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Saradha scam: Madan Mitra’s bail plea rejected, custody extended till January 14

Mitra’s frail health condition was another reason why he be granted bail, his counsel said. The counsel for CBI argued that there “is not such change of circumstance” and opposed Mitra’s bail plea.

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Also ReadIndiaSaradha scam: Madan Mitra’s bail plea rejected, custody extended till January 14IndiaSnag forces RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to travel in non-bullet proof car in KochiIndiaPM Modi wants bureaucrats to give ideas for ‘transformative change’IndiaOdd-even scheme will fail, AAP looking for escape route, says BJPIndiaCPI(M) plenum ends, party bats for ‘flexible tactics’ to deal with emerging political situationsIndiaFrom Dadri to Yakub Memon’s death: 16 things India outraged about in 2015 <!– /.block –>

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CPI(M) plenum ends, party bats for ‘flexible tactics’ to deal with emerging political situations

What happened now to make them talk about another alliance? They want to replicate the model of a civic body poll in the state Assembly election. It is a ridiculous proposition!” Chatterjee told reporters here.

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Also ReadIndiaOdd-even formula: Car pooling for senior officers in Home MinistryIndiaSaradha scam: Madan Mitra’s bail plea rejected, custody extended till January 14IndiaSnag forces RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to travel in non-bullet proof car in KochiIndiaPM Modi wants bureaucrats to give ideas for ‘transformative change’IndiaOdd-even scheme will fail, AAP looking for escape route, says BJPIndiaCPI(M) plenum ends, party bats for ‘flexible tactics’ to deal with emerging political situations <!– /.block –>

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Coastal road clears major hurdle, Fadnavis thanks PM Modi

As first reported by dna, the 35.6-km coastal road project between Nariman Point and Kandivli has got a go-ahead from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests as it issued a notification to implement this big-ticket project.On Wednesday, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted, “Thank you @narendramodi ji & @PrakashJavdekar ji for issuing notification allowing Coastal Road construction. Its dream come true for Mumbaikars.”As per the notification issued on Wednesday by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change for amending Coastal Regulatory Zone Notification, 2011, reclamation may be permitted for “roads, mass rapid or multimodal transit system…”The project has been facing stiff opposition from environmentalists, resident groups and transport activists in Mumbai on various counts – right from damaging the environment, to the project being looked at as promoting ownership of private vehicles instead of diverting the same funds for improving public transportation systems in congested Mumbai.The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will implement the project, pegged at Rs9,000 crore. Funds for this is already being collected by the civic body through Fungible Floor Space Index (FSI).The project, when ready, will considerably save travel time. Presently, it takes above two hours to travel between Kandivli and Nariman Point, but on the Coastal Freeway it will be well within 45 minutes.dna had on April 7 reported about the state government’s plan to scrap chain of sea-links on the western coast of Mumbai for Coastal Road.Meanwhile, chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya informed dna that the proposal for the planned Navi Mumbai International Airport would also receive sanctions from Union as well as State governments in the month of January.He added that the Cabinet note for the airport project is also ready and since it involved permissions from Civil Aviation department, it has been sent to the Union government for necessary approvals. “We are hopeful that the airport project would be cleared in the month of January after which works on phase one would commence,” said Kshatriya. The first phase, which involves building a capacity of 10 million passengers, would be created in three years’ time. Later, the capacity would be augmented to 60 million passengers.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Hyderabad becomes first airport to offer e-boarding facility to domestic fliers

Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) at Hyderabad became the first airport in India to go live on e-boarding for all domestic passengers. On Monday, Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju inaugurated seamless E-boarding facility, built in-house by GMR Hyderabad Airport Limited (GHIAL).After getting the approval from Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) under the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) in August 2015, GHIAL implemented the E-boarding process for all domestic passengers at RGIA. With this, the airport has embarked on providing a whole new experience to the domestic passengers. The innovative end-to-end E-boarding process has triggered a paradigm shift in air passenger handling process in the country. E-boarding solution at RGIA fully eliminates the need to manual stamping of boarding cards even for physical boarding cards issued by CUSS (Common Use Self Service) machines or the check-in counters. Further, it covers end-to-end all the key passenger processes at the airport viz. starting from entry to terminal and including check-in, security check, boarding gate and finally the boarding bridge check before entering the aircraft.With the implementation of E-boarding at RGIA, now a domestic passenger flying from the airport will need only a mobile E-boarding card and his Aadhaar Card Number to gain entry into the airport. However, the system is equally compatible with other conventional modes as well and one can use the boarding card issued by CUSS machine or check-in counters also. Further, fliers would have flexibility to follow the traditional process of showing a photo-ID to gain entry into the airport in case the Aadhaar number is not available.The process leads to ‘Enhanced Security’ where in passenger details are checked online with Airline DCS (Departure Control System) at Main Entry and Security Hold area for Authenticity thereby avoiding fake entries. Availability of High Definition CCTV cameras at strategic locations ensures a high level of security. This automated facility promises a better environment as it is paperless and requires lesser manual interface. From entry into the terminal, to boarding the aircraft, a passenger needs to only use E-boarding card. Movement through this channels ensures that the passenger’s movements are tracked electronically (with timestamp) and through dedicated HD CCTV cameras at each of these checkpoints. This enhances the security at the airport by adding an extra layer of technologically advanced tracking to the existing security apparatus.The process of E-boarding is seamless and integrated with the passengers’ name list from the airline. This also makes it very easy to check whether the passenger is actually at the airport or not. Timings of the entry to the airport and the other touch points are recorded, which help RGIA to continuously enhance its operational efficiency. Since the entry through E-boarding is time bound and guided as per regulations, the E-Boarding Reader machine does not allow the passengers inside the terminal before the stipulated time, thus reducing congestion inside the airport.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

In yet another life-saving mission, Coast Guard rescues eight crew members from distressed ship

All crew members were examined by the medical team of Coast Guard and found to be fit. The dhow is being monitored by ICGS Samrat and rescued crew are being brought to Mumbai, the spokesperson said.

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PM Modi visits Russia’s premier crisis management centre

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The NCMC is a multi-level coordination centre designed to provide inter-agency coordination and alert the people about the threat of emergency situations.

Modi at Russia’s EMERCOM

Photo courtesy: MEA Twitter handle
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday visited Russia’s premier crisis management centre which deals with emergency situations and ensures coordination among various relevant agencies. The Prime Minister spent around half-an-hour at the National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC), popularly known as EMERCOM, the short form of Emergency Control Ministry. Modi was briefed about round-the-clock functioning of various wings of the agency. “A morning for learning. PM @narendramodi takes a tour of EMERCOM, a state of the art crisis management facility ready for emergency response. 240000 employees from EMERCOM are on operational duty daily, using 62000 equipment units,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The NCMC is a multi-level coordination centre designed to provide inter-agency coordination and alert the people about the threat of emergency situations. The capabilities of the NCMC include state-of-art real time monitoring, data collection, analysis and modelling. It uses global navigation satellite systems and global monitoring technologies based on remote sensing to provide real time data and assistance to people as well as various agencies during emergency situations. The NCMC processes information from across Russia and is capable of monitoring industrial facilities, crowded areas, tsunami threats, other natural disasters etc. As the number of cross-border emergencies is constantly increasing, international cooperation is a priority for the NCMC, which includes information exchange with international organisations and emergency call services of foreign emergency management agencies, international operations and international humanitarian assistance. The Prime Minister arrived here for a two-day visit yesterday, his first bilateral trip here after assuming the top office.

Use intel to check terror designs along Nepal, Bhutan borders: Rajnath Singh to SSB forces

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SSB was tasked to guard these frontiers more than a decade ago in 2001 after it’s control was taken out from the external intelligence agency RAW and entrusted to the Union Home Ministry.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday asked the troops of border guarding force SSB to sharpen their snooping skills and ensure that terrorist groups are not able to “gather” or carry out their nefarious anti-India designs along borders with Nepal and Bhutan. Addressing officers and jawans of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) at the forces’ camp here on the occasion of their 52nd Raising Day, he said a robust and sharp intelligence system is the “most important weapon” along these sensitive two borders which are open and not fenced, keeping in view India’s friendly relations with them. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>SSB was tasked to guard these frontiers more than a decade ago in 2001 after it’s control was taken out from the external intelligence agency RAW and entrusted to the Union Home Ministry. “I have a firm belief that being a border guarding force you will be successful in stopping any type of anti-national and criminal activity along Nepal and Bhutan borders. You have had a speciality, that is your intelligence system. Based on your experiences and good work, you will have to make it (snoop capabilities) better so that this system is able to render a more important role in the near future. “I believe that along the sensitive and open Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders, intelligence is the most important weapon for crime control. This force has to render exceptional service to not only render its new tasks but also keep in mind its duties it did before 2001,” he said indicating to the force to smartly gel its snooping skills with the task of border guarding.The Home Minister said the paramilitary has to take special care and use its snoop machinery to check “unwanted activities on these two borders so that anti-social elements and terrorist groups are not able to gather there and are not able to carry out any untoward incident” against India. As part of strengthening SSB’s intel mechanism, Singh said his ministry was “seriously” examining a latest proposal sent by the force to extend facilities to its “non-uniformed” cadres on par with the uniformed and armed component. The about 80,000-personnel strong force has less than 3,000 men and women who render civic action work and help in spreading nationalistic values and messages amongst border population to counter anti-India propaganda.There have been incidents in the past when these unarmed personnel were fatally targeted by insurgents and militants as they had no cover and facilities like that of the men in uniform.

PM Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold talks, sign pacts today on key areas

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The meeting took place hours after Modi arrived in Moscow to a red carpet welcome. Putin also hosted a private dinner for Modi.

Modi and Putin

PM Modi and Vladimir Putin will hold 16th India-Russia annual summit talks on Thursday at the Kremlin following which the two sides are expected to sign a number of pacts to expand cooperation in a number of key areas including defence, nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and trade.Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on Wednesday night hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin for a private tete-a-tete at the Kremlin during which the two leaders touched upon issues of mutual interest for both countries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The meeting took place hours after Modi arrived in Moscow to a red carpet welcome. Putin also hosted a private dinner for Modi.”Building Druzhba-Dosti over dinner. President Putin hosts a private tete-a-tete for PM,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted along with pictures of the two leaders shaking hands.The talks between the two countries, bound by “special and privileged strategic ties”, have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000.In the nuclear energy sector, India is expected to offer a site in Andhra Pradesh to set up units five and six of Kudankulam nuclear power plant.The new plants will be in sync with broad principles of ‘Make in India’ initiative and a decision in this regard is likely to be finalised tomorrow.It is expected that both countries will seal a number of defence deals as well.Last week, India’s Defence Ministry’s top acquisition council had cleared the purchase of Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems at an estimated cost of Rs 40,000 crore and there may be an announcement of the deal tomorrow besides a few others.Besides bilateral issues, Modi and Putin are likely to deliberate on a number of global issues having political dimensions including the situation in Syria and ways to tackle terrorism.It will be Modi’s second summit with Putin who had travelled to New last year for the 15th India-Russia Summit.

442 people convicted for 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi: Government

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Chaudhary said the rehabilitation package of 2006 provided ex-gratia payment in case of death, injury, damaged residential properties and damaged uninsured commercial, industrial properties and other assistance to the victims of 1984 riots.

Representational image.

442 people have been convicted so far by various courts of Delhi in connection with the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday.Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said the Home Ministry has constituted a Special Investigation Team to re-investigate serious criminal cases which were filed in the National Capital Territory of Delhi in connection with the 1984 riots and have since been closed.SIT will examine the records of such cases afresh, he said.Chaudhary said the rehabilitation package of 2006 provided ex-gratia payment in case of death, injury, damaged residential properties and damaged uninsured commercial, industrial properties and other assistance to the victims of 1984 riots.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>So far, the Home Ministry has reimbursed an amount of Rs 154.54 crore to the government of NCT of Delhi under this package, he said.The Minister said the central government has also sanctioned additional compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of those who were killed in the 1984 riots.The Government of NCT has reported that they have distributed an amount of Rs 73,53,24,000 to the families of victims, he said.

BSF plane crash: Biggest ever loss for the force

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As per records, early today at 9:45 am, a call from a satellite-based device was received at the Palam hangar about some “mis-happening” with the now ill-fated plane, registered as VT-BSA, and at 9:50 am the ATC Palam confirmed that the aircraft has “crashed” in Dwarka

Parts of the crashed plane

With ten of its most experienced men being killed in a tragic crash on Tuesday, the elite BSF air wing is staring at one of its biggest losses and a vacuum created in its ranks raised exclusively for air support roles for troops deployed to ensure the internal security of the country.The three officers and other technicians and engineers flying the lone 1995 vintage Superking B-200 of the Border Security Force were also trained to handle the most modern asset the force has inducted recently in its inventory – the Mi-17 V5. This advanced ‘Mi’ chopper is equipped with an all- weather radar that makes it the most reliable machine for extricating troops and inserting commandos for operations in dense jungles and high-altitude any time of the day and during darkness and bad weather.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The six technicians who were killed were trained to take care of the Mi-17 V5’s inducted recently. While two such choppers have just been inducted early this year, six more will come in batches in the BSF airwing. “The choppers are required to cater to the increasing usage and role of security forces deployed along difficult border areas and in the internal security grid,” a senior official said. These men whom we have lost today, the official said, were experienced and had in-depth knowledge of these assets entrusted with the largest border guarding force of the country.”They were going to service a Dhruv chopper stationed in Ranchi,” another official said. The official said the crash in Dwarka has come as the biggest ever hit to this small unit which has about 30 flying machines, including helicopters and fixed wing aircrafts, and about 200 personnel. “There have been crashes of choppers earlier which has not only led to loss of the asset but has also killed pilots and crew in the line of duty but this is a jolt,” the official said. The intake in the air wing is already less, the official said, considering the specialised nature of the job and difficulty in getting talented personnel and officers from other forces and the Indian Air Force.”The crash has come at a time when the BSF is completing 50 years in the service of the nation. It already has a number of challenges to meet vis-a-vis keeping the two most important borders of the country with Pakistan and Bangaldesh secure and this accident is surely a big test of nerves for the top brass and the government,” another official serving in the wing said.As per records, early today at 9:45 am, a call from a satellite-based device was received at the Palam hangar about some “mis-happening” with the now ill-fated plane, registered as VT-BSA, and at 9:50 am the ATC Palam confirmed that the aircraft has “crashed” in Dwarka. The BSF air wing has a fleet of four fixed wing aircraft, one Embraer, two Avros and the crashed Superking (SKA B-200).Besides 15 helicopters consisting of six MI-17 1V, two advanced Mi-17 V5 choppers, six Advance Light Helicopters (Dhruv) and one Cheetah helicopter operate under the command of Home Ministry. The Superking was inducted in 1994-95 in the border guarding force for air support roles

Govt recommends traditional medicine practitioners for Medical Termination of Pregnancy

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Minister of State for AYUSH, Shripad Yesso Naik maintained that the conditionality regarding place of service delivery, training requirement, gestation limit, technology would be defined in the Rules subsequent to approval of the MTP Amendment Bill by Parliament.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
The Health Ministry has proposed an amendment to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act and recommended inclusion of medical practitioners with degrees in traditional medicine to increase the availability of legal abortion services, Rajya Sabha was told on Tuesday.”The Union Health Ministry has proposed an amendment to the MTP Act, 1971 to increase the availability of safe and legal abortion services wherein it is being recommended to increase the base of legal MTP providers…This is proposed to be done “by including medical practitioners with Bachelor’s degree in Unani, Siddha, Ayurveda or Homeopathy and working in public health sector using medical methods of abortion,” Minister of State for AYUSH, Shripad Yesso Naik said in a written reply.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, he said that the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) have objected to inclusion of new cadres of providers. Naik said that they are opposed to allowing non-allopaths to ‘prescribe’ allopathic medicines and perform allopathic procedures.”The Health Ministry has invited the IMA and FOGSI representatives to provide a solution for ensuring safe abortion services for women in rural remote areas where there is no allopathic doctor to which, however, no solution has been offered,” he said.He said that the ministry has proposed to allow these practitioners in public facilities in the expanded provider base to conduct MTPs using medical methods of abortion.Naik maintained that the conditionality regarding place of service delivery, training requirement, gestation limit, technology would be defined in the Rules subsequent to approval of the MTP Amendment Bill by Parliament.Replying to another question, he said that as per information provided by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TDKL) consists of 2.93 lakh medical formulations of Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha available in public domain in five international languages while work on TDKL Yoga is under progress.Naik said that ten international access agreements on TDKL have been concluded with US Patent and Trademark Office, Patent offices of Europe, Canada, Germany, Japan, the UK, Australia, Malaysia and Chile including Indian Patent office. He said that the Russian Patent office has approached India for entering into TDKL access agreement and the negotiations are in advance stage. He said that the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has informed that a proposal has been moved for signing access agreement with World Intellectual Property Organisation to include TDKL under Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) Minimum Documentation to prevent the misappopriation of traditional knowledge through wrongful grant of patents in other countries.

Delhi HC junks PIL seeking freeze on BJP’s lotus symbol

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Lotus represents the manifestation of God, and is also a symbol of purity and tenderness, the plea said.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea seeking freezing of BJP’s election symbol “Lotus” on the ground that it “represents the manifestation of God” and its use during elections was “illegal”.”There is no public interest involved in it,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said.”You (petitioner) came after 35 years,” the court said, adding that “this was done long back in 1980, since then what were you doing”.The court also took into consideration the submissions made by the counsel for central government, advocate Nagender Benipal, who said that similar petitions have been dismissed by the high court earlier, which was later upheld by the Supreme Court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The NGO, in its plea said, “Direct respondent no.1 and 2 (Ministry of Law and Justice and Election Commission of India) to remove Lotus from list of free and unrestricted symbol of poll panel as well as from the election symbol of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the interest of national Justice.”Lotus represents the manifestation of God, and is also a symbol of purity and tenderness, the plea added.

Government defends house allotment to Subramanian Swamy, says non-MPs have got bungalows in the past too

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Defending the Modi government’s decision to allot a bungalow to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, the Urban Development Ministry on Sunday said houses had been to non-MPs for security reasons even in the past.

Defending the Modi government’s decision to allot a bungalow to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, the Urban Development Ministry on Sunday said houses had been to non-MPs for security reasons even in the past.”Government bungalows have been allotted to even non-MPs in the past on grounds of security,” a senior UD Ministry official said.According to the UD Ministry list, those provided government houses on security grounds include Priyanka Gandhi who was allotted 35, Lodi Estate in February 1997. Former Punjab police chief KPS Gill was allotted 11, Talkatora Road in April 1996, while ex-Youth Congress chief MS Bitta was allotted 14, Talkatora Road in June 1996.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader Jagdish Tytler was given house at 3, GRG Road, in December 2006 which he vacated in 2015.According to the list, Ashwini Kumar, Editor, Punjab Keshri was allotted a government accommodation in June 1998.Buta Singh was allotted 11-A, Teen Murti Marg in February 2006 on security ground.Ashwini Kumar vacated government accomodation in 2012 and Tytler in 2015, while all others are still occupying the bungalows allotted to them.Congress had alleged that Swamy was given Z category security and allotted a government bungalow on grounds of security despite not being an MP or hailing from a troubled border state as “reward” for suing top Congress leadership including party chief Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul in the National Herald case.”He is not facing any threat from any terrorist organisation….The bungalow was given as an award for dragging the Congress leadership to court,” Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad had said.

Exaggeration of figures about children benefiting from Mid Day Meal scheme: CAG

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In a report tabled in the Parliament on Friday the CAG also found that often food was being prepared in unhygienic conditions exposing children to health hazards.
File Photo

With practices like “fudging” of data and “inflated” costs prevailing, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found there is an “institutionalised exaggeration” of figures about children benefiting from Mid Day Meal (MDM) scheme.In a report tabled in the Parliament on Friday the CAG also found that often food was being prepared in unhygienic conditions exposing children to health hazards.The auditor also observed a trend as per which the enrolment of children in schools providing mid-day meals is showing a “consistent” decline which it said indicates that more and more people are seeking better education and not just food.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CAG in the report said the mechanism in place for assimilating data on the number of children availing meals was seriously compromised and the percentage of actual children as gathered from various sources was consistently lower than that furnished by the states to the HRD Ministry.The audit, it said “evidenced an institutional exaggeration of figures” regarding students taking meals, “irregular diversion or theft of grains, inflated transportation costs and fudging of data which point to widespread leakages.”The data it suggested should be examined through independent checks and a system of surprise checks should be introduced.In its report the CAG also said that from 14.69 crore in 2009-10, the number of children enrolled in schools covered by the MDM scheme has come down to 13.87 crore, while enrolment of children in private schools had gone up from 4.02 crore to 5.53 crore.”Clear trends were noticed, which demonstrated that the meal served its purpose only when the expectation of the parents, with respect to good education for their wards, was fulfilled,” the CAG said in its report.The audit also found was that most states had not formulated any criteria to identify poor children belonging to disadvantaged sections, whom the scheme aims to benefit. As a result this objective remained on paper only, it said.

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

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

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

Suspicious drone near Delhi airport: Cops announce reward for information on accused

On October 27, a UAV, which the police called a suspicious drone, was spotted multiple times near the airport, following which a case was registered under relevant sections of the suppression of unlawful acts against safety of civil aviation Act and the IPC, said a senior police official.
Representational Image

Delhi Police on Thursday announced a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh for any information on the accused who operated a suspicious unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) near the IGI Airport in October.On October 27, a UAV, which the police called a suspicious drone, was spotted multiple times near the airport, following which a case was registered under relevant sections of the suppression of unlawful acts against safety of civil aviation Act and the IPC, said a senior police official.Following the incident, the Union Home Ministry had asked several agencies, including Delhi Police, to submit a detailed report on the case. However, no clue about the drone operator could be found till date, despite security agencies taking several measures and conducting meetings.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Police particularly had conducted several meetings with heads of villages near the IGI Airport, but nothing came out of those meetings so far, leading to the announcement of the reward, said a police source.”Today, the police commissioner announced a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh in connection with the case. It will come into force with immediate effect for the person(s)… who render any help to trace and arrest the accused person,” the senior official added.

External Affairs Ministry releases picture of Geeta, urges nation to help find her parents

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“We would also circulate this picture of Geeta through the public broadcasters so that if anyone who knows Geeta find this photograph , they can come forward and help us,” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday released a picture of Geeta, the hearing and speech-impaired young woman who had returned to India recently over a decade after inadvertently crossing into Pakistan and asked the media to help them in finding her parents. “We appeal to everyone including the media to help us find the parents of Geeta. We would also circulate this picture of Geeta through the public broadcasters so that if anyone who knows Geeta find this photograph , they can come forward and help us,” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup told the media. “Geeta doesn’t have pictures of herself when she was a teenager. Based on the information we got from Geeta we have taken her picture. This is an actual picture, not a photo-shopped one of Geeta as she would have looked when she was living India,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Swarup also said that the photograph was taken up in a photo studio. “The only thing is Geeta as her parents would have remembered her, we have tried to bring the same look of Geeta when she was a teenager,” he added.”This is our best bet and we hope that those who can ‘recognize her as she looked back then can come forward and we still remain hopeful that Geeta can be reunited with her family,” he further said.

Defence Acquisition Council okays purchase of Russian air defence missile systems

Defence Ministry sources said that the step has been taken to enhance the national air defence capacity.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar
File Photo
AFP photo
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia, Defence Ministry’s top acquisition council on Thursday cleared the purchase of an estimated Rs 40,000 crore Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems, besides giving the go-ahead to other projects worth over Rs 25,000 crore. Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, has decided to buy 5 units of the S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems that are capable of destroying incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones within a range of up to 400 km.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Ministry sources said that the step has been taken to enhance the national air defence capacity. “The price discovery will happen hereafter,” a source said when asked how much would the system cost.Industry estimates have suggested that the missile system will cost about Rs 40,000 crore. India will be the second buyer of the missile system after China if the deal goes through. It is expected that the deal would be a government-to- government one and could see a forward movement during Modi’s visit to Russia next week.The S400 Triumf is designed to knock down flying targets including those equipped with stealth technologies, at a distance of about 400 kms. It is also capable of taking out ballistic missiles and hypersonic targets.Compared with its predecessor, the S-300, the new S-400 has a 2.5 times faster firing rate. This is the most modern, air defence system in the Russian arsenal. The DAC also gave the Acceptance of Necessity to Army’s proposal for the purchase of six regiments of the Pinaka rocket system under the ‘Make in India’ category for Rs 14,600 crore. Each regiment of the Pinaka comes with 18 launchers and every launcher has the capability of firing 12 rockets at the same time.Tata Power SED, Larsen & Toubro and state-run BEML will be providing the system. The DAC also directed the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to continue with its process of making improved Pinaka system as it has proved to be a potent and proud indigenous product.Army’s demand for 571 light bullet-proof vehicles to be used in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations was also cleared at a cost of Rs 310 crore. The army currently uses Mahindra jeeps. The DAC also gave the go-ahead for the purchase of 120 trawls to be used on Russia-origin T-72 and T-90 tanks under “Buy Global” category for Rs 450 crore.DRDO has been tasked to field four sets of indigenous trawls by June 2017, the sources said.The DAC has also fine-tuned an already cleared proposal to built a five fleet support ships for Rs 9,000 crore. It was cleared in July last year. The DAC today nominated HSL shipyard to build the ships. The DAC also gave the go-ahead for digitisation of 24 Pechora Air Defence system for Rs 1,200 crore.The acquisition council also cleared a Rs 425-crore electronic warfare system, for the Indian Army to be deployed in the mountain region. This would be developed by the DRDO and produced by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). The DAC, set up in 2001 as part of the post-Kargil reforms in defence sector, approves the long-term integrated perspective plan for the forces, accords acceptance of necessity (AON) to begin acquisition proposals, and has to grant its approval to all major deals through all their important phases. It also has the power to approve any deviations in an acquisition, and recommends all big purchases for approval of the Cabinet committee on security.

Delhi HC dismisses CBI’s plea to probe into AAP’s funding

The plea, moved before the high court on February 4, had also sought CBI probe against Home Ministry officials, who in their report had earlier stated that donations made by eight foreign residents to AAP, were not in violation of the FCRA.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed a plea seeking CBI probe into past and present funding of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the alleged violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).”The petition is dismissed,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said, while passing order on the PIL alleging that AAP has been receiving foreign funds in violation of FCRA. The bench also said that the petitioner, advocate M L Sharma, approached the investigator and it is not that the agency has declined to entertain his complaint.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs had informed the bench that nothing was found against AAP in its probe regarding allegations that it had received offshore funds in violation of FCRA provisions, after which the court reserved its verdict on the plea. AAP had termed the allegations against it as “baseless” while contending that the party had not flouted any law in receiving foreign funds and got donations worth Rs 30 crore from Indian citizens only, of which about Rs 8.5 crore had come from NRIs.The plea, moved before the high court on February 4, had also sought CBI probe against Home Ministry officials, who in their report had earlier stated that donations made by eight foreign residents to AAP, were not in violation of the FCRA. Denying violation of foreign exchange or other laws, AAP had earlier contended that the PIL accusing it and its founding members of having illegally received foreign funding was “scandalous, frivolous, motivated and baseless”.AAP had claimed that it has “very small amount of funds and has the most transparent method of political funding among all parties”. The PIL had also alleged that “undisclosed funding to AAP was coming from terrorist groups” and that the party had succeeded in stalling Home Ministry probe against it and managed to get a favourable reply to mislead the court. It had alleged that it was a case of serious corruption on part of the ministry officials who filed an “un- investigated” report despite high court direction.The ministry in its report had said that eight people with foreign addresses made donations to AAP and “their passport numbers as mentioned in the contribution report of EC were checked and it was found that they possess Indian passports and NRIs holding Indian passports are not a foreign source”.

CBI raids were based on former DDC official Ashish Joshi’s complaint

Ashish Joshi had in July registered complaints with CBI and Anti-Corruption Branch of Delhi Government, accusing Kumar of indulging in corruption.

Delhi Secretariat building

Reuters
The CBI raids at the office of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s principal Secretary Rajender Kumar at the Secretariat in New Delhi was based on a complaint filed by a former member secretary of Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC) Ashish Joshi.Joshi had in July registered complaints with CBI and Anti-Corruption Branch of Delhi Government, accusing Kumar of indulging in corruption. Joshi had been at loggerheads with the AAP dispensation after he was sent back to the Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, his parent cadre, in May.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his July 13 complaint to CBI, Joshi alleged that Kumar along with his friends had formed a company which he later had got empanelled with a public sector unit for doing work for departments without tenders.Meanwhile, DDC vice-chairman Ashish Khetan, and DDC chairman and Chief Minister Kejriwal sent a communication to the Communications and Information Technology Ministry stating that “on several occasions, he (Joshi) has been found smoking cigars and chewing tobacco within office premises”.

Shakur Basti demolition: Delhi HC pulls up authorities, calls it ‘pathetic act’

The bench also asked the Delhi government to “coordinate with the authorities and provide every possible support they can to people who have been put to risk of life in this winter”.

Stepping into the demolition row, the Delhi High Court on Monday came down heavily on the Railway Ministry and police for razing of a slum cluster in west Delhi and directed the authorities to immediately rehabilitate over 5,000 people rendered homeless in this biting cold.A bench of justices S Muralidhar and Vibhu Bakhru further said this is a “pathetic act” as “peoples’ lives are involved and we cannot be so casual”. “It is dire situation where life and liberty of the people are in grave danger,” the bench said, noting that an infant had died though railways has claimed that the incident had “nothing” to do with the demolition. Taking note that the counsel for railways have failed to produce the relevant communication on which police went to demolish the slum at Shakur Basti here on Saturday, the court asked them to file their report before December 16 on the way they have and will be rehabilitating those who were rendered homeless.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench also asked the Delhi government to “coordinate with the authorities and provide every possible support they can to people who have been put to risk of life in this winter”. Senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra, appearing for Delhi government, agreed to it and said, “what needs to be done, we will do as we are not shying away from our duty”. He further said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal himself is monitoring the issue and has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the demolition drive and death of the six-month-old girl.The court’s direction came on a public interest litigation filed by senior congress leader Ajay Maken, who sought that the ministry and Delhi police should be restrained from carrying out any further eviction or harassment of people living in Shakur Basti until all appropriate rehabilitation has been provided. Maken, through his counsel Aman Panwar also informed the court that besides ministry and police, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) should ensure that all displaced persons are immediately rehabilitated in temporary relief camps and shelter homes.Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has also attacked the Centre and Kejriwal government over the razing of a slum, as he visited the site today and assured the homeless that he will fight their “battle”. The high court also said that there should be no further “violence” against those who have been left homeless. It asked the railways to give a survey report of the people living at Shakur Basti along with the number of people affected and who all can be rehabilitated.The court also issued notice to the ministry, Delhi police, DUSIB and Delhi government directing them to file replies on the plea, which alleged that the demolition drive was done in “complete haste”. The plea said that the “demolition is in violation of the Master Plan Delhi 2021…”. The court asked what was the “tearing hurry to demolish the cluster in December”.”You really don’t care about people, you just want to remove them. It is really a pathetic act. The attitude has to change. I do not know what the person thinks while passing such orders and the police also straightway follow such directions,” the bench said, adding that “every minute they are spending in the open is dangerous for them”.It said that how can people be evicted without having any rehabilitation plan. It asked the Delhi government to ensure that the children are given education during the rehabilitation program. All the concerned agencies have been told to give blankets, shelter, food, medicines to those rendered homeless. Meanwhile, the counsel for railways said Shakur Basti land was for building platforms and notices were issued to them in March

Government to put in place system for regulating UAVs: Home Secretary

Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said there was a need for regulating Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to prevent its misuse, particularly in populated areas and sensitive locations like airports.

To check use of UAVs by rogue elements to carry out terror attacks, the government is mulling to put in place a system to detect and defeat such threats and regulate low flying objects.Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said there was a need for regulating Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to prevent its misuse, particularly in populated areas and sensitive locations like airports. “We need to go into regulations. We need to have a system to detect and destruct rouge aircraft… We have to ensure that UAVs are not hijacked by rouge elements and misused,” he said addressing a seminar on ‘India’s Internal Security and UAVs’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Home Secretary said the process of detection and destruction of UAVs is an evolving process and experts are still working on it. “That is an evolving technology. People are still getting into it, how to do what to do, how to destroy them. It is difficult for UAVs as it has very little footprints. If it is detected in a populated areas or in an airport or in a runway, we don’t know what would be the impact of its destruction. We really don’t aware what would be the consequences,” he said.Mehrishi said putting in place certain regulations in operating UAVs have two aspects — preventive and enabling — and the government was working on both. “We have to work to prevent illegal things from happening…We also have to do enabling, licencing (of the UAVs),” he said. The Home Secretary said the government was also exploring the option of using UAVs for works like surveillance in large establishments such as refineries, secure oil pipelines from being broken or stolen, crime detection etc. “One positive side of the homeland security (of the use of UAVs), whether to send relief in a disaster situation, how to send medicine, delivery of food, whether it is for traffic management and probably detection of crime.”So, homeland security is an issue we have to look forward. We are in the Home Ministry ….little concern about certain things in homeland security. We are currently doing that…including the issue of infiltration from the western side of the border from the hostile neighbour,” he said. Mehrishi, however, said infiltration from across the Indo-Pak border has come down to almost negligible level even though there were areas that need to be secured through technology and increasing capacity, including by using UAVs.”One important aspects for us is to reduce boots on the ground. We are also using technology intensively so that we ensure security and less personnel on the ground,” he said. The Home Secretary said there was a need for homeland security specific facilities such as how to detect ungrounded mines where our security forces are exposed to in certain areas of the country.Addressing the seminar, Air Marshal V R Chaudhary strongly pitched for bringing UAVs and all low flying objects under the ambit of some rules and regulations as they were “security threat”. “UAVs are security threat which may impact airliner carrying passengers. …we need to regulate UAVs. They should be given permission for selected areas. We are not advocating complete ban on these kinds of machines. What we are saying is that they should be regulated,” he said.”One can order an UAV on the Internet. The easy availability of UAVs on the Internet, its small size is definitely a security threat,” he said. Air Marshal Chaudhary said UAVs are difficult to detect as they operate within the line of sight and low speed. It is difficult to detect in a crowded environment. “However, it has the potential to damage. Even the smallest of UAV can carry upto two kgs of RDX. One can well imagine the potential of damage a UAV can cause if it is detonated,” he said.Air Marshal Chaudhary said currently UAVs are not under any regulation and hence its operation can’t be banned completely and action can be taken against any violator only under IPC. “There are lots of example globally where UAVs, due to going out of sight or going out of control of operator, creating potential damage or hazard to civil aviation,” he said. The IAF officer said there should be concerted effort to check potential threat from such unconventional platforms like UAVs, paragliders, hot air balloons.

Demolition of slums triggers face-off between Delhi & Centre; Kejriwal to take up the issue with Prabhu

Arvind Kejriwal will take up the issue and death of a baby at the site with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu as he was not satisfied with the ministry officials’ response.

A fresh face-off between the Delhi government and the Centre erupted on Sunday over demolition of a slum cluster by railways to clear “encroachments” and death of a baby at the site.The demolition of 1200 slum units at Shakur Basti in West Delhi was carried out, with the railways saying the action was necessary for expanding the infrastructure.The railways said the demolition was carried out after three notices, the first one with the March 14, 2015 deadline.Arvind Kejriwal will take up the issue and death of a baby at the site with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu as he was not satisfied with the ministry officials’ response.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In the meeting, Railway officials told the CM said that there is no rehabilitation scheme before demolition. The Chief Minister completely rejected the claims of the Railways,” said a Delhi Government official. After meeting the evicted dwellers, Kejriwal said that those people had been living there since 1992-94, but in one moment, Railway demolished the shanties. “Those who have done this (demolition of shanties) are not humans, instead they are animals and bestial,” Kejriwal said.Sources said that the Railway officials failed to give satisfactory response in the meeting with the Delhi CM. “Railway officials failed to give satisfactory response as to why demolition drive was carried out when asked whether it was an emergency project,” sources said. They added when Kejriwal asked why proper rehabilitation measure was not taken before demolition, Railway officials said they will inform the their Board and Ministry about it.”CM was not happy with the Railway officials’ response and he would take up the matter with Railway Minister,” sources also said.The Delhi government ordered a magisterial probe into the demolition of 1200 slum units at Shakur Basti in West Delhi and planned to move court seeking FIR against those who ordered the action citing the Special Provision Act according to which no demolition can be carried out until government needs land urgently.The railways, on its part, said the removal of “fresh encroachment” was necessary for expanding the infrastructure and that the action had been taken after three notices, the first one with the March 14, 2015 deadline.The baby’s grandmother, however, said it was wrong on the part of the railways to deny any connection of the demolition drive with the death of the child, saying “the officials never informed us in advance”.

Shakur Basti demolition: Kejriwal urged Suresh Prabhu to look into JJ dwellers issue in December 1 letter

In his letter to Prabhu dated December 1, Kejriwal assured that the Delhi Government will extend “full” co-operation for providing flats constructed under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for relocation of JJ dwellers

Shakur Basti demolition site

Image courtesy: ANI
Days before a fresh confrontation erupted between Delhi and the Centre over the death of a baby during an anti-encroachment drive by railways, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had written to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu urging him to look into the issue of rehabilitation of JJ dwellers staying along the rail track on “priority” basis.In his letter to Prabhu dated December 1, Kejriwal assured that the Delhi Government will extend “full” co-operation for providing flats constructed under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for relocation of JJ dwellers. “I would like to impress upon you to get the matter regarding rehabilitation of JJ dwellers squatting in the safety zone (15 metres on either sides of rail track) examined on priority.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) will extend full co-operation for providing flats constructed under JNNURM for relocation of these dwellers,” Kejriwal wrote. In the letter, the Delhi Chief Minister also drew Prabhu’s attention towards an old communication between the two regarding new Delhi Slum Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy, 2015, which is currently under Union Ministry of Urban Development’s examination.Kejriwal mentioned in the letter the issue of shifting six JJ clusters falling in the safety zone, which the Chief Minister said, is pending before Green Tribunal. “The Tribunal had sought appearances of DUSIB on October 7, 2015 (in the matter). Principal Secretary (Urban Development), Government of NCT of Delhi had convened two meetings on this issue on October 13 and November 9, 2015 to sort out the matter but it seems there are certain issues still to be decided at the Railway Board/Ministry level,” Kejriwal said in the letter.He further said Railways had deposited Rs 11.25 crore in the year 2003-04 for relocation of approximately 4,410 JJ dwellers but only 257 JJ dwellers could be rehabilitated as due to another court matter, the Slum and JJ Wing of MCD (now DUSIB) had to transfer approximately 8,000 developed plots for JJ dwellers to DDA on priority basis.”Now, DUSIB can adjust the amount already deposited by the Railways along with interest but rehabilitation can only be done as per the new/extant rehabilitation policy and at the cost of rehabilitation as per the policy,” the CM said. A fresh confrontation has erupted between Delhi government and Centre following death of a six-month-old baby in Shakur Basti area of West Delhi where the railways had undertaken a drive to remove encroachments yesterday. This had evoked angry protests from Kejriwal who wanted murder case to be registered.

India meets global economic powers in Paris to discuss ISIS terror funding

India is a full-member of the FATF along with 33 other nations like the US, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

ISIS fighters

India along with major world economies is participating in the first-ever global meeting being held here to discuss and evolve mechanisms to combat the clandestine and largely undetected terrorist financing network of the Islamic State terror group.The dreaded terror group, in recent times, has been held responsible for perpetrating violence and killing at least 129 people here in the French capital.The meeting at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Secretariat office is being held between December 12-14 and is being attended by a inter-ministerial team led by senior Finance Ministry officials dealing in subjects of money laundering and combating financing of terror.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The FATF Secretariat confirmed to PTI that Indian authorities will be part in the deliberations aimed to secure the economic and banking channels of the member countries from the influence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).”The Indian delegation will be led by the Ministry of Finance with participation from other relevant ministries and agencies,” the FATF said. Senior officials in Delhi said authorities from the elite Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) will be leading the India delegation for the talks.”There are some instances under the scanner of various investigative agencies that indicate there may be links to ISIS funds being routed from India, if not generated. The talks are expected to formalise a resolution to jointly combat the menace which is increasingly affecting jurisdictions across the globe,” they said.The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 and is mandated to set global protocols and standards to combat money laundering and other financial crimes with direct ramifications to terrorist acts across the globe.India is a full-member of this reputed global body along with 33 other nations like the US, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The three-day meeting has been called “to discuss actions jurisdictions are taking and need to take to combat the financing of the ISIL and broader opportunities to strengthen global efforts to combat the financing of terrorism,” the FATF said.”These three days of meetings will bring together delegates representing the FATF global network, which today extends to some 200 jurisdictions, and operational experts involved in detecting, preventing and disrupting terrorism and terrorist financing.”In the wake of the increased activities of terrorist groups around the globe, including ISIS, India had recently reported to the FATF that it has frozen assets worth Euro 3 lakh (over Rs 2.12 core) of over three dozen entities on charges of terrorist financing and money laundering of illicit funds. However, India, in this report, did not mention that the action involved ISIS operatives.An exhaustive report prepared by the world body early this year had underlined the “complicated” pattern of funding being deployed to mobilise ISIS terrorists and in secretly moving their deadly weapons and ammunition.”ISIL financing is a constantly changing picture and a very difficult and complicated area to address given the operational situation on the ground…ISIL represents a new form of terrorist organisation where funding is central and critical to its activities,” the report had said. The report did not mention about any instance of ISIS terror financing in India.The report had said its preliminary investigations found that the group was generating terror funds by using illicit proceeds from occupation of territory, such as bank looting, extortion, control of oil fields and refineries, kidnapping for ransom, donations including by or through non-profit organisations, fund raising through modern communication networks.”Still, further consideration will have to be given to determine how best the international community can prevent ISIL from using or benefiting from the financial and commercial sectors under its control,” the FATF said.”The latest meeting is the obvious outcome for the latest round of talks being held here between member countries,” the officials in Delhi said. The FATF found “revenue streams (of ISIS) are inconsistent and shift based on the availability of economic resources and the progress of coalition military efforts against ISIL.”

Japan to assist Indian Railways in strengthening safety measures

The agreement establishes areas for comprehensive technological cooperation, facilitating the participation of other institutions, organisations and ministries; conducting joint research and studies.

Japan PM Shinzo Abe and PM Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday.

PTI
The partnership agreement with Japan on rail sector will also address many issues including safety and research confronting Indian Railways for years.Besides, providing active cooperation in the bullet train project, Japan will also assist railways’ research and design capabilities to address future challenges, according to a senior Railway Ministry official. He said there are many crucial issues such as safety, cleanliness and research which will be addressed with Japan’s cooperation now.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Safety is a major issue for the public transporter with accidents happening on regular basis which can be tackled with the induction of advanced technology in train operation. There will be comprehensive technological cooperation including sharing of information and best practices; exchanges of officials and technicians; facilitating the participation of other institutions, organisations and ministries; conducting joint research and studies, as per the tie-up with Japan.Also read- Shinzo Abe in India: Japan’s 1.5-trillion yen ‘Make in India’ fund to push investmentsThe agreement establishes areas for comprehensive technological cooperation, facilitating the participation of other institutions, organisations and ministries; conducting joint research and studies. It also envisages cooperation in the areas of safety in train operation; advanced techniques of maintenance; use of environment friendly technologies.

Justice for Nirbhaya: Delhi HC seeks Centre’s reply on steps post release of juvenile

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also asked the government to inform it about the measures taken, if any, regarding post release rehabilitation of the juvenile, who will walk out of the observation home on December 15 after serving the stipulated three year incarceration

The Delhi High Court on Friday sought Centre’s response on BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea that the juvenile convict in the December 16, 2012, gangrape case be not released till it is “demonstrably assured” that he has reformed and was not a menace to society.A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also asked the government to inform it about the measures taken, if any, regarding post release rehabilitation of the juvenile, who will walk out of the observation home on December 15 after serving the stipulated three year incarceration. The court asked whether a management committee has been constituted as per the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Rules, is it still in existence and what are its activities.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”What are the plans, take instruction. it is not an ordinary case and requires consideration,” the bench said. It issued notice to the Ministry of Law, Ministry of Home Affairs and the juvenile convict through JJ Board and also asked the government to get instructions from the committee and listed it for hearing on December 14. The court passed the order after Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain and central government’s standing counsel Jasmeet Singh told the bench that while there was no opposition to extension of the juvenile’s stay at the observation home, as per the rules the committee has to make plans for post release rehabilitation.Counsel for the Centre placed before the court the reports of the IB relating to the behaviour of the juvenile during his stay in special home. However, the court asked the counsel to place the report before it in a sealed cover.The government was responding to Swamy’s petition, who claimed that there is lacuna in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, as amended in 2011. JJ Board had sentenced the juvenile three years detention in reformation home.In his petition before the HC, Swamy contended that “no provision has been made in the Act, to provide for vicious unregenerate convicted juveniles who despite having undergone the reformation process for the maximum penalty of three year’s custody in a special home, continue to be a menace to the society”. “…provision has to be made to deal with such juvenile for further period in such a manner that he does not prove menace to the society.”The question arises, in a very acute form, in the instant gangrape case, where the respondent no.1 (juvenile), one of the offenders, who was adjudged to be under eighteen years of age at the time of the offence, is about to complete the maximum period of the offence prescribed…. and yet it is learnt that there is a report of the Ministry of Home Affairs wherefrom it emerges that this juvenile has not reformed but has become worse, having been radicalized by association with another juvenile convicted of involvement in the 2011 Delhi High Court blast,” the plea said.He also said in his petition that the JJ Board should be given some “teeth to deal with such a case of an unreformed juvenile criminal”. The Supreme Court had earlier rejected Swamy’s petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000.He had sought that juvenile in the case be prosecuted in a criminal court in view of the gravity of his offence. Six persons, including the juvenile, had brutally assaulting and raping a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012. The victim had died in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012.Mukesh, Vinay, Pawan and Akshay were awarded death penalty by trial court in the gang rape and murder case which was later confirmed by Delhi High Court. Their appeals are pending before the Supreme Court. Accused Ram Singh had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail on March 11, 2013, and proceedings against him were abated following his death.

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

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

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

46% of rape victims in Delhi are minors: Government

However, the Union Home Ministry maintained that Delhi Police, as a conscious policy of “truthful reporting”, is registering complaints in the recent years with an objective that no crime, especially crime against the vulnerable groups, including women, goes unreported

In the past three years, five minor girls were allegedly raped in every two days, forming around 46% of the total rape cases reported in the national capital in the corresponding period.”In 2013, 1,636 rape cases were reported in Delhi of which, in 757 cases victims were minors. In 2014, 2,166 rape cases were reported in which 1,004 pertained to minors. “Till October 31 this year, as many as 1,856 rape cases have been reported and in 824 cases, the victims are reported to be below 18 years,” Rajya Sabha was told on Wednesday.However, the Union Home Ministry maintained that Delhi Police, as a conscious policy of “truthful reporting”, is registering complaints in the recent years with an objective that no crime, especially crime against the vulnerable groups, including women, goes unreported. “During 2014, the work-out percentage of rape cases in Delhi was as high as 80.79%. Similarly, during the current year (upto October 31, 2015) it is 77.16%,” the Rajya Sabha was told.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Crimes like rape are handled with great sensitivity and various measures have been taken by Delhi Police for the safety of women in the city. Emphasis is given to ensure that all cases of crime against women are investigated by women officers. “Delhi Police has organised self-defence training programmes in which 17,699 girls and women were imparted training during the year 2014,” said Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary.

MPs’ won’t get perks & allowances, parliamentary affairs ministry reject panel’s recommendations

RS member KTS Tulsi on his bicycle at Parliament on Tuesday
BB Yadav
dna
The parliamentary affairs ministry has rejected most of the recommendations of a panel of MPs, ranging from canteen facilities on the lines of defence personnel to a fourth of travel fare as incidentals.Not just this. Even former MPs would be entitled to diplomatic passport, have access to VIP lounges in airports and be exempted from toll tax, if the Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Parliamentarians had its way.The parliamentary affairs ministry has struck down nearly 75 per cent of the 65 proposals made by a committee headed by BJP’s five-time MP from Gorakhpur Yogi Adityanath, according to sources.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Committee wanted the word ‘spouse’ to be replaced with ‘companion’ to accompany MPs in AC First Class train travel citing the reason that they could need assistance. The ministry was of the opinion that while single MPs could be given the option of taking a “companion”, the facility can be extended only to spouse in the case of married parliamentarians. As of now, a companion gets a second AC seat. If single, a member can declare a companion and travel together.The Committee also suggested increase in number of free air tickets between sessions for MPs from 34 to 43 and travel allowance during sessions, which have also been turned down. Besides it sought CGHS facilities for even their grand children, on which the ministry was of the view that the benefit should be confined to spouse and children.On the recommendation for ex-MPs to have access to guest houses and VIP lounges, the ministry saw no reason why they needed this after completion of tenure. Several of the demands were seen as unreasonable by the ministry while some did not fall in its jurisdiction, they said.The ministry also was of the view that status quo should be maintained on the existing Rs16 per kilo metre granted to members, rejecting the proposal to enhance it.It also struck down the demands for personal assistants of MPs to be given access to VIP lounges and providing a local phone when members traveled abroad on official work, the sources said. On the proposal to increase the car loan amount from existing Rs four lakh, the ministry was of the view that it should be availed from the market.The demands on which the ministry said “ayes” included enhancement of constituency allowance and salary to PAs from Rs 45,000 to Rs 75,000, raising pension from present Rs 20,000 and doubling monetary ceiling on furniture from Rs 75,000.On the question of increasing daily allowances from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000, the ministry said it should be performance linked.The panel sought increase in quota in Kendriya Vidyalayas from ten to 15 a year, a proposal which was left to the HRD ministry. The ministry said the recommendations on housing society for MPs, exempting former parliamentarians from toll tax, car facilities to committee chairpersons in inter-sessions and their security, guest houses for MPs in every state capital and giving access to personal assistants to VIP lounges were not in its jurisdiction and referred these to various ministries. Free air ticketsThe Committee also suggested increase in number of free air tickets between sessions for MPs from 34 to 43 and travel allowance during sessions, which have also been turned down. Besides it sought CGHS facilities for even their grand children, on which the ministry was of the view that the benefit should be confined to spouse and children. While MPs are given lifetime rail travel card, the panel sought ten free air tickets per year for former MPs. The ministry was in favour of continuing with the existing provision of former MPs getting AC two-tier facility.

December 16 gangrape: Maneka Gandhi to talk to Home Ministry on juvenile’s release

Gandhi, in a letter written to Law Minister Sadananda Gowda, had requested that police should keep a track of the movements of such convicts post-release for which a law should be enacted

Maneka Gandhi

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi on Monday said she will speak to the Home Minister over the release of the juvenile convicted in December 16 gang-rape case following reports that he may be put up with an NGO once set free later this month.”We have no information about it. We will speak to the Home Minister tomorrow (about) what they intend to do,” she said after releasing a Handbook on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace. She said the ministry had requested the Law Ministry for enactment of a law to monitor sex offenders but has not yet received any reply.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gandhi, in a letter written to Law Minister Sadananda Gowda, had requested that police should keep a track of the movements of such convicts post-release for which a law should be enacted. In cases where the accused are convicted for committing heinous crimes, the orders of the court may also include mandatory requirement of registration of the accused in local police station so that police can monitor their activities and keep track of their movements, Gandhi had said.

Nepal’s Madhesi leaders meet Sushma Swaraj

“EAM @SushmaSwaraj called for broad based ownership of Constitution & encouraged speedy political solution and return to normalcy on that basis,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup later tweeted.

Leaders of Nepal s Indian-origin Madhesi community, whose protest against the country s new Constitution has crippled supplies from India, today met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who called for a “speedy” political solution to the crisis. The leaders who arrived here to hold talks with top Indian leadership including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, apprised Swaraj of their position on various contentious issues.Swaraj, on her part, said India supports an “inclusive Nepal”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”EAM @SushmaSwaraj called for broad based ownership of Constitution & encouraged speedy political solution and return to normalcy on that basis,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup later tweeted. The agitation by Madhesi leaders in Terai region bordering India has crippled services in Nepal as the protesters have blocked all border trade points between the two countries, triggering shortage of supplies including fuel and medicines. The Madhesi community is opposed to splitting the country into seven provinces under the new Constitution and has been demanding adequate protection of their rights.Three major demands of the Madhesi community include re-demarcation of the boundary, inclusion of proportionate representation and allocation of Parliament seats on the basis of population. The senior leaders of Joint Madhesi Morcha who have come here for talks include Mahantha Thakur, president of Terai Madhes Democratic Party, Upendra Yadav, president of Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum-Nepal, Rajendra Mahato, president of Sadbhawana Party, and Mahendra Yadav, president of Terai Madhes Sadbhawana Party.On Saturday, these leaders had a crucial meeting with Nepal s major political parties including main opposition Nepali Congress and ruling alliance members CPN-UML and Unified CPN-Maoist to discuss ways to resolve the ongoing crisis.

Dadri lynching: Don’t want further probe, victim’s family tells Akhilesh Yadav

Amidst debate in political circles over the issue, the Union government told Parliament during the current Winter Session that though no inquiry has been initiated by the Home Ministry into the Dadri lynching

Mohammad Akhlaq

The family members of Dadri lynching victim Mohd Akhlaq, whose killing generated considerable political heat in the country, on Sunday told Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav that they do not want the probe to continue into the matter while expressing satisfaction over the action taken in the case.A UP government spokesperson said that the mother, brothers and other kin of Akhlaq, the resident of Bishada village in Gautam Budh Nagar district whose killing in September sparked nationwide outrage, called on Yadav at his residence here. According to the spokesperson, the family members of the victim said they were satisfied with the action taken in the case so far and with the Rs 45 lakh compensation extended to them.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>50-year-old Akhlaq was beaten to death and his 22-year- old son Danish critically injured by a 200-strong mob which barged into their house following rumours that the family had consumed beef. Cow slaughter is banned in UP. Danish’s elder brother, Sartaj, is a corporal with Indian Air Force and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said following the lynching incident that Sartaj was being given accommodation at Air Force’s Subroto Park residential complex in Delhi.Amidst debate in political circles over the issue, the Union government told Parliament during the current Winter Session that though no inquiry has been initiated by the Home Ministry into the Dadri lynching, a report has been sought from the state government on the incident. Meanwhile, the kin of a police constable, Azmat, posted in Bulandshahr who died allegedly due to a wrong injection in October this year, too, met the chief minister.Yadav condoled the bereaved family members and extended to them a compensation of Rs 20 lakh. He also said that strict action would be taken against those found responsible for having caused Azmat’s death.

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

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

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

Singapore to provide US $75,000 assistance to flood-hit Chennai

Additionally, Singapore’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan has also sent a letter to Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Saturday.

Chennai floods

Singapore has contributed US $75,000 to assist those affected by the devastating flood in Chennai, country’s foreign affairs ministry said on Saturday. Additionally, Singapore’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan has also sent a letter to Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Saturday. Balakrishnan has also informed the Chief Minister of Singapore’s contribution of US $75,000 to the Singapore Red Cross’ “South Asia Floods 2015” public appeal, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement said. “I am saddened by the hundreds of lives lost and disrupted due to the severe flooding in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu. “Like many Singaporeans, I hope that the floods will recede soon. I am confident that normalcy will return to your state in the near future under your leadership,” he wrote.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Balakrishnan added that he hoped the Singapore contribution to the fund would be able to help those affected. “We hope that this will be of some assistance to those affected by the floods and demonstrate Singapore’s solidarity with the people of Tamil Nadu during this difficult period,” Balakrishnan said. Meanwhile, all flights between Singapore’s Changi and Chennai have been suspended due to the heavy rains. Heavy rains have lashed the region with over 250 people killed in Tamil Nadu.

Centre begins process of declassifying Netaji files

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

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

Manipur’s Tamenglong gears up to host 12th edition of Orange Festival

The United Naga Council, meanwhile, has appealed to all the Nagas not to extend any form of support in organising the Festival.

Oranges on display at 7th Orange festival, Manipur. Image credit: http://manipur.nic.in/

The 12th Edition of the Manipur’s Orange Festival will be held at Mini Stadium, Tamenglong District Headquarters, about 150 km west of Imphal, on December 9.The festival is held annually to promote tourism in Manipur and provide an opportunity for orange farmers to display their produce before potential buyers. It also aims to promote orange production by giving awareness on orange cultivation to the farmers.Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh is likely to grace the festival as the Chief Guest.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This year the festival will see various competitions and cultural extravaganzas, including orange eating competition, best orange competition, orange queen contest, display of traditional and customary items, craft exhibition, seminar for orange growers, indigenous games and sports.Meanwhile, the United Naga Council (UNC) has appealed to all the Nagas and tribal people not to extend any form of support to Chief Minister O Ibobi and his Deputy Chief Minister in organising the upcoming Orange Festival, sponsored by the Government of Manipur.”The Naga people should not succumb to the appeasement policy of the State government in enticing the people in the guise of organising different forms of festivals in Naga and tribal territory just to fulfil and strengthen their selfish political objectives,” a statement issued by the publicity wing of the UNC stated.The council alleged that crores of rupees sanctioned by the Government of India for horticulture development in Manipur, particularly for Tamenglong District, through the Horticulture Mission of India under the Ministry of Agriculture had been misappropriated without implementation. It also alleged that the Manipur government has not been addressing the rights and interest of the orange growers and this had led to a decrease in production over the years.Tamenglong accounts for more than 50% of orange production in Manipur and a large part of the district’s economy depends on it. Last year, around 350 orange growers participated in the festival.

Congress takes on Arvind Kejriwal, dubs salary hike ‘anti-democratic’

“Kejriwal has acted against the promises he made to the people, this is also one typical example of it. I don’t think this would be appreciated by the people at all,” he added.

The Congress party on Friday took a strong exception to the approval of 400 percent pay hike for the Delhi MLAs, saying AAP supremo and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has acted against the promises made to the people.Congress leader PC Chacko said that the people, who criticised the salary hike very badly in the past, were now repeating the very same thing.”Kejriwal has acted against the promises he made to the people, this is also one typical example of it. I don’t think this would be appreciated by the people at all,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Another Congress leader PL Punia also criticised the decision, saying it was totally uncalled for.”The salary hike of 400 percent for the legislators of Delhi was totally uncalled for. I feel since most of the MLAs are from the AAP so the hike and allowances would be mostly beneficial to them,” Punia told ANI.Congress leader J. P Agarwal on his part dubbed the move as ‘anti-democratic’ said those who were meant to serve the people are now acting like rulers.”They had their own people in the committee. They should have consulted the people over the issue,” he said.”Their action is totally anti-democratic and the Ministry of Home Affairs should not give its approval to the proposal and the LG should also intervene as it is totally wastage of money,” he added.The Delhi Assembly had yesterday approved a 400 percent pay hike for MLAs and ministers, by passing the Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Government of NCT of Delhi (Salaries, Allowances, Pension) Amendment Bill 2015.The House accepted the recommendations made by an independent committee of three experts.

WCD minister Maneka Gandhi asks law ministry to start registration of sex offenders

She suggested that the offenders of heinous crimes should be mandated to provide their personal details to the local law enforcement agency on regular basis.

Maneka Gandhi

PTI
Women and Child Development Ministry today asked the Law Ministry to initiate mandatory registration of sex offenders by local police to keep them under surveillance and called for the enactment of a law for the same, ahead of the release of Nirbhaya gang-rape convict later this month.”In cases where the accused are convicted for committing heinous crimes, the orders of the court may also include mandatory requirement of registration of the accused in local police station so that police can monitor their activities and keep track of their movements,” Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said in a letter to the Law Minister.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She suggested that the offenders of heinous crimes should be mandated to provide their personal details to the local law enforcement agency on regular basis.Related Read: December 16 gangrape: Youngest convict won’t walk free, to be sent into custody of NGO, say reports”The registered sex offenders may be required to periodically appear in person to their local law enforcement agency for purposes of giving details of their personal information such as present address and place of employment.The duration of such monitoring may be decided by courts depending upon the severity of the offence and whether the accused is a repeat offender,” Gandhi said. Such an initiative by courts will ensure effective management and supervision of sex offenders and also reduce future offences leading to a sense of security among women and children, she said.Stating that other countries also have laws to keep a watch on sex offenders after they have served the applicable period of punishment, Gandhi called for the enactment of a similar law in India.”We do not have any such law in place in India. While there is a need to have such laws, they may take some time to enact. In the meantime, a pro-active action on the part of courts may be a solution,” she said.According to National Crimes Records Bureau, sexual crimes such as rape have increased from 24,923 in 2012 to 36,735 in 2014 and in case of children, it has increased from 8,541 to 13,766 during the same period. Cases of assault on women with intent to outrage her identity have more than doubled from 40,613 in 2010 to 82,235 in 2014.Similarly, 11,335 cases were reported in 2014 of assault on girl children with an intent to outrage their modesty and 444 cases were registered under the category of insulting the modesty of girl children during the same period.

Green Tribunal cracks the whip, tells Delhi Govt to get going on ‘pollution advisories’ to public

In Paris, they are talking about the terrible two degree burn for the earth’s climate and closer home, the National Green Tribunal told the Delhi government to identify “critically polluted areas” so that “immediate advisories” can be issued to the public by Thursday, reports The Indian Express. The Tribunal has suggested asking children and the elderly not to come out of their homes during “high pollution” hours. A 11 December deadline has been set for identifying diesel generators which are a pollution source and for agencies to submit compliance reports.

“What are you doing about creating public awareness about critically polluted areas?” asked the bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar.

The capitals of the world’s two most populous nations, China and India, were blanketed in hazardous, choking smog as climate change talks began in Paris, where leaders of both countries are among the participants.

Delhi, or is it?Delhi, or is it?

Delhi, or is it?

China’s capital Beijing maintained an “orange” pollution alert, the second-highest level, on Monday, closing highways, halting or suspending construction and prompting a warning to residents to stay indoors.

The choking pollution was caused by the “unfavourable” weather, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on Sunday. Emissions in northern China soar over winter as urban heating systems are switched on and low wind speeds have meant that polluted air has not been dispersed.

In New Delhi, the U.S. embassy’s monitoring station recorded an air quality index of 372, which puts air pollution levels well into “hazardous” territory. A thick smog blanketed the city and visibility was down to about 200 yards (metres).

Air quality in the city of 16 million is usually bad in winter, when coal fires are lit by the poor to ward off the cold. Traffic fumes, too, are trapped over the city by a temperature inversion and the lack of wind.

However, the government has not raised any alarm over the current air quality and no advisories have been issued to the public. Thirty thousand runners took part in a half marathon at the weekend, when pollution levels were just as high.

In Beijing, a city of 22.5 million, the air quality index in some parts of the city soared to 500, its highest possible level. At levels higher than 300, residents are encouraged to remain indoors, according to government guidelines.

The hazardous air underscores the challenge facing the government as it battles pollution caused by the coal-burning power industry and will raise questions about its ability to clean up its economy at the talks in Paris.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are both in Paris and both were scheduled to meet U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday to give momentum to the two-week negotiations.

“WHEN A CHILD IS BORN, WE PLANT A TREE”

Modi sought to highlight India’s green credentials in an article for the Financial Times on Monday, writing: “The instinct of our culture is to take a sustainable path to development. When a child is born, we plant a tree.”

But at Connaught Place, a city centre landmark in New Delhi, people chided the government for failing to minimise the risks to their health from air pollution.

“The pollution level is so high it’s just unbelievable,” said Aisha, a 19-year-old student.

For Beijing’s residents, the poor air makes breathing hard.

“This sort of weather, you can see that all of Beijing has been completely enveloped in smog…and for every breath, getting up every morning, your throat will feel particularly uncomfortable,” said Zhang Heng, a 26-year-old architect.

The Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau said on Sunday that it had requested factories to limit or suspend output and had also stopped construction work throughout the city.

The ministry said the number of cities affected by heavy pollution had reached 23, stretching across 530,000 square km, an area the size of Spain, but a cold front beginning on Wednesday would see the situation improve.

State-run Xinhua news agency said more than 200 expressway toll gates in east China’s Shandong province were closed on Monday due to smog. The province issued a yellow alert.

China launched a “war on pollution” last year following a spate of smog outbreaks in Beijing and surrounding regions.

China has vowed to slash coal consumption and close down polluting industrial capacity, but environmental officials admit that the country is unlikely to meet state air quality standards until at least 2030.

Reducing coal use and promoting cleaner forms of energy are set to play a crucial role in China’s pledges to bring its climate warming greenhouse gas emissions to a peak by around 2030.

Chennai rains: INS Airawat rushed to help relief efforts

It is likely to reach Chennai by early tomorrow morning, they said.

“We are hopeful of passenger flights landing there from tomorrow,” Defence Ministry sources said.

PTI
The Navy today rushed INS Airawat with five additional boats besides six integral boats to bolster the rescue and relief efforts in rain-battered Chennai. The ship is also carrying 20 divers, medical supplies and other relief material, defence sources said.It is likely to reach Chennai by early tomorrow morning, they said.With the Chennai airport closed till December 6 following heavy rains and flood, the nearby naval air station at Arakonnam is likely to be turned into a makeshift airport for commercial flights from tomorrow. In the run up to the possible new arrangement, national carrier Air India landed an Airbus A320 carrying passengers from Hyderabad at the Rajali naval air station at Arakkonam at 2047 hours today. “We are hopeful of passenger flights landing there from tomorrow,” Defence Ministry sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Airports Authority of India has decided to keep the Chennai airport closed till December 6 due to the flooding of the operational and the surrounding area. No flight has taken off from or landed at the Chennai airport since 8pm yesterday.

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

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

Sharif- Modi

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

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

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

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

No exact co-relation between mobile tower radiation and wildlife health: Prakash Javadekar

Environment Ministry had constituted an expert committee to study the possible impacts of communication towers on wildlife, including birds and bees, in 2010.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar

There is no exact co-relation between mobile tower radiations and health of wildlife even as there are indications that Electromagnetic Radiations (EMR) affect their biological system, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Wednesday.Environment Ministry had constituted an expert committee to study the possible impacts of communication towers on wildlife, including birds and bees, in 2010.”As per the report of the committee, while there are indications that Electromagnetic Radiations (EMR) affect biological systems of animals, birds and insects, it also points out that exact coorelation between radiation of communication towers and health of wildlife is so far not established,” Javadekar said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The reports also states that although existing literature depicts adverse effects of EMR on the biological systems of living beings, more research is required to assess the true impact of EMR on free-living floral and faunal species, including birds and bees in the country,” he said.

Centre awaiting Akhilesh government’s report on Dadri lynching: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

A three-member team of the Commission led by its chairman Naseem Ahmad had visited Bishada village near Dadri in Uttar Pradesh and interacted with family members of Mohammed Akhlaq, who was lynched following rumours of beef eating in September this year, the authorities concerned and locals.

The central government is awaiting a report it had sought from the Akhilesh Yadav dispensation to ascertain factual position and action taken by the state in the Dadri lynching incident, Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.”As law and order is a state subject, a report has been called for ascertaining the factual position, comments and action taken by the state government, which is still awaited,” Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said in written reply to a question. The minister was asked if the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) had, in its report on the incident, stated whether the killing was “pre-mediated” and if the episode was a result of planning in which a “sacred” place like temple was used for “exhorting” people of a community to attack a “hapless” family.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He was also asked about the Ministry’s reaction to the Commission findings and steps it took/proposes to take on the panel’s recommendations. Naqvi did not give direct answers to the queries but confirmed the Union government had received the NCM report with its observations on the episode.He said the Union Home Ministry had on October 5 issued an advisory to the state government stating that there is “zero tolerance” toward any attempt to “weaken the secular fabric and exploiting religious emotions or sentiments”. “Also the MHA has called on the states to take strictest action as per law against such elements without any exception whatsoever,” Naqvi added.A three-member team of the Commission led by its chairman Naseem Ahmad had visited Bishada village near Dadri in Uttar Pradesh and interacted with family members of Mohammed Akhlaq, who was lynched following rumours of beef eating in September this year, the authorities concerned and locals.In its report compiled in October this year and put up on its website, the NCM had stated the lynching strongly appeared to be the result of “planning under which people were incited using a temple”. The minority panel had also described in the report as “disturbing” the “irresponsible comments” by politicians who paid visit to the village after the incident. The NCM said it will be “quite an understatement” to say the killing was merely an “accident as has been claimed even by some persons in authority”.

Maid’s arm chopped off: PM Modi seeks justice for victim from Saudi employer, says Sushma Swaraj

The 56-year-old maid hails from Mungileri village near Katpadi in Tamil Nadu. She has since returned home after the brutal attack in Riyadh in October.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought justice for a woman from Tamil Nadu whose arm was chopped off recently by her employer in Saudi Arabia.”The Prime Minister has sought justice for Kasthuri Munirathnam, whose arm was chopped off by her employer, during his recent meeting with Saudi ruler,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Lok Sabha during Question Hour. Modi had met Saudi King Salman Al Saud in Turkey on the margins of the G20 Summit on November 16.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 56-year-old maid hails from Mungileri village near Katpadi in Tamil Nadu. She has since returned home after the brutal attack in Riyadh in October. Swaraj said when the incident of Munirathnam came to light, the Indian Embassy immediately contacted the Saudi Arabian authorities and insisted on registering an attempt to murder case.”However, I am pained to say that the Saudi authorities soon issued a statement saying she fell down while trying to flee the house of her employer. We have not accepted this and continue to pursue the case to get her justice,” she said.The Minister said the government was working with several Gulf countries to stop exploitation of Indian labourers in those countries. Swaraj, who is also Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, said it was a common complaint that many employers in Gulf countries seize the passports of their Indian employees to ensure that they do not return home easily.To help such distressed Indian workers, she said, Indian missions often hold public grievance meetings to help them and try to retrieve such passports from their employers. If these efforts do not bear fruit, such distressed Indians are given emergency exit permit for their return.The Minister said the government has already decided that all Indians going abroad as domestic help must go through government-registered recruitment agencies so that no exploitation takes place. Swaraj said those who go abroad through unregistered recruitment agents in an unscrupulous manner can be termed as human trafficking.”We are trying to bring such activities under the ambit of Anti-Human Trafficking Act,” she said.The Minister said as per the information made available to the Ministry, there is no general pattern to indicate an increase in cases of exploitation or torture of Indian workers.

Drone-like object spotted at Indira Gandhi International airport

The incident, near technical area and runway of IGI airport, is being investigated by the central security agencies, Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said while replying to a written question.
File Photo

A drone-like object was spotted visually by the Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on October 27, Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday.The incident, near technical area and runway of IGI airport, is being investigated by the central security agencies, Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said while replying to a written question.He said information is being sought from the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Home Ministry is in the process of preparing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for detection, identification and neutralisation of threats arising out of such unmanned aerial vehicles.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Government has launched a ‘malicious onslaught’ against my family: P Chidambaram

New Delhi: Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday accused the government of a “malicious onslaught” launched against his family.

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. PTIFormer Finance Minister P Chidambaram. PTI

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. PTI

“If the government wishes to target me, they should do so directly, not harass friends of my son who carry on their own businesses and have nothing to do with politics…My family and I are quite prepared to face the malicious onslaught launched by the government,” he said in a statement shortly after reports of IT and ED searches on some premises connected to Karti and his friends.

The senior Congress leader said that he was travelling and had been informed about raids conducted on certain firms in Chennai  which are allegedly linked to his son Karti.

“We have made it clear, repeatedly, that no member of my family has any equity or economic interest in any of the firms that are being targeted.” He added that the companies are professionally managed and can provide answers to suitable authorities. “I condemn the attempt to link them to my son and harass them on that ground,” he said.

Chidambaram alleged that the agenda of the government is being implemented by an officer of the Enforcement Directorate who has a pending dispute with the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.

“Orders in his case were apparently passed during the term of my predecessor. He met me and wanted me to intervene in his favour. I declined and I told him that I cannot reverse orders that were issued during the term of my predecessor…The change of government has given him an opportunity to misuse his powers to harass my son and his friends,” the former Finance Minister said.

PTI

Watch Full Video: BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi takes on Congress and the ‘Awards Wapsi’ brigade in parliament

Earlier, the ruling and the opposition sides locked horns after Salim alleged that Singh was quoted by the magazine as having made the ‘Hindu leader’ remark after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister last year.

File Photo

On Monday in the Lok Sabha, BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi hit out the Congress and the ‘Awards Wapsi’ brigade. After being accused of rising intolerance under their regime, BJP hit back by saying that incidents, which were being projected by the opposition as examples of ‘intolerance’, had been taking place in the country for decades. Its member Meenakshi Lekhi also cited Home Ministry figures to insist that incidents of communal violence had come since NDA came to power.Earlier, the ruling and the opposition sides locked horns after Salim alleged that Singh was quoted by the magazine as having made the ‘Hindu leader’ remark after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister last year. Citing the magazine, Salim said Singh had made the remark at an internal meeting of RSS. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Tree-felling near Taj Mahal under the scanner: NGT seeks final report by 16 December

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has directed the local commissioner, probing illegal felling of 4,000 trees in the Eco-Sensitive Zone near the Taj Mahal, to submit the final inspection report by 16 December.

Taj Mahal. AFP.Taj Mahal. AFP.

Taj Mahal. AFP.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar gave this direction to advocate M C Mehta, who was appointed as local commissioner to enquire into the tree felling incident.

“What is this going on? We had given blanket orders to assist the local commissioner. Give us a final report or close down the matter.

“List this matter on December 16, 2015 and by that the report must come on record. On that date the final report should be positively filed by advocate M C Mehta. He is at liberty to take assistance from any institution he wants,” the bench said.

Advocate General Vijay Bahadur Singh, appearing for Uttar Pradesh government, said that the matter has been pending since long and the local commissioner appointed by the tribunal was delaying the proceedings in the case.

“Nothing adverse has come in the interim report as there is no mention of cutting of trees by the local commissioner. This matter should come to an end now,” he said. The tribunal had earlier directed Uttar Pradesh government to provide assistance to the inquiry into the alleged illegal felling and sale of 4,000 trees.

Mehta had stated that further study would be required with the aid of the specialised agency to submit a final report in the case. The tribunal had directed an inquiry into the issue after taking note of a media report and issued notice to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and Uttar Pradesh government.

According to the report, a former Agra DFO had allegedly cut trees in 500-m-radius of the Taj Mahal, which is an eco-sensitive zone.

PTI

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”.

Modi government offers island to Baba Ramdev to develop as Yoga resort

The event was organised by industry body PHDCCI, wherein Gadkari spoke about ministry’s proposal of developing 70 such islands with lighthouses as tourist destinations.

Centre proposes Yoga resort by Ramdev
File Photo

Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday announced that centre was keen on offering a scenic island with a lighthouse and yoga on the beach to yoga guru Baba Ramdev, reports an English daily. The island would be developed as a resort that would make an ideal tourist hub for short-duration stays along with yoga, for domestic and foreign visitors. The event was organised by industry body PHDCCI, where Gadkari spoke about the ministry’s proposal of developing 70 such islands with lighthouses as tourist destinations, that they as yoga centres would attract a lot of tourists. He also mentioned that renowned ad filmmaker Prahlad Kakkar has also shown keen interest in developing two islands in Andaman Nicobar Island and Lakshadweep, which would be made on public-private partnership (PPP) basis.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have put proposals for Cinque Island in Andaman and Nicobar, and Minicoy Island in Lakshadweep to develop eco-friendly resorts only to promote water sports and diving. So, we will get less number of people and there will be no harm to the ecology of the islands,” Kakkar said. Kakkar also owns Lacadives, which is one of the country’s oldest dive operator. Ministry sources have also confirmed that any entity interested in developing islands for any tourist purpose are open to participate in the bidding process. There have been media reports that state that Ramdev has already established a Patanjali Yogpeeth on an island in Scotland.

Very heavy rains may lash Tamil Nadu over next 2 days: Regional Meteorological Centre

Due to the low pressure over southwest Bay of Bengal rains could be expected at some places in Tamil Nadu and Puduchery, the weather office said.

People being rescued from Chennai floods earlier this week

PTI
The low pressure over Bay of Bengal will bring rains to Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Sunday, the Regional Meteorological Center said on Saturday, warning of ‘heavy to very heavy rains’ for the two days.Due to the low pressure over southwest Bay of Bengal rains could be expected at some places in Tamil Nadu and Puduchery, the weather office said. There was a possibility of rains in most places in the state and the neighbouring union territory for the next two days with the likelihood of heavy to very heavy rains in some places, it said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Vedaranyam (Nagapattinam) and Adiramapatinam (Tanjavur) received 3 cm and 2 cm of rainfall, respectively. Meanwhile, the inter-ministerial Central team which is touring the state to assess the damage caused by rains and flood will submit its report to the Centre within a week, TVSN Prasad, Joint Secretary in the Union Home Ministry, who is leading the team, said.Related Read: Tamil Nadu rains: A break down of the flood situation in numbers

BJP not recognising Jawaharlal Nehru’s contribution reflects intolerance: Congress

In a hard-hitting speech in the Rajya Sabha in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,

Ghulam Nabi Azad
File Photo

Attacking the BJP for not acknowledging the contributions of leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru in making of the Constitution, Congress on Thursday said this attitude reflected the ruling party’s intolerance which flows from the top to the streets.The main opposition party in Rajya Sabha also accused the BJP of trying to appropriate the icons of India’s freedom struggle without having such a leader of its own and trying to “manufacture a clash” between these famous personalities. “You can talk about German Constitution, its dictator … but you feel ashamed to talk about (Jawaharlal) Nehru. … You are not able to recognise the contribution of first Prime Minister …. This is called intolerance. It flows from the top and percolates down to the streets,” Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said while participating in a debate on the commitment to the Constitution and B R Ambedkar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a hard-hitting speech in the Rajya Sabha in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Azad accused the ruling dispensation of attempting to “manufacture a clash” between the personas of freedom struggle like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel and Nehru on the lines of the “divide and rule” policy. Azad referred to Leader of the House Arun Jaitley’s speech and said it became clear to him that the discussion on Ambedkar and commitment towards the Constitution was actually a “shield to take aim at other targets.”He said Jaitley had referred to Hitler and not acknowledged Nehru, which made it clear that “nazar kahin thi, nishana kahin tha”. Ghulam Nabi Azad Leader of opposition Those who don’t have icons who took part in freedom struggle are trying to appropriate others,” he said, adding that Ambedkar, Bose, Nehru, Prasad, Maulana Azad cannot be appropriated and “will always belong to the people of the country”.Taking a jibe at the RSS-BJP, he said there were a lot of people belonging to “a parivar” who did not agree with the Constitution and “it is good if they also show their commitment. Der aaye, durust aaye (better late than never)”.As Azad questioned the procedures adhered to by the government in celebrating the Constitution Day, Jaitley stood up and asked why was there a “grudging feeling” in acknowledging Ambedkar’s contribution. Continuing his attack on the Modi government, Azad said that a tree laden with fruit bends. “If it does not bend, then there is something wrong with its DNA,” Azad said. He congratulated the writers and artistes who had “stood up against intolerance and injustice” and said that numerous “disturbing” incidents had taken place across several states in the last one and a half years. Azad said several incidents had happened in states like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana and UP due to the prevailing situation of intolerance. In one such case, the arm of a person was cut because he was dining with an upper caste youth, the Congress leader said, holding the ruling party responsible for it.Azad said he was greatly inspired by Ambedkar and added that people who found inspiration in freedom fighters, who left their comfortable lives and spent years in jail, were always committed to Constitution. He claimed that the Congress only “manufactured harmony” which was what leaders like Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Maulana Azad had taught. In his speech, Azad also raised procedural questions related to declaring November 26 as Constitution Day, saying that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had come out with a notification on it, though the matter fell in the realm of the Ministry of Home Affairs.This notification is “null and void”, he claimed and added that there were more improprieties like CBSE issuing an order to schools to celebrate this day, even before the notification had been issued. Azad also emphasised that the Constitution aimed to bridge the divide between rich and poor adding that social justice was a priority. It was also envisaged that every person should have freedom to practice their religion and freedom of opportunity.He also praised Ambedkar’s determination saying despite facing discrimination, he went on to acquire the best of education to become one of the leading visionaries of his time, adding that several problems that governments are dealing with now, were envisaged by Ambedkar way back.

Only three students received education loan in last four months

NPAs fear blocked Government’s online initiative of education loan disbursement

Representational Image

Four months ago, the Central Government started new online initiative to boost education loans in the country. However, the initiative seems to have failed, as eight banks loaded with forty-seven education loan schemes, have given only three education loans out of more than 500 applications under ‘fast track’ electronic platform, Pradhan Mantri Vidya Lakshmi Karyakram.Under new initiative, all banks have been brought on one platform with the purpose to make education loan easier and faster. However, department of financial services of Ministry of Finance documents show that as on 12th November 2015, only two banks- Canara and Dena Bank have disbursed three education loans under this initiative. Whereas SBI, IDBI, Bank of India, UBI, Syndicate bank and Indian bank have not approved and disbursed a single education loan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>State bank of India has received 151 applications for education loan through this ambitious fast-track project, but has not approved and disbursed any of them. Banking expert Amarjeet Chopra said, “NPA rate in the education loan has been very high and may be they (Banks) are shedding away from education loan but education loan has to be increased”. A finance ministry source says that banks have more than 30 lakh student loans and around 10% loans are under Non Performing assets (NPA).Government has constantly been building up pressure on public sector banks to finance education loan for the past 7 years but education loan has dropped more than 50% during the years.A bank official on conditions of anonymity said that private banks should also share education loan as social responsibly. Public banks have more than 90% education loan portfolio and private sector is almost absent.An official document shows the Vidya Lakshmi Portal has more than one lakh unique visitors and twenty three thousand students have registered so far. At least 24 banks are affiliated with this initiative and 8 banks are ready to receive the application. All the remaining banks (which are yet not integrated with the portal) are requested to take steps to integrate with the portal.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proposed to set-up a fully IT Based Student Financial Aid Authority, in the Union Budget for 2015-16. Vidya Lakshmi (www.vidyalakshmi.co.in), a single window new initiative of fast track education loan disburses system was launched on the eve of Independence Day in response to replace traditional education loan system with more transparency and fast approval. It is first of its kind portal providing single window for students to access information and make application for educational loans provided by banks as also government scholarships.The online initiative has been developed and maintained by NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited (NSDL e-Gov) under the guidance of Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).

Coal scam: JIPL director seeks summoning Manmohan Singh as defence witness

New Delhi: Jharkhand Ispat Pvt Ltd (JIPL) director RS Rungta, an accused in a coal block allocation scam case, today moved an application before a special court seeking to summon former prime minister Manmohan Singh as a witness in his defence in the case.

Besides Singh, who was also the then minister of coal, Rungta also sought summoning of former minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao as a witness in his defence in the case.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh. PTIFormer prime minister Manmohan Singh. PTI

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh. PTI

In his plea, Rungta also sought summoning of various documents and said that these two witnesses would depose about their genuineness.

Special CBI judge Bharat Parashar, however, told Rungta’s counsel to first argue on the relevancy of summoning Singh and Rao as witnesses in the case.

“In the facts and circumstances of the case, I first deem it appropriate to hear the counsel for the accused on the relevancy of summoning these witnesses in his defence. Put up for arguments on the plea on December 8,” the judge said.

Regarding Singh, the accused said, “he will prove the record of the coal ministry and the decision taken by him about constitution of screening committee and its functions and powers and would also prove the corresponding record of the Ministry of Coal.”

“Further, the two witnesses (Singh and Rao) named above may also be directed to be summoned to depose about genuineness of the documents being produced from their respective office (as they were holding at the relevant point of time),” the plea said.

Besides RS Rungta, the other two accused — JIPL and its director RC Rungta — also submitted their list of witnesses whom they want to examine in their defence and the court has fixed the case for recording of defence evidence on 19 December.

The case pertain to the allotment of North Dhadu coal block in Jharkhand to Jharkhand Ispat Pvt Ltd allegedly on the basis of false and forged documents.

The court had on 21 November concluded recording of statements of accused in the case.

JIPL and both the Rungtas were earlier put on trial by the court which had framed charges against them for securing allotment of North Dhadu coal block in Jharkhand allegedly on the basis of false and forged documents.

The court had framed charges against the three accused for alleged offences punishable under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 471 (using a forged document as genuine) of the IPC.

All the accused had pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

In its charge sheet, CBI had alleged that it had found in the probe that JIPL had “grossly misrepresented” a number of aspects before Ministry of Steel (MoS) and Ministry of Coal (MoC) to inflate their claim, thereby inducing MoC officers and the screening committee to allocate the coal block to
them.

The accused, however, has claimed innocence before the court and denied the allegations levelled against them by the CBI.

In his plea seeking summoning of Singh and Rao as defence witnesses, Rungta said these witnesses had participated in the investigation of related cases with CBI officials.

He has also sought summoning of documents from Ministry of Coal and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

These documents include the record from the PMO for the period 2003-2005 “supervising the constitution of screening committee for the purposes of coal allocation by Ministry of Coal, reflecting the powers and duties of the screening committee and the manners in which its minutes would be drawn, signed and circulated amongst concerned ministries/constituent members.”

He claimed that these documents would reflect that there was no cheating, forgery on the part of the accused and the firm.

Regarding documents which he has sought to be summoned, the accused said these would explain that “filing of agenda form, making presentations etc for any particular coal block had no bearing with respect to the recommendation or approval of recommendation of the screening committee.”

PTI

SC asks Centre to consider creating additional vacancies in Army

The bench headed by Justice TS Thakur made the remark while reserving its verdict on the appeal of the Defence Ministry against the Armed Forces Tribunal’s decision to quash Army’s ‘command exit promotion’ policy on the ground that it violated Article 14 (right to equality) of the Constitution.

PTI
Soldiers give “best part of their lives” to the country, the Supreme Court observed on Thursday while urging the government to create additional vacancies in the armed forces.The bench headed by Justice TS Thakur made the remark while reserving its verdict on the appeal of the Defence Ministry against the Armed Forces Tribunal’s decision to quash Army’s ‘command exit promotion’ policy on the ground that it violated Article 14 (right to equality) of the Constitution. “You see there are large number of vacancies. Give them the additional vacancies. They give best part of their lives to the services,” the bench, also comprising Justice Kurian Joseph, said while wrapping up the hearing.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One of the lawyers, at the fag end of the hearing, also told the court that there are around 10,000 vacancies at senior levels in the Army. Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the Centre, said the government has agreed to create 141 additional vacancies of Army officers of the rank of Colonel and above and they would be made available to officers over a period of time. Meenakshi Lekhi, appearing for some Army officers, alleged that “infantry has taken over the Army” as the 2009 promotion policy was aimed at providing edge to officers of the Infantry and discriminated against officers belonging to other divisions.Earlier, the apex court had asked the government to apprise it about the factual position on the issue of “batch parity” in promotion of army officers of the rank of Colonel and above belonging to various branches like the Armoured Corps, Engineering, Infantry and Artillery.The Centre has supported the Army’s “command exit promotion” policy and had said that army officers of certain branches were given “combat edge” in promotions and it has never been disputed. The bench, during the hearing of the appeal of the Defence Ministry against AFT’s decision, had on March 25 stayed the March 2 decision of AFT to quash Army’s promotion policy.Some army officers had claimed that the new promotion policy had adversely affected them as it was “arbitrary” and “highly skewed” in favour of Infantry and Artillery, as compared to other branches of the Army. Earlier, the court had asked the Defence Ministry to file its rejoinder to the response of the officers on whose plea the AFT had passed the order. Several officers including Lt Col P K Choudhary had submitted that all ranks of personnel from Colonel and above would be affected due to the “biased” promotion policy. They said that the 2009 promotion policy had resulted in preferential promotions to officers of select branches of Army and hence should be scrapped.In its appeal, the government had justified the promotion policy, saying the Army, being the employer, has a right to have its promotion policy and AFT should not have interfered in the “policy decision”. It further said the age profile of unit commanders in Pakistan and Chinese armies was 35 and 40 years respectively and hence the age limit of battalion commanders in Indian Army also needed to be less.The government had in 2001 asked the Chief of Army Staff to refer to the recommendations of AV Singh Committee (AVSC) on restructuring of the officer cadre of the Army. The AVSC report was aimed at reducing the age of battalion commanders.

Rain-hit Chennai back to normalcy, school and colleges reopen today

A Rs 940-crore package has been released by the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) for the rehabilitation work. A nine-member central team will on Thursday begin its on-the-spot assessment of the damages caused in the state due to recent rain and floods in the state.

Chennai Floods

PTI
After an extended break imposed because of heavy rains in the state, all schools and colleges have reopened in the city.Apart from 24 government schools that are temporarily being used as relief camps for affected people, all other schools have reopened. Meanwhile, the heavy rains continued to batter parts of Tamil Nadu, as the death toll in the rain-related incidents mounted to over 176 on Wednesday.A Rs 940-crore package has been released by the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) for the rehabilitation work. A nine-member central team will on Thursday begin its on-the-spot assessment of the damages caused in the state due to recent rain and floods in the state.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The inter-ministerial team, headed by Union Home Ministry Joint Secretary TVSN Prasad, has been deputed on the directions of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi following a request by Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. The team will conduct inspections for two days in Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur and Cuddalore districts and submit their report to the Union Home Ministry.In the wake of the heavy rain-induced floods that have left around the city reeling from extensive damage, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday sought the Centre’s aid by seeking funds for immediate relief and restoration works. Keeping in view the urgency of the situation, Jayalalithaa has also requested the Centre to dispatch a team immediately to make its on-the-spot assessment of damages and to release central financial assistance without any delay.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had ordered immediate release of Rs. 940 crores central assistance for rain-hit Chennai. He also agreed to the Tamil Nadu chief minister’s demand for a central team to be dispatched to the state to assess the damage and release funds for relief.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu proposes online program for tracing missing kids

Seeking support of the people, Prabhu said that it is also the responsibility of the society to ensure that the children do not get lost or run away from their homes.
File Photo
PTI
Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday proposed setting up of an online registration program in collaboration with the Women and Child Development Ministry to help parents trace their missing or runaway children rescued at railway stations.”I suggest that we launch an online registration program under which pictures of children rescused from railway stations would be uploaded so that their parents can easily get to know about them and these children get united with their family at the earliest,” said Prabhu here as he along with the WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi released Railway Posters for Child Protection and inaugurated a booth where a lost child can seek help at the Platform No 1 of New Delhi Railway station.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He further said that the Government Railway Police ( GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel will be trained to deal with such rescued children.Seeking support of the people, Prabhu said that it is also the responsibility of the society to ensure that the children do not get lost or run away from their homes. On her part, Gandhi said that a large number of children get kidnapped or run away from home, most of who take trains to end up in big cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi and get introduced to alcohol, drugs, tobacco and other bad habits.”These posters which have been released today will be put up in railway stations and boggies. They have the childline number 1098 printed on them and anybody who finds a child alone, scared or in an uncomfortable situation with adults, they can report it on this number,” she said.Gandhi said that these posters and kiosks have been set up at 20 stations and the government aims to set it up in 200 more stations and over the time in 12,000 staions across the country.

Government considers increase in import of pulses to reduce prices

It was decided that both Commerce and Consumer Affairs Secretaries will hold separate meetings with private traders as well as PSUs to chalk out a plan regarding the import of pulses for the coming months
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dna Research & Archives
Expecting a further increase in the supply-demand gap of pulses, the government is considering importing more lentils to check prices, which are still ruling as high as Rs 180 per kg.So far, state-owned Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation (MMTC) of India has imported 5,000 tonnes of tur on behalf of the government. The stock has been given to some state governments including Delhi at a subsided rate for further distribution in the open market.Pulses prices continue to rule high due to fall in domestic production by 2 million tonnes in the 2014-15 crop year (July-June) due to 14 per cent deficit monsoon.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also Read: Mumbai: Price of pulses skyrocket beyond the reach of citizens On Tuesday, a committee of secretaries from the Finance, Food and Consumer Affairs, Agriculture and Commerce ministries deliberated on availability and prices of pulses and other essential items.”In the meeting, the committee decided to import more pulses. It also decided to monitor quantities of imported pulses on real time basis,” sources said.Also read: Disinvestment: 15% stake-sale in MMTC to fetch about Rs 800 croreIt was decided that both Commerce and Consumer Affairs Secretaries will hold separate meetings with private traders as well as PSUs to chalk out a plan regarding the import of pulses for the coming months, they said.The import plan for pulses is being kept in place amid concerns that the supply gap may widen significantly if the Rabi (winter) crop gets reduced by chance due to any adverse weather conditions.Also Read: India may need to import 10 MT of pulses to tame prices: AssochamTill last week of the ongoing 2015-16 Rabi season, which started in October, area sown to pulses was 74.06 lakh hectare, slightly lower than 77.42 lakh hectare in the year-ago period, according to the Agriculture Ministry’s data.According to sources, the Food and Agriculture Ministries have been asked to achieve procure pulses and reach the targets set for creation of buffer stock.Also read: Why are pulses getting costlier by the day?The country’s pulses production was 17.20 million tonnes in the 2014-15 crop year, much lower than the requirement of 25 million tonnes. The gap is being met through imports.India imports about four million tonnes of pulses largely through the private trade. But this time, the government has started importing pulses after a gap of two years.

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