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Mercury settles at sub-zero temp in Kashmir; Leh coldest

The weatherman forecast snow-less New Year, saying the dry weather is expected to continue till January four.

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Mani Ratnam’s ‘OK Kanmani’ to be made by Karan Johar in Bollywood! <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaUS deporting not just students, but tourists and businessmen to India, says external affairs ministryIndiaActress-turned-politician Rupa Ganguly West Bengal BJP’s women’s wing chiefIndia29 Tamil Nadu fishermen detained by Sri Lankan navyIndiaAssam Police to launch ‘Citizen Portal’ from January 1IndiaMeet the 13-year-old boy selected for National Bravery AwardIndiaIndia will not get financial aid from United Kingdom beginning 2016 <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Shraddha Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapur to star in ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’ Hindi remake<!– /.block –>Mani Ratnam’s ‘OK Kanmani’ to be made by Karan Johar in Bollywood!<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Separatist leader Masarat Alam re-arrested day after HC quashed detention under

He said, “He (Alam) will not be allowed to resort to secessionists activities. He is a person, who had been let off earlier also, but then we thought he is becoming challenge to the peace and tranquility in Kashmir and was re-arrested.” “He is entering into treason so definitely he was arrested again. We will see to it what goes on. We have to think over it what course we have to take,” he said.

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Trending: Churches, the new Airbnb? <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaUS deporting not just students, but tourists and businessmen to India, says external affairs ministryIndiaActress-turned-politician Rupa Ganguly West Bengal BJP’s women’s wing chiefIndia29 Tamil Nadu fishermen detained by Sri Lankan navyIndiaAssam Police to launch ‘Citizen Portal’ from January 1IndiaMeet the 13-year-old boy selected for National Bravery AwardIndiaIndia will not get financial aid from United Kingdom beginning 2016 <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>India beats China on GDP growth in 2015; may grow 7-7.5% in 2016<!– /.block –>Trending: Churches, the new Airbnb?<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Assam Police to launch ‘Citizen Portal’ from January 1

He, however, said 97 police stations were currently working offline as standalone units due to non-availability of internet connectivity as most of them are located in remote areas.

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Also ReadIndiaUS deporting not just students, but tourists and businessmen to India, says external affairs ministryIndiaActress-turned-politician Rupa Ganguly West Bengal BJP’s women’s wing chiefIndia29 Tamil Nadu fishermen detained by Sri Lankan navyIndiaAssam Police to launch ‘Citizen Portal’ from January 1IndiaMeet the 13-year-old boy selected for National Bravery AwardIndiaIndia will not get financial aid from United Kingdom beginning 2016 <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>R Ashwin adds surprise delivery to his arsenal after highly successful 2015<!– /.block –>Meet the 13-year-old boy selected for National Bravery Award<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Meet the 13-year-old boy selected for National Bravery Award

Dishant said that he would ask all the children to be brave, and not get bogged down by fear.

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Cadila Healthcare gets warning letter from USFDA for two facilities in Gujarat <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaUS deporting not just students, but tourists and businessmen to India, says external affairs ministryIndiaActress-turned-politician Rupa Ganguly West Bengal BJP’s women’s wing chiefIndia29 Tamil Nadu fishermen detained by Sri Lankan navyIndiaAssam Police to launch ‘Citizen Portal’ from January 1IndiaMeet the 13-year-old boy selected for National Bravery AwardIndiaIndia will not get financial aid from United Kingdom beginning 2016 <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Assam Police to launch ‘Citizen Portal’ from January 1<!– /.block –>Cadila Healthcare gets warning letter from USFDA for two facilities in Gujarat <!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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India will not get financial aid from United Kingdom beginning 2016

Meanwhile, the technical assistance projects are expected in the areas of agricultural reforms, urban infrastructure and energy access, the report said.

dna Web Team

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Kriti Sanon on working with Sushant Singh Rajput in Dinesh Vijan’s new film <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaUS deporting not just students, but tourists and businessmen to India, says external affairs ministryIndiaActress-turned-politician Rupa Ganguly West Bengal BJP’s women’s wing chiefIndia29 Tamil Nadu fishermen detained by Sri Lankan navyIndiaAssam Police to launch ‘Citizen Portal’ from January 1IndiaMeet the 13-year-old boy selected for National Bravery AwardIndiaIndia will not get financial aid from United Kingdom beginning 2016 <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Is Rohit Shetty collaborating with Shahid Kapoor for new project?<!– /.block –>Kriti Sanon on working with Sushant Singh Rajput in Dinesh Vijan’s new film <!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Narendra Modi asks ministers to connect with people in two LS constituencies a month

An aggressive opposition, in the aftermath of the Bihar debacle, has been accusing the government of witch-hunting in the wake of the National Herald case. The standoff overshadowed the Winter Session of Parliament. The ministers will now take the government’s side of the story to clear the perception about the government, sources said.Tell their story
An aggressive opposition, in the aftermath of the Bihar debacle, has been accusing the government of witch-hunting in the wake of the National Herald case. The standoff overshadowed the Winter Session of Parliament. The ministers will now take the government’s side of the story to clear the perception about the government, sources said.

dna Correspondent

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Also ReadIndiaNCR developers default on Rs 10,000 crore land paymentsIndiaCPCB, a look at the science behind the air quality indexIndiaGovernment to revamp Censor Board on global linesIndiaMaharashtra: Government launches artificial coral reef project in MalvanIndiaNarendra Modi asks ministers to connect with people in two LS constituencies a monthIndiaDoes separatist Syedah Asiya Andrabi have Islamic State links? <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Maharashtra: Government launches artificial coral reef project in Malvan<!– /.block –>Anonymous good samaritan saves lives of 10 kids<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Over 40% faculty posts for OBC in higher education institutions lying vacant

The activists and academicians working for the rights of the reserved category candidates, however, feel that it is the lack of sincere effort and a conscious conspiracy by the institutions and the government that these posts are lying vacant. “It is hard to believe that 40 percent of seats are vacant. Non availability of a suitable candidate is a routine assessment by the government,” said Rajya Sabha MP D Raja.
Raja also alleged that it is the mindset of the establishments towards the reserved classes that these posts do not get filled up.Dalit activist Paul Divakar also blames the prevailing prejudices against the OBCs and other backward classes. “The institutions give a second class treatment to these candidates. Instead to make them suitable for the mainstream the institutions should bear the cost so that the OBCs can get adapted into the mainstream,” said Divakar of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights.BJP leader Udit Raj who also represents the community blames the premium institutions. “Instead of providing them a cushion so that they can compete with the mainstream, institutions adopt a discriminatory policy,” said Raj.

Rohinee Singh

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Also ReadIndiaMore than 11 lakh students go “missing” in UP!IndiaHas Syedah Asiya Andrabi got IS links?IndiaI-T raids on brokerages, traders in 4 cities to check pulse hoardingIndiaJayalalithaa allots houses for people who lost homes in Chennai floodsIndiaNo secret talks were held between Modi-Sharif at Kathmandu last year: Sartaj AzizIndiaBJP hopeful of ‘upset wins’ in Maharashtra council polls <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Fee in government hospitals hiked after 14 years, that too for equipment maintenance: Health minister<!– /.block –>Reliance to teach basic banking to slum women<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah reiterates commitment over anti-superstition Bill

The draft Karnataka Prevention of Superstitious Practices Bill, 2013 was prepared by Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP) of National Law School of India University, on the invitation of state government. BJP condemning certain provisions in the Bill had said the government has no right to infringe upon the beliefs of Hindus.

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Also ReadIndiaGirl abducted outside her college in Gurgaon finally rescued after manhuntIndiaSexist comments against Smriti Irani: BJP demands Nilamoni Sendeka’s arrest, protest at Congress HQIndiaChristmas nightmare: When ‘Santa’ threw acid on a mother and child in KeralaIndiaCentre to allow bull taming sport ‘Jallikattu’IndiaJourno’s jottings 2015: When politics over beef claimed a life in DadriIndiaSheena Bora murder case: Peter Mukerjea’s judicial custody extended till January 11 <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Asset allocation funds can provide cushion in volatile markets<!– /.block –>Hyderabad becomes first airport to offer e-boarding facility to domestic fliers<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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PM Modi, Jaitley victims of political intolerance: Ramdev

“Political intolerance” is at its peak in the country and the selective criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley by certain quarters is the fallout of this trend, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev has said.”Political intolerance is at its peak in the country. Therefore, someone is criticising Modi and some other Jaitley and the BJP,” Ramdev told reporters last night after taking part in a book release function.The book “Dev se Mahadev” was written by Akash, son of BJP general secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya. Ramdev also dismissed that religious tolerance has been on rise in the country.”I have not seen religious intolerance even once. On the contrary, nearly 125 crore people of this country, including me, have become victims of political intolerance,” he said. Ramdev also took a swipe at the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi in connection with the National Herald issue.”Sonia Gandhi had launched thousands of cases against me during the tenure of the Congress-led UPA government, but I faced them all. Sonia and Rahul should face at least one investigation,” he said.Terming Lord Ram as the “soul of India and the national pride”, Ramdev said the issue of construction of Lord Ram’s temple in Ayodhya should not be politicised because it is attached to the faith of people.
Ramdev parried the query on whether parties involved in the issue of construction of the temple should make efforts to arrive at consensus instead of continued litigation.”Will court decide where Lord Ram was born. Entire India and world know that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya and therefore the temple should be constructed in Ayodhya only,” he said. Responding to a query, Ramdev said that people of the country should have faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll promise to repatriate black money stashed abroad. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Modi in Russia: Congress slams PM Modi over national anthem faux pas

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The party also attacked the Prime Minister on the issue from the official AICC podium.

In a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for walking past the guard of honour while Indian national Anthem was being played in Moscow, the Congress on Thursday said he has “forgotten” what it sounds like due to his frequent foreign visits and the nation was “deeply hurt” over the “unprecedented” incident. “Modi signs on National Flag and violates Flag Code. Now walks away when Indian National Anthem is being played in Russia. Unprecedented! “Nationalism BJP/Modi “Ishtyle”. Any comments from Modi Acolytes?,” AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said on Twitter,”Spending so much time abroad seems to have made PM forget what the Indian National Anthem sounds like. He walked in Moscow as Anthem played!” Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said it was “sad that Russians had to remind Modi that he has to respect his anthem. Bhakts got much to say?”Also read: PM Narendra Modi walks during national anthem upon his arrival in MoscowThe party also attacked the Prime Minister on the issue from the official AICC podium. “Finally, the nation is shocked and deeply hurt at what we see on television the PM walking away while the national anthem was being played in Moscow. “These are matters of grave national sensitivities and we believe particularly that when the Prime Minister abroad represents the whole nation, these sensitivities must always be respected,” party spokesperson and former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar said at the Congress briefing.In an unusual incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had yesterday begun to walk past the guard of honour presented on his arrival in Moscow for a summit meeting with President Vladimir Putin even while the national anthem was still being played and had to be pulled back by a Russian official. After the Prime Minister stepped onto the tarmac, a Russian official made a gesture with his hand which appeared Modi misinterpreted and started walking. However, another official stopped Modi from walking following which he stepped back and stood in attention.

56 per cent of teenage girls suffer from iron deficiency

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According to the National Family Health Survey (2005-06), 56 per cent of adolescent girls and 30 per cent of adolescent boys –between the ages of 15 to 19 – suffer from anaemia, caused by iron deficiency. That is one out of two girls and one out of three boys. The impact is huge given India has the largest number of adolescents in the world, 253 million.

Taking note of the high prevalence of anaemia in the country, the central health ministry on Wednesday, brought attention to its Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) Programme, giving it a shot of glamour by bringing on board actor and UN Goodwill ambassador Priyanka Chopra. Though the programme has been ongoing since 2012, this awareness campaign by the ministry and UNICEF has been launched to counter recent data on the alarming rates of anemia and malnutrition in India.According to the National Family Health Survey (2005-06), 56 per cent of adolescent girls and 30 per cent of adolescent boys –between the ages of 15 to 19 – suffer from anaemia, caused by iron deficiency. That is one out of two girls and one out of three boys. The impact is huge given India has the largest number of adolescents in the world, 253 million.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> At the recently launched India Health Report: Nutrition 2015, which threw up worrying numbers of adolescent health, health minister JP Nadda stressed on the importance of the iron supplement programme, and on stepping up efforts to make adolescent girls – a group high at risk – healthier, especially under their Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram scheme, that targets health and development in adolescents. This emphasis, on India’s public health programme, he repeated on Wednesday, calling it one of the world’s largest public health programmes. Listing the The WIFS as one of their achievements this year, the ministry describes the programme as one that entails provision of weekly supervised IFA tablets to in-school boys and girls and out-of-school girls for prevention of iron and folic acid deficiency anaemia, and biannual albendazole tablets for helminth control. The programme is being implemented across the country in both rural and urban areas, covering government, government aided schools, municipal schools and Anganwadi centres.Iit is implemented with the help of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, a key stakeholder in the programme, and the ministry of human Resource Development. The programme aims to cover a total of 11.2 crore beneficiaries including 8.4 crore in-school and 2.8 crore out-of-school beneficiaries. However, according to its own data the average coverage for in-school beneficiaries in about 2.1 crore, out of school is 3.2 crore and total is 2.4 crore, making it a long way to go.

No plan to accord minority status to more communities: Govt

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Naqvi said, the government has so far notified six communities — Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains as minority communities under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.

Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
File Photo
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The government has no plan to accord minority status to more communities at present, the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.”No madam,” Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said in a written reply. He was asked whether government proposes to accord the status of minority to some other communities also.Naqvi said, the government has so far notified six communities — Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains as minority communities under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said there is no specific function conferred under Section 9 of NCM Act to identify any community as a minority.

55,669 villages still without mobile telephony services: Government

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“5,41,939 villages out of total 5,97,608 villages in the country are already covered with mobile services, leaving only 55,669 villages ie. 9.31 per cent without coverage,” the Minister said during Question Hour.

As many as 55,669 villages are still without mobile telephony services, the government told Lok Sabha on Wednesday.Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the current level of rural and urban tele-density stood at 48.79 per cent and 152.36 per cent, respectively, at the end of September.”5,41,939 villages out of total 5,97,608 villages in the country are already covered with mobile services, leaving only 55,669 villages ie. 9.31 per cent without coverage,” the Minister said during Question Hour.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There are 5,97,608 inhabited villages.Asserting that the government’s endeavour is to ensure telecom connectivity, Prasad said that since demand for telecom services is price sensitive, the level of tele-density is also determined by the purchasing ability of the consumers.”The increase in rural tele-density has gathered momentum in recent times but the wide gap between rural and urban tele- density can be explained by the difference in purchasing power of rural and urban consumers,” he said.The National Telecom Policy has the set the objectives of increasing rural tele-density to 70% by 2017 and 100% by 2020.Several measures are being taken to improve telecommunication services, Prasad said, adding “2,199 mobile towers are being set up in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected states with a total estimated cost of Rs 3,567.58 crore.” He said 1,134 mobile towers are radiating as on November 30, 2015.

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.

India sees no role for a third party in Indo-Pak talks: Sources

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They were asked what will happen if Pakistani delegation again met Hurriyat separatists or the Kashmiri separatist leaders tried to meet them here in the run-up to the next month’s meeting between the Indo-Pak Foreign Secretaries.
File Photo
PTI
India is very clear that no third party has any role in Indo-Pak parleys despite Pakistan’s stand that it would continue to speak to Kashmiri separatist leaders whom they term as “voice of Kashmiris”, highly placed government sources said on Monday.”What we have agreed with Pakistan during External Affairs Minister’s visit to Islamabad is Bilateral Comprehensive Dialogue. So, it is a bilateral thing and no third party has any role to play in discussions between India and Pakistan,” the sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They were asked what will happen if Pakistani delegation again met Hurriyat separatists or the Kashmiri separatist leaders tried to meet them here in the run-up to the next month’s meeting between the Indo-Pak Foreign Secretaries. India is also very clear that any attempt to consult Kashmiri separatists will be highly undesirable.The Indian assertion assumes significance as Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit recently said at an event, held after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s Islamabad visit, there was no change in Islamabad’s policy towards Hurriyat leaders as they represented the “voice of Kashmiris” and hoped that the dialogue process will not be halted even if there were roadblocks.”Hurriyat represents aspirations of people of Kashmir. As far as we are concerned, there is no change in our policy towards them,” Basit had said when asked whether Hurriyat leaders will be invited for dinner if the talks between India and Pakistan were held in the national capital. The Pakistan envoy had also asserted “it was time both the neighbours behave as mature nations”.Angered by Pakistan’s consultations with Kashmiri separatists India had in August last year called off talks between Foreign Secretaries of the two countries, telling it bluntly to choose between an Indo-Pak dialogue or hobnobbing with the separatists.In August this year also, the NSA-level talks were called off after New Delhi had made it clear that the then Pakistan National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz would not be allowed to meet Kashmiri separatist leaders during his visit in New Delhi.

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.

Nirbhaya case: It is important not to be swayed by public opinion, says expert

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The juvenile involved in the December 16 gang rape was released by authorities on Sunday.

Delhi police officers escort the juvenile accused of rape, outside the Juvenile justice board in New Delhi on Saturday.
Manit Balmiki
dna
Raj (19)I started doing drugs when I was still in school. It began with bidis and cigarettes, though I soon graduated to the heavy stuff and got hooked onto smack (heroin). I then took to a life of crime to support my smack habit. Nobody told me that what I was doing was wrong. I came from a broken family and was uneducated. The law finally caught up with me and I was arrested for stealing and pick-pocketing. Since I was an addict, I was referred to and enrolled in a de-addiction programme at the Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM). It was difficult at first, but I am clean now. I work here at the Sewa Kutir full-time cooking in the canteen. My next aim is to make amends with my family, it will be a slow process but I will persevere.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rahul (23)My father who was a habitual substance abuser threw my mother and my sisters out of the house, I soon followed. Life on the street was tough and I did what one has to survive. My drug habit compelled me to steal. I would sometimes used a knife to get what I wanted. I was caught by the police in 2004 and sent to a detention centre. At the same time I lost my mother, I remember I was not given leave to attend her funeral. My situation and my environment was such that I did not know any better.I am filled with regret. To atone myself, I now help and volunteer at a de-addiction centre. I counsel those who walk in the centre and help wean them off drugs if that’s what they want.(names of the juveniles have been changed to protect their identity) The juvenile involved in the December 16 gang rape was released by authorities on Sunday. His release was marked by protests and a last ditch midnight appeal by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) to delay his release, which was overturned by the vacation bench at wee hours of Sunday In a stark contrast to the current public sentiments, various experts and welfare officials are of the opinion that rehabilitation and reformation of a juvenile is possible under most circumstances. As the debate for the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 rages on in the public and Parliament, Enakshi Ganguly Thukral, co-founder of Haq – Centre for Child Rights says, “When one considers penalties for a juvenile, it is important not to be swayed by public opinion. One must consider and keep the offender as the primary focus and not the offence.” According to a social worker at SPYM, “It costs Rs3,000 per day to do smack, that makes it Rs90,000 per month. A child on the street hooked on drugs has no option but to take to crime to support this habit,” he added. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the incidence of juvenile crime was 0.5 per cent in 2001, and the number rose to 1.1 per cent in 2011. However, the NCRB statistics attribute this rise in figures mainly due to the increase of the upper ages of juveniles from 16 years to 18 years according to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000. Another reason for the increase can be credited to the addition of 11 new special and local laws added to the list in 2014. Though there is much furore about the rise in crime, statistics also show that there has been a decrease in violent crimes among juveniles in the year 2014. “When a child is deprived of his basic needs, he takes to crime. We have thus economically empowered children who have come in conflict with the law,” says Father Anthony, founder of Empowerment of Child Human rights Organisation (ECHO). Father Anthony has more than 15 years of experience towards understanding juvenile delinquency. “In my experience, I have achieved 100 per cent success rate with juvenile reformation and rehabilitation,” says he. His work with the juveniles have created successful customs officers, traffic police assistants and some are even working in multi-national organisations and jewellery stores. There are around 33,000 juveniles in the system. According to statistics, juveniles are responsible for less than 5 per cent of all rapes. Atiya Bose, Director of a Mumbai-based NGO Aangan feels that “The main issue and the reason why rehabilitation is important for young people is because they are amenable to reform. I have seen huge changes in juveniles when one has worked with them comprehensively on all fronts that includes a combination of a support system.” Bose went on to add that “Juveniles who commit crimes serve the punishment as metted out to them according to the law. Should they then be vilified and damned for life?” Short staff board While the Juvenile Justice Board has been in existence for a while, there does not seem a concerted or well thought out programme. It is understaffed and not enough resources have been allocated for the welfare of children who come in conflict with the law. With public sentiments swaying opinions, experts feel the main issue is being lost in the noise.

JD(U) urges anti-BJP parties to come together in poll-bound states to replicate Bihar experiment

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It also pitched for a nation-wide alliance of like-minded parties to take on BJP-led NDA

Nitish Kumar

Buoyed by the success of the grand alliance experiment in Bihar, JD(U) on Sunday batted for similar anti-BJP formations in five states going to polls next year, especially Assam.It also pitched for a nation-wide alliance of like-minded parties to take on BJP-led NDA. At its National Executive meeting here attended by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and party chief Sharad Yadav, its leadership resolved to engage with other parties to explore the possibility of cobbling together an anti-BJP grand alliance at the centre but stopped short of projecting Kumar as a leader of such an outfit. JD(U), however, averred he was “a prime ministerial material” and the “most able and honest” Chief Minister. The party said it expected him to influence the national politics through Bihar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Apart from Assam, assembly polls will be held in West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry next year. The meeting also decided to approach the Election Commission with a request for changing the party’s election symbol of a horizontal arrow. Briefing reporters, chief spokesperson K C Tyagi said parties like JMM and Shiv Sena had symbols resembling JD(U)’s, which caused a lot of confusion among its voters. The party lost five seats in Bihar assembly polls due to this, he claimed.It also urged the Congress to make “sacrifice” in Assam, where it is in power but faces a strong challenge from BJP, to form an alliance with AGP and AIUDF, saying the days of single-party governments, except for BJP, are over. “Congress is the biggest party and it has the biggest responsibility as well. Assam is the only state among those going to polls next year where BJP has a chance (of forming government). It must be stopped,” Tyagi said.Hitting out at the Modi government, he said JD(U)’s apprehensions, which caused it to part ways with BJP in 2013, have been proven right as the saffron party was working to divide the society on the lines of religion, language, what people eat and how they worship.”New conspiracies are being hatched against religious and linguistic minorities. In one year, the whole country has got gripped with a sense of fear,” a resolution adopted at the meeting said, adding intellectuals and writers have found an echo of “fascism” in the government. The guiding philosophy of the BJP and RSS had been that nation comes first followed by society and individual but now it is all about one individual, Tyagi said, attacking Modi.Terming the Lok Sabha election in 2014 as the “most expensive and poisonous”, JD(U) said BJP might have won it but its “divisive” campaign harmed the country’s ethos. The victory in the Bihar polls, even though JD(U) had to make “sacrifices” by giving away its seats to alliance partners, was a victory of its principles, Tyagi said.

National Herald Case: Gandhis walk out, Subramanian Swamy drives away

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The Congress leaders leave after being granted bail

Agencies
Facing corruption charges, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul appeared before the trial court here on Saturday, and were granted bail on furnishing personal bond of Rs.50,000 and one surety each. Earlier, the Gandhis walked up to the court room, accompanied by Priyanka Vadra, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other senior leaders as party workers outside the court shouted slogans in their support. The Gandhis are accused of illegally acquiring the assets of the parent company of the National Herald, a newspaper once run by their family. The summons were issued by the court on December 8 after the Delhi High Court the previous day refused to quash the summons issued to them earlier to appear as accused.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The hearing lasted only for a few minutes and the court scheduled the next hearing for February 2. The magistrate made it clear that no exemption from personal appearance will be granted to any accused for the next date of hearing. The judge, who held the proceedings in a closed room, asked Subramanian Swamy, petitioner in the case, to bring all relied upon documents in support of his complaint on the next date of hearing. In his reaction, Swamy said all their claims that they would not seek bail proved false. “They said they will not take bail. What happened now,” he told reporters. “I will win this case in 2016. Sonia, Rahul and others will be sent to prison,” he added. While AK Antony gave surety to Sonia, Priyanka stood surety for her brother. Swamy said he did not oppose bail for Sonia and Rahul and dismissed Congress allegations that it was a case of personal vendetta. “No one has told me anything to either slow down or pursue the National Herald case. I do not want any support from BJP or from anyone. I didn’t get support from my party during 2G scam also. I don’t need it,” he said. Taking satisfaction that he ultimately made top Congress leaders to walk to the law, he said: “My goal is not only to eliminate corruption but instill courage in ordinary citizen and fear in the high and mighty.” “When Sonia and Rahul came they were made to stand in a corner where the accused are supposed to be, they were not allowed to sit,” he further said. Later, in an interview to a TV channel, Swamy also hit out at suggestions that he has been accorded Z-category security and government bungalow as reward for pursuing the case. “Congress persons may be purchasable. I am a sanyasi. I don’t need houses” he shot back. Relieved with the bail granted, Sonia and Rahul later addressed media and said the government is misusing its agencies. “But none of us will be frightened as our struggle will continue,” Sonia said. Rahul said he will not let Prime Minister Narendra Modi achieve his dream of a ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’. “He thinks that the opposition will bow down. I want to tell the people of this country that myself and the Congress party will never bow down,” he said. The ruling BJP replied that corruption was synonymous with the Congress, whether in power or otherwise. “When we say Congress-mukt bharat, we mean corruption-mukt bharat. Unfortunately Congress and corruption are made for each other,” said parliamentary affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

National Herald case: Congress workers protest by burning effigy of PM Modi in Lucknow

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The partymen shouted slogans against the NDA government accusing them of framing Congress leaders to harass them and targeting Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were granted bail by Patiala House district court on Saturday, December 19, 2015.
File Photo
PTI
Congress leaders and workers on Saturday burnt an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and took out a protest march here against the NDA government, accusing it of falsely implicating leaders of opposition parties including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.Led by Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Nirmal Khatri and AICC secretary assistant in-charge of state affairs Prakash Joshi, partymen took out a padyatra from the state party office to General Post Office here to lodge their protest against the Centre.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The partymen shouted slogans against the NDA government accusing them of framing Congress leaders to harass them and targeting Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case. Youth Congress activists here burnt Modi’s effigy at the busy Hazratganj Crossing to mark the protest.Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul today sought and got bail in the National Herald case after a local court rejected complainant Subramanian Swamy’s opposition to the relief for them on the ground they are influential and can flee the country. The case is based on a private criminal complaint lodged by Swamy against them of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.

National Herald case: Congress leaders attack BJP, workers protest throughout country

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It’s a political vendetta led by, I am saying with a sense of responsibility, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Swamy is only a small cog in this entire wheel of conspiracy,” Surjewala alleged.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad

Trading guns at each other over the National Herald issue, Congress today alleged that the Modi government was indulging in political vendetta while BJP claimed that it is a legal matter and the opposition party has been trying to give a wrong impression to the people.Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi are scheduled to appear before a magistrate today in connection with the National Herald case.Raising questions about the government’s action, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said if it was not indulging in “political vendetta” then why Subramanian Swamy, who was the complaintant in the case, has been given ‘Z’ category security and only on Friday, a “Cabinet minister’s house” in Delhi’s Lutyen’s Zone.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: LIVE National Herald case: Sonia, Rahul Gandhi to appear in court; Congress meets at Azad’s houseHe also raised questions about statements made by senior BJP ministers on the issue to support his contention that the government was indulging in “political vendetta” and also referred to the removal of the previous Enforcement Directorate Chief.”It’s a political vendetta led by, I am saying with a sense of responsibility, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Swamy is only a small cog in this entire wheel of conspiracy,” Surjewala alleged.He, however, emphasised that his party and the leadership have complete faith in the judiciary, its processes and will fight the legal battle in court.”We will fight the legal battle in accordance with the law and we will fight the political battle with the Modi government both inside Parliament and also by being the voice of 125 crore people of this country,” Surjewala said.He said that since his party leadership has faith and respect the court processes, workers also have been advised not to gather outside the court in Delhi. BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao, meanwhile, said that initially the Congress party’s attempt was to build pressure and give an opinion to the people that this was some kind of administrative action or political vendetta by rivals.But the court order has “nailed all these absurd allegations. They have even tried to use or mortgage their political and parliamentary strength to get some kind of relief in the court of public opinion by building up political pressure. But the reality is, this is a legal case,” Rao said.

Sans GST, Opposition to say "ayes" to bills in RS; washout averted

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The elders have finally decided to get down to legislative business, saving Rajya Sabha from a complete washout for the second session in a row. Chairperson Hamid Ansari stepped in on Friday to get the two sides agree on taking up half a dozen non-controversial legislations, while consensus eluded the contentious Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill.

The elders have finally decided to get down to legislative business, saving Rajya Sabha from a complete washout for the second session in a row. Chairperson Hamid Ansari stepped in on Friday to get the two sides agree on taking up half a dozen non-controversial legislations, while consensus eluded the contentious Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill.Ansari’s last minute initiative to call an all-party meeting comes at the fag end of a frosty Winter Session ending on December 23. The Rajya Sabha, where the number crunch for the ruling NDA has come in the way of controversial bills, has faced frequent disruptions amidst a government-Congress face off, which intensified over the National Herald case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The productivity of the House has been 47 per cent against 100 per cent in the Lok Sabha, according to latest PRS legislative research statistics. While legislative business in the Lower House recorded 27 per cent till December 17, it was 10 per cent in the Upper House.The fate of two crucial legislations–GST, which had been on the top of government’s agenda, and the real estates bill– are caught in the government-opposition standoff over them. Meanwhile, the Opposition has agreed to passage of SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, two Appropriation Bills, Anti Hijacking Bill, Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, Commercial Courts Ordinance Bill and the Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Bill during the next week, sources said.All opposition parties gave a word to Ansari to pass the bills after he conveyed that this was one of the “most unproductive sessions”.The government and the Congress have blamed each other for the disruptions. The Congress agreed at the meeting to cooperate in passage of some bills to brush off the perception that it was blocking House in protest against the National Herald case, which it has dubbed as political vendetta by BJP.”Its the government which is not interested in smooth functioning of the House. I have also been parliamentary affairs minister. In the midst of the session, no government topples a state government. Secondly, a chief minister’s office was raided. These are signs that government does not want house to function,” leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said.However, on the issue of charges against finance minister Arun Jaitley in the DDCA issue, there are indications that the Congress has dropped its aggressive stand and demand for his resignation.”We have not retracted from that issue. We are further examining papers related to it. We are studying the entire report. There is enough time,” Azad said.He stressed that the outcome of the National Herald case coming up in a metropolitan magistrate’s court on Saturday will not affect the Congress decision to cooperate in passage of the important Bills. The Opposition opted to drop all the issues in their armour for grilling the government after the Government conceded to debate intolerance.The government also agreed not to press for passage of two Bills – Whistleblower Amendment Bill and Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill– and send them to the Select Committee of the House for further scrutiny. The Opposition wants the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill also to go to the Select Committee.Jaitley unsuccessfully pleaded to include the GST Bill in the list of those agreed to be passed but he gave up after the Congress refused to budge until its conditions are met to modify it.Even if the GST bill had been passed by the Rajya Sabha next week as it has already cleared the Lok Sabha’s muster in the last session, it has now become impossible for the government to meet the next April deadline it had set to implement the tax reform.The Constitution Bill will have to be ratified by half the state legislatures and then Parliament will have to pass the GST Bill for levying the new single indirect tax and frame the rules to implement it. This is just not possible in a short time span of three months left and so the government is reconciled to push the Constitution Bill only in the budget session and plan GST from April 2017. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters that all have decided that the House should function and pass the pending government bills even by sitting late. Blame game The government and the Congress have blamed each other for the disruptions. The Congress agreed at the meeting to cooperate in passage of some bills to brush off the perception that it was blocking House in protest against the National Herald case, which it has dubbed as political vendetta by BJP.”Its the government which is not interested in smooth functioning of the House. I have also been parliamentary affairs minister. In the midst of the session, no government topples a state government. Secondly, a chief minister’s office was raided,” Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

Section 377: Shashi Tharoor sees ‘intolerance’ in BJP over rejection of Bill

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The introduction of the private members’ Bill, which sought amendment to the IPC by seeking to “substitute a new section for Section 377”, was objected to by BJP member Nishikant Dubey, who said he was opposing it not because of any religion, vedas or ‘puranas’ but because of the Supreme Court judgement.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Friday saw “intolerance” among a section of the ruling BJP after his move to introduce a Bill for decriminalising homosexuality was rejected in Lok Sabha.The introduction of the private members’ Bill, which sought amendment to the IPC by seeking to “substitute a new section for Section 377”, was objected to by BJP member Nishikant Dubey, who said he was opposing it not because of any religion, vedas or ‘puranas’ but because of the Supreme Court judgement. Reacting to the development, Tharoor said, “It strikes me as extremely intolerant because at this stage, it’s a very routine procedure.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I begged to introduce the Bill. It is extremely unfortunate for a Bill to be rejected, even for introduction and it shows, I am sorry to say, the degree of intolerance that exists in sections of our ruling party.” The Congress leader and former Union Minister said he “will move the Bill again when the session is convened next to ensure individual privacy is possible”. The bulk of the votes opposing “even the introduction of the Bill” came from BJP, claimed Tharoor, although he also noted that there were “some members” of the ruling party who “seemed to have” voted to allow him to introduce it.The opposition MP said he proposed to amend Section 377 of IPC in order to de-criminalise homosexuality in the wake of the Supreme Court judgement in this connection. The apex court had in 2013 overruled a 2009 decision by Delhi High Court striking down the section and said that it was for the Parliament to decide whether to amend or delete it and not the judiciary. Saying that “it is not the government’s responsibility to decide how people behave in their private life”, the Thiruvananthapuram MP said, “I have not proposed the deletion; I have just proposed amendment and the purpose of the same is to ensure consensual sex between consenting adults will be legally possible. That is, we will keep the government out of our bedroom.”There is a need now to look “very, very critically” at how the public sees this issue, he further averred while seeking a public debate on the issue. “That there are so many people in the ruling party present on the government benches who are expressing their intolerance and homophobia in this manner is very revelatory,” he charged. “After all, what we are talking about is human freedom, human privacy, human dignity,” he added.Tharoor expressed confidence that if the public starts “waking up” to the reality of what is being discussed and what is at stake, he will have at least succeeded in “raising” consciousness about the issue.”In that spirit, today’s defeat will still be a victory for the cause of justice and freedom in our country,” he said.Two other Bills moved by Tharoor, for amending Section 124A of IPC, that covers sedition, and the National Asylum and Refugee Bill, which favours the extension of rights to foreign nationals, were allowed to be introduced in the House.

National Herald Case: Sonia, Rahul may seek bail

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The Congress President and Vice President have been summoned by the trial court on a private criminal complaint of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy of conspiracy, cheating, breach of trust and misappropriation of property .

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi

PTI
Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi could seek bail when they appear before a magistrate on Saturday in the National Herald case with the Congress today insisting that they were open to all legal remedies and options.”We are open to availing all legal remedies and options including bail” said party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala ahead of the two top leaders appearing before Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen in the Patiala House courts tomorrow. The Congress President and Vice President have been summoned by the trial court on a private criminal complaint of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy of conspiracy, cheating, breach of trust and misappropriation of property.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Surjewala said the Congress leadership does not want the court process to be interfered with or influenced in any manner and so the party has asked workers not to come to the court. Partymen claim that the Congress wants it to be a low key affair. AICC has dismissed reports that the Congress has called its state leaders to Delhi when the Gandhis will appear before the court The party has been maintaining so far that a decision would be taken in accordance with what advice the lawyers will give.Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, who is representing the Gandhis, said “Unnecessary hype over a routine procedure need not be created by the media. We are proceeding in every manner in accordance with law.”Singhvi, who is also party spokesman, said “We have been scrupulously avoiding all hype or hoopla about this as fas as courts are concerned.” Party General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed said the Congress would politically fight the Narendra Modi government on the issue as it was a “vendetta”.Congress MPs have been asked to gather at the party headquarters tomorrow ahead of the appearance of the Gandhis in the court as a measure of solidarity. “The Modi government cannot suppress Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi or the Congress party from continuing to raise the voice of the people,” Surjewala said adding the government was on a “malicious witch hunt” against all political opponents including the Congress leadership.

Jats exclusion from backward list: Delhi HC seeks state govt’s reply

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The bench also directed the petitioner to file an amended list of parties and include major Jats group as parties in the matter.

The Delhi High Court on Friday sought a response from the city government on a plea seeking quashing of a notification including Jat community in the state list of backward class. A bench of Justice Rajiv Shahi Endlaw asked Delhi government to file its reply on the plea and posted the matter for further hearing on February 17. The bench also directed the petitioner to file an amended list of parties and include major Jats group as parties in the matter.During the brief hearing, counsel for petitioner informed the court that several groups of the community have made representation to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) either for inclusion or exclusion of Jats from the list of backward class.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that 70 groups of the community have made representation before NCBC for inclusion of Jats in the list of backward classes while 66 groups made representation for opposing the inclusion in the list.The plea, filed through advocate Chetan Dutt and advocate Raj Kumar, said that since NCBC has in its advice on February 26, 2014 to the government opined that Jats are not entitled to be included in the list of backward classes, Delhi government has till now not excluded the community from the list.It said that NCBC report has said that “ethnically Jats are at a higher level, they are of Indo Aryan desecent; their educational level is high and the social status they command is far higher than the ordinary shudras.”The plea said that Delhi government has come out with a notification dated July 31, 2000 in which jat community was included in the list of backward classes but despite NCBC finding and advice, the community has not been excluded.

National Herald case: Security beefed up at court premises ahead of Sonia, Rahul Gandhi’s appearance

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The sources said security personnel have discussed at length the arrangements to be made for tomorrow as both Sonia and Rahul are SPG protectees.
File Photo
PTI
Security was beefed up on Friday at the Patiala House District Court premises in New Delhi ahead of the scheduled appearance of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and others tomorrow in connection with the National Herald case.According to court sources, senior officials of the Special Protection Group (SPG), Delhi Police and Intelligence Bureau reviewed the security arrangements at the court premises where 16 more CCTV cameras were installed today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The sources said security personnel have discussed at length the arrangements to be made for tomorrow as both Sonia and Rahul are SPG protectees. The security officials have also had a meeting with the District Judge of the Patiala House courts.The police have made elaborate security arrangements considering the fact that the court is a public place where a number of lawyers, litigants come daily. The sources said that shops inside the premises will remain closed tomorrow and the area near gate number two of the court, where the courtroom in which the hearing is scheduled is located, will be cordoned off with deployment of a multi-layered security cover.

Mizoram in 2015: Of various Governor appointments, Brus and the lift of liquor ban

Frequent change of governors dominated the political scenario in Mizoram in 2015 which also saw lifting of an 18-year-old ban on liquor in the state.

Mizoram Liquor Prohibition and Control Act, 2014 came into force in January, 2015 – Representational Image
File Photo

Frequent change of governors dominated the political scenario in Mizoram in 2015 which also saw lifting of an 18-year-old ban on liquor in the state.The year began with the swearing-in of Aziz Qureshi as governor on January 9 by Justice Michael Zothankhuma, who himself was sworn-in as a judge of Gauhati High Court two days ago.Qureshi was then removed on March 28 and West Bengal Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi was asked to take additional charge of Mizoram. On May 26, Lt Gen (Retd) Nirbhay Sharma, the present governor, was sworn-in at the Durbal Hall of Raj Bhavan. The frequent change of governors drew sharp criticism from many quarters and the Mizo Zirlai Pawl or Mizo students’ federation staged a protest demonstration in front of the Raj Bhavan on April 4, just before Tripathi was sworn-in. The central committee of the Young Mizo Association (YMA), the largest community-based organisation in the state, also condemned the frequent change of governors. Sharma is the eighth governor of Mizoram to be appointed after Vakkom Purushothaman resigned on July 12, 2014 in protest against his transfer to Nagaland by the NDA government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the state remained under a stringent prohibition regime for 18 years, the Mizoram Liquor Prohibition and Control Act, 2014 came into force from January 15 and liquor shops opened from March 16 in Aizawl from where permit holders could buy and consume Indian made foreign liquor. Following this, Conference of the Synod, the highest decision-making authority of the Mizoram Presbyterian Church, decided that people selling liquor and holding permit for purchase and consumption of alcohol will not be allowed to take active part in church activities.Repatriation of Brus lodged in six relief camps in North Tripura district also dominated headlines. On the Bru issue, the Mizoram government chalked out a road map for repatriation commencing from June 2 and to be continued till September 4. According to the road map, it was planned that Mamit district along Mizoram-Tripura border would host 2,594 Bru families, while 628 would be resettled in Kolasib district along Mizoram-Assam border and 233 families in south Mizoram’s Lunglei district. However, the mega plan for which Rs 68 crore was earmarked failed as not a single Bru came forward for identification as bona fide resident of Mizoram. The Brus had migrated to Tripura from Mizoram en masse during the later part of 1997 after militants belonging to the erstwhile Bru National Liberation front gunned down Lalzawmliana, a forest guard working inside the Dampa Tiger Reserve near Persang hamlet on October 21 that year. The first effort to repatriate the Brus on November 16, 2009 was not only hampered by the murder of a Mizo youth, Zarzokima of Mizoram-Tripura border Bungthuam village by Bru militants on November 13, 2009, but also triggered another round of exodus. Though hundreds of Bru families have been repatriated since 2010, many of them refused to return to Mizoram due to obstruction from anti-repatriation leaders who made a plethora of demands to the Centre and the state government. All the civil societies in the state opposed the Election Commission’s decision to conduct special summary revision of voters’ lists in the six Bru relief camps in Tripura resulting in the obstruction of the state election department officials from leaving for the relief camps from Mamit on November 9. The civil societies and leaders of the political parties insisted that those Brus who refused to return to Mizoram despite repeated pleas should be disfranchised in the Mizoram voters’ list.The death of former Chief Minister Brig Thenphunga Sailo, a towering figure among the Mizos and also well-known in the national politics, on March 27 was a blow to the state. Sailo formed the Peoples’ Conference (PC) on April 17, 1975 and it won the Mizoram union territory elections in 1977. Subsequently, it formed the government with Sailo becoming the state’s second chief minister. However, his government did not last long due to defections and Mizoram was placed under the President’s Rule for a brief period. But he bounced back to power in 1979. His party lost the 1984 elections with the Congress led by Lal Thanhawla. Sailo’s son Lalhmangaiha Sailo took over the baton of his party and renamed it as Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC).Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla’s brother Lal Thanzara resigned as MLA on August 18 after allegations of ‘conflict of interests’ and giving undue favour to a company by awarding crores of rupees worth contract as he was holding shares in that construction company. Opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) lodged an FIR with the Anti-Corruption Bureau against Lal Thanzara alleging the latter was indulging in corruption and misuse of office.Following his resignation, the Aizawl North-III Assembly seat fell vacant and a bypoll was held on November 21 in which he defeated his nearest rival K Vanlalvena of the MNF. He was sworn-in as a minister and was allocated Health, Information and Communication Technology and Information and Public Relations portfolios. Three Mizoram Police personnel were gunned down by suspected Manipur-based Hmar People’s Convention (Democrats) near Mizoram-Manipur-Assam border Zokhawthiang on March 28. The slain policemen were part of a team of the state Assembly committee on government assurances visiting the area. The militants, after the ambush, decamped with two AK-47 rifles and five pistols without harming the three MLAs, including the lone woman legislator Vanlalawmpuii Chawngthu, who were members of the Assembly team. Several HPC(D) militants including its self-styled army chief Lalropuia Famhoite, ‘finance secretary’ Norbar Sanate and self-styled sergeant major Biakliana, commander of the group which ambushed the Assembly committee team, were arrested.Elections to the village councils and local councils within the jurisdiction of the Aizawl Municipal Council (AMC), now upgraded to a corporation, were held on April 30 in which the ruling Congress won. However, the elections could not be held in 31 villages in Aizawl and Kolasib districts due to threats from the HPC(D).Another violent incident erupted in southern Mizoram’s Chawngte town on August 4, leaving a 20-year-old student dead in police firing to disperse agitators, which resulted in the ransacking of 19 houses belonging to rulingCongress leaders, including the Chief Executive Member of the Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) Buddha Lila Chakma and 21 government vehicles were damaged by the agitators.The Mizoram Chakma Students Union (MSCU) spearheaded a protest against alleged fraudulent recruitment of 101 employees by the CADC. The incident had a political fallout resulting in the exit of Chakma, who was replaced by Kali Kumar Tongchongya.The opposition MNF won the elections to the 19-seat Aizawl Municipal Corporation (AMC) held on November 26 by bagging 11 seats, defeating the Congress and MPC.

National Herald case: ‘Naturally’, I will appear in court tomorrow, says Sonia Gandhi

Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday confirmed that she will appear in court tomorrow in connection with the hearing of the National Herald case. Replying to media, she said, “Naturally”.The National Herald newspaper was closely associated with India’s freedom struggle and the Indian National Congress till 2008. In January 2008, discussions about its closure began. On 1 April 2008, the paper’s editorial announced that it was temporarily suspending operations. Before its closure, the paper was being run by Associated Journals Limited (AJL).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP leader Subramanian Swamy filed the case in a local court in 2012. The trial court then issued summons to the two leaders among others in June 2014, but they approached the Delhi High Court seeking a stay. On Monday this week, the high court refused to stay the summons, and asked all of the accused to appear for a hearing on December 19. The accused face allegations that they illegally acquired property worth Rs. 5,000 crore belonging to the National Herald newspaper.Meanwhile, hitting out at the Congress Party for stalling parliament procedures, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the former was stalling the development works for their own personal interests.”We are still hopeful that the Rajya Sabha will function. It is true that there has been lot of loss; there are many important Bills which are being stalled without any reason. The Congress is hampering development work for its private interest,” Naqvi told ANI.

Making restaurant visits ‘a pleasure’ for India’s disabled

Meet Nipun Malhotra whose campaign made a popular food app list wheelchair-friendly restaurants in Indian cities.

Bangkok handshake effect: Pakistani military hands over J&K youth to Indian army after six months

The timing of the handover is also significant given the new found bonhomie after National Security Advisor (NSAs) of both countries met in Bangkok which was followed by the visit of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to Pakistan to attend heart of Asia conference.

Bonhomie appeared to have replaced the hostilities on the sensitive Line of Control (LoC) after Pakistani military handed over a Jammu and Kashmir youth to the Indian army, six months after he had crossed into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), in Poonch district of Jammu division. Mohammad Rashid of village Degwar-Teruan in the Poonch district had crossed over to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on June 12 and since then his whereabouts were not known. On Wednesday, Pakistan army handed him over to Indian army at Chakan- da-Bagh crossing on the LoC in the Poonch district. “The individual has been handed over to police for further questioning. Rashid, who was a contractual driver, had crossed over for the reasons still under investigation by the police. His father Sattar Din had registered a First Information Report with the police”, said Lieutenant Colonel Manish Mehta, defence spokesman at Jammu.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Usually any individual who inadvertently strays across the LoC is handed over to the respective armies within days after proper verification. But Rashid’s case is a stark contrast since his father had lodged a report and he was in PoK for six months without any trace. The timing of the handover is also significant given the new found bonhomie after National Security Advisor (NSAs) of both countries met in Bangkok which was followed by the visit of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to Pakistan to attend heart of Asia conference. Camaraderie between the two countries notwithstanding, Jammu and Kashmir police have arrested Rashid and he has been sent to joint interrogation centre to unravel the mystery behind his sudden disappearance. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Poonch JS Johar said Rashid was booked under EIMCO (Egress & Ingress Movement Control Ordinance) after he had crossed the LoC into PoK some six months ago. “They live near the fence (at LoC) and he had crossed over to the other side. You can go to PoK via Chakan da Bagh on permit. If you do not go with valid permit, you have to be booked under EIMCO. He was handed over yesterday and we have arrested him under that case”, Johar told dna. Police said the investigation and interrogation of Rashid will help in unraveling the truth behind Rashid’s disappearance. “Interrogation and investigation will go on. He has been arrested since he was wanted by us. We will share with you whatever comes after his interrogation”, Johar said.

NGT orders inspection of waste-to-energy plants in Delhi

The green panel also directed the team to take samples of ambient air quality as well as stack air quality

Concerned over delay in the operationalizing the waste-to-energy plants in capital, the National Green Tribunal on Thursday constituted a “high-powered team” to inspect these plants while directing it to submit a report within three weeks. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar constituted the team consisting of the Environment and Power Secretary, NCT Delhi, the Member-Secretary of CPCB, DPCC, senior scientist from MoEF, senior officer from Irrigation Department of UP (for Ghazipur plant) and chief engineers of municipal corporations. “They shall report as to the steps that are required to be taken to ensure that the waste-to-energy plant at Ghazipur and Bawana could be made operational without any further loss of time. The reports would be comprehensive in all respects and shall fix responsibility for the requirements to be completed and steps to the taken by the respective stakeholders and the authorities to ensure grant of clearance of these projects.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”They shall also inspect thermal power plants at Rajghat and Badarpur and submit a complete and comprehensive report about their operation and maintenance,” the bench said. The green panel also directed the team to take samples of ambient air quality as well as stack air quality from all these plants except Bawana and ordered that samples would be analysed by DPCC, CPCB and Shriram Laboratory independently. “Samples will be collected in the presence of the team. While taking the samples and conducting the inspection, the wind directions should be specifically noted. “It should be pointed out in the inspection note if the plant at Sukhdev Vihar requires any immediate improvement, beside the one already suggested by CPCB, to ensure that emission do not carry any ash or particulate matters so as to cause pollution of the air particularly to the surrounding areas which are located near the plant,” the bench said.The green bench also directed all municipal corporations of Delhi and Delhi Cantonment Board to put forward a proposal for collection and segregation of of municipal solid waste. The Tribunal’s direction came on an application filed by Sukhdev Vihar Residents Welfare Association praying for closure of the Okhla waste-to-energy plant alleging that it uses illegal mass burning technology, causing air pollution.

PM Narendra Modi betraying people, says Former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot

On the National Herald issue, Gehlot said that Modi’s intention was not good.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of betraying the people of the country by not fulfilling the promise of containing “sky-rocketing inflation”.”PM Modi has been exposed. The common man is under the burden of sky-rocketing inflation. Crude oil prices reduced in international market but the benefit was not passed on to the people, instead excise duty was increased,” Gehlot said.He also accused the government of protecting Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in the Lalit Modi controversy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Hardik Patel is a youth and he was booked in Gujarat under charges of sedition whereas this action should have been taken against Rajasthan CM Raje. But unfortunately, no action is being taken against her,” he said, while alleging that the Modi government was targeting Congress leaders.”It is not possible without the nod of PM Modi. This trend is very dangerous,” he said.On the National Herald issue, Gehlot said that Modi’s intention was not good. “National herald issue shows the difference between words and deeds of PM Modi,” Gehlot alleged.

Congress plans grand show on eve of Rahul-Sonia appearance in court

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The Congress sources said it would be a show of strength to express solidarity with the party leadership and register protest against senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy’s attempts to implicate its leaders with the charge of usurping properties of the defunct newspaper National Herald in Delhi and eight other cities.

Sonia Gandhi and other Congress leaders after submitting a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee demanding removal of Arunachal governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa

dna
The Congress is planning a grand show on Saturday, when Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi and five other leaders are appearing before a magistrate’s court here in the National Herald case. They party has summoned all its chief ministers, state party presidents and MPs to the AICC headquarters at 24 Akbar Road here on Saturday for a likely march along with leaders to the Patiala Courts.The Congress sources said it would be a show of strength to express solidarity with the party leadership and register protest against senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy’s attempts to implicate its leaders with the charge of usurping properties of the defunct newspaper National Herald in Delhi and eight other cities.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a strategy, Rahul has decided not to offer bail or sign a security bond as he prefers to be sent to judicial custody. Though, earlier it was decided that Sonia will file for a bail bond because of her fragile health along with 86-year old treasurer Motilal Vora, party sources said, Congress president may also opt for jail to secure a sympathy for ‘victimisation by the ruling BJP and the Modi government’. They said Sonia and Rahul were taking a cue from former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi whose political fortunes resurrected following her arrest in 1977 after losing the elections.

National Herald Case: Sonia and Rahul Gandhi to appear before court on Saturday

Under procedures, once an accused has been summoned, he or she has to appear before it and seek bail which the court may grant.
File Photo
AFP photo
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi will appear in a Delhi court on Saturday in the National Herald case amid speculation that they may not apply for bail. The party remained tightlipped on the course to be adopted by the two leaders when they appear before the court on Saturday afternoon.Under procedures, once an accused has been summoned, he or she has to appear before it and seek bail which the court may grant. Otherise, they can be taken into judicial custody. If the accused does not apply for bail, the court can take the accused in the judicial custody.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said “we respect judicial process and we will submit ourselves to the majesty of the court process. The Congress President and the Vice President have complete faith in the judicial process. They will be proceeding as per the advice by the lawyers”.Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, who had represented the Gandhis in the court, steered clear of questions whether the Gandhis would apply for bail. “We cannot share our strategy. I have not spoken to anyone on the issue. I cannot speak on it”.Several senior party leaders, including CWC members and party General Secretaries and party MPs, would accompany the Gandhis to the court as a mark of solidarity.

Gujarat to get maiden medical devices and pharma parks: Union Minister Ananth Kumar

According to Ananth Kumar, though India is doing well in manufacturing pharmaceutical products, it is still not self- reliant in the medical devices sector.

Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel.
File Photo
PTI
The Centre is mulling setting up the country’s maiden medical devices and pharma parks in Gujarat in a bid to make India self-reliant in the sector. This was stated by Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar, who sought cooperation from the state government to implement these projects and the latter responded positively in terms of providing land for them.According to Kumar, though India is doing well in manufacturing pharmaceutical products, it is still not self- reliant in the medical devices sector.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is an era of medical devices. But, even today, India is not self-reliant in producing these devices. Thus, we are planning to open first such medical devices park here in Gujarat if the government provides us cheaper land for it,” Kumar said in the presence of Chief Minister Anandiben Patel.Kumar and MoS in the same Ministry Hansraj Gangaram Ahir were here for the foundation stone laying ceremony of the new campus of National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research Institute (NIPER).The Gujarat Government has alloted 60 acres for the campus being set up on Chiloda Road at a cost of around Rs 500 crore, stated an official press release. Kumar said a centre of excellence will be started in the institute. “Apart from imparting studies and conducting research and development in the field of pharmaceutical, this institute will also have a centre of excellence for developing new medical devices.”The Minister also announced government’s plans to set up the first-ever drug discovery centre and a pharmaceutical park in Gujarat.”This is an era of drug discovery. We are planning to set up India’s first-ever drug discovery centre in Gandhinagar. We are also ready to set up a pharma park in Gujarat.”He urged the Gujarat government to provide cheaper land to expand the operations of Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology, currently running out of Vatva GIDC area in Ahmedabad and imparting training to around 5,000 youths.”To expand the operations of CIPET, we need 5 acres of land at Sanand near Ahmedabad. With that new facility, we would be able to double the intake of students.”Replying positively, Patel assured to provide all required assistance from her government.”My Government will make sure that work on the new NIPER campus is completed in one-and-a-half years. Gujarat Government will provide land at nominal rates for all these projects,” she said.

Odisha Assembly passes resolution demanding Bharat Ratna for former CM Biju Patnaik

None of the opposition members were present when the House adopted the resolution.

Former Odisha CM Biju Patnaik
File
Picture Courtesy: Wikipedia
Odisha Assembly on Wednesday adopted a resolution seeking “Bharat Ratna” for freedom fighter and former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik.”The House adopted a resolution empowering the state government to make a demand before the Centre for conferring Bharat Ratna on Biju Patnaik posthumously and observe birth centenary of the legendary leader next year,” Speaker Niranjan Pujari said after the House adopted the resolution moved by the government chief whip Ananta Das.Das had moved a motion on Tuesday on the ‘Role of Legendary Biju Patnaik during freedom struggle and nation building after Independence’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>None of the opposition members were present when the House adopted the resolution. Opposition Congress, BJP and CPI-M are keeping away from the House to protest the suspension of Congress MLA Nabakishore Das by Speaker Niranjan Pujari for seven days on the charge of watching objectionable video on mobile phone in the house on Monday.At least eight ministers and 20 MLAs participated in the debate which began yesterday. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is also the younger son of Biju Patnaik, however, did not take part in the debate.BJD lawmakers said the legendary leader had been honoured with the highest civilian award by Indonesian government and the government of Russia. National flags of three nations were therefore draped on his body in his funeral, they said.Rout also said how Biju Patnaik had contributed to the security of the country during Chinese aggression in 1962 and war with Pakistan in 1965.”Biju Patnaik had a major role for which Jammu Kashmir is now part of India. Biju Babu carried V K Krishna Menon to Kashmir in his plane and convinced Raja Hari Singh to keep Jammu and Kashmir with India,” Rout said.When Pakistan along with some other nations announced war against India in 1965, the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Sashtri sought Patnaik’s help to ensure that Indonesian naval warship do not come to the rescue of the enemy country and Patnaik used his personal relation with President Sukarno and stopped Indonesia’s warship moment, he said.Government Chief Whip Ananta Das said, “Biju Babu suggested Dr APJ Abdul Kalam to select Wheeler Island for test launching of missiles instead of setting up a National Test Range at Baliapal in Balasore district. Then, Dr Kalam and his team visited the island and found the place most suitable place in the world for missile testing.” The House was adjourned sine-die after the resolution was adopted.

Three years after December 16 gangrape, activists say women’s safety has not improved in Delhi

“What has changed in Delhi? Do we have lesser rapes now? Has the security system been strengthened?” activists asked.

Women activists say “nothing much has changed” when it comes to safety of women in the national capital since the tragic December 16 gangrape case three years ago which shook the nation and led to a massive public outcry, forcing Parliament to enact a new anti-rape law.”What has changed in Delhi? Do we have lesser rapes now? Has the security system been strengthened? Have the convicts of brutal gangrape been hanged? Definitely, the Nirbhaya gangrape triggered a huge outcry, but where are the results,” said Ranjana Kumari, activist and Director, Centre for Social Research.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The nation is yet to see the ‘hanging’ of the convicts and to believe the fact that the ones contributing to violence against women will be severely punished and the situation ‘changed VS not changed’ will continue till strong examples are set that the accused will not be spared,” she added.Another activist Kavita Krishnan said, “The juvenile accused is likely to walk free, that speaks volumes about the ‘change’ in the past three years. Neither there is political will nor conviction of the accused”.”Law has been made, funds have been allocated, fast track court was to hear the case, but where is the implementation and where are the results that reflect a change in the society,” she added.Six persons, including a juvenile, had brutally assaulted and raped a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012. The victim had succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012, plunging the country into grief.Mukesh, Vinay, Pawan and Akshay were awarded death penalty by a trial court in the gangrape 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.The Centre had yesterday asked Delhi High Court to extend the observation home stay of the juvenile convict who is scheduled to be released on Sunday, saying several mandatory aspects were missing from the post-release rehabilitation plan which needed to be considered before setting him free. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) also issued conditional summons to the Delhi chief secretary, police commissioner and the Union home secretary on Tuesday following their “failure” to produce reports on the release of the juvenile convict.”Things have moved on paper, policy decisions are also being made. It is not that initiatives have not been taken but this passing of buck between the Centre and the state government is providing an edge to police as there is no accountability,” said Annie Raja, General Secretary, National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW).Various events including candlelight vigils and art exhibitions will be organised in the national capital tomorrow as a token of remembrance for Nirbhaya.In memory of their beloved daughter and to reaffirm their lifelong commitment to improving women’s safety, the parents of the victim, in collaboration with women’s and citizens groups, will also mark the day as ‘Nirbhaya Chetna Divas’ at Jantar Mantar.

Car dealers urge NGT to allow sale of 2015 diesel car inventory

The senior counsel went on to add that the car dealers had bought stocks of close to 10,000 cars and more than Rs2,000 crore will be lost approximately.

A group of automobile dealers on Tuesday appealed against the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) order banning the registration of new diesel cars till January 6, pleading the bench to allow sale of existing inventory of cars as an interim relief for car dealers and car companies. Appearing for the group of automobile dealers comprising of Koncept Automobiles, a leading Mahindra and Mahindra car dealer, was senior counsel Pinaki Misra. Misra pleaded that the NGT’s order banning diesel vehicle registration was ‘harsh’ and sought a modification in it. “This (diesel cars) is not a banned article. We are saddled with stocks of 2015 which would be difficult to dispose off in 2016 due to the NGT order.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The senior counsel went on to add that the car dealers had bought stocks of close to 10,000 cars and more than Rs2,000 crore will be lost approximately. “Thousands of stock will be stuck and even car buyers will suffer losses as they have paid advances on the basis of loans. I am sitting on 100% paid vehicles.”After hearing out Misra’s arguments, the bench headed by justice Swatanter Kumar asked the Centre and Delhi government to state their clear stand on the issue of stopping the registration of diesel cars. The bench also said that since the Supreme Court too was hearing a similar appeal by car dealers, it would not be appropriate for them to pass an order.The bench then went onto add that by Wednesday union ministry of environment and forests, ministry of petroleum and natural gas, Delhi government, Central Pollution Control Board and union ministry of road transport and highways should all specify their position on the ban on diesel vehicles and on causes of pollution in the capital.It also asked the union ministry of road transport and highways to explain by Wednesday the delay in switching over to cleaner fuel standards such as Bharat Stage-V or BS-V.

With GST plans in peril, BJP all set to target Congress on corruption issues

The decision was taken at a meeting attended by Union home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu and BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday.

As the Modi government started losing hopes of passage of its key reforms Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill amid the political chill in the ongoing winter session, the BJP is rolling up its sleeves to make the National Herald case and other “corruption” issues key in its offensive against the Congress.The BJP alleged that Congress was holding the country’s development “hostage” to its “selfish” political goal. The government will make efforts to reach out the Congress on GST but if the session ends in a washout, the party will take to the streets to protest against the Congress’s approach in Parliament, sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The decision was taken at a meeting attended by Union home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu and BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday.The BJP, which distributed booklets titled ‘National Herald Case — Family Greed and National Blackmail’ to party MPs at its parliamentary party meeting, is planning to aggressively take on the Congress inside and outside Parliament. The booklet, which begins with finance minister Arun Jaitley’s article “Why the Congress is Wrong”, is a compilation of editorials and articles in various newspapers.The GST bill was the focal point of the session, which could be a washout like the previous monsoon session. The Congress, which has been alleging political vendetta in the National Herald case, is now up in arms alleging that the governor of Arunachal Pradesh has summoned a special session from Wednesday without consulting the state government.Sources said that in a bid to Congress on board on GST, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu will meet congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad.”The parliamentary party expressed its concern over the negative politics of Congress and its attempt to obstruct the country’s development…Congress should see to it that the case does not overshadow national interest,” minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.The government and party will celebrate former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birth day on December 25 as ‘good governance day’ during which a host of events will be held, Naqvi said.On January 12, the birth anniversary of Vivekananda, several programmes on empowering youth and skill development will be launched in Lok Sabha constituencies.The party MPs also decided to contribute Rs 10,000 each for Chennai flood relief, he said.Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar briefed MPs about the climate agreement in Paris and the members expressed their happiness over the outcome, Naqvi said.

PM Modi reviews impressive naval exercise after tri-services meet in Kochi

The annual event, held against an operational backdrop of the high seas for the first time, was attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Chiefs of Army, Navy and Airforce, secretaries of the government of India besides top tri-services commanders.

PTI
An impressive array of warships, including nuclear capable submarines, and about 8000 men and officers of Indian Navy presented an exquisite display of operational capabilities in an exercise reviewed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi off the Kochi coast in Kerala on Tuesday.Having chaired the Combined Commanders Conference, an annual tri-services event held for the first time outside New Delhi onboard INS Vikramaditya, the Prime Minister reviewed the exercise about 50 km off the coast where the naval guns blazed and fighter jets roared in a dazzling display of India’s military might.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The annual event, held against an operational backdrop of the high seas for the first time, was attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Chiefs of Army, Navy and Airforce, secretaries of the government of India besides top tri-services commanders.”Indian Navy displayed its Naval as well as air power capabilities during the approximately 40 to 45 minute (exercise). Ships of the Navy were there including submarines, as also aircraft, and about 8000 plus men of Indian Navy participated as part of the exercise,” a Defence spokesman said. He said it was the Prime Minister’s Office which wanted the tri-services meet to be held in an operational setting.”So it was moved out of the South Block and it is a reality today. It is now going to be from operational backdrops to operational backdrops,” he said.After Prime Minister Modi had chaired the meet onboard INS Vikramaditya which lasted for about an-hour-and-half, he reviewed the exercise that began with firing by naval guns followed by a rocket-fire demonstration.”We had 30 plus ships outside, which included INS Vikramaditya, Virat, Kochi, Delhi, Mysore….,” the Defence spokesman said.”Then we had nuclear submarine INS Chakra… …We had 60 aircraft of the Naval aviation ranging from one end of the spectrum to other end. We also showcased the actual operations of MiG 29 K from INS Vikramaditya. A number of sorties were taken off, one from the larger runway–that is 195 meters and one from the 100 meter runway,” he said.

We failed to get justice for our daughter, says Nirbhaya’s father

The juvenile convict, allegedly “the most brutal” of the six accused, is scheduled to be released on December 20 after his term at the observation home ends.

The juvenile rapist in the Nirbhaya gangrape case.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
“We have failed. Now there is no hope for justice,” said the distraught parents of December 16, 2012 gangrape victim on the eve of the third anniversary of the incident that shook the nation as they appealed not to release the juvenile convict.”With each passing day her memories get more intense. But we are not even able to face the memories as we have failed to secure justice for her. And now there is no hope for justice!,” the 50-year-old father of the victim said in a choked voice.According to the father, it has been three years and yet the four culprits have not been hanged. The juvenile convict, allegedly “the most brutal” of the six accused, is scheduled to be released on December 20 after his term at the observation home ends. The father of the girl said the youth, who was a juvenile at the time of the incident, should not be released as he is a “threat” to the society. They have also submitted representations to the Home Ministry and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) demanding the same.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”For us he is the the killer of our daughter who is being set free despite his heinous crime. We demand that he should not be released,” the father said.But despondence enters his tone as he says, “We are small people. Who will listen to us? For the last three years we have knocked each and every door with the hope of getting justice, but all in vain,” he said.Meanwhile, the Centre had yesterday asked Delhi High Court to extend the observation home stay of the juvenile convict, saying several mandatory aspects were missing from the post-release rehabilitation plan which needed to be considered before setting him free. The father also stressed that it was important to assess the mental health of the boy before releasing him.”There is a need to assess his mindset to ensure that he does not attack another girl like he had attacked my daughter after being released,” he said.On Wednesday, in remembrance of their beloved daughter and to reaffirm their lifelong commitment to improve women’s safety, the parents of the December 16 victim, in collaboration with women’s and citizens groups, will mark the day as ‘Nirbhaya Chetna Divas’ at Jantar Mantar.

India ranks 130th in Human Development Index: UNDP

“India’s HDI value for 2014 is 0.609, which puts the country in the medium human development category, positioning it at 130 out of 188 countries and territories.

India continued to rank low in the Human Development Index (HDI), climbing just one notch to the 130th rank in the latest UNDP report on account of rise in life expectancy and per capita income.India ranked 130 among 188 countries in Human Development Report 2015 released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The ranking is for the year 2014.As per the latest report, India’s rank has moved from 131 to 130. India’s HDI rank between 2009 and 2014 has risen six positions.”India’s HDI value for 2014 is 0.609, which puts the country in the medium human development category, positioning it at 130 out of 188 countries and territories.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Between 1980 and 2014, India’s HDI value increased from 0.362 to 0.609, an increase of 68.1 per cent or an average annual increase of about 1.54%,” a note circulated with the report said.Norway topped followed by Australia and Switzerland. As per the report, the HDI rank of Bangladesh and Pakistan was 142 and 147, respectively. Among the BRICS nations, India was ranked lowest. Other countries in the group are Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa.The HDI is an average measure of basic human development achievements in a country. It is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development — a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.Life expectancy at birth increased to 68 years in 2014 from 67.6 in the previous year and 53.9 in 1980.Gross National Income (GNI) per capita was US $5,497 in 2014 up from US $5,180 in 2013 and US $1,255 in 1980. India’s GNI per capita increased by about 338 per cent between 1980 and 2014.However as per the report, the expected years of schooling is stagnant at 11.7 since 2011. Also, mean years of schooling at 5.4 has not changed since 2010.Between 1980 and 2014, India’s life expectancy at birth increased by 14.1 years, while mean years of schooling increased by 3.5 years and expected years of schooling increased by 5.3 years.

Government rejects demand for GST cap in Constitution; Jaitley invokes Nehru to remind Congress of responsibilities in Parliament

Arun Jaitley invoked Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru to remind Congress of the responsibility of MPs for governance of the country through Parliament.

PTI
On a day when senior union ministers and Congress leaders met over a South Indian lunch, hopes further faded on the passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the Winter Session. This means the government’s timeline to implement the key reform measure from April 1, 2016 has gone haywire.As time runs out for GST with just seven sittings left of the Winter Session of Parliament and a washout in Rajya Sabha staring in government’s face, finance minister Arun Jaitley and parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu met Congress leader and deputy leader in Rajya Sabha– Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma. However, the two sides seemed to have failed to find a way out of the Parliament logjam and deadlock over GST.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All eyes are now on December 19, when Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi, along with five others appear before the metropolitan magistrate in Patiala House Court in the National Herald case. After that, just three days of the session would be left. But, the mood in the Congress is far from conciliatory as it alleges political vendetta and humiliation of its leaders. Party sources said the positive atmosphere in the beginning of the session, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, has been washed out, by the subsequent moves of the government.While officially it was said that Monday’s talks was “inconclusive”, they said there was no breakdown in communication, top sources in the Congress said there was a deadlock, as government has rejected one of their major demands of putting the tax cap in the Constitutional Amendment Bill. With the ball back in the Congress’s court, it is keeping the government on tenterhooks saying it would have to consult other leaders including the party leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge. But many believe it was just a ruse, as the GST was stuck in Rajya Sabha and not in Lok Sabha.Meanwhile, Congress’s RS Surjewala compared international fuel prices and retail prices to say “with this track record of government .how can we believe, they will profit their coffers by taxing people, without putting a constitutional cap on GST,” He said when the international oil prices have fallen to $36 per barrel and refinery price of petrol is only just Rs.23.70 per litre, it is sold at Rs.60.48 per litre (in Delhi). Modi government is earning a profit of Rs.36.71 for every litre of petrol and Rs.21.88 per litre in case of diesel. “How can we allow milking of consumers in the GST regime, the way they are being burdened by government heavy taxation on petroleum?” he asked. Jaitley ‘disappointed’Soon after the meeting, Jaitley wrote an article hitting out at the Congress and reflecting his disappointment with Opposition party’s approach in Parliament. Jaitley quoted Jawaharlal Nehru on the responsibility of being in Parliament and said “those who claim the legacy of Panditji must ask themselves the question, what kind of history are they making.”He said the current was also threatened with a wash out. “The reasons for the wash out of the current Session keep changing by the hour. The nation is waiting for the Parliament to discuss public issues, to legislate and approve a historic Constitution Amendment enabling the GST. All this is being indefinitely delayed. The question we need to ask ourselves is, are we being fair to ourselves and this country?”Here is Jaitley’s post:

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

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

File Photo

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

Over 8 lakh engineering seats stayed vacant in 2014-15: Govt

In a written reply in Lok Sabha, Human Resource Development (HRD) minister Smriti Irani said that “overall, there is surplus capacity in the engineering sector with 8,44,328 seats remaining vacant in 2015”.

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani at parliament during the winter session in New Delhi on Monday.

PTI
Over 8 lakh engineering seats remained vacant in 2014-15, the government on Monday said as it noted the surplus capacity in the sector while pointing to “competition among students due to limited seats” in government and reputed private institutions.In a written reply in Lok Sabha, Human Resource Development (HRD) minister Smriti Irani said that “overall, there is surplus capacity in the engineering sector with 8,44,328 seats remaining vacant in 2015”. She noted, however, that “there is competition among students due to limited seats in government and reputed private institutions as compared to the number of applications”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, in a written response to another question, Irani said that her ministry is considering a proposal for the setting up of a National Academic Depository, which envisages online storage, verification and authentication of academic awards.In her reply to another question, Irani said that all institutions of higher education have been requested to install solar rooftop systems.

National Herald Case: Allegations against Sonia, Rahul are ‘deliberately orchestrated’, alleges Congress

Senior party leaders and legal luminaries P Chidambaram and Ashwani Kumar insisted that all transactions in question are legal and expressed confidence that both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will be “fully vindicated” through the judicial process.
File picture
PTI
Amid the raging row over National Herald case, Congress on Sunday asserted that the allegations and “insinuations” against party leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are “deliberately orchestrated”, “patently false” and “defamatory” as they have “not received a rupee”.Senior party leaders and legal luminaries P Chidambaram and Ashwani Kumar insisted that all transactions in question are legal and expressed confidence that both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will be “fully vindicated” through the judicial process. “(There is) nothing wrong in this transaction. In fact, by putting a non-profit company as the dominant shareholder, we have ensured that not one rupee from the assets can go to any private beneficiary,” said Chidambaram said defending the move to transfer the shares of Associate Journalst Limited (AJL) to Young India, a company of which Sonia and Rahul are major shareholders.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sonia and Rahul have nothing to worry because “they have not received a rupee benefit”, the former Finance Minister said, while raising questions over Modi government’s role saying it had acted hastily on a “private complaint” to reopen a shut case. He claimed that the assets of AJL are now “doubly secure” as a non-profit company is the dominant shareholder.Kumar, in a statement here, said there are “incontrovertible facts” which make it obvious that “allegations and insinuations against the Congress leadership and others are deliberately orchestrated, are patently false and defamatory. All transactions in question are entirely legal.” In this context, he listed some details of the case as well as Delhi High Court’s judgement of December 7 which, according to him, “held that no question of criminality, even upon a prima facie basis arises at this stage”.He reproduced Para 36 of the judgement as saying: ‘ It needs no reiteration that this is not the stage to even prima facie opine that the ingredients of any of the alleged offences exist to justify putting petitioners on trial or not.Any observation made in this regard by the trial court or this court shall have no bearing when the case of the petitioners is considered at the charge state.’ Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have been summoned by a Delhi court in connection with the case on December 19 after the High Court refused to agree to their plea for personal exemption. This issue led to stalling of Parliament for most of the last week with the Congress creating uproar, alleging “political vendetta”. “Congress respects the integrity of the judicial process and is confident that its leaders will be fully vindicated through the judicial process,” Kumar said. Chidambaram told CNN-IBN that Young India is a non-profit company, which means not one rupee from AJL can be given to any one or can be received by the non profit company. “Infact the AJL’s assets have been doubly secured today,” he said, adding there was “no illegality” as there was a need to secure the properties of AJL.When it was pointed out to him that in the Young India company majority of the shares are held by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, he said “it is again reflection of Congress party structure…. Congress party was lender, now it is a Congress party organisation is a lender. It is the same. The lender is a non-profit company. Much better.” Ashwani Kumar said the transaction in question dates back to November 2010 and was declared by the management of AJL and YI itself in the requisite filings before the competent authorities.”The fact of full public disclosure of the transaction itself demolishes any suggestion of criminality against Directors and shareholders of AGL and YI,” he insisted. The Congress leader said “in the current holding structure YI – a non profit Section 25 company is a major shareholder of AJL which further enhances the safeguards with regard to the use etc. of the properties of AJL. The Directors and shareholders of a non-profit Section 25 company are legally prohibited from deriving any financial benefit in any form whatsoever for themselves. Not a single paisa has been received by YI, its Directors or its shareholders.” He said the properties that belong to AJL continue to remain with AJL.”YI does not own a single real estate asset or immovable property. The majority of AJL properties are in the nature of government leases and according to the terms of the lease(s) the sale of the land under lease is prohibited. For this reason properties of AJL could not be liquidated or sold to clear its outstanding loans,” Kumar added. Insisting that “There is no restriction in law on political parties against advancing loans,” he said, “This was confirmed even by the Election Commission” in its order of November 2012 on a petition for de-recognition of the Congress moved by Subramanium Swamy.”It is a fundamental legal principle that acts lawfully done, as in the present case, cannot give rise to any criminality whatsoever,” the former Law Minister said. He said AJL has been closely associated with the Congress party since 1937 and has espoused its ideology throughout. “It was only natural for the Congress to financially support AJL over the last several decades. The loans advanced by the party to AJL were used to pay unpaid salaries, VRS, taxes, dues to civic agencies and to discharge statutory and other liabilities of AJL.” About the uproar created by Congress over the National Herald issue, Chidambaram said, “We are not criticising the judge but we are entitled to criticise the judgement and that’s what we are doing.” He said there is a summon and the Gandhis will appear “but that doesn’t mean they have lost their right to question the judgement.” The Congress leader criticised the Delhi High court judgement which rejected the plea of Rahul, Sonia and others against summons.”I am criticising the judgement on its own merits. The judgement says, somethings smack of criminality but (says)…. its no part of the exercise to even allude to which section is attracted. Now that’s incomprehensible judgement according to me,” he added. Chidambaram emphasised that the logjam in Parliament has nothing to do with the National Herald case but said the conduct of the government in the matter raised suspicions as “it allowed a closed enquiry to be re-opened at the instance of a private complainant” after sacking the Enforcement Director.”The private complainant’s letter is acted, haste poste haste, the ED is sacked and the enquiry is opened,” he said, adding “Doesn’t that raise suspicions in the minds of the people?”With regard to GST bill, he said Congress considers it a progressive measure provided its “legitimate concerns” are met by the government. He said the government is yet to respond to the concerns raised by Congress at the Prime Minister’s tea meeting.”The last I heard about the GST is that the Prime Minister called a meeting. We have given our concerns in very precise terms,” he said. The government, he said, had promised to come back with revised formulations which it has not done yet and the Congress is waiting for the response.”GST was our idea.. Gujarat and MP opposed it,” the former Finance Minister said, adding he is “happy that those who had held this Bill are now supporting it.” Chidambaram was asked about charges of vendetta levelled by Congress leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad in Parliament. To this, he said if there has to be criticism of the government, then Parliament is the place

Modi, Amit Shah fought legal battles with dignity, BJP never disrupted Parliament: Venkaiah Naidu

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had faced the charges against him and even “grilling by SIT” in a dignified manner and BJP had not disrupted Parliament then

Venkaiah Naidu

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday ridiculed Congress for dragging the Prime Minister’s office in the National Herald issue and accused the party of fighting a legal battle in Parliament.He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had faced the charges against him and even “grilling by SIT” in a dignified manner and BJP had not disrupted Parliament then. Dismissing Congress’ claims of political vendetta, he told reporters here that when Subramanian Swamy filed the case in 2012, he was not a member of BJP and UPA was in power and Manmohan Singh was Prime Minister. As Congress party was now claiming that the Prime Minister’s Office was behind it, he said “does it (Congress) mean to say that Dr Manmohan Singh had organised all this?” “Government is nowhere in the picture, let me make it very clear but Congress party is trying to fight a legal batle in Parliament instead of fighting it in court,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Enforcement Directorate has not isued any notice to them, income tax authorities will only follow their own procedure and the government has not passed any order whatsoever and has no role in this entire episode of National Herald,” he said. “We would like to know from Congress, are they fighting a legal battle in Parliament,” he said. On December 9, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had said the National Herald case is “hundred per cent political vendetta coming out of PMO.”Naidu said “I don’t think anywhere in the country a politician (Modi) was grilled for eight hours.” “Modi had dignified handled the charges against him including questioning by the Special Investigation Team” over the 2002 riots when he was Gujarat Chief Minister. “He (Modi) had politely answered all questions by the SIT for eight hours. Court exonerated him, he never used parliamentary forum, he never mobilised people to demonstrate, had he given a call, lakhs of people would have followed him but he did not do it because we respect Constitution, judiciary and the system,” he said.Also, he referred to charges against BJP president Amit Shah, his imprisonment and how his party had not disrupted Parliament over all such issues. Stating that if at all Congress felt that it was a battle, Naidu said it has to be fought legally and it has to be taken up in court. “The issue has to be sorted out in courts not on the streets, not in Parliament, it has to be argued in courts.” He appealed to Congress and and its friends not to do now what they had done in the monsoon session “a washout” and listed key legislative businesses on wait including GST which would “bring prosperity to the country.”It was “surprising” that Congress members disrupted proceedings though their party chief had claimed that she was not disturbed by the court order (summons) on the issue. Seeking to draw a parallel between the protests after a court ruling against Indira Gandhi in 1975 by Congress following which the Emergency was clamped and now over the Herald case, he said “now Congress seems to be back to its old tricks.” Naidu will visit flood-hit areas tomorrow here and is scheduled to distribute welfare assistance.

How Modi’s Varanasi is being made secure for Shinzo Abe’s arrival

Shizo Abe with Narendra Modi
File Photo

Elaborate security arrangements are in place in this ancient temple town which is all decked up to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe today.The two leaders are likely to arrive at around 4:PM at the Babatpur Airport on the outskirts of the city.They will be received at the airport, among others, by Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Union Ministers Manoj Sinha and Kalraj Mishra.Nearly 7,000 security personnel have been pressed into service for the high-profile visit lasting about four hours.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AT A GLANCEAfter a brief stop-over at a hotel, the Prime Ministers will drive straight to the fabled Dashashwamedh Ghat where they will watch the “Ganga Arti”, an exquisitely choreographed ritual performed daily on the banks of the river.Thereafter, Modi and Abe will interact with dignitaries over dinner wherein invitees include, besides the Governor, the CM and the UnionMinisters, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, renowned musician and Padma Bhushan awardee Pandit Channu Lal Mishra, author Neerja Madhav, Pandit Ashok Dwivedi of the Kashi Visvanath Temple Trust and a number of other prominent personalities from various walks of life.The Prime Ministers are expected to board their return flight to New Delhi at around 8:PM.
Security at the normally crowded Ghat has been taken over by the Army and the Navy while scuba divers of the National Disaster Response Force will be deployed around the make-shift stage which has been erected with the help of pontoons on the river bed.Personnel of the elite Special Protection Group (SPG) have been camping in the city since Tuesday.They are being assisted by the National Security Guard, Anti-Terrorist Squad, Central Para Military Forces and the state police.The entire 22-km-long route, from Babatpur airport to the Dashashwamedh Ghat, is dotted with posters, banners and banners of various designs, welcoming the two Prime Ministers.Some of these also carry messages in the Japanese script.Roads have been freshly macadamized while traffic restrictions have been in place since last night itself.

NIA arrests Chennai man attempting to join ISIS in Libya

It is the first instance of an Indian being deployed in Libya by the ISIS.

ISIS

AFP photo
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday arrested a 23-year-old man from Chennai who was on his way to join the Islamic State (IS), reports Hindustan Times.According to the report, the youth, Mohammed Naser Packeer Mohammed, had allegedly reached Sudan and intended to travel to Libya to fight with ISIS militants there. It is the first instance of an Indian being deployed in Libya by the ISIS.According to Union home ministry’s data, so far 23 Indians have joined ISIS and all of them were reported to be in the terror outfit-held area along the border of Iraq and Syria. Out of them, six have been reported killed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Mohammed Naser Packeer Mohammed is a computer expert. He got in touch with an IS recruiter known as ‘Mad Mullah’ sometime in May this year while he was in Dubai. Mad Mullah told him to reach Sudan from where he was to be sent to Libya to join the IS but his activities came in the notice of Sudanese authorities who detained him and sent back to India,” a senior government official said to HT.”NIA chief Sharad Kumar confirmed that an FIR has been registered by the anti-terror agency against Naser but refused to divulge further.Naser’s father worked in a car showroom in Dubai. Naser travelled to Dubai in 2014, came back to Chennai in May this year and went back again. During the same period he started looking for the ISIS related activities online. The ISIS recruiters promised to train him in Sudan before deployment in Libya. His handler arranged for a Sudanese visa for him and dispatched it to Dubai.So far, Indian security agencies have managed to stop more than 60 Indians from joining the ranks of ISIS, the report said.

India’s malnutrition rates falling faster than before; Bihar, UP worst performers

The report, that details nutrition data from across 28 states and Delhi, shows that 38.7 per cent of children under 5 in India are stunted, which is a measure of chronic undernutrition.

India’s latest data on the state of nutrition came as a mixed bag, with malnutrition rates declining faster than before but not nearly fast enough for to meet global targets. The India Health Report: Nutrition 2015 was released on Thursday by union health minister JP Nadda and Union women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi. The report, and health experts from Public Foundation of India and the International Food Policy Research Institute, who jointly organised the launch, cautiously congratulated India for its progress, but stressed that a lot more needed to be done, and fast.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report, that details nutrition data from across 28 states and Delhi, shows that 38.7 per cent of children under 5 in India are stunted, which is a measure of chronic undernutrition. Additionally 19.8 per cent are wasted, indicating acute undernutrition and 42.56 per cent are underweight which is a composite of the two conditions.India’s average annual rate of decline for under-five stunting, between 2006-2014 has been 2.3 percent per year, much better than the 1.2 percent per year rate that the country saw during 1992 and 2006. However, India still lags behind its neighbours and even some sub-Saharan countries. Nepal has an average annual decline rate of 3.3 percent per year, and Bangladesh matches that of India.This, as Professor Ramanan Laxminarayan from PHFI, co-author of the report, said, meant that child undernutrition weakly correlated with income, as despite India’s economic dominance in subcontinent ïn terms of per capita income”.This has been observed among states too, as different states with similar income levels performed differently. Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, for example have similar income levels, yet Gujarat had a much higher rate of prevalence of stunting. Kerala and Goa had similar rates of stunting prevalence when Goa has almost double of Kerala’s per capita net state domestic product.Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were the worst performers, with high levels of stunting, calling for immediate action to be taken in those areas.Additionally, there is the added burden of obesity and overweight populace leading to a possible epidemic of noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as Dr, Soumya Swaminathan, director general Indian Council of Medical Research pointed out. She also called for a relook at existing midday meal schemes, to reconstitute their carbohydrate content with proteins, and make sure micronutrients were sufficient,.Dr. Laurence Haddad, co-Chair of the Global Nutrition Report, also released today, and a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute urged India to increase its commitment and its spending on countering malnutrition.Health minister Nadda, took note of all the points, especially Haddad’s argument of spending on nutrition being a great investment for the country — one rupee spent on a person would yielded Rs 34, a benefit cost ratio of 34 is to 1. He also spoke about the various interventions by his ministry, such as a mandatory 48 hour period to stay in hospitals during childbirth to provide counselling and initiate breastfeeding, establishing nutrition rehabilitation centres at district and sub-district levels, and the National Iron Plus Initiative to control anemia at all stages of life.Experts also called on the government to check other social determinants, such as mothers with less than ten years of education, underage mothers, adolescent girls with low Body Mass Index, open defecation, so as to save people from the irreversible effects of cognitive impairment and susceptibility to chronic disease, and the country from a disastrous economic burden.

Don’t register new diesel vehicles in capital: NGT tells Delhi govt

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday ordered the Delhi government to not register any new diesel vehicle from now on. The order, probably the first such in India, came from a bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar on a petition by Vardhaman Kaushik.The bench specifically asked the Delhi and Union governments to not buy diesel vehicles. “We direct the government to take a conscientious decision with regard to not buying diesel vehicles, whether by the central or the state government. “We direct all public authorities, corporations, DDA, police and other public departments to prepare an action plan for phasing out diesel vehicles, particularly trucks being used by these bodies,” the bench said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Tribunal then told the Delhi government and the Centre: be ready with your action plans by January 6. Earlier this year, the NGT had passed an order for condemning 10-year-old diesel vehicles and 15-year old petrol vehicles. In its eight-page order on Friday, the bench said: “As an interim measure, till the next date of posting, subject to hearing all concerned parties, we direct that diesel vehicles of more than 10 years, as already directed, as well as new diesel vehicles would not be registered in NCT, Delhi.” This order, it said, has to be implemented with its earlier ones such as prohibition on burning of waste and dumping of construction waste on roads. The entire government machinery should clamp down on such activities, it said.That’s more green sheen in Delhi.The odd and even of AAP planWhat is even to the Chief Justice of India looks odd to the NGT. The NGT bench on Friday questioned the Delhi government’s odd-even traffic plan. The Tribunal said it has doubts about the efficacy and success of the plan. Only a few days ago, Supreme Court Chief Justice TS Thakur favoured the plan and advised fellow-judges to opt for a car-pool system. Have green belt around schoolsWhile addressing the hazard of toxic air on school children, the NGT said: “In relation to taking adequate measures for preventing air pollution in schools, particularly government and corporation schools, NCT Delhi is directed to submit a proposal for creating green belt, by covering the ground with grass and installing air filters in schools.”

Will study NGT order on diesel-run vehicles: Delhi government

Earlier in the day, the NGT directed that diesel-run vehicles will not be registered in Delhi with immediate effect and asked the central and state government departments not to purchase such vehicles. Under interim measures, there will be no renewal of registration of diesel vehicles which are more than 10-year-old.

Delhi government today said that it will study the National Green Tribunal’s order directing that diesel-run vehicles will not be registered in the city with immediate effect.According to transport department, around 400 new diesel- run vehicles are registered in the national capital. There are around 5.5 lakh diesel vehicles plying in the national capital. In total, 88.27 lakh vehicles are registered in Delhi. “Similar matter pertaining to vehicles is pending in Supreme Court. We will study the NGT’s order and then, make a statement,” a Delhi government spokesperson said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai said that government will consider the green court’s order. More than 26.29 lakh cars and jeeps were added to the national capital in the period between April 2013 and March 2014. During last year, 27.90 lakh cars and jeeps were added in the capital, the report said.Earlier in the day, the NGT directed that diesel-run vehicles will not be registered in Delhi with immediate effect and asked the central and state government departments not to purchase such vehicles. Under interim measures, there will be no renewal of registration of diesel vehicles which are more than 10-year-old.The court also directed all the public authorities, corporations, DDA, police and other public department to prepare and submit an action plan for phasing out diesel vehicles, particularly the trucks being used by all these bodies by January 6, the next date of hearing.

Watch: Subramanian Swamy explaining National Herald Case

Subramanian Swamy in 2012 had filed a complaint accusing them of cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of now-defunct English daily National Herald

National Herald Case has been hogging the limelight of late. Congress is currently keeping the Parliament paralysed accusing political vendetta against top leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. Subramanian Swamy in 2012 had filed a complaint accusing them of cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of now-defunct English daily National Herald. The paper was set up by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938, and shut down briefly in the 1940s and 1970s, and ceased operations in 2008. Swamy claims that Sonia and Rahul floated Young Indian which bought Associated Journals Limited, publisher of National Herald and the company was shut down by Sonia. He claims that Congress funds were used to buy Associated Journals Limited and that the mother-son duo aimed to grab property worth Rs 2000-crore. The Gandhis are the directors of Young Indian and own 76% and the remaining shares are owned by Motilal Vohra, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda. Swamy has alleged that the Congress gave an unsecured loan of Rs 90 crore to the company. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sonia and Rahul Gandhi were issued summons on Monday to appear before the court, but got temporary reprieve on Tuesday.They have been asked by the trial court to appear on 19th December. Here’s Subramanian Swamy explaining the case.

Odd-even formula: NGT questions Delhi govt’s plan, says it may encourage people to buy 2 cars

It pulled up the Delhi government for its plan to introduce 6,000 new buses without conducting any study or research

The National Green Tribunal on Friday cast doubts over Delhi government’s decision to restrict plying of private vehicles bearing odd and even registration numbers on alternate days from January one, saying it may may even encourage people to buy two cars.”The odd-even scheme which you are proposing to implement what consequences is it going to have on traffic and pollution? What will be other measures which you propose to set up to make your plan a success. In our view this may not serve the ends which you are trying to achieve,” it said. The Tribunal’s observations came against the backdrop of a volley of questions being raised including on security concerns for women and adequate public transport to deal with the situation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It may even encourage people to buy new cars, we have to prevent that. Are you sure CNG vehicles will not cause pollution. If you are introducing 6,000 new vehicles, you should be sure that they do not cause pollution. Because even electric buses cause pollution. You have to tell us that this is the best choice,” the green panel said. “What other steps are you going to take to make your effort a success. There are reports that you are going to make exemptions, we don’t know what is the exact status. We would like you to give a definite proposal on odd-even formula. We do appreciate that this is a good step. Taken in isolation will it serve the end which you are trying to achieve and what others steps are you going to take,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.It pulled up the Delhi government for its plan to introduce 6,000 new buses without conducting any study or research. “As an ancillary measure you have taken a decision to introduce these 6,000 buses. Study none has carried out. Buses are not going to be even and odd. In this scenario, what is your stand on capping and aging of vehicles as they are interconnected. You need space for parking bus. One bus normally takes the place of 10 cars if that is the scenario, tell us which 10 cars are you going to replace.”Metro, which is one of the most successful projects, was introduced, with an expectation that it will do wonders. Still, the roads have become much crowded, so the expectation of decongestion has not materialised,” the bench noted. The Tribunal also slammed Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) for mismanagement of its resources and plying empty buses on roads in the capital.”We are shocked that we requested the Delhi Transport Corporation to conduct a study of rescheduling of their buses. Till date they have not given any report. We don’t know how to get things done. Is it necessary that in every case a contempt is issued. We told DTC that please conduct a survey and don’t ply empty buses for most part of the day. It is waste of money and resources,” it said.On December 4, the Delhi government had come out with odd-even scheme for plying of private vehicles in the city which will be in force from 8 AM to 8 PM from January 1 for an initial period of 15 days and there will be no restrictions on vehicular movement on Sundays.

National Herald: Case being ‘driven’ by Prime Minister’s office, says Rahul Gandhi

A Delhi court on December 8 had directed Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul and others to appear in person on December 19 in the National Herald case.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi with Prime Minister Narendra Modi

PTI
Asserting that National Herald is a not-for-profit organisation and not a paisa can be taken out, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that the legal procedure in the case was “driven by the Prime Minister’s office”.”It is being driven by the Prime Minister’s office,” he claimed while responding to reporters’ questions whether the National Herald case was an outcome of vendetta politics.Rahul said, “We have faith in the legal system and we respect it. There is a legal provision. It (National Herald) is a not-for-profit organisation and not a paisa can be taken out.” Asked if he would be applying for bail, he replied, “Let’s see what happens on December 19.” A Delhi court on December 8 had directed Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul and others to appear in person on December 19 in the National Herald case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Congress protests which resulted in the stalling of proceedings in Parliament, Rahul said, “As far as the stalemate in Parliament is concerned, an impression is being given that we (Congress) are not interested on the GST issue. We have told the government that we have differences with them on three issues.”Confident about the ruling Congress returning to power for the fourth consecutive term in Assam in the 2016 Assembly polls, he said that the party will demonstrate who will win in Assam.”(Chief Minister) Tarun Gogoi and Congress will win. We have defeated opponents in Bihar,” he said.Asked if the Congress would forge a grand alliance in Assam on the Bihar line, Gandhi said, “Tarun Gogoi and Anjan Dutta (APCC president) are in charge and they will decide.”

National Herald case: BJP brings out booklet titled ‘Family Greed and National Blackmail’

The party will distribute the booklet, which is a compilation of a number of write-ups on the issue, among its MPs and leaders across the country to “inform” them on the issue and give them “talking points”, BJP parliamentary party office secretary Balasubrahmanyam Kamarsu said.

Sonia and Rahul

Escalating its attack on the Congress over the National Herald case, the BJP has brought out a booklet titled ‘Family Greed and National Blackmail’ that aims to “inform” its party leaders about the issue.The party will distribute the booklet, which is a compilation of a number of write-ups on the issue, among its MPs and leaders across the country to “inform” them on the issue and give them “talking points”, BJP parliamentary party office secretary Balasubrahmanyam Kamarsu said.”It will give our leaders basic information about the issue and help them in explaining the stand of party as well the government. It will also give our spokespersons and leaders various talking points so that they could highlight them in debates and discussion,” he said. The BJP has resorted to bringing out booklets on almost every major issue since it came to power in May 2014.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress had accused the Central government of practising “vendetta politics” and has alleged that the National Herald case against Sonia and Rahul Gandhi is part of the conspiracy. The party has brought out booklets on a host of issues, including Land Acquisition Bill, intolerance debate and the recent debate on Constitution.

Pakistan opposition alleges joint statement favours India

The opposition assault was led by Shireen Mazari of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday in parliament as even a key coalition partner expressed reservations over the outcome of talks between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz at the Heart of Asia conference.

Reuters
Opposition parties have criticised the Pakistan government over the joint statement with India, alleging that it heavily favoured New Delhi at the cost of Islamabad’s stance on the Kashmir issue.The opposition assault was led by Shireen Mazari of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday in parliament as even a key coalition partner expressed reservations over the outcome of talks between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz at the Heart of Asia conference here, the Dawn reported. “While the statement categorically addressed Indian concerns over the Mumbai trial, what about Samjhauta Express case and Kashmir cause which the government recently took up at the United Nations and kept on boasting about taking such a bold stand,” Mazari said in the National Assembly.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Quoting from the joint statement that “the Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion of the Mumbai attack trial,” she sought clarification about the difference between “composite” and “comprehensive” bilateral dialogue. She wondered whether the resumption of bilateral talks meant Pakistan had relinquished its options to use multilateral forums to take up issues, particularly Kashmir.She questioned the language of the statement and said the prime minister must clarify it on the floor of the house. Chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman was also of the view that such statements warranted a clarification from the government side because apparently it didn’t explain what actually transpired during the talks. “When Pakistan highlights the issue of Kashmir at the UN under its resolution, India says it’s a bilateral issue which requires no international forum. At the bilateral level, the Indian argument has been that Kashmir is its integral part.Then somebody must explain to this house at what level the government intends to take it up with India,” he said. Rehman said that as far as the issue of Kashmir was concerned, under the UN resolution, no one could bar Pakistan from highlighting it at any forum in the world. He called for strengthening the National Assembly’s Kashmir committee which he heads, and making it a powerful arm of parliament.However, the JUI-F chief, whose party shares the treasury benches with the ruling PML-N, praised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for organising the Heart of Asia ministerial conference on Afghanistan which he believed would go a long way in bringing regional countries together. Leader of Opposition Khursheed Ahmed Shah, however, reserved harsh comments for the prime minister for his continued absence from the assembly.”Whom should I address? Empty chairs on the treasury benches? I have decided I will not open the discussion on the presidential address unless the prime minister attends proceedings of the house,” he said.

Delhi ban on diesel cars for government

India’s National Green Tribunal tells the federal and local Delhi governments not to buy new diesel vehicles.

Ministry of AYUSH to integrate allopathic and traditional forms of medicine

Speaking to dna, Director General of the ICMR, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, said that there was much government encouragement to find ways of integrating allopathic and traditional forms of medicine. ICMR, she said would be responsible for generating and collecting sound data and evidence.

Bringing traditional medicine into the domain of allopathic science, the ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) has announced several projects looking into its “efficacy” in various ailments. In Parliament, minister for AYUSH Shripad Yesso Naik said that the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy had undertaken clinical studies on “chikungunya and influenza like illnesses” and the Central Council for Research in Ayurveda Sciences (CCRAS) and Central Council for Research in Unani Medicines(CCRUM) had signed MOUs with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for joint collaborative projects on Ayurvedic and Unani formulations related to treatment of Dengue and Tuberculosis (TB) respectively.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to dna, Director General of the ICMR, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, said that there was much government encouragement to find ways of integrating allopathic and traditional forms of medicine. ICMR, she said would be responsible for generating and collecting sound data and evidence.The MOU with the Unani council was signed two years ago under the aegis of the then DG, VM Katoch, who had written to all other institutions to cooperate. Swaminathan, then Director at the National Institute of Research in Tuberculosis, had held meetings with the Unani council to go over the compounds they said might help in TB.”However, we decided that the treatment for tuberculosis had to be allopathic,” said Swaminathan. What Unani could offer was relief with side effects, help build a patient’s appetite, weight, make their jaundiced liver healthier.This resulted in formulations of protocols and, so far, trials are being carried for the safety of these unani formulations in “animal models”. The next step will be to test the interaction of the formulations with existing TB drugs, on volunteers. If that goes well, then the trials will move to giving these formulations to TB patients.”The dengue project is recent and came about after the recent outbreak,” said Swaminathan. she recounted that the Ayurveda council had advertised a list of herbal remedies for dengue during the outbreak, and Swaminathan spoke to Ayush officials about validating these remedies. “If they work then we can out them out in a global market,” she said.Due to this conversation, two teams comprising allopathic and ayurvedic professionals were set up to, again, form protocols and chart a way of carrying out these studies in allopathic hospitals. “Currently it’s in the preliminary stages and we’re looking at four to five hospitals across India to test certain ayurvedic formulations. Right now they’re testing the batches for purity and quality,” said Swaminathan. After this, they need to approach the ethics committee.”Ayurveda hasn’t offered a cure for dengue, but increased symptomatic relief,” she added saying that maybe antiviral activity could be observed in these formulations. “We need to have such clinical trials, similar to how siddha medicine is being tested in a lab in Chennai for antiviral activities.”

Number of buses in Delhi to be doubled from Jan 1, to meet vehicle shortages

According to officials, separate bus lanes across all arterial roads in the city will be marked by December 25 and those obstructing movement of buses in these lanes will be penalised.

In further development on its ambitious odd-even car rule, the AAP government on Thursday said an additional 6,000 buses will be deployed to enhance public transport from January 1. That aside, frequency of metro trains will be increased more autos will be allowed to ply on the roads, the government said. According to officials, separate bus lanes across all arterial roads in the city will be marked by December 25 and those obstructing movement of buses in these lanes will be penalised.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> PWD Minister Satyendar Jain said the Delhi government has decided to slap fine of Rs 5,000 against officials concerned including park in-charges if leaves and garbage are burned in their areas –a major source of air pollution– as per the National Green Tribunal’s order. The Delhi government is also in talks with the Railways for improving frequency of trains running between Delhi and nearby cities of NCR, Jain said.The decisions were taken after a meeting was attended by all Delhi ministers, top officials of Traffic Police and representatives of all departments and agencies concerned. “We will run 6,000 buses as per cluster system. The drivers will be hired by the bus owners. DTC will arrange for conductors and decide the route,” Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai, said. Rai said rules are being relaxed to allow more autos on the road. He added that an auto driver can give his vehicle to someone else for driving under the new rules. As per existing rules, only permit holder of a specific auto can ply the vehicle. “We will launch the first stage of Puchho app tomorrow which will help people hire autos for commuting in case they are covered under the odd-even scheme,” he said He also said that after the launch of the app, commuters will be able to book autorickshaws using their smartphones. Delhiites should also check their pollution control certificates before January 1, the minister said. According to the government, there are 100 major construction projects being carried out across the national capital, also a contributor to pollution.Contractors will have to install boards indicating construction site as per rules.

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