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Now, pregnant woman in Shakur Basti slum faces hospital’s apathy

“At first the hospital refused to take the case, they chased her away. Then later one lady came and got the woman admitted in the hospital,” said Sri Ram, one of the residents of Shakur Basti slums.

People collect their belongings after a demolition drive carried out by railways in Shakur Basti of Delhi on Sunday.

PTI
With residents of Delhi’s Shakur basti slums being forced to live on the streets after their shanties were razed to the ground during a demolition drive by Indian Railways, a woman gave birth to child in the wee hours of Monday, battling freezing cold and apathy by hospital staff.The residents of the slums alleged that the local hospital refused to admit the pregnant lady and even asked her to go to a private hospital.”At first the hospital refused to take the case, they chased her away. Then later one lady came and got the woman admitted in the hospital,” said Sri Ram, one of the residents of Shakur Basti slums.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Around 1.30 am, a girl child was born to one of my relatives. First the hospital refused to admit her and then later they admitted her,” said another resident, Lakhan.The residents also said that hospital later admitted the woman after intervention by the media.”They chased the pregnant woman away, when we asked them to give medicine they asked us to go to a private hospital. They came back, and then the ambulance took her away after we complained to media,” said Gulab.Last week, around 500 slums were razed by Railway authorities as part of their demolition drive.Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had on Monday visited the razed Shakur Basti slums and promised them that he would extend every help possible to alleviate them of their problems. He had accused the Delhi government and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Centre for the razing of the slum and asserted that the law had been clearly broken during the demolition.The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi Government had questioned the timing of Railways? action and asked why proper arrangements to rehabilitate the dwellers was not made before their houses were demolished.

Is Sanskrit written in English/Hindi all Greek/Latin?

Only 2 out of 100 research papers in Sanskrit are written in the language; But many scholars aren’t cribbing

Thinkstock
Despite several efforts to promote Sanskrit, only two out of 100 research papers in Sanskrit are being presented in the language. Scholars prefer either Hindi or English to write their PhD papers. This has divided the Sanskrit lobby on whether the practice of learning Sanskrit in other languages be allowed to continue or should it be made a medium of instruction. Government and scholars at Sanskrit Bharti, an RSS-affiliated body for promoting Sanskrit, have been trying to promote the language and bring it to the mainstream education curriculum.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The human resource development ministry has constituted a committee last month to suggest a long-term vision and road map for the development of Sanskrit for 10 years. However, a month on, there is a split on traditional versus modern learning techniques. Scholars attached to university systems are of the view that Sanskrit be taught as a language and that there is no harm in presenting Sanskrit research papers in English or Hindi. “A research paper in other languages can be accessed even by those who do not know Sanskrit. Making Sanskrit a medium will discourage students from picking up the language and valuable research work will have very few takers,” said Professor Ramesh Bhardwaj, Sanskrit head of department at Delhi University. Bhardwaj is a member of the Sanskrit committee. Scholars backing Bhardwaj’s view also feel that to make Sanskrit a medium of instruction will require altering the overall syllabus from the school level. “In our school curriculum, we have been teaching basic Sanskrit. The grammar and literature of other languages taught in schools are way ahead of Sanskrit. To make Sanskrit attractive and more accessible at the college level, the need is to correct the school text books,” said Professor AD Mathur of St Stephen’s College. Mathur also feels that it is more important for students to be able to understand the rich content in these Sanskrit texts, even if it is available in other languages. However, scholars from Sanskrit Bharti and Rashtriya Sanskrit Santhan, who support the traditional Sanskrit method and have been championing for the speak-Sanskrit movement want Sanskrit to be developed into a teaching medium. “The current form of learning Sanskrit is adopted from the British. The British translated Sanskrit so that they could read it. For 150 years, we have been following their traditions,” said a member of the committee, who did not want to be quoted. These scholars are also of the view that the British style of teaching Sanskrit has led to a decline of the language and that there is a need to go to the pre- British mode. “We want Indians to read Gita and not the translation of Gita,” added a professor.

Full Text: Sushma Swaraj explains why she went to Pakistan in Parliament

Answering critics, she said in the latest arrangement, the level of talks on terror has been raised as this issue will now be dealt with by the National Security Advisers (NSAs) instead of Foreign Secretaries as earlier.

File Photo

​Rejecting any “flip flop”, India asserted that the decision to re-start talks with Pakistan was based on “trust” and said the intent would be to have an “uninterrupted” dialogue process despite provocations by the “saboteurs”, an apparent reference to terror groups. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, while briefing Parliament on her recent visit to Pakistan, justified the decision to have ‘Comprehensive Dialogue’, saying there is a “need for bridging the gulf” with the neighbouring country for peace and stability in the region.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Answering critics, she said in the latest arrangement, the level of talks on terror has been raised as this issue will now be dealt with by the National Security Advisers (NSAs) instead of Foreign Secretaries as earlier.The fact that NSAs of India and Pakistan met in Bangkok without any publicity does not mean any third country’s involvement but it was only to take forward the Ufa process as such a meeting could not take place in Delhi as “you all know”, she told the Lok Sabha.Here’s the full text of her argument: Hon’ble Chairman,
I rise to brief this august House and Hon’ble Members on my recent visit to Islamabad, Pakistan to lead the Indian delegation to the ‘Heart of Asia’ Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan and recent developments relating to ties between India and Pakistan.The Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process on December 8-9, 2015 in Islamabad was devoted to the themes of security and connectivity. The Conference provided to us an important opportunity on a vital regional platform for political consultations and regional cooperation to reiterate India’s commitment to Afghanistan’s stability and development and our faith in its future. India has actively participated in the Heart of Asia Process since its beginning. The process brings together friends of Afghanistan from its immediate and extended neighbourhood as well as supporting countries and international organizations to promote political consultations and regional cooperation for a united, democratic, independent, strong and prosperous Afghanistan. My visit to Islamabad underlined India’s strong commitment to that cause. In my statement at the Conference, I urged full and direct transit for Afghanistan through Pakistan to India. In the context of relations between India and Pakistan, I advocated working together for peace and development in South Asia, with self-confidence and maturity. I also take this opportunity to inform the House that during my visit to Islamabad, I called on Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif and held discussions with my Pakistani counterpart Mr. Sartaj Aziz. Following my meetings the decision of this Government to begin a Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue with Pakistan was announced in a Joint Statement in Islamabad on December 9, 2015. This decision of the Government follows the recent developments and engagements between the two countries, especially the constructive discussions between their National Security Advisors in Bangkok on December 6, 2015. The meeting of the NSAs resulted from discussion between our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif in Paris on November 30, 2015.As the House is aware, the Prime Minister of Pakistan was invited in May 2014, among other SAARC leaders, by Prime Minister to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new Government. This was a demonstration of our commitment to good neighbourly ties with Pakistan, in line with our vision for peace and development in the region through deeper regional integration in South Asia. In the first meeting between the two Prime Ministers during that visit of Mr. Nawaz Sharif to New Delhi, our views on India-Pakistan ties and our concerns on terrorism and violence were conveyed to the Pakistani authorities. The meetings as decided between the two sides in May 2014, however, did not take place.As the House is also aware, the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan met in Ufa in July 2015 and agreed that the two countries had collective responsibility to ensure peace and promote development. They condemned terrorism in all its forms and agreed to cooperate with each other to eliminate this menace from South Asia. To that end, they decided on a meeting of the National Security Advisors to discuss all issues connected to terrorism. They also stated that the two countries were prepared to discuss all outstanding issues. During the Ufa meeting, PM was extended an invitation by Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif to visit Islamabad for attending the SAARC Summit in 2016.For the reasons that we all know, the expected meetings of NSAs and Directors General of Military Operations of the two countries envisaged at Ufa, did not materialize though Directors General of BSF and Pakistan Rangers met and a number of humanitarian measures, agreed at Ufa, were implemented.In this background, when our Prime Minister met his Pakistan counterpart during the COP-21 Summit meeting in Paris on 30 November 2015, there was a discussion on how the two countries could build an atmosphere conducive for again re-engaging with each other. The underlying sentiment, on which I am confident that this House concurs fully, was that the continued estrangement of two neighbours was a hurdle to the realization of our shared vision of a peaceful and prosperous region. At the same time, there was also a sharp awareness that the principal obstacles to the growth of ties, especially terrorism, would have to be clearly and directly addressed.Following PM’s conversation with PM Mr. Nawaz Sharif in Paris, the two leaders decided that both sides should hold the NSA-level meeting. The National Security Advisors of the two countries accordingly met on December 6, 2015. The meeting was held in Bangkok. Discussions between the two NSAs in that meeting were held in a candid, cordial and constructive atmosphere. They focused on peace and security, terrorism, tranquility along the Line of Control, and Jammu & Kashmir – the State which has been most directly impacted by terrorism and violation of LOC.My visit to Islamabad for the Heart of Asia Conference came two days after the constructive talks between NSAs on issues related to security, terrorism, etc. My meetings with PM Mr. Nawaz Sharif and Mr. Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad were held in the backdrop of this positive development. Both sides condemned terrorism and resolved to cooperate to eliminate this menace. There we dwelt on the need for Pakistan to expedite the Mumbai terrorist attacks trial. The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite its early conclusion.Accordingly, it was decided to begin a dialogue with Pakistan under the new title “Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue”. The Foreign Secretaries have been tasked to work out modalities and schedule of the meetings under the new Dialogue.I would like to assure the House that this Government accords the highest priority to the country’s security. In order to meet any threats in this regard, the Government will take all steps, including through diplomatic channels. At the same time, the Government is also committed to building an environment of peaceful and cooperative relations with all our neighbours, including Pakistan, so that the efforts for peace and development in South Asia, initiated by the Government on the day of assuming office itself, are taken further forward. The new Dialogue with Pakistan has twin aims of removing hurdles in the path of a constructive engagement by addressing issues of concern, and at the same time, of exploring and establishing cooperative ties. Initiatives on trade and connectivity, people-to-people exchanges and humanitarian issues will contribute to welfare of the entire region, and promote better understanding and mutual trust. The new Dialogue, we sincerely hope, marks a new beginning also for peace and development in the whole region. I am confident that we have the support of the entire House in this expectation.(Read: A moderate Modi — is the BJP finally planning to switch off its election mode?)

Pak boat row: Coast Guard DIG BK Loshali sacked for contradicting govt’s stand

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said the “circumstantial evidence” indicated that the Pakistani boat had suspected terror links
File Image
PTI
Coast Guard DIG BK Loshali has been sacked following a Board of Inquiry over his comments that contradicted the government’s stand on the sinking of a Pakistan fishing boat last year.”He was dismissed from services after the Board of Inquiry found him guilty of all the charges on Saturday. The inquiry was conducted by a panel of senior DIG (Deputy Inspector General) rank officers for over three months,” said a senior Coast Guard official. On eve the of New Year last year, a Pakistani fishing boat said to be carrying explosives was intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard off the coast of Gujarat, but the vessel exploded and caught fire before sinking along with four occupants.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said the “circumstantial evidence” indicated that the Pakistani boat had suspected terror links. Dismissing claims that the occupants of boat were smugglers, the Minister had said he would classify them as “suspected or possible terrorists” since they had committed suicide after being intercepted and added that they were in touch with Pakistani maritime officials, “army and international contacts”.While the government has claimed that the Pakistani boat had been set on fire by its crew, Loshali told an audience of Coast Guard and Larsen & Toubro officials on February 15 that he had ordered to blow off the boat, which was a major embarrassment for the government as well as the Coast Guard. On “31st December night. I was there at Gandhinagar, and I told at night, blow the boat off. We don’t want to serve them biryani,” Loshali had said.Following this, the government had removed Loshali from the position of Chief of Staff, North West and attached him to the force’s Gandhinagar-based regional headquarters. A Board of Inquiry at Mumbai was also constituted to look into the matter, which probed the matter for over three months and court martialed him.

Railways should not have conducted demolition drive in winter, says Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said that the Railways should not have conducted the demolition drive in Shakur Basti area at the height of winter.

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said that the Railways should not have conducted the demolition drive in Shakur Basti area at the height of winter.”The Congress regime under chief minister Sheila Dikshit, in 2007 had proposed to build a railway terminal in Shakur Basti, and since then, efforts were on to do so,” Naidu told reporters.”There should be no politics in this case. It should be seen from a humanitarian angle and this demolition drive should not have been conducted in winter,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday reiterated his stand that the six-month-old child had died before the demolition drive had begun in Shakur Basti and not during the drive.Prabhu made his statement in the Lok Sabha on the encroachment drives, where around 500 jhuggis were razed to the ground.”The child has died much before the demolition drive began and the encroachers did not vacate the place despite repeated notices. Such encroachments are the main source of garbage and safety hazard. Will meet Delhi Chief Minister today to discuss tackling encroachment in other areas too,” Prabhu said in his statement.Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier demanded that a murder case be registered against the officers who were responsible for the demolition which caused the child?s death.”Railways have demolished 500 shanties in this extreme cold. One child has died. God will never forgive them. Had instructed the local SDM to arrange for food and shelter. They did not arrange the same, so have suspended them,” an enraged Kejriwal said in a series of tweets.Meanwhile, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi visited the demolition site today and held the Delhi Government and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Centre responsible for razing of the slum, while assuring the homeless slum dwellers that they would be provided aid at the earliest.”Call me if they try to break your homes again and I promise I won’t let it happen. I will help you in every way possible. You know we are not in power, it is Modi ji and Kejriwal ji who are at power. Your fight is our fight,” Rahul told the slum dwellers.”There is a way of doing these things and the law has clearly been broken here. The Modi Government and the Delhi Government are involved here and now they are engaged in a blame game. What they should be doing is help the hungry and the people in pain. They need to ensure rehabilitation and provide them shelter,” he added.Kejriwal had earlier hit out at Rahul for accusing the Delhi Government for the demolition and called him a ‘child’.”Rahul Gandhi is still a child. I don’t think his party has told him that that Indian Railways reports to the Centre and not to the Delhi Government,” Kejriwal tweeted.

Shakur Basti demolition drive: Arvind Kejriwal hits back at Rahul Gandhi, calls him a ‘kid’ for questioning Delhi govt

Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Kejriwal tweeted, “Rahul Gandhi is a kid. I think his party has not told him that the Railways come under the Central Government of India.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday, hit out at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for accusing the Delhi government for the Shakur Basti demolition controversy.As AAP members protested outside the Parliament holding placards, Rahul Gandhi had earlier in the day questioned their actions. “Why is AAP doing dharna in Parliament,” Rahul asked.Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Kejriwal tweeted, “Rahul Gandhi is a kid. I think his party has not told him that the Railways come under the Central Government of India.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A fresh face-off between the Delhi government and the Centre erupted on Sunday, over the demolition of a slum cluster by the Railways, to clear “encroachments” and the death of a baby at the site. The demolition of 1200 slum units at Shakur Basti in West Delhi was carried out, by the Railways.The Railways said the removal of “fresh encroachment” was necessary for expanding the infrastructure and that the action had been taken after three notices, the first one with the March 14, 2015 deadline.Meanwhile, Arvind Kejriwal said he will take up the issue and death of a baby at the site with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu as he was not satisfied with the ministry officials’ response. “Those who have done this (demolition of shanties) are not humans, instead they are animals and bestial,” Kejriwal had said.

Schools, colleges reopen in Tamil Nadu

As there has been dry weather over last few days and normal life is getting restored, schools and colleges reopened on Monday.

Schools, colleges reopen in Tamil Nadu

ANI
After torrential rains and floods forced their closure for nearly a month, schools and colleges in Chennai and its neighbouring districts reopened on Monday.Soon after the onset of North East Monsoon in October, incessant rains hampered normal life with the city recording heavy rainfall last week that led to inundation of large areas. Essential commodities took a hit while educational institutions were closed particularly those in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Thiruvallur and Cuddalore districts.As there has been dry weather over last few days and normal life is getting restored, schools and colleges reopened on Monday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>University examinations have already been postponed by the Government. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to postpone the civil services examinations scheduled from December 18 to 23 for at least for two months to enable the students from Tamil Nadu to take up the examinations with “adequate preparation”.

Post Tamil Nadu rains, Jayalalithha urges PM Modi to postpone Civil Service examinations

The “hardship” faced by the students would place the candidates at a “distinct disadvantage” as compared to candidates from other parts of the country, she said.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Stating that students from the state taking up civil service examinations were affected by heavy rains and floods, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to postpone the examinations by two months for “adequate preparations” for them.”I understand that Union Public Services Commission proposes to conduct Civil Services (Main) Examination, 2015, from December 18 to 23. The devastation caused by the recent floods in Chennai has largely interrupted various services including the supply of electricity”, she said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Students all over from Tamil Nadu appearing for civil services examinations use Chennai as the main centre for preparation”, she said in her letter to Modi.”Their life has been completely disrupted in the last few weeks and they were unable to concentrate and study for the examination”, she said.The “hardship” faced by the students would place the candidates at a “distinct disadvantage” as compared to candidates from other parts of the country, she said.”As this has been a calamity of severe magnitude affecting a large population, I request you to kindly take up the issue with the Union Public Service Commission and have the Civil Services (Main) examination, 2015, postponed by at least two months”, she said.It would enable the students from Tamil Nadu to appear in the examinations with “adequate preparation” and would place them on level playing field with their counterparts, she said. She said life was returning to normalcy in many parts of the city and other flood-affected areas as there has been dry weather over the last few days.Various school and University examinations were already postponed by the Government due to floods, she said.

Netaji Photo: Subhas Chandra Bose’s nephew says Narendra Modi has promised to unravel mystery

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grand-nephew Chandra Bose on Sunday said the NDA Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of Netaji, adding that he will be meeting the Prime Minister to raise the issue since the latter is going to Russia by end of this month.

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Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grand-nephew Chandra Bose on Sunday said the NDA Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of Netaji, adding that he will be meeting the Prime Minister to raise the issue since the latter is going to Russia by end of this month.”If we have to find the truth on Netaji’s disappearance, we need to approach the Russian authorities to really find out who this Tashkent man (Netaji look-alike who appeared with Shastri) was. I think the NDA government is sincere and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to unravel the mystery of the liberator of India, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose,” Chandra Bose told ANI here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are going to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 16 to present a book, The Bose brothers and Indian independence. During our discussions, we will again raise the issue because we understand that the Prime Minister is going to Russia by end of December. We would request him to take up the issue with Russian President. President Putin must be requested to open erstwhile KGB files. Till such time the erstwhile KGB files are not declassified and put on the public domain, we will not be able to find conclusive evidence to establish the fact of Netaji’s presence in Russia,” he added.Bose also said that the death of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri ‘still remains a mystery’.”Lal Bahadur Shashtri’s grandson Sanjay Nath Singh had told me that when Shastri ji visited Tashkent, on the last day(Jan 11, 1966), Shastri ji had called Sanjay’s mother and told her that he had met somebody in Russia and will disclose his identity once he is back, and the people of India would be elated to know about this person. It is very unfortunate that Shastri ji expired only an hour after the telephonic conversation. This still remains a mystery who that person was,” he said.Netaji researchers have produced a forensic face-mapping report by a British expert that has found strong resemblance between Bose and a man photographed with former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri during the Indo-Pak peace talks in Tashkent in 1966.The photograph is being held as evidence that Netaji didn’t die in the plane crash in Taihoku in 1945 and validates a recent claim by Shastri’s grandson Siddharth Nath Singh that Shastri had met someone who was considered an icon back home, while in the Soviet Union.Meanwhile, the Modi government has begun the process of declassification of Netaji files and the first batch of 33 files were handed over to the National Archives in October and would be made public on January 23, 2016, Netaji Subhash Chandra’s birth anniversary.

Most defence organisations have accepted OROP, says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

As approved by the government in September, the OROP will be implemented from July 2014 and arrears alone would cost the exchequer about Rs 10,000-12,000 crore.
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dna Research & Archives
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said government’s OROP (One Rank One Pension) formula for retired defence personnel has been accepted by most associations and only a small section had some issues on it.”The government has already announced its decision. Most personnel in their (defence) organisations have accepted that. If one faction or the other have reservations, I think it’s for all of you to sit together and decide …within the organisation itself. The mainstream organisations personally met me and thanked the government that their long-standing demand has been accepted,” he said.The Minister was responding to a question on the implementation of OROP at ‘Aaj Tak Agenda’ programme.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As approved by the government in September, the OROP will be implemented from July 2014 and arrears alone would cost the exchequer about Rs 10,000-12,000 crore.Replying questions on the government’s recent policy initiatives with regard to Pakistan, Jaitley said there were no fundamental changes and effort has been to resolve differences through talks. India’s foreign policy approach, the Minister said, “has always been of resolving disputes by way of talks but the environment, in which you want to talk, the responsibility (of it) lies with Pakistan as well.”So it depends on the environment and conditions. And when the conditions improve, it improves the conditions to talk as well. And government’s policy on the matter, being ongoing for so many years, is appropriate. We should hope that the conditions will remain good and the talks will keep going.”Following the recent meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at Paris, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Islamabad for talks. The official level talks are likely to continue.

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.

BJP’s ‘ache din’ in Maharashtra due to Gopinath Munde’s efforts: Amit Shah

Amit Shah was speaking after inauguration of ‘Gopinath Gad’, the late BJP leader’s memorial, on the occasion of his birth anniversary on Saturday.

BJP Chief Amit Shah
File Photo
PTI
BJP President Amit Shah on Saturday lauded contribution of late Gopinath Munde in building the party in Maharashtra, where the saffron outfit is heading its first Government, and also praised Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for providing a “clean” administration.”The glory days of BJP in Maharashtra today are due to Mundeji, who ensured the party’s spread among the poor and downtrodden,” he said in Beed district of Central Maharashtra.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have come here to pay my respects to Mundeji on behalf of crores of BJP workers.”Shah was speaking after inauguration of ‘Gopinath Gad’, the late BJP leader’s memorial, on the occasion of his birth anniversary on Saturday. Munde, a former Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra who also served as a Union Minister, contributed to the organisational structure of the party in every region and village, Shah said.The BJP chief also praised Fadnavis, who completed one year in office on October 31 as head of the first party-led Government, saying he was doing commendable work.”I am sure under his leadership Maharashtra will regain the numero uno spot (in economic sphere). So clean has been the Government under his leadership that the Opposition hasn’t been able to level allegation of a single rupee worth of corruption.”Shah used the occasion to highlight pro-farmers initiatives taken by the Narendra Modi Government.”The Government has launched soil health card scheme for farmers. By 2019, all farmers will get these cards. A sum of Rs 75,000 crore has been provided per year for irrigation network.”Talking about Munde’s family, Shah said his daughters Pankaja, a Minister in Maharashtra, and Preetam, the Lok Sabha MP from Beed, have carried forward the late leader’s legacy. Munde’s memorial, which has a 20-feet tall statue of the late leader, has been developed on 18 acres of land here in his home district.Located in the premises of Vaidyanath Cooperative Sugar Mill, it comprises Munde’s ‘samadhi’ called Lotus Temple.

Devendra Fadnavis calls on farmers to adopt new agriculture technology

Adoption of newer technology and imbibing science into agriculture, would redeem the cultivation of drought-hit farmers of Maharashtra.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis

dna Research & Archives
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has called on farmers to adopt new technologies in order to improve and increase their farm yield, which will ultimately result in their well being.Inaugurating the 7th edition of agriculture festival ‘Agro Vision’ at Nagpur, on Friday evening, Fadnavis said due to rapid changes in climate, embracing new methodology and technologies was the “need of the hour”.Union Minister for Shipping and Road Transport, Nitin Gadkari, who is also the chief promoter of exhibition, Rajasthan Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Hansraj Ahir were also present at the inaugural function.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chief Minister said due to unfavourable climatic conditions, on 2014 there was a drought-like situation in 20,000 villages of the state, which has swelled to 24,000 this year and production has suffered drastically in the entire Marathwada and eastern part of Vidarbha.About 50% population in state is directly dependent on agriculture and makes use of traditional methods of farming, he said.”We cannot depend on nature as the climate is playing hide and seek with farmers. In such situation, we have to adopt new technology and do experiments with new crop that can improve the financial condition of farmers. Farmers must take the help of scientists, experts and change their mindset,” Fadnavis said.The Chief Minister on the occasion requested Gadkari to suggest the Central Government to allocate fund of Rs 2,500-3,000 crore to every state for investing in agriculture infrastructure and emphasised that it was important to improve the condition of farmers in the country.Gadkari, in his address, said irrigation facility for farmers in Maharashtra was 16.8%, 18% in Rajasthan, and 90% in Punjab and Haryana. He said farm yield can increase many fold in Maharashtra if farmers are provided with electricity supply 24X7.Scindia said her government would soon send farmers in small groups to Israel to study use of new technologies in farming.

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.

People welcome Delhi government’s odd even vehicle scheme: Survey

However, the survey reveals that 64% of people feel that with the new rule being implemented, traveling would become a big problem, unlike the 35% who feel against it.

The AAP government’s decision to allow private vehicles with odd and even registration numbers to ply on the roads of the national capital only on alternate days starting January 1, 2016 has met a positive response. As per a survey carried out by ABP News and Nielsen, 57% of the total respondents have agreed to the new scheme of allowing private cars with odd and even number to run on alternate days of the week while 42% are not in favour of it.However, the survey reveals that 64% of people feel that with the new rule being implemented, traveling would become a big problem, unlike the 35% who feel against it.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The survey further reveals that traffic jams (32%) seem to be the reason behind air pollution in Delhi followed by vehicles on Delhi roads.It has also has found that almost a fourth of the respondents do not own a car or a bike. 42% have a bike.11% of those who own a car or a bike use the Metro on a daily basis. These are more likely to be students as this percentage is 19% among 18-23 year olds.The poll has found that those who own a car or a bike seem to use cab/taxi few times a month or less often. Almost half of the respondents said they never use cab/auto. It also revealed that autos are used more often, especially by women. Slightly more than a quarter of the respondents said they never use auto.Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues will be covered under the odd- even scheme of vehicles. The AAP government is considering to exempt women commuters from the scheme. Deputy CM Manish Sisodia on Friday said his government is also contemplating shutting schools during the January 1 to January 15 period.Delhi Government is studying three existing Acts under which it can impose a fine for violating the scheme.

India proposes federal budget hike for social sectors | Reuters

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No proposal for raising retirement age of SC, HC judges: Govt

In reply to another question on the entry of foreign legal firms, Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said the matter is under consideration of the government in consultation with the Bar Council of India.
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There is no proposal to increase the retirement age of judges of Supreme Court and High Courts, the government on Friday informed the Rajya Sabha.In written reply to a question on raising salaries and allowances of judges, Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said, “It will take place once the salary of Secretaries to Government is re-fixed.””There is no proposal to increase the age of retirement of Judges of High Courts and the Supreme Court under consideration of the government,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minister said the salary of higher constitutional functionaries including the judges of Supreme Court and High Courts are fixed by making necessary adjustments with reference to the pay scales suggested by the Pay Commissions and approved by government for the level of Secretaries to the Government of India.In reply to another question on the entry of foreign legal firms, Gowda said the matter is under consideration of the government in consultation with the Bar Council of India.

Almost 500 social media URLs blocked from January to November 2015: Govt

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OROP protest: 4 ex-servicemen climb water tank, threaten suicide

Ex-servicemen Harbhal Singh, Pargat Singh, Gurdial Singh and Kartar Singh, all residents of Taran Taran, said they would end their lives by jumping off the water tank if the government did not accept their demands.

Ex-servicemen during their agitation for “One Rank One Pension”.
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PTI
Four ex-servicemen climbed atop a water tank in Chandigarh and threatened to commit suicide by jumping off it if their demands regarding the One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue were not met, police said.Ex-servicemen Harbhal Singh, Pargat Singh, Gurdial Singh and Kartar Singh, all residents of Taran Taran, said they would end their lives by jumping off the water tank if the government did not accept their demands. The army veterans are protesting under the banner of Voice of Ex-Servicemen Society that has retired JCOs and NCOs from across the country as its members.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>SHO Beant Juneja’s efforts to persuade them into ending their protest did not yield any positive results. The protest was underway till the filing of this report.National coordinator of Voice of Ex-Servicemen Society Bir Bahadur Singh said the ex-servicemen would continue with their protest till the government agrees to their demands. He accused senior retired officials of hijacking the slogan of the OROP issue which, he claimed, was originally given by the officials junior in rank to them.Bir Bahadur Singh listed their main demands — equal benefits for all defense personnel irrespective of rank which include disability pension, widow pension, service pension, transparency in grant of bravery medals, equality for allotment of licenses of security agencies, freedom of sepoys languishing in Pakistan jails.

Odd-even formula: Delhi government to issue guidelines on carpooling

Delhi Dialogue Comission (DDC) vice-chairman Ashish Khetan will submit a blueprint on carpooling to the government by early next week and how it can be effectively implemented

delhi pollution

With odd-even scheme for private vehicles set to start from January 1 in the capital, the Delhi government will soon issue guidelines on carpooling policy for commuters and office goers.Delhi Dialogue Comission (DDC) vice-chairman Ashish Khetan will submit a blueprint on carpooling to the government by early next week and how it can be effectively implemented. “Government is holding meetings with stake holders including cab aggregators to roll out a carpooling policy. We will issue complete guidelines on it so that people can easily use carpooling service,” said a senior government official.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DDC, an advisory body of the AAP government, on Wednesday held day-long consultations with over a dozen providers to enable and expand ridesharing, carpooling, and shuttle services for the citizens. This consultation explored the challenges and opportunities in providing and rapidly expanding these solutions to minimise the apprehensions in the minds of car commuters, when the air pollution control measures will be implemented from the new year.

‘Queen’ is not above the law: Arun Jaitley hits out at Sonia Gandhi over National Herald Case

In a sharp dig at Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India has never accepted that the ‘queen’ is not answerable to the law and asked her and Rahul Gandhi to contest the issue in courts instead of disrupting Parliament.

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In a sharp dig at Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India has never accepted that the ‘queen’ is not answerable to the law and asked her and Rahul Gandhi to contest the issue in courts instead of disrupting Parliament. Rejecting the Congress charge of political vendetta being pursued by the government, he said the Government has “so far not taken any punitive action”.Posting his comments on Facebook, Jaitley was apparently referring to the Congress plea against summons issued to Sonia, her son Rahul Gandhi and others, which was dismissed by Delhi High Court. The Congress later changed tact and submitted to the trial court that they were ready to appear. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Without naming Sonia or Rahul Gandhi, Jaitley said the Congress leaders created a ‘Chakravyuh’ for themselves through a series of financial transactions where tax-exempt income of a political party was transfered to a real estate company. “The Enforcement Directorate has not issued any notice to them. The Income Tax authorities will follow their own procedure… The Government has passed no order in relation to the disputed transactions,” he said. Detailing the issues involved, he said a Criminal Court had taken cognizance of the offence and the High Court agreed with the Trial Court.”The battle has to be fought legally. But the results of legal battles are always uncertain. The Congress is, therefore, crying foul and calling it political vendetta,” he said asking if the charge was against the courts.The minister said there was equality before the law for everyone.”No one is above the law. India has never accepted the diktat that the queen is not answerable to the law. Why should the Congress Party and its leaders not contest the notice before the Court?”The Government cannot help them in the matter, nor can the Parliament. Why then disturb the Parliament and prevent the legislative activity from continuing?,” he said.Jaitley said the answer to the Congress leadership landing up in a ‘Chakravyuh’ is to fight their battle legally and not disrupt Parliament. “By disrupting democracy the financial web created by the Congress leaders cannot be undone,” he said. Congress has for three days in a row stalled functioning of the Rajya Sabha, where the crucial Goods and Service Tax (GST) is awaiting approval for rolling out the landmark indirect tax regime from April 1, 2016. WHY THE CONGRESS IS WRONGThe Congress Party, for the past few days, has disrupted both houses of Parliament. Its…
Posted by Arun Jaitley on Thursday, 10 December 2015

Pollution in New Delhi at ‘serious’ level, needs multi-pronged approach: Supreme Court

The apex court also observed that it was “very embarrassing” when visiting foreign dignitaries speak about the high pollution level.
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dna Research & Archives
Stepping into the raging debate on pollution, the Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to examine a suggestion to ban entry of all diesel-run trucks, except those carrying essential goods, into the national capital while asking the Centre to come up with “common minimum acceptable programmes” on the issue after consulting all stakeholders. The apex court also observed that it was “very embarrassing” when visiting foreign dignitaries speak about the high pollution level.Coming out in support of Delhi Government’s “odd and even number policy”, allowing private cars to run on alternate days from January one, a bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and R Banumathi said it was an “emergency measure”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming the rising pollution level in Delhi as “very serious”, the bench advocated a “multi-pronged” approach to deal with the situation. The intolerable limit of pollution is earning a “bad name” to Delhi as “the most polluted city in the world”, it said.”It is very embarrassing for us when foreign dignitaries visiting Delhi speak about the capital’s high pollution level,” it said and gave example of a visiting judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) referring to the issue.”This is very serious issue and we are earning a bad name in the world for Delhi being most polluted city,” it said and agreed to examine the suggestion of senior advocate Harish Salve that as an interim measure, the entry of all kinds of diesel-run trucks into Delhi be banned for six weeks to see as to whether it makes “perceptible” change in the already worsened air quality.Salve, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae in a 1984 PIL filed by environmentalist M C Mehta on the issue, said trucks, except those carrying essential goods into Delhi, can be banned in pursuance of the 2001 order of the apex court.”We will be happy if you (Centre) can provide platform to all stakeholders to prevent the problem and come out with common minimum acceptable programes… There cannot be a single solution to this problem, there has to be multi-pronged approach and suggestions to defuse pollution crisis. The odd and even number policy is only as an emergency measure,” the bench said and sought views of all stakeholders, including the Centre, Delhi government, MCD and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).It asked the stakeholders to prepare a common minimum acceptable plan to address the issue of pollution and said that the absence of proper plan now getting reflected. Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for one of the three civic bodies, besides the diesel-run cars and trucks, building construction and burning of wastes pollute Delhi.During the hearing, the bench said trucks, whose final destination is not Delhi, may not be allowed to ply on capital roads even after paying the Environment Compensation Charge (ECC). Delhi is earning bad name, there must be a plan in place to let the world know that we were doing something about pollution, it said.Meanwhile, the bench, asked SMYR Consortium LLP, which has been levying toll on behalf of MCD from commercial vehicles entering Delhi, to avail other remedies to challenge the decision of MCD to encash bank guarantees allegedly due to drop in cess collection.Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the toll collector, said that due to imposition of court-mandated ‘Environment Compensation Charge’ (ECC) on commercial vehicles entering Delhi, the number of such vehicles have gone down by 30 per cent and has led to drop in civic cess collection.The apex court had on October 12 said that light duty vehicles would pay Rs 700 and three-axle vehicles Rs 1,300 as ‘Environment Compensation Charge’ from November 1, in addition to the toll tax, for entering Delhi. The apex court’s order, which will remain in force for four months on a trial basis, directed the Delhi Government to issue appropriate notification in this regard. It had made it clear that these charges would be operative for four months from November 1 till February 29, 2016 on an “experimental basis”.Taking note of the Centre for Science and Environment’s study that about 23 per cent of the commercial vehicles and 40-60 per cent of the heavy trucks entering the city were not destined for Delhi, the court had said it was necessary to impose the charges, along with the MCD toll, to equalize the difference in cost in travelling through alternative routes.

Haryana: SC upholds minimum qualification criterion for Panchayat polls; EC starts preparation for elections

The apex court on Thursday upheld the validity of recent amendments in a Haryana law which fixes various criteria including minimum educational qualification for candidates contesting panchayat polls.

Supreme Court

The State Election Commission on Thursday said it will soon set in motion the process for conduct of panchayat polls after the Supreme Court upheld a new in Haryana mandating minimum educational qualifications as a prerequisite for the contestants.”We will send a proposal to the state government immediately after we get the operative part of the Supreme Court judgement. “After getting the nod from the government, the process of holding the (panchayat) polls, which had been put on hold in view of the apex court hearing the petition, will be set in motion once again,” Haryana State Election Commissioner Rajeev Sharma said over telephone. The Model Code of Conduct was put on hold from September 24 in view of the Supreme Court hearing the petition pertaining to the validity of the educational qualifications for the candidates contesting panchayat polls in Haryana.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The apex court on Thursday upheld the validity of recent amendments in a Haryana law which fixes various criteria including minimum educational qualification for candidates contesting panchayat polls. The petition had challenged validity of Haryana’s Panchayati Raj (amendment) Act 2015 which fixes matriculation as essential qualification for general candidates contesting panchayat polls. As the matter was pending before the Supreme Court, the SEC had decided to put on hold all the activities in pursuant to Commission’s notification dated September 8 and all other notifications/orders issued subsequently, Sharma said.The Commission had on September 8 issued the programme for the conduct of elections to Panchayati Raj institutions in the state. According to the programme, the panchayat polls were to be conducted in three phases – October 4, 11 and 18. Meanwhile, ruling BJP in the state has hailed the Supreme Court verdict.”The Supreme Court verdict on the panchayat poll issue has proved that Haryana Government’s thought and direction of work are correct,” State Health Minister Anil Vij tweeted. When asked to comment on the judgement, senior Congress leader and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, “I am yet to go through the verdict. I don’t know on what ground the writ petition has been dismissed.” Hooda had earlier said that before fixing minimum educational criteria for contestants of panchayat polls, the BJP government in the state and at the Centre should do the same for MPs and MLAs. State’s principal opposition party INLD, which had slammed the Khattar government alleging that it showed haste in fixing the education criteria, today said their views remain the same.”Everyone has to abide by the Supreme Court ruling, but our reservation was with the government. The BJP government should not have shown hurry in fixing minimum qualification criteria as it will debar nearly 70 per cent candidates from contesting. “The government should have first sought people’s view on this before moving ahead,” party’s state unit president Ashok Arora said.However, 33-year-old Sunil Jaglan, the man behind ‘Selfie with Daughter’ campaign and the Sarpanch of village Bibipur, termed it as a “historic” verdict. “It’s a historic verdict. Having educated elected representatives at the grassroot level of our system means that communication gap between government and public will be bridged. “Educated sarpanches will not be at the mercy of bureaucrats and effectively implement government schemes,” Jaglan said.

Swachh Maharashtra Fund to better sanitation facilities

On the lines of the Swachh Bharat Tax, Maharashtra is planning a Swachh Maharashtra Kosh (Fund). Money raised for this fund will be utilised to improve the sanitation facilities across the state. However, it is not known whether the state will impose an additional Swachh Maharashtra Tax.”Donors in the cleanliness fund will also get tax rebate” said a senior government official.Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis will be the president of the Swachh Maharashtra Kosh. The central government has already imposed a 0.5% Swachh Bharat Tax.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The urban development department has issued a notification saying that the Swachh Bharat drive has been implemented successfully in the state.”Under this drive, the government has decided to make Maharashtra free of open defecation by 2018. However, the fund given by the Centre is insufficient to provide individual and common sanitation facilities across the state. Solid waste management is also a major issue that needs to be addressed. The government needs more funds and they have to be raised from various resources,” the notification said.Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Sachin Sawant said that instead of fulfilling the promises during election time, the BJP-led government is indulging in pick-pocketing.”They should not put additional tax burden on the common man. The central government has already imposed the cleanliness tax. The government should clarify what exactly they intend by this Swachh Maharashtra Kosh notification? If there is additional burden on the people, we will vehemently oppose it,” Sawant said.Swachh Maharashtra Kosh will be headed by Fadnavis, while the water supply and sanitation minister, minister of state for urban development, chief secretary, finance secretary and urban development secretary will be members.The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) commission had asked to set up the Kosh on the lines of Swachh Bharat Kosh. “To meet the target and make the cleanliness drive successful, authorities have to raise funds, apart from central and state funds.National and international organisations can contribute to the Kosh. The donations, which the government gets under the Corporate Social Responsibility activities, will be added to this fund. “Earnings from immovable properties and interest on fixed deposits will also be used for the cleanliness drive in Maharashtra,” the notification said.

Probe, punishment to those guilty of killing Indian national in Nepal sought: Government

India-Protest

India has asked Nepal to initiate an investigation and punish those responsible for the killing of an Indian national in firing by security forces of that country on November 2.”Our Consulate at Birgunj has requested Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Nepal on November 2, 2015 to initiate investigation and punish the guilty at the earliest,” Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha. He said the Nepal government’s response is awaited.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minister said Asish Ram alias Sonu Ram, son of Ashok Ram, a resident of Raxaul in East Champaran of Bihar was killed in firing by Nepalese security forces at Shankaracharya gate near Birgunj Bhansar (Nepal) on November 2 when he was returning from Birgunj after meetings friends and relatives. In reply to another question on membership in Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Singh said India has expressed its interest and has formally applied for membership of MTCR in June.”Its application has been received well. Chairman of the NSG was in New Delhi in October 2015 for discussions on NSG and nuclear commerce. India continues to be in touch with NSG Chairman and individual members of the NSG in this regard,” he said. Singh added that a number of NSG member countries like US, Russia, France, Japan, Australia, Germany, Republic of Korea and Spain have expressed their supprt for India’s membership in recognition of India’s record on non-prolification and the robustness of its export controls.”India will apply for membership of NSG when the ground is adequately prepared for our membership,” he said.

Govt under pressure to have ‘pointless’ talks with Pakistan: Shiv Sena

“Terror groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan are waging a war on India, is the government blind to that?” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said.

Maintaining their stand against Pakistan, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday said that it was pointless to have talks with the hostile neighbour and alleged that the government was under duress to hold dialogues. “Have been saying from the start that it’s pointless to have talks with Pakistan is pointless. It seems as if the government is under pressure and is being forced to talk to them. Terror groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan are waging a war on India, is the government blind to that?” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said. The Shiv Sena had earlier condemned the India-Pakistan National Security Advisor (NSA) level talks happened in Bangkok, saying that having talks with the hostile neighbour was futile as their main goal was to destroy India by sponsoring terrorism.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who is in Islamabad attending the Heart of Asia Summit, called for a mature relationship between India and Pakistan in their trade relation and said that the world is rooting for change between the relations of the two hostile neighbours.Post the opening address at the Summit, Swaraj met Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and is slated to hold bilateral talks with him and his adviser Sartaj Aziz later in the day.

AAP government to file FIR against Delhi police chief BS Bassi

The AAP government has decided move court to file FIR against Delhi Police chief BS Bassi for illegally acquiring a flat in one of national capital’s society. According to government sources, the Delhi government had received a complaint that a flat owner in a west Delhi cooperative society was thrown out in 1990 to favour Bassi.According to the complaint, Bassi had not allegedly disclosed that he already owned another flat, while he was being allotted the new flat. In 1998, he allegedly sold off the apartment to his younger brother for Rs11 lakh, which is less than the market rate, to save on stamp duty.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bassi had denied these allegations. The corruption allegation marks another fight between AAP and the Delhi Police, which is controlled by the Centre. Ties have always been strained lately over the arrest of several AAP leaders.Kejriwal has accused the police has failed to curb crimes in Delhi and is not cooperating with his government. He had always demanded that his government be given control of the city’s police force.

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.

National Herald Case: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee expresses solidarity with Sonia Gandhi

Mamata Banerjee said that it was sad that Sonia Gandhi was asked to appear in the court.
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dna Research & Archives
Expressing her solidarity with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul over receiving summons from a trial in the national Herald case, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said it’s sad that she (Sonia) was asked to appear in the court.”If I get time, I will meet Sonia ji, and will wish her on her birthday,” she said.Elaborating on her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mamata said: “Last time, when I had come to Delhi, the Prime Minister was on a trip abroad; and that is why, I have to come again. There was nothing new, and I have come here to seek flood and drought reliefs for Bengal. Flood had hit Bengal six months back, but there are many areas, where we haven’t got money.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “At present, we are paying 8-10 thousand crores as interest for the money lent by the Left Front Government, and if we pay such a huge amount as interest, how we will do development,” said Mamata, demanding a full-fledged meeting of the Niti Aayog, where they could discuss such things.”Swami Vivekananda, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and Rabindranath Tagore were from Bengal, then why the state is deprived,” she 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.
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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”.

Botched eye surgery: MP CM Chouhan announces monthly pension of Rs 5000 to victims

Over 40 people lost vision in one of their eyes due to a botched cataract surgery conducted at a government camp in Barwani district last month.

Image courtesy: ANI Twitter handle
Madhya Pradesh government will provide a lifetime monthly pension of Rs 5,000 to those people who have lost vision in one of their eyes due to the botched cataract surgery, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan told the Legislative Assembly . Chouhan also constituted a high-level panel to probe the incident, which he termed as a “blot” on the face of state government.The announcement was made by Chouhan while replying to an adjournment motion moved by Ramniwas Rawat and other members of the Congress on the issue. Over 40 people lost vision in one of their eyes due to a botched cataract surgery conducted at a government camp in Barwani district last month. The Congress has sought resignation of Health Minister Narottam Mishra who also holds portfolio of Parliamentary Affairs.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chouhan, who turned up in the House when the Congress members had refused to listen to Mishra’s reply and boycotted the proceedings, said his government will take care to ensure that such incidents do not recur in the future.”The opposition has not shown any patience on the issue. It could have been better if our friends from the opposition would remain in this House which is a temple of democracy to listen to their charges. The incident was a blot on the face of the state and we took it as a lesson. We will ensure that such incidents will not recur in future,” he said.Chouhan said that besides getting the monthly pension of Rs 5,000 for lifetime, the affected persons will also get an assistance of Rs 2 lakh as announced earlier. He said free treatment will be provided to them to cure their affected eye and also another eye which is also affected with cataract and blurred their vision.Chouhan also announced setting up a high-level panel which will be headed by Additional Chief Secretary (Finance), to probe the incident. Other members of the panel are the Dean, Government MGM Medical College, Indore and an expert from AIIMS Bhopal.”The committee will submit its report within a month’s time and based on its recommendations, action will be taken against those responsible for the incident including the drug suppliers. Nobody will be spared,” he added.The CM said the cataract eye surgery camps will not be organised in the state until the panel submits its report and its suggestions are implemented.Before Chouhan came to the Assembly, Congress member Rawat, along with former Leader of Opposition, Ajay Singh, senior Congress MLAs, Mukesh Nayak and Bala Bachchan among others pressed for Mishra’s resignation on the issue. They alleged that a fungal-infected drug was used for conducting the surgery and that large-scale corruption had taken place in its purchase.The Congress members boycotted the proceedings of House when they found that Mishra was replying on the issue instead of Chouhan as demanded by them. When they insisted that they will listen only to the Chief Minister and inquired about his absence from the Assembly on the issue, Mishra told them that he will come.”..But as a Minister, I am also supposed to give the reply to the opposition’s baseless charges on the issue,” he said.When the Congress members failed to get any confirmed response from treasury benches on timing of the CM coming to the House, they refused to listen to Mishra’s reply and walked out of the House. Strongly opposing their conduct, Rural Development Minister, Gopal Bhargava and Transport Minister, Bhupendra Singh condemned the Congress members for their “undemocratic behaviour”.Bhargava requested Speaker Sitasharan Sharma to make a guideline that if the opposition moves an adjournment motion on any issue, they must remain present in the House to listen to the reply. However, the Speaker ruled that he cannot compel anyone to listen to the replies in such matters and it is better if the matter is leaved at their “discretion.”Later resuming his reply, Mishra asked the Congress members, especially Ajay Singh whether his father and former chief minister (late) Arjun Singh had resigned after the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984 which claimed thousands of lives.As Chouhan arrived in the House while Mishra was replying, the latter said only the CM will now reply on the issue.

26 Naxals surrender in Chhattisgarh

Security forces had gunned down 18 rebels, most of them commander-rank cadres, in separate gun-battles across Bastar last month.
Representational Image

In a major success for Chhattisgarh police in its fight against Naxalism in Bastar region, 26 ultras, most of them lower rung cadres, surrendered today in the state’s worst insurgency-hit Sukma district.”This is a yet another big achievement for Bastar police whose morale was up in the wake of success achieved in the operations against Maoists last month,” Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) S R P Kalluri told PTI.Security forces had gunned down 18 rebels, most of them commander-rank cadres, in separate gun-battles across Bastar last month. Altogether 26 rebels, five of them carrying cash rewards on their heads, turned themselves in before Sukma Collector Neeraj Bansod, senior police and CRPF officials at Polamapalli police station citing disappointment with the ideology of the outlawed Maoist movement, the IG said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Those who were carrying rewards for their arrest are Rama head of Janatana Sarkar (Rs 4000 reward), Ashish (Rs 5000) and members of Dandakaranya Adivasi Kisan Majdoor Sangthan (DAKMS)- a frontal outfit of the outlawed CPI (Maoist)- Deva (Rs 5000), Ganga (Rs 5000) and Joga (Rs 1000), he said.The surrendered rebels were aged between 20-45 years and allegedly involved in several incidents of crime, including loot, arson, attacks on the police party in the region, the IG said. They were working for different sub-groups and frontal outfits of outlawed CPI (Maoist), including jantana Sarkar (people’s government), janmilitia, sangham member.A cash of Rs 10,000 were also given to each of the surrendered rebels as an encouragement money. As per the policy of Chhattisgarh Government, necessary assistance will be provided to them, he added.

BJP using Subramanian Swamy to ‘persecute and prosecute’ Congress: Kapil Sibal

“Who is Subramanian Swamy? He is the power of attorney holder of the BJP to persecute and prosecute the Congress party and a member of their central committee. He has been given the specific task of targeting us and this is their methodology used by the BJP, so he is his master’s voice. And the way the BJP has been targeting Congress leaders in the past year, shows they have no idea how to govern this country,” Senior Congress leader and advocate Kapil Sibal told the media.

Kapil Sibal
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Launching a scathing attack on senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy, the Congress on Tuesday branded him as a tool being used by the ruling party to persecute and prosecute the grand old party.”Who is Subramanian Swamy? He is the power of attorney holder of the BJP to persecute and prosecute the Congress party and a member of their central committee. He has been given the specific task of targeting us and this is their methodology used by the BJP, so he is his master’s voice. And the way the BJP has been targeting Congress leaders in the past year, shows they have no idea how to govern this country,” Senior Congress leader and advocate Kapil Sibal told the media.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He accused the BJP-led government of trying to distract the attention of the masses from the good governance that was being practiced by the Congress leadership and accused them of going all out in their goal to have a “Congress-free” India. “We want that the BJP functions within the constitution and focuses on governance so that the people are benefited. Truth is that the BJP wants a Congress free India. And any political party which says it wants that is destined to failure. How can a political party say they don’t want an opposition? It’s undemocratic,” Sibal added.However, he added that he was sure of the nation’s faith in the Congress and expressed confidence that the grand old party will come back with a bang in the same way it has done in the past. “The tide against BJP has already started and it is indicated in the results in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Bihar. You can’t get away by just slapping cases on people. The nation will be fixed when the government starts to work for the people,” he said.Earlier Tuesday both Congress President Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi broke their silence over the National Herald case and held their ground. “I will react to this when I go to the Parliament tomorrow. I absolutely see a case of political vendetta and this is the way the Central Government functions. They think they can do vendetta politics and stop me from asking questions, but I won’t. I will keep putting pressure on them, keep asking questions and do my job,” Rahul told the media in Puducherry.Sonia also asserting that she was not afraid against the charges being levelled at her. “Why should I be scared of anyone? I am Indira Gandhi’s daughter-in-law, I am not scared of anyone,” she told the reporters.Sonia and Rahul will appear in the Patiala court on December 19, at 3 pm

Delhi government may allow women’s vehicles to ply on all days of the week

Fraught with criticism over its decision to allow plying of odd and even numbered vehicles on alternate days of the week from day one of 2016 –especially from who cited safety concerns –the Arvind Kejriwal government may allow women’s vehicles to ply on all days of the week.Sources told dna that while the plan is at a preliminary stage, the government is contemplating to allow private vehicles driven by women on all days of the week, given that the capital is still unsafe for women commuting alone.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to sources, the government is also planning to fix certain hours in a day –ranging from morning peak hours to evening—when commuters will have to follow the rule, instead of making it a 24-hour rule.Moreover, Delhi’s roads will be opened to all vehicles on Sunday, when most people venture out of their homes.The plan in its current form would be applicable for private vehicles, including for ministers and officials working with the Delhi government. Public and commercial vehicles will be excluded from the plan.The government has already set up a steering committee headed by Delhi PWD minister Satyendra Jain with representatives of other departments concerned. The committee will study suggestions received by citizens and come up with a blueprint of the plan in the next two weeks.On the other hand, Jain and transport minister Gopal Rai had different views as far as plying of two-wheelers were concerned, but sources said the plan would start with cars, following which two-wheelers would also be brought in its ambit.In a radio advertisement which is likely to go on-air from Tuesday, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, requests citizens to go for car pooling as a measure to curb pollution in Delhi, at least for 15 days. “Let’s try it out for 15 days from January 1. If you face a lot of inconvenience, we will stop it. I wouldn’t do anything against your wish,” he says, urging people to send their ideas at [email protected] Will two-wheelers be allowed?Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain on Monday said that the ‘odd-even’ formula will not be applicable to two-wheelers in the national capital and the restriction extends only to the plying of private vehicles, including those entering from other states. A government spokesperson, however, said that exemption for two-wheelers was just a suggestion and a final decision is yet to be taken in this regard.”The odd-even (number plate) formula will be applicable only to private cars plying in Delhi. For now, the movement of two-wheelers, taxis, autos will be not be restricted on alternate days,” the minister said. He also said that private cars from other states entering Delhi shall come under this formula that will be effective from January 1. But the spokesperson said regarding the policy for two- wheelers that, “The government has been receiving many suggestions from people on the implementation of the formula. Till the government puts a blueprint on this out in the public domain, it is just speculation. Government has not taken a final decision in this regard.”

VIDEO: Youth in India’s Manipur get boxing

Budding boxers in India’s Manipur state are using the sport to fight issues caused by rampant insurgency.

GST Bill: Congress says ball is in govt’s court

Congress has put forward three “concrete” points for consideration of the government but it is yet to get a reply.

GST

Courtesy: Priya Saraf
Congress on Monday put the onus of ensuring passage of the GST Bill on the government, saying it is yet to revert to the opposition parties on their concerns.”Ball is in their court. Government has to take a call and revert to opposition parties as to how GST Bill does not become a kill-GST Bill but rather remains an effective GST Bill,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters here.He said the Congress has put forward three “concrete” points for consideration of the government but it is yet to get a reply.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an apparent reference to the Arvind Subramanian panel suggestions, the Congress spokesperson said, “Government has also finally relented and has seen the voice of the reason.” “Congress party has clearly stated that GST is a Bill that was conceived and was presented to Parliament and the nation by the Congress party,” Surjewala said.The government has listed the goods and services tax (GST) bill for consideration in the Rajya Sabha this week, without securing a commitment from the Congress, whose support is essential for the passage of the legislation that requires a constitutional amendment.The bill seeks to bring all goods and services under a uniform tax regime but has been stuck in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling NDA is in a minority, on some key points.The Lok Sabha has passed the bill.

Manohar Parrikar was for OROP but was ‘pressurised’ in cabinet, alleges Ram Jethmalani

Jethmalani, a supporter-turned-critic of Modi and a former BJP leader, said apart from failing to deliver on his electoral promise of bringing back black money stashed abroad, Modi has not been able to deliver on the OROP issue.

Ram Jethmalani

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was in favour of granting ‘One Rank, One Pension’ (OROP) to ex-servicemen but pressure was exerted on him by his cabinet colleagues on the issue, legal luminary Ram Jethmalani today claimed even as he launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Jethmalani, a supporter-turned-critic of Modi and a former BJP leader, said apart from failing to deliver on his electoral promise of bringing back black money stashed abroad, Modi has not been able to deliver on the OROP issue. Ex-servicemen have been staging protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi for the past 176 days demanding OROP.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There is no other person better than the Defence Minister (Parrikar) to give OROP as he was in favour of our demand. But ultimately he was pressurised by corrupt people in Cabinet. “The government has reduced OROP to writing. I am ashamed to say that after having committed to give OROP, the Prime Minister says that he has not understood the issue,” the noted lawyer said at a press conference organised by ex-servicemen at Jantar Mantar. When asked about the agitation’s future course of action, Jethmalani, who is giving legal support to the movement, refused to elaborate further. “There is no need to go to court. The Bihar electoral lesson has taught him a lesson and Modi is not ready for any such defeats. I am not going to spell out my legal strategy,” he said.Jethmalani, who has been a vocal critic of the government over the black money issue, also claimed that Germany had a list of around 1,400 names, majority of which were Indians, but the government did not approach the country for the list. “The Germans say India is yet to approach them for the list,” he said. Meanwhile, the protesting veterans have announced a ‘Sainik Akrosh Rally’ at Jantar Mantar on December 13 to press their demand for implementation of OROP.The United Front of Ex-Servicemen (UFESM), an umbrella organisation spearheading the protest, has also recommended Justice R M Lodha to chair the one-man judicial commission to look into the concerns of the veterans. The government came out with a notification on OROP on November 7 but the veterans still remain unsatisfied. They have demanded that OROP should be implemented from April 1, 2014 and not July 1, 2015 as in the government notification.”OROP principle is in perpetuity and cannot be fiddled with. The Seventh Central Pay Commission is over and above the OROP. “Soldiers taking pre-mature retirement after November 7 will not be entitled for the OROP, which is not good for the armed forces as this will result in old army and a war cannot be fought with army of old soldiers. This clause should be removed,” Major General (retd.) Satbir Singh, Chairman of UFESM, said.

Winter Session: Demand in Rajya Sabha for cricket ties with Pakistan

Congress leader Rajiv Shukla questioned why the government was not giving its nod to go ahead with cricket matches between India and Pakistan.

Congress leader Rajiv Shukla, who is also IPL Commissioner, raised the issue in the context of a meeting between National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan in Bangkok on Sunday, a week after Prime Ministers of the two countries met in Paris.
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dna Research & Archives
Demand for resumption of cricketing ties between India and Pakistan had an echo in Rajya Sabha on Monday with a Congress member questioning why the government was not giving its nod to it.Rajiv Shukla, who is also IPL Commissioner, raised the issue in the context of a meeting between National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan in Bangkok yesterday, a week after Prime Ministers of the two countries met in Paris.”When Prime Ministers are meeting, Foreign ministers are meeting, foreign secretaries and NSAs are meeting, only the cricketers are not being allowed to play. Everyone is creating a problem on that. When mangoes and sarees are being exchanged and their trade is taking place and everyone between two countries are meeting, only cricketers are not allowed to meet and play. When everything is happening, why not allow the cricket teams to play also. Government should explain and come out with a statement,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking to support it, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said, “I think that it is a suggestion on which government should have a positive reaction. Why not government should look into it?”Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “Government will work in national interest. It is equally concerned about the national interest as Rajiv Shukla is.”The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has already written to the External Affairs Ministry seeking a nod for holding a cricket series in Sri Lanka. Government has, however, not taken any decision on the issue so far.

As land acquisition Act stirs hornet’s nest, House panel seeks reports from states

The ministry document quoted information received from the two land owning agencies under it- Land and Development Office and DDA.

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The land acquisition Act seems to be stirring a hornet’s nest. While descendants of inhabitants of Lutyen’s Delhi are fighting legal battles citing a provision in the Act that land acquisition proceedings are deemed to have lapsed if compensation was not paid, similar cases have come up across the country.From parts of land acquired for creation of the Capital in British India to some new airports, complaints have reportedly come to the fore citing the UPA Act’s Section 24, under which land acquisition proceedings are deemed to have lapsed where award has been made five years or more prior to the commencement of the 2013 Act and possession of land is not taken or compensation not paid, according to sources.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The matter has fallen on the radar of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) looking into the contentious land acquisition bill of the Modi government. The panel has written to all states seeking reports on cases concerning section 24 (2), which is a bone of contention between the government and opposition. It has also sought information from the home ministry on whether such complaints have come up in the land acquired for India-Bangladesh border fencing.While all states have not sent the information to the panel, headed by BJP’s SS Ahluwalia, the urban development ministry has conveyed that Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has informed that there are 606 pending court cases related to land acquisition proceedings initiated under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, the sources said. Further, 514 of the cases (16 in Supreme Court and 498 in High Court) where acquisition proceedings have been declared to have lapsed, have been decided.The ministry document quoted information received from the two land owning agencies under it- Land and Development Office and DDA.Committee sources said that there are reportedly cases concerning the land acquired for Calicut and Coimbatore airports, some railway projects and a former Bihar minister’s bungalow, which was vacated.Ahluwalia, according to sources met advocate Surat Singh, who is handling several cases filed by families from five of the 150 villages acquired for creating Lutyen’s Delhi and other areas of the Capital in 1911. Citing section 24 (2) in the UPA’s Act which came into effect on January one, 2014, these families are challenging the century old land acquisition saying it should be deemed illegal as they were not paid compensation.However, according to Surat Singh the changes which were proposed by the Modi government did not weaken their case. Section 24 was amended in the Ordinance to exclude time spent under litigation where a stay order has been passed. The section is one of the three contentious issues between the Government and the Opposition.”With awareness growing about this section, more cases are coming up,” said Singh, who has been getting calls on such complaints from other places including from those whose land was acquired for the Diamond Park in Indore and villages of Rewari in Haryana.Of the cases he is handling, is that of Sajjan and his brother Kadam, who lived in what was then Malcha village and have claimed that 155 bighas were acquired from them.According to the urban development ministry’s document, petitioners have claimed that share of compensation determined by the government has not been paid as per the record register dated December, 1912.The amount due to their great great grandfather Shaadi then was Rs 2,217, 10 Anna and 11 paise.Backlog of land cases :All states have not sent the information to the panel, headed by BJP’s SS Ahluwalia, the urban development ministry has conveyed that Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has informed that there are 606 pending court cases related to land acquisition proceedings initiated under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, the sources said. Further, 514 of the cases (16 in Supreme Court and 498 in High Court) where acquisition proceedings have been declared to have lapsed, have been decided.

Chennai floods: DMK chief blames Jayalalithaa govt for ‘delayed’ relief measures

“They have now taken delayed steps to some extent,” he told reporters here and added that “they are satisfying the affected people to the extent possible.”

Hitting out at ruling AIADMK for “delayed” relief measures to flood-affected people, DMK chief Karunanidhi on Sunday said his party has started distributing relief without depending on the state. Stating that he did not wish to blame the government at this juncture when the State was grappling with the aftermath of floods, he said, “they did not take the steps that should have taken in the beginning.””They have now taken delayed steps to some extent,” he told reporters here and added that “they are satisfying the affected people to the extent possible.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, he inspected relief material deposited by party workers at the DMK headquarters, “Anna Arivalayam” here and instructed functionaries to dispatch them to beneficiaries. “That is why (as the State has taken delayed measures), we have embarked on such relief work without depending on the government,” he said.

AAP govt’s formula to fight pollution: Odd-numbered cars of Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain said the government will only allow emergency vehicles like PCR van, fire tenders, ambulances on the roads of the national capital.

Outlining the contours of its ambitious plan to curb pollution through odd-even number plate formula, Delhi government today said odd-numbered cars will be allowed to ply on Monday, Wednesday and Friday while even-numbered vehicles will run on the other days – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain said the government will only allow emergency vehicles like PCR van, fire tenders, ambulances on the roads of the national capital. Jain, who is also PWD and Health minister, said there is a need to take strict measures to clean the city’s toxic air and even-odd formula will also be applicable on all ministers and bureaucrats in the national capital region.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal yesterday said that the government would discontinue the move after 10 to 15 days if people faced problems. “On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, odd numbered vehicles will be allowed on roads in a week. “Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday will have even numbered vehicles on roads, and we don’t care about which cars belonged to whom,” Jain said.The minister said that the government will only allow emergency vehicles like PCR Van, Fire tenders, ambulance to run on roads in the national capital.”Odd-Even formula will also be applicable on all ministers and officers. I will also use my car on alternate days and will use carpooling service on other days,” Jain said. The minister has also sought people’s suggestions on the government’s odd-even formula. People can send their suggestions to mailto:[email protected], he said.”Pollution level has gone up in winter in Delhi. Due to heavy smog, such a situation has emerged that people are being advised against going for exercise,” he said. Jain also said that the government also will do something about rampant use of generators by companies in the national capital which also contribute to pollution.”We will soon discuss this issue in a meeting,” Jain said. On December 4, the AAP government had come out with a plan of restricting private vehicles bearing odd and even registration numbers to alternate days from January 1 in the national capital.

With love from China: Beijing residents praise Kejriwal’s even-odd formula

“I feel odd-even cars number ban is a good idea. Due to increasing noise and air pollution in big city like Beijing it is really important to take such measures to control it”, Wang Liyl, who works in the private sector said.

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As the Delhi Government unveiled radical plans to fight air pollution by allowing odd and even number plate cars to ply only on alternate days, residents in the Chinese capital which already had the similar system gave a mixed reaction to this move. Delhi’s move resonated well with a number of people PTI spoke here for its effective way to reduce pollution but with unanimous impression that it can be convenient to people only when it is backed by efficient public transport system.With a population of 21 million, Beijing which has gone to the extent of banning the sale of the new cars to bring down the pollution levels, imposed odd and even number plate system since 2008 Olympics but only periodically during high profile events. Besides the Olympics and para-olympics, it was resorted to two other times, during the APEC leaders summit last year and this year’s anti-fascist military parade.Currently, Beijing is struggling to control the traffic with two number system under which number plate ending with certain numbers is banned one day of the week.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also the city has already restricted the car sales since 2011 by issuing around 20,000 car plates in auction every month. According to five-year clean air action plan (2013-2017) the total number of vehicles in the city will be restricted to around six million by the end of 2017. Currently the city has over 5.5 million cars.Any government which wants to restrict the cars on the roads should be sure to have an effective public transport system like well connected metro and bus systems without which people will suffer, Zhou Xujun, a senior journalist said in reaction to the recent move by Delhi Government to implement the alternate days concept.”I feel odd-even cars number ban is a good idea. Due to increasing noise and air pollution in big city like Beijing it is really important to take such measures to control it”, Wang Liyl, who works in the private sector said.Another commuter Yuquan, said “imposing odd-even car ban created troublesome situations to car owners at times, specially during emergencies and when one wanted to rush to be in time for an event.””I believe there is need to come up with a new idea to deal with traffic and air pollution,” Yuquan said. While imposing the restrictions, Beijing made fervent efforts to increase and improve the public transport system, specially the metro system which is one of the world largest. Beijing metro currently has about 18 metro lines stretching up to 527 kms touching 319 stations. It is the world’s busiest in annual ridership, with 3.41 billion trips delivered in 2014.

Govt prepared for future Chennai-like rains: Mahesh Sharma

Chennai Airport terminal is still facing power problems as the basement remains flooded.

PTI
Minister of State for Culture and Tourism and Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma on Sunday said that after witnessing the torrential rains and having dealt with the situation now, the Indian Government is prepared to deal with such deadly deluges in the future.”We knew there would be heavy rains, but no one expected such a deluge. But having dealt with the state of affairs now, we are prepared. The Indian Government is also ready in case such a situation rises again in the future,” Sharma told ANI. Talking about the Chennai Airport being active again, Sharma said that the runway was cleared, fully operational and added that commercial flights have already begun their services.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The DGCA gave its clearance after checking the runway on which some flights were made to land on a trial basis yesterday, he added. However, the airport terminal is still facing power problems as the basement remains flooded.”The entire power backup is in the basement which is filled with water and that’s why there is such a problem. But now power is being provided to the terminal through an alternate route and its running on generator,” Sharma said.Meanwhile, Chennai Central resumed its services and trains have begun operating successfully and the schedules are expected to return to normal from tomorrow.The first train of the day, Chennai Central- Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Andaman express, left Chennai Central at 5:15 am.

Chennai floods: KSRTC comes to rescue of people stranded in city

In the meantime, normalcy is returning in most parts of Chennai at a faster pace with the sky remaining clear, except for occasional showers at isolated locations.

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has kicked off free bus services for flood-hit people from Chennai to Bengaluru after every eight hours. “As incessant rains in costal Tamil Nadu have hit the people financially and many of them don?t have money left with them. We have started free bus services for the flood-hit people from Chennai to Bengaluru after every eight hours since Friday night”? said KSRTC Managing Director Rajendra Kataria divulging details of the service.”Besides, we will transport relief materials to flood-hit Chennai free of cost. We are doing our bit to provide some relief to the flood-affected people as part of our social responsibility,” said Kataria. “Earlier, we used to ply nearly 40 buses between the two cities, which was affected by floods in Chennai and got reduced to just 20. Chennai-bound passengers also reduced dramatically. However, there is a sudden spurt in demand of more buses from Chennai, as many people want to come to this side (in search of a safe haven). Hence, for the past few days, we have been plying 55 buses between the two cities, which are ferrying 5,000-6,000 people everyday,” he elaborated. “Even as most of the buses are running empty from one side (from Bengaluru) and have incurred a loss of Rs. 50-60 lakh so far to the KSRTC, we never charged extra fare from the travellers. Normally, we charge extra fare when we ply additional buses. Apart from these, following a request from the Maharashtra Government to evacuate 150 students from the state stuck in IIT Chennai, we have arranged three buses for them as well,” Kataria added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the meantime, normalcy is returning in most parts of Chennai at a faster pace with the sky remaining clear, except for occasional showers at isolated locations. Telecommunication and train services have been partially restored, besides many roads have also become fairly motorable. In Chennai, the availability of essential items like milk, candles and petroleum and diesel remain an area of concern.Naval vessels INS Shakti and INS Shyadhri arrived Chennai port with fresh loads of relief materials. After conducting an aerial survey of flood-hit areas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a financial relief of Rs. 1,000 crore for flood-hit Tamil Nadu.

Congress demand to sack ministers Sudhir Mungantiwar, Vinod Tawde ‘childish’: Maharashtra BJP

“The two ministers have been made respondents in the PIL filed by a Congress activist and they have not got notices as yet.

Maharashtra BJP on Saturday termed the opposition Congress’s demand for sacking Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and Education Minister Vinod Tawde over strong observations by Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court in the sexual harassment case in Government Medical College, Nagpur as “childish”. “Congress’s demand for sacking of these ministers (Mungantiwar and Tawde) following observations of the bench in connection with a PIL on November 30, is laughable and childish,” State BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari told reporters here. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The two ministers have been made respondents in the PIL filed by a Congress activist and they have not got notices as yet.The hearing in the Court is yet to begin and the ministers have not got chance to put their case before the court,” he said. “The Congress is giving its verdict before the court verifies the PIL. This is nothing but making a mockery of judiciary,” Bhandari claimed. He also said even though Makrand Vyavhare, facing charges of sexual abuse, is a relative of Mungantiwar, the government has taken action against him.”The state government has no intention to protect anybody guilty in the case. During the 15-year-rule of Congress-NCP, former Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to NCP minister Gulabrao Devkar faced allegations of corruption against them. But, their resignations were not taken,” he said. Yesterday, the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) had demanded that Mungantiwar and Tawde be sacked following Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court’s strong observation against state government on the issue of sexual harassment of a resident doctor at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Nagpur.

Congress to protest if cases against Hardik Patel and other leaders not withdrawn

In the local bodies elections which followed agitation of the Patel community for reservations in the OBC category, Congress won 21 of the 31 district panchayats and 124 out of 230 taluka panchayats. BJP won in all the six municipal corporations and 40 out of the 56 municipalities.

Hardik Patel

The opposition Congress in Gujarat, which made an impressive comeback in the panchayat polls held last month, on Saturday demanded that government withdraw the criminal cases filed against Hardik Patel and other leaders of the Patel quota agitation and release them.”We are asking the government to take back the cases against Patel youths. Else, we will launch a statewide protest,” Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki said. Siddarath Patel, another Congress leader, said the BJP government had slapped “wild charges” like sedition against the Patel leaders. Thousands of youths were charged with rioting, while hundreds were in jail and many of them had been barred from entering their native districts, he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If the government doesn’t take the cases back and release all of them, we will have no option but to launch an agitation,” Patel said. In the local bodies elections which followed agitation of the Patel community for reservations in the OBC category, Congress won 21 of the 31 district panchayats and 124 out of 230 taluka panchayats. BJP won in all the six municipal corporations and 40 out of the 56 municipalities.The opposition party seemed to have gained because of the the state government’s tough stand on quota agitation.”We have had an empathetic win. We have won district and taluka panchayats in large numbers, and in municipal corporations and municipalities our vote share has increased,” Solanki said. “The BJP is trying to project that it had a great win…. The difference between vote shares of the two parties has decreased by about 10 per cent in the urban areas too,” he said.Siddarth Patel claimed that in 2010 Ahmedabad corporation election, Congress got 33.73 per cent votes and this time it got 42.18 per cent, while BJP’s share fell from 54.55 to 50.47 percent. The same pattern can be observed in other cities, he added.

Arvind Kejriwal behaving like the tyrant Muhammad bin Tughluq, says Congress

The Delhi government on Friday announced a slew of measures starting January 1 to bring down pollution levels in the national capital.

Arvind Kejriwal

Criticising the solution advised by Delhi Government for tackling the menace of ever rising pollution in the national capital, the Congress Party on Saturday said that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has ruined the Delhi Transport system and was behaving like the Turkic conquerer Muhammad bin Tughluq, who looted and plundered many Indian kingdoms.”Kejriwal is a very immature chief minister who doesn?t know the capacity of his public transport system. Without knowing that he is issuing a ‘Tughluq’ order which is not possible. He should see whether we have enough public transport to carry people” Congress leader Pramod Tiwari told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This could be possible only in countries which have a strong public transport system. I think Kejriwal is very much frustrated and he is doing the same thing which emperor (Tughluq) did to Delhi. He (Kejriwal) has ruined the system after Sheila Dikshit and is just doing cheap publicity stunt,” he added.Related Read: After criticism, AAP puts car control norm in Delhi on 15-day trialThe Congress leader asserted that he would certainly raise this issue in the Parliament and would ask not to get it implemented till Kejriwal gives alternative of a viable public transport.The Delhi government on Friday announced a slew of measures starting January 1 to bring down pollution levels in the national capital. According to the announcement, vehicles with odd and even number plates will be driven on alternate days.Delhi Chief Secretary KK Sharma said that extra DTC buses will be started and collaboration would be sought with the Delhi Metro to run more number of trains to manage the commuters who will not be able to drive down to their destinations.The announcement was made after an emergency meeting called by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, a day after the Delhi High Court said living in Delhi was like ‘living in a gas chamber’. Plans submitted by the Environment Ministry and the Delhi Government were ‘not comprehensive’, the judges said, because they did not specify responsibilities and a timeline.The National Green Tribunal had earlier ripped into the Delhi Government for not acting ‘seriously’ on the menace.

How Arvind Kejriwal’s even odd car days plan aims to reduce pollution in Delhi

84 lakh vehicles ply on Delhi’s roads
File Photo

Under fire for failure to curb an alarming rise in pollution levels in the capital since the onset of winter, the Arvind Kejriwal government on Friday took a decision to allow plying of private vehicles with odd and even registration numbers to alternate days on the city’s roads.According to Delhi chief secretary KK Sharma, the government will try to implement the decision by January 1 next year.”Additional buses will be deployed by the government and we will also request the DMRC to deploy additional trains for plying commuters,” Sharma said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after the Delhi high court compared the city to a gas chamber, a slew of measures to control air pollution were announced by the Aam Aadmi Party government after an emergency meeting chaired by Kejriwal.Talking to media, Sharma said the government has also taken a call to shut down the Badarpur and Rajghat Thermal power station which is a high contributor to the increasing pollution levels in Delhi. The Badarpur Thermal Power Station comes under the central government run NTPC.”We will move the National Green Tribunal to close the Dadri power plant which falls in Uttar Pradesh,” Sharma said, adding that it has also been a major contributor in the deteriorating air quality of Delhi.While the Badarpur station generates an average of 700 MW of power, the Rajghat station generates around 100 MW of power. An official from the power department said even if the power plants are shut, there will no power crisis in Delhi. “Delhi has surplus power supply. For the last few months, we haven’t been using the 100MW power generated by Rajghat. Even for Badarpur, we don’t use the entire 700 MW power generated,” the official said.According to Delhi government report, more than private 84 lakh vehicles ply on Delhi’s roads. The government will also carry out a massive plantation drive along all arterial roads across the city to minimise loose dust. The Public Works Department will also procure equipment to carry out vacuum cleaning of Delhi’s roads by April next year. The government may also allow movement of trucks only after 11 PM as they slow down overall vehicular movement which was pointed out to be a major contributing factor to pollution from vehicular emission.The city government will also make it mandatory for vehicles to have Euro VI standards for vehicular emission from 2017. Delhi Dialogue Commission Vice Chairperson Ashish Khetan said the idea has been borrowed from foreign countries.Officials from Delhi traffic police said they are yet to receive an official communication from the Government and only after that they will be able to comment on the feasibility of the proposal. Delhi traffic police has a staff strength of 5,500, who work in shifts in a day. Former cop Kanwaljit Deol said enforcement of the policy is going to be very difficult. “More than depending on the traffic force to collect penalty from commuters and enforce the rule, it should be like a drive based on people who would volunteer to follow it,” she told dna.

Centre begins process of declassifying Netaji files

Principal secretary in the PMO Nripendra Misra, on Friday officially handed over the first set of files related to Netaji to the Director General, National Archives of India Serya Guha.

The central government on Friday handed over the first batch of 33 files related to Netaji to the National Archives of India, setting the stage for their declassification beginning on January 23, 2016. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his meeting with the extended family of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on October 14 had assured that the files labeled classified so far will be made public.Principal secretary in the PMO Nripendra Misra, on Friday officially handed over the first set of files related to Netaji to the Director General, National Archives of India Serya Guha. Emphasizing that history cannot be created by those who forget their own history, the Prime Minister had categorically stated that his government did not believe in constraining or strangulating history in any way, and was committed to opening up information on Netaji to the people of India. According to an RTI reply, the PMO had said there were a total of 58 files related to Netaji in its custody. Recently the government told Rajya Sabha that there were 134 classified files which are being examined for the purpose of declassification.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a written reply, minister of state for home affairs Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said, “Government is examining all the files in its custody for the purpose of declassifying the same. “As per available records on date, Ministry of Home Affairs is in possession of 12 files. Among these 12 files, three files are classified and nine files are unclassified,” the minister said. He said as per available record, as on date, the Prime Minister’s Office is in possession of 58 files.Prime Minister had assured Netaji’s family that all possible effort towards the same would be made, from the declassification of Netaji files to taking up the matter with other nations. He had further promised that the declassification and public release of the files would begin on 23rd January, 2016, the Birth Anniversary of Netaji. “Working towards this commitment, the government has been undertaking the process of due diligence stipulated under declassification procedures and guidelines,” said a government spokesman. He said the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs were separately taking action for release of files under their custody. “This marks an important milestone in fulfilling the long pending demand of the people of India, for the declassification of files related to Netaji,” he said,The Centre last April had also set up a committee headed by the cabinet secretary to review the Official Secrets Act in the light of increasing demands for declassification of the files on Netaji. Early this year, it had emerged that the Intelligence Bureau had spied on Bose’s family for over 20 years starting under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s government. In past, the government had stonewalled all queries related to these files, saying their declassification will hamper India’s relations with some foreign countries.Most democracies in the world declassify secret documents after 25 to 30 years. But in India the Official Secrets Act an archaic law perpetuated by the government hampers access to government material even for research purposes. In the US, declassification is automatic after 25 years – with nine exceptions – while in the UK, all classified files are reviewed after 30 years to ascertain whether they still need to be kept under wraps. India amended the 1925 Act in 1967, but instead of making it liberal, made it it even more stringent.

Maharashtra govt does a U-turn; opens door for proposals on new colleges

Lifts ban on them from coming academic year on mounting pressure from managements

Maharashtra has opened the doors again to new higher education institutions. Six months ago, the government had imposed a blanket ban on them, citing “a huge number of vacant seats” in existing colleges and “falling standard of education”. But the government recently promulgated an ordinance to amend the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994, recently, allowing state universities to accept proposals till December 31 for setting up new colleges in 2016-17. Sources say the government’s change of heart amounts to bowing to the pressure of college managements.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Universities can approve proposals till the end of this year even in the absence of a perspective plan, extending the October 31 deadline as mandated under the Act. Earlier, the government has directed universities to hold up their perspective plans till broader guidelines are issued on the basis of a brand new “comprehensive higher education policy” for the entire state as per the suggestions of the Narendra Jadhav commitee. The comprehensive plan for the state is not yet ready though the Jadhav committee has submitted its report to the government a month ago. dna had reported about the recommendations of the committee. The government holds the final say in approving new educational institutions in the state, approved by govt-run universities. The ban on new institutions has sparked off an uproar among aspiring college managements, with some of them even seeking legal remedies. The ban also invited criticism from academicians and other stakeholders who called it arbitrary. Even minister of state for higher and technical education- Ravindra Waikar, a Shiv Sena leader, was unhappy with the ban decision. Last year, Mumbai university alone received around 70 applications for new colleges. However, the government issued a resolution in April 2015 stating that no new permissions will be granted for 2015-16.

Delhi Police not consulted about AAP govt’s proposed car restriction to curb pollution

In a radical step to curb air pollution that has assumed “critical” level, Delhi Government today announced that private vehicles bearing odd and even registration numbers will be allowed to ply only on alternate days starting January 1

Hours after the Delhi Government made an announcement about restricting plying of private vehicles bearing odd and even registration numbers to alternate days, the Delhi Police on Friday said that it was not consulted in connection with the proposal.”Delhi Police has not been consulted for the concerned proposal. If the proposal ever comes to us, it shall be examined by the traffic department and further action will be taken only in public-interest,” Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi said. “If the proposal comes to me, only then I shall be able to comment further on the issue. On our part, nothing can be said at this juncture,” Bassi added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a radical step to curb air pollution that has assumed “critical” level, Delhi Government today announced that private vehicles bearing odd and even registration numbers will be allowed to ply only on alternate days starting January 1, which drew mixed reactions. In an emergency meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, a day after the High Court compared Delhi to a “gas chamber”, the government also decided a series of steps to cut pollution which included shutting down of a thermal power plant and making it mandatory for vehicles to have Euro VI emission norms from 2017.The odd/even number scheme, similar to the one in place in Chinese capital Beijing and Singapore, allows vehicles with number plates ending with an odd number to be driven one day while those ending with an even number can be plied the next day, meaning that a motorist will be able ply his vehicle only for 15 days in a month.

Rajya Sabha paralysed for second day; opposition demands VK Singh’s ouster from cabinet

No government business could be transacted as the House was adjourned repeatedly as members of BSP and Congress pressed for ouster of Singh from the Council of Ministers as well as Parliament for ‘dog’ analogy after the killing of two Dalit children in Haryana

VK Singh

Rajya Sabha was paralysed for the second consecutive on Friday, with the some opposition parties gunning for minister V K Singh for his ‘dog’ remarks and some others creating ruckus over RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s reported comments on Ram temple.No government business could be transacted as the House was adjourned repeatedly as members of BSP and Congress pressed for ouster of Singh from the Council of Ministers as well as Parliament for ‘dog’ analogy after the killing of two Dalit children in Haryana. Adding to the pandemonium, members of Samajwadi Party protested against Bhagwat’s remarks that ‘ground should be prepared’ for building Ram Temple in Ayodhya and demanded action against him.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government ruled out any action against Singh, arguing that he has already clarified on the issue. With regard to Bhagwat’s comments, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said people have “fundamental right” to reiterate commitment for construction of a temple but the government will respect the court’s decision. Ruckus began soon after the House met for the day and mourned the death of former member M A M Ramaswamy.BSP chief Mayawati said the government’s attitude over Singh’s comments was “very sad and unfortunate”. As Deputy Chairman P J Kurien disallowed her and asked her to give a notice for making a statement, her party members rushed into the Well raising anti-government slogans. Not to be left behind, Naresh Agarwal (SP) raised the issue of Bhagwat’s comments.Kurien did not allow this as well and asked them to make mentions during the Zero Hour. “Please give notice. This is against rules. You cannot make a statement without notice,” he said. Immediately thereafter, SP members rushed into the Well of the House raising slogans.Mayawati alleged that social and communal atomsphere in the country has detoriated since BJP came to power, as the government instead of taking action against the rabble-rousers was indulging in soft-peddling such issues. “Dalit virodhi yeh sarkar nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi (anti-Dalit government will not be allowed)”, “V K Singh murdabad (down with V K Singh)”, the BSP members shouted.With members of the two parties not listening to his pleas for order, Kurien adjourned the House for 15 minutes.Similar scenes were seen when the House met at 11.30 am with slogan-shouting BSP members again trooping into the Well.

Acche din for Delhi MLAs and Ministers as assembly approves whopping 400% hike in basic salary

As per provision of the bill cleared by the Assembly, the basic salary of legislators will rise from current Rs 12,000 to Rs 50,000 and their overall monthly package will be around Rs 2.1 lakh as against Rs 88,000 at present.

PTI
The Delhi Assembly on Thursday approved a whopping 400% hike in basic salary of MLAs and Ministers besides hefty increase in perks and allowances, catapulting them among the highest paid lawmakers in the country.As per provision of the bill cleared by the Assembly, the basic salary of legislators will rise from current Rs 12,000 to Rs 50,000 and their overall monthly package will be around Rs 2.1 lakh as against Rs 88,000 at present.The basic salary of Ministers, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Chief Whip and the Leader of Opposition will be around Rs 80,000 and their total emoluments nearly Rs 3.67 lakh as against Rs 1.2 lakh now.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Government of NCT of Delhi (Salaries, Allowances, Pension) Amendment Bill 2015 will now be sent to the Centre for approval.The BJP attacked the Aam Aadmi Party government for bringing the bill and demanded its immediate withdrawal, contending it will send a wrong message to the people. Two BJP MLAs staged a walkout protesting the move.The overall hike proposed for MLAs is two-and-a-half fold, while for Ministers it would be a three-time increase.”The bill proposes to increase the salaries, allowances and other facilities of the Members of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi so as to facilitate them to work effectively in their fields,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, presenting the bill in the assembly.The draft bill was based on the report of a three-member committee chaired by former Secretary General of Lok Sabha PDT Achary.”We have accepted all the recommendations of the panel,” Sisodia said.In July, a group of AAP legislators had demanded a significant hike in salary, arguing their earnings were not enough to run their family and offices.Apart from basic salary, the bill proposes hiking constituency allowance from current Rs 18,000 to Rs 50,000 on the ground that it was “grossly” inadequate.The Ministers will get a monthly amount of Rs 10,000 as communication allowance to pay for their mobile bills and Rs 30,000 for phone bills at their residences and offices.The legislation also provides for a reimbursable sum of Rs 70,000 per month recommended as allowance under ‘Secretarial, Research and Office Assistance’ head which is Rs 30,000 at present.

Government’s plans for Parliament’s winter session going awry?

When the session began last week, the government strategy appeared to have revolved around the passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Opposition members protesting in Rajya Sabha on Thursday

PTI
The government’s efforts for a smooth winter session appear to be fading as new issues are cropping up to fuel confrontation between the government and opposition.When the session began last week, the government strategy appeared to have revolved around the passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). A week later, the mood has changed to a bitter government-opposition face off, with sparring in Rajya Sabha, the BJP listing out corruption cases against Congress leaders and GST’s fate hinging on the main opposition party, which seems to be divided on it.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>That the Congress would be unrelenting in its approach towards government was apparent from Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s speech in Lok Sabha on intolerance. On Thursday morning, at a meeting convened by him, party leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge was criticised by his colleagues who were of the view that the government was let off too easily in the intolerance debate. The issue is likely to come up in Rajya Sabha next week when it takes up CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s notice for a house resolution.Gandhi and other younger Congress leaders are understood to be taking a less conciliatory stand on GST than the older generation which includes former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Some Congress leaders are of the view that having brought its demands for amendments from a dozen to three, it should not make further compromises on these.Meanwhile, relations have soured inside the Rajya Sabha. Soon after the government-Congress confrontation in the House over Kumari Selja’s remarks on discrimination in a Dwarka temple, BJP fielded commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman to tear into the Congress. At a press conference, Sitharaman listed out corruption charges against Congress leaders and chief ministers bringing into its line of fire senior members right from Preneet Kaur to former finance minister P Chidambaram, over the ED raids in firms linked to his son Karti Chidambaram.However, to questions about the passage of GST bill, she said she hoped that the attack on the party would not effect the Congress stand on the bill. “GST is something which is their (Congress) bill. It is in national interest. If these are becoming an issue because of which Congress party, and I would not imagine that, would not support GST, then it would be a sad day,” she said, expressing hope that it would deal with the allegations with “maturity”.Sitharaman also raised the charges against Congress chief ministers of Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand– Oommen Chandy, Virbhadra Singha and Harish Rawat– demanding that the party take action against them.The tit-for-tat politics brings back memories of the last session, which was a washout. However, Sitharaman said the attack on Congress should not be linked to business in the House.”I would expect business to run and constructive engagement. I hope its not being suggested that whenever BJP picked up the omissions of Congress, it is tied up with Parliament’s functioning,”she said.To add to the acrimony between the government and opposition, BSP objected to union minister VK Singh’s presence in Rajya Sabha over his alleged remarks about the death of two dalit children.

Mamata Banerjee says ‘individuals can be thieves, but not party’, Left claims ‘admission betrays her nervousness’

Former Transport Minister in West Bengal Government Mitra, an accused in Saradha chief fund scam, had surrendered before a court after his bail was cancelled by Calcutta High Court on November 20.

Mamata Banerjee

The CPI(M) on Thursday attacked Mamata Banerjee over her reported comments that “individuals can be thieves, but not party” in the wake of Madan Mitra’s arrest in the Saradha scam, and alleged the TMC chief’s “indirect” admission betrays her nervousness at the prospects of further revelations against her party and the state government.”After Mitra, her minister till recently, was sent to jail after his bail was cancelled and the CBI stepped up investigations, Banerjee had said — individuals can be thieves, but not a party.” “This indirect admission betrays nervousness at the prospects of further revelations against her party and government,” ex-CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat said in an editorial of forthcoming issue of party mouthpiece ‘People’s Democracy’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karat also accused TMC Government in West Bengal of repressing jathas (parades) organised by Left organisations against “misrule and terror tactics” of the Banerjee dispensation. Karat said the Bengal Platform of Mass Organisations (BPMO) covered over 60,000 booths by around 18,000 jathas which, he claimed, saw participation by 16 lakh people during November 14 and November 30.The communist leader said the jathas were attacked by TMC men in districts like West Midnapore, Burdwan, Murshidabad, Hooghly, Howrah and others. Notwithstanding the attacks, the jathas went ahead rallying supporters and connecting with people, he claimed.”Why has the TMC under Banerjee adopted such a repressive approach? The main purpose of these goonda attacks was to try and prevent Left mass organisations from forging links with people. The ruling party was also alarmed at the response these jathas were receiving from the people,” he added.Former Transport Minister in West Bengal Government Mitra, an accused in Saradha chief fund scam, had surrendered before a court after his bail was cancelled by Calcutta High Court on November 20. The TMC leader was earlier arrested on December 12, 2014. According to media reports, speaking at a public gathering in Howrah earlier this week, state Chief Minister Banerjee had stated that “individuals can be thieves, but not a party”.

Delhi Assembly passes bill to effect 400% hike in MLA salary

The Delhi government will now send the bill to the Centre and if it is approved, then basic salaries of legislators will rise from current Rs 12,000 to Rs 50,000 and their overall monthly package will be around Rs 2.1 lakh as against existing Rs 88,000.

The basic monthly salary of Delhi MLAs and ministers is all set to go up by a whopping 400 per cent besides significant hike in a slew of allowances with the assembly on Thursday approving a bill to effect the increase considering rising cost of living.The Delhi government will now send the bill to the Centre and if it is approved, then basic salaries of legislators will rise from current Rs 12,000 to Rs 50,000 and their overall monthly package will be around Rs 2.1 lakh as against existing Rs 88,000. As per provisions of the bill, the basic salary of a minister will be Rs 80,000 which is currently Rs 20,000. If the Centre approves the Bill, then salaries of Delhi legislators will among the highest in the country.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Overall the hike proposed is two-and-a-half fold. “The bill proposes to increase the salaries, allowances and other facilities of the Members of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi so as to facilitate them to work effectively in their fields,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, presenting the bill in the assembly. The Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Government of NCT of Delhi (Salaries, Allowances, Pension) Amendment Bill 2015 was drafted based on a report of a three-member committee chaired by former Secretary General of Lok Sabha PDT Achary.”We have accepted all the recommendations of the panel,” Sisodia said. In July, a group of AAP legislators had demanded a significant hike in salary, arguing their earnings were not enough to run their family and offices.Apart from basic salary, the bill proposes hiking constituency allowance from current Rs 18,000 to Rs 50,000, saying the current amount was “grossly” inadequate.The bill also provides for a reimbursable sum of Rs 70,000 per month was also recommended as allowance under ‘Secretarial, Research and Office Assistance’ head which is Rs 30,000 at present.An ‘office rental and related utilities’ allowance of Rs 25,000 has been proposed for meeting expenditure on office space and other essential amenities provided by government agencies.As per the bill, the legislators will be entitled to a communication allowance of Rs 10,000 per month as well as Rs 30,000 as monthly conveyance allowance for each MLA.The ‘daily’ allowance of each MLA during every sitting of the House or its committees has been proposed to be hiked from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000. The salaries of Leader of Opposition, Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Chief Whip will be on par with the ministers. The one-time allowances of MLAs have also been recommended to be increased significantly with one time ‘office furnishing’ allowance of Rs 1 lakh, Rs 60,000 for purchasing office equipment and a vehicle loan of Rs 12 lakh, which is Rs 4 lakh at present.Lawmakers’ salaries were last increased by 100 per cent in September 2011 by the then Sheila Dikshit government, citing inflation and the rise in the cost of living.The Bill also provides for a hike in monthly pension from the existing Rs 7,500 to Rs 15,000 per month for first term of membership and an additional pension of Rs 1,000 per month for every successive year of membership beyond the first term, Achary said.The family pension has been recommended at 50 per cent of the pension being paid to a deceased member or an ex-member, he said. The bill also features a maximum reimbursable travel allowance of Rs 3 lakh per annum for each MLA and his dependents by air, rail, road or steamer. In an important recommendation, the bill also provides for a 10 per cent hike in the basic salary, Rs 5,000 per month, after every 12 months, from the date on which new salary and allowances come into force.The three-member committee of experts had finalised its 21-page “unanimous report” in October. The committee, including non-official members KV Prasad and Balraj Malik, went through pay and allowances structures of many state assemblies as well as those of the US Congress, UK, Australia and many other Commonwealth nations.The Delhi Cabinet on November 28 had approved the hike in salaries and allowances of the MLAs. Both BJP, which has three legislators and Congress with no representative in the House, had opposed the hike.

Amid GST uncertainty, government-Opposition relations sour

The Selja issue has left a bitter taste in the Congress and united the Opposition against the government. While a way out is likely to be foundon Thursday to end the deadlock in Rajya Sabha, the issue had paralysed business in the House till 3.30 pm.

Opposition members protest in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday

PTI
After the government and opposition struck conciliatory notes raising hopes on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill, relations between the two sides took an acrimonious turn on Thursday.In Rajya Sabha, the government’s attempts to counter Congress member Kumari Selja’s statement that she faced discrimination as a dalit in the Beyt Dwarka temple had infuriated the Opposition. Meanwhile, Union minister VK Singh unleashed a counter-attack through five tweets on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi who had taken him on during his speech in Lok Sabha on intolerance on Wednesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With GST bill on top of its agenda, the government had reached out to Congress leadership last week with Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting his predecessor Manmohan Singh and the opposition party’s President Sonia Gandhi. Modi had reached out to Opposition underlining the importance of consensus while making speeches in both houses of Parliament.The Selja issue has left a bitter taste in the Congress and united the Opposition against the government. While a way out is likely to be foundon Thursday to end the deadlock in Rajya Sabha, the issue had paralysed business in the House till 3.30 pm.The same day, VK Singh retaliated to Rahul Gandhi, who demanded his removal for allegedly comparing dalit children with dogs. Singh refuted the allegation of playing divisive politics saying he served in the army for 42 years putting his and his men’s lives on the line to protect the socio-economic and cultural fabric of the country.”Intriguing that Rahul Gandhi questions my absence from the Parliament, wonder how someone who vanished for 57 days earlier this year and has one of the poorest track records when it comes to attending the Parliament (43% in 2013), does so with a straight face,” Singh said.The sparring comes at a time when the GST ball is in the Congress’s court. In fact, the Congress is expected to get back to the government after Sonia Gandhi returns from the US on December 5.The government, which had given utmost priority to its legislative agenda in the session, had also asked MPs not to get provoked by the Opposition remarks as it was the responsibility of the ruling side to run the House.

No secret meeting held between Modi-Nawaz in Kathmandu: Government

On Tuesday, Pakistan’s Federal Government spokesman had also rubbished reports, saying no such meeting was held during the SAARC conference in Kathmandu

Sharif- Modi

The External Affairs Ministry on Wednesday trashed reports of a secret meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of SAARC summit in Kathmandu last year.Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Vikas Swarup called the reports based on a book as completely baseless. “The Report is completely baseless. NO such meeting took place in Kathmandu during the SAARC Summit,” he said in a tweet while responding to queries on whether the meeting had taken place or not.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Tuesday, Pakistan’s Federal Government spokesman had also rubbished reports, saying no such meeting was held during the SAARC conference in Kathmandu. Media reports quoting a book said that a year ago, Modi and Sharif held an hour-long secret meeting where the two leaders shared their constraints while agreeing they needed more time and greater political space to move forward with public engagements. Earlier in the day, the Congress sought a clarification from the government on the issue.”Did the Prime Minister at all have a meeting with Pakistan PM? If yes, then why did his government keep it secret? Was it for image? Optics? 56-inch-chest or for political deliverables?” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi asked while talking to reporters. If it is yes, then did the Prime Minister consider the Ministry of External Affairs either incompetent or incapable as he had to engage an industrialist for the purpose, Singhvi asked.Asked for his reaction, a senior BJP leader said, “Anyone who understands the way Modi conducts his foreign affairs would realise that he believes in direct diplomacy. So, involving anyone else is almost out of the question.”

No proposal to follow Madras HC’s observation about castrating child rapists: Govt

He was replying to a question whether the government proposes to amend existing law to accommodate the proposal of the high court.

File Photo

Government has no proposal to accommodate observations of Madras High Court of castrating those who are guilty of raping a child, the Rajya Sabha was informed today. In reply to a written question, Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said the government was “aware” of the high court observation on child rapists. He was replying to a question whether the government proposes to amend existing law to accommodate the proposal of the high court. Chaudhary, however, said that there is no proposal to amend the provisions of the Indian Penal Code or Criminal Procedure Code to accommodate the stated observations. Justice N Kirubakaran of the high court had pronounced the judgement on October 16 in which he had asked the Centre to consider castration as punishment for child rapists. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Tamil Nadu floods: I&B asks broadcasters to give more coverage to vital

Private television channels and other broadcasting media have also been communicating such information.

PTI
In view of floods in Tamil Nadu, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has asked all private broadcasters to enhance efforts at disseminating vital information related to the disaster on real-time basis. In a letter to various television and radio broadcasters, Joint Secretary (Broadcasting) R Jaya said that many agencies, including All India Radio and Doordarshan, have been disseminating vital information related to weather warnings, helplines, contact numbers of personnel, and on the ground situation in the flood-affected areas.Private television channels and other broadcasting media have also been communicating such information. Yet, it is found necessary to enhance the efforts at informing the public on vital matters concerning the situation so as to assist them in seeking and finding help whenever and wherever required.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Considering the gravity of the situation, the need for dissemination of critical and vital information regarding all aspects of the disaster on real-time basis has become all the more imperative, she said. “Now, therefore, it is requested that relevant and vital information which is of immediate requirement to the general public, as brought out by the concerned Government agencies, may kindly be telecast/broadcast by all concerned,” she said.

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