Yuva Sai Sagar

Online news channel!

Tag: department

Animal Welfare Board advises Centre not to allow jallikattu, claims PETA

“We want to respect that but also ensure that there should be no cruelty. Therefore, we will give you good news in the next couple of days. We will give you good news so that the cultural practice can be followed as well as cruelty should not happen to animals. We have found out some ways and will announce by January 1. The government is positive on the issue,” he had said.

<!– –>

0
0
3

TOP
<!– /.block –>TOP <!– /.block –>
<</h2>
UP CM Akhilesh Yadav attends ‘Saifai Mahotsav’ <!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
Also ReadIndiaEminent writer Mahasweta Devi hospitalisedIndiaAnimal Welfare Board advises Centre not to allow jallikattu, claims PETAIndiaUP CM Akhilesh Yadav attends ‘Saifai Mahotsav’IndiaOdd-Even Rule: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal asks his ministers to lead by example IndiaAfter Modi’s barbs, Congress accuses him of ‘confrontational mindset’IndiaUttar Pradesh: Beat rape accused with shoes, panchayat tells victim <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>New York Police Department foils suspected Islamic State backed attack on New Year’s eve<!– /.block –>UP CM Akhilesh Yadav attends ‘Saifai Mahotsav'<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
<!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Desktop_970x90_BTF –><!– /.block –><!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Tablet_728x90_BTF –><!– /.block –> <!– /#bottom_bar –>

<!– footer start –>

Partner site: Zee News
©2016 Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.

<!– footer end –>
<!– ExpCom CGP –>

Almost 53% Delhiites feel okay with undergoing cosmetic surgery to improve looks

From smoothening the skin and erasing wrinkles to getting a sculpted physique or a slim waist, the desire to look like a magazine cover model is not just a teenage whim anymore.A recent study, Cosmetic Plastic Surgery and Consciousness of Appearance Survey-2015, has revealed a growing aspiration amongst residents of Delhi-NCR across all age groups to look their sharpest. While 41% of the women surveyed believe that cosmetic surgery is the most effective way to reshape the body, the men were not behind as 37 % of them agreed it was so.Also, 47% of the women and 42 % of the men who took part in the survey believe that plastic surgery helps attract potential partners. As many as 52 % of the women respondents felt that plastic surgery helps increase professional opportunities while among men, 37 % believed so.The survey, which was conducted online from October 10 to 24, covered 709 people (193 men and 516 women) aged 25 years and older, including employed professionals, housewives, students and retired professionals.While 51.7 % of the respondents agreed or somewhat agreed that there has been a shift in the attitude of Indians towards plastic surgery, 50 % of them said that they would consider going for plastic surgery in the future.More than half of those who took part in the survey, 53 %, believe that spending money on improving one’s appearance is an investment. The report was released by the Department of Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery at Max Super Speciality Hospital here.”Cosmetic surgery has existed in India for more than four decades now, but Indians continued to refer to it in hush-hush tones. “53 % of the people surveyed view cosmetic surgery as an investment. This is definite proof that people are now looking at plastic surgery as a valid scientific means of improving appearance,” said Dr Sunil Choudhary, Director, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery at the hospital, who had conducted the survey.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Nitish Kumar to do a Kejriwal? Bihar CM seeks ban on 15 year-old diesel vehicles in state

“);
}
$(‘.social-sticky’).addClass(‘sticky-social-top’);
}else{
$(‘.social-sticky’).removeClass(‘sticky-social-top’);
$(‘.social-sticky’).html(shtml);
}
});
}

Among the other measures, the Chief Minister said a ban should be imposed on burning plastic and other solid waste materials within the confines of Patna Municipal Corporation.

Expressing concern over the alarming level of air pollution in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has directed concerned officials for banning 15-year-old diesel vehicles in the state capital among other measures to improve the situation. Presiding over a review meeting of the Environment and Forest Department last evening, he also directed officials to launch an awareness campaign among vehicle owners and drivers about the growing air pollution in order to elicit their cooperation against unnecessary blaring of hooters, sirens and horns.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Among the other measures, the Chief Minister said a ban should be imposed on burning plastic and other solid waste materials within the confines of Patna Municipal Corporation. With building materials being the prime cause of air pollution, he said that construction works must be carried out by covering the structure. Trucks and tractors supplying building materials, sand in particular, must have the same covered during transportation so that its particles do not pollute the air. Identifying brick kiln units located around embankment of the river Ganga in the state capital as another source of air pollution, the Chief Minister said that the Bihar Pollution Control Board (BPCB) should be delegated with powers to initiate against the brick kiln units that violate environment laws. The Chief Minister stressed on plantation of trees, poplar in particular, to check the rising air pollution and directed the Environment and Forest department officials to set up a market at Hajipur Bazar Samiti for marketing poplar plants. To encourage farmers to be a partner in tree plantation drive to improve forest coverage in Bihar, he issued directions to give them an incentive of Rs 10 each for first two years and Rs 15 in the third year for protection and care of saplings being planted on largescale in Bihar.

CBI claims to have recovered five audio recordings from Kejriwal’s secretary Rajendra Kumar

“);
}
$(‘.social-sticky’).addClass(‘sticky-social-top’);
}else{
$(‘.social-sticky’).removeClass(‘sticky-social-top’);
$(‘.social-sticky’).html(shtml);
}
});
}

Kumar has been booked under 120-B of IPC (criminal conspiracy), and 13(2), 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Criminal conspiracy, criminal misconduct etc) for allegedly favouring a private company in five contracts worth Rs 9.5 crore during 2007-14.

Rajendra Kumar

CBI has claimed to have recovered five voice recordings from the email account of Rajendra Kumar, Secretary to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, purportedly carrying his oral instructions to allegedly influence contracts in favour of Endeavour Systems.CBI sources on Wednesday said that Kumar who initially refused to share his email password to sleuths during his detailed examination had later provided the details. The sources claimed that scrutiny of his email account resulted in discovery of five audio recordings pertaining to the period of 2011-13 which carry his purported instructions to the officers handling tenders and contracts to allegedly manipulate and favour Endeavour Systems, which is also named in the FIR.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The voice samples of Kumar, a 1989-batch IAS officer of AGMUT cadre, have been taken as per legal procedures and matched forensically, the sources claimed adding that the said conversations could bring more people into scrutiny. The CBI said that it has registered a case against Kumar and others on allegations against the officer that he abused his official position by “favouring a particular firm in the last few years in getting tenders from Delhi government departments”.Kumar has been booked under 120-B of IPC (criminal conspiracy), and 13(2), 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Criminal conspiracy, criminal misconduct etc) for allegedly favouring a private company in five contracts worth Rs 9.5 crore during 2007-14.”The accused allegedly facilitated award of contracts worth Rs 9.50 crore(approx) to the said company through ICSIL and misused his official position as public servant. The accused were instrumental in award of projects to the said private company in Delhi Transco Ltd; Health and Family Welfare Department, GNCTD; Delhi Jal Board and Department of Trade and Taxes, GNCTD,” CBI had said in the statement after the registration of the case.

Punjab Health Minister now calls for a nationwide prohibition on alcohol

“);
}
$(‘.social-sticky’).addClass(‘sticky-social-top’);
}else{
$(‘.social-sticky’).removeClass(‘sticky-social-top’);
$(‘.social-sticky’).html(shtml);
}
});
}

The BJP minister had made the remarks on alcohol on Monday during an interaction after inaugurating a de-addiction centre at Gidderbaha in Muktsar district.

Punjab Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jyani.
File Photo

Two days after stating that he did not consider liquor an “intoxicant”, Punjab Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jyani in a U-turn on Wednesday said that alcohol was the “root cause of all ills” and favoured a countrywide prohibition and the closure of all distilleries.After facing flak from various quarters over his bizzare remark that “I don’t think ‘sharab’ (liquor) is an intoxicant,” the senior BJP leader, sought to clarify the context in which he had made the statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asked if he favours prohibition, the Minister addressing a press conference said, “There should be a ban. There should be a countrywide ban on alcohol. Today, I am saying in the media that ban alcohol and all distilleries should also be shut down.”When asked to comment on the controversy, the “teetotaller” minister said, “There has been a debate in the media quoting me as saying that alcohol is a good thing to have and that I don’t consider alcohol as an intoxicant. I have never said anything like that and have been quoted out of context as my statement was twisted”.”Let me clarify a few things, there is no bigger vice than alcohol. Alcohol is the root cause for all ills, for various problems, diseases, various crimes and it should not be consumed. When mediapersons had asked me a question about drug problem, I had said that I do not include people consuming alcohol in the addict category,” he said.Continuing further, he said, “For instance, (Congress leader) Rahul Gandhi had said 70 per cent youths in Punjab are addicted to drugs, some others say 60 per cent have fallen prey to the menace. When I was talking to mediapersons, I said I don’t want to count alcohol as addiction, reasoning that government gives licenses and we have liquor vends and excise policy in place.”He even narrated an old tale to highlight his point that alcohol was the root cause of various ills.”But the media said that I have become ambassador of alcohol. I said I will not take it as a factor in counting when we refer to addicts. If we start to link alcohol to include those who drink it as addicts, then you will find its (alcohol’s) presence in all spheres of life, including it being served in parties, in the Army, even in the Press Club, alcohol is there. If we say anyone who consumes alcohol is an addict, then its like defaming all of them,” he said.Replying to a question, he said, “I dont drink alcohol, I say there can be no bad thing than alcohol.” The BJP minister had made the remarks on alcohol on Monday during an interaction after inaugurating a de-addiction centre at Gidderbaha in Muktsar district.Jyani was holding the press conference here today on the works of his Department of Health and Family Welfare during 2015.

Top MEA, DAE officials trash reports of secret nuclear city, radioactive leaks

“);
}
$(‘.social-sticky’).addClass(‘sticky-social-top’);
}else{
$(‘.social-sticky’).removeClass(‘sticky-social-top’);
$(‘.social-sticky’).html(shtml);
}
});
}

Trashing reports of India building a secret nuclear city in Mysore and radioactive leaks at Jaduguda’s uranium mines, top government officials on Tuesday termed them as “deliberate distortion of facts” and assertedthe country’s nuclear establishment followed high safety standards prescribed by the IAEA.Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs and the Department of Atomic Energy also questioned the timing of a raft of articles in international publications questioning safety of India’s nuclear installations at a time when it was working hard to gain entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The timing of these articles are suspect. This is a month when we have got our first consignment of uranium from Canada and have signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Japan,” a senior government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.Speaking about Jaduguda uranium mines in Jharkhand, on which a series has been published by Centre for Public Integrity, an investigative journalism portal, a senior DAE official said the mine follows high safety standard and, even before operations commenced in the 1960s, Environmental Survey Laboratories were in place there.”Every worker working in the mines is given a dosimeter,” a DAE official said. A radiation dosimeter is a device that measures exposure to ionizing radiation. It has two main uses: for human radiation protection and for measurement of dose in both medical and industrial processes. The articles also questioned India’s use of enriched uranium to power its nuclear submarines. “There is no agreement that bans use of enriched uranium for nuclear submarines. Globally, there is 300 MT of enriched uranium which is used for nuclear submarines, of which US alone has half, owing to its large fleet,” a senior official said.Officials also rubbished reports of India building a secret nuclear city in Mysore. Sources said all security parameters are in place and the country uses a “multi-layer security” approach to protect its nuclear sites, which also deals with aspects like threats from insiders. After 9/11 terror attack, Anil Kakodkar headed International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s International Nuclear Safety Group’s (INSG) came out with security measures to be followed by its nuclear installations. India too follows the same guidelines in securing its nuclear sites. Kakodkar was also the Secretary of DAE when the historic Indo-US nuclear deal was signed.India and the US recently jointly conducted a seminar on ‘Prevention and Protection of Insider’s Threat’, which was attended by 15 countries. “India is party to major security conventions and this itself speaks about the our commitment to security of its nuclear establishments,” the official said.

ACB unearths assets worth several crores amassed by 2 Andhra Pradesh babus

“);
}
$(‘.social-sticky’).addClass(‘sticky-social-top’);
}else{
$(‘.social-sticky’).removeClass(‘sticky-social-top’);
$(‘.social-sticky’).html(shtml);
}
});
}

In a statement issued in Hyderabad, the anti-graft agency said that searches were conducted at the office and residential premises of G Suseela, Tahsildar, Sangam Mandal in Nellore district today.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Andhra Pradesh government on Saturday claimed to have unearthed assets worth crores of rupees amassed by two government officials through illegal means, in two separate cases. One of the officials has been arrested, the ACB said.In a statement issued in Hyderabad, the anti-graft agency said that searches were conducted at the office and residential premises of G Suseela, Tahsildar, Sangam Mandal in Nellore district today.”The searches resulted in unearthing of immovable assets of two houses at Bangalore, four houses in Nellore, 25 acres of land at Chegerla Nellore district and five plots at various places worth about Rs 2 crore,” it said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The officer has been arrested and will be produced before the ACB court, Nellore, the release added.In another case, the ACB conducted searches at the houses of D Ravikumar, Assistant Executive Engineer, Quality and Control, Panchayat Raj Department in Visakhapatnam, and his relatives. The searches were conducted on the tip-off that Ravikumar allegedly possessed disproportionate assets to his known sources of income, an official release said. Total assets, whose market value is about Rs 6 crore have been found, it added.

Over 6,600 posts for SC/STs lying vacant in Defence: Manohar Parrikar

“);
}
$(‘.social-sticky’).addClass(‘sticky-social-top’);
}else{
$(‘.social-sticky’).removeClass(‘sticky-social-top’);
$(‘.social-sticky’).html(shtml);
}
});
}

Parrikar said that the defence establishments have been instructed to put up their backlog vacancies of SC/ST on their respective websites.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
File Photo
PTI
Over 6,600 posts reserved for SC/STs are lying vacant in the defence sector, the Lok Sabha was informed on Friday.As per the data given by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in a written reply, there are 3,430 Schedule Caste backlog vacancy in the defence establishment and 3,182 Schedule Tribe posts in the defence establishment. The maximum vacancy was in the Department of Defence Production with 2,572 posts lying unoccupied (as of April 28, 2015). It was followed by the Navy (defence civilians) with 1,971 cases, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parrikar said that the defence establishments have been instructed to put up their backlog vacancies of SC/ST on their respective websites. They have also been advised to form a Committee of Officers to monitor the progress of backlog vacancies meant for SC/ST, he said.De-reservation of SC vacancies is being discouraged and concerned defence establishments are advised to avoid de-reservation of SC/ST vacancies in accordance with the guidelines and provisions of DoPT.

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.

Maharashtra government appoints Chandrakant Patil for border dispute with Karnataka

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

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

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

RTI online portal to be converted in Hindi: Govt

Till now, 463 public authorities have been aligned to the portal. It is proposed to extend the RTI online portal to more public authorities and also to make technical improvements in it during the next year, an order issued by the DoPT said.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
A website meant for filing of RTI applications will be converted into Hindi language as well, the government said on Monday. At present, the portal– www.rtionline.gov.in– is available in English language only.The website was launched in August 2013 by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) for all Central government ministries with a view to provide a facility to citizens to file RTI applications and first appeals online.Till now, 463 public authorities have been aligned to the portal. It is proposed to extend the RTI online portal to more public authorities and also to make technical improvements in it during the next year, an order issued by the DoPT said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Making RTI online portal available in Hindi language as well. Mobile application for RTI online portal,” said the scope of work made public by the government.Users will also get auto sms alerts and email if any modification is done in their account, it said. Besides, there will be more features for both the public authorities and citizens to improve interface and easy processing of RTI applications. The DoPT has sought comments from people on the proposed changes from people within 15 days.RTI users have also been complaining delayed response in processing their applications through the online portal. The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 empower a citizen to get time-bound response from government departments on their queries on governance.

Jammu and Kashmir tourism website hacked

The investigation into the matter is underway.
Representational Image

The J&K Tourism Department on Monday claimed that its website was hacked few days ago, which led to some of its content getting “destroyed”.”The Directorate of Tourism, Kashmir, has clarified that its website www.jktourism.org was hacked few days ago and some of its contents were destroyed,” a spokesperson of the department said.He said that the investigation into the matter is underway and further necessary safety measures to protect the content are being taken.The explanation came after a tender notice was posted on the department’s website inviting suppliers to deliver laptops and other equipment to Quad-e-Azam University in Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Would do anything to bring 2008 Mumbai attackers to justice: US

When told that Headley may provide a great deal of information about the attack, Kirby said, “I don’t have anything specific and it would be inappropriate for me to comment on an ongoing court case like that anyway.”

File Photo

The US on Saturday said it wants to see the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attack brought to justice and will do anything to support India in this regard.”…we want to see the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack brought to justice and obviously continue to want to do anything we can to support Indian authorities in that task,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Friday when asked about David Headley turning approver after being pardoned by a Mumbai court. Headley is currently serving 35-year prison sentence in the US for his role in the Mumbai terror attack.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When told that Headley may provide a great deal of information about the attack, Kirby said, “I don’t have anything specific and it would be inappropriate for me to comment on an ongoing court case like that anyway.” “Again, we share an interest in seeing the Mumbai attackers being brought to justice a terrible, dastardly terrorist attack,” he said. Kirby said India is a very close friend and partner.”I think it’s self-evident in recent years that both our countries have fallen victim to terrorist attacks and continue to need to be on to be vigilant about terrorism perpetrated against our citizens, and so it makes perfect sense that we would look for ways to cooperate more closely and to improve the flow of information between our two countries,” he said.Asked if the State Department was playing any role in intelligence and information sharing on terrorists as mentioned by Indian defence minister Manohar Parikkar after his meeting with US Defence Secretary Ash Carter, he said, “I can’t speak for the Defence Department. As for the State Department, we have we maintain good, strong relations with our counterparts in the Indian Government.”I won’t speak about intelligence matters, but I can tell you that that relationship remains strong, remains vibrant, and the Secretary s interest is very clear in making sure that the relationship continues to strengthen and grow going forward across a wide range of issues, not just security issues,” he added.

Delhi schools may remain shut for 15 days from Jan 1

We have received a proposal to shut schools between January 1 and 15. We are considering the proposal and if needed, government will announce holiday for all schools, Sisodia said.

The AAP government is contemplating shutting the city’s schools for 15 days from January 1 even they would be rolling out their ambitious odd-even vehicle scheme. Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said that government has received a proposal to close schools from January 1 to January 15. He said that children are most affected due to rising pollution and government will make a policy of odd-even formula considering them. “We have received a proposal to shut schools between January 1 and 15. We are considering the proposal and if needed, government will announce holiday for all schools,” Sisodia said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government officials said that there is a winter holiday in all government and private schools from December last week to the first week of January every year. If the Education Department declares holidays for 15 days between January 1 and 15, students’ studies will not be affected, he claimed. “Principals and teachers have to conduct a drive to make the students aware about the sudden increase in pollution level. 26 lakh students are studying in schools and the policy of odd-even formula will be made with their involvement,” Sisodia said.

Chennai Floods: PIL alleges faulty release of reservoir water, demands action against Tamil Nadu officials

Businessman-activist Rajiv Rai has filed a PIL in the Madras High Court on Thursday, asking for action to be taken against certain Tamil Nadu government officials.

Businessman-activist Rajiv Rai has filed a PIL in the Madras High Court on Thursday, asking for action to be taken against certain Tamil Nadu government officials.A report in The New Indian Express states that he has filed the PIL against those officials who were responsible for the unannounced and late release of water from the Chembarambakkam reservoir. Rai also asked for an investigation to be conducted by a high-powered committee headed by a former judge of the high court or Supreme Court as to why the flooding was caused in the city <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rai has alleged that the release of excess water on December 1 from the Chembarambakkam reservoir caused the flooding in the city. In his petition, he stated, “If one studies the levels of water in the various catchment tanks on a daily basis, one can see that the reservoirs had much greater inflow than outflow right through November 2015. Some Standard Operating Procedures ought to have been in place whereby water was let off from Chembarambakkam and other reservoirs in stages and not held back till the fateful night of December 1, 2015.”The petition alleges that state Chief Secretary K Gnanadesikan waited for three days after the Public Works Department (PWD) wrote to him on November 29 to release water from the Chembarambakkam reservoir. “The chief secretary, even though he was well aware of the reports that there was going to be heavy downpour for a few more days, didn’t direct the release of the water when he received the warning from PWD. The said act of the chief secretary and other officials is willful and resulted in loss of over 280 lives and caused damage to property… Court should form an independent committee to investigate the matter and punish the officials for failure to perform their duty, as it amounted to nothing short of manslaughter,” stated the PIL.

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.

Bihar government provides sanitary napkins to girl students

The money for sanitary napkins has been made available under “Mukhyamantri Kishori Swasthya Karyakram”.

Sanitary napkins

Bihar government has started providing free sanitary napkins to adolescent girl students in government schools to help them maintain hygiene. State Education minister Ashok Choudhary told reporters that school girls from class VIII to X have been provided Rs 150 each for buying sanitary napkins for themselves. A sum of Rs 57.87 crore has been spent for the purpose that will benefit 36,46,114 girl students registered at schools, he said. The money for sanitary napkins has been made available under “Mukhyamantri Kishori Swasthya Karyakram”, the minister accompanied by Principal Secretary, Education, D S Gangwar, said. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had announced providing sanitary napkins to girl students after assuming office in February 2015.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The announcement had received kudos like his other initiatives of providing cycle and free uniform and books to students enrolled in government schools. Choudhary said, the issue of facilitating free wi-fi internet in colleges and universities and holding English speaking course, part of the CM’s “seven resolves” which now has been adopted by the new grand secular alliance government, would be discussed with the CM during review meeting of Education Department on December 18. “We will fulfill all the promises made to people of the state,” Choudhary said. The Education Minister said the issue whether to continue with contractual teachers at primary level failing to qualify eligibility test in two attempts would also be taken up during review meeting of the department with the CM. “Such teachers failing to qualify eligibility test would the threat to futures of students,” the minister said. Choudhary said sustained efforts have helped the state bring down its rate of out of school children in the age category of 6-14 to 1,91,538 which is 0.96% only now. Midday meal is provided to about 1,36,31,219 boys/girls of class I-VIII of government schools, those aided by the government, Madarsas and sanskrit schools, he added.

Congress, BJD protests over Polavaram irrigation project lead Rajya Sabha to adjourn twice

The placards read “Polavaram will harm Odisha”, “Condemn Polavaram. Stop Stop” and “We Oppose Polavaram.”

Protests over “politics of vendetta” continued in Rajya Sabha for the second day on Wednesday, with Congress members forcing two adjournments of the House till noon by storming the Well and raising anti-government slogans. Even before Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien could take his seat when the House assembled for the day, Congress members rushed into the Well shouting slogans like “Modi teri tanashahi nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi (dictatorship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be tolerated).” BJD members also trooped into the Well carrying placards opposing the multi-purpose Polavaram irrigation project. The placards read “Polavaram will harm Odisha”, “Condemn Polavaram. Stop Stop” and “We Oppose Polavaram.” Amid the din, Kurien got the listed papers of the day laid on the table of the House, but two of them to be laid by Congress members were not tabled.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Wansuk Syiem (Cong) did not move a petition signed by a Guwahati-resident praying for improvement and strengthening of non-lapsable central pool for resources (NLCPR) schemes in the North-Eastern Region, despite Kurien calling her repeatedly. Syiem’s party colleague Viplove Thakur also did not present the reports of the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy. “Laying of papers is your duty,” Kurien told Thakur after she did not return to her seat from the Well to lay the reports.Minister of State for Parliamentary Affiars Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the Congress was insulting the mandate of the people and went on to suggest that the House should not be adjourned. “Don’t you know that displaying placards is not allowed,” Kurien told BJD members. “Shouting slogan is also not allowed. Coming into well is also not allowed,” he told the protesting Congress MPs. He asked members to return to their places and allow the Zero Hour to proceed but no one heeded to his pleas, forcing him to adjourn the House till 11:30 hours. Similar scenes continued when the House reassembled at noon with Congress members again entered the Well raising slogans against the government. BJD members too rushed in the Well with some of them carrying placards with slogans like ‘Polavaram Will Harm Odish’ and ‘Stop Polavaram’.Amid the din, Naqvi said important bills like the Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, were before the House. In addition, discussion on an important matter like price rise, which was demanded by Congress, was also listed, he added. Everybody knows “history and geography” of Congress, Naqvi said, adding government was ready for discussion. “If they (Congress) feel they are being discriminated, we are ready for a discussion,” the Minister said. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad rose to speak something, but Kurien adjourned the House till noon as sloganeering continued.

CBI arrests IAS officer posted as Principal Secretary in Delhi government

The complainant had alleged that Singh had demanded the money in return for favouring his firm. The firm had been provding security guards and peons to the department on contract basis.

The Central Bureau of Investigation today apprehended a Principal Secretary in the Delhi government for allegedly demanding a bribe of rupees 2.2 lakh. According to CBI officials, the IAS officer was identified as Sanjay Pratab Singh and was posted in the Department of Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled and Minorities of Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD). The accused had allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 2.2 lakh rupees from the complainant whose firm was providing manpower to the Department of Welfare. According to the probe agency Singh is a 1984 batch cadre and had been posted in the department for quite some time.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The complainant had alleged that Singh had demanded the money in return for favouring his firm. The firm had been provding security guards and peons to the department on contract basis.

CBI arrests top Delhi IAS officer for seeking bribe

Sanjay Pratap Singh, Principal Secretary, Department of SC, ST and Minorities, and his personal assistant were arrested after the complainant approached Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office.

The CBI on Tuesday arrested a Principal Secretary in the Delhi government for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs 2.2 lakh from the owner of a firm that supplies security guards and other manpower for clearing pending bills.Sanjay Pratap Singh, Principal Secretary, Department of SC, ST and Minorities, and his personal assistant were arrested after the complainant approached Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office. They said the businessman, whose firm supplies peons, security guards and other staff for sundry works to various agencies, had accused Singh, an IAS officer of 1984 batch of AGMUT cadre, of demanding Rs 2.2 lakh as bribe for clearing bills for services rendered by the company.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CBI sleuths laid a trap after which Singh and his personal assistant were arrested.”The complainant had recently approached Chief Minister’s Office. The CM’s office then guided the complainant in trapping the official and tonight got SP Singh arrested by CBI red-handed. CBI acted on the complaint received from CM Office,” a Delhi government spokesperson said.

Hardik Patel’s call interception: Gujarat HC asks govt to file affidavit

During arguments, Hardik’s lawyer B M Mangukiya asked the government to share all orders given by Home Department permitting city Crime Branch to intercept calls of many Patel quota agitation leaders between August and October.
File Photo
AFP photo
The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday asked the state government to file an affidavit on a plea by Hardik Patel questioning the legality of interception of his phone calls as well as of his associates, but rejected the defence’s request to share details of certain Home Department orders.During arguments, Hardik’s lawyer B M Mangukiya asked the government to share all orders given by Home Department permitting city Crime Branch to intercept calls of many Patel quota agitation leaders between August and October.Mangukiya alleged that phone tapping was done without any prior permission from authorities such as Additional Chief Secretary (Home). He termed the act as a ‘breach of privacy’ of citizens. However, Public Prosecutor Mitesh Amin maintained due process was followed in getting permission. He said calls were intercepted after obtaining consent from authorities at regular intervals and objected to demand to share the orders.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After hearing the arguments, Justice J B Pardiwala ruled that government is not required to share these orders. He further asked the government to file a brief affidavit in this regard and posted further hearing for December 16. In October, Hardik moved the high court challenging the interception of his and his associates’ phone calls by the police and sought an independent inquiry into it.”The petitioner challenges the legality… of unlawfully tapping telephones not only of the petitioner but of several thousands persons of the Patidar community… which they (police) have admitted in the FIR against the petitioner,” said his plea.The petition alleged that no prior permission was taken to intercept as well as tape the phone calls of quota leaders and others associated with the stir. Hardik’s father Bharat filed the petition on behalf of his son, who was then in police custody and later sent to jail in Surat.Crime Branch had on October 21 registered an FIR against Hardik and his aides Chirag Patel, Ketan Patel, Dinesh Bambhaniya, Alpesh Kathiria and Amrish Patel on charges of sedition and waging war against the government. In a recent judgement, the high court struck down the charges of ‘waging war against government’ from the FIR.The FIR mentions details of call interceptions of the Patel leaders. It alleged these leaders, members of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) – spearheading the quota stir – conspired to topple the state government and incited youths to resort to violence after a mega Patel rally here on August 25. The 22-year-old firebrand leader is facing another sedition charge in Surat for allegedly advising a fellow activist “to kill policemen rather than committing suicide”.

Dear people of Chennai, stop believing Whatsapp rumours and instead read these weather predictions

So keep your fears at bay and see what weather forecasting websites have to say about the next three days.

The situation during in rains in Chennai

The deluge in Chennai has left the city dwellers striving to fend for basic amenities and keeping illnesses at bay. Though the rains have receded and the sun shone brightly over the city today, a few rumours about the city facing yet another flood-like situation in the next 72 hoursis being shared on Whatsapp and other social media which has the potential to cause panic among the residents.Related read: Dear people of Chennai, NASA hasn’t predicted a hurricane or excess rainfall<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>So keep your fears at bay and see what weather forecasting websites have to say about the next three days.1. Indian Meteorological Department: Indian Meteorological Department’s Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai predicts moderate to heavy rainfalls for the next 72 hours for Tamil Nadu. Isolated heavy rains are expected on Wednesday in Coastal Tamil Nadu, Puducherry. Isolated heavy rains are predicted to occur at Toothukudi, Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts of South Coastal Tamil Nadu on Thursday. It also says that there could be a possibility if rains or thunderstorms in Chennai in the next 72 hours. 2.Skymet weather: According to Skymet weather forecasts light to moderate rain on Thursday and Wednesday respectively.3. Accuweather: Accuweather predicts a rainfall of 14 mm only on Wednesday with the rest of the period set to experience sunny to cloudy skies.4. BBC: BBC weather website predicts light clouds on Tuesday, thundery showers on Wednesday and light rain showers on Thursday.5.timeanddate.com: According to timeanddate.com, Chennai will receive 21.1 mm rains on Weddesday and 8.1 mm precipitation on Thursday.

Bill to fast track nuclear power projects introduced in Lok Sabha

The amendment has been brought to facilitate the fast expansion of nuclear power, utility and establishment, living up to India’s commitment of using nuclear energy for peaceful purpose

Parliament

Seeking to fast-track nuclear power projects in the country, a Bill to amend the Atomic Energy Act to enable Nuclear Power Corporation of India to enter into joint ventures with other public sector undertakings was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday. The amendment has been brought to facilitate the fast expansion of nuclear power, utility and establishment, living up to India’s commitment of using nuclear energy for peaceful purpose. The Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015, was moved by Minister of State in the Department of Atomic of Energy (DAE) Jitendra Singh as the government wanted to expedite nuclear reactor projects in order to meet the requirements of electricity and energy in India even as constraint was being faced in terms of financial implications.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The move will help in getting funds for big ticket projects amid frequent concerns over lack of financial resources being raised by the DAE. The amendment will enable NPCIL, which is one of the PSUs of DAE, to enter into joint ventures with other government undertakings. With the amendments, the government seeks to facilitate entry of the NPCIL for joint ventures with other PSUs.After its passage by Parliament, a PSU with the Ministry of Power can collaborate with NPCIL and help in the common objective of power generation network.

Will UK’s healthcare services discriminate against Indians living there?

The UK government is preparing to introduce charges for non-EU national, including from countries like India, accessing doctor’s services in the country.

Narendra Modi and David Cameron

The UK government is preparing to introduce charges for non-EU national, including from countries like India, accessing doctor’s services in the country. It had been announced earlier this year that the government planned to charge for Accidents and Emergency (A&E) and ambulance care, but this has now been extended to some general practitioner (GP) services too. “We want to make sure that everyone makes a fair contribution to services, by extending charging to make sure visitors pay for the care they receive,” UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said.”This government was the first to introduce tough measures to clamp down on migrants accessing the NHS and these changes will recover up to 500 million pounds per year to put back into frontline patient care,” he said.Under the proposals, refugees and asylum seekers would be exempt from charges, and no-one would be denied emergency care at the point of need, the government said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>From April this year, non-European Union citizens settling in the UK for longer than six months are required to pay a “health surcharge” as part of their visa application which, according to the UK Department of Health, has already produced 100 million pounds in savings.The new proposed changes, expected to be enforced at the end of the consultation period in March 2016, would also see such patients charged for GP services such as blood tests, lung function tests, prescriptions, dental treatment and physiotherapy. They would also have to pay for care received by paramedics, ambulance transport costs, and A&E services such as X-rays, setting broken bones, treating wounds, draining fluids and, when needed, intensive care.The British Medical Association (BMA) has previously said doctors are meant to treat patients and “not to act as border guards”. “A doctor’s duty is to treat the patient in front of them, not to act as border guards. Any plans to charge migrants and short-term visitors need to be practical, economic and efficient,” a BMA spokesperson said.Visitors from EU countries must present a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when using the NHS, so that the cost of their healthcare can be recouped from their government. PTI AK NSA

Modi govt wants babus to participate in adventure sports to improve their performance

The Centre’s move for promoting adventure sports among the employees is also aimed at tackling “the alarming situation of stress and impact of sedentary life” on them.

Representational image of paragliding
File Photo

To foster spirit of risk-taking and team work, the Centre has asked all its employees to participate in adventure sports like rock climbing and paragliding expenses for which will be borne by it. The Centre’s move for promoting adventure sports among the employees is also aimed at tackling “the alarming situation of stress and impact of sedentary life” on them.”It would create and foster spirit of risk taking, cooperative team work, capacity of readiness and vital response to challenging situations and endurance,” an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said. As per the scheme, the DoPT will sponsor programmes for five to seven days by six institutes–including Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering, Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir, National Institute of Water Sports, Vasco da Gama, Goa and Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi–for this purpose.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The activities under the programme will include trekking, mountaineering, rock-climbing, cycling in a difficult terrain, skiing, surfing, boat sailing, snorkeling, rafting, parasailing, ballooning, paragliding, jungle safari, desert safari, beach trekking and environmental awareness camps. An expense of upto Rs 20,000 will be reimbursed by the government, besides grant of special casual leave to the employees to help them participate in these activities.Financial assistance of 100% of programme fee would be provided in a calendar year to two officials of each ministry or department who have been awarded for excellence in service and nominated for the programme, the DoPT order issued on Friday said.There are about 50 lakh central government employees.

Chennai rains: NDRF undertakes most massive flood relief operation; rescues 16,000

NDRF Director General OP Singh, who is camping here since yesterday, said with the induction of 20 fresh combat teams overnight, close to 1,600 personnel in fifty teams are now undertaking the operations in various parts of the state capital here and nearby places.

Close to 1,600 personnel in fifty teams are now undertaking the operations in various parts of the state capital

Reuters
NDRF on Friday said it has launched its “most massive” deployment so far as it pressed into service 50 rescue and relief teams with over 200 boats, rescuing over 16,000 people marooned by the unprecedented rains in the southern metropolis and adjoining areas.NDRF Director General OP Singh, who is camping here since yesterday, said with the induction of 20 fresh combat teams overnight, close to 1,600 personnel in fifty teams are now undertaking the operations in various parts of the state capital here and nearby places. “This is our most massive deployment in any flood disaster till date. Now we have close to 1,600 personnel with 21 officers and 200 rubberised inflatable boats. We have rescued over 16,000 people to safer locations till now,” Singh said while talking to reporters here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also reviewed the operations of the force in the Kottupuram area along with senior NDRF and state government officials. The DG said the force is stepping up its operations each day and now their aim is to provide water and food to as many marooned people as they can. “We are also persuading people to come to safer locations with us,” he said, adding, the force is making extensive use of social media to expand its relief and rescue operations. All our helplines, be it over phone, WhatsApp, Twitter or email, they are working actively and responding to the people in distress, the DG said.With the IMD predicting more rains, he said his teams were determined to reach more and more areas so that relief material is provided before the pouring begins. Meanwhile, in Delhi a meeting of the Crisis Management Group (CMG) under the chairmanship of Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi was held to review the ongoing operations being undertaken by multiple agencies. Officials said Mehrishi issued directions to intensify the efforts so that people reeling under these floods for the last few days are helped as much as it can be and are provided with essential good items like water, milk and snacks.Representatives of Ministries of Defence, Food, Railways, Agriculture, Health, Department of Telecommunications, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), India Meteorological Department (IMD) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) participated in the CMG meeting. An NDRF spokesperson said so far, its teams have evacuated 16,325 stranded flood victims, 30 livestock and distributed 19,465 food packets and 16,002 water packets in the affected areas.

Mercury stays below freezing point across Kashmir, Ladakh

Leh, in the frontier region of Ladakh, was the coldest in Jammu and Kashmir as the mercury there settled at minus 9.7 degrees Celsius, though slightly up from the previous night’s minus 9.9 degrees Celsius, a spokesman of the Meteorological Department said on Thursday.

Mercury stays below freezing point across Kashmir, Ladakh
File Photo

Mercury stayed below freezing point across Kashmir Valley and Ladakh region though there was marginal rise in minimum temperature in most places owing to overcast sky.Leh, in the frontier region of Ladakh, was the coldest in Jammu and Kashmir as the mercury there settled at minus 9.7 degrees Celsius, though slightly up from the previous night’s minus 9.9 degrees Celsius, a spokesman of the Meteorological Department said on Thursday.He said the minimum temperature in the nearby Kargil town also increased from Wedneday’s minus 10.3 degrees Celsius to settle at a low of minus 9.6 degrees Celsius.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Srinagar the summer capital of the state recorded the minimum temperature of minus 1.2 degrees Celsius, slightly up from Wednesday’s minus 1.4 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said. The city had on Wednesday experienced the coldest night of the winter so far.The minimum temperature in Kokernag, in south Kashmir, settled at minus 0.2 degree Celsius, while the mercury in Qazigund the gateway town to Kashmir Valley registered a low of minus 1.8 degrees Celsius, he said, adding the night temperature at both the places increased as compared to the previous night. He said Kupwara, in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 2.3 degrees Celsius.The tourist resort of Pahalgam which serves as a base camp during the annual Amarnath Yatra recorded a low of minus 3.9 degrees Celsius as compared to the previous night’s minus 3.8 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said.He said the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg, in north Kashmir, registered minimum temperature of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius as against the low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius on Wednesday.The MET Office has predicted mainly dry weather for the week ahead.

Construction mafia worked overnight during Diwali days

At least five new building works were initiated in B-ward – comprising entire area from Mohammed Ali Road to Agripada – during these days.

One of the newly constructed buildings in B-ward of BMC

When the city was holidaying during Diwali, there was one group that was busy working – Mumbai’s construction mafia. At least five new building works were initiated in B-ward – comprising entire area from Mohammed Ali Road to Agripada – during these days. Buzz is that Mumbai’s underworld, backed by politicians, is making slow but steady entry into the illegal construction business. “It involves less investment, but more profit. Dilapidated buildings are purchased at small price and construction is carried out with minimal costs. No piling or foundation work is involved and the building is raised with support of iron beams,” said a source.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “They get permission for carrying out repairs, and once it’s obtained, the original building is demolished and a new one is raised. “The rates of such buildings are fixed according to the location. While the tenants are suitably rehabilitated, the additional space created is sold out at a good price,” the source added. Speaking to dna, MN Singh, former commissioner of police said he won’t be surprised by the news that the underworld is into illegal constructions. “Real estate and film production were always their favourite business. But the question is, why is civic body not acting even after illegal buildings are popping up in daylight,” he said. At least three constructions of illegal buildings are underway on Memonwada Road in Mandvi. Building no.51 – which was originally ground-plus-two floors – has been raised to 11 floors in just 45 days. Building no.55/1 is also demolished under the guise of repairs and work is being carried out day and night. Similarly building no.81 on the same road is also being reconstructed. Same is the case with building no.111 on Zakaria Masjid Street in Mohammed Ali Road. Shrinivas Kilaje, assistant commissioner of B-ward refused to get into the details, but said he has learnt about the illegal buildings and was in the process of preparing a report after investigation. “We are in the process of digging out the details,” he said. “We have list of such buildings and are in process of taking action,” an official from Building & Factory Department of B ward told dna. He however failed to reply on why the buildings were allowed to be razed in the first place. “We are inquiring into the fund flow of a building constructed in Pydhonie. We would ask the civic body if there are other such projects in which suspicious money flow is involved,” said deputy commissioner of police, detection, Dhananjay Kulkarni.

Marooned and sinking: Chennai declared disaster zone, Met warns of more rains

No electricity, no food, no transportation, no drinking water and a drowning city, this is what residents of Chennai woke up to on Wednesday as life in the Tamil Nadu capital was crippled as fresh downpour worsened an already disastrous flood situation, posing danger to thousands of people in low-lying areas.

The financial loss may exceed Rs 15,000 crore, an industry lobby body said, as weather forecasting agencies predicted heavy rain to continue for at least the next two days.

The city received 49 cm of rain and Chembarambakkam, where the reservoir surplussed about 25,000 cusecs of water into Adyar river, received 47 cm of rains in the last 24 hours that flooded the city and the suburbs, uprooting people from their homes.

Flood waters reached upto even the second floor of the Housing Board colonies on the banks of Adyar river as people reached roof tops looking for rescue and relief in several parts of the city and suburbs.

A view of Chennai's iconic Marina Beach. PTIA view of Chennai's iconic Marina Beach. PTI

A view of Chennai’s iconic Marina Beach. PTI

The death toll in the rains that have lashed the city and other parts of state has gone up to 197, officials said.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa is going to go on an aerial survey of flood-hit Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts. According to CNN-IBN reports Chennai has been declared a disaster zone.

City marooned, comes to standstill 

All modes of transport — air, road and rail services — remained suspended due to the unprecedented deluge, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at the airport and various rail terminals. Suburban rail services also remained suspended.

PTI reported that the Chennai airport will be shut till Sunday, 6 December because of the floods.

The Southern Railway cancelled 13 trains out of Egmore station and four trains from Chennai Central. Ten trains from other stations too were axed, reported IANS.

With schools and colleges shut, and vast areas under water, most buses went off the roads and suburban train services were suspended. Auto-rickshaws and taxis plied in some parts of Chennai but the operators fleeced commuters. A taxi driver reportedly charged Rs 4,500 to ferry three people from the airport to a hotel. Left with no option to proceed to their destinations, many people were seen walking on the railway track even as water was rushing below with brute force.

Public holiday declared

Several private establishments declared a holiday. The government on Wednesday issued an advisory to private sector undertakings to allow their employees to take leave or permit them to work from home on Thursday and Friday.

The Hindu and Business Standard newspapers did not come out on Wednesday due to heavy rains. The Hindu will be published on Thursday, a newspaper employee said.

No electricity, phonelines, ATMS down

Phone network—both mobile and fixed lines–were out of service even as ATMs did not function. Even in the few ATMs that were open, serpentine queues were witnessed and people stocked up on supplies in the wake of more rains being forecast for the coming days.

Telecom service providers and mobile payment solutions providers have come up with free mobile recharges to help residents stay connected.

Rescue operations by Army, Navy and Centre

While the Army and Air Force were involved in rescue work and distribution of food packets at suburban Tambaram and Oorapakkam, ships of the Navy and Coast Guard were on standby, officials said. Expert Naval divers and inflatable boats were deployed at Adyar and Kotturpuram areas to help marooned citizens.

Alok Bhatnagar, Naval officer in charge, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, said ships — INS Airawat and other amphibian vessels would arrive here tonight. The Navy was also ready with medical supplies, he said. Seven boats had already been deployed for rescue work, while shelters were ready to accommodate 200 people.

The Indian Coast Guard has shifted over 150 marooned people in Chennai, and over 1,000 people stranded at different locations were provided with food cooked on board Coast Guard ships.

The government said 72,119 people were housed in 432 relief camps, but thousands of passengers were still stranded at the Chennai airport and railway stations.

Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said in New Delhi that the situation was “unheard of and unprecedented”, and promised all help to the beleaguered city and other areas.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who spoke to Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa last night and promised all assistance, held discussions with his cabinet colleagues Rajnath Singh (Home), Arun Jaitley (Finance) and M Venkaiah Naidu (Parliamentary Affairs) in the morning to take stock of the situation.

The National Crisis Management Committee headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha reviewed the situation and assured the state of all support from the centre.

People being rescued in boats. PTIPeople being rescued in boats. PTI

People being rescued in boats. PTI

Weather experts forecast more rains

Adding to the worry of the citizens and administration, the weatherman has forecast rainfall over the next three days with the next 48 being very critical under the influence of a trough of low pressure and upper air circulation over the southwest Bay of Bengal and Sri Lankan coast.

Thereafter, the state will see an anti-cyclone activity which will be associated with “heavy rains” at some places. “The phenomenon will continue for the next seven days, but the next 48 hours are very crucial. Neighbouring states will also see rainfall activity,” LS Rathore, Director General of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) told reporters in Delhi.

A joint statement by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency said: “Tamil Nadu’s weather is under observation for the next 72 hours as the rain in the next 48 hours is going to be comparatively heavy.”

As widely reported, this is the worst Chennai has seen in a hundred years.

Risk of disease outbreak

While people are hoping for the water to recede and the rains to stop, the worse will come after that. What usually follows floods are waterborne diseases. And the experts had already warned of that when Chennai was flooded during mid-November. But the situation was not even half as bad as it is now.

Director of public health Dr S Elango had told The Times of India, “Stagnant water is much more dangerous than flowing water. If immediate steps are not taken, there may be a spread of waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid and malaria.”

Given the situation at the moment, removing stagnant water from low lying areas in the city pose as a herculean task for the Jayalalithaa government.

With inputs from PTI and IANS

US welcomes Modi-Sharif meeting in Paris

Modi and Sharif had a brief meeting during which they warmly held hands before sitting down for a chat, with the Indian side describing the encounter as a “brief exchange of courtesies” but Pakistanis terming it as a “good” meeting.

PTI
The US has welcomed the brief meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Paris on Monday.”We always welcome these kinds of exchanges and dialogue between India and Pakistan,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner told reporters yesterday when asked about the meeting between the two leaders.”A constructive relationship between the two countries is not only good for the two countries but good for the region and the stability of the region,” Toner said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi and Sharif had a brief meeting during which they warmly held hands before sitting down for a chat, with the Indian side describing the encounter as a “brief exchange of courtesies” but Pakistanis terming it as a “good” meeting.

Madras HC directs authorities to implement dress code for devotees visiting temples

Disposing a petition filed by one Rasu seeking police protection and permission for “Adal Paadal programme” (dance and music) at Sri Shenbaga Vinayagar temple in Tiruchirappalli district, Justice S Vaidyanathan said “we should dress for public worship in a way that is generally considered appropriate”.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Madras High court on Tuesday directed Tamil Nadu Government and Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department to implement dress code for devotees coming to offer worship in temples to enhance spiritual ambiance.Disposing a petition filed by one Rasu seeking police protection and permission for “Adal Paadal programme” (dance and music) at Sri Shenbaga Vinayagar temple in Tiruchirappalli district, Justice S Vaidyanathan said “we should dress for public worship in a way that is generally considered appropriate”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Similarly, Islamic religion is very particular in following their dress code while entering mosque. Therefore prescribing dress code for devotees coming to worship in temples of Tamil Nadu was inevitable so as to enhance the spiritual ambiance among devotees.The judge said “the department should consider implementing the dress code as follows: for men dhoti or pyjamas with upper cloth or formal pants and shirts and for women saree or half saree with blouse, churidhars with upper cloth, for children any fully covered dress”.The judge said the dress code should be followed in temples from January 1, 2016 and the government is directed to take a decision on this issue as expeditiously as possible. The judge however said there was no bar for fire service personnel, police and security guards wearing their respective uniforms. He also made it clear that there were certain temples like in Tiruchendur, where men are prohibited to wear upper cloth, while entering the temple for worship.In such temples, the same procedure can be followed till a decision was arrived at by the government. The temples, which are not coming within the purview of the government, shall also strictly enforce their traditional dress code to create a righteous atmosphere for worshipping, the judge said.

Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu reviews arrangements for next month’s investment summit

The three-day ‘CII Partnership Summit’ will be held in Visakhapatnam, about 350 km from Hyderabad, from January 10 with ‘Sunrise Andhra Pradesh’ as its main theme.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday reviewed the arrangements for next month’s CII summit that will see participation of delegates from 19 countries and seek to attract investments in the state. The three-day ‘CII Partnership Summit’ will be held in Visakhapatnam, about 350 km from Hyderabad, from January 10 with ‘Sunrise Andhra Pradesh’ as its main theme.The Information and Public Relations Department, in a release, said delegates from 19 countries, including US, UAE, Japan, China, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia and New Zeland, besides representatives from various industrial organisations in the country, will take part in the conference. Naidu, at a meeting here, took stock of preparations being made in the port city for the business event with officials concerned.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The focus of the summit will be on attracting investments and promoting industries and tourism in the state, he said. The summit is being organised by CII in association with the Andhra Pradesh government and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.

Do not delay funds allocated for welfare of Juvenile homes: Madras HC

Referring to the Tirunelveli Juvenile Home, the bench said it had been informed that other posts of sanitary workers have been filled up on transfer basis.

Stressing the importance to be given to Juvenile Homes, the Madras High Court on Friday directed the government of Tamil Nadu not to delay release of funds already allocated for their welfare. The first bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana before which a petition with regard to Madurai Juvenile Home came up, referred to its earlier order that if funds are not sanctioned for different proposed approved projects within the next hearing date, the Secretary, Finance Department, shall remain present in Court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench, while referring to the ‘bar chart’ submitted by PWD on construction of the Home, opined that in case of any unforeseen delay, the authorities would have to move court for extension of time. The bench said it had not been clearly informed of the position of the Juvenile home at Madurai and was thus making it clear “that any violation of these directions will undoubtedly be on the pain of contempt, since no other language appears to have any effect on the respondent authorities.”Referring to the Tirunelveli Juvenile Home, the bench said it had been informed that other posts of sanitary workers have been filled up on transfer basis. To its earlier order on filling up these posts, government had informed it that financial sanction was awaited. “If the needful is not done by the next date, the Principal Secretary, Finance Department, shall remain personally present in court,” it said. The HC pointed out that the videoconferencing facility also is awaiting financial sanction, though it had called for steps to be taken within 30 days. Failure to comply with the order by next date would require the Finance Secretary to remain present personally in the court, it said.”We may know that the despite whatever time we given even on such urgent matters, there seems to be inordinate delay in respect of financial sanction. These are matters of running juvenile homes and we expect priority to be given. Government authorities must seriously look into the issue as to why so much time takes in these matters for processing.” The bench then posted the matter for further hearing to January 8, 2016.

NITI Ayog push to innovation and start-ups; Government and private stakeholders to hold discussions

This will be a follow-up of a NITI Ayog appointed expert committee report on innovation and entrepreneurship submitted last month that recommended private funding for research and development and incentivizing innovations, among other things.

Policy panel National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog will hold discussions with the ministries of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) , Department of Biotechnology and Department of Science and Technology to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and start-ups under the government’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM). This will be a follow-up of a NITI Ayog appointed expert committee report on innovation and entrepreneurship submitted last month that recommended private funding for research and development and incentivizing innovations, among other things.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> While secretaries of MSME, department of Biotechnology and Department of Science will be part of the deliberations, which will be held on December 4 in the form of a panel discussion, other participants will include members of the 15-member expert committee, including its chairman Professor Tarun Khanna.Minister for Science and Technology and and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan is expected to join the deliberations whereas independent innovators and entrepreneurs too have been invited. Besides establish the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Ayog is also looking at setting up a Self Employment and Talent Utilisation (SETU) mechanism. According to Ayog, while AIM will act as a platform for promoting a network of world-class innovation hubs,SETU will be a techno-financial, incubation and facilitation programme to support all aspects of start-up businesses, and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology driven areas.

Flood in government hospital in Chennai as heavy rains continue to lash Tamil Nadu

Chennai: With the Northeast monsoon becoming vigorous, rains continued to batter the state, even as rain water on Monday entered a Government Hospital in Chennai, causing inconvenience to the patients.

As Chennai continued to reel under the impact of the monsoon, rain water on Monday entered the Tambaram Taluk Government General Hospital at Chrompet, popularly called the “Chrompet GH.”

Authorities maintained that health care services to the people continued.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“We are using motor pumps to flush out the flood water, the work is on continuously. However, since the rain continues, there is no let up in inflow too,” a medical official told PTI, adding “not all the portions of the hospital are affected, it is only to some extent on the ground level.”

“Our services to the people are not affected, the patients in the ward which is witnessing inundation have been shifted to a safer place,” he added.

A popular state-run hospital in the southern suburbs of Chennai, the hospital has amenities including trauma care for which it is well-known. In and out patients too avail the services of the hospital.

As the city and suburbs experienced more rains, neighbourhoods that were not inundated previously too are now experiencing water-logging.

According to the weather office, a “trough of low pressure at mean sea level lay over Southwest Bay and adjoining equatorial Indian Ocean,” triggering more rains.

Most parts of Tuticorin district were inundated following heavy rains for the third day, and the entire district collectorate wore a deserted look as officials were busy serving food and other essential commodities by boat to affected people besides rescuing some people from water-logged areas.

Traffic on the Tirunelveli-Tuticorin route was affected as rain water was allegedly diverted on to the national highway, to check inundation of residential areas, but it did not work.

Fire service personnel were engaged to rescue those marooned in residential areas and inundated highways and city roads. Officials said five lakh people were marooned in many colonies and essential items were being supplied to them by boat.

A report from Cuddalore said some 100 houses were inundated at Beramarao Nagar. About 1,200 people were rescued from water-logged areas at Panrutti, Virudhachalam and Cuddalore. As many as 72,000 people have been housed in relief camps, according to District Collector Sureshkumar.
Arterial roads were inundated in Chennai following heavy rains on Monday evening.

“The Northeast monsoon has been vigorous over Tamil Nadu” the Regional Meterological Department said even as rains pounded the city and its suburbs.

Water-logged roads and flooding of residential areas raised fears of a repeat of last week’s severe inundation amidst forecast of more rains on Tuesday by the weather office.

Citizens returning home after work on Monday faced a harrowing time with traffic moving at a snail’s pace on water-logged roads.

Important roads such as Anna Salai, OMR, Koyambedu, T Nagar, Purasawakkam, Guindy and the GST were flooded, even as trains ran slow due to inundation of tracks.

In some places such as Egmore, citizens complained of being stuck for more than two hours.

Meanwhile, schools will remain closed in Chennai on Tuesday and college exams have been postponed.

A report from Courtallam in Tirunelveli district said people were not allowed to take bath in the waterfalls as water was gushing out in torrents.

Firefighters carried out scores of water rescues, most involving stranded residents. Vehicles had to be abandoned in many areas.

PTI

Maharashtra: Unseasonal rains hit rabbi crop, Nashik farmers worried

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned of continued rain showers and hailstorm in parts of the district. The unseasonal rains in mid November have caused concerns for the rabbi crop.

With unseasonal rains lashing the Nashik region for the last three nights, strong concerns have been raised for the agricultural scenario in the district since grapes, onions, paddy, wheat and other crops are being affected.The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned of continued rain showers and hailstorm in parts of the district. The unseasonal rains in mid November have caused concerns for the rabbi crop.On Saturday, the district witnessed about 100mm of rainfall with intermittent heavy showers in the evening. On Monday, the rainfall was recorded as 239.4mm. On Saturday, Nashik Tehsil received the highest rainfall of the day with 28.9mm while on Sunday Nandgaon got 43mm of rainfall.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The climate throughout the day appeared to be normal except for the cloudy cover in the evening with increase in humidity. On Tuesday, the clouds covered the district all day long. However, it did not rain till early evening.While there were predictions for a hailstorm, thankfully, the farmers were saved from the brunt of it. However, they were hit by the unseasonal rains that kept falling throughout the night.Farmers in areas of Niphad, Pimpalgaon Baswant, Yeola where grapes and onions are the major crops, are a worried lot. Onion crop in areas of Malegaon, Manmad, Lasalgaon, Umrane, Deola, Kalwan, Niphad and Yeola have suffered damage. The paddy, nagali, varaie have suffered loss in areas of Trimbakeshwar, Igatpuri and other places.Hundreds of acres under paddy cultivation now lies flat as the standing paddy crop ready to be harvested has been hit by unseasonal rains. The rice grains that are drenched now are likely to turn black.The story is no different with onion. While onions have already been in short supply in the market due to the drought situation that led to the failure of the kharif crop, it was expected that the rabbi onion or the winter onion will ease the situation. “The onion is likely to again see the severity,” opines Suresh Bhor, farmer from Chandori.The winter or pol onion which was almost ready for harvest has come under the wrath of the unseasonal rains. The bulbs are now drenched and heavy as they are water laden and likely to rot. While those who were in process of planting for the summer onion are also affected as the saplings have not been able to withstand the blow of the showers, informs Bhor. The grapes in the region too are under the cloud of infections and spread of diseases. “Season after season the story of grapes does not seem to be changing,” opines Bhaskarrao Bankar, a grape grower from Pimpalgaon Baswant.Those who have done the cutting of the plantation around 10 to 15 September, now have berries to the plants. The unseasonal showers have hit these berries which are water-laden. This will lead to cracking and falling of the bunches. Those vineyards in the flowering stage are hit as the rains have washed off the flowering with no hopes for the fruits to form; and those vineyards which are in the pre-flowering stage are likely to catch infections like the Downy that eats up the plants, states Bankar.”Infections and diseases are likely to spread in such wet, cloudy weather. The crops have not seen the sun for two three days and this will result in decay of the berries and leaves. Farmers are awake all night to remove the water from the plants, leaves and berries thereby trying to save them from decay. But it’s not easy: labour is not available at night, and if at all it comes, it’s comes at a very high price. I myself have converted last two nights into days and am desperately trying to save my grapes,” he said.Bankar states that it is a very trying situation. “Every time we face damage due to nature, we build new hopes for a new season and try and stand up. But such beating time and again has affected our morale. Solutions like shed net, or new paper cover technology or plastic cover are expensive and we only hope that we get support from the government in the form of subsidy for these sheds,” added Bankar.

Returning an award will not solve any problem: Kareena Kapoor Khan

Kareena Kapoor Khan has disapproved of the trend of writers and filmmakers returning their awards to protest “growing intolerance in the country” and advised them to instead address the issues bothering them.

“Returning an award would not solve any problem. We should learn to address the issue (of intolerance) rather that getting it upon ourselves. It is not a personal issue, it is the issue of entire nation,” she said in a press meet today.

Courtesy: ibn liveCourtesy: ibn live

Kareena Kapoor Khan. Courtesy: ibn live

The Bajrangi Bhaijaan star said she was inspired by the firm stand taken by youths on issues facing the country. “I haven’t returned any awards. But whatever is going on (in the country), the retaliation of youths (over different issues) that is what really inspired me,” the 35-year-old said when asked to comment on filmmakers returning awards to protest “rising intolerance” under the present Government.

Kareena was in Raipur to take part in a series of programmes based on children organised by Unicef, School Education and Women and Child Development Departments of Chhattisgarh Government. The popular star is Unicef India’s “celebrity advocate” for education. She also appreciated the efforts of Unicef and State Government to promote education among children, especially those residing in the remote areas of Chhattisgarh.

Earlier, addressing a programme held to mark the culmination of Child Right Convention Week, Kareena stressed on improving the standard of education and simultaneously increasing enrolment of students in schools. “Though enrolment of students in schools has increased significantly, quality education is still an issue of concern. Ensuring quality education to every child is one of the major challenges before us.”

Quality education and advanced learning techniques in a school can collectively ensure progress of a child to attain a better future, she added. Kareena also advocated for facilities like separate toilets for girls in schools, availability of clean drinking water for students and improving access to schools.

On the occasion, Chief Minister Raman Singh launched a mobile mobile-cum web-based application `CG Edutrack’ jointly developed by Unicef and School Education Department.

The application will help in monitoring the presence of teachers and students in Government-run schools.

PTI

India blocks visits by U.S. officials despite warmer ties | Reuters

WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI Despite a much-heralded fresh start in U.S.-India ties under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a diplomatic source said on Friday the United States has run into problems arranging visits by two senior officials, recalling a diplomatic spat that soured relations two years ago.

Washington has been seeking to send Susan Coppedge, its newly appointed anti-people trafficking ambassador, and Randy Berry, its special envoy for LGBT rights, to New Delhi this month.

Human trafficking has caused friction between the United States and India. The countries also disagree on gay rights, which the Obama administration promotes, while homosexuality in India is illegal.

The source, who did not want to identified, said the visits had run into problems.

“These visits were planned, they were meant to be here around this time. But there were some issues,” the source said.

The State Department declined formal comment but a department official said the two sides were “working to coordinate the best timing.”

India’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to request for comment and Indian Ambassador Arun K. Singh did not offer clarification when asked on Thursday about Coppedge’s plan to visit, which was revealed at a Nov. 4 congressional hearing by Kari Johnstone, principal deputy director of the State Department’s trafficking office.

“We’ll see,” Singh told reporters. “When you ask a U.S. official when somebody will be given a visa, they always say ‘we will assess when visa is applied for.’ … I can do no better than to reiterate the U.S. position.”

The human trafficking issue blew up in 2013 over the arrest of an Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, for visa fraud and underpaying a domestic worker who was later given a U.S. “T visa” issued to trafficking victims.

Khobragade’s arrest and strip search provoked an outcry in India and the issue has festered, although U.S.-India relations have strengthened since Modi came to power in May 2014, with both sides stressing shared strategic interests.

U.S. officials say Indian citizens who have been issued U.S. T visas have been subject to restrictions, including long delays in renewing passports at Indian consulates in the United States.

Between July 2014 and March 2015, the crackdown was harsher, with authorities at Indian airports confiscating at least 20 passports stamped with U.S. T visas confiscated. This prevented trafficking victims who went home to collect their families from returning to the United States.

Berry is Washington’s first gay-rights ambassador and a U.S. official said no trafficking czar had visited India for the past eight years.

The India ambassador played down the impact of the trafficking issue on U.S.-India relations, saying these were “at a very good stage now.” with two visits by Modi to the United States, and Obama becoming the first U.S. president to visit India twice while in office.

“These are all reflections of where the relationship is headed,” he said.

India was happy to work in an international framework to tackle the problem of trafficking, but rejected “unilateral assessments” of another country,” he said.

“We will never accept it,” he said.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Jason Szep and David Gregorio)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

India’s role in resolving Kashmir issue won’t stop, says Omar Abdullah

Omar also hit out at Pakistan, saying the country was hoping for the US to change its stand by asking it often to intervene in the matter

Omar Abdullah

With the US distancing itself on Kashmir issue, former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday said the absence of a third party does not absolve India of its responsibility to find a solution to the problem.”The absence of 3rd party intervention doesn’t absolve India of its responsibility to find a solution…,” Omar wrote on social networking site Twitter, referring to US State Department Spokesperson John Kirby’s statement on the issue today. Earlier, Kirby had said that the US has no role to play in Kashmir issue and it is for India and Pakistan to address the problem through dialogue, a day after Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif raised the matter with US Secretary of State John Kerry.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Omar also hit out at Pakistan, saying the country was hoping for the US to change its stand by asking it often to intervene in the matter. “For some reason Pakistan thinks that if it asks often enough, the answer from the US will somehow change!!!” Omar said.

David Headley will testify in 26/11 Mumbai attacks case, says his attorney

Under the guilty plea which he entered in March 2010, Headley agreed that when directed by the US Attorney’s Office he will fully and truthfully testify in any foreign judicial proceedings held in the US by way of deposition, video-conferencing or letters rogatory.

David Headley, the Pakistani- American LeT terrorist serving a 35 year jail term in the US, would testify before a Mumbai court through video conference in the 26/11 case, his attorney said on Friday.”I have seen the reports (about TADA court asking that he be produced via video-conference on December 10). Mr Headley will comply with the terms of his plea agreement, which is a public document,” John T Theis told PTI.Under the guilty plea which he entered in March 2010, Headley agreed that when directed by the US Attorney’s Office he will fully and truthfully testify in any foreign judicial proceedings held in the US by way of deposition, video-conferencing or letters rogatory.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Headley is currently serving 35 years in an American prison after being convicted of being involved in the planning and execution of the Mumbai terrorist attacks on November 26, 2008 in which 166 people, including six Americans, were killed.As per the guilty plea, now it is up to the US Department of Justice to issue such a direction to Headley to testify before the court in Mumbai.Under the guilty plea, Headley agreed that, when directed by the United States Attorney s Office, he will fully and truthfully participate in any debriefings for the purpose of gathering intelligence or national security information.Headley further agreed that, “when directed by the United States Attorney’s Office, he will fully and truthfully testify in any foreign judicial proceedings held in the United States by way of deposition, videoconferencing or letters rogatory.” Headley also agreed to the postponement of his sentencing until after the conclusion of his cooperation.Headley reportedly visited India five times between 2006 and 2008, drew maps, took video footage and scouted several targets for the attacks including the Taj Hotel, Oberoi Hotel and Nariman House.His reconnaissance provided vital information for the 10 LeT terrorists and their handlers.A court in Mumbai on Novemebr 19 had made Headley an accused in the 26/11 terror attack case and directed that he be produced before it via video-conferencing on December 10.

It’s for India and Pakistan to address the Kashmir issue through dialogue: US

Washington: The US has no role to play in Kashmir issue and it is for India and Pakistan to address the problem through dialogue, a top American official has said, a day after visiting Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif raised the matter with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Expressing concern over violence on the line of control, State Department Spokesman John Kirby said both India and Pakistan should resume dialogue to address their issues.

“As for Kashmir, all I would say is we continue be concerned about any violence along the line of control, and we continue to urge the governments of both India and Pakistan to reduce tensions along that line and to resume dialogue to address these issues,” Kirby told reporters at his daily news conference.

“This (Kashmir) is for the two parties to work out,” Kirby said in response to a question.

Sharif met with Kerry at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department yesterday and raised the Kashmir issue during his meeting focused on security-related issues and Afghanistan peace talks.

“What I can tell you is that he met yesterday with Chief of Army Staff Sharif to follow up on some of the security-related conversations that he had with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in October,” Kirby said.

“The general’s consultations in Washington were part of our regular, ongoing, bilateral discussions with a broad range of Pakistani officials, and we appreciate the productive discussions we had regarding our bilateral defense and security relationship,” he said.

“The Secretary reaffirmed our commitment to the US-Pakistan partnership and its importance in addressing issues of mutual concern and ensuring peace, stability and prosperity across the region,” Kirby added.

PTI

David Headley will testify before TADA court in 26/11 case, confirms attorney

Washington, DC: Pakistani-American LeT terrorist and 26/11 terrorist attacks convict David Coleman Headley would testify before a TADA court in Mumbai through video conference, his attorney indicated on Thursday.

“I have seen the reports (about TADA court asking that he be produced via video-conference on 10 December. Mr Headley will comply with the terms of his plea agreement, which is a public document,” John T Theis told PTI.

David Headley in a file photo. IbnliveDavid Headley in a file photo. Ibnlive

David Headley in a file photo. Ibnlive

Under the guilty plea which he entered in March 2019, Headley agreed that, when directed by the US Attorney’s Office, he will fully and truthfully testify in any foreign judicial proceedings held in the US by way of deposition, video-conferencing or letters rogatory.

Headley is currently serving 35 years in an American prison after being convicted of being involved in the planning and execution of the Mumbai terrorist attacks on 26 November, 2008 in which 166 persons were killed.

As per the guilty plea, now it is up to the US Department of Justice to issue such a direction to Headley to testify before the TADA court in Mumbai.

Under the guilty plea, Headley agreed that, when directed by the United States Attorney’s Office, he will fully and truthfully participate in any debriefings for the purpose of gathering intelligence or national security information.

Headley further agreed that, “when directed by the United States Attorney’s Office, he will fully and truthfully testify in any foreign judicial proceedings held in the United States by way of deposition, videoconferencing or letters rogatory.”

Headley also agreed to the postponement of his sentencing until after the conclusion of his cooperation.

PTI

St Stephen’s molestation row: Valson Thampu says willing to facilitate victim’s PhD

Thampu, who was accused of shielding the accused professor in the case, had been maintaining that the girl was being “mentored” by a few persons who had vested interests, which were used against him.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
St Stephen’s Principal Valson Thampu on Thursday said he is willing to workout the logistics for completion of PhD of the research scholar who had alleged that she was sexually harassed by her guide and the principal had shielded the accused professor.”I shall be happy to welcome her back to the lab in St Stephen’s and facilitate the resumption of her research. Shall begin to work out the logistics, once I hear from the girl. May God protect her and give her good sense,” Thampu said in a Facebook post.Thampu, who was accused of shielding the accused professor in the case, had been maintaining that the girl was being “mentored” by a few persons who had vested interests, which were used against him.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reiterating the same, he further said, “the story of the girl now seems to have evaporated. Her unscrupulous handlers have dropped her, not even like ‘hot potato’. I knew from the outset – and stated it ever so often in emphatic terms – that this would be her tragic plight; for I knew the diabolic hands that were manipulating her.””I cannot forget her. It is difficult to forget victims. What has happened to this girl is a classic illustration of the moral depravity that has invaded our public life, including institutions.”The girl had approached police in July, alleging that she was molested by Satish Kumar, an assistant professor in the college’s Chemistry Department. She had also accused college principal, Valson Thampu of “shielding” the teacher when the matter was reported to him.

EC to approach govt to push multiple cut-off dates proposal for enrolling voters

New Delhi: Unfazed by legal hurdles in its plan to register young citizens as voters as soon as they turn 18, the Election Commission has decided to approach the government to push its proposal to have multiple cut-off dates to enrol voters.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The Commission has formally asked the Law Ministry to discuss the issue in the coming days. The meeting could be attended by top EC brass and Law Ministry officials.

“Based on the meeting, the Commission will take a decision,” said a senior functionary.

The Legislative Department in the Law Ministry is the administrative ministry for the EC.

But according to the Law Ministry, a change in rules or even an amendment to the Representation of the People Act will not help.

“It is for the policy makers to decide whether multiple cut-off dates are actually required. Less than one per cent of people are affected due to a single cut-off date,” a senior law Ministry official explained indicating the lack of enthusiasm on part of the government to have multiple cut-off dates.

The Attorney General had recently red flagged Commission’s plan to have multiple cut-off dates to enrol voters, saying it contradicts provisions of the Constitution.

EC had last year told the government that the 1 January cut-off date set for the purpose deprives several youths from participating in the electoral exercise.

The Law Ministry had opposed the move, but following EC’s persistent demands, it had referred the matter to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi for his opinion.

Rohatgi had supported the view of the Law Ministry that the move to have multiple cut-off dates “contradicts” Article 326 of the Constitution and to have such a system is not practical.

Article 326 mentions a cut-off ‘date’ and not ‘dates’, the Ministry and the AG had pointed out.

According to the EC guidelines on enrolment of voters, for an election to be held in a particular year, only an individual who has attained the age of 18 years as on 1 January of that year is eligible to be enrolled in the voters’ list.

As a result, if a person is becoming 18 years on 2 January, he cannot be registered. Therefore, a person who is turning 18 beyond 1 January will have to wait for next year to get registered. In case elections are taking place subsequently, they will have to wait for a longer period, the Election Commissioner has maintained.

Article 326 states that every person who is a citizen of India and who is not less than 18 of age on such “date” as may be fixed in that behalf by or under any law made by the appropriate legislature shall be entitled to be registered as a voter at any such election.

“The elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assembly of every State shall be on the basis of adult suffrage; but is to say, every person who is a citizen of India and who is not less than twenty one years of age (which was later amended to 18 years) on such ‘date’ as may be fixed in that behalf by or under any law made by the appropriate legislature…,” says Article 326.

A proposal made in the early 1970s had suggested multiple cut-off dates of 1 January, 1 April, 1 July and 1 October for those attaining the required age to register as voters. But the proposal could not take off.

PTI

Punjab: CBI likely to visit Faridkot to probe holy book sacrilege incident

Punjab Police will provide the required logistical support and offer its co-operation to the CBI in conducting the investigations, the spokesman added.

The incidents saw massive protest by Sikh activists in Faridkot which even led to the death of two persons allegedly in police firing.

A CBI team is likely to visit Faridkot for investigating the alleged sacrilege incidents in the area, that led to massive protests in the state and killing of two youth. Punjab government had on November 1 handed over the probe into the sacrilege incidents in Bargari village at Faridkot, to the CBI. “In pursuance of Punjab Government notification dated 9-11-2015, the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India issued a notification dated 5-11-2015 transferring to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation of cases dated 2-6-2015, 25-9-2015 and 12-10-2015 of Police Station Baza Khana, district Faridkot,” a Punjab police spokesman said here this evening.”The CBI has re-registered these FIRs as Regular Cases (RC) and a team of CBI officers will be visiting Faridkot shortly in connection with the investigation of the above-mentioned cases,” he further said in a release.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Police will provide the required logistical support and offer its co-operation to the CBI in conducting the investigations, the spokesman added. The three sacrilege cases were registered at the Bajakhana police station in Faridkot district. These related to the theft of Guru Granth Sahib at Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village in June and the putting up of posters in Bargari and Burj Jawahar Singh Wala villages in September. The third incident involved inciting Sikhs to protest against the theft of the holy book and the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib with torn pages of the holy book being found at Bargari in October.The incidents saw massive protest by Sikh activists in Faridkot which even led to the death of two persons allegedly in police firing. The government had earlier set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under ADGP I P S Sahota to probe the matter. The SIT had arrested two brothers, identified as Rupinder Singh and Jaswinder Singh, of Panjgrain village of Faridkot, in connection with the Bargari village incident.Sikhs owing allegiance to various groups, including hardliners, had been seeking the arrest of “real culprits” as they alleged that the two brothers were “falsely implicated”.Under intense attack over handling of the situation, the SAD government had also shunted out Punjab police chief Sumedh Singh Saini, who was replaced with Suresh Arora.

Paris attack similar to 26/11 Mumbai attacks: Experts

5 years ago, bin Laden had given a call to carry out Mumbai-type attacks across Europe

An injured man holds his head as people rush out of the Bataclan concert hall after terrorist strike in Paris on Friday.

Reuters
Indian and international security and terror experts have described the Paris attacks as a copycat version of the audacious November 26, 2008, Mumbai attacks. The terror attacks in Paris on Friday night have several uncanny resemblances to 26/11, including armed fidayeens (suicide bombers), hostage situation, AK-47s, grenades and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), they say. “The Mumbai terror attacks were a first-of-its-kind, and we saw, for the first time, fidayeens going on a killing spree, firing indiscriminately at people,” said joint commissioner of police (law and order) Deven Bharti, who was then deputy commissioner.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “Mumbai attacks were the blueprint. The Paris attack was more improvised. There are a number of similarities,” he added. John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counter-terrorism of the New York Police Department told CNN that the Paris attack resembles the Mumbai attacks, in terms of low-cost, low resources and other features. Bruce Hoffman, head of the national security programme at Georgetown University, in an interview to National Public Radio, referred to a call by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden five years ago to carry Mumbai-type attacks across Europe. “The attacks show a level of sophistication we really haven’t seen in an urban area since the 2008 Mumbai attack,” Michael Leiter, former director, National Counterterrorism Center, US, told NBC News. “This will be a game changer for how the West looks at this threat,” Leiter added. In an interview to Newsmax TV, retired US Air Force General Michael Hayden said that the Paris violence was “certainly a terrorist attack” and that “our fears have been realised” because the assaults greatly mirror the 2008 terrorism in Mumbai. “We had great fear that we would see copycat versions of that attack, and, now, I fear that our fears have been realised, and we’re seeing that carried out tonight in Paris,” Hayden said. Inspector-general of Aurangabad range, Vishswas Nangre Patil, who was DCP during 26/11, also said that there were glaring similarities. “There are so many similarities, but the most important for me is the selection of the city. Both Mumbai and Paris are tourist destinations and anything done here gets immediate media and world attention,” he said. Former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Y P Singh said: “It seems that the terrorists had studied the 26/11 attacks and have taken a step forward in Paris.” The terror linkAttacks were carried out at night.Crowded places targeted with the intention of maximum human casualtiesIconic structures were targetted in both the attacks. AK-47s, grenades and IEDs usedBoth terror attacks were carried out by highly trained fidayeens. The terrorists were divided in buddy pairs for carrying out the attacks. Multiple targets attacked simultaneously.

Incessant rains claims 55 lives in Tamil Nadu

At least 27 people were dead in Cuddalore district.

Heavy rains inundated many areas in Chennai, throwing normal life out of gear.

Heavy rains in coastal parts of Tamil Nadu over the last few days have left around 55 people dead. On Tuesday, there was a respite from rain in coastal parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry after a deep depression, which had intensified over the Bay of Bengal region, made a landfall near Puducherry.At least 27 people were dead in Cuddalore district.Schools and colleges in northern districts including Chennai, Vellore, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram remained closed.Incessant rains and heavy winds have been battering the state for the last few days. Heavy rains inundated many areas in Chennai, throwing normal life out of gear. Earlier, the Indian Metrological Department (IMD) had advised fishermen not to venture into sea along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining Pudukkottai and Ramanathapuram districts of south Tamil Nadu coasts. With agency inputs

No ‘martyr’ status to paramilitary personnel: govt tells HC

The response was sought after the government informed the court that it had no such scheme, as sought in the PIL.

The status of ‘martyr’ is not accorded to armed forces personnel who sacrifice their lives on the line of duty and hence cannot be given to the paramilitary forces, government has told the Delhi High Court, terming a plea on the matter as “misconceived”. “The prayer… to grant ‘martyr’ or ‘shaheed’ to Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) at par with army, navy and air force is misconceived as the very same status is not actually being granted to the personnel of Army, Navy and Air Force,” a bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and Deepa Sharma was informed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an affidavit, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and other ministries said the word ‘martyr’ was not used in the three services and “no such order/notification has been issued by the MoD to call martyr, (those) who are killed during duty. Similarly, no such notification has been issued by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for the CAPF and Assam Rifle (AR) personnel.” The government’s response came on a PIL by advocates Abhishek Choudhary and Harsh Ahuja to grant equal status to paramilitary and police forces like the armed forces in granting ‘martyr’ status to the deceased personnel.The response was sought after the government informed the court that it had no such scheme, as sought in the PIL. The government said that “in army/navy/air force, the nomenclature for the word ‘martyr’ is battle casuality and physical casuality. The word ‘martyr’ is not used in the three services.” “Therefore, the prayer of the petitioner that the status of ‘martyr’ or ‘shaheed’ be given to the deceased Paramilitary Armed Forces personnel at par with army, navy and air force is misconceived and unfounded. It is denied CAPF personnel are being deprived of the honour they deserve,” the MHA, MoD and Department of Personnel and Training and Ministry have said in the affidavit filed jointly by them.

Narendra Modi applies FDI balm on Bihar wound

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government bounced back into action two days after it took a massive drubbing at the Bihar election by easing foreign direct investment (FDI) norms in 15 sectors, including defence, mining, banking, broadcasting, civil aviation and construction. The move sent a positive signal to investors a day before the PM’s UK visit on the government’s intent to work towards structural reforms by allowing 100% FDI in direct-to-home (DTH), cable network and plantation crops. The government raised the cap on uplinking of news and current affairs TV channels to 49% from 26%.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The government eased investment norms in sensitive sectors like defence and retail and allowed 100% FDI through the automatic route in duty-free shops and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs). It raised the foreign investment promotion board’s (FIPB) monetary limit to Rs 5,000 crore from Rs 3,000 crore for approving FDI proposals. Experts hailed these changes as “significant” for attracting investments into the country. Anis Chakravarty, senior director and lead economist, Deloitte India, said liberalisation of FDI rules in major sectors reaffirmed the government’s commitment to bring in long-term investments, and were a pro-active step towards achieving a higher level of ease of doing business. “The way he (Modi) has done it is interesting. Sensitive sectors like defence and broadcasting have been opened up for investment. There is a tremendous push for Make in India and ease of doing business,” he said. According to Chakravarty, relaxation of rules on establishment and ownership transfer would draw investment from NRIs. Dhiraj Mathur, executive director of PwC, said the new overseas investment in defence was an important step in “unravelling the complexities and lowering barriers to investing in manufacturing in the sector”. “Investment in defence has now been aligned with other sectors. What remains is cleaning up defence procurement procedures and the implementation of new reforms,” he said. Pranav Sayta, tax partner, EY India, said that the initiatives by the government would help in reviving the investment cycle and putting India back on a high growth track, which would build an environment to support job creation. ASSOCHAM felt opening up key sectors like defence, civil aviation, retail, banking and e-commerce a day before Modi’s visit to the UK will send a positive signal to global investors about its focus on returning to the economic agenda after Bihar elections. D S Rawat , secretary general of ASSOCHAM, said: “At a time, when risk capital, by way of equity is hard to come by, FDI is the best option. Given that India remains among the few bright spots in the world, global investors would find it compelling to seriously look at these opportunities”. Vivek Mehra, partner, PwC India, said relaxation of FDI rules showed “Modi government’s intent to fast-peddle the growth agenda”. “The government has meticulously identified the FDI bottleneck policy and has taken corrective measures,” he said. According to him, allowing FDI in completed real estate projects like malls was good for the stressed sector. “Allowing 100% FDI in completed construction projects will help the real-estate sector in liquidating their current inventories, thereby fuelling growth. A number of itches impeding FDI in real-estate projects have been removed, including investment in completed projects for leasing out, minimum capitalisation and lock-in period being eased out,” enumerated Mehra. Parag Jariwala, vice president – institutional research, banking and financial services, Religare Capital Markets Ltd, said Tuesday’s announcements would have significant implications on the banking sector with full fungibility in FDI, with which the composite cap (FDI and FII) of total foreign holding in private banks will be 74%. He said the new rules will benefit banks like Yes Bank and Axis Bank. Amitabh Kant, secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) said: “This is a Diwali gift for investors. This is the biggest bang reform of the government.”

No bar on collegium to go ahead with its work to appoint judges: Supreme Court

The indication that it was not interfering with the functioning of the collegium system came while the apex court decided to give nine more days to elicit suggestions to improve the functioning of over two-decade-old controversial system of appointment to bring greater transparency in it.

Suggestions received by 17:00 hours on November 13 shall be entertained: SC

The Supreme court on Thursday said there was no bar on the collegium to go ahead with its work to appoint judges for the higher judiciary, which is plagued with large-scale vacancies. The indication that it was not interfering with the functioning of the collegium system came while the apex court decided to give nine more days to elicit suggestions to improve the functioning of over two-decade-old controversial system of appointment to bring greater transparency in it. “We want to indicate that we don’t want to delay. We don’t want to say anything to the collegium. We have not said anything to the collegium and we will not be saying anything. Whatever they want, they can do. If they do not want to proceed, let them not. It is their business. Let us not delay the proceedings,” a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice JS Khehar said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Justice Khehar, who is fourth in seniority in the apex court, has kept himself away from the five-member collegium as he was heading the bench which on October 16 had quashed as unconstitutional the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) Act aimed at the replacing the collegium system of appointing judges by judges to the higher judiciary. The apex court asked the Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi to issue a public notice inviting representations and suggestions from all quarters of the public and webhost on the website of the Law and Justice Ministry by 1700 hours of November 13. It also accepted the view of Bar Council of India that the apex lawyers’ body be allowed to hold a meeting with all state bar associations and advocates’ bodies from across the nation for compilation of various suggestions.”We appreciate the efforts made by Attorney General for India. He may web-host the compilation and issue a public notice. Likewise, all those who desire to make suggestions may do so directly, on the website of the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law & Justice, New Delhi. “Suggestions received by 17:00 hours on November 13 shall be entertained. No further suggestions will be entertained,” the bench, also comprising Justices J Chelameswar, M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Goel, said while posting the matter for hearing on November 18 and 19. It also said the hearing would be limited only those counsels who are short-listed and allowed time by a Committee comprising of Attorney General for India, Chairman of Bar Council of India and Senior advocate Fali S Nariman.

Insight: India takes tough line on trafficking victims who get special U.S. visas | Reuters

WASHINGTON When Ajay Ahir agreed to come to the United States, he had no idea the recruiter promising a high-wage welding job and legal residency in America was lying. He borrowed 500,000 rupees ($7,633) to pay the recruiter’s fees, told his wife to wait for him in India, and set off to make his fortune.

Almost nine years later, he has not returned.

When he arrived in New Orleans in January 2007,  he was paid only half the $15 an hour he had been promised to work in shipyards devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

And instead of a green card, his employer, Eagle Staffing of Louisiana LLC, got him a 10-month guest worker visa for blue-collar laborers filling jobs that no American citizens want.

After that visa expired and Eagle went out of business, the U.S. government recognized Ahir as a victim of human trafficking in July 2013, granting him a rare “T visa” that allows victims of forced labor to return home, collect family and re-settle in the United States.

But he still can’t get home. His problem now is the Indian government. 

Ahir’s predicament illustrates how a U.S. visa program for trafficking victims has broken down in the aftermath of a diplomatic firestorm set off by the 2013 arrest of an Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, in New York that plunged the two countries into their fiercest dispute in years.

Indian government documents reviewed by Reuters show New Delhi has imposed restrictions over the past 16 months on Indian passports stamped with T visas.

Those visas give legal status in the U.S. to trafficking victims if they agree to testify against those who smuggled them.

Between July 2014 and March 2015, at least 20 passports of Indians stamped with T visas were confiscated by authorities at Indian airports, preventing trafficking victims who returned home to collect their families from flying back to the United States, according to Jean Stockdale, a church worker who helps trafficking victims apply for the visas from her base in New Jersey.    

That has now stopped. But since March, Indians who have received U.S. T visas have faced new restrictions. T-visa holders face long delays in renewing passports at Indian consulates. They also must provide confidential information to the Indian government that they had previously submitted to the U.S. authorities, including details about who had trafficked them, according to the documents, legal advocates and interviews with T visa holders.

Legal advocates for people such as Ahir say India’s failure to recognize all T visas and attempt to seek confidential information on alleged traffickers raise the risk that victims or their families will face reprisals.

U.S. officials say they are also concerned over what they see as India’s reluctance to recognize a U.S. congressionally mandated visa for people the U.S. government considers victims of human trafficking

“We are deeply concerned by reports that some Indian nationals holding U.S. T visas have experienced travel restrictions,” the U.S. State Department said in a response to questions from Reuters. “The current status of the policy is unclear, and we continue to ask the government of India at high levels in Washington and in New Delhi to fully repeal the policy.”

The Indian embassy in Washington said in a statement in response to questions from Reuters that “many individuals seek to misuse the trafficking visa route to emigrate to the U.S” and that “appropriate measures are taken in such cases.”

India, however, is mindful of hardships “faced by genuinely affected persons” who receive T visas and provides them with consular services, it added.

It declined to respond to a question from Reuters over whether the Khobragade case influenced the policy.

“It is not a blanket ban,” said a source at India’s Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. “We are not throwing the baby out with the bath water. The issue is: how can the U.S. be the sole arbiter of what constitutes human trafficking?”

The topic is expected to be raised at a hearing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday led by U.S. Representative Chris Smith, a Republican who authored a 2000 law that led to creation of the T visas, said a congressional aide.

 

“INVASIVE” ACTION

Human rights advocates say the restrictions undermine U.S. government efforts to help Indians rescued from forced labor in the United States, including hundreds recruited to work in U.S. Gulf Coast shipyards after Katrina hit in 2005.

“Those applications to the U.S. government are supposed to be confidential,” said Martina Vandenberg, president and founder of the Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center.

The visa problems have divided the U.S. State Department over how far to publicly reprimand India at a time of improving relations with New Delhi.

In April, experts at the State Department’s office that monitors global human trafficking recommended downgrading India to the second-lowest tier in its annual human trafficking scorecard, one notch away from the world’s worst offenders in forced labor — from North Korea to Syria.

They cited the T visa treatment, among other factors, but were overruled by senior American diplomats who kept India’s ranking unchanged, Reuters reported on Aug. 3.

The State Department’s “Trafficking in Persons” report, published on July 27, removed the experts’ references to India’s “unprecedented” and “invasive” action, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.

The State Department said it does not discuss details of internal deliberations.

Once his H2-B guest-worker visa expired, Ahir was falsely assured by Eagle Staffing that it was okay to keep working even though the promised green card hadn’t arrived, he said.  

After leaving Eagle in 2008, Ahir spent years living in the United States without legal status, moving job to job, often earning barely enough money to survive. 

In 2012, Eagle’s business license was revoked by Louisiana authorities, state records show. It was unclear why that happened but it followed complaints by workers and a letter in March 2008 by then-U.S. Representative George Miller urging the labor department to investigate Eagle Staffing and eight other recruitment agencies.

In July, one of the biggest employers of Indian workers on the Gulf Coast, Alabama-based oil rig repair company Signal International LLC, agreed to pay $20 million to settle claims that it misled and exploited Indian guest workers brought to the United States. As many as 500 people came from India to work for Signal, court papers show. More than 225 filed suit against the company. 

In September, Signal issued an apology to the workers.

   

STRIP SEARCH

The problems with T visas follow the December 2013 arrest of Khobragade for visa fraud and underpaying a domestic worker who was later issued a U.S. T visa.  Her arrest and subsequent strip search provoked an outcry in India over her treatment by U.S. authorities.

After Khobragade was granted immunity, the United States had her essentially expelled in a flurry of diplomatic maneuvers in January last year.

A month after she returned to India, New Delhi considered whether to treat holders of U.S. T visas as violators of India’s Passports Act of 1967, according to India’s Ministry of External Affairs. The Act allows Indian authorities to confiscate passports if necessary in the interest of “the sovereignty and integrity of India,” among other reasons.

In July last year, India began confiscating passports stamped with U.S. T visas.

“This is 100 percent in response to what happened with Khobragade,” said a congressional source who has discussed the matter with senior diplomats at the Indian embassy in Washington.

A March 3 high court ruling in India found India’s confiscation of passports with T visas unconstitutional.  A March 16 memo from the Ministry of External Affairs seen by Reuters told “all missions and posts” to relax some aspects of the policy but not repeal it.

Since the ruling, people who had their passports seized have had them returned and new confiscations appear to have stopped, said Stockdale and the congressional source.

But since then, about 20 T visa holders have been unable to renew passports, said Stockdale, citing cases with which she has been directly involved.

At the Indian consulate in Houston, Naijo Kaiprampatt was told that to renew his passport, he needed to show proof he was trafficked by Signal. But he was recruited by another company, he says.

Kaiprampatt, 39, provided the name of that company and other information to the U.S. government, which gave him a T visa. He said the Indian consulate in Houston told him it has no authority to renew the passport of any Indian with a T visa unless that person was trafficked by Signal, and that he will have to bring proof that the company that brought him to the U.S. is related to Signal. 

“They want the same documents that I gave to the U.S. government, but those are supposed to be confidential,” he said. 

Ahir’s plight is similar. The Signal settlement didn’t cover him because he worked at Eagle, and by the time he received a T visa in July 2013, his wife in India had divorced him, Ahir said.

He wanted to renew his Indian passport so he could return to see his sick father, but for more than a year the Houston consulate has told him it cannot do so unless he hands over the documents he submitted to the U.S. for his T visa. 

“This is information that was supposed to be for the U.S. government only,” he said.

(Reporting by Jason Szep and Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Additional reporting by Idrees Ali in Washington and Douglas Buvine in New Delhi; Editing by Martin Howell)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Income Tax dept’s appeal against Jayalalithaa’s friend Sasikala dismissed

The Income Tax Department filed a case against them, alleging that they had not obtained No Objection Certificate or filed relevant forms before the department, as required.
File Photo

The Madras High Court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by Income Tax Department, challenging a lower court order discharging N Sasikala, a close friend of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalaltihaa, in a case related to alleged flouting of I-T norms on purchase of property in 1999.Bringing the curtains down on the decades-old case, Justice B Rajendran upheld the 2004 order of the Economic Offences Court-I here, discharging Sasikala from the case. The matter relates to purchase of property of a pharmaecutical firm here at a busy Luz Corner commercial area here by Sasikala, her sister-in-law Ilavarasi and nephew V N Sudhakaran.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income Tax Department filed a case against them, alleging that they had not obtained No Objection Certificate or filed relevant forms before the department, as required.Senior Special Public Prosecutor for the Department K Ramasamy submitted that they had purchased the property by entering into split agreements to circumvent I-T rules that prohibit purchase of property worth more than Rs 10 lakh without an NOC or filing the relevant forms.The EEO-1 had discharged all of them after the Madras High Court had earlier remanded the case to the trial court, asking it to consider all the points raised by the department before passing orders. The I-T department filed the present appeal against the discharge, arguing that when the character and nature of the property is one, resorting to ‘split transaction’ of six separate sale deeds was illegal. He claimed that the trio failed to file Form 37(i), which attracts penal provisions of Section 269UC of Income Tax Act.Similarly, failure to obtain NOC as required under Section 269UL (2) of the Act is an offence under Section 276AB of the Act. Contravention of these provisions carries jail terms for upto two years, besides fine, he had contended.

Election Commission seizes over Rs 39 crore cash, foreign currency in Bihar polls

Acting on the directions of the poll panel, specially constituted flying squads and other poll surveillance teams undertook operations to check on black money and other illegal inducements during the polls process in the state.

The last round of polling for the five-phase elections will be held on Thursday while the counting of votes will take place on November 8.

An estimated Rs 39 crore in cash and over 1.67 lakh litres of illicit liquor has been seized by Election Commission-appointed teams in the Bihar assembly elections till now.Acting on the directions of the poll panel, specially constituted flying squads and other poll surveillance teams undertook operations to check on black money and other illegal inducements during the polls process in the state.According to an official data, the teams seized Nepalese currency worth Rs 70.40 lakh, fake Indian currency notes with face value of Rs 24.51 lakh, and Rs 60.30 lakh in foreign currency apart from about Rs 19.86 crore in Indian currency. The rest amount of Rs 19 crore cash was seized by the Income Tax Department last month after it conducted searches in Delhi and Muzzafarpur in Bihar under special instructions of the EC.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Apart from this cash and currency, these teams also seized 1.67 lakh litres of liquor, 857.91 kg ganja, over 7.84 lakh kilograms mahua, 336 grams of heroin, and 8.66 kg gold and jewellery suspected to being transported as illegal inducements for the voters.The EC had issued special instructions in this regard and has reiterated its instructions to the Bihar state Commission to enforce strict vigil in this regard. The Commission had further directed that it expects that in Bihar state assembly elections, all agencies must make all- round efforts with real-time intelligence sharing with each other and monitor such suspicious transactions.”The Commission had also stated that expenditure sensitive areas and persons likely to be associated with such hawala operations must be identified and mapped. As the election process has already started, such actionable intelligence must be put to use at once,” the EC said on Wednesday.Keeping in view the ongoing elections, identified and suspected hawala operators are also being kept under surveillance by enforcement authorities and investigations are on in cases of unaccounted money. The last round of polling for the five-phase elections will be held tomorrow while the counting of votes will take place on November 8.

OM Prakash Chautala’s parole: Fresh war of words between LG and AAP government

After the LG dismissed the charges saying Chautala’s parole plea was rejected on October 5, the AAP government had dared the LG to deny that the “pressure” on Jain was based on another parole plea

Om Prakash Chautala

The war of words between Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and ruling AAP over the parole controversy escalated on Friday with the government questioning how he knew about a second parole plea by former Haryana Chief Minister O P Chautala without the file reaching his office.Though Jung’s office was not mentioning about any second parole plea by Chautala, on Friday it claimed the LG had come to know about it “informally” and had mentioned it during a meeting with Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain on October 21. The AAP has been alleging that Jung was showing “undue interest” in Chautala getting parole and had pressured Jain in this regard.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the LG dismissed the charges saying Chautala’s parole plea was rejected on October 5, the AAP government had dared the LG to deny that the “pressure” on Jain was based on another parole plea. “It was brought to the notice of the Home Minister that parole case of Om Prakash Chautala is pending with the Home Department and should be processed on merit without political considerations. Delay in processing the file by the Home Department is not reasonable as the convict is 84 years old and has had medical history,” a statement by LG office said.It said that Jain had himself fixed up the meeting with Jung with the request of withdrawing 24 cases registered against AAP leaders pending in various courts including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Another meeting was held on the same issue on September 11, OSD to Jung Ajay Choudhary said. Rejecting the claim, the AAP government said it had recommended withdrawal of prosecution against a number of political leaders including from both BJP and Congress. It said the list includes Congress’ Mukesh Sharma and BJP’s Vijay Goel, Parvesh Verma, Vijendra Gupta and Ramesh Bidhuri.The government claimed vindication saying the LG’s statement amounts to his “admission” that he was in touch with people related to Chautala. “How did the LG know that another parole application had been filed by Chautala when the file had not even reached him?” a senior government official asked.Jung’s Secretariat said that it was obvious that Jain has tried to make “political capital” out of this reference and “has used the occasion to vent out angst at his unsuccessful attempt to push through the withdrawal of cases against AAP leaders.” It said that the government’s allegation that Jain was “pressurised” by Jung to grant parole to Chautala was “purely a figment of imagination”.”On late evening of October 28 again a fresh file was received from the office of the Chief Minister on the subject of OP Chautala’s parole. This file contained notes from Chief Minister and Home Minister alleging that the LG had pressurised the Home Minister to consider the parole to OP Chautala,” the statement by LG’s office said. Jung’s office claimed that in both the meetings, Jain insisted that the file withdrawing cases against AAP leaders “should be cleared today itself and he would like to take it back personally”.”Jain asserted that it is humiliating and below dignity for their senior leaders to attend the courts on frequent dates,” the statement added. Apart from the names of Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia, the names of other AAP MLAs in the list are Vishesh Ravi, Rakhi Birla, Vandana, Jarnail Singh and Kapil Mishra.”He was advised that there should be a proper dispatch and receipt No. for such file before being formally considered within the Lt. Governor Sectt,” the statement said. The LG office asserted that it is clear from the file movement that the file regarding parole of Chautala was received in the Delhi Home Department on October 9 and it was kept pending by Jain till October 23 and sent to Chief Minister on October 28.”The assertion on the part of the Minister that he was pressurised for granting of parole is a shocking distortion of facts and deliberate manipulation to make it a political issue and settle political scores,” the statement said.The LG office also noted that parole applications of the Haryana Chief Minister’s son Ajay Chautala has been twice rejected by Jung on May 6 and October 26. “In this episode, an attempt has been made to present a distorted view of criminal justice system for political gains.””The present file related to parole of OP Chautala has now been received on 28.10.15. The same shall be considered on merit and as per the law of the land. Under the law, Lt.Governor is the competent authority for taking final decision on accepting or rejecting the applications by convicts for parole,” it said.On LG’s assertion that Jain met him with the request of withdrawing cases against AAP MLAs, the government said compoundable cases against political leaders or workers are never withdrawn on executive orders and it is clear that no minister is involved in this process.It said that the committee, comprising senior government, police officials and director of prosecution, merely recommends that compoundable cases are fit for withdrawal and the final decision wrests with the judiciary. “Therefore the office of the LG has made an unsuccessful attempt to divert attention from the real issue of Chautala’s parole.” “The cases that are considered by this committee are generally those of a political nature and hence related to political dharnas, agitation, defacement of property and are not serious/heinous crimes.”It is clear that no minister is involved in this process, therefore the office of the LG has erred in making this incorrect allegation,” the government said.It added that the government is actively considering a proposal that the entire process be decentralised and a committee be formed under each of the 11 revenue districts comprising the DM, DCP, Chief Prosecutor and SDM concerned.On LG’s assertion that Jain met him with the request of withdrawing cases against AAP MLAs, the government said compoundable cases against political leaders or workers are never withdrawn on executive orders and it is clear that no minister is involved in this process.It said that the committee, comprising senior government, police officials and director of prosecution, merely recommends that compoundable cases are fit for withdrawal and the final decision wrests with the judiciary. “Therefore the office of the LG has made an unsuccessful attempt to divert attention from the real issue of Chautala’s parole.” “The cases that are considered by this committee are generally those of a political nature and hence related to political dharnas, agitation, defacement of property and are not serious/heinous crimes.”It is clear that no minister is involved in this process, therefore the office of the LG has erred in making this incorrect allegation,” the government said. It added that the government is actively considering a proposal that the entire process be decentralized and a committee be formed under each of the 11 revenue districts comprising the concerned DM, DCP, Chief Prosecutor and SDM.

Editor of Haryana govt magazine praising beef-eating removed

The online edition of the 52-page magazine has been removed from the official website of the Primary Education Department.

The editor of the magazine clarified that the article was carried as it was based on a scientific report.

File Photo
The editor of a Haryana government magazine, which carries an article mentioning positive effects of beef-eating, has been removed. The magazine “Shiksha Bharati” has included “beef” besides “veal” (meat of young cows) among four “enhancers” which “directly affect absorption of iron in human body.” The article details the importance of iron as “one of the important micro-nutrient which is required for human body on a daily basis and elaborates on the ill-effects of iron deficiency, its impact on health and various sources of iron.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma told reporters that the article “Iron-Vital for strength” was carried in the bi-lingual magazine which contains articles in Hindi and English and is published and printed by “President, Shiksha Lok Society-cum-Director, Secondary Education” from the office of Director, Secondary Education, Haryana, Panchkula. He said that the editor of the magazine clarified that the article was carried as it was based on a scientific report. Beef was mentioned along with lamb, veal and pork as enhancers with other animal food in the article. “We said that it should not have been published in the Haryana magazine. We have removed the editor of the magazine,” Sharma said adding further action in the matter will follow later.The online edition of the 52-page magazine has been removed from the official website of the Primary Education Department. However, the online edition of the magazine is still available on the official website of the Secondary Education Department. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who had sparked a controversy saying that Muslims should give up eating beef if they want to live in India, is the chief patron of the body publishing the magazine with Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma as the patron. The magazine in its initial pages carries a disclaimer saying the views mentioned are of the contributors and it was not necessary that the department agrees with the views.Jawahar Yadav, Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the Chief Minister, declined to comment on the issue. The Haryana Assembly had recently passed the Gau Sanrakshan Avm Gau Samwardhan Bill 2015′ Bill which favours complete ban on cow slaughter in the state and rigorous imprisonment ranging from three years to ten years for killing the animal.

Lt Guv pressuring Delhi Home Minister to grant parole to Om Prakash Chautala: CM Kejriwal

Reacting to the accusation of Kejriwal government, the LG Secretariat said “Lt Governor rejected parole prayer of Chautala on October 5 as there should be a gap of minimum six months from the date of termination of last parole.”
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
In yet another round of confrontation between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt Governor, the AAP government on Wednesday accused Najeeb Jung of “pressurising” Home Minister Satyendar Jain to grant parole to INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala, serving a decade-long jail term in teachers’ recruitment scam case.Reacting to the accusation of Kejriwal government, the LG Secretariat said “Lt Governor rejected parole prayer of Chautala on October 5 as there should be a gap of minimum six months from the date of termination of last parole.” The LG office said no further application for parole from former Haryana Chief Minister has been received at the Lt Governor’s Secretariat.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A senior government official alleged that Jung recently had summoned Jain and allegedly “pressurised” him to expedite Chautala’s parole plea or grant him permission to be shifted to a Punjab jail. The Chief Minister has sent a two-page file noting on Chautala’s file expressing displeasure over LG’s alleged pressure on his minister and said he strongly oppose parole to the fomer Haryana CM.”The CM has sought a list of other convicts from the Home Department, who were similarly placed, given parole earlier,” an official said.In his file noting to Jung, Kejriwal asked Lt Governor when judge did not show any leniency on age, why is he showing?.”LG says the convict has been national president of a political party for five years. Everyone is equal before law,” Kejriwal said.Refuting government’s allegations, LG Secretariat today issued a statement stating that the LG had rejected parole prayer of Chautala on October 5 as there should be a gap of minimum six months from the date of termination of last parole.”Om Prakash Chautala had requested for parole for medical treatment. The Principal Secretary (Home) and Minister (Home), did not recommend the parole on the ground that convict had last availed one month parole w.e.f. April 4, 2015 to May 5, 2015 and further extended upto May 28, 2015 and he surrendered on June 3, 2015,” LG office said in the statement.It is further clarified, that based on the facts on file submitted by the Home Department, the right to grant or reject parole lies with the Administrator i.e. Lt. Governor of Delhi, it also added.

Nobody has the right to touch a woman without her consent: Court

The court’s observation came while dismissing the appeal of convict Ashok Kumar, who was working as a stenographer in the hospital, against a magisterial court’s last month order sentencing him to jail and imposing a fine of Rs 5,000 on him.
Representational Image

Nobody has a right to touch a woman’s body without her consent, a Delhi court has observed while upholding the six-month jail term of an army hospital employee for molesting a woman medical student in his chamber.”Nobody has a right to touch a woman’s body without her consent… In the instant case, it is evident that appellant (convict) had pulled the prosecutrix towards his chamber with the intention to sexually assault her and therefore, committed offence of outraging her modesty under section 354 of IPC,” Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhatt said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court’s observation came while dismissing the appeal of convict Ashok Kumar, who was working as a stenographer in the hospital, against a magisterial court’s last month order sentencing him to jail and imposing a fine of Rs 5,000 on him.While relying on testimony of the victim, a second year student of Department of Nuclear Medicine, the judge said, “I find that the testimony of the prosecutrix is consistent with her written complaint submitted in the police station and the statements recorded during the course of investigation.”According to the prosecution, on February 2, 2011 an FIR was lodged at Dhaula Kuan Police Station on the complaint of the medical student that Kumar molested her when she was working in CT centre at the hospital around 1 PM. It was alleged that she had gone to Kumar’s chamber to check leave register when he suddenly pulled her and tried to sexually assault her, after which she stormed out of the room and telephoned her husband, who is also a doctor.The court, while upholding the sentence, accepted the contention of the victim’s husband who said that the FIR was lodged a day after the incident as the army rules require that the complaint first be made to the Commandant. Kumar, in his appeal, had contended that trial court had erred in convicting and sentencing him and that he was falsely implicated by the woman and her husband.The court, however, dismissed his plea saying he has no defence to accusations levelled against him and he was “trying to create one.”

Rajasthan government notifies quota for Gujjars and other Special Backward Classes

Rajasthan government has issued a notification to provide 5% quota to Gujjars and other Special Backward Classes (SBC) for which the Assembly has passed a bill last month.

Rajasthan government has issued a notification to provide 5% quota to Gujjars and other Special Backward Classes (SBC) for which the Assembly has passed a bill last month.The notification, issued last night by the Department of Personnel, states that Rajasthan Specific Backward Classes (Reservation of seats in Educational Institutions in the state and of Appointment and Posts under the state) Act, 2015 (Act No 32) comes into effect from October 16, an official said on Saturday.The said Act shall come into force from October 16, 2015, he said.The Act will provide 5% reservation in jobs and educational institutes to Gujjars, Banjara, Raibari, and Gadiya Lohar communities in the state.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On September 22, the state assembly had passed two separate bills for providing 5% quota to SBC, and 14% to Economically Backward Classes (EBC) of unreserved categories, sparking a controversy as it crossed the 50% quota cap.The second bill of EBC is yet to get the Rajasthan Governor’s approval.Criticising the government’s move, Congress leader Sachin Pilot had said it was a “tragedy” that despite knowing very well that there is no provision in the Constitution for economically backward people to get reservation, the BJP government has made a “farcical attempt”.

17-year-old author Ria Vithasha returns her state Sahitya award

Vithasha, known by her pen name Muddu Thirthahalli, whose novel “Kaada Haadiya Hoogalu” has been adapted into an award-winning film, said she was “pained” that the killers of Kalburgi had not yet been caught and punished.

Picture Courtesy: Wikipedia
For 17 year-old Ria Vithasha, who has authored five novels, the killing of senior Kannada writer M M Kalburgi distressed her enough to take the decision to return her Karnataka Sahitya Academy award.Vithasha, known by her pen name Muddu Thirthahalli, whose novel “Kaada Haadiya Hoogalu” has been adapted into an award-winning film, said she was “pained” that the killers of Kalburgi had not yet been caught and punished.”I knew Kalburgi from childhood and have read all his books. I cried a lot when he was killed and wanted to return my award but my parents told me to have patience and wait. Now so much time has elapsed and still there is nothing being done so like the other writers have done, I have returned my award,” Vithasha said in halting Hindi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The young writer, who is a PU II (Class 11) student, was conferred the award for her 2011 collection of essays “Ondu Chandrana Tundu”.Vithasha’s mother Lydia D’Mello said her insistence to return the award came after hearing Kannada writer Chandrashekar Patil decided to return his Pampa award, one of the highest literary honors conferred by the Department of Kannada and Culture of Karnataka.”She was close to Kalburgi and had attended many functions in his hometown Dharwad. She wanted to do something when she heard of his killing but we advised her to have patience,” D’Mello said.

Government cracks whip, blocks two websites and Facebook pages for carrying ISIS propaganda

The decision was taken during a high-level meeting in which officials from Department of Telecom, Home Ministry and central security agencies participated.

Picture for representational purpose

Cracking its whip on terror propaganda being carried on Internet, government on Wednesday ordered banning of two websites and some pages on social networking site Facebook after it was found that they contained material detrimental to the country’s sovereignty.The decision was taken during a high-level meeting in which officials from Department of Telecom, Home Ministry and central security agencies participated. The meeting was convened by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), a nodal agency under Ministry of Communications, that deals with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”On the request of the IB and some police, the CERT-In has blocked two websites belonging to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which were spreading outfit’s propaganda, and two Facebook pages which were being run by anonymous people in Jammu and Kashmir,” a senior government officer said. The two websites spreading ISIS propaganda had details of how to make bombs and training modules of the outfit.The officials said about 55-60 websites and social networking sites pages, related to terror activities, have been blocked by the government this year. Earlier in the day, Telecommunication Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that steps will be taken to check misuse of social media platforms to disrupt communal harmony and national security.”Well as far as radicalisation or extremism…communal or pro-terrorist views are concerned, there is a proper mechanism of coordination between Home Ministry and our Ministry,” he told a press conference.

© 2021 Yuva Sai Sagar. Theme by Anders Norén.