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IAS officer from SC community converts to Islam, takes VRS claiming ‘victimization’

According to reports, Vasundhara Raje was not too keen in making Salodia as the Chief Secreatry as he has only a few months to retire.

dna Web Team

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

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81 things we don’t know about the universe, writes Dr Mayank Vahia

Dr. Mayank Vahia is a scientist at TATA Institute of Fundamental Research in the department of Astronomy and Astrophysics

Mayank Vahia
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Amritsar: Nine killed, 15 injured in accident as bus hits motorised cart <!– /.block –>
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Noida jinx will keep Akhilesh Yadav away from meeting PM

With palace intrigues already at play within the ruling Yadav clan itself, Akhilesh seems to be unwilling to take any chances.

Deepak Gidwani

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State seeks corporate help for Swachh abhiyan <!– /.block –>
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UP girl students barred from hockey, cricket, football

UP Basic Education Minister Dr Ahmed Hasan told reporters that he would conduct an inquiry into the matter and ensure that the girl students are not discriminated against in any manner.

Deepak Gidwani

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Saina Nehwal’s medal in London Olympics is biggest moment in Indian badminton: Pullela Gopichand <!– /.block –>
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<!– /#sidebar-second –>Central survey on city’s Swachh Bharat Mission to start on January 1<!– /.block –>Saina Nehwal’s medal in London Olympics is biggest moment in Indian badminton: Pullela Gopichand<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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RSS pracharaks as BJP’s state unit chiefs – exceptions or new trend?

A party leader said earlier RSS pracharaks came to the BJP generally as organisational secretaries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of the first pracharaks to hold a government post as chief minister and Kushabhau Thakre, also a pracharak, was party president. From 2004, more pracharaks entered the party fold. Once a pracharak joins the party, he has to give up the “veya patra” or statement of expenditure, as advance money is given to pracharaks for monthly expenditures.

Amita Shah

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Coastal road clears major hurdle, Fadnavis thanks PM Modi <!– /.block –>
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Maharashtra govt gives Rs 258 crore to tribal panchayats, fails to train them on spending

Of the 35 districts in the state, the TSP areas fall in 15 districts —Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Nashik, Dhule, Nandurbar, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Pune, Amravati, Yavatmal, Nagpur, Gondia, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Nanded. There are 47 tribes or tribal groups in Maharashtra, including Bhils, Gonds, Mahadeo Kolis, Pawras, Thakurs and Warlis.

Kanchan SrivastavaInfoPrincipal Correspondent at dna Mumbai, have interests in politics, education and energy sectors. A postgraduate in Biochemistry and Lucknow University alumnus. I had worked at Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow for two and half years as Junior Reseach Fellow. Also holds a PG diploma in international studies from Mumbai University. Have won UNFPA-Laadli Media National Award in 2011 for best writing (Hindi) on gender issues. Besides, NBC Newsmakers Achievers Award 2015 for best journalist (English, print)

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Nawaz Sharif thanks PM Modi for Lahore visit; says high time India, Pakistan set aside hostilities <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaAmritsar: Nine killed, 15 injured in accident as bus hits motorised cartIndiaNarrow escape for 171 passengers of AI flight as dog strays on runwayIndiaNoida jinx will keep Akhilesh Yadav away from meeting PMIndiaMaharashtra: Sales tax on kidney-related medicines waived offIndiaDelhi govt suspends two officers; 200 colleagues threaten to go on mass leaveIndiaUP girl students barred from hockey, cricket, football <!– /.block –>

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Union environment ministry issues fresh directions to control air pollution

The MoEF&CC and environment ministers of the five NCR states had met three times this year to take steps on the issue of air pollution. Preventing stubble burning of crops in Punjab and Haryana and burning of biomass was also one of the issues taken up during these meetings and for which the ministry issued directions on Wednesday.

dna Correspondent

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Also ReadIndiaAAP govt to take a call on Badarpur power plant closure dateIndiaAfter 100 smart cities in 2015, 132 smart villages in 2016IndiaBMC has a New Year gift for Bhendi BazaarIndiaCentre takes the high road, clears coastal road projectIndiaGujarat: Patanjali products sent for testingIndiaAI plane hit by catering van at Newark airport in US <!– /.block –>

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Nawaz Sharif thanks PM Modi for Lahore visit; says high time India, Pakistan set aside hostilities

Sharif also expressed optimism that India-Pakistan ties would improve in the days ahead and the “spirit of goodwill generated with Modi’s visit will continue to prevail”.

Agencies
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CBI files DA case against IRS officer <!– /.block –>
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AAP govt to take a call on Badarpur power plant closure date

Meanwhile, Delhi government’s plan to carry out a dry run of the odd even plan on December 30, was postponed to December 31, when civil volunteers would keep a check on the plan.

Amrita Nayak Dutta

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After 100 smart cities in 2015, 132 smart villages in 2016

The committee will be submitting its report to the ministry of Rural Development. The budget for the project is likely to be allotted in the next fiscal year. “We are hoping to get some 500 crores in the first phase,” informed a committee member.

Rohinee Singh

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Following goof-up, Gujarat Board withdraws result for GSEB HSC 11th Semester 1

“New results will be posted as soon as possible. We will also conduct an inquiry to find out how it happened and who was responsible,” he said.

PTI
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West Bengal hands over land for AIIMS-like hospital to Centre for free

“Tender for construction of boundary wall has already been floated by Centre. After completion of all formalities, we expect the work of the boundary wall to start in January or February. The DPR for the facility is also under process.” he added.

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CPI(M) thinking about introducing retirement policy in party

Karat’s comments come at a time when questions have been raised in the closed door meet of the party on lack of sufficient democratic atmosphere within the CPI(M). Earlier on many occasions disgruntled leaders have accused the CPI(M) of lack in inner party democracy and a tendency of imposing decisions from the top.

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Respect for Indians grew after PM Modi’s foreign visits, says Sushma Swaraj

RSS leader Manmohan Vaidya too participated in the six-day camp which started yesterday where around 700 representatives from 45 countries are participating.

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PM Modi to visit Noida on Thursday, UP CM Akhilesh Yadav to give it a miss

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

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Haryana polls: Election Commission issues educational qualification verification rules

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

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Delhi odd-even rule: Trial run to be conducted on Thursday

“Convince your parents, relatives and friends to follow the odd-even scheme. We are to do this not out of any imposition, but because it is important for our health and life. If you see anyone violating the odd-even scheme, just ask that person to go back home. If the same person receives 10 such remarks in a day, it would stir his conscience and persuade him to keep his car off the road,” Kejriwal said, addressing the students at Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya in north Delhi’s Civil Lines.

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High time India, Pakistan set aside hostilities, says Nawaz Sharif

The Pakistan premier’s comments came a day after his Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan will meet in Islamabad on January 14-15 to prepare a schedule of meeting for the comprehensive dialogue covering Jammu and Kashmir and other issues. Sharif also expressed optimism that India-Pakistan ties would improve in the days ahead and the “spirit of goodwill generated with Modi’s visit will continue to prevail”.

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<!– /#sidebar-second –>Russian court jails blogger for five years for ‘extremist’ posts<!– /.block –>Here is why Virender Sehwag is unhappy with selectors even after his retirement<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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New sanitation survey under ‘Swachh Bharat’ to be undertaken between Jan 5-20

In the earlier survey of 476 cities, in which Mumbai was ranked 147th, solid waste management had a weightage of only 13 per cent, as against 60 per cent in the new survey. Household and community toilets have a weightage of 30 per cent and city level sanitation plans and ‘Information, Behaviour Change Communication’ 10 per cent. The results of the survey will be announced on the MyGov website on January 25, he added.

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<!– /#sidebar-second –>High time India, Pakistan set aside hostilities, says Nawaz Sharif<!– /.block –>Separatist leader Asiya Andrabi dismisses allegations of any IS link<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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2 crore people in flood-affected Tamil Nadu get a call from CM Jayalalithaa

The use of social media and mobile phones to relay Jayalalithaa’s messages is seen as a strong pre-poll strategy for the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections that are coming up in a few months time.

dna Web Team

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<!– /#sidebar-second –>Shocking! Parth Samthaan accuses producer Vikas Gupta of molestation<!– /.block –>Odd-even scheme: Why are women and two-wheelers exempt, asks High Court<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Odd-even scheme: Why are women and two-wheelers exempt, asks High Court

Violators of the scheme would attract a penalty of Rs. 2,000. VIPs, women drivers, CNG-certified vehicles, two-wheelers and those carrying the differently-abled are among the 25 categories which will be exempted from the scheme.

dna Web Team

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Indian textile firm to pay $100000 for using pirated software

“This landmark settlement will allow us to continue innovating and help our customers grow their businesses and create new jobs,” Kohan said.

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<!– /#sidebar-second –>MNS corporators’ move to join BJP cancelled<!– /.block –>No clean chit to Arun Jaitley: Manish Sisodia<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Nine Congress leaders expelled in Chhattisgarh for ‘anti-party’ activities

The main opposition Congress in the state has fielded its young face Devendra Yadav for the mayoral post in the Bhilai Municipal Corporation which saw polling on Monday.

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

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Farmer suicides not political but socio-economic issue: Nitin Gadkari

Gadkari called for encouraging experiments in agriculture and use of technology to boost production. He also called for production of good quality seeds. Saying he did not trust government-controlled agricultural universities, he urged the SSES to work for the development of agricultural technology.

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Also ReadIndiaTrinamool Congress claims CPI(M)’s rally was a flop showIndiaHurriyat cautions against possible attempts to vitiate Indo-Pak peace processIndiaFormer Assam Congress minister makes comments against Smriti Irani; BJP to sueIndiaGujarat: 50 booked for rioting during funeral procession of Patel youthIndiaOdd-even formula: Delhi govt conducts trial run with 750 private busesIndiaHyerabad Police questions youths who allegedly wanted to join jihadi groups <!– /.block –>

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PM Modi’s visit fruitful only if Pakistan stops sending terrorists, says Praveen Togadia

The VHP leader said he was not averse to jeans and modern education, but stressed that “we want our youths to respect our rich culture and their parents and go to temples”. Togadia also said that VHP will put pressure on the government to make a law to counter “love jihad”.

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Hurriyat cautions against possible attempts to vitiate Indo-Pak peace process

“Any party or group that stands in the way of attempts to achieve peace are enemies of the people of South Asia. The leadership in India and Pakistan should invite and involve all the stakeholders – especially the people of Kashmir – to contribute and be a part of this process. The rabble-rousers should be reined in so that issues can be addressed and peace becomes the order of the day in the South Asian region,” he said.

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<!– /#sidebar-second –>Sri Lanka President Sirisena slams organisers and fans of Enrique concert for ‘uncivilised behaviour'<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Tamil Nadu Elections: DMK Chief Karunanidhi terms Rs 22 crore as ‘insufficient’ poll fund

On March 12 this year, Karunanidhi had appealed to the party workers to make contributions to the party’s election fund for the 2016 assembly polls. DMK is hoping for a turnaround in its poll fortunes after being badly mauled by the ruling AIADMK in the 2011 assembly and last year’s Lok Sabha elections.

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CPI(M) to hold plenum in Bengal from Sunday after 37 years

The plenum is being held at a time when Marxists, who had lost power in the state after 34 years, are trying to revitalise the party organisation in the state. The CPI(M) plenum was last held in West Bengal in 1978 at Salkia in Howrah district.

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Weekly train between Tirupati and Shirdi flagged off

Today’s inaugural train left Tirupati at 4.30 pm and would reach Sainagar Shirdi at 9 pm tomorrow, railway officials said.

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<!– /#sidebar-second –>Why Man Utd should sack Van Gaal and hire Jose Mourinho <!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Keralites back after harrowing experience in Saudi Arabia

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had earlier stated in New Delhi that the three men had been given police protection and the matter was being followed up.

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Peace is in the air: CRPF vacates 25 year old camp from stone pelting epicentre

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Back bone: Paramilitary force performs a dual role of managing the law and order and fighting militants in the Valley

Call it a dividend of peace; the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has started vacating one of the oldest and super-sensitive camps in the stone pelting hub of the old Srinagar city.The camp housing the company of 49 battalion CRPF in Kawdara area was established at the onset of militancy 25 years ago. From housing Border Security Force (BSF) troops to CRPF soldiers, the camp has seen many upheavals during the heydays of militancy and the stone pelting.Come 2015, the CRPF has decided to vacate the camp and hand it over to the Jammu and Kashmir Police. “The camp is in the process of shifting. There was one company of 49 battalion comprising around 100 men located in the camp. We will hand it over to the Jammu and Kashmir Police,” Ashish Kumar Jha, CRPF spokesman at Srinagar, told dna.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Considered as super-sensitive camp of the valley, scores of the CRPF soldiers were injured in stone pelting particularly during 2008 and 2010 agitation. Since the camp is old city, it was always at the receiving end of the stone throwers who used to target it almost every day.”During the peak time of the stone pelting (during Amarnath land row of 2008 and 2010 groundswell) this camp suffered a lot. So many of our men were injured in the stone pelting. It was a super sensitive camp. Prior to CRPF, this camp housed BSF as well. It has been there for the last 25 years”, said Jha.CRPF performs a dual role of managing the law and order and fighting militants in the strife torn Jammu and Kashmir. The paramilitary force plays key role in helping the local police in the counter-insurgency duties. Most of the times they conduct joint operation with the cops and other security agencies. Govt welcomes the decision There are around 47 battalions of CRPF deployed in the Kashmir valley of which around 25 battalions are posted in capital city of Srinagar mostly to quell the street protests and stone pelting.The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has gone gaga over the shifting of the camp describing it as the major achievement of 10 month old Mufti Mohommad Sayeed led government in Jammu and Kashmir. “Shifting ofCRPF camp from Kawdara is a welcome step. People of the state are benefiting from visionary leadership of Mufti Saheb,” said Khursheed Alam, Srinagar district president of PDP.

Cold wave intensifies, Uttar Pradesh releases relief funds

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New photo suggests Netaji was alive in 1966 and met Lal Bahadur Shastri?

This 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 Shashtri had met someone who was considered an icon back home, while in the Soviet Union.

File Photo

The mystery around Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s death refuses to go away and the latest fodder for conspiracy theorists is a photograph which is being considered as proof that Bose didn’t die in plane crash in 1945. According to these theorists, a forensic face-mapping report of the photo by a British expert suggests that Netaji might have been present at the Indo-Pak peace talks in Tashkent in 1966, with erstwhile PM Bahadur Shastri.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 Shashtri had met someone who was considered an icon back home, while in the Soviet Union.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to media reports, researchers will now urge PM Modi to take up the issue of Netaji’s death with Vladimir Putin when the former visits Lucknow later this month.The Modi govt 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 will be made public on Jan 23, 2016, Netaji Subhash Chandra’s birth anniversary. Earlier, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee had released 64 files related to Netaji.

We are in it together’: PM Modi annouces Rs 1,000 crore addl relief for flood-ravaged Tamil Nadu

After an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced an immediate release of Rs.1,000 crore for relief and rehabilitation works in Tamil Nadu. “A sum of Rs. 1,000 crore will be released immediately by the Government of India to carry out relief works. This will be in addition to Rs.940 crore which was released earlier (by the Centre),” he said in a brief statement at the naval base “INS Adyar” here. Flanked by Governor K Rosaiah and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, Modi began his brief statement with a sentence in Tamil saying telling people of Tamil Nadu, “I will be in support of you”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Switching to English, Modi said he has seen the damage and misery caused by the monsoon fury. “People of India stay with people of Tamil Nadu in this hour of need,” he said after the survey in which he was accompanied by Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan, who hails from Tamil Nadu. Modi also tweeted later, “The Government of India stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Tamil Nadu in this hour of need. I have directed that Rs. 1000 crore be released immediately by the Govt of India to Tamil Nadu for immediate relief,” he said in another tweet. “I have seen the damage and misery caused by the extremely heavy rainfall,” said another of his tweet.The prime minister made the announcement after holding consultations with the Chief Minister at the naval base here.Earlier, Modi arrived from Delhi at the naval working station ‘INS Rajali’ in Arakkonam, about 60 km from here, and made an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of Chennai, its suburbs and Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts. After an earlier spell of heavy rains and damage in November, the prime minister had announced release of Rs.940 crore to Tamil Nadu.

Winter Session: Modi govt readies for tough week in Parliament over ‘growing intolerance’

Congress and JD-U have given notices in Rajya Sabha to discuss the issue after suspension of business under Rule 267, while in Lok Sabha Congress and CPI-M have submitted notices for a debate under rule 193.

Govt readies for tough week in Parliament over ‘intolerance’
File Photo

The government is bracing up for a tough week in Parliament from Monday, with opposition parties giving a number of notices in both Houses seeking a debate on ‘intolerance’ in society and action against some ministers for their alleged provocative remarks.Congress and JD-U have given notices in Rajya Sabha to discuss the issue after suspension of business under Rule 267, while in Lok Sabha Congress and CPI-M have submitted notices for a debate under rule 193, which does not entail voting or require suspension of business.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In Lok Sabha, the matter has been listed for Monday, while in Rajya Sabha, it can happen any day in the week after the conclusion of the discussion on the “Commitment to India’s Constitution” as part of the 125th Birth Anniversary celebration of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar initiated by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on November 27.The first two days of the session that began on November 26 were functional as parties did not want to be seen blocking a discussion on the Constitution on the occasion of Ambedkar’s anniversary even though the opposition attacked the government over an alleged rise in intolerance and communal violence.The real confrontation will be there this week when the government brings its legislative agenda on the table. Congress, JD-U, CPI-M, CPI and Trinamool Congress have given separate notices to seek a discussion with and without voting, pass a resolution by the House and seek action against ministers making provocative speeches.”Much depends on how the government responds to the opposition’s issues,” said a senior opposition party leader on condition of anonymity. The Congress’ notice has been moved by Deputy Leader of Opposition in the House Anand Sharma and the party plans to attack the government over alleged “orchestrated campaign to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation” and also raise issues like returning of awards by celebrated writers and others from the intelligensia.The notice by Sharma, which also seeks passing of a resolution by the House, condemns the “assault on the freedom of expression”. JD-U general secretary K C Tyagi has given a separate notice under Rule 267 to discuss the issue and the party has decided to seek the resignation of five Union Ministers over their alleged provocative remarks.”Prime Minister Modi must signal his intent to act against people making such provocative remarks, more so against those from his Cabinet. We have given a notice and we are seeking action against the ministers,” Tyagi said. In a tweet, JD-U President Sharad Yadav said, “PM should have assured the country in his speech that there shall not be any communal violence which is on the rise after NDA Govt came to power.”CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has also given a notice in Rajya Sabha seeking passage of a one-line resolution by the House condemning incidents of “intolerance” and asking the government to ensure that they do not happen again.In the Lok Sabha, the notices of CPI(M) member P Karunakaran and Congress MP K C Venugopal for a discussion on the matter has been listed for Monday.The opposition has been seeking a discussion on the issue of intolerance for quite some time. At the all-party meeting held on November 25 in the backdrop of actor Aamir Khan’s remarks on “growing intolerance”, opposition parties had made a strong pitch for an early discussion on the issue, insisting that returning of awards by writers, artistes and filmmakers should not be taken lightly.Six Left parties, including CPI(M), would also hold protests, both inside and outside the Parliament, on the “hate offensive” by BJP and Sangh Parivar outfits.With most opposition parties keen on aggressively raising the issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said though the government does not agree with their perception of rising intolerance it was “willing to go along with the opposition in this regard for a discussion in an appropriate manner”. He had also contended that such incidents lie in the domain of the state governments, which are vested with the responsibility to maintain law and order.

Land bill: Opposition members in joint panel want PM Modi’s explanation

As soon as the meeting began here, members from Trinamool Congress said that since the ordinance to amend the land bill has lapsed, the bill should be withdrawn as they are identical in nature.

Narendra Modi

Opposition members in the joint committee of Parliament examining the contentious land acquisition bill on Monday demanded calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a witness, an idea opposed by the ruling BJP and ally Shiv Sena.As soon as the meeting began here, members from Trinamool Congress said that since the ordinance to amend the land bill has lapsed, the bill should be withdrawn as they are identical in nature.But BJP and Shiv Sena members in the panel opposed the demand saying that the committee has been mandated to submit its report on the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015 and it should adhere to its responsibility.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At this, Kalyan Banerjee (TMC) said since Prime Minister Modi had himself made it clear in his August 30 ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio broadcast that the land ordinance will not be re-promulgated, there is no point in examining the bill since it is a copy of the ordinance. Amid a debate, he demanded that the Prime Minister be called as a witness to explain about the bill. His demand was supported by Congress members who said the panel was free to call anyone as witness.The demand of the Congress and the Trinamool Congress was opposed by BJP and Shiv Sena. Before the meeting was adjourned, panel chairman S S Ahluwalia suggested that the panel get another extension till the end of the Winter session on December 23 to submit its report. If the Committee seeks another extension, then the possibility of the land bill clearing Parliament in the Winter session beginning November 26 seems remote.In August, the panel had been granted a fresh extension to submit its report in the Winter session. Ahluwalia had been striving to submit a unanimous report.”Rise&Shine.In Del for Land Acqstn Bill panel meeting. Why drag it on? Govt should withdraw and move on. Peace offering before Winter Session?,” another TMC member in the panel Derek O’ Brien had tweeted this morning ahead of the meeting. In his ‘Mann ki baat’ Modi had said that the government will not re-promulgate the land ordinance which expired on August 31 and had declared readiness to accept any suggestions to benefit the farmers in the pending bill on it.

AAP MLA Pankaj Pushkar gets thrown out of Assembly for criticising Arvind Kejriwal govt

The Timarpur MLA, who is an active member of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan-run Swaraj Abhiyan, accused the government of having “failed” to provide better education to children.

Pushkar also attacked Goel saying the Speaker was “misusing his post by not allowing him to speak.”

Dissident AAP MLA Pankaj Pushkar was today marshalled out of the Delhi Assembly after he raised the issue of lakhs of government school students having “failed” the mid-term exams. The action was taken after Pushkar persistently raised the issue which was seen by the Speaker as disruption of House proceedings. “Out of 3 lakh class 9 students studying in Delhi government schools, 2.5 lakh students failed the mid-term exams. Government doesn’t want to allow me to take up this issue in the Assembly,” Pushkar said.The Timarpur MLA, who is an active member of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan-run Swaraj Abhiyan, accused the government of having “failed” to provide better education to children. “With the failing of lakhs of students you can well imagine what type of education is being imparted in govt schools,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pushkar also attacked Goel saying the Speaker was “misusing his post by not allowing him to speak.” Pushkar termed the recently tabled Education Bills as an “eyewash” and alleged that they were being introduced “on the behest of private schools.”

Gujarat civic polls: State Election Commission deleted voters’ names at behest of BJP govt, alleges Congress

Solanki claimed that majority of the voters, whose names were deleted, belong to the Patel community.

The Congress leader claimed that when voters reached the booths, they began to complain that they found their names deleted without any prior information (Image from govt website)

File Photo
Gujarat Congress on Sunday alleged that thousands of voters in Ahmedabad could not exercise their franchise for the municipal polls held on Sunday as their names were deliberately removed from the list by the State Election Commission (SEC) at the behest of BJP-led Gujarat government. Alleging that “removal” of voters’ names was part of a “larger conspiracy”, Congress called for a thorough probe into it, even as the ruling BJP said the government or the party had no role preparation of voting lists.Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki claimed that 1,000 to 4,000 names in each of the 48 wards of the city were deleted from the final electoral rolls by the SEC without informing the voters or candidates. The Congress leader claimed that when voters reached the booths, they began to complain that they found their names deleted without any prior information. “We learnt that around 1,000 to 4,000 names in each ward were deleted from the final list in the city. Not just city, it has happened across the state today. When we raised this issue with election officials, they refused to give any answer,” Solanki alleged in a press conference.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He claimed that majority of the voters, whose names were deleted, belong to the Patel community. “Since this community has turned against the ruling BJP (after the quota agitation), the SEC has deleted these anti- BJP voters across the city as well as state. We demand that all such voters be allowed to cast their votes,” said Solanki.According to him, this was deliberately done by the SEC at the behest of BJP-led state government. “Instead of organising free and fair polls, it seems that SEC is working as a part of the ruling BJP. This is purely a politically motivated step by the SEC. This is a direct attack on democratic and constitutional rights of the citizens, who are deprived of their voting right,” he alleged.However, BJP refuted Congress’s allegations saying that SEC works independently and the BJP government as well as the party had no role in preparation of voters’ list. “Voters’ list is prepared by Central Election Commission. Congress should not blame BJP for it as the state government or BJP has no role in preparation of the list.Names of some of our voters are also missing from the voters’ list,” state BJP spokesperson I K Jadeja said.

BJP labels Salman Khurshid, Mani Shankar Aiyar as ISIS propagandists

“When it comes to condemnation atleast Azam Khan’s statement was condemned by Samajwadi Party(SP) and they disassociated with it completely, but Congress party has chosen to not do so in this context against Salman Khurshid and Mani Shankar Aiyar,” she added.

Mani Shankar Aiyar and Salman Khurshid

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday labelled Congress leaders Mani Shankar Aiyar and Salman Khurshid as propagandists for the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) following their very public criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “While the world is getting together against terrorism, the Prime Minister’s words and agenda to fight terrorism have been accepted the world over. It is in this context the G-20 summit has happened. Hundred and thirty people have been killed in Paris on an open assault to civilization and it seems that these people (Congress) are behaving and conducting themselves as propagandists for ISIS and Taliban,” BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi told media here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”When it comes to condemnation atleast Azam Khan’s statement was condemned by Samajwadi Party (SP) and they disassociated with it completely, but Congress party has chosen to not do so in this context against Salman Khurshid and Mani Shankar Aiyar,” she added. Mani Shankar Aiyar who went to Pakistan before the Bihar Assembly polls courted a controversy by saying that Islamabad should help India in defeating Prime Minister Modi and ensure that the Congress is back at the Centre.Related read: Ex-Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid criticises Modi govt and praises Nawaz Sharif in PakistanKhurshid also during his visit to Islamabad said: “India has not responded to Pakistan’s overtures for peace in South Asia the way it should have. If you look back at the first face-to-face between our PMs, your PM took a brave, far-sighted decision. What we said and did made things uncomfortable for Pakistan after the visit of Nawaz Sharif at Modi’s swearing-in ceremony.”Related read: Mani Shankar Aiyo – Congress leader says Modi must be removed for proper Indo-Pak talks

Modi announces Rs 80,000 cr package for J&K, says Delhi treasures and his ‘dil’ are for Kashmir

Srinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced a Rs 80,000 crore economic package for the development of Jammu and Kashmir.

As soon as Modi made the announcement, the large gathering of people who had come to hear him broke into a joyous rapture at the Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium.

PM Narendra Modi in Jammu and Kashmir. Screenshot from CNN-IBN footage

PM Narendra Modi in Jammu and Kashmir. Screenshot from CNN-IBN footage

Announcing the much awaited economic package that will cover relief for 2014 flood victims, farmers, businessmen, tourism, youth employment and infrastructure in the state, Modi said: “This is not the end, but the beginning.”

“Not only Delhi’s treasures, but Delhi’s ‘Dil’ (heart) is always for the people of Kashmir”, Modi said.

Modi also said that he wanted to make Kashmir a dream destination for tourists.

He addressed a public rally during his day-long visit to Jammu and Kashmir.

He said that in the past, when people had some money, they wanted to visit Kashmir. He added that he wanted to bring back those glorious days.

“Love for Kashmir draws me here. Kashmir has suffered a lot over the years. I felt the pain of flood victims,” the prime minister said.

Stressing on the development of Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said: “We will spend Rs 34,000 crore on Jammu-Srinagar Highway. It will cut the journey time from 12 hours to three-and-a-half hours.”

“Without Kashmiriyat, India is incomplete. This is the land that gave birth to Sufism, which taught us to bring everyone together,” Modi said, adding that solution of all our problems lies in the employment of the youth.

“We must also provide employment opportunity for the youths in the valley and Ladakh region.”

PM Modi also talked about technological development and establishment of call centres in Kashmir. “Only highways won’t do. We need ‘I ways’ too,” he said.

Stressing on the strengths of Kashmir, he said “pashmina, kesar, apples, tourism” were its strengths in Srinagar. Mentioning cricket, he said, “If Sachin, Sehwag hit sixes, the wood for the bat came from Kashmir…Why should there be no cricket in the land where Parvez Rasool come from?”

He also said the central government was fully ready to work with the Jammu and Kashmir government. “Delhi govt will work together with the J&K government…For the past few years, Kashmiri youth are performing well in IITs, IIMs, IAS. And I am ready to do everything possible for them,” said the PM.

Modi also said that he did not celebrate his birthday last year because the floods in Kashmir pained him. “My mother used to give me Rs 5 or Rs 11 on my birthday, but last year she gave me Rs 5000 for the flood-affected people of Kashmir,” ANI quoted him as saying.

He added that when Diwali came last year, he decided to visit Jammu and Kashmir instead of celebrating with friends in Delhi.

(With inputs from IANS)

Mobile internet services blocked in Kashmir for PM Modi’s rally in Srinagar

Srinagar: Mobile internet services in Kashmir Valley were blocked on Saturday morning as a precautionary measure in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s rally in Srinagar.

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

“Mobile internet services have been temporarily discontinued in the Valley in the wake of the PM’s visit,” officials said.

They said it was a precautionary measure in view of the high profile visit.

The officials said all service providers had been directed to disconnect the mobile internet services from 10 AM till the Prime Minister leaves the Valley.

However, broadband services on BSNL were working.

Modi is scheduled to address a public rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium at Sonawar in Srinagar.

The Prime Minister, after addressing the rally, is scheduled to inaugurate 450 megawatt Baglihar Phase II power project in Ramban district on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.

He is also scheduled to lay the foundation stone of four-laning of Udhampur-Ramban stretch of the National Highway. The project, once completed, will reduce the travelling time between Srinagar and Jammu – the twin capitals of the state – by nearly two hours.

PTI

PM rally: Omar Abdullah says state government using police to muster crowd

“Similar instructions given to SPOs, Anganwari workers & daily wagers to make up the numbers for PM’s rally because PDP workers reluctant,” the former Chief Minister said, adding “How else will they make up the numbers & produce a gathering for the cameras & channels?”

Opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Friday alleged that security of his “colleagues” has been reduced as the state government has directed police personnel and others to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally here tomorrow to muster the numbers.On the eve of Modi’s visit, he also said that the state government was using the official machinery for tomorrow’s rally, which was “shameless”.”Colleagues tell me that their JK police guard has been drastically scaled down & the personnel ordered to participate in the 7th Nov rally (of the Prime Minister),” Omar tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Similar instructions given to SPOs, Anganwari workers & daily wagers to make up the numbers for PM’s rally because PDP workers reluctant,” the former Chief Minister said, adding “How else will they make up the numbers & produce a gathering for the cameras & channels?”In another tweet, Omar said it was “shameless” on part of the government to use state apparatus for Modi’s rally.”Just saw State Govt employees in an AMBULANCE tying up banners welcoming the PM on behalf of the state Health Minister. #Shameless,” he added.The Prime Minister, who will inaugurate Baglihar PhaseII power project at Ramban on Jammu-Srinagar national highway, is scheduled to address a public rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium on Saturday.Modi will also lay foundation stone for four-laning of Jammu-Srinagar national highway from Udhampur to Ramban.

Court sends Hardik Patel to police custody for seven days

Ahmedabad: An Ahmedabad court on Sunday sent Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel in seven days remand of Crime Branch of city police in connection with an alleged case of sedition and waging war against the State.

Metropolitan Magistrate SJ Brahmbhatt passed the order on an application of the probe agency seeking 14 days remand.

Hardik Patel. PTI

Hardik Patel. PTI

The 22-year old leader of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) was produced before the magistrate at his residence late last night.

In a marathon hearing that lasted till early Sunday morning, the probe agency said it needed to “know about the persons behind the quota agitation and the source of funding behind it”.

Seeking a 14-day remand of Hardik, Crime Branch submitted that custody of the accused is needed to interrogate him to know who all have been supporting their agitation, whether PAAS is a registered organisation and and how he was appointed as its convener.

It also sought the remand to know that who funded the accommodation of people who attended various public rallies of Hardik.

The probe agency said that an investigation will have to be carried out on the aspects of rioting incidents that broke out every time when PAAS leaders were detained by the police in various parts of Gujarat.

As Hardik mentioned in a public rally here on 25 August that their agitation would give a blow to the present state government and will also harm the Centre, a probe is needed on this part to ascertain if he had hatched any conspiracy against the central and state governments, the plea said.

It said the emerging Patel leader had also incited members of his community to resort to violence across the state.

The police plea also stated that the probe agency required to conduct voice spectrography test to verify Hardik’s voice in phone calls that were intercepted by Crime Branch wherein he had talks with some persons against the government.

Opposing the remand application, Hardik’s advocate BM Mangukia said the probe agency could not give any specific reasons in the FIR to establish the case of sedition and of waging war against the State.

Mangukia also submitted that the city crime branch intercepted the phone calls of Hardik and other PAAS leaders illegally, and hence breached the privacy of his client.

He said Crime Branch started intercepting phone calls in August only as it has been mentioned in transcriptions of phone conversation between Hardik and his aides, while the state’s Home Department gave permission (to the intercept calls) on 3 October.

Crime Branch had filed a second case of sedition against Hardik and five others on 21 October while charging them under Indian Penal Code sections 121 (waging war against government), 124 (sedition), 153-A (promoting enmity between different communities) and 153-B (assertions prejudicial to national integrity).

Others who have been charged include – Chirag Patel, Dinesh Patel, Ketan Patel, Amrish Patel and Alepsh Kathiria.

Three PAAS members – Dinesh, Ketan and Chirag – have been arrested in the case.

The first case was filed against the firebrand Patel leader with the Surat Police on 19 October for allegedly advising a Patel youth to kill policemen.

PTI

dna Must Reads for morning: dna Must Reads for morning: From Dalit boy found dead to first US ground commando killed in Iraq

1. US rules out any India-type civil nuke deal with Pakistan; Obama urges Pak to avoid raising nuclear tensionsWith tensions high between Pakistan and India, Washington has been concerned about Pakistan’s development of new nuclear weapons systems, including small tactical nuclear weapons, and has been trying to persuade Pakistan to make a unilateral declaration of “restraint.” Read more here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Dalit children burnt alive: Sunped villagers accuse cops of tampering with evidence​Haryana Police avoided a possible flare-up in Sunped village after angry villagers accused a policeman of placing a toy and a blanket in the room where Jitender Kumar’s family was set ablaze on Tuesday in order to recreate the crime scene. Read more here.3. Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray ‘burns’ BJP at Dussehra rallySeeking to project the Shiv Sena’s Hindutva as broad-based, Uddhav attacked his ally for the killing of a Muslim at Dadri on allegations of eating cow meat and criticised Union minister Gen VK Singh’s comments in the context of the murder of two Dalit children in Haryana. Read more here.4. Haryana: Dalit boy charged with theft of pigeon found dead under mysterious circumstancesIn yet another case of caste-atrocities in Haryana, a 15-year-old Dalit boy, charged with theft of a pigeon, was reported dead under mysterious circumstances in Gohana town in Sonepat district on Thursday. The incident took place just 50 km away from Delhi. Read more here.5. dna Exclusive: Maharashtra’s Emergency prisoners to be recognised; govt may reward them with monthly pensionMaharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis has directed the general administrative department (GAD) to collect data to determine the number of Emergency prisoners across Maharashtra. It is believed Fadnavis government is contemplating to recognise and reward them with benefits including monthly pension. Read more here. Read more here.6. First US commando killed in rescue raid, 70 hostages freed from ISIS in IraqOne member of a US special operations force was killed during an overnight mission to rescue hostages held by Islamic State militants in its prison around 7 kilometres north of the town of Hawija. Sixty-nine hostages were rescued in the action, that caused the first American to die in ground combat with the militant group. Read more here.

Pulses: Experts say government firefight too late

Govt says 5,000 tonne imported dal has arrived and 3,290 raids have been conducted on hoarders; economists say problem structural

Responding to a food crisis in the making, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday, announced that 5,000 tonne of imported dal had arrived in the country and was being distributed.He said there had been 3,290 raids on hoarders across the country in the past few days. He was briefing the press after a meeting of group of ministers to discuss measures to check the spiralling prices of pulses in India attending a Union Cabinet meeting held to review the situation.The Group of Ministers meet, comprising Union parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu, transport and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari and commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman, came on the heels of 35,000 mt of pulses seized from hoarders across the country. Maharashtra led the pack with 23,340 mt of pulses seized by the state government during 276 raids carried out in 16 districts.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Media reports from the Cabinet meeting said that Maharashtra government’s enforcement of de-hoarding measures was taken note off, and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs is working with other states to enforce such measures against hoarders and black marketeers of pulses.The Cabinet also took note of the falling prices of some variety of pulses; tur dal went from Rs 210 to Rs 205, moong fell to Rs 130, masoor to Rs 110 and gram to Rs 82 while urad remained static at Rs 198, according to the government data.Though the government has now created a buffer stock of 40,000 tonne, imposed stock limits on traders as well as departmental stores, licensed food processors, importers and exporters and is importing pulses at zero import duty, these measures seem too little too late. According to agricultural economists this crisis is a result of short- and long-term failure in planning by the government.The current shortfall of 2 mt has resulted from back to back bad monsoons and drought conditions in 2014 and 2015, something predicted well in advance by the weather department and, therefore, anticipated by the government. “They should have stocked up on pulses earlier this year and brought them into the market, when the prices were low,” said Himanshu, associate professor at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, who specialises in agriculture and developmental economics, along with poverty, inequality, employment. “This is festival time when demand for pulses is even higher. High prices give rise to all sorts of tendencies, such as hoarding,” he said, as is evidenced in Wednesday’s seizure of pulses hoarded in various states.”This is a small, tightly controlled market. Once the international market knows that prices are high, and there is great demand, there is additional pressure,” said Himanshu.Tracing the recent history of pulses’ demand in India, Himanshu said till the mid-1990s, the country was self-sufficient. Post that, as incomes rose, and diets diversified, the demand for pulses rose too, but the supply did not keep up. Pulses, grown in rain-fed areas, with less that 10% of the irrigated land used for them, were especially susceptible to monsoon failures. Successive governments too did not bring pulses under the scope of the targeted public distribution system nor offer the stability of the minimum support price to farmers. These measures remained focused on rice and wheat crops, ignoring pleas by nutritionists and agricultural experts to also look at pulses.Himanshu said that since pulses have not been popular in western countries, they have never been the focus of scientific research, to create better yielding crop, such as hybrid strains of wheat and rice. No such research has taken off in India either, he said.Therefore, a combination of government oversight and lack of innovation kept the supply of pulses in the country limited, and outpaced by the demand.

Maharashtra government declares drought in 14,708 villages

Keeping in mind the drought situation, the government has also declared that the fees of school and college for students in these villages will be waived off.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
Maharashtra government on Friday declared drought in 14,708 villages in the state. Maharashtra government had last month said that if the state receives less than 50% of average rainfall between June and July. Keeping in mind the drought situation, the government has also declared that the fees of school and college for students in these villages will be waived off. Other than this, the electricity bill of agricultural pumps too be will be waived off. Govt also announced that it will establish special centres to purchase agricultural products. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Marathwada region has been most affected, especially Beed, Latur and Osmandabad districts. Also, Jalgaon, Nanded, Satara, Ahmadnagar, Parbani and Vidarbha are the other districts facing the drought. A state cabinet sub-committee, in its report, had last month recommended that the norm for declaring drought if there was less than 75% rainfall should be revised to less than 50% rainfall from June to July. Drought should be declared if the water stock in irrigation dams is less than minus 0.4 of the Normal Difference in Vegetation Index (NDVI). The other new norms recommended include determining drought on the basis of Moisture Adequacy Index.The earlier norms, which came into existence during the British Raj, relied on ‘Nazar Aanewari’ (on site crop yield), Eknath Khadse, Minister for Relief and Rehabilitation and Agriculture said. “After Independence, the base changed to Paisewari. However, with the devaluation of the paisa, the yield assessment is even today conjectured by standing on the farm bund and arriving at an approximate crop yield estimate,” Khadse had said.

Congress criticises PM Modi for price rise of essential commodities

Party’s senior spokesman Anand Sharma took a dim view of the economy in the country and criticised that the government’s claim of economic progress are “misleading” as investments have not gone up in real terms.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Congress raised concerns over “rising inflation” on Thursday and blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the spiralling prices of essential commodities like Arhar Dal, which has crossed Rs 200 per kg.Party’s senior spokesman Anand Sharma took a dim view of the economy in the country and criticised that the government’s claim of economic progress are “misleading” as investments have not gone up in real terms. Sharma accused the government of failing to import adequate quantities of Arhar Dal in time despite the fact that the pulse has the highest consumption in all parts of the country.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Insisting that the Prime Minister and Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan are “responsible” for this state of affairs, Sharma said that the government had advanced estimates of low production of pulses. He claimed that though the shortfall was around 15 lakh tonnes, but imports were much lower.Expressing concern over rising inflation, he said, “This government only talks, no work…There is huge gap between what they claim and the situation on the ground. The Prime Minister and government should walk the talk,” he said.On the state of the economy, the former Commerce and Industry Minister said, “Besides, he said that Indian industrialists are investing abroad and external commercial borrowings have gone up so also debt to GDP ratio. Capacity utilization has been low in industries. Credit off-take are at the lowest levels in the 20 years. Exports have been on the decline for the last nine months.”Senior Party leader Ahmed Patel took to twitter to target the government on rising prices of pulses.”Govt was sleeping while Dal price rose. In March, crop estimate report had shown huge decline in Dal production, but they waited till Jun to act. While price continued to rise, govt wasted a crucial month as it insisted on a particular tendering technique unavailable with Agriculture Ministry,” he said in tweets.

PM Modi pays rich tribute to APJ Adbul Kalam, calls him ‘rashra-ratna’

Earlier, he also paid tribute to Kalam on his 84th birth anniversary through a tweet.

APJ Abdul Kalam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday unveiled a statue of former president APJ Abdul Kalam at DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization) Bhavan in New Delhi. Prime Minister Modi also inaugurated a photo exhibition on the late president.Addressing the program, Modi said, ” The loss of Dr.Kalam is monumental, I am sure its a challenge for all of us to keep us with his absence. Dr.Kalam was first a “rashtra-ratna”, then he went on to be the President. Govt has acquired land in Dr.Kalam’s birthplace to build a memorial for him. We want it to be an inspiration for the future generations. Dr.Kalam was a person who didnt look for opportunities but challenges.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, he also paid tribute to Kalam on his 84th birth anniversary through a tweet.”Today, we salute A P J Abdul Kalam and celebrate his monumental achievements as a scientist, scholar and the President of India. We fondly remember his passion for teaching and education. Dr. Kalam truly ignited young minds with the power to think and innovate. Dr. Kalam is not with us today but his thoughts, ideals and vision for India live on forever,” Modi tweeted.Bharat Ratna awardee Kalam passed away on July 27, 2015. He was the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. Before becoming the President, Kalam had spent four decades as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the DRDO and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), earning him the title of ‘Missile manWith ANI inputs

Dear Shiv Sena, it was not Ghulam Ali but Indians who missed out on an opportunity

So, Ghulam Ali can’t sing in India?

While pondering this eventuality, I look at the collection of vinyl records on my table, the cassettes and CDs in the adjoining cabinet and the mp3 files on my mobile and laptop.

There are Atif Aslam songs in them, so are Rahat and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Salma Agha, Reshma, Noorjahan, Abida Parveen, Mehdi Hassan and, of course, Ghulam Ali.

How many of them can the Shiv Sainiks and their supporters destroy?

Just last night, like on numerous others, the local FM radio stations were jockeying with each other to play the maximum number of ghazals and qawallis from these great singers.

How many radio and TV stations can they shut down?

All of India — its Muslims, Hindus, Jains, Christians; the rich and the poor — listens to the mellifluous voices from across the border that make thousands of compositions memorable. Many of us listen to Ghulam Ali’s raat-din, and not chupke chupke, but with decibel levels turned high.

Ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali. AFPGhazal maestro Ghulam Ali. AFP

Ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali. AFP

How many of us can they stop?

Even the Prime Minister listens to Ghulam Ali. Just a few months ago, the legendary singer performed at the Sankatmochan Temple — yes, a temple — in the PM’s constituency.

The PM was invited to the event but he couldn’t attend. “I do wish I get the opportunity to attend such a programme in the future where so many well-known artists will be enchanting the audience,” he had tweeted his disappointment.

“I must share that I have heard Ghulam Ali Sahab in the past that too in person,” he added.

So, did we hear it right when the bigots screamed that listening to singers from Pakistan is “unpatriotic” and an act of “treason” while justifying the cancellation of Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai?

At the risk of sounding repetitive, it must be pointed out that art has no barrier, it is not a prisoner of religion or geography. It has to be kept away from politics of animosity, hatred and bigotry. Art is accepted, appreciated and assimilated in cultures not because it is prescribed by politicians or forced upon us by governments, but because it gives us joy and pleasure, satiates our mind, body and soul. Art is a personal bond between the exponent and his audience; it can be subjected only to the individual’s sense of quality and taste, not to the divisive agendas of politicians and their rabble-rousing cabals. If somebody tries to interfere, they should be told what Michael Jackson famously said when he grabbed his crotch and sang at Bal Thackeray‘s invitation in Mumbai: just beat it.

Using religion and geography as filters for art could lead to disastrous consequences. Should we, for instance, stop singing

Saare Jahan Se Achcha

just because it was written by Iqbal, the pioneer of the idea of Pakistan? Should we reject several famous

bhajans

because they were sung by Mohammad Rafi and composed by Naushad?

Even the argument that stopping Pakistanis from performing in India will stop them from profiting financially, betrays their lack of understanding of market dynamics. Singers and artists get royalties for their work. Everytime a song is played on TV, radio or at a public event; whenever somebody buys a CD, a cassette or legally downloads a song, the singer gets paid. If the Sainiks are really keen on ensuring the singers do not get paid, they will have to knock on every Indian house to ensure they listen only to music made only in India. Can they?

The real threat to Indian music, ironically, isn’t coming from across the border. Most of the singers from Pakistan are known for their finesse — nafast and nazakat — and cultural refinement of their work. Unlike the chaar-botal-vodka and g**#-main-dum-hai-to-band-karwalo type crudity of current Indian charttoppers, the qawaalis of Nusrat and ghazals of Ghulam Ali remind us the purity of art, the pristine joys of soulful music.

Not allowing Ghulam Ali to sing in India — by the way, he sang for free at Sankatmochan Temple in Varanasi — will not make him poorer. But it will certainly deprive Indians of a treasure-trove of music. And the opportunity to remind us what music should be and what it has unfortunately become in the hands of some Indians.

Dadri lynching: Now, Digvijaya says Cong will back nationwide cow slaughter ban if BJP proposes

The cows of Bihar now have a stake in the upcoming election.

BJP leader Sushil Modi has said that if the NDA wins in the state cow slaughter will be banned.

Once politicians promised to give us jobs, highways, polytechnics and hospitals to get our vote. Now they want votes by promising to take something away.

The political foodfight that has erupted over beef shows that when it comes to pandering to the electorate to get votes, there is no sacred cow our good netas will not milk. Only one thing is for sure. If all of this is to make you think our political class genuinely cares a lot about cows, that’s a load of bull. As Shashi Tharoor understood from the furore over his innocuous “cattle class” tweet, the cow is just a handy way to settle political scores. It is the political Kamdhenu that keeps giving.

When it comes to beef, politicians talk out of both sides of their mouths. “Even Hindus eat beef,” said Lalu Prasad Yadav of the RJD.

When the NDA attacked him, Lalu backtracked and said he meant meat, not beef. But happy to fish in troubled waters, advocate Sudhir Ojha has filed a complaint in Muzaffarpur saying Lalu’s comment was “hate speech” and meant to spread “communal tension to woo voters”. As if Sushil Modi was trying to placate tensions by promising a cow slaughter ban.

During the Maharashtra beef ban hullabaloo, Minority Affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told those dying to eat beef to go to Pakistan. At that time his colleague Kiren Rijiu retorted angrily “I eat beef. I’m from Arunachal Pradesh. Can somebody stop me? So let us not be touchy about somebody’s practices.” Within days Rijiju beat a hasty retreat saying he was misquoted and “Hindu faiths and sentiments must be respected in Hindu majority states.”

Digvijaya Singh in a file photo. PTIDigvijaya Singh in a file photo. PTI

Digvijaya Singh in a file photo. PTI

This is not about saving cows at a time when the indigenous Indian cow is actually endangered. It’s about naked political horse-trading. Not to be outdone by the BJP, the Congress’ Digvijaya Singh wants to remind people that Congress governments were the ones banning cow slaughter in some 24 states including Bihar. But the party’s spokesperson Pramod Tiwari has said it is not the party’s habit to interfere with the eating habits of individuals as long as they do not interfere with existing laws. That is classic doublespeak about wanting to have your cow and eat your beef too.

All this has led to a bizarre patchwork of cattle laws across the country. Some states have a ban on all cattle slaughter. Some allow slaughter of cows that are old or sick. Some ban only cow slaughter. Some require a “fit for slaughter” certificate. A few require no certificate at all. And that’s about slaughter not about consuming beef. That sounds confusing but there was no evidence that Indians were tearing out their hair trying to keep their steak orders straight as they moved from state to state. But the Congress is floating the idea of one ban to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

Digvijaya Singh says his party is open to a discussion about a national ban on cow slaughter. He boasted that the Congress Working Committee had passed a resolution in the 1930s seeking a ban on cow slaughter. What stopped the Congress from enforcing such a ban or even having a national discussion about it in the 60 odd years it has been in power? Now the beleaguered party thinks it can regain lost electoral ground, especially Hindu votes, on the back of the long-suffering cow.

Of course no one wants to have a real debate about beef and its contested place in Indian history. Ashok Sanjay Guha, professor emeritus at JNU, reminds us in The Telegraph that Swami Vivekananda, so beloved of the Prime Minister, said, “There was a time without eating beef no Brahmin could remain a Brahmin; when a king, a hermit, or a great man visited, the best bullock was killed in his honour.” The great sage Yajnavalkya in the Satpatha Brahman responds to a lecture against beef eating by saying “I eat only really tender beef.”

“Buddism and Jainism led this movement (against cow slaughter)”, writes Guha. Its driving force, more than religion was economic and ecological because of shortage of pasture and frequent famines. Religion helped sell the movement to the masses.

That’s not to say “Yajnavalkya ate tender beef” is a valid argument for swaying us on one side or the other of a ban. But it is an inconvenient truth that is shouted down by the likes of BJP leader Sangeet Som who find more political dividend in

calling

other Indians “those cow killers”. If Yajnavalkya had been around today, what would Som have called him?

While the politicians are rustling cows for votes, our celebrities have also decided to come out of the beef-eating closet. “I eat beef and I don’t consider cow as mother,” says retired justice Markandey Katju. “I just ate beef. Come and murder me,” tweets Shobhaa De.

Eating beef has bizarrely become the latest status symbol of civil rights, Page 3’s great stand against illiberalism. Having said that it’s important that some normally outspoken stalwarts in the higher echelons of the BJP, who are well-known for loving their steak, should stand up to the bullying Soms within their own ranks. Otherwise just as LGBT activists once outed closet lawmakers during the AIDS crisis in the US, they too could be outed as closet steak-eaters who were cowed into silence and looked away when the knives were out for the Akhlaqs of the world.

They should speak up because ultimately the fight is not really about the right to eat beef. It is about tolerating difference and not beating it to a pulp with a brick.

And everyone, not just the beef-eaters has a steak in that.

Gau mata, really? Why cows are symbols of our hypocrisy

Every morning, on a road next to a Metro station near my house, the Indian way of life has a communion with Swacch Bharat.

After collecting garbage from nearby colonies, contracted workers of the municipal council, dump it in the middle of the road. Within minutes, stray cows and dogs start scavenging for food in this putrid pile.

Plight of cows in Jaipur.Plight of cows in Jaipur.

Plight of cows in Jaipur.

The cows search patiently: plastic bags, sanitary napkins, stale vegetables, dry rotis and newspapers laced with food get carefully scanned for anything that is edible. In the end, not satiated by the garbage, the cows turn to the carts of roadside vegetable vendors, who, instead of feeding them, drive the animals away with sticks and chappals.

This, essentially, is the plight of the animal that is leading to murders, violence, bigotry and bans in India. While people fight over whether cattle can be turned into food, the poor Gau Mata struggles daily for nourishment.
Cows are symbols of our hypocrisy. We use them in every possible manner, squeeze every drop of milk out of them, inject them with chemicals and hormones to increase their output and then leave them on the roads, hoping some pious Hindu would throw food at them and reduce our cost of feeding them.

No, Hindus don’t kill cows. They only leave them out on the streets once they become dry, barren to die, either because of hunger or disease (some say, like the vanprastha stage of our lives, this is the inevitable roadprastha stage of bovine life!). If they do not want a calf, they ensure that it gets kicked to death by the mother by yoking it with a large wooden triangle that irritates her udders while feeding. And then there is of course the easier method of tethering an animal until it starves to death and vultures and dogs pounce on it.

But, we are ready to kill human beings on the mere suspicion that one of these unfortunate animals we had left in the street to die had become part of his dinner.

So, gau hamari mata hai, right? Let us compare the plight of our holy mother with cows in other countries. In a study of livestock in West Bengal, a professor at the University of Missouri found that the cattle ate only the inedible remains of crops (apart from what they find in streets). A similar study in the US by scientists at Cornell University found that 91 percent of the cereal, bean, and vegetable protein suitable for human consumption is consumed by livestock.

Many historians have argued that beef was our staple diet; kings slaughtered them regularly during celebrations and public functions, even Brahmins feasted on them. But gradually their killing and consumption was discouraged, primarily because of socio-economic reasons.

Cows gave us milk and other dairy products, they produced oxen that were used in fields and beasts of burden, their dung was used as fuel and manure. For many families, a cow was the centre of their economy. Killing it deprived them of milk, fuel and oxen to farm their land, leading to financial ruin. So, protecting them made lot of socio-economic sense.

“It seems probable that the sense of unutterable profanity elicited by cow slaughter has its roots in the excruciating contradiction between immediate needs and long-run conditions of survival,” argues Columbia University anthropologist Marvin Harris in an essay on the importance of cows in Indian culture.

But, urbanisation and mechanisation changed the man-bovine relation. Now, we find cows useful only till they can be milked. Once they serve their purpose, they are cast away in the urban jungle. I once asked a group of friends if any of them had ever brought home a stray cow, fed it, sought medical attention for it or tried to find a home for the animal. Did you?
Our cold apathy for cows is the reason we have that unique Indian institution: gaushala (shelter for cows), where hundreds of stray cattle are herded together in the hope that donations and government doles will keep them alive. Since we call cow our mother, these shelters seem inspired by old-age homes where our biological mothers await their end after being thrown out of homes.

How do these cows fare in gaushalas? Earlier this year, a report in the Times of India looked at a government-run gaushala in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, the only state in India to have a cow department. The gaushala records reveal every day 90 cows die of hunger and disease. The cow shelter, according to its in-charge, has around 9000 cattle and a per cent of them die daily.

Instead of killing others for treating cows as part of their food chain, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves why they die like dogs when there are so many pseudo sons to take care of the bovine mother of India?

World can now see consequences of Pakistan occupation in PoK: India

Earlier this week, a video went viral showing Pakistani establishment using brutal force on those protesting against the government in several areas of Pakistan occupied Kashmir .

“It looks like the veil which the Pak Army and ISI had put on this region is finally lifting,” govt officials

India on Friday said the video showing Pakistan’s brutality in the PoK has lifted the “veil which the Pak Army and ISI had put” and the world can now see the “real and horrific consequences” of Pakistani occupation. Senior government sources also rejected Pakistan’s claim that the visuals were doctored and that it was a propaganda of the Indian media. “Familiar Pakistani tactic to blame everything on India. The camera does not lie. The images are quite graphic,” they said.Earlier this week, a video went viral showing Pakistani establishment using brutal force on those protesting against the government in several areas of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), including Muzaffarabad, Gilgit and Kotli. Reacting sharply, the sources said, “It looks like the veil which the Pak Army and ISI had put on this region is finally lifting, allowing the world to see the real and horrific consequences of Pak occupation.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, commenting on the video, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry had said, “It’s a propaganda. Pakistan has always raised the voice for the Kashmiris. Whole world is watching how Pakistani flags are being raised in Kashmir (Indian side). “From our side it will only be political, moral and diplomatic support for them and that we will continue to extend but there is no answer for the propaganda.”

Parties should refrain from playing politics over Dadri incident: Mahesh Sharma

Dadri: As BJP came under intensified attack over the killing of man in Dadri over rumour that he had eaten beef, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma on Friday said parties should refrain from playing politics by giving communal colour to the incident and there should be an impartial probe by CBI or the state to punish the guilty.

Union minister Mahesh Sharma. PTI

Union minister Mahesh Sharma. PTI

Sharma, who is also the local BJP MP, visited the family of deceased Iqlakh and stuck to his stand that it was an “accident”, soon after controversial AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi met them and alleged that the man was targeted for his religion as part of a “pre-planned” conspiracy.

“It is a blot on our culture and such incidents do not have a place in a civilised society. If somebody says it was pre-planned, I don’t agree with it. It is an accident and investigation should happen by CBI or state and guilty should be punished. Innocents should not be victimised in the name of investigation.

“Law should take its course and there should be fair investigation. I condemn any attempt to give political or communal colour to this incident. Such people are neither well wishers of the society nor of the country,” Sharma said.

The Minister also held a meeting at the village temple and said Hindu families have promised to protect the Muslim families.

His remarks came as parties stepped up attack on the BJP, alleging that it was trying to polarise the people on religious lines with such incidents.

After meeting the victim’s family, AIMIM leader Owaisi hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his silence on the issue, saying the “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas PM” should have at least sent his condolences in a tweet if “he believes in pluralism and upholding of law”.

“This wasn’t an attack over meat. He has been killed in the name of religion. This is a pre-planned, cold-blooded killing. It cannot be an accident,” he said.

The AIMIM leader also hit out at Union Minister Mahesh Sharma.

“Mahesh Sharma is the Culture Minister of the country and it is unfortunate that the minister who has taken oath on the Constitution doesn’t have the courage and intellectual honesty to condemn the incident unconditionally,” the Hyderabad MP said.

“He and his PM say ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas’, then such incidents happen. These words should be put into practice,” he said.

Breaking his silence, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhikesh Yadav too targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying those who spoke against “pink revolution” should ban beef exports and alleged that they wanted to disturb the “secular” ethos of the country by raising such issues.

PTI

FTII row: Talks fail to break deadlock

The students in the meeting stuck to their core demand of ‘dissolving’ the current FTII society, govt official said.

Urs (above) said they are helping officials understand the issues (File Photo)

Image Courtesy: Twitter (ANI)
With FTII students sticking to their demand for removal of TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s chairman, a second round of talks here today between the striking students and I & B Ministry officials failed to break the deadlock but the two sides agreed to meet again in New Delhi on October 6. During the talks, which lasted for nearly four hours, students held firm to their ‘core demand’ of dissolving the Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) society headed by Chauhan, who is also a member of the BJP. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ministry team was represented by Joint Secretary K Sanjay Murthy, Deputy Secretary Deepak Kumar and Films Division Director Mukesh Sharma. “The meeting we had today was in continuation of our last meet two days back. We have decided to further continue our talks on Tuesday (October 6) in Delhi with the Secretary of I&B department,” spokesperson of FTII Students Association (FSA) Vikas Urs told reporters after the meeting. He said students in the meeting stuck to their core demand of ‘dissolving’ the current FTII society. “We asked them to dissolve the current FTII society and come up with a transparent process set up by a committee of experts, which will make norms and guidelines for the formation of a new society. Until that happens, we want the current society to be put into a passive state or to be dissolved altogether,” he said.When asked on the response of the I&B officials on their demands, Urs said they are helping officials understand the issues. “They are still trying to understand our demands and we are helping them understand the issue. We are helping each other understand the issues faced by both sides and get more clarity so that a mechanism can be set up to settle the impasse,” he said. Urs said officials from the ministry have not put forth any proposal as yet, but they are keen on resolving the issue. “What’s needed is that the government should respond to our stand in a pro-active manner. But the best thing is that they themselves are proposing more meetings with us,” he said.He said that talks between both sides are extending because issues are complicated but efforts are on to reach a conclusion. An I&B Ministry-appointed committee had visited FTII’s Pune campus on August 21 and held discussions with students, faculty members and the alumni association. The agitating students called off their 18-day-old relay hunger strike last Sunday (September 27).Students have been boycotting classes since June 12, protesting against the appointment of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s chairman and demanding his removal.

Southwest monsoon ends 14 percent lower than normal in India

New Delhi: Rainfall in the country was 14 percent lower than normal during the Southwest monsoon that officially ended on Wednesday with a double-digit rain deficit being recorded for the second consecutive year causing drought in some states.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

This year’s summer rains were particularly affected by the El-Nino phenomenon with the deficiency for the four-month long season being more or less in line with the forecast of the Indian Meteorological Department(IMD) which predicted 12 percent deficit. Last year, there was a 12 percent deficit.

Around 55 percent of the country, however, received “normal” rainfall, the IMD said.

The official period for the Southwest Monsoon season in India is between 1 June and 30 September.

“Rainfall in Southwest monsoon was 14 percent deficient. We are satisfied that our Long Range Forecast have turned out as per our prediction. This was for the first time that we made a prediction of more than 10 percent deficiency,” IMD Director General Laxman Singh Rathore said.

IMD had made a forecast of 88 percent rainfall with plus or minus 4 percent.

Country wise, Northwest India has recorded a deficiency of 17 percent, followed by 16 percent in Central India, 15 percent in Southern Peninsula and 8 percent in East and North-east India.

Several parts of the country also witnessed a drought like situation. For instance the deficiency in Marathwada ended at 40 percent, but situation has particularly turned grim where the overall deficiency now stands at around 45 percent. Incidentally, West Rajasthan, which is usually known to be arid, has received 46 percent more rainfall this year.

The season this year witnessed rainfall, which started with excess rainfall for the first month, but ended with a deficiency in the remaining three months.

The monsoon, which hit the Kerala coast a tad late on 5 June, four days after the official onset of rainy season in India. June saw 16 percent excess rain this season. However, July witnessed deficiency of 16 percent. It further grew to 22 and 24 percent for August and September respectively.

Some of the states that have observed very poor rains are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Maharashtra, Skymet, a rival of IMD said.

With weak monsoon, India’s food grain production is also projected to drop by 1.78 percent to 124.05 million tonnes in the 2015-16 kharif season due to poor monsoon and drought-like situation in some states like Karnataka. Food grain output was 126.31 million tonnes (MT) in the kharif (summer) season of the 2014-15 crop year (July-June).

As the season ended with a deficit, as on 23 September, ninety-one major water reservoirs monitored by the Central Water Commission (CWC) filled to the extent of only 62 percent to its total capacity of 253.388 billion cubic meter (bcm).

PTI

Sheena Bora murder case: CBI lodges FIR against Indrani Mukerjea, two others

New Delhi: CBI on Tuesday took over the probe in the high-profile murder case of Sheena Bora and registered a case in New Delhi against her mother Indrani Mukerjea and two others for allegedly hatching a criminal conspiracy to kill her.

CBI filed FIR in the Sheena Bora murder case. PTI

CBI filed FIR in the Sheena Bora murder case. PTI

After Maharashtra Government announced handing over the probe to the agency 10 days back, CBI’s’s Special Crime Branch lodged a case in the designated court here against Indrani, her former husband and Sanjay Khanna and former driver Shyamvar Pinturam Rai.

The CBI filed the case under various sections of Indian Penal Code including criminal conspiracy, murder, abduction, destruction of evidence, causing hurt by giving poison and Arms Act.

CBI took over the investigation of the case which was earlier registered by Mumbai Police on the allegations that the accused persons hatched a criminal conspiracy to murder Sheena.

In pursuance of this conspiracy, the accused allegedly abducted Sheena, murdered her and disposed off her body, agency spokesperson said in a statement.

The decision to handover the probe to CBI came after days of uncertainty on the supervisory role of former Mumbai police chief Rakesh Maria who was shunted out in the midst of the inquiry that he had helmed proactively.

The decision was taken by the state government after Maharashtra Director General of Police Sanjeev Dayal submitted a status report on the case which had concluded that the case is not limited to murder alone, but there are many questions on financial dealings that remain unanswered.

25-year-old Sheena was murdered on 24 April, 2012, and her body was burnt and disposed off in a forest in Raigad district the next day.

PTI

Mohan Bhagwat’s remarks on reservation were misinterpreted: Nitin Gadkari

In an interview with dna’s Amita Shah, the minister for surface transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari spoke about the Bihar elections, Opposition-government relations, how the government planned to overcome the numbers hurdle in Rajya Sabha, land acquisition and the road map for the NDA’s reforms agenda. Following are excerpts from the interview:

As the debate over RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s reservation policy remark rages in Bihar giving the BJP’s rivals fuel to project the party as anti-quota, Union minister Nitin Gadkari dubbed it as a misleading campaign by the Opposition.In an interview with dna’s Amita Shah, the minister for surface transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari spoke about the Bihar elections, Opposition-government relations, how the government planned to overcome the numbers hurdle in Rajya Sabha, land acquisition and the road map for the NDA’s reforms agenda. Following are excerpts from the interview:<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Has the reservation issue, after the RSS chief’s comments just ahead of the Bihar elections, caused discomfort for the BJP? We have not opposed reservation. It is a misleading campaign. Where has he (Bhagwat) said he opposed the reservation policy? The Opposition is misleading. Its interpretation is incorrect…. A perception is created and then there is an attempt on how to create confusion. But, our leadership is directly reaching out to people. We are fighting the election on development plank and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Rs 1.25 lakh crore package has given hopes to the people of the state. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has described the RSS as the BJP’s Supreme Court. How would you describe relations between the RSS and BJP at this juncture? The RSS is my “jeevan nishtha”. I am very proud of it. We are working for the poor, for the interests of the country. Some of your ministers and MPs have made controversial statements that have shifted the discourse from the development agenda. Is the government worried about it? Individual to individual, party to party everybody has a view. When you say everybody has a right to their own views then it should be respected…. The problem is when what leaders say gets misinterpreted. A political party is a mass organisation. But, what a MP or a minister of state says is taken as party line. Why do you think issues like moral policing get highlighted in BJP regimes? It gets highlighted in the media. Certain issues do call for a debate like how much our children should be exposed to on the internet. These are debatable. What about the meat ban in Maharashtra? This is again perception that the Fadnavis government banned meat. The Congress banned it in 2004. How do you see the government-Opposition relations? Why has the distance widened so much? We are trying to narrow the gap. The Prime Minister wants cooperative federalism. Politically Congress is frustrated and its politics is a reflection of this. It was Jawaharlal Nehru who gave parliamentary democracy to us. Its a Congress legacy. Its as much the Congress reponsibility to protect it. Do they want to end it themselves? How does the govt plan to tackle the hurdle for legislations in Rajya Sabha where the NDA is in minority? Till the situation in Rajya Sabha changes, obstruction will continue. But it will not last long. We will find a way out. Some smaller parties are also upset with the Congress over its strategy in the House. Has the govt reconciled to leaving land acquisition law to states or is it still striving to bring a central law? The bill is stuck in Rajya Sabha. In certain states, however, land is being acquired under their respective laws. What is the future of the government’s reforms agenda. Over the years, nations were guided by capitalism, socialism or communism. But none have been a complete success. Our economic agenda is to move towards Deendayal Upadhyay’s vision of Antyodaya. What is the biggest challenge before the government? The expectations are very high and to fulfill them is one of the challenges. We want to strengthen the economy, free the country from poverty and make it a super economic power.

Make me a Union minister instead: Here’s why Subramanian Swamy will not be the next VC of JNU

The post of Jawaharlal Nehru University vice-chancellor is not one that Subramanian Swamy wishes to hold. He wants to remain in active politics and be part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet, if possible.

This is the fifth time he has declined a government post offered to him in the past year, but there is a difference this time round. The other posts were offered quietly, as is the norm with any top appointment, and Swamy quietly declined them. But this time since it involved JNU, a premier Left-oriented Central university, the “leak” of news that Swamy — a known proponent of Hindutva — was being considered as the next VC was bound to create a storm.

The offer, if it actually fructifies, couldn’t be more ironic. Swamy’s views on Jawaharlal Nehru are too well known. He does not consider Nehru a nationalist, and occasionally uses even stronger words to denounce Nehru and his legacy. One does not have to be an astrologer or a meteorologist to say that Swamy heading a university founded in Nehru’s name is a certain recipe for an onset of days full of hail and storm.

Subramanian Swamy. IBN Live.

Subramanian Swamy. IBN Live.

Swamy, it seems is enjoying the attention, and with a series of tweets, has kept the debate going: “Media is on fire that I have been offered the JNU VC post. No formal offer nor will there be if the Govt cannot meet my preconditions.” In another tweet he said, “PTs are overwhelmingly against my accepting JNU VC post. No question of my considering unless allowed to rusticate anti-national students.” In his latest tweet he said “I think JNU needs an Anti Narcotics Bureau campus branch office to raid dorms and arrest naxals, Jehadis and Elis. BSF camp also”.

Swamy said to Firstpost, “My mind is focused. I will be in politics. If they have to give me something then they could offer me a ministerial berth in the Union Cabinet.”

Swamy had earlier stated that in the days before the 2014 Parliamentary Election, he had been promised the finance minister’s job by someone at the top, but after the election, the same person told him that as a result of certain compulsions, he could no longer have the post. Then came an offer for the post of governor, which he refused because he didn’t want to go into ‘retirement mode’. This was followed by the offer of an ambassadorial post in the US or some Western country. A UN posting was also offered, after which the job of BRICS Bank chairman was also offered to him. He didn’t take that one either.

The post of JNU VC is the latest in the long list of offers, and he has once again said no. Sources close to him say that he suspects that some members of the BJP — a senior minister in particular — wants him to be pushed out of political horizon. Swamy on his part is in no mood to oblige them.

The leadership is not offering him what he actually wants for two reasons: First, who will tame his fiercely independent streak and tendency to speak his heart irrespective of the political consequences it might have? Second, Swamy is now 76, a year older than the RSS’ prescribed age for holding such posts. Yashwant Sinha had famously described 75-plus as “brain dead” in the party.

The JNU VC’s offer came to him through some well placed “well-wishers” and they cited various reasons why his services were required there, sources said. Those who made the offer to him said that they had suspected that he (Swamy) would say “no” to them, but they were still conveying the message.

Swamy in turn, told the “well wishers” that he wouldn’t accept the offer and if he did he would do it only if his conditions were met. Swamy was well aware that these were near-impossible conditions which could never be granted, so the offer was as good as dead. But the arguments made by Swamy apart from what he has tweeted, are interesting.

Sources said he told them if he takes over, he would expel hundreds of naxals and LTTE sympathisers from the campus, and take such other measures that would create an uproar in Parliament. To defend his actions, he would need to be in Parliament and thus would need to be made an MP. But if he becomes an MP, he can’t be a VC.

If he becomes a VC, a joint secretary from the HRD Ministry would often bother him with certain orders, and since he has been a Union minister it would be beneath his dignity to take orders from a joint secretary. So if at all, he had to become a VC, the government first needs to upgrade his position to Cabinet status.

And finally, if he has to be given the status of a Cabinet minister, why would he need to become a VC and not a minister in the Union government?

It’s safe to say the JNU VC offer is as good as dead.

Dera Sacha Sauda followers protest against no ‘MSG-2’ screening in Punjab

Despite of no ban had been imposed on the film’s screening, still many owners of multiplexes and cinema owners were not exhibiting it.

Supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda blocked rail and road traffic at various places in Punjab for the second day today demanding screening of MSG-2 film starring Dera chief Gurmit Ram Rahim in cinema halls.The followers said no ban had been imposed on the film’s screening, but still many owners of multiplexes and cinema owners were not exhibiting it. The Sirsa-headquartered sect followers blocked rail and road traffic from Moga to Kotakpura, to Ludhiana, Ferozepur, Amritsar and Jalandhar, which remained suspended, putting a number of passengers to inconvenience, police said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Read: MSG-2: The Messenger Trailer will leave you speechlessThough the film MSG-2 has not been banned in the state, the state police had asked all District Police Chiefs to ascertain whether the release of the movie will pose any threat to law and order in the state. Despite incessant rains the followers of Dera blocked rain and road traffic by squatting on the roads and railway tracks, officials said.Many cinema owners have refrained from screening the movie fearing backlash from Sikh protesters as the Dera head had been at loggerheads with the community earlier for allegedly hurting their religious sentiments.Dera followers have declared that they would not lift their blockade unless the film MSG-2 was screened in theatres.Also read: Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh govt ban ‘MSG-2 The Messenger’Senior police officials of the Bathinda district said they were keeping a strict watch on the situation. Messenger of God 2 (MSG 2), a sequel of MSG, hit over 2000 screens across the country on 18th September, 2015. The film’s overseas release is slated for next week.

Modi govt only engaged in empty talks, alleges former Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahay

Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahay has said that the Modi govt has only announced various projects but nothing has been implemented yet.
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PTI photo
The Narendra Modi-led BJP government is engaged in “empty talks” on issues concerning farmers and has discontinued pro-people schemes initiated by the erstwhile UPA government, former Union minister and Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahay has alleged.”The Modi government at the Centre is only making announcements for various projects, but has not yet taken any decision in favour of farmers or common people,” Sahay said while interacting with reporters in Nashik on Wednesday night. Taking a swipe at the prime minister, Sahay said, “Modi often harps on development in Gujarat, but we all know what is happening there”. He said pro-people schemes announced by the previous Congress government are being “closed” by the NDA government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The government should adopt good schemes in the country,” he added.Later, Sahay met Shankaracharya of Puri Swami Adhokshajanand, who is camping at Nashik for Kumbh Mela, and took a holy dip along with his family members in ‘Ramkunda’ in Godavari river. Adhokshajanand said he had written to Prime Minister Modi urging him to take necessary steps for the ‘Kumbh Mela’ in Ujjain next year.

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