on Wednesday when they were handed over cheques of Rs 3,800 per family as a compensation. Residents were enraged and tempers were flying when they came to know about the amount. “The state government is rubbing salt on the injuries of the slum-dwellers. Officers from the collector’s office came to hand over cheques Rs 3,800, with which one cannot even buy any respectable household item. But some residents controlled them from taking extreme steps,” said a slum-dweller.Sachin Sawant, spokesperson of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee, said that there was complete lack of co-ordination. “We have demanded homes and Rs 1 lakh compensation for each family. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has shown complete insensitivity. He did not even visit the spot. He did the same thing with the Malwani hooch tragedy. While thousands of people are rendered homeless, they are giving such a meagre amount”, said Sawant.

US aid to Pakistan will end up being used against India, warns ex-diplomat Husain Haqqani

As the US is preparing to sell F-16s fighter jets to Pakistan, the country’s former top diplomat, Haqqani, described the sale of such military hardware as an ‘appeasement policy towards the Pakistani military’.

Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani

Image Courtesy: Twitter
Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani has warned Washington that its aid to Islamabad will ‘end up being used against India and not against terrorists’.As the US is preparing to sell F-16s fighter jets to Pakistan, the country’s former top diplomat, Haqqani, described the sale of such military hardware as an ‘appeasement policy towards the Pakistani military.’In a prepared remark submitted ahead of a Congressional hearing on ‘Civil Nuclear Cooperation with Pakistan: Prospects and Consequences to the Terrorism, Non-proliferation, and Trade Sub-committee of the Committee on Foreign Affairs’, Haqqani said Pakistan’s failure to tackle its jihadist challenge is ‘not the result of a lack of arms’, but a reflection of an ‘absence of will’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>South Asia terrorism expert Daniel Markey also told American lawmakers that pursuing a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan is not only ‘unrealistic, poorly timed, and unwise’, but also counter-productive to American national interests in the near term.

Babri Mosque demolition: Why the incident was an institutional failure

In the book “Destruction of the Babri Masjid: A National Dishonour”, author and legal luminary AG Noorani traces the conspiracy and discusses how the civil and criminal cases concerning the title to the Babri Masjid and accountability for its destruction on December 6, 1992, have all but run their course. In an exclusive interview with dna, he said that then PV Narasimha Rao was culpable because he knew what was happening and yet did not do anything about it.

The Babri Mosque being demolished in December 1992

In the book “Destruction of the Babri Masjid: A National Dishonour”, author and legal luminary AG Noorani traces the conspiracy and discusses how the civil and criminal cases concerning the title to the Babri Masjid and accountability for its destruction on December 6, 1992, have all but run their course. He also blames the secular Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) governments in Uttar Pradesh for showing little stamina and proving to be impediments in the way of pursuing cases against the accused. In an exclusive interview with dna, he said that then PV Narasimha Rao was culpable because he knew what was happening and yet did not do anything about it. He also observed that the Babri Majid issue should not have been a Muslim issue and that the Babri Masjid Action Committee had committed mistakes. Excerpts from the interview:<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>You said the role of Congress has been treacherous. Can you explain?Muslims have earned a bad name in the Shah Bano case. The truth is Indira Gandhi had arrived at a pact with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). To please the Muslims, Rajiv Gandhi passed the Muslim Women Bill, which led to the opening of locks. But they were opened through a prior agreement. The VHP stopped the agitation because of the assassination of Indira Gandhi. The pact was renewed by Rajiv Gandhi. Muslims got a bad name needlessly. I had conveyed a message to the Rajiv Gandhi government through an emissary. I had said open the definition of divorce according to sharia laws, which would have meant three periods and conciliation, not Anglo-Mohammadan law. Had that been done, all sting would have been taken out. But then Rajiv Gandhi had a deal behind him.The demolition of Babri Masjid was a watershed in Indian history. How has it impacted Indian polity?Yes, it was a watershed moment. It propelled LK Advani into a position of leadership and it seemed he would become the Prime Minister. The BJP fouled the atmosphere. But such was the backlash that the Congress could not return to power in 1996. If it had not been for the mistakes on the part of Congress leadership, the BJP would not have come to power in 1998. The entire country was shocked and disgusted by the demolition. President Shankar Dayal Sharma had issued a strong statement. So the BJP didn’t gain from it. But it did help spread the message of Hindutva and that caught on. The BJP reaped the harvest. It did not last long as could be seen in the election results of 2004 and 2009.Do you mean to say that the message of Hindutva has lost its relevance and it did not capture the Hindu imagination?The point is they needed a person like Narendra Modi to carry things further. If it had not been for the UPA’s mistakes, the BJP would not have come to power. I want to emphasise there were considerable mistakes on the part of the Muslim leadership. The Babri Masjid Action Committee’s stupid call of boycott of all official functions of Republic Day was bound to have a negative impact.This is your third volume on Babri Masjid encompassing recent history. Can you give us a glimpse of what you have recorded in this volume?The evidence in this book nails Narasimha Rao, shows his culpability. He was the man who knew what was happening and he kept his eyes shut. Rao was the prime culprit and he acted in such a way that he would not be blamed. But he was responsible. From the record which I had laid hands on, it is very clear that he was communal-minded. He had a record of communal-mindedness when he was the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. He had a bad record during the struggle against the Nizam in Hyderabad. At one time, Advani also praised him, called him fantastic. I must mention also that it required a chief justice like Justice Venkatachaliah to make the demolition possible. I have documented that Venkatachaliah facilitated demolition by giving those court adjournments and after the demolition, Attorney General Milon Banerjee reminded him, “I had warned your lordship.” Venkatachaliah went so far as to say, “I hope you are looking after the health of the kar sevaks.” And sure enough, because of this he was appointed chairman of the Constitution Review Committee by the BJP government.From the contents of the book, it appears you are arguing that the Judiciary and the Executive virtually colluded. And even the secular SP and BSP governments riding on Muslim votes also didn’t show the stamina to pursue cases against the accused?Yes, they had virtually colluded. I wouldn’t go into technicalities. The court was set up by the UP government without the requisite notification, and without the consent of the high court. They had only to issue a notification and the trial would have proceeded. And the CBI had also played a deceitful role. When Advani was in power, they had one role, and when he was not in power, they played a different game.You have been a strong defender of secular ideals and values. The demolition of Babri Masjid harmed secularism the most. What is the future of this ideology in the country?The fabric of secularism has been impaired. The fact of the matter is Narendra Modi has won votes and popularity because of his record. We have to face realities. Every day reports show RSS is infiltrating institutions with the encouragement of the current government. It is a fearful situation. The worst thing today is the communal polarisation.You have also said Babri Masjid should not have been allowed to be made a Muslim issue alone.That is right. It was an issue of statute and law. On this basis, we should have demanded that possession should be restored.The Allahabad high court judgment had almost sanctified that it was a place of birth of Lord Ram. How do you view this judgment?The ball is now in the Supreme Court. And on past performance, really, we can’t say, when the case will be heard. By the way, the Allahabad high court judgment has been referred to a larger bench. Elections have come and gone, but the Supreme Court has not found time to decide the issue of Hindutva before it. The judgment was delivered by Justice JS Verma interpreting Hindutva (as often quoted by BJP) without taking recourse to Veer Savarkar’s book. He referred to Maulana Wahiduddin Khan’s book and some stray observations to validate his case.Back to the high court judgment, according to it, Hindu faith triumphs over the law of the land. The law of the land involves law of limitation. They said limitation cannot run against a Hindu temple. But a Hindu temple can acquire right to property by adverse possession. Now it need not be an established deity, it can be a leaf, a stone and if it is a matter of faith, that faith must be respected. The implications are so far reaching, I need not to spell them out.In Mumbai, there is a traffic island. In that there is a mosque, a temple and a church. And they exist peacefully. Before the idols were planted, there was a proposal to build a temple within the complex, but outside the mosque. It was actually at the chabutra that the worship was conducted. If that solution had been pursued by Rajiv Gandhi, the problem would have been over. The gates were opened by KM Pandey, the judge, who said he saw monkeys on the roof of his house and he was inspired.Historians have recorded Muslim rulers having demolished temples in the past and many Hindus feel that the demolition of Babri Masjid is justified.The majority judgment of the two Hindu judges of the high court recalled the cases of those demolitions by Muslim rulers as if that sanctifies demolitions now. Romila Thapar has documented extremely well how Buddhist places of worship were demolished by Hindus and vice versa. A Hindu Kashmiri King Harshdev looted temples to fill his coffers. But the question is: Are you going to open history to take revenge. Then there would be no end to it.You have mentioned the accountability of demolition has not been fixed and political parties in UP have colluded.Neither Samajwadi Party nor Bahujan Samaj Party has taken a stand on Babri Masjid. Muslims should realise who their friends are.How do you rate writing of history in this country?I must say there is a band of historians Sushil Srivastava and Romila Thapar and many others who are good. At the same time there is a group of historians which is propagandist. I have mentioned it without showing why. But it is remarkable these judgments of the high court running into hundreds of pages were produced at short notice. A propagandist produced material to these judges and they relied on that.

Winter session: Govt lists GST in RS; BSP, Congress to agitate against VK Singh over ‘dog remark’

The government’s main focus will be on the passage of the key GST Bill, officially known as The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014.

Keen to push the legislative agenda, government has listed key bills like GST in Parliament next week but it is unlikely to be an easy affair at least in Rajya Sabha as BSP and Congress intend to continue their agitation against minister VK Singh for his ‘dog’ remark. BSP and Congress, which disrupted the Upper House for the last two days, have vowed to persist with their demand for Singh’s ouster from the Council of Ministers as well as Parliament for his ‘dog’ analogy after two Dalit children were burnt alive in Haryana few months back.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress’ Rajya Sabha member today said his party’s stand on the issue remains the same and it will protest in the House even on Monday if Singh comes there. “If VK Singh comes to the House, we will protest against it. Our demand is take action against Singh for his remarks,” Tiwari said. Tiwari was in the forefront among Congress leaders, who protested in Rajya Sabha against Singh’s remarks and trooped into the well along with BSP members. On its party, government has listed GST along with six other bills in Rajya Sabha for next week. Six bills have been listed in the Lok Sabha.The government’s main focus will be on the passage of the key GST Bill, officially known as The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014. The Centre plans to roll out the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from April next year.The bill has been passed by Lok Sabha but got stuck in Rajya Sabha. After its passage in Lok Sabha, the bill was sent to a Select Committee of Rajya Sabha on Opposition’s demand. The panel has given its report.Other important bills include the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013, which was discussed in Rajya Sabha on Friday. The Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of Rajya Sabha has allotted a time of four hours for the GST Bill and two hours for the Real Estate Bill.

Chennai rains: Over 28,000 rescued; tonnes of relief supplies sent to TN – Centre

An official statement said the situation is improving as Chennai did not experience heavy rainfall since yesterday and the flood waters were receding.

PTI
More than 28,000 people have been moved to safer locations from rain and flood-affected areas of Chennai and adjoining areas and tonnes of relief material has been dispatched to Tamil Nadu, the Centre on Saturday said. Twenty seven truck loads of ready-to-eat meals, four lakh bottles of drinking water and other essential food items have also been sent to the state. A meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) was held here under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha to review the flood situation in the state and take stock of the relief measures being done by multiple agencies like NDRF and army.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An official statement said the situation is improving as Chennai did not experience heavy rainfall since yesterday and the flood waters were receding. “National Disaster Response Force and armed forces sent by the government of India have rescued more than 28,000 persons. As the need for rescue has come down, the 50 NDRF teams and 13 army columns deployed are now more pressed into relief services rather than rescue,” it said. It added that road connectivity in the state has been restored and city bus services have begun functioning. “Power supply has been restored to more than 90 per cent of the city. Railways continue to operate special intra-city and outstation services and normal services are expected to begin from Monday,” it said.NCMC was also told by officials participating in the meeting that the restoration of Chennai airport will be completed in a day or two. “Meanwhile, the operation of the civilian flights from the Naval air Base in Arakkonam continues,” it said.A Home Ministry spokesperson said as telecom services are not fully functional in the affected areas, Sinha directed that necessary steps should be taken to restore the same at the earliest. “Tamil Nadu government will hold a meeting with telecom service providers to sort out the issues. To make petroleum products available, the Ministry of Petroleum will facilitate the same,” it said.While the southern metropolis was “struggling to return to normalcy”, in many areas, telephone landline services have been restored even as mobile services also picked up pace.

Janlokpal Bill passed in Delhi Assembly

Delhi government yesterday had approved two amendments in the appointment and removal clauses in the draft Janlokpal legislation as suggested by veteran social activist Anna Hazare during his recent meeting with AAP leaders.

The Jan Lokpal Bill has been passed in Delhi Assembly on Friday.Delhi government yesterday had approved two amendments in the appointment and removal clauses in the draft Janlokpal legislation as suggested by veteran social activist Anna Hazare during his recent meeting with AAP leaders.The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday, said senior officials in Delhi government. As per the changes, there will be a provision for one more High Court judge and one eminent person in the selection panel while the impeachment process for removal will begin only after a higher court monitored probe of any allegation against the Lokpal, a senior government official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>These were among the points over which former AAP leader Prashant Bhushan has targeted Kejriwal saying he had “diluted” key provisions of the original draft, a product of the 2011 anti-graft movement. But the government had dismissed the criticism earlier saying that Supreme Court had argued against inclusion of eminent persons in such positions during deliberations over NJAC and had argued that impeachment was the best possible removal clause.As per the draft Bill, the Chairperson or any member of the Janlokpal can be removed on the ground of proven misconduct or incapacity only by the Lt Governor on the recommendation of the Assembly by a minimum two-third majority of the total membership.It has provided for a four-member Selection Committee comprising the Chief Minister, Speaker, Leader of the Opposition and one Delhi High Court judge. The Bill that has already been tabled is scheduled to be debated upon in the assembly tomorrow. With agency inputs

Janlokpal Bill: AAP government amends draft, includes points suggested by Anna Hazare

The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday, said senior officials in Delhi government

Anna Hazare

Delhi government on Thursday approved two amendments in the appointment and removal clauses in the draft Janlokpal legislation as suggested by veteran social activist Anna Hazare during his recent meeting with AAP leaders.The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday, said senior officials in Delhi government. As per the changes, there will be a provision for one more High Court judge and one eminent person in the selection panel while the impeachment process for removal will begin only after a higher court monitored probe of any allegation against the Lokpal, a senior government official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>These were among the points over which former AAP leader Prashant Bhushan has targeted Kejriwal saying he had “diluted” key provisions of the original draft, a product of the 2011 anti-graft movement. But the government had dismissed the criticism earlier saying that Supreme Court had argued against inclusion of eminent persons in such positions during deliberations over NJAC and had argued that impeachment was the best possible removal clause.As per the draft Bill, the Chairperson or any member of the Janlokpal can be removed on the ground of proven misconduct or incapacity only by the Lt Governor on the recommendation of the Assembly by a minimum two-third majority of the total membership.It has provided for a four-member Selection Committee comprising the Chief Minister, Speaker, Leader of the Opposition and one Delhi High Court judge. The Bill that has already been tabled is scheduled to be debated upon in the assembly tomorrow.

Prashant Bhushan steps up attack on AAP’s ‘mahajokepal’

New Delhi: Stepping up the attack on ruling AAP over the 2015 Delhi Janlokpal Bill, ousted party leader Prashant Bhushan on Sunday said that “contrary to the claims” made by the Arvind Kejriwal government, the proposed legislation is “completely” different from its previous 2014 version.

The senior Supreme Court lawyer claimed that the 2015 Bill increases the say of the government in the appointment and removal of the ombudsman and brings under its ambit Union government functionaries, among other “glaring” differences.

Prashant Bhushan. PTIPrashant Bhushan. PTI

Prashant Bhushan. PTI

In the wake of the claims by the Swaraj Abhiyan leader, AAP hit out at Bhushan and alleged that his attack goes on to prove the “collaboration” between him and BJP.

But Bhushan, who was expelled from AAP for “anti-party activities”, lashed out at the claim while likening Kejriwal to Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister under the infamous Hitler regime.

Bhushan also dared the Delhi chief minister to an open debate on the matter. The Delhi government will table the Bill on Monday.

Releasing a comparative study of the several Lokpal Bills and Acts, including the Delhi Janlokpal Bill 2014, Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill, Centre’s Lokpal Act and Team Anna‘s Janlokpal draft, Bhushan said the Bill cleared by the current Delhi Cabinet was the “worst” of all.

“What do they (AAP) think? Is this why they have increased publicity budget to over Rs 500 crore? They should think of having a ministry of propaganda. It’s as if they have been trained by Joseph Goebbels. The new Bill is completely different from the one tabled in 2014,” charged Bhushan.

The Delhi government has not officially released copies of either version of the Bill. Rebel AAP MLA Pankaj Pushkar had yesterday made the 2015 Bill public, which he claimed to have got in his capacity as a member of the Delhi Assembly’s Business Advisory Committee.

Meanwhile, functionaries in the AAP government, when contacted, refused to comment on the charges made by Bhushan at a press conference at his Noida residence.

Significantly, the 2015 Bill gives powers to the anti-graft ombdusman to inquire into and investigate allegations of corruption occurring anywhere in the “National Capital Territory of Delhi”, thus bringing Union government functionaries under its ambit.

The 2014 Bill, released by Bhushan, on the other hand, said that the Lokpal can investigate any matter either suo-motu or based on a complaint in respect of public servants.

It described public servant as someone who is serving in the connection with the affairs of the Delhi government and any such person whose services are “temporarily placed at the disposal of the Central government, the government of another state, the local authority or any other body.”

The 2014 Bill had also proposed to have under its ambit the Delhi Police, the DDA and four civic bodies as part of the public authority category. But the current Bill is more categorical in its phrasing, leaving no ambiguity as to its proposed purview, Bhushan said.

Nowhere in the 2015 Bill is there an explicit mention as to whether the Chief Minister, other Ministers shall be under its purview unlike the earlier proposed legislation.

Kejriwal had ended his first term as Delhi Chief Minister in February 2014 within 49 days of assuming office over his inability to pass that Bill.

Reacting to Bhushan’s allegations, AAP spokesperson Ashutosh questioned as to why Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, another expelled AAP leader, did not protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not appointing Lokpal at the Centre.

“AAP brings LOKPAL PB,YY,SB decide to stage a protest? Why? Double standard? Do you need more proof of collaboration between them-BJP. Modi has not appointed LOKPAL for last 18 months but Prashant, Yogendra, Shanti did not have time to criticise/protest till date. Why?” Ashutosh tweeted.

Bhushan, flanked by his father, former Union Law Minister Shanti Bhushan, said AAP government has deliberately included the provision for initiating proceedings against Union Ministers and officials to stoke confrontation.

“I have nothing against the provision in principle. But the point is that it has been incorporated to play victim later as it is quite obvious that it won’t get the Centre’s approval.

“In the Jan Lokpal Bill 2.3, the final version of what the Team Anna produced, it was explicitly said that Central Lokpal will cover Union government whereas the state lokayuktas will have under their ambit state government functionaries, among others,” he said.

The government, after clearing the Bill, had repeatedly assured that it was similar to the one drafted by Team Anna and the one tabled in 2014.

In the 2014 Delhi Janlokpal Bill, the appointment of a seven-member Lokpal body was to be done by a ‘Selection Committee’ chaired by the Chief Minister and consisting of Leader of Opposition, two judges of the High Court and one previous chairperson of the Janlokpal, said Bhushan.

There was also a provision for a ‘Search Committee’ which would shortlist the candidates for appointment as Chairperson or members of the Janlokpal which, he added, is absent in the new Bill.

The 2015 Jan Lokpal Bill envisages a three-member body to be appointed by a committee under the chairmanship of Chief Justice of High Court, the Chief Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Legislative Assembly and the Speaker.

More importantly, the removal clause has been changed completely with the onus now on the Legislature rather than the Judiciary. The removal of the Lokpal or its members can be effected by an order of the Lieutenant Governor passed with a two-thirds majority in the Legislative Assembly.

It is to be noted that AAP has 67 MLAs in the Delhi Legislative Assembly.

The 2014 Bill said that the chairperson or any other member of the Janlokpal shall only be removed by the President on recommendation from the High Court after an inquiry on a complaint against the official concerned.

Among other provisions of the previous Act, Bhushan said it had mentioned that the Janlokpal shall have its own investigating wing. The present Bill does not specify any such clause, he claimed.

The new version also rules out review of any of its orders, proceedings, decisions or reports by any court or tribunal. The earlier Bill said any orders passed by the Lokpal “shall be subject to the writ jurisdiction of the High Court”.

Bhushan senior, who had yesterday demanded Kejriwal’s resignation, wondered whether “Goebbels had taken rebirth in Delhi in the form of Kejriwal”.

“Stop this nonsense, stop deceiving the people of Delhi everyday,” he said.

PTI

Haryana min-SP spat – Anil Vij resorting to cheap tactics for popularity: Congress

The minister had on Thursday stormed out of a meeting of the District Grievances and Public Relations Committee after the police officer refused to follow his order to leave the venue following heated exchanges between them.

Vij has the time to spend on Twitter but cannot call a meeting of the officials of his department to discuss the problems: Congress. (Fiie Photo)

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The Haryana unit of Congress on Saturday condemned the spat between state Health Minister Anil Vij and IPS officer Sangeeta Kalia, following which she was shunted, saying the minister resorts to various kinds of tactics to gain cheap popularity. The party also accused the BJP of not respecting women contrary to the claims made it. “Health Minister Anil Vij resorts to various kinds of tactics to gain cheap popularity. He has misbehaved with a woman officer and used foul language for which action should be taken against him,” Haryana Congress spokesperson Krishan Murti Hooda said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”BJP makes tall claims about respecting women but even the Prime Minister or the Chief Minster have never done so. There is a huge gap between what they preach and practice,” the spokesperson said. IPS officer Kalia, SP of Fatehabad district, was today shunted out, a day after a spat with Vij during a meeting, triggering angry reactions against him from the opposition and on the social media. The minister had on Thursday stormed out of a meeting of the District Grievances and Public Relations Committee after the police officer refused to follow his order to leave the venue following heated exchanges between them. The video of their spat went viral on social media.Hooda further alleged that Vij has the time to spend on Twitter but cannot call a meeting of the officials of his department to discuss the problems.The spokesperson also alleged scam by the BJP government in the state in providing compensation to paddy farmers.

Imagine status of woman if Sharad Yadav had drafted Constitution: Smriti Irani

“I think it is paradoxical that today Sharadji, a very senior parliamentarian, yet again told me ‘sit down, sit down.

Taking a dig at senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani on Friday wondered what would have been the position of women had such politicians been part of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution. Referring to a comment by Yadav, the Minister said “I think it is paradoxical that today Sharadji, a very senior parliamentarian, yet again told me ‘sit down, sit down.Imagine if such a politician was a part of the Drafting Committee. “Participating in the debate on commitment to the Constitution in Rajya Sabha, she said as a woman in India, she celebrate the fact that women in many nations across the world had to struggle to get their right to vote. Irani said she got it because my Constitution gave it so at the birth of this very nation as a Republic in 1950. “But imagine, as the Leader of the House said today, what kind of restrictions such a senior parliamentarian would have imposed on a woman like me while this was being drafted. Would I have been told ‘You have dark complexion, so you don’t have right to vote?’ Would I have been told ‘you have short hair, you have no right to vote?'<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I see that some are disturbed by what I say. But apart from the social realities that were counted in this very House today, this also is a realty we must embrace, for the victims of such realty do not reside only outside this House, but we have witnessed this in this very House” she said. Irani further said that in September, 1949, B R Ambedkar sponsored Sanskrit as the official language of the Indian Union and supporting him, amongst many, was a gentleman called Naziruddin Ahmed. She further said a correspondent went to Babasaheb and said, “Why is Sanskrit?” and he replied “What’s wrong with Sanskrit?”. “It is ironical that six-and-a-half decades later, I too get posed that question and I have a similar response. But, this is the very evidence and the essence of a thriving Constitution which allows debates to permeate over decades till such time a consensus emerges,” the Minister said. On the notification for celebrating Constitution Day in schools, Irani said said on August 26, 2015 there was a notification, which indicates to another notification dated May 30, which included in it the need to increase awareness about the Constitution among citizens, particularly, children on the November 26. She said there has been a debate that November 26 was the day when the draft was adopted, but it was actualised in January, 1950. “But, as Indians, we cannot ignore the fact that this is the rock on which we sought to build the political salvation of our country…,” the Minister said. She further said In 1999, Justice J S Verma worked with a group of Indians to operationalise how fundamental duties are to be seen in the education sector. “…he said, presentation of the values inherent in each clause of Article 51A through anecdotal talks at morning assemblies in schools should be organised. “This, Sir, is the notification, which was subsequently given to the Central Board of Secondary Education, which said, amongst the events for the day, the School Head may address the students briefly about the significance of celebrating this day, and, also recite the Preamble to the Constitution,” Irani added. The Minister informed the House that in all CBSE schools yesterday, children flocked the morning assemblies to take oath to preserve the very values enshrined in the Constitution to celebrate the journey of this Constitution and the future it envisions for these children.

Lawyers should not go on strike: Supreme Court

The court also observed that there is a constitution bench judgment of the Supreme Court prohibiting strike by lawyers.

The Supreme Court on Friday said lawyers should not go on strike or give calls to boycott courts, while allowing a months time to the Bar bodies to convene a meeting to solve the problem “once and for all”. “My view is that the lawyers should not go on strike,” a bench of justices Kurian Joseph and Arun Mishra said, adding that it’s like “Brahmastra” (weapon created by Brahma) one should use it in a difficult situation, but now a days this is being used frequently.The court also observed that there is a constitution bench judgment of the Supreme Court prohibiting strike by lawyers. “This is a very serious problem, it needs to worked out,” the bench said. The court’s oral observation was made during hearing of a PIL by NGO Common Cause through advocate Prashant Bhushan, which has approached the apex court against the recent strike of lawyers in the Delhi High Court and District Courts on the issue of pecuniary jurisdiction.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for the Bar, said “not to work is also a constitutional right…”. He, however, said that we can sit down in the family of lawyers and decide the issue. Responding to this, the bench said that in a months time meeting of the important sections of the Bar Associations be called to see if problem can be sorted out once and for all.The court also directed Chairman of Coordination Committee of District Bar Association, Delhi High Court Bar Association and Bar Council of India to reply to the notices issued to them as to why action for contempt of court should not be taken against them for willful violation of the constitution bench judgement.

BJP MLA OP Sharma suspended for Winter session following derogatory remarks against AAP’s Alka Lamba

New Delhi: Amid relentless protests over Delhi BJP MLA Om Prakash Sharma’s derogatory remarks against AAP legislator Alka Lamba, Speaker Ram Niwas Goel on Thursday suspended him for the rest of the ongoing Winter session of the Assembly and referred his matter to House Ethics Committee.

However, all six women MLAs and other ruling party legislators were adamant for permanent suspension of Sharma from the House, but the Speaker decided to suspend the BJP legislator till December 4 after the House passed a proposal to take strict action against him by voice vote.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

As uproar continued in the Assembly, the Speaker had to adjourn the House twice.

Najafgarh MLA Kailash Gahlot moved a privilege motion against Sharma for his remarks against the Speaker, who later suspended the BJP legislator after the House passed a proposal against him by voice vote.

On November 24, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had moved a proposal to hand over the matter of Sharma to the Assembly Ethics Committee. Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra in Thursday proposed the same.

Demanding permanent Sharma’s suspension from Assembly, AAP’s six women MLAs, sporting black badges, sat in the well of the House, saying that he be “jailed” for his behaviour.

Sisodia urged the MLAs to withdraw their protest. However they did not relent.

All the women MLAs called off their protest after Speaker assured them that the Ethics Committee’s report will be tabled in the next Assembly session.

“Six women MLAs represent the Delhi’s women inside the Assembly. We will not tolerate the insult of women. Sharma has no right to continue as legislator,” AAP MLA Rakhi Birla said in the House.

The nine-member Ethics committee oversees the moral and ethical conduct of members and examines complaints relating to unethical conduct of a member referred to it by the House or Speaker.

Earlier in the day, leader of Opposition in the Assembly Vijender Gupta and MLA Jagdish Pradhan walked out of the House in protest against non-acceptance of privilege motion under Section 66 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Delhi.

Gupta along with Om Prakash Sharma and Pradhan sat in protest till evening outside the Assembly Hall near Gandhi statue.

Gupta also said that he informed that he had moved the motion under Section 66 in the morning but it was “arbitrarily” turned down by the Speaker.

Speaker Goel had suspended Sharma till November 26 for using derogatory language against the Lamba during a discussion on night shelters.

PTI

MoD panel recommends cutting down service litigation cases through internal institutional mechanisms

“The committee has postulated practical, workable, reformatory and gradual solutions in its report,” the statement said.

With more than 10,000 cases related to service matters of the Armed Forces personnel stuck in tribunals, High Courts and the Supreme Court of India, an experts committee has recommended minimising litigation and grievances through strengthening institutional mechanisms so that the focus of the ministry of defence could remain on the core issues of governance and administration. The five-members committee set up by the defence minister Manohar Parrikar in July submitted a 509 -page report on Tuesday and made 75 recommendations on issues encompassing areas concerning service and pension matters, discipline and vigilance issues, matters concerning promotions and confidential reports, military justice, issues related to civilian employees and other potential areas of disputes.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The committee has identified practical on-ground solutions to reduce litigation, especially appeals, and steps towards reduction of heartburn, maintenance of harmony between employees and the establishment and balancing of rights of both parties which could lead to an increase in productivity and enable the government to focus upon its basic responsibilities,”an official statement by MoD said.”The committee has postulated practical, workable, reformatory and gradual solutions in its report,” the statement said.The committee comprised former Adjutant General Lieutenant t General Mukesh Sabharwal, former military secretary Lietenant General Richard Khare, former judge advocate general Maj Gen T Parshad, advocate and expert in service jurisprudence and member of International Society of Military Law Major Navdeep Singh and a disabled war veteran from Kargil war, Major DP Singh.

Government keen on passing 3 anti-graft bills in Winter session

Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh on Thursday said while the Lokpal Bill is pending with the Select Committee the government had consecutively listed the bill for amendment in Prevention of Corruption Act for seven days in Rajya Sabha during last session, but it could not be taken u

The government is keen on getting three crucial anti-corruption bills – Whistleblowers’ Protection, amendment in Prevention of Corruption Act and Lokpal – passed in the upcoming session of Parliament starting November 26.Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh on Thursday said while the Lokpal Bill is pending with the Select Committee the government had consecutively listed the bill for amendment in Prevention of Corruption Act for seven days in Rajya Sabha during last session, but it could not be taken up. “I will not go into the reasons of it but what I am trying to say is that we have not lagged behind. We have nothing to hide…and we will pursue these bills in the coming session on November 26,” Singh said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Minister said while fighting corruption, government intends that it does not cause “unwarranted intimidation” of officials. He said through amendment in Prevention of Corruption Act, government wants to introduce safeguards for officials at all levels. “We will act but act judiciously,” he said. Speaking at the valedictory function of 21st annual conference of CBI and Anti-Corruption Bureaux here today, Singh said government aims to complete the CCTNS by March 2017 which was initiated in 2009 but not much headway was made during the last six years for whatever reasons. “What had not happened in last six years, government had resolved to do it in one and a half years,” he said.The Minister said government is committed to maintain independence and autonomy of CBI to ensure that an environment can be provided to the agency where it can work with its full potential. “We are here as facilitators of the professionals not intimidators of the professionals,” he said. Later, speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the functions, he said, “We expect the Select Committee to furnish its reports as soon as possible so that we can move ahead with the Lokpal Bill.”On the recent comment of Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed on the religion of Chhota Rajan and Anup Chetia, Singh said terrorism has no religion. “A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist. Chhota Rajan case has been handed over to the CBI. The CBI under the present government enjoys absolute independence and liberty to function in the most professional manner. We should not attach motives,” he said. On ISIS, the Minister said the right authority to answer will be Home Ministry but added that the government is in cognisance of the entire sequence of events. We are prepared to face any kind of eventuality.

Government to compensate road developers in case of delays

Thirty-four projects will significantly benefit from this decision and infra sector will get a boost from the decision, while highways building will be fast-tracked.
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In yet another policy decision to fast-track highway building, the government today authorised NHAI to pay compensation to road developers, in case of delays not attributable to them, a move that will significantly benefit 34 stuck projects.The decision was taken in a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.”The Cabinet has taken a very bold decision to allow the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to go into the merits of each case and wherever the delays are not attributable to the developer, to extend the tolling period if that should be required and take such measures, which will once again revive these toll projects and get them to operation.” Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said briefing the media.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thirty four projects will significantly benefit from this decision and infra sector will get a boost from the decision, while highways building will be fast-tracked, he added.”The CCEA has given its approval for authorising National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to allow extension of concession period for all current projects in BOT (Toll) mode that are languishing during the construction period due to causes not attributable to the concessionaire,” an official statement said.It said such permission would be subject to conditions that include the tenure of the Operations Period as envisaged originally in the concession agreement may remain unchanged.This will result in a corresponding increase in concession period.”The decision regarding eligibility of projects for the extension of concession period, and the extent of time extension required may be taken by NHAI on a case to case basis based on the recommendation of the concerned Independent Engineer (IE). The concerned IE, both individual and the firm, shall be accountable for the assessment of the extension recommended in the concession period,” the statement said.Authority shall follow the guidelines while determining the period of delay not attributable to the concessionaire, it said adding, the projects using the special dispensation shall have to achieve physical completion in the next three years.The statement said NHAI will be authorised to pay compensatory annuities to the concessionaire corresponding to the actual period of delay not attributable to the concessionaire upon successful completion of the project, i.e on achieving COD.The number of annuities payable, including compensatory, will be capped by the number of annuities envisaged in the concession agreement.

Meeting of NDA leaders postponed due to Ashok Singhal’s death

Sources said the meeting of NDA leaders scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed due to the death of VHP patron Ashok Singhal in a Gurgaon hospital

Ashok Singhal

Government on Tuesday cancelled the meeting of NDA leaders convened on Wednesday to work out strategy ahead of the winter session of Parliament beginning November 26 that is expected to be stormy.Sources said the meeting of NDA leaders scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed due to the death of VHP patron Ashok Singhal in a Gurgaon hospital today. His cremation will take place on Wednesday. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu was to meet the leaders of all NDA allies at his residence to chalk out the government plans on its legislative business and floor coordination plans amid indications of the Opposition parties closing ranks on various issues.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Naidu will hold a meeting with NDA leaders later now and with all other Opposition parties within a week. Lok Sabha Speaker holds an all-party meeting a day or two before the Session begins. The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh met here on November 9, a day after BJP’s rout in Bihar polls, and decided to hold the session between November 26 and December 23.Reaching out to the Opposition to pass key reform bills, Naidu had urged them not to interpret the Bihar polls result as a “mandate to disrupt Parliament”.

Supreme Court asks states to submit report on girl child ratio

It said the appropriate authorities “shall submit quarterly progress report to the Government of India through the State Government” on tenth day of the succeeding month after a quarter.

Representational image

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked all states and union territories to submit by the month-end their quarterly reports with the Centre on issues including registration of birth, to ascertain the girl child ratio in the country.A bench of justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh expressed unhappiness over non-filing of reports by various states under Rule 18A of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostics Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Rules.It said the appropriate authorities “shall submit quarterly progress report to the Government of India through the State Government” on tenth day of the succeeding month after a quarter.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During the hearing, the bench was informed that the court -appointed National Inspection and Monitoring Committee has been supplied with requisite information by Odisha government on prosecution of offenders under the PC-PNDT Act and convictions of the accused and the sex ratio in the state.It also expressed displeasure over the declining sex ratio of girl child in Odisha where it has gone down below 900 in two districts.Earlier, the court had expressed displeasure over the conduct of various governments for not giving wide publicity to its directions on female foeticide on strict implementation of law prohibiting sex determination.The court had noted that Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of sex selection) Act has been in operation from 1994 but only 159 cases have been instituted and 126 cases are pending since 2012-2013 in various courts in Bihar.

FDI in Defence: Congress unwilling to support Modi government’s decisions

Interacting with reporters here, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said, “We make it clear this will not be supported, there is no national consensus. We are for FDI, we are for FDI in defence also but we cannot have those checks removed in a sensitive sector like defence

Noting that “there is no national consensus” on easing of FDI norms in the defence sector, Congress on Friday said it would not support the move as “we cannot have those checks removed” in such a sensitive sector.Interacting with reporters here, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said, “We make it clear this will not be supported, there is no national consensus. We are for FDI, we are for FDI in defence also but we cannot have those checks removed in a sensitive sector like defence. We cannot have scrutiny and cabinet committee approval done away with.” He said the erstwhile UPA-II government had increased FDI in defence to 49% but there was a condition that there would be scrutiny by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) approval.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This government has dispensed with any FIPB scrutiny or CCS approval for FDI up to 49% and put it under automatic route,” Sharma said, adding that his party opposes this decision firmly. The government had on November 11 relaxed foreign direct investment norms in the defence sector by allowing FDI up to 49% under automatic route and beyond that through the FIPB’s approval. It had also done away with the earlier requirement of mandatory permission from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) beyond 49%.The Congress leader said that while an impression was being given that these are just executive decisions but the government is obliged to come to Parliament also. “Once the FDI policy decisions are made, it’s mandatory that RBI will come up with a FEMA notification, which the government is obliged to table in both Houses of Parliament. And Parliament alone would ratify those notifications, both Houses independently,” Sharma, who is the Congress’ deputy leader in Rajya Sabha, said.”We equally have concerns about the opening up of the media sector, particularly the news and current affairs. In raising the FDI, it shall be opposed. We don’t want to create monopolies, we don’t want foreign media moguls to come and control Indian media, particularly news and current affairs,” Sharma added. He said it was also perhaps the first time such decisions had been taken without cabinet approval, which would be acquired later. “After the achievements in Bihar election, and before going to London, the Prime Minister has taken these decisions, perhaps to demonstrate that he has vision,” Sharma said.

OROP promise has been ‘fulfilled’, reiterates Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

“OROP was an election promise of the BJP and I feel the promise has been fulfilled. The notification was issued after consultations with 300 various ESAs. Para 6.4 of Koshiary Committee says the pay review in five years is an acceptable proposal,” Parrikar told the media here.

PTI
Despite the growing protest by defence veterans that the government has failed to deliver the One Rank One Pension (OROP), Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday reiterated that the promise on the scheme was fulfilled.”OROP was an election promise of the BJP and I feel the promise has been fulfilled. The notification was issued after consultations with 300 various ESAs. Para 6.4 of Koshiary Committee says the pay review in five years is an acceptable proposal,” Parrikar told the media here.He added that if the protesting veterans had any pending issues regarding the OROP notification, they could go to the Judicial Commission.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Defence Minister also slammed the ‘medal burning’ by the war veterans saying it was a disrespectful act.”Burning of medals or showing disrespect to the service medals is neither good for the nation nor to the Defence service. The medals are given in the Armed Forces for gallantry, performance or service to the nation and it is not a service condition,” Parrikar added.However, Major General (Retd.) Satbir Singh, who is leading the OROP protest against the government, denied the rumour of ex-servicemen burning their gallantry medals.”We have no knowledge and we have no plans for that at the Jantar Mantar. We do not want to burn it. Why should we burn it? If there is anything, we will see at that particular time,” Singh told ANI.He also lashed out at Parrikar for failing to deliver his promises on the OROP scheme and warned him to stop misleading the nation while daring him to meet with their delegation for an open discussion.

Delhi’s air quality fares bad on Diwali eve

The evening readings of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and System of Air Quality, Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) stations, when firecrackers started going off in various areas of the city, indicated a grim picture for the days to come.
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The capital’s air quality oscillated between ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ on the eve of Diwali, with fireworks and bursting of crackers during the festival expected to dangerously shoot up the level of suspended particulate matter. The evening readings of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and System of Air Quality, Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) stations, when firecrackers started going off in various areas of the city, indicated a grim picture for the days to come.PM 10 levels in Anand Vihar, a trans Yamuna locality, was recorded at 721 micrograms per cubic metre, seven times the safe limit of 100. PM 2.5 was at 219, also way above the safe limit of 219 as per DPCC readings at around 5 PM today. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>SAFAR station at north west Delhi’s Pitampura showed PM 2.5 and PM 10 readings at 303 and 297 respectively, that fell in the ‘very poor’ category. The international airport area also showed increased readings at 325 (PM 2.5) and 287 (PM10) respectively. Level of PM 2.5 and PM 10, fine particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs, were high across residential areas across the capital like Mandir Marg, Punjabi Bagh, R K Puram, Pusa Road, Civil Lines among others.The meteorological department on Monday cautioned that pollution level during Diwali night is expected to be “severe” due to bursting of firecrackers and advised those persons with heart and lung diseases to stay indoors. In all likelihood, air quality during Diwali-2015 is going to be inferior to that of Diwali-2014 owing to cooler temperature and downward shift of inversion layer, SAFAR’s Project In-charge, Gurfan Beig, said. The PM (particulate matter) 2.5 level is expected to be 148 per cent on November 12, the day after Diwali, and 170 per cent in case of PM 10.Noida, Delhi University (North) are expected to record high level of pollution while Lodi Road and Mathura Road will witness less pollution, SAFAR said.

Government hopes parties would extend cooperation in Winter session

The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) headed by the Home Minister decided that the Winter Session of the Parliament will be held between November 26-December 23

Rajnath Singh

Government on Tuesday hoped all political parties will extend cooperation to it in passing crucial bills in Parliament during the forthcoming Winter Session beginning November 26.”We hope that everyone, all political parties will cooperate in the House and help us to pass the bills which are in the interests of the country,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh told reporters at a ‘Diwali Milan’ function.”All should help us,” he said. There are eight pending bills in Lok Sabha and 11 in Rajya Sabha. Among the crucial legislations which are pending for Parliamentary approval include GST Bill.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) headed by the Home Minister on Monday decided that the Winter Session of the Parliament will be held between November 26-December 23, including a special two-day sitting on the first two days of the session to commemorate the adoption of the Indian Constitution on November 26, 1949, and honour its architect, Dalit icon BR Ambedkar.

AIDS preventive medicine available from December in Sonagachi

One of Asia’s largest red light districts, Sonagachi will next month roll out an experimental project for providing HIV-preventive medicine to sex workers in what will be the first such initiative in the country.

File photo of Sonagachi sex workers

One of Asia’s largest red light districts, Sonagachi will next month roll out an experimental project for providing HIV-preventive medicine to sex workers in what will be the first such initiative in the country.The feasibility project recently received clearance from the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and Union Health Ministry and is likely to commence in December.”We recently gave clearance to this project. It is a feasibility project. It is for the first time that such a project is being taken up in India,” national programme officer at NACO, BB Rewari, said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Under the project, ‘Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis’ (PrEP), regular medicine would be given to an HIV-negative sex worker who engages sexually with an HIV-positive person, said a senior official of an NGO working for the welfare of sex workers.The medicine is designed to prevent sex workers from HIV infection, said Samarjit Jana principal of the NGO, Sonagachi Research and Training Institute (SRTI).”We have already started survey of HIV-positive and HIV- negative sex workers in Sonagachi. We hope the project will start from December this year,” Jana said.The project is to be financed by the Melinda Gates Foundation.SRTI is an arm of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC), a forum of 1,30,000 sex-workers in West Bengal.According to Protim Roy, a doctor associated with the project, an awareness drive for the campaign has already been taken up among the sex workers.Jana said that the use of condoms and taking PrEP medicine everyday would offer double protection against HIV infection.”We all know that use of condoms has brought down the prevalence of HIV, but often customers do not use condoms. In such cases and in cases of defective condoms, the virus can infect a person. This can be prevented by regular intake of such a medicine,” he explained.Rewari agreed that PrEP has the potential to bring down the HIV risk factor by 60-70% among high-risk groups such as sex-workers.

Bihar elections 2015: Result a sign of transformation, says Ashok Chavan

The Congress workers celebrated the victory of Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad Yadav combine at party’s headquarters at Tilak Bhavan in Dadar.

Terming the Bihar election result a defeat for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress state unit president Ashok Chavan on Sunday said the victory for the Nitish Kumar-led mega-alliance was indicative of political transformation in the country. Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), meanwhile, issued a press release following the results.The Congress workers celebrated the victory of Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad Yadav combine at party’s headquarters at Tilak Bhavan in Dadar. Chavan pointed out that soon after BJP came to power, the country witnessed an increasing intolerance. He said writers, poets and artists were returning their awards to protest against this growing intolerance. He added that Bihar results have shown that not only artists or intellectuals, but even the common man is annoyed with this atmosphere.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chavan said Congress greatly contributed to the mega-alliance’s victory, as the party improved its performance in Bihar. He said the Congress strength in Bihar assembly growing from 4-24 would strengthen the campaign launched by party president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Congress suspends former MP Sircilla Rajaiah embroiled in death case of daughter-in-law and grandsons

Rajaiah, his wife Madhavi and son Anil Kuamr were arrested following death of the four family members in a blaze that broke out at their house in Warangal in the wee hours on November 4.

Former Congress MP Sircilla Rajaiah
File Photo

Congress on Sunday suspended from the party its former MP Sircilla Rajaiah, who was arrested for his alleged role in the death of his daughter-in-law and three grandsons.”Rajaiah has been suspended from the Party,” Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) working president Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka told PTI. He, however, did not specify the period of suspension.Rajaiah, his wife Madhavi and son Anil Kuamr were arrested following death of the four family members in a blaze that broke out at their house in Warangal in the wee hours on November 4.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following a complaint, a case was registered against Rajaiah, his wife Madhavi and son Anil Kumar at Subedari police station under sections 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 306 (abetment to suicide) of IPC, and under section 174 (suspicious death) of CrPC for the death of three boys.Following the incident, 62-year-old Rajaiah, who was nominated by the Congress as its candidate for the Warangal Lok Sabha by-election slated for November 21, was replaced by former Union Minister Sarve Satyanarayana as the party’s candidate.

Congress to intensify stir on Andhra Pradesh special status issue

Centre should implement all promises made in the AP Re-organisation Act, he added.

The state unit of Congress on Friday decided to intensify its agitation on the issue of special status for Andhra Pradesh from Monday. The decision was taken at the executive committee meeting of Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee under president N Raghuveera Reddy’s chairmanship. C Ramachandraih, the party’s floor leader in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council told reporters about the resolutions passed during the executive committee meeting. “The party would intensify the agitation. The stir would be taken in a phased manner from November 9 till the end of the month over our demand to the Centre to accord special status,” he said. Centre should implement all promises made in the AP Re-organisation Act, he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In another resolution, the party condemned the attitude of NDA Government for its attempt to undermine the contributions made by the country’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru,” Ramachandraih said. Congress would take up a campaign on November 14, the birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru, at all the district headquarters, to focus on his contribution to the nation before and after the independence. He said that on that day, a large scale public meeting would be conducted by the party at Guntur.In another resolution, the party demanded that the state government fulfilled all promises made by the TDP during last general elections. “The party feels that the TDP government failed to implement the crop loan waiver to all farmers as well as women under the Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWACRA) scheme,” he said.

Bihar records highest voter turnout after five grueling phases

Record 60 per cent turnout in the fifth phase; overall polling stands at 56.8% which is a huge jump from 2010 assembly elections

Voters waiting in a queue to cast their votes during the fifth phase of Bihar elections in Madhepura on Thursday

PTI
Grueling Bihar assembly elections came to end on Thursday with a record 60 per cent turnout in the fifth and final phase for 57 seats in nine districts of Bihar. The voter turnout for the corresponding seats was 55.44% in 2010 assembly elections and 59.41% in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.Witnessing one of the shrillest electoral battles that regularly swayed between caste and communal lines often warranting the election commission to step in and pass strictures, Bihar in all five phases overall polled 56.8% which is a huge jump from 2010 assembly elections when the turnout was 52.65%.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The overall turnout is marginally more than the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in which Bihar recorded 55.38% turnout and gave a landslide victory to BJP. The Bihar election is being viewed as a battle between the credibility of incumbent chief minister Nitish Kumar of JD (U) and popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who spent most of his time campaigning in Bihar.So high were the stakes in Bihar this time that despite strict strictures of Election Commission the political parties kept flouting the rules and a day before the final poll day, the commission had to step in with full force to direct that no publication of advertisements will take place in print media before being shown and cleared by Media Certification and Media Monitoring Committee (MCMC).A key aspect of the elections was continuous high percentage of women voters who are being considered to be one of the deciding factors. In the fifth phase they again polled higher than their men counterpart with 63.6 per cent. In comparison the men polled 56.05%.Barring efforts to polarize the voters, Bihar saw a peaceful election despite Maoist threat. The election commission had deployed 3.26 lakh polling personnel and 2.79 lakh police personnel, including over 77,000 central paramilitary personnel, to conduct peaceful and fair elections.Over Rs. 38 crore, including foreign currency were seized during the entire duration of polls, including 8 kgs of gold and 189 kgs silver. Over 2.6 lakh litres of liquor worth Rs. 3.5 crore was also seized during the elections. How Bihar voted2010 Assembly 2014 Lok SabhaDistricts 2015 Madhubani 55.87 48.61 54.42 Supaul 58.60 60.61 62.58 Araria 62.00 60.3 60.44 Kishanganj 64.31 58.98 63.89 Purnea 62.95 60.25 62.26 Katihar 67.27 62.33 67.92 Madhepura 57.84 59.44 60.76 Saharsa 50.78 53.04 56.24 Darbhanga 58.27 47.58 53.11

‘Occupy UGC’: Yogendra Yadav to spend night at protest venue

As the ‘Occupy UGC’ movement entered 15th day on Tuesday, Yadav along with Swaraj Abhiyan leaders marched from Constitution Club to the UGC office near ITO where students have been camping

Yogendra Yadav

Swaraj Abhiyan leader and former UGC member Yogendra Yadav on Tuesday decided to spend a night with the students protesting outside the Commission’s against scrapping of non-NET fellowships.As the ‘Occupy UGC’ movement entered 15th day on Tuesday, Yadav along with Swaraj Abhiyan leaders marched from Constitution Club to the UGC office near ITO where students have been camping. Earlier in the day, a resolution was passed in the Swaraj Abhiyan Youth Summit, rejecting UGC’s decision to scrap the fellowship as “non-acceptable”. “We welcomed this protest on the very first day. I know what happens inside the commission, I have earlier also said that this committee was constituted to expand the scope of the fellowship and not to discontinue them. Today, I will sit the entire night with the protesters,” Yadav said while addressing the protesting students.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The protesters burnt effigy of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleging that their fellows who conducted a similar protest in Kolkata yesterday were lathicharged by police. Students from Allahabad University also joined the “Occupy UGC” protesters on Tuesday. Besides Yogendra Yadav, former AAP leaders Anand Kumar, Prashant Bhusan and Dharamveer Gandhi also came to the protest venue to express solidarity with the students.”The government is anti-people. The only thing that they do is issue diktats what to wear, what to eat, whom to marry.They are cutting funds in education we will fight them inside Parliament and outside too,” Gandhi said. UGC had resolved to discontinue the scheme of non-National Eligibility Test (NET) fellowship, which is provided to those undertaking research in central universities across India, in a meeting held on October 7, citing shortage of resources. Amidst protests by the students against the scrapping of the non-NET fellowship, the government had last week appointed a five-member panel to review the research grants offered by UGC, which, meanwhile, has been asked to continue all existing grants.The students, however, have been continuing their protests as they rejected the government’s statement as an “eyewash” and are demanding that the review criterion be changed and the fellowship amount increased. “The committee is non-committal about extending the fellowship to all state universities or increasing the amount… The Review Committee constituted by MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development) has members with questionable credentials,” Sucheta De, one of the protesters, said.On Monday, the ‘Occupy UGC’ movement had spread to other parts of the country with students holding similar agitations in Kolkata, Pune, Allahabad and Varanasi. Today, students from Madurai Kamaraj University, Tamil Nadu also held an agitation outside the regional UGC office.

KDMC: BJP offers to share mayor’s post with Shiv Sena

The offer came a day after Sena hinted at a truce with BJP following bad blood between the two parties in the run-up to the election

In a bid to break the deadlock due to the hung verdict in the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) polls, BJP has come up with a power-sharing formula involving rotational sharing of the mayor’s post with Shiv Sena, the single-largest party.The offer came a day after Sena hinted at a truce with BJP following bad blood between the two parties in the run-up to the election. “BJP has offered to give mayor’s post to Sena for four years and one year to itself (in KDMC). While the chairmanship of the Standing Committee is to be held by BJP and Sena for three and two years, respectively,” a senior BJP leader said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He cited the power-sharing agreement which is in place between the two parties in the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation, where Sena is to hold the mayoral post for a period of four years and the BJP for one year.Alliance partners at the Centre and in Maharashtra, Sena and BJP had, however, separately contested the KDMC election with the cut and thrust of campaigning characterised by mudslinging.While Sena emerged as the single largest party with 52 seats, BJP improved its tally handsomely to bag 42 seats. Sena is 10 short of the magic figure of 62 in the 122-member body. When contacted, a Sena leader said his party now enjoys the support of three Congress corporators and four Independents, taking its numbers to 57. “We had extended support to four of the Independent candidates put up by the ’27 Gaon Sangharsh Kruti Samiti’ for the November 1 KDMC election,” he said.On the BJP’s offer of sharing power, he said the party was at the same time engaging in horse-trading. The election for the mayor’s post is held by a secret ballot and, as per rules, should be held on November 11.While the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) won nine seats in KDMC, Congress and NCP won four and two seats, respectively.Among other parties, BSP and the All India Majlis-e- Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) won one seat each. Independents bagged nine seats. While KDMC has 122 seats, voting took place for 117 seats as two wards had boycotted the polls while three corporators were elected unopposed.

Sonia Gandhi meets President Mukherjee ahead of march against intolerance tomorrow

Gandhi was with the President for about half-an-hour during which they are understood to have discussed the current political situation.

Sonia Gandhi

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Monday met President Pranab Mukherjee ahead of the proposed march by party leaders to Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday to request him to invoke his constitutional powers to stem the “atmosphere of intolerance”.Gandhi was with the President for about half-an-hour during which they are understood to have discussed the current political situation. Congress sources, however, described it as a courtesy call. The Gandhis and other party leaders will march from Parliament House to Rashtrapati Bhavan to plead with the President that as head of the nation, he should ensure an end to “the atmosphere of intolerance, intemperate behaviour, violence and communal polarisation”, Congress sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Members of the Congress Working Committee, AICC General Secretaries and office-bearers and party MPs will be part of the delegation meeting the President, who has repeatedly sought to underline the need to preserve India’s core values of diversity, tolerance, and plurality. The move by the main opposition party came in the backdrop of protests by artistes, writers and scientists over alleged “rising intolerance” reflected in the Dadri lynching, beef row and other such incidents.BJP and Congress today locked horns over the issue of intolerance in the society, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the Congress president had no moral right to lecture the NDA on tolerance and it should “hang its head in shame” for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots where thousands were massacred. Congress hit back, contending like in 2002 post-Godhra violence, Modi has “forgotten Rajdharma” in 2015 too as he was an “endorser of intolerance by his studied silence” over acts of hate and violence.

Did Arvind Kejriwal know about AAP MP Bhagwant Mann’s alcohol problem?

AAP denied any such incident, with senior leader Sanjay Singh terming it as a conspiracy against the party.
File Photo
PTI
AAP MP Bhagwant Mann was at the receiving end of a crowd when he went to attend the ‘Bhog’ ceremony (ritual after death) of two Sikhs killed in police firing, forcing him to leave the venue. TV channels on Monday showed Mann facing an angry group of people who were heard accusing the MP of being in inebriated state at the ceremony in Punjab. Mann was not available for his reaction on the issue. He did not even respond to SMS.AAP denied any such incident, with senior leader Sanjay Singh terming it as a conspiracy against the party.”This a conspiracy against the party and there is no iota of evidence against him. There is no question of any disciplinary action against Mann. Show us one evidence and we will act. Our campaign against drugs will continue,” Sanjay Singh said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AAP spokesperson Deepak Bajpai also refuted the charges, saying Mann did not want to confront anyone at the ‘Bhog’ ceremony or create any scene and that is why he left the venue. However, opponents attacked Mann.”Mann’s problem of alcoholism was well known to AAP PAC (Political Affairs Committee). He was not made the Leader of Parliament party, as he would often go to Parliament smelling of alcohol,” claimed expelled AAP leader Prashant Bhushan in a tweet.Another expelled AAP leader Yogendra Yadav wrote on his Facebook post: “I discovered it first in July 2014 when AAP had a meeting of all its Lok Sabha candidates. Mann was sitting next to me and was smelling of alcohol. I mentioned it to Arvind Kejriwal and he nodded. Around this time I heard rumours that Mann was going to the Lok Sabha sessions drunk. One of his fellow MPs confirmed it to me…This matter came up in a PAC (Political Affairs Committee) meeting when Prashant Bhushan and I spoke about it. We said this was not just against parliamentary norms and public ethics, but also went against our anti-drug campaign in Punjab.”BJP leader Tarun Chug accused Mann of showing disrespect to Sri Guru Granth Sahib by attending the ‘Bhog’ ceremony and demanded “exemplary action” against him by AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.Chugh said if this was the kind of leadership Kejriwal was trying to provide to Punjab, then people of the state would have to think twice before responding to AAP chief’s calls and appeals.

12 held for Hazaribag clash during Muharram procession

One person was killed and nine other suffered injuries in the violence which broke out as a Muharram procession was taken out at Charowa Dam on Saturday.

An vehicle ablaze after communal riot during immersion procession of idol Goddess Duga in Hazaribagh on Saturday.

PTI
Twelve persons have been arrested in connection with the clash during Muharram procession in the district which had claimed one life.Deputy Commissioner of Hazaribag, Mukesh Kumar told reporters on Sunday that 12 persons have been arrested in connection with the Saturday’s violence and no untoward incident was reported from any part of Hazaribag.The Commissioner (North Chotanagpur Division), Veena Srivastava has ordered a magisterial inquiry to find out reasons behind the violence that forced police to open fire after all attempts to control the unruly mob including bursting of tear-gas shell and lathi charge failed, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kumar said a senior magistrate will head a five-member inquiry committee to probe the incident and also find out whether there was any lapse on the part of the district administration to deal with the situation.One person was killed and nine other suffered injuries in the violence which broke out as a Muharram procession was taken out at Charowa Dam on Saturday. The DIG (North Chotanagpur Division), Upendra Kumar said a rubber bullet was extracted from the body of the victim in post-mortem.Unfortunately, the rubber bullet, which is normally used by the police to ensure minimum injury, had hit the chest of the victim and punctured the heart, causing his death, the police official said.Earlier, Divisional Commissioner Srivastava held a meeting with the district officials and members of the Central Peace Committee. Srivastava described yesterday’s violence and police firing as unfortunate while appealing to people to maintain peace and tranquillity. She also appealed to the business community to keep their shops and business establishments open. However, barring few shops including chemists, majority of shops and markets in the town, remained closed today.As per the government provision, the Deputy Commissioner said a compensation of Rs 20,000 has been paid to the deceased Bahadur Sah Zafar’s family by the BDO of Katkumsandi Block, besides 100 kg foodgrain and promise to construct a house under ‘Indira Awas Yojana’.Asked about the demand of Rs 20 lakh compensation by the victim’s family and an employment to the widow of the man, Kumar said higher authorities would be apprised about the demand to take a decision.

Use of chemical weapons must be condemned: India

India completed the destruction of its chemical weapon stockpiles in 2009 within the stipulated time frame under the CWC.

UN council

India has called on the international community to be vigilant on non-state actors and terrorist groups seeking and using chemical weapons and said the use of such weapons anywhere and by anyone must be condemned. “The use of chemical weapons anywhere and by anyone must be condemned and the international norm against the use of chemical weapons must not be breached,” visiting Member of Parliament Abhishek Banerjee said at a debate on weapons of mass destruction at the First Committee of the General Assembly on Thursday. He said India contributed to international efforts under the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for the destruction of Syria’s declared chemical weapon stockpiles.”The international community should continue to be vigilant on non-state actors and terrorist groups seeking or using chemical weapons,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Given that disarmament is a primary goal of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the remaining possessor States should fulfil their obligations within the shortest possible time. India completed the destruction of its chemical weapon stockpiles in 2009 within the stipulated time frame under the CWC. The provisions of the Convention should be implemented in a manner that does not hinder legitimate activities, especially in countries like India with a large and growing chemical industry, he said adding that universality is fundamental to the success of the Convention. He voiced India’s commitment to improving the effectiveness of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and strengthening its implementation and its universalising. “We believe this is necessary in view of the new challenges to international peace and security emanating from proliferation trends, including the threat posed by terrorists or other non-state actors seeking access to biological agents or toxins for terrorist purposes,” he said. He also supported a robust consultation process among all States Parties leading to the Eighth Review Conference next year, so as to contribute to its success through preparations on substantive and procedural issues. He reiterated India’s commitment to maintaining the highest international standards with reference to control of nuclear, chemical, biological and toxin weapons and their means of delivery. “In this regard, India has made considerable progress in its engagement with the relevant multilateral export control regimes with a view to seeking full membership,” he said.

Pranab favoured for PM’s post in 1990, but Rajiv backed Chandra Shekhar: Former Indira aide reveals in book

New Delhi: Pranab Mukherjee was favoured by late President R Venkataraman to be the Prime Minister after the fall of V P Singh government in 1990 but Rajiv Gandhi thought otherwise.

This has come to light in a book entitled, The Chinar Leaves, written by veteran Congress leader and close aide of the Gandhi family M L Fotedar, who claims that when he met President Venkataraman to discuss the political situation in the wake of VP Singh’s resignation in 1990, the President told him emphatically that Rajiv should support Mukherjee.

The HarperCollins publication, due for release soon, also highlights how Mukherjee along with PV Narasimha Rao and Venkataraman were once considered by Indira Gandhi as those who could take over the Congress party after her until of course, she decided to bring her son Rajiv into politics as her political heir.

File photo. Image courtesy: PTIFile photo. Image courtesy: PTI

File photo. Image courtesy: PTI

Fotedar, currently member of the Congress Working Committee, writes that then President Venkatraman’s personal choice for the PM’s position left him surprised and he took time to recover his poise to ask the President, “Sir, how can that be done?”.

Hearing this, the President said again with an aura of authority that he should inform Rajiv about his choice.

“I came back and reported the developments to Rajivji, who was also astounded by RV’s stand. The Congress party was running out of options and Rajivji ultimately took the controversial decision of supporting Chandra Shekhar from outside,” Fotedar recalls in his book.

He adds that Chandra Shekhar, the former ‘Young Turk’ who had waited in the wings to become the country’s Prime Minister for nearly a decade, “jumped at the opportunity and took over the reins of power”.

The book also highlights how Mukherjee was made the Presidential candidate of the Congress by consensus to avoid a tricky and embarrassing situation for the party amid talks of then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s name cropping up with Mamata Banerjee suggesting it.

Talking about Sonia naming Manmohan Singh as the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate after the Vajpayee government fell, Fotedar says, “many within the party got to know that Soniaji’s first preference was Dr Singh. This irked some of the ambitious leaders, and Madhav Rao Scindia, who had prime ministerial ambitions, used his friend Amar Singh to make Mulayam Singh Yadav change his mind about supporting the Congress-led coalition government.”

On Manmohan Singh, the Sikh Congress man picked for PM’s post, Fotedar says the choice reflected the “astute political mind” of Sonia Gandhi since Singh had no political base and could never become a threat to her leadership. He also belonged to the Sikh community which had been extremely hostile to the Gandhi family because of Operation Blue Star and subsequently the riots following Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

“It was Soniaji’s way of extending the olive branch for the sake of the security of her children,” he said. Fotedar has been Indira Gandhi’s former political secretary who rose to become a union minister. He is a senior member of Congress Working Committee.

PTI

Bengalis of Berhampur organising Durga Puja for 82 years now

Away from their homeland, the Bengali settlers in this Silk City of Odisha have kept alive their tradition of organising community Durga pujas.

Away from their homeland, the Bengali settlers in this Silk City of Odisha have kept alive their tradition of organising community Durga pujas.They have been celebrating Durga Puja for the last 82 years. The first Durga Puja was started by some Bengali employees in the then Bengal-Nagpur Railway at the railway station area of Berhampur in 1933, claimed an elderly Bengali resident Surojit Sarkar.”As we had started the Durga Puja in the town for the first time, we had named it as the Adi (first) Durga Puja,” Sarkar said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to Sushant Ghosh, president, Adi Durga Puja Committee, the Bengalis established a permanent pandal at Chatterjee lane, near Old Bus Stand to celebrate the Durga Puja.”We are celebrating the Durga Puja and other rituals since 1998 in the pandal,” Ashok Kumar Jana, a member of the puja committee, said.Besides the Bengali families, people of other communities too gathered here during the puja period,” added Sibani Roy, general secretary of the committee.She said that Durga Puja was an occasion for the get-together of Bengali families residing in the town. Around 350 Bengali families are in the town.”Even though we are celebrating Durga Puja for last 82 years, we are not alienated from Bengali culture. The priests, cooks and the artists to make the idol have brought from West Bengal. Our aim is to keep alive the Bengali tradition while celebrating the Durga Puja,” added Jana.During the festive period, children from the community are performing cultural programmes. Baul Sangeet and the songs dedicated to Maa are performed by the children, while the dhaki, the musical instrument was played by the experts from Midnapore, he added.

Pranab was favoured for PM’s post in 1990, but Rajiv said no: Former Indira aide ML Fotedar

New Delhi: Pranab Mukherjee was favoured by late President R Venkataraman to be the Prime Minister after the fall of V P Singh government in 1990 but Rajiv Gandhi thought otherwise.

This has come to light in a book entitled, “The Chinar Leaves”, written by veteran Congress leader and close aide of the Gandhi family M L Fotedar, who claims that when he met President Venkataraman to discuss the political situation in the wake of V P Singh’s resignation in 1990, the President told him emphatically that Rajiv should support Mukherjee.

The HarperCollins publication, due for release soon, also highlights how Mukherjee along with P V Narasimha Rao and Venkataraman were once considered by Indira Gandhi as those who could take over the Congress party after her until of
course she decided to bring her son Rajiv into politics as her political heir.

File photo. Image courtesy: PTIFile photo. Image courtesy: PTI

File photo. Image courtesy: PTI

Fotedar, currently member of the Congress Working Committee, writes that then President Venkatraman’s personal choice for the PM’s position left him surprised and he took time to recover his poise to ask the President, “Sir, how can that be done?”.

Hearing this, the President said again with an aura of authority that he should inform Rajiv about his choice.

“I came back and reported the developments to Rajivji, who was also astounded by R.V.’s stand. The Congress party was running out of options and Rajivji ultimately took the controversial decision of supporting Chandra Shekhar from outside,” Fotedar recalls in his book.

He adds that Chandra Shekhar, the former ‘Young Turk’ who had waited in the wings to become the country’s Prime Minister for nearly a decade, “jumped at the opportunity and took over the reins of power”.

The book also highlights how Mukherjee was made the Presidential candidate of the Congress by consensus to avoid a tricky and embarrassing situation for the party amid talks of then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s name cropping up with Mamata Banerjee suggesting it.

Talking about Sonia naming Manmohan Singh as the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate after the Vajpayee government fell, Fotedar says, “many within the party got to know that Soniaji’s first preference was Dr Singh. This irked some of the ambitious leaders, and Madhav Rao Scindia, who had prime ministerial ambitions, used his friend Amar Singh to make Mulayam Singh Yadav change his mind about supporting the Congress-led coalition government.”

On Manmohan Singh, the Sikh Congress man picked for PM’s post, Fotedar says the choice reflected the “astute political mind” of Sonia Gandhi since Singh had no political base and could never become a threat to her leadership. He also belonged to the Sikh community which had been extremely hostile to the Gandhi family because of Operation Blue Star and subsequently the riots following Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

“It was Soniaji’s way of extending the olive branch for the sake of the security of her children,” he said. Fotedar has been Indira Gandhi’s former political secretary who rose to become a union minister. He is a senior member of Congress Working Committee.

PTI

Punjab CM Prakash Singh Badal appeals to people to guard religious places

“I appeal to all Punjabis to be vigilant against those who try to disturb peace in the state by indulging in the heinous act of sacrilege of holy book and guard religious institutions in the state for 24 hours,” Badal said in an appeal which appeared in newspapers today.

Against the backdrop of Sikh protests in several parts of Punjab after alleged incidents of sacrilege, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday appealed to people to remain vigilant and guard religious institutions to thwart any attempt by “inimical forces” to disturb peace in the state.The appeal came after five-time CM expressed his deep pain and anguish over the alleged incidents of desecration of holy book in the state, at Akal Takht -the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion yesterday in Amritsar.”I appeal to all Punjabis to be vigilant against those who try to disturb peace in the state by indulging in the heinous act of sacrilege of holy book and guard religious institutions in the state for 24 hours,” Badal said in an appeal which appeared in newspapers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing pain at the alleged incidents of sacrilege of Sikhs holy book ‘Guru Granth Sahib’, Badal said that such heinous act had deeply wounded the psyche of every member of the peace loving community.He said the sacrilege incidents taking place in Faridkot (Bargari village), Tarn Taran (Bath village) and Ferozepur (Nazushah Mishri village) were part of a “deep conspiracy”.”The proof of such heinous act is that these incidents occurred at one time and in a similar fashion,” Badal said.He said under a deep conspiracy, the “divisive forces” were hell bent upon disturbing the hard-earned peace in the state.Punjab CM said that the state government was committed to thwart any attempt by “inimical forces” which are trying to pose danger to peace and prosperity of the state by indulging in “terrible” act of sacrilege of holy book.The state government is also committed to expose these forces and give exemplary punishment to those guilty of this unforgivable act, he noted.”I assure Punjabis that anybody who indulges in the heinous act will not be spared and strict action will be taken against him as per law so nobody could dare repeating such act in future,” Badal said.”Peace and brotherhood will be maintained at all cost in the state and nobody will be allowed to violate law,” he further said.Protests by angry Sikh activists continue in several parts of Punjab against the sacrilege of holy book.Meanwhile, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President Avtar Singh Makkar also appealed to Sikhs to be watchful and guard Gurdwaras in the state so as not to allow any anti-social elements to carry out desecration of holy book.

Meet Salim, a Muslim man in-charge of Durga Puja celebrations for 23 years in Raigarh

Raigarh (Chhattisgarh): In a unique example of communal harmony, a Muslim man has been presiding over Durga Puja celebrations in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh district for the past 23 years.

Sheikh Salim Niyariya, a 50-year-old Congress Corporator, has been managing ‘Handi Chowk Durga Committee’ at Handi Chowk area in Raigarh since 1992.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“Handi Chowk Durga Committee has three Muslim office bearers (out) of the total 25 members who play an active role in organising the puja,” Niyariya told PTI.

Muslim ‘karigars’ (artisans) are also a part of the team that decorates the deity’s pandal, he said.

Niyariya presently holds the post of Speaker of the Raigarh Municipal Corporation.

He not only incepted the Durga Puja by installing the Goddess’ idol but also initiated the culmination procession before idol immersion on Navmi (the ninth day).

He has also set up a Hanuman temple in the area.

“Peace and harmony of this locality is an example to the nation. Both Muslim and Hindu communities take part in each other’s festivals with full enthusiasm,” Niyariya asserted.

PTI

AAP demands sacking of NDMC Mayor in ‘corruption’ case

“MCD is ruled by the BJP in the last 13 years and there are many such cases of corruption, but we don’t get to see any concrete action,” he added.

“AAP believes that charges of this sort on a mayor is a very serious matter,” AAP’s Delhi unit convenor Dilip Pandey

AAP on Friday demanded sacking of North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) Mayor Ravinder Gupta in an alleged corruption case and claimed that he had asked for “bribe” from a person who was constructing a building in Karol Bagh area. “In this case, North Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor Ravinder Gupta is accused of demanding bribe. AAP believes that charges of this sort on a mayor is a very serious matter,” AAP’s Delhi unit convenor Dilip Pandey said at a news conference. Gupta was elected as the mayor in April this year. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pandey said that following a complaint by Mukesh Gupta, who raised the issued with the Standing Committee Chairman Prithvi Singh Rathore, the matter was referred to the Municipal Commissioner, but the party is not convinced with it. “We want the matter to be investigated in a free and fair manner by an independent agency. MCD is ruled by the BJP in the last 13 years and there are many such cases of corruption, but we don’t get to see any concrete action,” he added.

14-year-old domestic help abused, found unconscious in almirah in Gurgaon

The NGO officials said that the girl belonged to a tribal family from Gumla district in Jharkhand and was trafficked to Delhi by an uncle

Representational Image

A teenage girl from Jharkhand was found in an almirah in a businessman’s house in Gurgaon’s Krishna Colony on Wednesday during a rescue operation.The 14-year-old girl was allegedly working in the house as a domestic help and was constantly abused. The rescue operation was carried out by the NGO Shakti Vahini along with the local police. The NGO officials said that the girl belonged to a tribal family from Gumla district in Jharkhand and was trafficked to Delhi by an uncle. The officials also added that the girl was found with bruises and a deep cut on her back. The NGO members further stated that the gir;’s legs were swollen and she had marks near her eyes. She was soon taken to a Civil Hospital. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rishikant of Shakti Vahini said, “She was employed by the businessman’s family around seven months ago. She was taking care of the family’s twin children. When we first went inside the house at about 5.30 pm, the girl was nowhere to be seen. The police, during the first raid, could not find the girl. Later, the police received a similar complaint on the helpline number.The girl was found in an unconscious state,” a leading daily reported.The girl later said that she was only given two chapattis per day and was beaten several times with a wiper daily. In her statement to Child Welfare Committee, she also said that she was assaulted with knife too. According to sources, authorities are currently questioning the wife of the businessman as he is not in town.

Tackling climate change goals shouldn’t mean poor are left hungry: India

Narang stressed that the poor of the world need fair access to their share of the world’s resources, environmental space and of its consumption

International cooperation to tackle climate change and “going green” should not mean hundreds of millions are left “hungry” or “homeless”, India has said, stressing that the world’s poor must have a fair access to global resources and environmental space.”We will help the fight against poverty if we address the problem of climate change and environmental degradation consistent with the principle of equity,” Counsellor in the India’s Permanent Mission here Amit Narang said at a Second Committee session on poverty eradication in the UN General Assembly yesterday. He said the “urgent imperative of ‘going green’ should not mean hundreds of millions ‘going poor’ or ‘going hungry’, millions ‘going homeless’ or millions of children condemned to a permanent state of poverty.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Narang stressed that the poor of the world need fair access to their share of the world’s resources, environmental space and of its consumption. “International cooperation on finding a solution to issues such as climate change must ensure that the burden of the problem does not fall on those who contributed least to it but who still bear its heaviest burden,” he said. He pointed out that over a billion people, twice the combined population of Europe live a life of absolute poverty; some 805 million are chronically undernourished and over 1.5 billion lack access to essential medicines.He further added that at least a third of human deaths annually, almost 18 million can be attributed to poverty related causes. In the backdrop of these dismal numbers, Narang said world leaders declared last month that there can be no sustainable development as long as poverty and hunger persist when they adopted the ambitious post 2015-development agenda.”We hope that under the new development agenda, we will attack the problem of poverty more directly, with all our resources and with all our imagination,” he said. He noted that the international community’s experience under the Millennium Development Goals is clear witness that poverty will be reduced when there is robust and sustained inclusive economic growth in developing countries, when developing countries build infrastructure and when they enhance industrialisation and innovation in their economies.

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