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Naqvi cites National Commission for Minorities data, says talk about intolerance ‘politically manufactured’

“Information related to the requirement of minorities before the budget would also be collected from the grass-root level,” he said. Naqvi said that to ensure that funds reach intended recipients, the Minority Affairs Ministry has formed monitoring committees at district and state level comprising of MPs, MLAs, officials and others.

PTI
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DDCA row: Defamation cases will not scare AAP, says Arvind Kejriwal

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Kejriwal suggested that Jaitley should instead cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry formed by the Delhi government to probe the alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has rubbished the allegations of irregularities against him and his family.

PTI
A defiant Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday asserted that the Aam Aadmi Party will not be scared by civil and criminal defamation suits against him and five other AAP leaders by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and asked him to prove his innocence before the inquiry commission.Kejriwal suggested that Jaitley should instead cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry formed by the Delhi government to probe the alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association.”Jaitley should not try to scare us by filing cases against us. Our battle against corruption shall continue. Jaitley ji should cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry and prove his innocence there,” Kejriwal tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jaitley on Monday filed both civil and criminal defamation cases against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders for allegedly defaming him and sought Rs 10 crores in damages and their prosecution for offences that entails a punishment of upto two years in jail.The Chief Minister’s decision to brazen it out became clear last night itself as the other AAP leaders named by Jaitley in his defamation suit had stuck to their guns and continued to target the Finance Minister.”Setting aside his ministerial responsibilities, Jaitley ji is making the rounds of the courts. But we won’t let the matter get buried this time around. We will continue to hold him corrupt in DDCA affairs,” AAP leader Sanjay Singh said.Jaitley should not “threaten” us with jail and should instead focus on replying to the specific queries raised by us, Ashutosh said. The Finance Minister has rubbished the allegations of irregularities against him and his family.Kejriwal and the five AAP leaders have publicly been making allegations against Jaitley with regard to the DDCA affairs although some of the allegations have gone beyond that. Top leaders of the BJP hit back, accusing AAP of attempting to reduce the stature of Jaitley in public life and hailed the finance minister for maintaining an “impeccable standard of probity”.”AAP is using the route of defaming him (Jaitley) and his family members through namecalling in press conferences and the social media,” Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Jaitley’s junior in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, said.Meanwhile, the Delhi Cabinet has approved setting up of one-member inquiry commission under former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to probe alleged irregularities in DDCA. The Cabinet also decided to call a special session of Delhi Assembly tomorrow to discuss alleged irregularities in DDCA and last week’s CBI raid at the Delhi Secretariat.

Raised issue of ‘plight of minorities’ in India with Modi, claims Imran Khan

Imran said there is no other option left for Pakistan and India but to resolve disputes through talks.

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on Sunday said he had raised with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the “plight of minorities in India” during his recent visit besides touching upon the Kashmir issue and cricket.The 63-year-old Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief said the impact of the ‘plight’ was also felt in Pakistan, stressing that the Indian leadership give a clear message to end discrimination against minorities. Rejecting the ruling PML-N’s criticism that he did not raise Kashmir with Modi, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief said: “I had told the Indian prime minister that at one point of time, Pakistan and India had reached very close to resolving the Kashmir issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The issue can be resolved through talks,” he told reporters here on his return from the two-day visit as he also called for improving bilateral trade ties. Underlining that the only way forward and address poverty in both countries lies in resolving their outstanding issues through talks, Imran said: “There are people on both sides who continue hindering the peace process for their vested interests.” Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid had said Imran discussed “trivial matters” with Modi and ignored the Kashmir, Sir Creek and Siachin issues.”Imran Khan should have talked with the Indian premier on all important issues but he ended up just talking about cricket. His visit to India is that of a sportsman and not of a politician,” Rashid had said. Responding to the allegations, Imran said: “I had also raised the issue of plight of minorities in India and told Mr Modi that its impact was also felt in Pakistan and stressed that the Indian leadership should give a clear message to end discrimination against minorities.”His remarks hinted at the cancellation of renowned Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s concert in October due to protests by Shiv Sainiks. The same month also witnessed the infamous ink attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of Observer Research Foundation, again, by the Shiv Sainiks during the release of a book by former foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri.Imran said he also argued that Pakistan and India should continue playing cricket because it brought peoples on both sides closer and that would eventually help reduce tension between the two neighbours. “If there will be no contact between the people of both sides, how will they come closer?” he wondered.Imran said there is no other option left for Pakistan and India but to resolve disputes through talks. “The leaders of both countries should have bigger vision and earn dividends from peaceful and cordial relations for the betterment of their peoples. There is no solution in blaming each other for terrorism acts (in the two countries).

Chennai floods: UP Congress chief booked for maligning RSS using ‘morphed’ photo

As per the complaint, Khatri used a stray 2010 photo of some unidentified people to depict an RSS worker creating disruptions during flood relief operations in Chennai.

Congress

Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Nirmal Khatri has been booked for allegedly trying to malign the RSS by “morphing” a photo that purportedly shows its activist disrupting flood relief operations in Chennai.A case was registered against Khatri on Friday under Section 469 of the IPC (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) and Section 66D of the Information Technology Act (cheating using computer resource) on the complaint lodged by some senior BJP leaders and RSS workers, Circle Officer (Sadar) Asim Choudhary said on Saturday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the complaint, Khatri used a stray 2010 photo of some unidentified people to depict an RSS worker creating disruptions during flood relief operations in Chennai. The photo had gone viral on Facebook and other social networking sites.

Cases of online harassment against women not maintained by govt: Maneka Gandhi

The Union minister said the Information Technology Act, 2000 together with Indian Penal Code have adequate provisions to deal with prevailing cyber crimes.

Representational image

dna Research & Archives
The cases of online harassment against women are not maintained by the government, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said on Friday.Replying to a question in Lok Sabha, Gandhi, however, said as per the data of National Crime Records Bureau on cyber crimes, 589, 1203 and 758 cases of publication/transmission of obscene, sexually explicit content (Under section 67 A, 67 B and 67 C of the Information Technology Act) have been registered during 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”After consultation on cyber crimes in India held on July 23, National Commission for Women has submitted a report which inter-alia recommended for opening of more cyber cells, dedicated helpline numbers, setting up forensic labs and technical training law enforcement agencies like police and judiciary to combat cyber crime,” she said.The Union minister said the Information Technology Act, 2000 together with Indian Penal Code have adequate provisions to deal with prevailing cyber crimes.”It provides punishment in the form of imprisonment ranging from two years to life imprisonment and fine/penalty depending on the type of cyber crime,” she said.

PIB expresses regret for ‘photoshop gaffe’ during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Chennai

The photo was soon removed after questions were raised in social media about its authenticity.

The doctored image PIB used during PM’s visit to Chennai

Picture Courtesy: PIB Twitter page
Facing flak for posting a doctored photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi surveying Tamil Nadu floods from a helicopter, PIB on Friday expressed regret saying the incident happened due to an “error of judgment”. In the picture posted by Press Information Bureau (PIB) on its website and Twitter, houses and water were reportedly seen clearly through the chopper’s window which the critics pointed out could not be possible during an aerial survey.The photo was soon removed after questions were raised in social media about its authenticity.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a clarification issued here, the PIB said, “Out of the seven pictures released, one picture used the technique of merging two pictures. This is being referred to as ‘photoshopping’ in sections of media. This happened due to error of judgment and the picture was subsequently deleted. PIB regrets the release of the above mentioned picture and inconvenience caused is regretted,” it said in the statement.The Prime Minister had made an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of Chennai, its suburbs and Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts yesterday.

Chennai floods: How NDRF is using social media to reach out to people

The Excel-sheet helps the officers on the ground to send the SoS requests to the working teams which are tasked with the area and zone-wise rescue operations, the official added.

Reprsentational Image

Deployed in rescue and relief operations in flood-hit Chennai, NDRF personnel are using social media and the internet to reach out to those in distress with a desk here working 24/7 to ensure that the affected people receive help. A small office desk at the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) headquarters here has picked up over 1,000 strands of vital information on social media and internet and is posting responses to those requesting help. The Information Technology wing of the force, which is being manned round-the-clock by a posse of over a dozen NDRF personnel, is posting assurances to every SoS call made online in the wake of the flood crisis in the southern metropolis.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thus, the force is responding with messages like ‘noted’, ‘we will do the needful’, ‘will do our best possible’, ‘noted and passed to field teams’ and ‘pls provide full address’ to calls for help by Chennai dwellers. NDRF chief OP Singh is getting hourly updates on his personal mobile phone about the social media response of the force and has also instructed the team to ensure that “each and every” tweet, email, Whatsapp message, SMS or phone call is acknowledged. “We have been getting these messages for the last three- four days… initially, we used to pick the information and send it across to our field units in Chennai and Arakkonam for immediate action, but I thought we need to personally assure the people who either seek help themselves or on behalf of their family or friends.”Half the battle is won when our official twitter handle or email says ‘noted’, which is an assurance to say that we are working on the distress call. The person on the other side feels he or she is being heard and cared for,” Singh told PTI before taking a special flight to the southern state for a review of the situation there. The 12,000-strong force, at the latest count, had received and responded to 339 tweets on its official handle ‘@NDRFHQ’ or through ‘#NDRF’ along with 501 emails, 613 phone calls and 13 messages on Whatsapp. A further 200 such messages are being replied to, it was learnt. “We pick up information from all social media avenues and immediately send it to our field teams, manned by two DIG rank officers in Tamil Nadu, in an Excel sheet format via the V-SAT system activated exclusively for these tasks,” a senior NDRF official said.The Excel-sheet helps the officers on the ground to send the SoS requests to the working teams which are tasked with the area and zone-wise rescue operations, the official added. The calls received on the two helpline numbers — 011-24363260, 09711077372 — are routed to the NDRF On-Site Emergency Operation Coordination Centre (OSOCC) at Kilpauk in Chennai via satellite phone updates, said its Information Technology wing head and Assistant Commandant, Krishan Kumar.Meanwhile, through its twitter handle, the force is also uploading pictures of the operation that is currently underway in the Tamil Nadu state capital. NDRF has also created a smart, SMS-based system to regularly update all field commanders, senior officials and authorities in the Union Home Ministry and send regular notifications regarding requirements during such long-haul counter-disaster operations.

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

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

UNSC seat should not be a high priority for India: Former Diplomat

Getting a seat in the United Nations Security Council should not be a high priority for India, a former top diplomat has said.

Representational Image

Getting a seat in the United Nations Security Council should not be a high priority for India, a former top diplomat has said.”I don’t think it should be a high priority for India. We have wasted enough time in this already,” Krishnan Srinivasan, former Foreign Secretary of India, said on Tuesday. He said the issue was so complicated that it was postponed year after year at the UN.”Permanent membership of the UNSC without veto is not so attractive that we should spent time on it,” he said.United Nations Information Centre director Kiran Mehra Kerpelman said the discussion on UN in India was always related to the UNSC seat.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Many complain that the UN only talks, but talking is better than bombing,” she said.

Russia dismisses reports of striking off India from ‘safe travel’ destinations

Issuing a clarification this evening, the Russian Information Centre (RIC) head Ekaterina Belyakova stated that “First Deputy Speaker of Parliament of the Russian Federation, Ivan Melnikov offered to convene a ’roundtable’ to make proposals to improve the availability of new, safe tourist destinations for Russians such as Cuba, south Vietnam and southern China.

The purported decision of Russia was considered as a major blow to Goa as most of its foreign tourists comprise Russians.

The Russian Information Centre in Panaji on Sunday dismissed media reports which claimed that India and Goa have been ‘struck off’ from the list of ‘safe’ travel destinations recommended for Russian citizens, saying its earlier statement was “misconstrued”.Issuing a clarification this evening, the Russian Information Centre (RIC) head Ekaterina Belyakova stated that “First Deputy Speaker of Parliament of the Russian Federation, Ivan Melnikov offered to convene a ’roundtable’ to make proposals to improve the availability of new, safe tourist destinations for Russians such as Cuba, south Vietnam and southern China.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Our statement did not have any information regarding removal of India from the list of ‘safe’ countries or including India in the list of ‘unsafe’ countries as was mentioned in several reports and headlines published in Indian media…The name of India and Goa may have not come up often during the discussion but that does not mean that Goa or India has been declared unsafe. The focus was to show that prospective avenues will open if Goa becomes an alternative destination instead of Egypt and Turkey,” Belyakova told PTI.The reports had quoted Belyakova as saying that “both India and Goa were not considered as good destinations for Russian travellers”.According to reports, which quoted the RIC’s statement, a revised travel advisory has been formulated after the black-listing of Turkey and Egypt. The reports quoted a Russian news agency to claim that “Unfortunately, both India and Goa, were not discussed as a promising direction for Russian travellers”.They claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin had cancelled all flights heading towards Egypt after the explosion of a Russian passenger plane over the Sinai peninsula. The purported decision of Russia was considered as a major blow to Goa as most of its foreign tourists comprise Russians.

Government tells Delhi HC it has no formal pact with Facebook, Twitter to use them

Delhi High Court has motioned towards the discourse of social media usage by the government, with only a standard agreement.

Representational Image (File Photo)

dna Research & Archives
The government has told the Delhi High Court that its media wing and IT departments are using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter by entering into standard agreements and not any formal or separate deals.The government has submitted before the high court that the agreements are “accepted” in ‘click and wrap’ mode wherein assent to the terms and conditions is given by clicking on an ‘OK’ or ‘agree’ button on a dialog box or pop-up window.The submission has been made by Department of Electronics and Information Technology in an affidavit in which it has stated that the media wing of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube platforms of social media for information dissemination.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”… The standard agreements for use of social media have been accepted in ‘click and wrap’ mode and no other formal or separate agreement was signed as a part of account creating process,” the department has said, while also placing before the court the current terms of service and privacy policy of YouTube.The government had earlier placed before the court the standard agreement that it has with Facebook.The department said it too uses social media in the same manner as MHA’s media wing by agreeing to the terms and conditions in ‘click and wrap’ mode.The affidavit has been filed in response to the court’s directions to place before it the contracts or agreements the government has with social media sites.The court had asked for the information while hearing a PIL filed by former BJP leader K N Govindacharya who has raised questions on social media usage by the government.Advocate Virag Gupta, appearing for Govindacharya, had earlier told the court that as per contracts the government has with these companies, it is “transferring/surrendering” all intellectual property rights of the data being uploaded.Earlier, the court had observed it appeared that when anything was uploaded on social media sites, the websites got a licence to the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of the content without paying any royalty and had asked the Centre whether it was aware of this.The court had also observed that when the government gives royalty-free licence to Facebook without anything in return, “it was akin to (giving) state largesse”.

Crackdown on Greenpeace, roadmap for clean energy: Many questions await PM Modi ahead of Paris climate change meet

By Ishan Russell

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted about a talkathon on climate change on Friday morning, he was not just promoting an online event; he was actually making a strong political statement — this time for an international audience.

Criticised by many international bodies for cracking down on NGOs such as Greenpeace, the government of India decided to open itself to the public, with ministers going on the offensive and taking questions on India’s position on climate change.

Representational image. GettyRepresentational image. Getty

Representational image. Getty

Participating in a talkathon organised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Friday, the Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javdekar and Coal, Power and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal took live questions via Twitter at the event that was broadcast live on Doordarshan.

Effectively, this means the government is sending out a strong message to the international community that it has nothing to hide on the issue of climate change and that it is not averse to engaging with anyone. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi departs for Paris to join the heads of over 150 nations in climate change negotiations, hundreds of environmental NGOs and activists are demanding a global deal that clears the road for 100 percent clean energy and puts an end to carbon emission in the course of the century.

The NDA government has itself launched many initiatives — including a Climate Train — to spread awareness about climate change but the telethon was the first time it took questions from the public on a live forum.

NGOs chip in

Many international NGOs are now looking to make the most of this event. Avaaz, that is part of the coalition of NGOs  organising close to 2,000 climate change events worldwide ahead of the COP21 that begins on Monday, has asked its volunteers to actively participate in the Talkathon.

“We welcome the fact that the government is opening itself up to public engagement on the issue of climate and we are asking Avaaz members in India to actively participate, so the government can see the broad public support for clean energy.” says Alaphia Zoyab, senior campaigner at Avaaz.

“Already 13 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are in India. India’s kids in these pollution hot spots have lower lung capacity than kids elsewhere; Mumbai and Kolkata could be the worst impacted due to extreme weather events like floods and the government is already spending nearly 2.6 percent of its GDP on tackling climate change. So while India wants to see more action from the historical polluters — the developed countries — we also want to remind PM Modi that as one of the most vulnerable countries to climate impacts, switching to 100 percent clean (energy) is in India’s own interests too,” she adds.

Solar’s the way to go

In fact, the tone for Paris has already been set by the exchanges between Javadekar and US Secretary of State John Kerry, after the latter described India as being a challenge during the negotiations in Paris. Javadekar responded to the comment by reiterating India’s stand.

“It is in a way unfair to say that India will be a challenge. The US is our great friend and strategic partner. His [Kerry’s] comment is unwarranted and unfair. The attitude of some of the developed countries is the challenge for the Paris conclusion.”

The event comes at a time when PM Modi is looking to be positioned as a solar hero, with his high profile initiative of creating a solar alliance of more than 100 countries. The alliance, to be named the International Agency for Solar Policy and Application (InSPA), is aimed at a host of African nations and others located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

The initiative comes against the backdrop of India’s recent INDC submission where it committed to having 40 percent of its energy mix come from alternative sources by 2030. It has also targeted an ambitious 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022.

Over the course of this weekend and the coming week, history will hopefully be created with a global consensus on how to tackle climate change.

Journalists appeal to the government for the release of two Chhattisgarh reporters

A petition was submitted to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, Union home minister Rajnath Singh, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Arun Jaitley and Minister for Tribal Affairs Jual Oram, on Friday.

Some 160 journalists and members of civil society from across India have appealed to the central government and to the Chhattisgarh state government to release two journalists in jail in the state, on charges of supporting Maoists. Santosh Yadav, a resident of Darbha and a journalist for Hindi publications such as Dainik Navbharat and Dainik Chhattisgarh, and Somaru Nag an Adivasi journalist and stringer for Rajasthan Patrika were arrested by the state police in September and July this year.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A petition was submitted to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, Union home minister Rajnath Singh, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Arun Jaitley and Minister for Tribal Affairs Jual Oram, on Friday.According to the petition, under the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act, Yadav has been charged under the Indian Penal Code, the Arms Act, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Chhattisgarh Public Security Act (CPSA). The petition adds, “there is no clarity as to the charges against them, or the evidence which the police hold about their alleged involvement with Maoists.”Media reports and the July edition of People’s Union for Civil Liberty bulletin said that Yadav was first called to a police station in June 2015, where the police told him a warrant for his arrest had been issued. The police then took him to the lock up, stripped him off his clothes and was about to, according to the bulletin, start beating him when Yadav told him that he was a journalist who would report everything they did to him. Only this stopped the police hand, something that Yadav told the bureau chief at Dainik Chhattisgarh, Harjit Singh Pappu, according to a report on the media watchdog journal The Hoot.The police pressure on Yadav started when he was first on the scene to report on the Maoist attack that killed Congressman and Salwa Judum founder Mahendra Karma, in May 2013. Apparently, to the police that was a sign that Yadav was in cahoots with the Maoists.According to the petition, Yadav has been dragged into a case that charged 18 villagers with an encounter in August that killed a Special Police Officer. Nag has been named in a case, for keeping a lookout on police movements as a group of people “burnt a crusher plant employed in road construction in Chote Kadma on 26th June”.The PUCL bulletin recounted how the police had been pressuring Yadav to become their informer, by trying to give him five lakh rupees to catch Naxals, which Yadav refused.Yadav and Nag are hardly the only people to be harassed by a state police long infamous for the number of adivasis it picks up and jails on trumped up charges, where they languish for years as undertrials. According to the NCRB data, Chhattisgarh’s jails are 260 percent overcrowded, and human rights lawyer Vrinda Grover stated previously at a press conference in New Delhi that the actual conviction rate in Chhattisgarh for undertrials is 1 per cent to 3 per cent.

Mumbai’s Mahim dargah develops app to fight ISIS influence among Muslim youth in India

The app will connect all Muslim youth, men and women via their social networking accounts of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram from across the nation to create an anti-ISIS campaign.

Islamic scholars, leaders and representatives of various religious communities voice their opinions against ISIS at a presser outside the Mahim dargah, on Thursday.
Kunal Chonkar
iamin.in
To join the fight against terror propagated by ISIS, the Mahim Dargah trust has developed a first-of-a-kind application. In an attempt to stop indoctrination, radicalisation and recruitment of youths from India into the terrorist organisation, the Pir Makhdum Saheb Charitable Trust (PMSCT) has launched the app titled under its own name.Connecting over 10, 000 small and large Muslim communities across India, the app will ensure much-needed vigilance into the spreading menace of cyber-terror training and recruitment carried out by ISIS in the nation.Developed by a team of Information Technology (IT) students, associated with PMSCT, the app has already connected around 30, 000 youth from Mumbai, claimed Mufti Manzoor Ziyaee, Islamic advisor to the trust.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “The app features the correct teachings of Islam, articles and speeches by Islamic scholars. It also has an array of programmes related to anti-terror campaigns and community-connect initiatives,” Ziyaee told iamin. The news of four youths from Kalyan, including engineering student Areeb Majeed, having been recruited by ISIS last year was the reason behind the Dargah trust’s initiative to develop the app. They hope it will counter the social media sites used by the terror outfit to influence young men.”Nowadays, Islam can be preached via social networking sites. For betterment of the world and humanity, the right message and teachings will be upheld by the app and thus, all spiritual leaders of the community supported it,” Ziyaee added.The app will connect all Muslim youth, men and women via their social networking accounts of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram from across the nation to create an anti-ISIS campaign. In the first phase of the campaign, the trust will also counsel youth from Kalyan, Thane, Mumbai, Pune and other cities in the state to stay away from any links or connections with any radical outfit. In the second phase, around 1, 000 more apps, twitter handles and Facebook accounts are going to be started to spread awareness against ISIS in India.
This article was first published on iamin.in. For more such hyperlocal stories, visit their website.

AAP government orders probe into missing words in advertisements

“Delhi government apologizes for an error of missing words in its advertisement published in the English newspapers on the Constitution Day celebrations on Wednesday.

Taking a stern view of the omission of words “socialist” and “secular” from the Preamble in its print advertisements on Constitution Day, Delhi government today tendered an apology for the error and ordered a probe to ascertain if any “mischief” was involved.Published by the Arvind Kerjriwal-led Delhi government to commemorate the adoption of Constitution, the English advertisements which appeared in newspapers today carried the text of Preamble, however, the two words were missing from the content.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Delhi government apologises for an error of missing words in its advertisement published in the English newspapers on the Constitution Day celebrations on Wednesday.”The words, socialist and secular, are erroneously missing from the text published in the English advertisement.
The Chief Minister has taken a stern view of the matter and directed the Director of Information and Publicity to conduct an inquiry and submit a report within four days,” the government said in a statement.The Director has been asked to ascertain how such important components of the Preamble of the Constitution went missing from the text.”The inquiry will focus on whether some mischief was involved in this matter,” it added.

‘Socialist’, ‘secular’ words missing from Preamble in AAP government ads on Constitution Day

The Preamble provided in the advertisements seems to be an older version. In 1976, the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ were added to the document through the 42nd Amendment.

Arvind Kejriwal

The AAP-ruled Delhi government’s advertisements in major newspapers on Thursday had the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ missing from the Preamble, triggering a controversy on Constitution Day, according to a report in Hindustan Times.The Preamble provided in the advertisements seems to be an older version. In 1976, the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ were added to the document through the 42nd Amendment. Following the controversy, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government ordered an inquiry into the goof up. “The chief minister has taken a stern view of the matter and has directed the Director of Information and Publicity to conduct an inquiry and submit a report within four days,” a government statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>
Officials said the DIP director has been asked to ascertain how such important components of the Preamble went missing from the text. Both the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the states have gone all out to celebrate Constitution Day, the day in 1949 on which the Indian Constitution was adopted.This episode comes as a major embarrassment for the AAP. The party had criticised the NDA government at the Centre when a similar mistake was spotted in official advertisements on Republic Day this year.

DA case against Virbhadra Singh: Court asks CBI to place preliminary enquiry records

The court’s direction came during the hearing of an application filed by 81-year-old Singh in which he has accused CBI of not furnishing the complete copy of FIR registered against him

Virbhadra Singh

The CBI was on Tuesday asked by a Delhi court to place before it the records of preliminary enquiry (PE) it had conducted in a disproportionate assets case against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and others.The court’s direction came during the hearing of an application filed by 81-year-old Singh in which he has accused CBI of not furnishing the complete copy of FIR registered against him. Special CBI Judge Vinod Kumar directed the agency to place records of preliminary enquiry before the court on or before December 2, the next date of hearing, when the court is likely to decide Singh’s plea.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his plea, Singh has said that CBI should be directed to file in court complete copy of First Information Report. CBI had registered a PE which was converted into a regular case this September against Singh and his family members for allegedly amassing wealth of Rs 6.1 crore, alleging that it was disproportionate to their known sources of income during 2009-2011 when he was serving as Union Minister of Steel in the UPA government.CBI had lodged the FIR under the Prevention of Corruption Act, naming Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh, LIC agent Anand Chauhan and Chunni Lal Chauhan.The agency has claimed that during this period, Singh, a six-time Chief Minister, had invested Rs 6.1 crore in life insurance policies in his and his family members’ names through Chauhan. In an unprecedented action on a serving Chief Minister, CBI had on September 26 searched his official residence and 10 other places in connection with the case, the day of the marriage of his daughter. Searches were also carried out at his official residence in Delhi, his two houses in Shimla and Rampur and a farm house in Mehrauli in South Delhi which is in the name of his son Vikramaditya Singh.

Harassed by cops at IFFI, now FTII students start own film festival to battle government

After two alumni of the Film and Television Institute of India hoisted placards at the International Film Festival of India’s inauguration ceremony on Friday, they spent the rest of the night in a police lock-up. Another student was interrogated by the police and detained after he was caught wearing an FTII T-shirt while hanging out at the IFFI campus on Saturday.

Now, students of India’s premier creative institute have decided to fight the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, who are the organisers of IFFI, on the latter’s home turf by starting a parallel student film festival, a short distance from the international event in Panaji.

Students continue their protest at FTII. PTIStudents continue their protest at FTII. PTI

Students continue their protest at FTII. PTI

The proposed new film festival might be a modest one, but it has already become a rallying point for local political opposition, which has promised to back the protesting students.

Speaking to Firstpost, Prateek Vats, a former FTII student and a filmmaker, said that the two-day film festival titled Retracing Freedom is the response of FTII’s students to the ‘Kafkaesque nightmare’, unfolding at the ongoing 46th edition of IFFI.

“This festival is another step towards reclaiming our freedom of thought and artistic expression that are under relentless attack currently across the country,” said Vats. “We invite the delegates and filmmakers attending IFFI and film bazaar along with the students, artists, activists, lawyers, journalists and public of Goa to join us for screenings and discussions over the next two days to find out about the concerns and engagements of students of the premiere institution of film education not just in the country but all of Asia.” The festival will kick off on Tuesday.

Retracing Freedom features films by RV Ramani, Satinder Bedi and Aadesh Keluskar along with other films by FTII students, including those featuring their protests. Listing a litany of angst, Vats said the organisers of IFFI had already done away with a regular section at the festival which deals with students’ films and had even denied registration to over 30 students of FTII at this year’s edition of IFFI.

“Attending film festivals is a part our school curriculum at FTII. Students are not doing anything illegal by attending IFFI,” Vats said.
Two FTII ex-students, Kislay and Shubham, were arrested on Friday for shouting slogans and hoisting placards with messages against the Central government at the IFFI inaugural venue, where Union Minister for Finance Arun Jaitley, Union Minister for Defence Manohar Parrikar and Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore were present. The duo was released on conditional bail after spending a night in police custody.

Ashutosh, a current FTII student, was also picked up by the Panaji town police on Saturday allegedly for wearing a T-shirt bearing his institute’s name. “The police picked him up for wearing a T-shirt and hanging out on the IFFI campus legitimately, with a delegate pass. He was later released on a bail bond,” Ashutosh’s lawyer Albertina Almeida said.

According to Vats, a group of 10 FTII students were also temporarily detained and questioned by the police who wanted to know their motive for attending IFFI on Sunday.

While the IFFI directorate has not issued a formal reaction to these allegations, Festival Director C Senthil Rajan has been quoted on Sunday confirming the incident involving Ashutosh.

“The registration was cancelled because he went and told the police, I will protest… If the person is coming and saying he will stop the programme, how can we allow it?” Senthil has said.

Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Monday rejected the accusation that FTII students were being harassed, but also added that he does not believe that protesting in Goa was the right of the FTII students. “I do not believe that protesting is a matter of their right. We are organising it (IFFI). They could meet the concerned individually,” Parsekar told Firstpost.

“If something wrong or objectionable happens in IFFI, it reflects directly on the functioning of the government. Therefore, they should not be doing this here. Why get into confrontation with the state government without reason?” Parsekar asked.

The chief minister’s comments, however, did not pass muster with three independent Opposition legislators Vijai Sardesai (Fatorda), Naresh Sawal (Bicholim) and Rohan Khaunte (Porvorim) who maintain that Parsekar’s rejection of the right to protest amounted to dictatorship. “This is not an Emergency. And yes they are students. They have every right to protest against the treatment being meted out to them,” Rohan Khaunte said.

Sardesai said that the three legislators would provide a human shield if necessary, to ensure that the two-day alternative film festival planned by the students is a success. “If the police try to stop the festival, the police will have to go through us MLAs and people from our constituency to get through,” Sardesai said.

(The writer is a Goa correspondent for he Indo-Asian News Service)

Prominent people should take positions on issues: Arun Jaitley

At the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards ceremony, he was asked about his take on creative people voicing their opinion just before Aamir Khan’s session

Arun Jaitley

Information & Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said prominent people and achievers taking a stand on issues does good to society.At the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards ceremony, he was asked about his take on creative people voicing their opinion just before Aamir Khan’s session. “I am quite okay with prominent people and achievers taking positions on issues. There will be a large number who are completely focused on their work and therefore for them to develop a thought process outside of their usual activity may not be possible. Everybody is not alike but there are some people who are actively involved in the thinking process themselves and would like to react,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to Jaitley, there were various mediums today for people to voice their opinion. “… If it is a seriously thought out view against just a maverick view, I think it does good to society,” he added.

A Decade of RTI: How implementation of the law has weakened people’s political power

Equating RTI with accountability of authority and social hope are farfetched claims.

Peoples’ movements in India have sufficient experience to assess the political significance of social legislations. They have a long history of demanding the governments to recognise the new rights through legislations. The experience in India is that the governments many a times over-legislate to suppress the political energies of the people. The moment the governments legislate on any particular aspiration, the healthy democratic debate that influenced it disappears. But the legislations have to go a long way before they become a part of governing culture and address the social concerns without forcing people to spend enormous energies. Until then, the social debate should continue to engage with the process of implementation of rights.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It has been ten years since the RTI Act came into existence. It is perceived today that users of RTI are trying to hold power to account and it has empowered the citizens. It is also seen that individuals have become users and activists. No doubt it is one of the progressive legislations that brought out to public some of the most uncomfortable facts of the rulers. Yet, equating RTI with accountability of authority and social hope are farfetched claims. Even those who fought for RTI, after coming to power, are not willing to pro-actively divulge to people even as much information as restricted by the law. This has to force us to think about the nature of power and capacity of legislations in democratization of authority. All those who hail the legislation, dismiss the flaws in its implementation as lack of accountability culture among the public servants. But the legal process which provided the law of chasing minions for information has a serious political purpose.Ten years ago, if a group of people felt that there was a problem with the way decisions were made, say for instance about ration cards, by officials, they would collectively meet them, raise questions, argue, demand, stage a protest, express anger and shout slogans. They would remind the officers of their public accountability. This politically loaded activism in practice creates tension among indifferent officers. These activities released tremendous political energy from people as a collective. This constantly kept the idea of participatory democracy alive. Even if the officers refrained from providing information, the escape was not easy. A barrage of excuses and explanations had to be provided before the officers could wriggle themselves out. This process invariably upheld the political sense of people over the legality of the bureaucracy.But under the RTI, today people have become users as if they were the consumers of the services provided by the State. Also, today most radical activities begin and end with applications filed under the Act by individuals. The practice of social activists as a group going to corridors of power and demanding accountability has come to a halt. Not that they were successful in getting information. Now officers take their own sweet time to refuse the information. You are forced to go for appeal after appeal until you turn blue in your face. To face this situation, now virtual groups of RTI activists are were formed. Thus the arena of battle has been shifted to protecting the RTI Act, itself.While RTI petitions proxy protested on our behalf, we have not realized what we have lost to it. Laws, especially like RTI, effectively tamed the political energy of the people and has reduced the social groups into individuals and activists into petitioners. This is what legal process reduced the political energies of the collectives into. The regimes told us how obediently we should seek information within the exceptions and the restrictions imposed by them. The political worth of the information for people lies not in what government wants to happily give us but in what it refuses to give. While it has given us very little, the State has taken away a lot by making us apolitical. This happens when we don’t realize the political meanings of laws and their procedures. If we trade-off our collective political energies to laws like RTI, then that is the worst damage that RTI Act has inflicted on the politics of mass movements.On the other hand, we need to understand the exact impact of RTI on the power structures. The users of RTI, no doubt are able to bring out information in public that are at best irritating to the authorities. Do we want to really believe that naming and shaming of authorities has really created fear among the powerful and has the potential to democratize them? These claims underestimate the way in which power is organized, protected and perpetuated. The claims also presume that naming and shaming is equivalent to holding the powerful accountable. On the contrary, in the corridors of power, those who are exposed are considered as heroes with the capacity to take strong decisions without accountability. The Act as well as its implementation clearly excludes the information that exposes the nature of power they exercise. The results of exercising the authority are only provided as information but not the details of persons, processes and criteria in arriving at decisions. The way power is exercised is sufficiently protected from legal accountability. This is the primary reason why, despite so many exposures, hardly any authority is held legally accountable. Holding them to account with legal consequences is a huge and complicated process by itself. This is the experience of all those who attempted to hold arbitrary decision makers to legally accountable. There is no evidence to suggest that the RTI activism has fundamentally altered the pattern in which power is exercised. Of course, the powerful tend to become subtler in exercising their authority. However, where vicarious liability is hardly accepted, making actual decision makers accountable is much more difficult.But going by the increasing support for authoritarian figures and regimes in the popular political culture, the craving for power without accountability seems to be the natural instinct across the political spectrum. In fact, the enigma of authority flows from mystery of decision making but not from its accountability. It is not with sheer brutal force that the authority is exercised. If there is so much of aversion to unaccountable authority in popular imagination, how would most undemocratic leaders and nations emerge as powerful? The powerful always think that accountable authority is no authority at all and its predictability is considered as the prattle of the weak. This understanding has a huge constituency in public culture. Does the RTI Act have the potential to crack all these riddles of power? What happened to the potential of constitutionally valid fundamental rights to transform the hierarchical social fabric? One should have hopes about positive changes in society but not the illusions.The author teaches at Tata Institute of Social Sciences

‘ISIS one of the best users of internet technology for promoting their cause,’ says Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

“The world that we as a nation will be interacting with is increasingly fraught with turbulence and will call for dominant military might. We need to develop technology and system appropriate to evolving military doctrine,” Parrikar said addressing the DEFCOM seminar here organised by the Corps of Signal of the Indian Army and the CII.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

PTI
Stating that the future wars might be fought in the cyberspace, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday warned the Army against “information blackout” as he sought enhanced capabilities to ensure protection from disruptive cyber attacks or manipulations.Parrikar also citied the example of the terrorist organization ISIS, which he said, was “one of the best user of internet technology” for promoting their cause.The Defence Minister said a resurgent India will increasingly play a dominant role in the world affairs.”The world that we as a nation will be interacting with is increasingly fraught with turbulence and will call for dominant military might. We need to develop technology and system appropriate to evolving military doctrine,” Parrikar said addressing the DEFCOM seminar here organised by the Corps of Signal of the Indian Army and the CII.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that Information Technology (IT) has an important role to play because “future wars may be cyber wars”.Parrikar, however, asserted that boots on the ground cannot be replaced. “Ultimately conventional armies cannot be replaced but they can be equipped with equipment which will provide them with all the information to fight with a well decided and well planned way without getting interrupted.” Speaking about the need for proper use of the developing internet technology, Parrikar said, “One can take the example of terrorist organisations like Daish or ISIS. They use the internet to ensure a lot of recruitment or support, and they are one of the best users of internet technology for promoting their cause.”He said his worry was information blackout which can be caused by various destructive mechanisms.”Information corruption can be another danger to the platform which we use,” he said adding that information overload is also a problem.”Because of Information Technology, you can get so much information that getting vital information out of that becomes something like finding a needle in a haystack,” the minister said.He said while we progress through IT and make a more digitalised army, the danger is of disruption through cyber attacks by the enemy. “We need to enhance our capabilities to ensure that they are protected from such disruptive cyber attacks or cyber manipulations,” he said.Parrikar said the Indian Army should not only use the digital advantage but also protect itself against destructive technology of adversaries. Noting that India has been at the forefront of software development, he said one needs better hardware designing and integration in our system. Parrikar also said that the new Defence Procurement Procedure was at an “advanced stage”, and he expects it to be in place in the near future.He said the government’s effort is to have as much as indigenisation as possible.The minister, however, said that it cannot happen overnight because even with best efforts, only 10% increase can be achieved.Underlining that the government has been pushing very hard, he assured the industry and the armed forces that the government is focusing on Make in India.”Our effort will be to depend on indigenously manufactured items because for a very rare eventuality in a war, you can really depend on your own resources,” he said.

Maharashtra government spent no money on advertising RTI Act, reveals RTI

It has been 10 years since the Act was first launched, and the number of applicants keeps on rising with every passing year, but the state has failed to play its part in propagation of the Right To Information (RTI) Act. As per an application filed by Pune-based activist S Repale, the government spent no money at all on advertising the Act.

It has been 10 years since the Act was first launched, and the number of applicants keeps on rising with every passing year, but the state has failed to play its part in propagation of the Right To Information (RTI) Act. As per an application filed by Pune-based activist S Repale, the government spent no money at all on advertising the Act.Repale had sought information from the chief minister office on the expenses it incurred to make the law popular in the last 10 years. The application was transferred to the general administration department, which looks after the Act. It replied saying it has not spent any money.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I wanted to know how much they spent. There should be some propaganda. But the government has done nothing. They do advertise other government schemes in villages. There is no reason why they should not advertise this Act at all. Do they not desire the Act to be popular?” asked Repale.Another RTI activist Vihar Durve said, “The government spent so much money on other things, such as foreign trips, nothing on the Act that helps poor people.” dna tried contacting officials from the general administrative department but they could not be contacted.

Maharashtra sets up panel to examine performance of grade A, B govt officers

The general administration department, in a resolution early this week, has set up a five-member committee headed by principal secretary GAD (services), and comprising members of director general, Information and Public Relations. Sources claim that in last one decade barely handful of officers faced such an action.

Tightening its noose around grade A and B officers aged above 50, the Maharashtra government has set up a committee to examine their performance. The committee is expected to look into their confidential service records and merit them on the basis of performance and integrity. “There is a provision for compulsory retirement, offered to those whose performance has deteriorated with age or lack integrity,” pointed out a senior officer. “This is to ensure that senior officers do not start taking job lightly. It’ll be mild, compared to dismissal and offers all post-retirement benefits,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The general administration department, in a resolution early this week, has set up a five-member committee headed by principal secretary GAD (services), and comprising members of director general, Information and Public Relations. Sources claim that in last one decade barely handful of officers faced such an action. As per an existing rule FR 56 (J), which has been rarely enforced, the performance of Group A and B officials who have turned 50 and junior officials who turned 55 must be reviewed and a decision taken whether to compulsorily retire them before they turn 60. Earlier in August, Central government too had formed a similar committee. Citing SC judgments, DoPT had said that “integrity of an employee, action or decisions taken by the employee which do not appear to be above board, complaints received against him or suspicious property transactions, for which sufficient evidence may not be there to initiate departmental proceedings” should be the factors considered to decide on prematurely retiring an officer. “Similarly, reports of conduct unbecoming of a government servant may also form basis for compulsorily retirement,” the DoPT says, citing a 2002 SC judgment that said government has absolute right to compulsorily retire an official who obstructs the efficiency in public services. “The officer would live by reputation built around him,” DoPT says citing another SC order which says conduct and reputation of an officer must not be such that his continuance “would be a menace to public service and injurious to public interest”. “For better administration, it is necessary to chop off dead wood,” says another 2001 SC order cited by DoPT in its letter, saying it should be seen if recent promotions of the officer in last five years were on basis of seniority-cum-fitness and not on the basis of merit.

Watch: When Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son messed up his oath!

The elder son, Tej Pratap Yadav, couldn’t pronounce the word ‘apekshit’ correctly in the first time.

Image Courtesy: iamin.in
File Photo

At the swearing-in ceremony of Bihar cabinet on Friday, all eyes were set on Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejaswi, the two sons of RJD President Lalu Prasad. Tejaswi has been appointed as the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar while Tej Pratap will be given three ministries. But, during the oath-taking ceremony, 28-year-old Tej Pratap, made mistake, not once, but twice. Governor Ram Nath Kovind asked Tej Pratap to repeat the oath after he pronounced the word ‘apekshit’ as ‘upekshit’. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Chief Minister Nitish Kumar retained Home, Information and Publicity and General Administration departments with him, he gave Road Construction and Buildings Construction portfolio to 26-year- old Tejaswi, his Deputy CM. Tej Pratap has been given Health and two other ministries.Watch the following video at 4.40 seconds to see Tej Pratap’s oath-taking:

Sheena Bora case: Peter Mukerjea to be produced in court

The CBI is likely to seek his custody as they want to interrogate him to unravel his role in the murder case.

Former media magnate Peter Mukerjea, arrested by the CBI in connection with the sensational Sheena Bora murder case for allegedly “shielding the accused”, will be produced in a magistrate’s court here on Friday.Peter Mukherjea’s wife Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai will also be brought to the court since their judicial custody expires on Friday.In a fresh twist in the Sheena case, Peter Mukherjea was arrested on Thursday by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), hours after it filed a chargesheet in which Indrani, the mother of the victim born from her first marriage, and two others were accused of the crime.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A CBI spokesperson had said that Peter’s name surfaced during its probe in the case and “he has been arrested”.The spokesperson refused to divulge any further details in the case, but sources in the probe agency said he has been arrested for allegedly “shielding the accused” and “inconsistencies” in his statements.Peter was placed under arrest after another round of questioning on Thursday. Peter, who has been kept in the office of Special Task Force of CBI here, will be produced before the magistrate’s court.The CBI is likely to seek his custody as they want to interrogate him to unravel his role in the murder case.The probe agency, which was handed over the case on September 29 after a turf-war between the ousted Commissioner Rakesh Maria and the new incumbent Ahmed Javed, had questioned Mukherjea for hours before it was decided to place him under arrest, the sources said.Sheena Bora was allegedly murdered by her mother, Indrani’s former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai here in April 2012. The body of the 24-year-old was dumped in a forest in the neighbouring Raigad district.The court is likely to give a copy of chargesheet to Indrani, Khanna and Rai. The chargesheet, filed three months after Sheena Bora’s remains were found in a forest near Mumbai, names Indrani, Khanna and Rai as accused–who were all arrested in August this year.The agency has charged them with criminal conspiracy to kidnap, murder, cheating, destruction of evidence, forgery and use of forged documents besides violation of provisions of Information Technology Act.Mikhail Bora, the younger brother of Sheena, told ANI that he has no idea what is going on. Since CBI is investigating, he wants to see what happens. “I’ve told time & again, will cooperate with CBI 100%, seeking justice for my sister & I hope will get it soon.”

Our government is fighting relentlessly against corruption, says PM Narendra Modi

Citing various steps taken by his government against black money, Prime Minister Modi invoked Kautilya who had suggested confiscating of illegitimate wealth of corrupt officials.

PM Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that his government is unsparing when it comes to punishing the corrupt and listed out the steps initiated by him to curb the menace.Prime Minister Modi, who inaugurated the sixth Global Focal Point Conference (GFPC) on Asset Recovery in Delhi, said comprehensive and deterrent laws have been enacted to keep a check on corruption.”We have constituted a Special Investigation Team under Supreme Court to look into the issue. Comprehensive and deterrent law has been enacted that provides for stringent penalties. The government is unsparing when it comes to punishing the corrupt,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Our mission is to build a prosperous India. To achieve this objective, it is essential to fight relentlessly against corruption. Corruption is a principle challenge. India is in a crucial phase of nation building. There’s a need to fight relentlessly against corruption,” he added.Citing various steps taken by his government against black money, Prime Minister Modi invoked Kautilya who had suggested confiscating of illegitimate wealth of corrupt officials.”Governments across the world work to transform the lives of the poor and the marginalized. Dastardly acts in Paris are a grim reminder that terrorists have shown ability in funding. Funding includes smuggling of narcotics, bank robbery, vehicle robbery, and state sponsored activity in failed states,” he said.”Auction of coal blocks and FM radio licences have eliminated the element of discretion in allocation of resources,” he added.The Prime Minister also congratulated the Central Bureau of Investigation officers, who received medals on the occasion for their distinguished services.”Government has taken several steps to make the bureaucracy more efficient, performance oriented and accountable. Government is committed to implementation of a uniform global standard on Automatic Exchange of Information on a fully reciprocal basis,” he added.

Bijli Bachao: LED-ing with example

The non-profit organisation is helping people save electricity by providing right kind of information about electronic products

With the onset of Diwali, decorative lights and lamps can be seen outside every house across the country. And the trend of using LED lights is helping people save money by reducing electricity consumption, say experts, who work in the field of saving energy. However, Bijli Bachao — a not for profit organisation — claims that though people save energy by using LED lights for Diwali, the shopping of electronic appliances during the festive season without proper research would mean spending more electricity, if the product is not eco-friendly.The organisation’s mission is to provide consumers the right kind of information so that they can make informed decision towards electricity consumption. Through their website, the organisation provides free information to people about how to save electricity, top 10 appliances, general tips on electricity safety, research, news on electricity, among others. The website also has a calculator where people can calculate the benefits of using five star rated electronic appliance like refrigerator as compared to a three star one.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Talking about their initiative, Abhishek Jain, founder of Bijli Bachao, said: “We get more number of visitors on our website during summer than during Diwali. Due to the latest trend of using LED lights, the consumption of energy is less as they more energy efficient. People should buy only LED lights to decorate their house. However, lot of people rush to buy electronic appliances like television, refrigerator, washing machine etc during this festive. So, we suggest them to buy it with an inverter technology that saves lot of energy.”He added: “We have observed that at electronic stores, the staff is not efficient to solve the queries of the public or to suggest them what is best for them in order to save electricity. Most of the time people are misguided by them saying that the cost of maintenance is high for inverter and that is how people land up in buying an appliance that would more electricity.”

Disproportionate Assets case: Court to hear Virbhadra Singh’s plea on November 9

The matter, which was scheduled to be heard on Friday, was deferred as Special CBI Judge Vinod Kumar was away attending a training programme. In an application filed before the court, 81-year-old Singh has said that CBI agency should be directed to file the complete copy of the First Information Report in the court

Virbhadra Singh

A plea filed by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in which he has accused CBI of not furnishing the complete copy of FIR registered against him and others in a case, would come up for hearing before a Delhi court on Monday.The matter, which was scheduled to be heard on Friday, was deferred as Special CBI Judge Vinod Kumar was away attending a training programme. In an application filed before the court, 81-year-old Singh has said that CBI agency should be directed to file the complete copy of the First Information Report in the court. CBI had registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE), which was converted into a regular case this September, against Singh and his family members for allegedly amassing wealth of Rs 6.1 crore, alleging it was disproportionate to their known sources of income during 2009-11 when he was serving as Union Minister of Steel in the UPA government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CBI had lodged the FIR under the Prevention of Corruption Act, naming Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh, LIC agent Anand Chauhan and Chunni Lal Chauhan. The agency has claimed that during this period, Singh, a six-time Chief Minister, had invested Rs 6.1 crore in life insurance policies in his and his family members’ names through Chauhan.In an unprecedented action on a serving Chief Minister, CBI had on September 26 searched his official residence and 10 other places in connection with the case, the day of the marriage of his daughter. Searches were also carried out at his official residence in Delhi, his two houses in Shimla and Rampur and a farm house in Mehrauli in South Delhi which is in the name of his son Vikramaditya Singh.

Star World gets served BCCC notice over broadcasting homosexual encounter in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Grey’s Anatomy

Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) has served a notice to Star World over broadcasting a homosexual encounter in the widely popular American show Grey’s Anatomy in June, reports a leading English daily.The complaint was filed over a scene in which one of the characters in the series asks her male colleague to teach her how to satisfy her partner sexually by demonstrating it. The complaint was filed because it was felt that the scene was “denigrating women”.The notice follows complaints from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chaired by Justice (retired) Mukul Mudgal, the BCCC arrived on the opinion that keeping Indian audiences in mind, the scenes of the episode were explicit and objectionable.Grey’s Anatomy follows the lives of surgeons in a fictional setup and has been on air for over a decade. The popular show is reportedly edited to suit the Indian audiences. It is broadcast on Star World.

Govt to present suggestions on improving collegium system before SC on Tuesday

New Delhi: Seeking to make the collegium system “more participatory”, the government is likely to suggest to the Supreme Court on Tuesday constitution of a committee of eminent persons which would scrutinise candidates for appointment to the higher judiciary before the collegium takes the final call.

As part of its suggestions to improve the collegium system, the government may also tell the apex court that the criteria for selection of judges should be made transparent and the reasons for selecting or rejecting a candidate must be put in public domain.

Sources in the government said on Monday the apex court is likely to be told that to usher in transparency, the Supreme Court collegium should record the reasons for selection or rejection of a candidate and the same should be put in public domain, according to a draft response framed by the government.

Supreme Court. Reuters

Supreme Court. Reuters

The government may tell the apex court that the best way to introduce a “more participatory” system would be to have a panel of eminent persons who would tell the collegium their opinion on the candidates shortlisted to help the panel of top five SC judges take an informed decision before making recommendations to the government.

The SC collegium decides on the appointment of High Court judges, their transfer and promotion as Chief Justice of a High Court and their elevation to the apex court based on the suggestions made by judges of that high court and SC justices who had earlier worked there.

The recommendations of the SC collegium are then sent to the government which may either approve them or send them back with a ‘request to reconsider’. If the collegium reiterates the recommendation, government has to accept it.

The government may also tell the apex court to define the criteria for selection of judges for the higher judiciary and it must be part of the memorandum of procedure.

While one memorandum of procedure — an executive order drafted after the collegium came into being over 20 years ago — deals with high courts, the other deals with the Supreme Court.

The government may also suggest bringing the decisions of the collegium under the ambit of the Right to Information Act, though its plans to ask the SC to record the decisions of the collegium and put them in public domain goes beyond the requirements of the right to information law.

The Law Ministry had earlier conveyed to the apex court’s e-committee to make the SC-monitored National Judicial Data Grid more broad-based, where the performance of the SC and HCs should be appropriately displayed along with the performance of the subordinate judiciary.

Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda on Monday met top law officers and senior functionaries of the Law Ministry to give a final shape to the government’s response to Supreme Court seeking suggestions for improving the collegium system. Gowda could also consult some of his senior Cabinet colleagues tonight on the issue.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi will carry the final word of the government to the Supreme Court tomorrow.

The Supreme Court bench comprising justices JS Khehar, J Chelameswar, MB Lokur, Kurian Joseph and AK Goel, which had delivered a unanimous verdict quashing the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, will tomorrow hear suggestions to improve the collegium system.

A review petition against the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act and the 99th constitutional amendment Act has also been filed in the apex court by advocate Mathew J Nedumbara.

PTI

Delhi Court seeks ATR from police over criminal plaint against VK Singh

Singh had kicked up a storm with his alleged comments that the Centre cannot be blamed if somebody throws a stone at a dog in connection with the Faridabad incident.

Summon, try, punish and confiscate his entire property which the accused person had collected through unfair means by exploiting the religious feelings of innocent citizens

A Delhi court on Thursday directed the police to file an action taken report on a criminal complaint filed against Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh for his alleged “dog” remark in the wake of the Faridabad incident in which two children of a Dalit family were burnt alive. Metropolitan Magistrate Muneesh Garg asked the police to submit the report by November 16 on the complaint seeking registration of FIR against Singh, former Army Chief, under the provisions of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Information Techology Act and the IPC.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Summon, try, punish and confiscate his entire property which the accused person had collected through unfair means by exploiting the religious feelings of innocent citizens, under appropriate sections SC/ST (POA) Act, IT Act and IPC,” the complaint filed by Advocate Satya Prakash Gautam said. It also sought action against the SHO of Jafrabad Police Station for not taking action on his complaint and refusing to register FIR in the matter.Singh had kicked up a storm with his alleged comments that the Centre cannot be blamed if somebody throws a stone at a dog in connection with the Faridabad incident.In the complaint, the advocate said that he came to know about Singh’s alleged remark through newspaper reports and the sentiments of his community were hurt by the statement. “The statement of General V K Singh has caused immense damage to the entire community with a view to denigrate the prestige and honour of scheduled caste children with deliberate and malicious intention the religious feelings of entire scheduled caste community,” the plea said.It alleged that Singh wanted to “create an atmosphere of communal riots” and all law enforcing agencies, including the Election Commission, should be more vigilant towards such misdeeds due to Bihar assembly elections..

Sedition charges against Hardik Patel upheld by Gujarat HC

In a setback for Hardik Patel, Gujarat High Court on Tuesday rejected Hardik Patel’s petition challenging sedition complaint against him.

In a setback for Hardik Patel, Gujarat High Court on Tuesday rejected Hardik Patel’s petition challenging sedition complaint against him.Gujarat High Court has upheld sedition charges against the Patel quota agitation leader. Hardik was arrested by the city crime branch on the charges of sedition and waging war against the government.Hardik had on Monday filed a plea in the Gujarat High Court seeking to have the FIR against him quashed.The petition, filed by his lawyer B M Mangukia, said the First Information Report was vague and was only aimed at suppressing the agitation of the Patel community for reservation in OBC category. His actions did not amount to sedition or waging war against the government, it said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is the second FIR against Hardik where he has been accused of sedition (under section 124-A of IPC).Earlier, Surat police had booked him for sedition for allegedly advising a Patel youth to kill policemen rather than committing suicide. His petition seeking to scrap that FIR is already before the High Court.Ahmedabad police’s crime branch filed a fresh FIR for sedition against Hardik and five of his associates after taking his custody from Surat police.

Free Speech: Age of ban on media is over, says I&B Minister Arun Jaitley

The minister noted that while print media and to a large extent electronic media adopt discretions in their content, social media completely lacks such a mechanism.
File Photo
PTI
Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said the “age of bans” on the media is over, observing that it is “literally impossible” to implement them.Delivering the Sardar Patel lecture organised by All India Radio (AIR) in New Delhi, Jaitley, who is also the Finance Minister, noted that while the right to freedom of expression has expanded in India through successive judicial verdicts and technological advances, its misuse continues to happen.”Many believe, and I am one of those who do believe, that the age of bans is now over. It is literally impossible if not very difficult to implement them,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Should the state step in? As far as possible, no,” he said.The minister noted that while print media and to a large extent electronic media adopt discretions in their content, social media completely lacks such a mechanism. He pointed out that makers of the Constitution rightly held that freedom of speech and expression is not absolute and subject to reasonable restrictions which were specifically defined.”In a society where because of multi-religious, multi-cultural reasons there are sensitivities, what do we do if somebody crosses the Lakshman Rekha itself? What would the Indian society have done if instead of the Danish cartoonist, it would have been an Indian cartoonist? And therefore we have criminal laws in provision but then in extreme cases, very reluctantly so, some power of restraint in larger interest so that it doesn’t disturb public order, and that is where those 1950s restrictions imposed in Article 19(2) itself will have an important role to play,” he said.Jaitley said that in a changing media landscape, with the arrival of electronic media, news became more sensational.”News was what Television cameras could capture. What cameras can’t capture won’t be news. A major Africa summit will be some news, but a young girl returning home from Pakistan would be big news because the Television captures it differently,” he added.He said that there is now a difference between actual news and channel driven news.”As the marketeers of news express their right to free speech, the viewer or the reader’s right to information and knowledge itself is also getting impacted,” he said.Speaking about social media, he said while citizens have got a voice, it is an unregulated medium and there is also a large amount of false, defamatory and also damaging content. The minister said that in this situation, we have to rely on a sense of fairness of those who participate on social media.

PM Narendra Modi recounts his Africa links, seeks new ways to fund projects

For the first time, in any Africa summit all its 54 countries are participating, making it the historic event of sorts. Till now as per the information available with the Ministry of External Affairs, 40 countries will be represented at the Head of State, head of government level, the rest are being represented by senior ministers.

PM Narendra Modi meets the delegates of African countries before a dinner at the India-Africa Trade Ministers’ Meeting 2015 in New Delhi on Friday

PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday recounted his connection with African nations as well as linkages of Gujarat, his home state with that continent, on the eve of the third India-Africa summit, scheduled here next week. Interacting with a group of journalists from African nations, he said that out of 2.70 lakh Indians living in Africa, most belonged to his home state Gujarat. “I hail from the west coast of India from the state of Gujarat. It was in fact the Gujaratis who started trade and commerce with Africa and maritime relations earlier on. I have always had very good relations with various personalities of Africa. So, from a personal point of view I have always had very close links with this region,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> For the first time, in any Africa summit all its 54 countries are participating, making it the historic event of sorts. Till now as per the information available with the Ministry of External Affairs, 40 countries will be represented at the Head of State, head of government level, the rest are being represented by senior ministers. Following the two previous India-Africa Forum Summits, India had committed to the tune of $7.5 billion in concessional credit in the fields of infrastructure, agriculture, industry, energy and water. As per government information, in more than 40 countries today there are over 100 projects that are under implementation. In the same vein, India has invested $1.2 billion in more than 100 institutes. India had committed $2.5 billion worth lines of credit to African nations at its first summit in 2008 in Delhi that was attended by 14 African governments and $5 billion at the second edition in Addis Ababa in 2011. But the worry for Modi, is that out of $7.5-billion credit promised across the two summits, only $3.5 billion has been disbursed, and the entire promised amount hasn’t been approved by the finance ministry, even after lapse of four years since the last summit. The PM is expected to announce a fresh package of $10 billion at next week’s summit. He has now advised officials to find a new mechanism preferably a bilateral arrangement with individual countries, rather than flowing the aid through the Africa Union (AU), where it gets lost in bureaucratic machinations. The External Affairs Ministry sources justify this new policy of dealing directly with the countries, explaining that working on major projects through the AU has held up initiatives, because of the grouping’s internal dynamics. Key projects that need land and other infrastructure, like the India-Africa Institute of Information Technology, committed by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh eight years ago, remain non-starters. Ghana, which was to host the institute, has procured the required land — but even the blueprint for the university awaits a final approval from the AU. Japan was the first country to hold regular summits with African nations, starting in 1993. But the once-every-five-years meets, always held in Japan till now, will now be held every three years, and in Africa next year for the first time, Tokyo announced last year. The European Union has held these summits every three years since 2004 and China every three years since 2000. And China has made clear it plans to top whatever India promises, with its next summit with Africa, in Johannesburg in December. The US, worried about China’s growing clout in that continent, shed its traditional ambivalence towards leaders with dodgy human rights records, hosting over 35 African leaders in Washington last year.

Govt will ensure FTII students complete their courses, says Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore

“I am sure that with the kind of interaction we had today, the complex and serious problems of the students and the institute will be solved,” he further said.

“The most important thing is that students should complete their course, get their diplomas and pass out,” he added.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Tuesday said the government will make all arrangements to see that Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students complete their courses on time. This was the fifth meeting with the FTII students. “Many complex issues were highlighted during this meeting, like how the 2008 batch has not been able to finish its course, why the 2011 batch has been able to complete one year only and they still have two more years to complete,” Rathore told media here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have tried to make such engagements with the students where we have to hire more studios, make the Doordarshan studios in Mumbai available to them. The most important thing is that students should complete their course, get their diplomas and pass out,” he added.”I am sure that with the kind of interaction we had today, the complex and serious problems of the students and the institute will be solved,” he further said.The latest meeting follows several rounds of talks between the students and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry officials to break the deadlock at the Pune based premier film institute.

Nitish-Lalu will bring back ‘jungle raj’: Ravi Shankar Prasad

“Nitish Kumar’ ji, teaming up with Lalu ji, you will bring back the old days of ‘jungle raj’. But we will bring the ‘acche din’ (good days), which will come after November 8,” he said.

Taking a jibe at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over his ‘puraane din’ tweet, Union Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said that the grand alliance would definitely bring back ?jungle raj? unlike the BJP which is committed to ‘acche din’.”Nitish Kumar’ ji, teaming up with Lalu ji, you will bring back the old days of ‘jungle raj’. But we will bring the ‘acche din’ (good days), which will come after November 8,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nitish had earlier taunted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his ‘acche din’ assertion.”Export has reached bottom this year after regular fall in past 10 months…Modiji forget ‘Acheche din’ (good days), please return our ‘purane deen’ (old days),” he tweeted.The war of words between the grand alliance and BJP has intensified in poll-bound Bihar in the past few days.57% and 55% voting were recorded in the first and second phase of the Bihar Assembly elections respectively.The voting for 50 seats in the third phase is scheduled for October 28. This phase will see voting in important districts like Buxar, Patna, Nalanda and Saran.While the fourth phase is scheduled for November 1, the final phase will take place on November 5.The counting of votes will take place on November 8.There are 243 assembly constituencies in Bihar.

AIIMS overburdened, govt set to expand medical college network in ‘big’ way: FM Arun Jaitley

Noting that the number of medical colleges in the country was “inadequate”, he also said that a serious review is needed to increase the number of such institutions.

Jaitley also advocated the need for an assessment of the policy of organ donation by studying the best practices around the world.

Observing that the prestigious AIIMS was overburdened, the government on Sunday said it is all set to expand the network of medical colleges in the country even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley pushed for relaxation in medical council and municipal norms to achieve that goal. The network of medical colleges in the country is set for expansion in a “big” way as the government said it attaches huge importance to the promotion of high-quality tertiary care services and expansion of medical education in the country. Jaitley, also the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, opined that “over-involvement’ in the past had led to “crisis” for AIIMS and asked the Health Ministry to play a supportive role without getting into “micro-management” of the institution.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noting that the number of medical colleges in the country was “inadequate”, he also said at the 43rd Annual Convocation of AIIMS here that a serious review is needed to increase the number of such institutions. Jaitley also advocated the need for an assessment of the policy of organ donation by studying the best practices around the world. The finance minister said that India requires more quality institutions and batted for a serious review for developing medical colleges by relaxing municipal and medical council laws. “We need more medical colleges. Both public and private sector education has expanded. But medical colleges are still inadequate. A review of the policy is required as far as increasing the number of medical schools is concerned,” he said.He noted that India is capable of producing “huge” human talent as one out of every seven patients in the US is treated by a doctor of Indian origin while a large part of British healthcare is managed by Indian doctors. “We need to expand quality institutions. The restraints on the great hospitals — unavailability of contiguous land, inability to have medical colleges next to it — needs a serious review. “We have ready-made hospitals of excellence which have worked for decades and there is no reason why, by relaxing municipal laws and medical council regulations, we are not able to encourage the expansion of a few hundred more medical colleges in India,” he said.Talking about the aim to expand the network of medical colleges in the country, Health Minister JP Nadda said at the event that, in the first phase, upgrade of 58 district hospitals to medical colleges is proposed while 70 medical colleges are being upgraded by adding super-speciality blocks under various phases of the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) scheme. “This reflects the importance attached by the government to the promotion of high-quality tertiary care services and expansion of medical education in the country,” he said.

RTI activists to boycott Narendra Modi’s address at convention tomorrow

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 10th annual convention of the Central Information Commission.

PM Narendra Modi

PTI
Several prominent activists on Thursday said they would boycott Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inaugural address at the annual Right to Information (RTI) convention on Friday, as only a few of them have been invited. “People who have an important role to play in using and protecting RTI are being left out of the process. The invites have gone out to a few people and the most important left out,” Anjali Bhardwaj, one of the activists, said. “The RTI Act has been owned up by people across the country. There are more than eight million RTI acts filed every year. Now, if in this situation the Central Government is holding a convention where it is not inviting members of the civil society, then, it is a issue of great concern,” she added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Another activist Nikhil Dey described the non-invite as ‘an unfortunate step for democracy’, and added that activists have always helped any government with suggestions on running the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 10th annual convention of the Central Information Commission, which is a congregation of RTI activists who discuss issues related to the implementation of the transparency law across the country.

President Pranab proposes three-pillar framework to improve India-Palestine ties

Ramallah: Observing that peace and stability in the Middle East region is in India’s interest, President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday proposed a three-pillar framework to propel its “historic” ties with Palestine besides building a second Information Technology (IT) centre in Gaza.

President Pranab Mukherjee. AP

President Pranab Mukherjee. AP

Mukherjee, who is in Palestine in the first-ever State visit by an Indian President, also announced an increase in Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation(ITEC) scholarship programme slots for Palestine to 100 per annum and setting up of an India-Chair at the Al-Quds University.

The President made the proposal and the announcements in his acceptance speech after he was conferred a honorary doctorate by Al-Quds University in Abu Dees in East Jerusalem on the second and final day of his visit to this country.

At the function, Mukherjee was described as a “valiant knight of peace”.

On Sunday, the President was conferred with an honorary degree in political science by the University of Jordan in Amman. On Thursday, he will be conferred a honorary doctorate by the Hebrew University in Israel.

In his speech, Mukherjee told the audience at the Al-Quds University, which included Prime Minister Dr Rami Hamdallah, “India shares the perception that the Palestinian issue is at the centre of Arab-Israeli conflict. Peace and stability in the region is in India’s interest.”

Noting that the speed with which an event happening in one place of the world triggers a response in another is unprecedented in terms of its impact and scale, the President said maintaining regular contacts at all levels is, therefore, important.

Stating that India has always been at the forefront in promoting the Palestinian cause, the President said the strong foundations in this regard and shared belief in peace, prosperity and development for the people of Palestine “propel us to do more.”

He referred to India’s backing to several UN resolutions on Palestine to show its solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Mukherjee, who is in Palestine on the second leg of his three-nation visit that will also take him to Israel, said one of the aims of his visit to Palestine is to suggest a framework for the future of India’s relationship with it.

Noting that India continues to follow its traditional policy on Palestine, the President said the framework of their partnership can be reinforced through three principal pillars.

“First, closer political interaction; Second, deeper economic engagement and academic collaboration; Third, wider cultural contacts and people-to-people exchanges.”

Mukherjee delivered the speech after the inauguration of India-Palestine Centre for Excellence in Information and Communications Technology(ICT) in Al-Quds University.

“India will build a similar Center in Gaza. We look forward to the success of the Techno-Park in Ramallah. It will be jointly built and operated by the Palestine Investment Fund and the Indian public and private sector,” he added.

Mukherjee said this will have a satellite centre in Ramallah and forward linkages with industry.

The President gifted to the IT Centre of Al-Quds University 30 computers from India without the sophisticated communication equipment, which was held by the Israeli customs on grounds of security. India plans to replace the communication equipment not permitted by Israel with frequencies acceptable to Israel.

He also inaugurated a high school for boys named after first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

The President said the conferment of the doctorate on him was a sign of friendship and regard of the people of Palestine for India and for him.

He told the assembled audience that the university’s pursuit of scientific knowledge and advanced research placed it at the centre of Palestine’s national development programme.

The President congratulated the people of Palestine on the momentous unfurling of their national flag at the United Nations – for the first time in history – on 30 September, 2015.

Apart from our bilateral trade in goods, the President said there is vast scope for trade in services.

“India’s strength in IT and IT-enabled services as well as consultancy can pave the way for greater engagement in the IT sector,” he added.

The President also said that Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ scheme welcomes Palestinians to manufacture in India.

PTI

Ratings for NGOs receiving Environment Ministry grants

Government today said an in-house rating of NGOs receiving grants from the Environment Ministry will be done to rank them on the basis of their performance.

Government today said an in-house rating of NGOs receiving grants from the Environment Ministry will be done to rank them on the basis of their performance.Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, while releasing the 10th edition of ‘Directory of Environment NGOs’ said a system will be created to assess the performance of such NGOs.”We will create a system where the performance of NGOs receiving Environment Ministry’s grant will be assessed to see whether the money has been spent on the purpose it was mentioned for and second, whether the message for which the amount is given has reached the people and the purpose is achieved,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said this will be an incentive for the NGOs to perform better.”We want to create an indexation of NGOs for incentivising them wherein good NGOs will be appreciated and others who fall back will also get stimulus to get better. We would create a constant dialogue with people through NGOs,” he said.The minister said that Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) should not be viewed as the only criterion to recognise NGOs.”FCRA is not the only criterion of recognize NGOs because there are thousands of NGOs who are working without foreign donation and they create resources within the country and work with masses and people. So those organisations will also be recognised,” he said.The directory complied by WWF has enlisted 2300 organisations and will be put on public domain after few changes and amendments, the minister said.The database covers information under various heads including details such as geographical coverage, commencement of activities, staff strength and contact details.Dr G. Areendran, Coordinator, Environment Information System, WWF, said around 4000 NGOs were sent application forms but only 40 per cent of them could be verified.”Verifying authenticity of NGOs was the biggest challenge. They were required to submit mandatory documents including registration number, financial dealings, details of projects, utilization certificate and auditing,” he said.

Non-declarants of foreign assets to face consequences: Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday warned that those who did not declare overseas black money during compliance window will face the consequences as the government will receive information about their wealth under automatic exchange of information, while others who took advantage of the scheme to come clean can “sleep well”.

The Minister also clarified that Rs 6,500 crore of black money, talked about by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech, pertained to illegal money of account holders in the LGT Bank of Liechtenstein and HSBC Bank, Geneva, while declarations made under the one-time compliance window totalled Rs 3,770 crore.

Arun Jaitley in a file photo. AFPArun Jaitley in a file photo. AFP

Arun Jaitley in a file photo. AFP

The government’s policy, Jaitley said, “is rationalisation of tax structures, taxing at reasonable rates, placing more money in the hands of small earners, encouraging and promoting the use of plastic money by all sections of society and creating deterrence against those who continue to use unaccounted money.”

In his Facebook post, the Minister also expressed the commitment of the government to fight the menace of the domestic black money by making furnishing of PAN mandatory for cash transactions beyond a threshold.

“The government is at an advanced stage in considering the requirement of furnishing PAN card details if cash transactions beyond a certain limit are undertaken,” he said.

Referring to the declarations made under the black money compliance window which closed on September 30, Jaitley said, “Those who chose to declare between this period would not be prosecuted under the new black money law… These declarants can now sleep well.”

Taking advantage of the one-time 90-days compliance window under the Black Money law, 638 persons declared their income amounting to Rs 3770 crore.

About those who have undisclosed foreign assets but failed to file such a declaration, Jaitley said, “(They) will now be subjected to penal provisions of this law. They will be liable to pay 30 per cent tax and a penalty of 90 per cent, thus leading to confiscation of the assets plus more.

“In addition, they will be liable to prosecution where they can be sentenced up to 10 years. This law will create a deterrent in future against the flight of capital from India.”

“… thus those with illegal assets abroad, who have failed to make declaration, would now stand the risk of information relating to them eventually reaching the Indian taxation authorities.”

On domestic black money, Jaitley said bulk of of it is still within India.

“We thus need a change in national attitude where plastic currency becomes the norm and cash an exception.

“Being seized of this problem, the Government has been working with various authorities in order to incentivise this change. The opening of a large number of payment gateways, internet banking, payment banks and the emerging reality of e-commerce will prompt the use of banking transactions and plastic money rise significantly,” he said.

In the Facebook post titled – The NDA Government’s campaign against black money – Jaitley said the comparison of the amounts listed under HSBC Bank, Geneva, and through the compliance window with amnesty schemes relating to domestic black money is ill conceived.

“The assessed income of Rs 6,500 crore in HSBC and Rs 3,770 crore declared income during the compliance window should not be treated as income under any immunity scheme. The comparison of these amounts with amnesty schemes relating to domestic black money is ill-conceived. The campaign against domestic black money has to be separately dealt with for which Government is independently taking steps,” Jaitley said.

Modi in his Independence Day speech had said that the government’s efforts to deal with the menace of black money were working and “people have declared undisclosed income of about Rs 6,500 crore. This money will come into the treasury and will be used for betterment of the poor”.

The government’s recent announcement that the compliance window, which closed on September 30, resulted in total disclosure amounting to Rs 3,700 crore drew criticism from some quarters about the amount being less than that mentioned in the Prime Minister’s speech.

Stressing that no society can indefinitely sustain a system where income earners consider tax evasion to be a way of life, Jaitley said high tax rates in the past have encouraged tax evasion.

“Regrettably our high taxation regime in the past eventually ended up encouraging tax evasion. When States tax their people reasonably, they can persuade them to honestly declare their incomes. The early decades after independence witnessed India with high taxation rates, prompting people to evade. The capacity of the State to detect evasion was less than adequate,” Jaitley said.

The Finance Minister said over the years India has slowly started moving towards moderate rates of taxation.

“It has been a conscious strategy of the NDA Government to put more money in the pockets of middle and low income groups by raising exemption limits and incentivising savings through fiscal policy. This will encourage consumption and bring more money into the system. Consumption increases the volumes of indirect taxation,” he said.

Jaitley said to make India more investment friendly destination, the government is committed to lowering of corporate tax rate to 25 per cent over the next four years and also phase out exemptions.

“The Government’s policy is rationalisation of tax structures, taxing at reasonable rates, placing more money in the hands of small earners, encouraging and promoting the use of plastic money by all sections of society and creating deterrence against those who continue to use unaccounted money,” Jaitley said.

In its campaign against black money stashed abroad, he said the government has formulated a conscious strategy to deal with the menace of black money and the first cabinet meeting of the NDA government implemented the direction of the Supreme Court to constitute Special Investigation Team to monitor efforts against black money.

“The UPA Government had tried to evade the Supreme Court direction on one pretext or the other for over three years. The Government swung into action and accelerated all the income tax assessments against those with regard to whom information about holding illegal money abroad in Lichtenstein and in the HSBC bank at Geneva, were available,” he added.

“Most assessments have been completed and wherever illegalities are being found, criminal prosecutions have been launched against beneficiaries of these bank accounts,” Jaitley said.

In order to encourage international cooperation in the matters of tax evasion, Jaitley said the government has taken a series of steps.

“The Prime Minister took the initiative at the G-20 meeting in order to bring about international cooperation in tackling unlawful assets held by the residents of one country in foreign soil. The G-20 initiative is intended to lift the veil of secrecy in banking transactions and in real time inform domestic taxation authorities about transactions of their citizens internationally.”

The government has signed an understanding with the US under FATCA wherein the United States and India would disclose to each other any real time transaction in accounts with financial institutions, by its citizens in foreign territories.

This cooperation would also extend to all those countries which would become signatories to global standards on Automatic Exchange of Information being developed under the mandate of G20.

Further, the Revenue Secretary led a team of Indian officials and has held extensive discussions with Swiss authorities. Discussions have also been held at the ministerial level.

“Switzerland has agreed to provide India with proof relating to several HSBC accounts where India can give some evidence over and above the stolen data, which was delivered to India through France. It is expected that over the next two years this international cooperation will be worked out and information with regard to illegal assets held abroad, subject to certain conditions, would be available to each of the demanding nations.

“Thus, those with illegal assets abroad, who have failed to make declaration, would now stand the risk of information relating to them eventually reaching the Indian taxation authorities,” Jaitley said.

PTI

Bomb hoax delays Delhi-Lucknow Shatabdi

The information regarding a bomb on board the Shatabdi Express was received which later turned out to be an hoax, an official spokesman said.
File Photo
Wikimedia Commons
Lucknow bound Shatabdi Express from Delhi was forced to halt for over half an hour at Tundla railway station in Firozabad district on Saturday morning following a bomb hoax.The information regarding a bomb on board the Shatabdi Express was received which later turned out to be an hoax, an official spokesman said.”Following information regarding the bomb on board the Shatabdi Express, the train was stopped at Tundla railway station in Firozabad district this morning around 8:30am,” Inspector GRP Tundla Hukkum Pal Singh said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police said that during checking only an empty bag was recovered from the generator room and the information was found to be hoax.

Condom ads to be banned from telivision during the day?

Centre is reviewing a proposal to limit television ads for condoms to late-night hours only.

Still from the televison ad for condoms featuring Sunny Leone

Don’t be surprised if you stop coming across television ads for condoms during the day time. According to a report in The Telegraph, centre is reviewing a proposal to limit television ads for condoms to late-night hours only.All this is being done at the instruction of Information and Broadcast ministry on the ground of complaints from politicians as well as viewers across the section.As per the Broadcast regulations, television content is classified in two categories; general (G) and restricted (R). The R content, which isn’t deemed appropriate for young viewers, is allowed to be aired only between a time slot of 11 pm to 5 am.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Officials of the I&B ministry are quoted saying in the report that they are receiving a lot of complaints about condom ads being aired in the day time.If The Telegraph’s sources are to be believed, an inter-ministerial committee is set to debate the issue soon which may result in all condom ads being shown only during ‘adult’ hours.

BJP questions AAP over allegations of ad contracts allotted to kin of Deputy CM Sisodia

Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay said,”They amount was itself very large, and there must be some system through which the money was siphoned off,”

Delhi BJP President Satish Upadhyay

dna Research & Archives
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday criticised the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government in Delhi for allotting contracts for government advertisements to relatives of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.”True colours of the AAP have come out within seven months. Somnath Bharti’s case of women harassment and the onion price scam, then the forgery case against Jitendra Tomar, and now, this latest case has come up. It shows that government is involved in corruption,” Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay told ANI.”There were speculations for allotting 526 crores for advertisement earlier also,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Upadhyay also said there have been governments in the past also, but the advertisement budget was limited to Rs. 23 crores. “They amount was itself very large, and there must be some system through which the money was siphoned off,” he added.Upadhyay further said police was investigating the matter, and added that when the investigation is completed, the truth shall be revealed.The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) claimed today that Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s relatives were given contracts for government advertisements.ACB Joint Commissioner of Police Mukesh Kumar Meena levelled these charges and said that a probe has been initiated. He added that a notice has been issued to the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP), Delhi, in this regard.AAP’s decision to spend Rs 526 crores on information and publicity in the current financial year drew criticism from the opposition parties which alleged that the AAP was spending public money on “self-publicity”, amounting to corruption.

Transparency a prerequisite for achieving ‘Digital Governance’: Ex-CIC Shailesh Gandhi

Addressing this issue would “ultimately pave the way” for his dream coming true to bring ‘Digital Governance’ in the country, Gandhi said.

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Transparency in administration is a necessary prerequisite for realising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of ‘Digital Governance’ in the country, former Central Information Commissioner (CIC) Shailesh Gandhi today said. He termed ‘Digital India’ campaign, a pet project of the Modi Government, as “expensive” and “with no real benefits”. It was the issue of transparency over which Modi ought to do something in a time-bound manner first. Addressing this issue would “ultimately pave the way” for his dream coming true to bring ‘Digital Governance’ in the country, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Digitisation involves scanning all earlier files and sometimes even the files after they are closed. This has no real benefit and is an expense exercise. Accountability to citizens cannot be achieved unless transparency is built into our governance as a default mode.”Gandhi, who pronounced several landmark judgements in his four-year tenure (2008-2012) as CIC, said, “When a citizen goes to any office for some work, he is often told that the relevant file is unavailable. If he pays a bribe it becomes available. A significant percentage of corruption and inefficiency is a consequence of this method of keeping paper files.””If all work was done on computers and each day the default mode was that it would be displayed on the website, there could be a sea change in our governance. Only some information, which is thought to be exempt under the RTI Act, should not go on the website,” said the noted RTI activist.”If Parliament proceedings can be telecast live, there is no reason why our executive brand cannot function in a transparent manner. Only with transparency can there be hope of accountability.”Sharing his experiences, Gandhi said, “The corrupt obviously dislikes transparency, whereas the honest has the arrogance of believing they know best.”

Rajyavardhan Rathore wants media to be ‘constructive’, spread news about government schemes

Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has called upon the media to play a constructive role as the fourth pillar of democracy.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore

Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has called upon the media to play a constructive role as the fourth pillar of democracy.He said that the media should disseminate news about welfare schemes and programmes of the government on a large scale so that maximum number of people can avail the benefits.Speaking at programme here, Rathore said that the media, while pointing out shortcomings of the government, should also highlight good works done by it and welfare programmes.”It is also the responsibility of the media to inform and aware people on various schemes and programmes of the government,” he said at the programme on Saturday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visits abroad, Rathore said this has helped in boosting goodwill of India in international fora and that India is now seen as an “important country” in the globe.Speaking at an award ceremony, Rathore said that the government is focusing on simplification of rules for those who produce films in the country.He said that a single window system would also be introduced for providing different permission.

FTII row: Students ready for talks

The striking FTII students have expressed their willingness for talks to resolve the issue related to chairmanship of Gajendra Chauhan even as the government appeared to have laid down a pre-condition of ending the stir for the dialogue, according to sources in the student body.

File Picture

The striking FTII students have expressed their willingness for talks to resolve the issue related to chairmanship of Gajendra Chauhan even as the government appeared to have laid down a pre-condition of ending the stir for the dialogue, according to sources in the student body.The FTII Students’ Association (FSA), which is leading the strike, said it has replied to the latest letter from the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry inviting it for a dialogue to break the impasse. FSA sources said that in the reply to the ministry’s letter of September 22, the student body has expressed willingness for a dialogue. However, phrasing of the ministry’s letter appeared to lay down a pre-condition for the proposed talks, which could be construed as the students being asked to call off their strike before discussions, the FSA sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said the ministry had in the letter on Tuesday suggested that the strike should be called off. Meanwhile, as the strike at the premier institute entered its 104th day over the demand for Chauhan’s removal, actress Pallavi Joshi turned up at the FTII campus to declare her support for the protesters. Joshi was the first person to resign from the FTII Society expressing solidarity with the students. Talking to reporters, she said the government should consider setting up a committee of entertainment industry members to mediate and end the deadlock as it was “sad” to see the students resorting to hunger strike on the campus.She, however, asserted that Chauhan’s appointment, which triggered the agitation, should be scrapped and there cannot be “two ways” about it. FSA, meanwhile, refused to comment on the leaked content of the report submitted by the SM Khan Committee to I&B Ministry. The report is said to blame the students and faculty for the delay in the 2008 batch assessment and justifies FTII Director Prashant Pathrabe’s action in lodging a police complaint against the students who gheraoed him over the issue.The students had gheraoed Pathrabe in his office in mid- August demanding an explanation about the assessment of incomplete diploma film projects of the 2008 batch based on orders from the I&B Ministry.Asked about the response of the students to the letter written to FSA President Harishankar Nachimuthu by Joint Secretary in I&B Ministry, KS Murthy, asking him to suggest a date for talks, Pathrabe said he was not aware of any reply sent by the association.

Government firefights moments of embarrassment on eve of Narendra Modi visit to Silicon Valley

Draft encryption policy withdrawn. Many feel that the policy has strengthened the argument of Modi-bashers in the US

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad greets MoS Rajayavardhan Rathore as they leave after a Cabinet meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday

PTI
Though, the government on Tuesday withdrew a draft encryption policy that would have made it mandatory for storage of all electronic messages as well as registration of devices, the timing of its unveiling has been embarrassing.Highly placed sources in the government said while a policy to secure transactions and to prevent cyber crimes was long overdue, making it public at a time to coincide with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley has landed planners of his tour in a soup. Already, they are battling 130 US-based South Asian academics, who in a letter Silicon Valley scientists, have expressed concern over Modi’s Digital India Initiative, saying it was aimed at to conduct mass surveillance. PM is traveling to the Bay Area for a visit aimed at attracting investment in technology and electronics manufacturing in India.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even, the Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also admitted that some of the expressions used in the draft have given rise to uncalled-for misgivings, there is none in the government to explain, why timing was chosen, just days ahead of Modi’s US visit.Soon after it was unveiled, there was a flurry of activities within the PMO, Cabinet Secretariat as well as in the Ministry of external affairs to control damage and the impression that India was planing to snoop on its citizens. Many feel that the policy, even though just a draft, has not only strengthened argument of Modi-bashers in the US, but has also hit the country on diplomatic front as well.After 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, during previous UPA government, India had a series of back-and-forth demands to open up the encrypted data network of Blackberry and other networks so the security officials could inspect the messages. Union home ministry had been seeking interception solutions because it was learned that Pakistani terrorists had used mobile and satellite phones to coordinate the strikes. Currently, agencies submit name of the suspect to network companies, who in turn provide the decoded communication records of the customer. But this does not include their enterprise services.Generally, all messaging services like WhatsApp, Viber, Line, Google Chat, Yahoo Messenger and the like come with a high level of encryption and many a time, security agencies find it hard to intercept these messages. “Yesterday, it was brought to our notice that draft has been put in the public domain seeking comments. I wish to make it very clear that it is just a draft and not the view of the government. I have noted concerns expressed… by the public,” Prasad said.Congress party’s chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjiwala described it another sinister attempt by Modi government to control, subjugate and suppress the individual liberty. “If all data of an individual will be monitored and stored, if everything you say do browse, sent on the Internet will be stored and monitored, who will trust you and why should two individuals or agencies trust each other,” he said.But more than snooping on mails, the policy also stated that government will notify a list of encryption products and services and only these will be allowed to be used for businesses or communication in the country. Surjiwala said registration of communication products and services is an anti-thesis to Digital India as also to ease of doing business. He also questions what will the government do in case any operators outside India refuses to register? “Will you block them from this country forever?” he asked. What the draft saysAccording to the original draft, the new encryption policy proposes that every message a user sends – be it through WhatsApp, SMS, e-mail or any such service – must be stored in plain text format for 90 days and made available on demand to security agencies.The policy was proposed under section 84 A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 through an amendment in 2008. The sub-section 84 C, which was also introduced at around the same time, carries provisions of imprisonment for any violation of the Act.

FTII row: Striking students ready for talks tomorrow

The FSA, which has demanded removal of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan from the institute’s chairmanship, in its reply urged the ministry to convene a meeting tomorrow itself considering the hunger strike launched by a few students.
File Photo
Photo Courtesy: ANI Twitter
Possibility of a fresh round of talks between the Centre and striking FTII students brightened on Tuesday with the protesters saying they were ready to meet Information and Broadcasting Ministry officials at the institute’s campus tomorrow. The ministry had asked the students’ body to suggest a date for a dialogue with them to call off the strike, which entered the 103rd day, bringing academic activity on the campus to a standstill.”We received a letter from the Ministry (Information and Broadcasting) asking us to suggest a date for the meeting. They proposed us to call off the strike and have a dialogue,” Yashasvi Mishra, a representative of the FTII Students’ Association (FSA), said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The FSA, which has demanded removal of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan from the institute’s chairmanship, in its reply urged the ministry to convene a meeting tomorrow itself considering the hunger strike launched by a few students.”We replied to the letter, clearly expressing our serious concerns regarding the students on hunger strike and urged the government to get this meeting organised at the earliest. We have stated that the onus to help us call off the strike by resolving the issues lies with the government. We have urged the ministry to meet us at FTII campus tomorrow (September 23) in the light of the gravity of the hunger strike,” the FSA said in a statement.Meanwhile, a source in the Information and Broadcasting ministry said that there is a “likelihood that the meeting could be held at a place other than Delhi or Pune, though a decision is yet to be taken”.The students have been boycotting classes since June 12 and continuing their strike after failure of the July 3 first round of talks with the Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley in Delhi. Apart from Chauhan’s removal, they also demand “transparent mechanism” to appoint deserving persons to the FTII governing body.The strike acquired a political dimension with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi visiting the students and supporting the agitation. Several film personalities have also extended their support to the students.

Don’t delete your WhatsApp messages, emails. Govt wants to play peeping Tom!

If the policy formulated on encryption by the government is anything to go by, the Internet users will have to back up all encrypted data with plain text for 90 days.

dna
If the policy formulated on encryption by the government is anything to go by, the Internet users will have to back up all encrypted data with plain text for 90 days.What this implies is that instant messages and emails cannot be deleted, or a banking or an ecommerce transactions would have to be stored, for 90 days. If you don’t do it, you would be violating the IT law, of which the National Encryption Policy is expected to become part of. Legal action proposed in the Act even includes imprisonment.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Today, when someone sends you an email, only you and the sender can read it as its transit is in an encrypted format and no one else can read it. Since every messaging service and email, including WhatsApp and Gmail, use some form of encryption, this draft policy would cover almost all instant messages and emails.Nikhil Pahwa, editor of online news portal MediaNama, said that since there is no system for automatically saving the data in plain text, everyone would be violating the IT law, if the proposed policy is enforced. “Most people would not even know what plain text means,” he said.This bizarre draft policy prepared by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), under Section 84A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, has caught the attention of cyber security experts, who believe it is impractical and not feasible.Besides technical constraints to storing encrypted data in plain text, the proposed policy also compromises the security of internet users, Pahwa said.”It reduces the security that users are enjoying. National security is important as is the privacy of an individual. It also gives disproportionate powers over citizens. When kept in plain text, data can be manipulated and modified. When the encryption key is with the state, there is a potential threat of its misuse. The question is who will keep a watch on the watcher,” he said.The draft policy has been put on the DeitY’s website inviting public feedback. It talks of improving e-governance and e-commerce through better security and privacy measure but lays huge emphasis on national security, for which it proposes access to plain text of every internet user.Aakash Maharaj, who runs information security consultancy firm The AppSec Lab, said what is being suggested by DeitY would be impossible to implement anywhere in the world.”Whoever has drafted the policy has very low level of understanding of information security. It’s a stupid report. The state wants to become the keeper of secrets. It has also been done in an opaque manner,” he said.Pahwa said the whole debate on national security versus individual security was like the debate of traffic police versus commuters, where you employ traffic police to check every car.Mahajan said the storage of encrypted data in plain text would make businesses more vulnerable to information theft.”Software developers of most companies work on servers that are outside the country and the data is encrypted. If that is saved in plain text, a hacker does not need access to servers to steal data, just access to office would be enough to steal information,” he said.

Central Information Commission raps Environment Ministry for saying crucial files are ‘not traceable’

“Losing them and not expediting the process of tracing and providing that information is not proper on the part of public authority. It has infringed the right to information of the community and the planned legal action for preservation of wildlife and tribal rights kept pending with endless wait,” the Commissioner said.

The Central Information Commission has chided the Environment Ministry for its repeated response of “files not traceable” on key projects as it ordered disclosure of complete records related to wildlife clearance granted to Indira Sagar Polavaram Project in Andhra Pradesh.The Commission also awarded a compensation of Rs 15,000 for the RTI applicant who was not given information about the crucial project in a timely manner on the excuse of “files not being traceable” in the ministry.”The repeated answer of ‘files not traceable’ is reflecting disorganisation, and it is not acceptable in an RTI regime. There is no point in reiterating the same without implementing the direction of the First Appellate Authority,” Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said if the office of public authority has shifted to a comfortable premises, that should have provided enough scope and reason for organising files but not to lose the files.”The public authority has to own the responsibility for this kind of disorganisation of files. The complainant was kept waiting in bewildered belief that wildlife files would be traced as promised. But it was an endless wait for him even after he approached the CIC in second appeal,” he said.Acharyulu said the core function of the department is to conserve forest, secure wildlife and also preserve the files regarding those functions.”Losing them and not expediting the process of tracing and providing that information is not proper on the part of public authority. It has infringed the right to information of the community and the planned legal action for preservation of wildlife and tribal rights kept pending with endless wait,” the Commissioner said.Terming it is a “peculiar situation” when department had ordered disclosure of information which was still not provided to applicant D Suresh Kumar, the Commissioner said the appellant is compelled to come in second appeal because of its non-implementation besides not informing about the possibility of its implementation.”The Commission finds it a deserving situation to compensate the appellant who is filing RTI application in public interest, and award compensation of Rs 15,000 for causing loss and harassment by unreasonable and illegal claim of non-traceability of records, which is being used as shield to stall Right to Information of the appellants,” he said.

Niti Aayog’s administrative control over UIDAI shifted to IT Ministry

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) issues Aadhaar cards.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which issues Aadhaar cards, has been shifted to the administrative control of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology from Niti Aayog.The decision to shift UIDAI from Niti Aayog, which has replaced Planning Commission, has been taken keeping in mind the government’s ambitious ‘Digital India’ programme as the Aadhaar numbers are being linked with several services, official sources said.The issuance of Aadhaar cards, started by the then UPA government, has come under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court which recently held that the card would not be mandatory for availing benefits of government’s welfare schemes.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Cabinet Secretariat has amended Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 and put it under Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeITy), Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, a notification issued by the government said.Earlier, UIDAI was the part of Planning Commission. Niti Aayog is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its chairperson. Aadhaar is a 12-digit individual identification number issued by UIDAI.

FTII students ready for talks without preconditions

Pune: After nearly 100 days of agitation against Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment as FTII chairman, possibility of resolution of the impasse today brightened with the protesting students saying they were ready for talks with the government without any preconditions.

Representational image. Naresh Sharma/FirstpostRepresentational image. Naresh Sharma/Firstpost

Representational image. Naresh Sharma/Firstpost

In response to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s letter to the FTII Students’ Association expressing its willingness to have a fresh round of dialogue “without any preconditions”, the students’ body replied saying, “We are positive about the prospective meeting and respect their expectation of not having any preconditions but also expect the ministry to not have preconditions from their side as well.”

Circulating its reply to the letter addressed to FSA president Harishankar Nachimuthu by I&B Joint Secretary K S Murthy, the association’s representative Ranjit Nair said here, “Hopefully the date and location (of talks) will be decided soon by the JS.”

The response of the striking students who have questioned TV actor and BJP member Chauhan’s credentials to head the institute follows informal talks with FSA representatives by senior BJP leader Madhav Bhandari who met them on the campus yesterday.

Meanwhile, the hunger strike by the students in a make- shift pandal continued with the protesters getting admitted to hospital and discharged periodically on medical advice.

PTI

PM Modi’s trip costs $3,73,000 to Canadian taxpayers: Report

ime Minister Narendra Modi’s three-day visit to Canada earlier this year cost Canadian taxpayers 3,73,000 dollars, including 80,000 dollars on receptions and 1,06,400 dollars on a motorcade, according to a media report.

AFP
ime Minister Narendra Modi’s three-day visit to Canada earlier this year cost Canadian taxpayers 3,73,000 dollars, including 80,000 dollars on receptions and 1,06,400 dollars on a motorcade, according to a media report.The cost of Modi’s trip to Canada from April 15, the first official visit by an Indian prime minister in more than 40 years, were provided to ‘The Huffington Post Canada’ under the Access to Information Act.The expenses included 10,448 dollars on hotel rooms, 30,000 dollars on audio visual equipment, 21,708 dollars on unspecified consultants, 73,213 dollars on public servants’ travel, 14,790 dollars on health services, 3,65,654 dollars on flowers and wreaths, 1,584 dollars on gifts, 5,981 dollars on interpreters and translation and 75 dollars for a flag.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bill did not include security costs, the report said.The largest expense on a gathering at an arena in downtown Toronto, at which Canadian Prime Minister and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper spoke to 10,000 members of the Indo-Canadian community and Modi was feted, was however not borne by Canadian taxpayers but by private citizens and businesses.The event at the Ricoh Coliseum cost about 600,000 dollars, National Alliance of Indo-Canadians’ President Azad Kumar Kaushik told HuffPost.The event became controversial as it gave a political boost to Progressive Conservative Party (PCP) MP Patrick Brown, who was campaigning for leadership of Ontario province.Kaushik, however, said, “We did not look at it from an electoral perspective. Our goal was to create bonding between India and Canada.”He said by organising this mega reception for Modi, the group wanted to promote enhanced investment and business opportunities, as well as remind the Indian government that Canada is home to an important diaspora whose needs should not be ignored.Meanwhile, Timmins James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson has demanded that Brown, who is now leader of the Progressive Conservatives, should pay taxpayers back for some of the cost of the Modi visit.”You can’t have somebody do a political activity and then have it paid by the state,” Bisson said.”It was a pretty big thing for Brown’s leadership bid, to have this person show up, and say he’s my boy, especially in the community that he was trying to get all kinds of memberships signed up to,” he said.
Bisson said he welcomed Modi’s visit to Canada but felt Brown should repay some of the travel and security costs that taxpayers bore to help him campaign.

FTII stalemate nears 100 days: Centre makes fresh offer to students for talks over Chauhan’s appointment

New Delhi/Pune: As the impasse over actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment as FTII head nears 100 days, the Centre today made a fresh offer to the striking students for talks but without preconditions.

The offer by the Information and Broadcasting ministry was made even as senior BJP leader Madhav Bhandari held informal talks with students’ representatives today amid the continuing relay hunger strike by three protesters at the campus of the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune.

In a letter addressed to FTII Students Association (FSA) President Harishankar Nachimuthu, the ministry said that on previous occasions progress towards ending the currrent stalemate could not take place because students had gone back and laid stiff preconditions. The letter was written by Joint Secretary (Films) K Sanjay Murthy.

Emphasising that the ministry is fully conscious of the seminal role FTII has played in shaping Indian Cinema, Murthy said that in case the students are keen to end the impasse they can contact him.

Gajendra Chauhan. AFPGajendra Chauhan. AFP

Gajendra Chauhan. AFP

“In case you are keen to end the stalemate and resume the academics, you are welcome to discuss the issues with the Ministry without any preconditions,” he said. The impasse entered the 97th day today with the students insisting on removal of Chauhan.

The letter mentions that one of the interactive sessions “at the highest levels within this ministry” was held on July 25, in the presence of Nachimuthu and well meaning interlocutors Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Raju Hirani.

The letter noted that a few days later, an email was sent to the ministry on July 31 by the FSA “laying down stiff preconditions” which were not in consonance with extant FTII rules and squandered the progress made in the meeting.

For the ministry, the engagement on July 25 was a “leap of faith and a sincere attempt to move forward, it said. It adds that Director FTII Prashant Pathrabe reinitiated the dialogue on September 1, but once again another communication similar to the tone and tenor of the email sent on July 31 was sent stalling progress.

This communication also completely bypassed the paradigms of the possible settlement reached on July 25, the Ministry official’s letter to the students said. “This was indeed a disappointment from the point of view of the Government,” it added.

“Ministry has also been given to understand that atleast on one occassion the representatives of the students, resiled on the commitments made by them to the interlocutors in Mumbai within less than twelve hours of the dialogue,” the letter said, adding that pressure has been sought to be built up by an array of tactics.

The ministry said that for a dialogue to be meaningful and successful, it has to be appreciated that unilaterally one side posturing can never be a precondition of any negotiations or dialogue.

“It is also to be appreciated that all such dialogues can take place in a harmonious and conducive surroundings/ atmosphere only when the day to day rhetoric and posturing are avoided,” Murthy writes in the letter.

In Pune, Bhandari, who is the chief BJP spokesman in Maharashtra, told PTI, “My visit and talks were in personal capacity during which I tried to find a common meeting ground to end the strike. When there are negotiations to discuss the issues raised, a give and take approach and not a rigid one matters.”

PTI

Netaji Bose death mystery deepens, secret files deny official proof of leader’s death: reports

The Information and Broadcasting ministry in 1949 sent a letter to the family saying that the freedom fighter could very well be alive at that time and that Indian espionage agencies were aware of it, reports CNN-IBN.

Will the Gumnami Baba theory turn out to be true?

File Photo
With the Congress government denying to declassify files on the controversial issue on the freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s death and the Modi government dragging its feet on the same, the issue gets murkier as the day goes by.As per a TV news channel, secret files accessed by them have said that there is no official proof that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose died in the Taipei plane crash in 1945.The Information and Broadcasting ministry in 1949 sent a letter to the family saying that the freedom fighter could very well be alive at that time and that Indian espionage agencies were aware of it, reports CNN-IBN.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Citing the secret files, the channel says that British and American agencies did not believe that Netaji had died. The information was sent to the British Embassy in Turkey to British Foreign Office and was confirmed by Anglo Indian agents. The channel’s report adds that the best of the Anglo-Indian spies failed to give concrete proof of his death.Perhaps there some truth will come our after West Bengal government to make its files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose public from next Friday, September 18. With this decision, as many as 64 files on Subhash Chandra Bose with the state government will be declassified. Or it could open a can of worms for the Congress party who have been criticised for not bringing clarity on the issue.

FTII row: Not leaving post, ready to mediate, says Gajendra Chauhan

Notwithstanding protests over his appointment as chairman of Film and Television Institute of India, Gajendra Chauhan says he is not ready to leave the position but expressed his willingness to mediate between the agitating students and the government.

Gajendra Chauhan

dna Research & Archives
Notwithstanding protests over his appointment as chairman of Film and Television Institute of India, Gajendra Chauhan says he is not ready to leave the position but expressed his willingness to mediate between the agitating students and the government.FTII students have been protesting against the government’s decision for more than 90 days now.Intensifying their agitation, three students have gone on an indefinite hunger strike to press their demand for the removal of Chauhan as the chairman of the prestigious institution.The 58-year-old veteran actor says hunger strike is not any solution to the crisis and students should connect with the Union Information and Broadcasting ministry to sort out the issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When asked whether he was thinking of leaving the post to end the impasse, he told PTI, “I am not an irresponsible person. The moment ministry will give me the directive to join, I will join and start my work. I have said a number of times that we should sit down across the table, sort the issue and work together. I am open to reaching out to the students.I am ready to even mediate between students and the government.””Strike is not a solution. Students should have a dialogue with the ministry and sort out their problems. I am a responsible person in life. Government of India has given me some responsibility and I am ready to fulfill that.” Chauhan is best known for his portrayal of Yudhisthira in the mythological television series, “Mahabharat”.

Won’t leave FTII chairman post, but willing to mediate between students, govt: Gajendra Chauhan

New Delhi: Notwithstanding protests over his appointment as chairman of Film and Television Institute of India, Gajendra Chauhan says he is not ready to leave the position but expressed his willingness to mediate between the agitating students and the government.

FTII chairman Gajendra Chauhan. PTI

FTII chairman Gajendra Chauhan. PTI

FTII students have been protesting against the government’s decision for more than 90 days now.

Intensifying their agitation, three students have gone on an indefinite hunger strike to press their demand for the removal of Chauhan as the chairman of the prestigious institution.

The 58-year-old veteran actor says hunger strike is not any solution to the crisis and students should connect with the Union Information and Broadcasting ministry to sort out the issue.

When asked whether he was thinking of leaving the post to end the impasse, he told PTI, “I am not an irresponsible person. The moment ministry will give me the directive to join, I will join and start my work. I have said a number of times that we should sit down across the table, sort the issue and work together. I am open to reaching out to the students. I am ready to even mediate between students and the government.”

“Strike is not a solution. Students should have a dialogue with the ministry and sort out their problems. I am a responsible person in life. Government of India has given me some responsibility and I am ready to fulfill that.”

Chauhan is best known for his portrayal of Yudhisthira in the mythological television series, “Mahabharat”.

PTI

Hindi a link between ancient civilisation and modernity: Pranab Mukherjee

Our efforts should be to increase the use of Hindi in science and technology, so that participation of all, including the rural population, can be ensured in the progress of the countr

“Hope, Hindi will soon get the recognition of the official language of the United Nations,” he said.

President Pranab Mukherjee on Mnday described Hindi as a link between the country’s ancient civilisation and modern progress and hoped that it will soon get recognition as the official language of the United Nations. Addressing a function organised on the occasion of ‘Hindi Divas’, the President said Hindi has achieved a number of milestones since Independence and it is credited to be the vehicle of Indian thought and culture. “The language is also a link between our traditional knowledge, ancient civilisation and modern progress. Our efforts should be to increase the use of Hindi in science and technology, so that participation of all, including the rural population, can be ensured in the progress of the country,” he said after conferring awards to individuals and government organisations for taking special efforts for promotion of Hindi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mukherjee said Hindi has its own imprint on the fast changing global economic scenario as millions of Indian diaspora around the world are using Hindi as a link language and this has given a new identification to Hindi at the international level. “I am sure that with our joint effort, Hindi will soon get the recognition of the official language of the United Nations,” he said.The President said it was essential that simple translation of literature pertaining to technical knowledge is made available in Hindi and other Indian languages. He said he was happy to note that in offices, the use of Hindi in Information Technology is increasing.The President congratulated the award winners for their commendable work in Hindi and urged everyone to come together to propagate the use of Hindi.