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‘Denied’ chief secy post, senior IAS officer in Rajasthan govt converts to Islam, applies for VRS

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Groundwater status alarming across 16 states and 2 UT’s: House panel

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While reviewing the status of groundwater, the standing committee of parliament on water resource, river development and Ganga rejuvenation noted that groundwater across 1071 locations across 16 states and two union territories is being over exploited.

Worried about the indiscriminate extraction of groundwater for irrigation, industries and domestic use and its groundwater contamination, a parliamentary panel has asked the Union ministry of water resources to carry out a study to detail impact of groundwater extraction on farming, health and environment. The panel has asked the ministry to submit the report in six months from now.While reviewing the status of groundwater, the standing committee of parliament on water resource, river development and Ganga rejuvenation noted that groundwater across 1071 locations across 16 states and two union territories is being over exploited. These locations comprise of blocks, mandals, talukas and districts are spread over a total area of 5 lakh square kms of the country and have been termed as ‘dark blocks’. These dark blocks stretch from plus localities such as the capital’s Defence Colony and Hauz Khas to districts in southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The committee are gravely concerned that the country is on the path towards a serious water crisis in the near future due to over-extraction and quality deterioration of groundwater,” the parliamentary panel said. While recommending that a study be carried out, the panel specifically asked the ministry to map agricultural land falling in dark blocks. According to the the data provided on the annual ground water withdrawal, irrigation sector accounted for the maximum share; 90.75%, followed by domestic and industrial sector, whose combined share was 9.25%.The committee noted that states such as Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan saw high levels of groundwater extraction for irrigation. In Punjab, irrigation accounts for 97.9% groundwater withdrawal while in Haryana and Rajasthan, the figures stand at 94.5% and 88.4% respectively.Along with indiscriminate groundwater extraction, high contamination of water in rural habitations was reported in the year 2015. The parliamentary panel was informed that as of May 2015, states have reported that water in 63,282 rural settlements was contaminated by heavy metals or toxic metals such as arsenic, flouride, salinity, iron and nitrate. Some of the states worst hit due to groundwater contamination are Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Punjab, Assam and Tripura.

Rajasthan govt targetting Congress leaders, alleges Sachin Pilot

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Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot made the accusation while addressing a public meeting in Jhalawar, about 330 kms from Jaipur.

Rajasthan Congress on hit out at the Raje-led dispensation, alleging that the BJP government was “targetting” Congress leaders and workers and “implicating” them in false cases by “misusing government machinery”.Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot made the accusation while addressing a public meeting in Jhalawar, about 330 kms from Jaipur. The RPCC chief also alleged that the Vasundhara Raje government had “insulted the mandate given by the people by not working in their interest”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP government was “targetting Congress leaders and workers” and “implicating them in false cases” by misusing government machinery, Pilot alleged. “Congress party will strongly oppose the wrong policies of the government and will expose it. The government weakened public welfare scheme initiated by the former government and ignored the interests of people and farmers,” he said.Pilot said that nearly 60 farmers committed suicide in the state due to “negligence” of the state government while other farmers whose crops were damaged due to bad monsoon were still looking for compensation. “People of the state gave a strong mandate to BJP but unfortunately the government is not working in the interest of people. This is the insult of the mandate. Corruption has become rampant, inflation is skyrocketing,” he further alleged.

Those who never want to work opt for govt jobs, quips Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje

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Self-employment and entrepreneurship are the only sectors where one not only gets himself employed but also provides livelihood to three to four others, Raje said.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje
File Photo
PTI
Those who never want to work opt for government jobs, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje quipped in a lighter vein as she asked youths to opt for self-employment and entrepreneurship.”Nowhere in the world people are so charmed by government jobs but in India,” she said while calling upon youths to join skill development programmes.”Only those who don’t want to work actually opt for government jobs,” Raje added in a satirical tone during an address at the inaugural of the first batch at Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Jhalawar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Self-employment and entrepreneurship are the only sectors where one not only gets himself employed but also provides livelihood to three to four others, she said.On this occasion Raje felicitated the three students – Yash, Pawan Goyal and Akhlish Jain – from Rajasthan who along with three others from the country recently won gold medals in Science Olympiad. She also praised Mharishi Dayanand Swarswati University, Ajmer for producing good results in self-employment and entrepreneurship sectors.State PWD minister Younus Khan and Raje’s son Dushyant Singh who is also the local MP were present on the occasion.On Tuesday, the first day of her two-day visit to her home constituency in Jhalawar, the Chief Minister laid foundation stone of around six development projects worth Rs 206 crore and announced several other welfare and development schemes in the region.

Delhi CM Kejriwal demands PM Modi resignation over ‘flop’ CBI raids

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Calling December 15, when CBI conducted the raid at the office of his Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar, a “black day”, Kejriwal tore into Modi and dared him to act against Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, his Rajasthan counterpart Vasundhara Raje and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
File Photo
PTI
Mounting a fierce attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday demanded his resignation over what he termed was a “flop raid” by the CBI at the Delhi Secretariat to “protect” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the alleged DDCA scam.Calling December 15, when CBI conducted the raid at the office of his Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar, a “black day”, Kejriwal tore into Modi and dared him to act against Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, his Rajasthan counterpart Vasundhara Raje and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Kejriwal also defended Rajendra Kumar against allegations of graft committed in his official capacity under the erstwhile Sheila Dikshit government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”He’s being mentally harassed. CBI has got nothing against him in the last eight days. If I can remove my minister and babu for committing corruption, it is also my duty to protect honest officers,” he said participating in a discussion in the state Assembly on the situation arising out of the raid at the Delhi Secretariat and alleged corruption in Delhi and District Cricket Association under Jaitley’s watch.Kumar was seated in the officers’ gallery of the Assembly during the proceedings.”Prime Minister should be ashamed of himself” over the raids, Kejriwal said and went on to take a series of jibes at Modi over “Rs 10 lakh suit” and foreign trips.”He is fulfilling his dreams now as earlier he did not get a visa. Delhi is all right whenever he is out of the city.Whenever he’s back everything goes haywire,” Kejriwal said speaking during the one-day special session of the Assembly which passed a resolution to constitute a Commission of Inquiry to probe alleged corruption in DDCA.”I seek the Prime Minister’s resignation for conducting such a flop raid and for misusing the CBI. If he uses the CBI to get any file then the country will have no democracy left. Tomorrow there can be raids on any Chief Minister. This is dangerous for the country’s federal structure,” Kejriwal said.The Chief Minister, against whom Jaitley has filed both civil and criminal defamation suits, further alleged that the CBI was specifically looking for a file “containing a note” with “incriminating” details.”A DDCA whistle blower used to meet me. That officer told me that there was a meeting of DDCA officials, where Jaitley had told them no not worry about SFIO as he will get it compounded. He (Jaitley) said that he will ensure quashing of cases that come to Delhi police and, if AAP sets up a commission of inquiry, he will get it null and void through ‘our special man’ LG. It was written in that file,” Kejriwal claimed. Kejriwal claimed the Prime Minister was still not able to get over the “pain” of losing the Delhi Assembly elections. Delhi Assembly today passed a motion moved by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia against CBI raid at Delhi Secretariat, condeming the Centre for its alleged high handedness and adding it was in “violation of the federal structure” and the “spirit of the Constitution”.”We are constantly seeking PM’s cooperation and for this, I have met two-three times and told him we don’t need money, and instead, we want him not to put hurdles to our works..give us Delhi for a year and will fulfil your dreams,” Kejriwal said.The Delhi Chief Minister termed the CBI raid at his office as “dangerous” for the country’s federal structure. Kejriwal claimed it was within the government’s powers to set up a Commission of Inquiry to probe alleged corruption in the state’s cricket body.”We have the right to probe the irregularities in sports, player selection, stadium construction. Everyone is admitting that there was a scam…we have power to set up such Commission. In the past, we set up a Commission of Inquiry over the transport scam involving former CM and her officials, but MHA later declared it null and void as LG was getting implicated in it. MHA has no power to declare our Commission of Inquiry null and void,” he said.Refering to Jaitley’s lawsuit, Kejriwal said he was surprised as to how a lawyer (Jaitley) could hurt himself because the Union Minister will be crossed examine by our lawyers for almost one year.”Next pre-summoning evidence on January 5. We want the court to summon us. We will go and trial will begin. His (Jaitley) cross examinitauion will strtech for a year. By filing defamation case, he has hurt himself,” Kejriwal added.Noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani will represent Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the civil and criminal defamation suits filed against him by Jaitley. Jaitley had on Tuesday filed both civil and criminal defamation cases against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders for allegedly defaming him and sought Rs 10 crores in damages and their prosecution for offences that entail a punishment of upto two years in jail.

VHP begins ‘Ram shila pujan’ in Ayodhya

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A fresh load of stone meant for temple construction arrived in Ayodhya from Rajasthan on Sunday. RJB Nyas president Mahant Nritya Gopal Das began a Ram Shila Pujan (stone worship) programme on Monday, saying construction of the Ram Temple would begin soon.

The RamJanmabhoomi (RJB) Nyas (trust) has restarted the work of polishing stones meant for the proposed construction of a grand Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. However, the move is largely seen as an attempt by the saffron brigade to create the required momentum for the BJP in preparation for the crucial UP assembly election in 2017. This is what the oldest litigant of the dispute, Hashim Ansari (93), said on Monday.A fresh load of stone meant for temple construction arrived in Ayodhya from Rajasthan on Sunday. RJB Nyas president Mahant Nritya Gopal Das began a Ram Shila Pujan (stone worship) programme on Monday, saying construction of the Ram Temple would begin soon.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Ayodhya tangle locked in a legal dispute, now before the Supreme Court, work at the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Ram Mandir Karyashala (workshop) in Ayodhya had been stopped about eight years ago. Political watchers say the timing of the VHP restarting the work seemed to be linked to the upcoming UP polls.”The time has come for the construction to begin. Work will begin soon with the blessings of Lord Ram,” Das said.However, the mukhya pujari (chief priest) at the makeshift Ram temple, Mahant Satyendra Das said there was no way the temple construction could begin since the matter was under litigation. “It seems that the VHP wants to demonstrate that the fervour of the temple movement has not slackened with the death of Ashok Singhal,” he said.A firebrand Hindutva leader who spearheaded the temple movement in the late 80s and 90s, Singhal passed away recently.At least 2 lakh cubic metres of stone would be needed for the proposed temple. Out of this, the VHP workshop at Ayodhya has already polished and readied about half. Sources in Ayodhya said the stone needed for the structure up to the first floor has already been polished. The latest supply is for the roof of the first floor, they added, saying more stone-laden trucks were on the way.Political animals have already started tucking into the issue. “The Samajwadi Party (SP) government in the UP is responsible for this development,” said BSP chief Mayawati, alleging that the BJP and SP were hand in glove in trying to vitiate the communal atmosphere.Ansari said, “This is all a part of petty politics. The temple issue is being stoked again for the UP election in 2017.”

Mumbai: Three missing youth from Malwani may have joined Islamic State, suspects ATS

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The ATS also suspect that Ayaz, who left home on October 30, has already left the country. Ayaz was working in a call centre in Malad​.

Three youth who have been reported to be missing from Malwani, may have joined Islamic State, suspect the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).The latest development comes days after the ATS questioned a Pune-based 16-year-old Muslim girl, who was reportedly radicalised by her ISIS contacts abroad and brain-washed to go to Syria.​According to a report in a leading daily, Ayaz Sultan (23), Mohsin Sheikh (26) & Wajid Sheikh (25) had left from home on different dates in the last two months citing various reasons, however they have not returned since then. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ATS also suspect that Ayaz, who left home on October 30, has already left the country. Ayaz was working in a call centre in Malad​. However, there are no leads yet about Wajid and Mohsin. Both of them had left their home on December 16. Wajid, a graduate, was running the family’s wholesale business in lemons, while Mohsin was driving auto.Also read: Indian Oil Corporation marketing manager arrested for alleged links with ISISThe trio was also saving money to travel and had approached a travel agent to plan their journey.Speaking to Mid-Day, the ATS officer said, “The three men from the same neighbourhood are close friends. Their families told us they were planning to leave the country for some time now. They were even saving up to fund their travel.”He further added, “The radicalisation and exchange of information was through the Internet. We have confiscated several items from their houses and are investigating.”Last week, a senior official of state-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) was arrested for alleged links with terror organisation ISIS, police said. The Special Operation Group (SOG) and ATS of Rajasthan Police arrested Mohd Sirazudin, the marketing manager of IOC in Jaipur.Sirazudin, hailing from Gulbarga in Karnataka was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for his alleged involvement in (activities of) international terrorist organisation ISIS, supplying official inputs and recruiting organisation members in the country.

Ease of doing business to improve for service sector and knowledge-based industries, says AAP govt

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For nearly a year now, such industries were barred from operating freely within the marked industrial premises of Delhi, allowing only older manufacturing industries to function in such areas. Delhi has nearly 28 industrial estates.

In a step that would redefine ‘industries’ and come as a huge relief to hundreds of small and medium-scale entrepreneurs of Delhi and its neighbouring areas, the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has decided to allow service sectors, IT-enabled and knowledge-based industries in all industrial areas within the capital’s jurisdiction.An order to this effect was passed recently by the Delhi government.For nearly a year now, such industries were barred from operating freely within the marked industrial premises of Delhi, allowing only older manufacturing industries to function in such areas. Delhi has nearly 28 industrial estates.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They are, however, allowed in other states such as Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. Even in Maharashtra IT parks are allowed under MIDC estates, while knowledge sector companies are part of the IT category, which comes under the Maharashtra industries department.Industry association heads claim that the situation had been particularly difficult in the last eight months, where authorities from the municipal corporations of Delhi have been harassing entrepreneurs from service sectors by imposing fines on them and threatening them to seal their shops unless they convert their businesses to commercial, which requires huge money.Rajan Sharma, president of Okhla Industrial estate association, says to convert a 2,000 square metre area to commercial status, it will require anywhere between Rs3 crore and Rs4 crore at the rate of Rs12,500 per square metre. “That aside, we will end up paying property taxes, electricity bills as fixed to commercial activities,” said Sharma.The Delhi government order will, however, allow industries like software, IT service, ITES (includes call centres, finance and accounting, Human Resource services and other consulting services), research and development, designing, business services such as tourism and legal services, as well as education services such as vocational training centres, media industry among others, to operate in the industrial areas of Delhi now on.The order, issued recently by the state department of industries, resonates with the Centre’s call for improving the ease of doing business in the country.Sharma said even though PM Modi had been emphasising on the importance of IT, service sector and knowledge-based industries and improving the ease of doing business ever since he took over, the situation had been different in Delhi. He, however, is hopeful that the new order will improve the business scenario in the capital.A World Bank study which has compiled the data for Mumbai and Delhi had given the country a dismal rank of 142 among 189 economies last year, which however, has jumped by 12 points to 130 this year.An official from the department of industries told dna, “Allowing service sector and knowledge-based industries in the industrial estates of Delhi will not only increase economic activities in Delhi, but generate mass employment too. What’s more, it will change the primitive looking industrial sectors by modernising them.” Another official informed that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act, 2006, as well as the Industrial Policy of Delhi 2010-2021 allows many service activities in industrial areas.”Even the Master Plan of Delhi only gives a list of prohibited industries and does not exclude service activities from industrial activities,” the official said.

Cold wave sweeps north India, kills one person in Rajasthan

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Pro-ISIS slogan at Rajasthan rally: BJP hits out at Congress

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Congress had uttered no word on the controversy although he expected the opposition party to make “maximum noise” as it had been raising the issue of intolerance.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

The BJP on Monday charged Congress workers with participating in a rally where protesters allegedly shouted pro-ISIS slogans in Rajasthan and sought to corner the party saying that the “champions of secularism” were silent over the issue.Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Congress had uttered no word on the controversy although he expected the opposition party to make “maximum noise” as it had been raising the issue of intolerance. “Slogans against RSS and in support of ISIS were made. But these political champions of secularism spoke no word.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They were silent. We thought they would demand sedition charges against people involved in this… “In fact, some were seen protecting the Congress leaders involved in this rally,” Naqvi alleged. “If by mistake, somebody associated with the BJP had made such comments, then they (opposition parties) would have raised a hue and cry today. This is a very dangerous and destructive mentality. And supporting such people directly or indirectly is more dangerous still,” he told a press conference.Four persons were arrested for allegedly shouting pro-ISIS slogans at a rally in Rajasthan’s Tonk district, which was held in protest against the reported “derogatory remarks” against Islam by a right-wing activist.

Passing out parade held at the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun

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Hyderabadi girl who was in contact with arrested IOC official under watch for ISIS connection

Mohd Sirazudin, the arrested IOC executive, had formed closed groups of ISIS sympathisers, including the Hyderabadi girl and two youths from Maharashtra.

A girl from Hyderabad, who was allegedly in touch with the arrested executive of Indian Oil Corporation, has been kept under surveillance for her suspected links with ISIS.”The girl in her mid-20s was radicalised online and deeply influenced by the activities of ISIS. She was in regular touch with many sympathisers of the terrorist group. She is under surveillance but efforts are on to de-radicalise her with the help of family and community leaders,” a security official said.Mohd Sirazudin, the arrested IOC executive, had formed closed groups of ISIS sympathisers, including the Hyderabadi girl and two youths from Maharashtra, in Facebook and Whatsapp and was allegedly spreading ISIS activities online and trying to recruit Indian youths in the Middle-East terrorist group. “Sirazudin was taken into custody as he was on the verge of turning into a ‘lone wolf’,” the official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A ‘lone wolf’ terrorist is one who indulges in violence in support of some group, movement or ideology but works alone, outside of any command structure and without material assistance from any group.The Special Operation Group (SOG) and ATS of Rajasthan Police arrested Sirazudin, the marketing manager of IOC, in Jaipur yesterday.Sirazudin, who hails from Gulbarga in Karnataka, was accused of active in flaring up and encouraging Muslim youths for joining ISIS activities, police said. A number of issues of ISIS’ online magazine “Dabik”, pictures and video were recovered from him.

IOC manager in Jaipur ‘working for IS’ arrested by Rajasthan police

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Sun sets on solar thermal plant projects in Rajasthan

3,404 acres of land remains unused for intended purpose in Rajasthan, according to CAG report

Pic for representation purpose only

According to a CAG report that was tabled in the parliament on December 8, five years since the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government leased almost 3,404 acres of land – mostly in Jaisalmer, at preferential rates to various developers for solar thermal plants remain unused for its intended purpose.According to the audit, in September 2008, the Rajasthan government also granted M/S Par Solar 375 acres of land at preferential rates under the Development Programme to build a 5 MW solar photovoltaic (SPV) power plant. For this entire project since a mere six acres would have sufficed, almost 345 acres of land were leased in excess of requirement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In January 2010, under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), four companies M/S Rajasthan Sun Technique Energy Pvt Ltd., M/S Corporate Ispat Alloys Ltd., M/S Diwakar Solar Projects Pvt. Ltd. and M/S KVK Energy Ventures Pvt Ltd. were granted land rights under preferential treatment. The land allotted was leased for a period of 30 years at 10% of the Collector Rate while two more companies – M/S Entegra Ltd. And M/S Dalmia Solar Power Ltd. were allotted land under the Migration scheme in October 2010.Rajasthan has high potential to contribute towards the nation’s climate change programme by developing and harnessing solar energy. The energy developed here could account up to 59% of the estimated national solar energy potential. The state has an estimated potential of 1,42,310 MW, though it has installed only 730.10 MW, merely 0.51% of its potential.When Rajasthan Sun Technique Energy Pvt. Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Power, was awarded the concentrated solar project (CSP) in December 2010, it was the largest investment of its kind undertaken by any private sector entity in the country. The project, financed through debt by various multilateral agencies that included the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Export Import Bank of the United States, Financerings Maatschappu Voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V. (FMO), the Netherlands, and Axis Bank, was expected to generate about 250 million kilowatt hours of green energy that was capable of supporting around 2.50 lakh households.This could potentially be a huge contribution towards India’s clean energy programme and reduce carbon emissions by 2.40 lakh tonnes a year. Since, India is a major participant in the Paris Climate talks and has emphasized the need to convert to alternate energy, this would prove to be a crucial thrust towards the programme.While the reasons for the six projects for taking off remain unknown, according to a reliable source at Diwakar Solar Projects Pvt. Ltd, the project, that has already seen an investment of Rs. 500 crores, needs to be reworked since they received wrong solar radiation date by the government agencies. “The data reading was 20% higher than the actual readings done by us because of which additional land is required,” sources said. The company which was initially allotted 978 acres requires 15-20% more land. “We have petitioned the concerned ministry for the same and await their response,” they added. High potential to produce solar energyRajasthan has high potential to contribute towards the nation’s climate change programme by developing and harnessing solar energy. The energy developed here could account up to 59% of the estimated national solar energy potential. The state has an estimated potential of 1,42,310 MW, though it has installed only 730.10 MW, merely 0.51% of its potential.

Air quality of Delhi set to dip further in the next two days

Levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10, pollutants of microscopic sizes, were largely in the ‘very poor’ category in Centre’s System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) stations.
Representational Image
Getty Images
Air quality of Delhi will dip further in the next two days with an expected rise in the level of PM 2.5, whose average was ‘very poor’ at 200 micrograms per cubic metre today, due to the influx of pollutants from the Indo-gangetic plains. Levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10, pollutants of microscopic sizes, were largely in the ‘very poor’ category in Centre’s System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) stations.However, few CPCB stations like Anand Vihar, Mandir Marg, Punjabi Bagh and R K Puram had air quality in the ‘severe’ category which has the potential to affect healthy people and “seriously impact” those with existing respiratory ailments.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”24-hour average of PM 2.5 was 200 today. Yesterday it was 189 while tomorrow it is expected to touch 210. It is due to influx of pollutants from distant sources, mostly due to the north-easterlies from the Indo-gangetic plains, an area which stretches from Kolkata to Rajasthan,” Chief Project Scientist of SAFAR Gufran Beig told PTI.Beig pointed out that there has been no significant change in PM 10 levels, which are much coarser than PM 2.5 and cannot travel long distances, indicating that the spurt has not been caused by local factors.”Had the rise been due to local conditions, both PM 2.5 and PM 10 would have risen. On top of that there has been no drop in temperature either which also increases concentration of pollutants,” Beig said.Usual highly polluted spots such as Anand Vihar and Punjabi Bagh continued to have pollutants, five to 10 times above the prescribed limits. 541 and 1431 were the real time PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels of Anand Vihar at 7 PM while the corresponding figures were 454 and 182 at Punjabi Bagh.On prolonged exposure to ‘very poor’ quality air, which signifies PM 10 and PM 2.5 levels between 351 and 420, and 211 to 252 micro gram per cubic metre respectively one can develop respiratory illness.Permissible levels of PM (particulate matter) 2.5 and PM 10 are 60 and 100 micrograms per cubic metre respectively. These particles, which are the major pollutants in the capital’s air, can harm the respiratory system as the particles embed themselves deep inside the lungs.

AICTE has proceeded against 132 engineering institutions for violating norms: Government

This information was shared in the Lok Sabha by HRD minister Smriti Irani in a written reply to a member’s question

Smriti Irani

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in 2015-16 has proceeded against 132 private engineering institutions which failed to act on norms laid down by it, the government said on Monday. This information was shared in the Lok Sabha by HRD minister Smriti Irani in a written reply to a member’s question. 132 private engineering institutions, including 5 in the state of Rajasthan, which failed to fulfil the norms laid down by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have been proceeded against by AICTE in 2015-16 after issuing a show cause notice and considering their explanation, Irani said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The penal action ranged from reduction in seats in some and even closure of 87 colleges,” she added. Responding to another question, Irani said that as per information received from Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), there is no proposal to draft in some new persons to rewrite certain aspects of Indian history.

Chidambaram latest party leader to be targeted by Modi government, alleges Congress

The CBDT has, however, virtually dismissed Chidambaram’s charges of vendetta in the searches and said it was based on “credible information of tax evasion” and “financial irregularities”.

P Chidambaram

Congress on Wednesday said former Finance Minister P Chidambaram was the latest party leader to be targeted by the Modi government in its “politics of vendetta”.The party said the IT and ED raids on some premises of two groups based in Chennai and Tiruchirappali of associates of Chidambaram’s son Karti was “politics of vendetta”. Chidambaram had yesterday called the searches a “malicious onslaught”. “We have seen certain approach of this government in respect of Shankersinh Vaghela of Gujarat, Virbhadra Singh of Himachal Pradesh, Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan… There is no hesitation (in saying) the tendency, the philosophy show politics of vendetta,” Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters. He suggested that when things happen in such a way for party leaders one after another, “there will be a natural tendency to believe” that there is such politics.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Chidambaram has given a detailed and a written statement. There is no question of second-guessing it. We support it, we stand by it. When it is pointless to try and mix-up his and his family’s name, when the CBDT’s own clarification is that neither of those two were addressed,” Singhvi said. Chidambaram has said no one from his family has “any equity or economic interest in any of the firms that are being targeted”.The CBDT has, however, virtually dismissed Chidambaram’s charges of vendetta in the searches and said it was based on “credible information of tax evasion” and “financial irregularities”.

Ban liquor in Rajasthan, demands former CM Ashok Gehlot

Ashok Gehlot

Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday demanded that liquor be banned in the state.”Six states, including Gujarat, Kerala, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Bihar, have already banned the liquor, the BJP government should consider banning it in Rajasthan,” Gehlot said in a statement here. Referring to former MLA Gurucharan Singh Chhabra who died while on hunger strike to demand ban on liquor, Gehlot said his daughter-in-law Pooja Chhabra recently ended her 8-day-old fast after a written agreement with the BJP government.Till the state government takes any decision on banning liquor, the excise department should ensure that liquor is not sold without license to consumers at public places and at private functions, and illicit liquor is not made anywhere in the state, Gehlot said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan organises screening of Marathi film ‘Partu’ near Parliament

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has now taken the initiative of organising the screening of Marathi film “Partu”, which had won awards at the South Asian Film Festival in Washington, at the auditorium.

During the previous NDA regime, the Mahadev Auditorium in the Capital buzzed with activity with the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and deputy Prime Minister LK Advani often taking time off from their hectic schedules to watch films there.Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has now taken the initiative of organising the screening of Marathi film “Partu”, which had won awards at the South Asian Film Festival in Washington, at the auditorium. The film, based on a true story in Maharashtra and Rajasthan, has not been screened in India yet. Mahajan has invited Maharashtra and Rajasthan MPs, cutting across party lines, for the two-hour show on Thursday evening.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“The film is about how people cross state, social and lingual barriers. It would send a good message to politicians on unity,” said Nitin Adsul, the film director, who is settled in Washington. He was apparently referring to the approach of members of the Shiv Sena and MNS to migrants and North Indians in Maharashtra.Set in 1960s, the film revolves around the story of how a poor farmer in Maharashtra finds a seven-year-old boy who went missing and looks for his family. By the time he finds the boy’s family in Rajasthan, 17 years had already passed and the boy has to choose between his biological parents and the Maharashtrian farmer. While 70 per cent of it is in Marathi, the rest is in Rajasthani, with English subtitles in the film made by a US-based production company.Kishore Kadam, who played the protagonist, got Best Actor Jury Award while the film also got the Audience’s Choice award in Washington. The film will be screened in theatres in Maharashtra from December four and special screenings will be done in Rajasthan.At the Mahadev Auditorium, which is a stone’s throw away from Parliament, the sitting capacity is just 139. This is the first time that the Speaker is organising a film show in the auditorium. Mahajan was herself born in Maharashtra but got married into a family in Madhya Pradesh and has held eight consecutive terms as MP from Indore.Around two months ago, South Indian director SS Rajmouli’s Telugu blockbuster “Bahubali” dubbed in Hindi was screened at the auditorium. Information and broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley attended the show, sources said.They said in the UPA regime, though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not go for the screenings, which are generally of Bollywood films, his wife Gursharan Kaur often went for the shows.While Vajpayee is ailing, Advani is understood to have watched some shows in the auditorium with his family in recent times. Farmer storySet in 1960s, the film revolves around the story of how a poor farmer in Maharashtra finds a seven-year old boy who went missing and looks for his family. By the time he finds the boy’s family in Rajasthan, 17 years had already passed and the boy has to choose between his biological parents and the Maharashtrian farmer. While 70 per cent of it is in Marathi, the rest is in Rajasthani, with English subtitles in the film made by a US-based production company.

Alert to Islamic State threat, BSF arms itself with cutting-edge equipment, aggressive strategies

The Border Security Force (BSF) is not treating the recent rise in threat from global terror outfit Islamic State (IS) casually, especially after its recent attacks in Paris and the article ‘Revival of Jihad in Bengal’ published in its magazine Dabiq. Instead, the world’s largest border guarding force has been closely monitoring every move on the borders that India shares with Bangladesh and Pakistan.

“IS has posed a big security challenge for the world across. We’re conscious, alert, well equipped and closely monitoring to check any infiltration into the country from across the border,” said BSF Director-General DK Pathak on Friday.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The country witnessed a rise in cases of infiltration (62 failed attempts) this year in comparison to 48 cases in 2014. “There has been a desperate bid to infiltrate from across the border, which we have prevented successfully. Often under the cover of firing across LoC, infiltration attempts are made,” he said.

Regarding infiltration into West Bengal from Bangladesh, Pathak denied of any such activity in recent times, and said, “To our best of knowledge no infiltration has taken place through Bangladesh-West Bengal border. However, one-fourth of the Bangladesh border is riverine, which opens up the risk of infiltration.”

In a bid to make the extremely porous Indo-Bangladesh border secure, the BSF has adopted an aggressive strategy. Besides mapping of Border on Posts (BOPs), a special joint task force has been set up with Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) to check smuggling of fake Indian currency notes (FICN), illegal migration, human trafficking, Phensedyl smuggling and cattle smuggling.

Keeping with the government’s present combat policy, the BSF has taken an aggressive stance while dealing with infiltrators — be it terrorists or smugglers. “The earlier stand of not retaliating to the attacks of infiltrators has led to casualties of our troop members. Non-lethal strategy can’t be used at the cost of casualties of our men. We try to follow non-lethal means as far as possible, but not beyond a limit and this strategy has reduced injury and casualty rates of our troops,” asserted Pathak.

“We’ve equipped our troops with the latest equipment like LORROS, HHTI, BFSR, NVGs and night vision devices to enhance the surveillance capabilities at cutting edge levels. This year we’ve made record seizures of 280.54 kg of heroin on India-Pakistan border,” the DG said.

The BSF, which is celebrating its golden jubilee year, has introduced direct entry of women officers in the rank of assistant commandant for the first time in its history and initiated acquisition of modern weapons and equipment to give teeth to the Force’s efforts against infiltration and terrorism.

“BSF men have proved their mettle by facing hostilities from across the border over the decades. Now, we’re strengthening our forces in difficult terrains with newly-acquired sand scooters for patrolling international border along the sandy terrain of Rajasthan. We’ve expanded our air wing by inducting two advanced Mi-17 V5 helicopters, which will be helpful for our troops on borders and in the hinterland during anti-Naxal operations. We’ve procured four new American-made Fast Attack Crafts that can cover one kilometer in 15-20 sec, with a speed of 30-35 nautical miles. These crafts are bullet-proof and fitted with arms, with latest stealth technology that enhance operations at the water,” added Pathak.

Women farmers in India defy convention

Meet the women running Indian farms

Venkaiah Naidu rejects Robert Vadra’s accusation, says law to take its course

Robert Vadra, whose land deals are being probed in BJP-ruled Haryana and Rajasthan, had on Sunday contended that he was being subjected to a “political witch-hunt” and used as a “political tool”.

Robert Vadra

Reacting to Robert Vadra’s claim that he was being subjected to a “political witch-hunt,” Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said the government is not vindictive but the law must be allowed to take its course.”I don’t wish to comment on Robert Vadra. Law will take its course. We don’t discriminate against anybody. We have not harassed any political opponents since we came to power. The law must be allowed to take its course. I don’t want to make any personal comments about anybody,” Naidu said here.Robert Vadra, whose land deals are being probed in BJP-ruled Haryana and Rajasthan, had on Sunday contended that he was being subjected to a “political witch-hunt” and used as a “political tool”. Son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the controversial businessman said a distinction should be made between him as an individual conducting business like anyone else and the politics of the family of his wife Priyanka Gandhi Vadra “without constantly attempting to link the two”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

India police apologise for cow art raid

Police in India’s Rajasthan state apologise to artists for raiding an exhibition which featured a polystyrene cow dangling from a helium balloon.

Congress dares BJP to act against Robert Vadra

Vadra said a distinction should be made between him as an individual conducting business like anyone else and the politics of the family of his wife Priyanka Gandhi Vadra “without constantly attempting to link the two”.

Robert Vadra

Congress on Sunday alleged that the BJP was indulging in “gimmicks” to defame Robert Vadra and dared the ruling party to act against the son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi if he has flouted any law.”If Robert Vadra has violated any laws, why does not the BJP take actions against him? (They are trying to) Just indulge in gimmicks (hawabazi) to defame him. It is the ill intention of BJP to defame the family of Sonia Gandhi and Indira Gandhi,” senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh said. Vadra, whose land deals are being probed in BJP-rule Haryana and Rajasthan, on Sunday contended that he was being subjected to a “political witch-hunt” and used as a “political tool”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Alleging that there was a “sustained political attack” on him, 46-year-old Vadra claimed that BJP was using attacks on him as a “political tool whenever they need to divert public attention”. The BJP meanwhile has described Vadra’s assertion as “farcical” and said the party did not believe in politics of revenge, alleging that he used his connection with the Gandhi family to do business.Vadra said a distinction should be made between him as an individual conducting business like anyone else and the politics of the family of his wife Priyanka Gandhi Vadra “without constantly attempting to link the two”.

Artists in Jaipur detained for cow art installation; Rajasthan govt removes police officials responsible

Image credit: Chintan Upadhyay’s Facebook post

In a strange yet shocking incident, a piece of art displayed at the Jaipur Art Summit, meant to spread awareness about saving cows from plastic consumption, created a furore on Saturday leading to the detention of two artists, reports The Indian Express. The event was hosted by the Jawahar Kala Kendra, a centre of cultural and artistic activities.The Rajasthan government on Sunday removed a Station House Officer and a constable for alleged dereliction of duty and not tackling the situation properly. “SHO of Bajaj Nagar Police station, Mahendra Gupta, and constable Sumer Singh have been sent to police lines for dereliction of duty and not tackling the situation properly,” Jaipur Police Commissioner JS Rao said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Artist Siddhartha Kararwal who created the installation called ‘Bovine Divine’ had put up a styrofoam cow suspended mid-air by a balloon. He said that the aim was to show “how cows consume plastic and die due to its consumption”. However within 30 minutes of the work being put up for the show, police came and asked them to take down the artwork immediately, even before the show began. Artists Chintan Upadhyay and Anish Ahluwalia tried to reason with the police but the conversation turned into an argument. They both were taken to Bajaj Nagar police station and detained for at least three hours. Commissioner JS Rao said that as per media reports, the cops dragged artist Aneesh Ahluwalia by his hair along with another artist Chintan Upadhya to the police station after they protested the removal of the installation.According to Scroll.in the police asked the artists why they were flying a dead cow. “When we explained that the cow was not dead, we were asked if it was alive,” Kararwal said. He said that the police told them to write essays and paint to create awareness about the issues.The installation was taken down, it was relocated by a bunch of people who performed a puja and garlanded the cow. Dear allThis is to share the unfortunate events of this morning at Jaipur Art Summit, Shilpagram, Jawahar Kala…
Posted by Iram Ghufran on Saturday, November 21, 2015Please ShareDear allThis is to share the unfortunate events of this morning at Jaipur Art Summit, Shilpagram,…
Posted by Chintan Upadhyay on Saturday, November 21, 2015According to The Hindu, SHO Mahendra Gupta said that the artists were not detained but taken to the police station just to explain to them that certain sections could create an issue about the artwork and hence it had to be dismantled.The incident comes after a newly appointed governing council of Jaipur’s Jawahar Kala Kendra was scrapped. The council included Anish Kapoor, Jeet Thayil and Ranjit Hoskote. Kapoor had written a damning piece on PM Narendra Modi a day before the council was dissolved.Related read: Rajasthan govt removes Anish Kapoor’s name from cultural panel two days after nominationRajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje tweeted saying that the police had extended an apology.

India to host 18-nation mega Army joint exercise with ASEAN members and dialogue partners

Senior officials in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told dna that the exercise details are being worked out and it is likely to take place in Pune in the first week of March.

In what is slated to be the first-of-its-kind in scale, the Indian Army will hold a joint military exercise next year with 17 nations that include all the 10 member nations of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and eight dialogue partners — including India — of the regional strategic groupSenior officials in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told dna that the exercise details are being worked out and it is likely to take place in Pune in the first week of March.The Field Training Exercise (FTX-2016) will be a week-long engagement among the armies of the 18 nations over coordination, primarily on de-mining, and the entire activity will be a part of the larger roadmap of military humanitarian understanding in the years to come between India and ASEAN members and affiliates.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cambodia, Brunei, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand are ASEAN member nations.Officials said that the dialogue partners apart from India, namely, China, Japan, South Korea, the US, Australia, New Zealand and Russia, are being coordinated with over their participation.The army’s mega-exercise will follow a grand Naval exercise in February next, at Vishakapatnam, where close to 50 country’s navies will come together for a five-day-long display of prowess and maritime capabilities.The Indian Army, has recently concluded a joint ‘hand-in-hand’ exercise with the Chinese army at China’s Kunming Military Academy and a two-week-long joint training in counter-terrorism operations with the Russian army at Suratgarh in Rajasthan.

Rajasthan govt concerned about suicides among coaching students

According to data released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) recently, Kota has registered 100 suicide cases in 2014 and 45 of them were coaching students.

The report mentions the stress of studies and failure in examination among the key causes of suicide among coaching students in Kota.

The Rajasthan government is deeply concerned about the rising number of suicides among students of coaching institutes in Kota and is thinking of ways to check such deaths including regularisation of such centres, a state minister said today. Rajasthan Technical and Higher Education Minister Kali Charan Saraf told reports here that the district collector of Kota had been directed to formulate guidelines in this regard in consultation with directors of coaching institutes. “The coaching institutes in Kota have been asked to add recreational activities in their curriculum and provide psychological counseling to its students to help them deal stress better,” Saraf said. “All students are not of equal talent and merit. This should be understood by the parents before putting the burden of their dreams and aspirations on the kids.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Proposals have been sought from Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments to formulate a policy on coaching institutes in the state,” he added.The minister, however, said he was unaware about the recent National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) report which claimed that 45 suicides by coaching institute students were reported from Kota in 2014. “Around 10-11 suicides by the students in Kota are in my knowledge.”According to data released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) recently, Kota has registered 100 suicide cases in 2014 and 45 of them were coaching students. The report mentions the stress of studies and failure in examination among the key causes of suicide among coaching students in Kota. Over 1.50 lakhs students are taking coaching in various coaching institutes in Kota the city that has made name as coaching hub of the country.

Have things gone so far that media makes the menu for what you should view and read?

The fourth estate today is largely a bog of intrigue and wilfulness and an overall arrogance. We decide the news, its level of importance and mastermind what you should know.

Never before has the dispensation of news per se been so unilateral and arbitrary.

If Geeta the girl from Pakistan has gone back, or is in a home or even with her mom and dad, who’s bothered? We have decided it is now a non-story and it has run its course. Not 10 days ago, the highest in the land were eager to be photographed with this young woman. Now she is of absolutely no relevance.

The feeding frenzy that was Indrani Mukherjea and a brutal murder has faded away into a sort of shrug of the shoulder fugue and she is equally irrelevant, for all we care. No one even knows where the case against her stands.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Chhota Rajan could be back in Indonesia and no one would know. Nary a peep about him when, at one time, we were getting updates on the hour.

We made such a song and dance over OROP and our bravehearts and when 2,000 of them got together to give back their medals (not one was burnt, contrary to reports) last week, the media decided, “Ho-hum, these guys have canteen facilities and keep getting pension reviews, this story won’t sell. Spoilt bunch the lot of them, drop it.”

Remember the dainty woman minister in MP who kicked a 10-year-old beggar? What was the aftermath? No clue.

Amit Shah’s disastrous utterings that got Bihari egg on the BJP face. Has he been chastised?

The dogged VK Singh and his comment: Did he get his knuckles rapped? Was he fined like cricketers are? Or was it a two-day salute to general shock and then let go because life sucks anyway?

Not that anyone stooped to ask the beggar’s name. And the General, well, he soldiers on.

Have Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal and Lt-Governor Najeeb Jung kissed and made up? Are they all buddies now with the prime minister? Have they collected all the garbage and killed the dengue-spreading mosquitoes? Last heard, they hated each other enough to destroy Delhi.

Where do they stand now?

The echo answers, “where?”

Where are all the people who raped little children, some of those victims not even a year old?

Do the arrested ever go on trial, does anyone chase the story?

Did anyone indict Kailash Vijayvargiya for this display of brilliance on rape? He had said in 2013: “One has to abide by certain moral limits. If you cross this limit you will be punished, just like Sita was abducted by Ravana.”

Andhra Pradesh Congress president Botsa Satyanarayana described the Delhi gang-rape as a “small incident.”

No action is taken against them, no pressure put.

Keen not to be left behind in this bizarre dispatch of moral wisdom, Banwari Lal Singhal, a BJP legislator from Rajasthan worked out all by himself that wearing skirts in schools led to sexual harassment.

Can anyone recall that incandescent genius and Khap Panchayat leader Jitender Chhatar who told us that to his understanding, consumption of fast food contributes to such incidents? Chowmein, after all, leads to hormonal imbalance evoking an urge to indulge in such acts(!)

Why has Salman Khurshid been given the ‘pass’ slip after his needless statements in Pakistan and why has no action been initiated?

How many more people have to be killed in the Vyapam scam and their bodies found near railway tracks before justice is fast-tracked? This story cannot die, it is too big but it seems to be in a coma.

I can go and on but it is against this canvas that we hear now that India leads the way in censoring Facebook with governments make the maximum number of demands to remove content.

The report says: “Notably, there has been a three-fold increase in such demands in the first six months of this year as compared to last year.”

“According to the data released by Facebook in its biannual government requests report, India made 15,155 demands, outnumbering 92 other countries in the list.” Sure enough, that is three times what it was over the same period last year.

So, what is going on? Selective media overwhelming the synapses with white noise and numbing their viewers and readers into unquestioning submission, and making out the menu for the mind.

You eat what we tell you to eat.

True or exaggerated? It’s your call.

I have not been able to eat: Alwar’s Imran Khan overwhelmed after PM Modi hails him at Wembley stadium

Jaipur: Imran Khan, a maths teacher in a government school in Alwar district of Rajasthan, still can not believe that Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned his name during his speech at London’s Wembley stadium.

“It still is like a dream… PM mentioning my name is unbelievable… When PM was delivering his speech I was half asleep. I do not have a TV in my house. I came to know only after my friends and well-wishers started to call me. To confirm this, I watched the prime minister’s speech on YouTube… watched it again and again to confirm… reconfirm it… he was mentioning me,” Imran Khan told IANS on the phone on Saturday, a day after Modi’s address.

Imran Khan. TwitterImran Khan. Twitter

Imran Khan. Twitter

“You will not believe that since yesterday evening I have not been able to eat food… there are media persons… my friends… my relatives calling up… coming to meet me… absolutely no food since yesterday evening,” said a happy Imran.

“I made a small effort and it has been praised by the PM…. it feels great… really very great,” he said.

Modi, during his speech, said: “In Rajasthan’s Alwar there is a man called Imran Khan. He has made 50 mobile apps. And Alwar’s Imran Khan dedicated those apps to the students for free.”

“My India is in that Imran Khan from Alwar,” Modi said.

The 37-year-old teaches maths in a government school in Alwar district.

Imran has so far developed 52 education-oriented mobile applications since 2012.

“I do not have any background in computer technology but I had a computer in my house and I used to devote lot of time on it developing websites and other things. When I met the then district collector of my area he told me to develop apps as he said that future will belong to mobile apps. After reading some books that had chapters on apps, I started to develop mobile apps and since 2012 I have developed 52,” he said.

“My mobile apps have been downloaded by over 30 lakh users so far,” Imran claimed.

With inputs from IANS

Meet Imran Khan, the man PM Narendra Modi praised in Wembley

Khan, a teacher at a government Sanskrit senior secondary school here in Rajasthan, insisted that softwares should be provided in the regional languages if we want to spread the Digital Indian Mission to the rural areas as well.

Imran Khan (Image credit – Imran Khan’s Twitter account)

Imran Khan, a 34-year-old mathematics teacher, who shot into the limelight after Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed him in his Wembley address on Friday for distributing 52 education apps for free, thanked the latter and said that it was a small step taken by him as a teacher.”It was a small step taken by me as a teacher. It is a big thing for me that our Prime Minister has praised me,” he said.Khan, a teacher at a government Sanskrit senior secondary school here in Rajasthan, insisted that software should be provided in the regional languages if we want to spread the Digital Indian Mission to the rural areas as well.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”As a part of Digital India mission, we should provide tablets, computers and other IT tools to the rural areas. The software installed in those gadgets should be available in the regional languages. Many good types of software are available in English but to extend their reach to the villages, they should be provided in regional languages like Hindi, etc as well,” he added.Related read: PM Modi reaches out to NRIs, says headlines not the barometer to assess IndiaEarlier, Prime Minister Modi, who was addressing the Indian diaspora at the Wembley Stadium in London, said that he was sure of India’s bright future because his vision of India, was the India of Imran Khan who created and gave education apps for free; and of the Sarpanch who had conceived ‘ Selfie with Daughter’. He said there are countless such people in India. Khan had developed his first app – the NCERT Learn Science – for the Class 9 students in 2012. Of all the apps he has made so far, General Science in Hindi is the top grosser, with around 500,000 downloads.The teacher has created 42 Android apps and counting, in just three years. While these apps have been downloaded by 2.5 million users until now, the screen views alone have come up to 18 million.Khan, who did a two-year basic teacher training course after his senior secondary degree, became a third-grade government teacher in 1999. He was posted in Kota for four years, before being transferred to the government school in Jaton Ka Bagh ? just five kilometres from his native village, Khareda, in Malakhera.

BJP leaders’ murder: ATS hands over all 7 accused to cops

They were arrested after a meticulously carried out operation by the ATS, wherein they traced and picked up the accused from places like Uttarakhand and Mount Abu besides Gujarat.

The Gujarat ATS, which claimed to have cracked the double murder of BJP leaders in Bharuch earlier this month, today handed over to police the seven accused whom they had arrested from Uttarakhand and Rajasthan. The ATS today handed over to Bharuch police the three persons it arrested from Uttarakhand and also four other accused arrested from Mount Abu in Rajasthan yesterday in connection with the case, an ATS official said. They were arrested after a meticulously carried out operation by the ATS, wherein they traced and picked up the accused from places like Uttarakhand and Mount Abu besides Gujarat. “The trio were arrested, by a team of ATS officials, from Piran Kaliyar dargah near Haridwar yesterday where they have been hiding for many days. The team arrived here this evening with the accused and they were handed over to Bharuch police for further action,” Inspector General of ATS, J K Bhatt stated in a release.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The trio were identified as Haider Ali Shaikh (29), Mohsin Khan Pathan (25) and Nisar Ahmed Shaikh (30), all residents of Suart, while four others as Joyeb alias Juhaib Ansari, the sharpshooter who allegedly opened fire on the two leaders, Inayat Vora, Saiyad Imran Kadri and Yunus Shaikh. According to ATS, Haider, Mohsin and Nisar fled to Ajmer soon after the BJP leaders were murdered on November 2 and then proceeded to Kaliyar dargah near Haridwar. “Our investigation revealed that Haider was riding the bike while Joyeb, who opened fire, was riding pillion. Mohsin and Nisar had conducted recce of the BJP leaders and passed on the information to the duo to carry out the killings,” said Bhatt.The agency yesterday announced that it had unravelled the conspiracy behind murders of Shirish Bangali, former BJP president of Bharuch district and senior RSS member, and Pragnesh Mistry, general secretary of the Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha of Bharuch district, by arresting seven persons. The agency had said that the contract for their killing was allegedly given by absconding 1993 Mumbai serial blasts accused Javed Chikna from South Africa, apparently to avenge subsequent riots in Mumbai and Gujarat. According to ATS, the assignment to carry out the contractual killing was given by Chikna to Saiyad Kadri who subsequently roped in six others to carry out the murders.

Cong asks PM to take up Lalit Modi extradition issue with UK during visit

New Delhi: Congress on Thursday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take up the issue of former IPL chairman Lalit Modi’s extradition during his ongoing visit to UK and to ensure that the “fugitive” and “black money exporter” is brought back.

Taking potshots at the Prime Minister, Congress said this was the only visit where Modi can “fetch a lot for India in terms of concrete achievements”.

Lalit Modi. Reuters

Lalit Modi. Reuters

If Modi does not bring him (Lalit Modi) back, people will believe that “big Modi is helping the little Modi”, Chief Spokesperson of the party Randeep Surjewala said in New Delhi.

“Congress party hopes and demands that Prime Minister takes up the issue of deportation of Indian fugitive and black money exporter Lalit Modi with his counterpart in UK,” he said.

Addressing a press conference at the Congress headquarters, Surjewala claimed that independent analysis show that Modi’s 29 foreign visit have brought back little for the country “except selfies, photographs and promotion of Brand Modi”.

Pointing out the “links” of Lalit Modi to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje, the Congress spokesperson said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had “compounded the confusion” by his contradictory statements.

He said Modi cannot hide behind technicalities of extradition law as the new Immigration Act of 2014 allows UK to deport any fugitive who is not its national.

“Prime Minister is well advised to ensure that Lalit Modi is immediately deported and hopefully brought back to India simultaneously when Narendra Modi comes back. Otherwise India will believe what it always suspects that big Modi is helping little Modi,” he said.

PTI

Wildlife board gives nod to shrink Bustard sanctuary in Nannaj

To know more about the bird’s movement pattern, the Pune forest division radio-collared a Bustard called Chotu and they found in July that it had roamed 103 kms into Karnataka.

Great Indian Bustard is on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature
Photo: Sujit Narwade

The environment ministry’s National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) approved Maharashtra government’s long pending plan to ‘rationalise’ the boundary of Great Indian Bustard sanctuary in Nannaj, Solapur, that is interspersed by vast private land. The Bustard sanctuary, established in 1979, is spread across an original area of 8,469 sq kms. But over the years locals have felt that the sanctuary area is surplus as the Bustard uses its area only for mating and for foraging and eating insects, it usually roams in croplands and around human habitation. More importantly, the vast spread of the sanctuary had put a host of restrictions on development in private land, antagonising the locals against the bird.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Great Indian Bustard is critically endangered and is on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. From thousands, its numbers in India dropped down to a few hundred across Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh due to loss of grassland and scrub habitat and conversion of this habitat into croplands. In Maharashtra, it is believed that the Bustard is inching towards extinction with a population of just six individuals. The bird stands tall at one metre and weighs around 15 kgs.The proposal was placed before NBWL earlier but an expert committee was formed to carry out a site inspection. Following the expert committee’s recommendation and on the basis of a report submitted by Collector of Solapur, NBWL’s standing committee recommended rationalisation of the sanctuary’s borders. The sanctuary will now have a core habitat of 366.26 sq kms that comprises of grasslands which is also home to Chinkara, Black Buck and Fox. To compensate for exclusion of private land from the sanctuary, the NBWL standing committee has recommended for a sizeable eco-sensitive zone to be demarcated around the sanctuary.Speaking to dna on the need for the proposal to reduce sanctuary boundary, Sunil Limaye, chief conservator of forest, Pune division, said, “The original demarcation of over 8,000 sq kms as sanctuary had outlived its purpose and it was not helping in conservation of the Bustard. The restrictions on private land was turning people against the bird’s conservation and thus there was resentment against the Bustard itself. These factors necessitated a change in the sanctuary’s boundaries.”To know more about the bird’s movement pattern, the Pune forest division radio-collared a Bustard called Chotu and they found in July that it had roamed 103 kms into Karnataka.”We have one female and one male in the sanctuary and there is breeding potential. After reducing sanctuary boundaries, we are now roping in locals to conserve Bustard’s habitat and we will also give incentives to locals who cultivate jowar and bajra that helps the bird in foraging.” Inching towards extinctionFrom thousands, its numbers in India dropped down to a few hundred across Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh due to loss of grassland and scrub habitat and conversion of this habitat into croplands. In Maharashtra, it is believed that the Bustard is inching towards extinction with a population of just six individuals. The bird stands tall at one metre and weighs around 15 kgs.

Former Air Chief Marshal OP Mehra passes away

New Delhi: Former chief of Air Staff Om Prakash Mehra, 96, has passed away in New Delhi.

Mehra, who also served the nation as the Governor of Maharashtra (1980-82) and Rajasthan (1985-87), died yesterday at Army Research and Referral hospital.

OP Mehra in a file photo. PTIOP Mehra in a file photo. PTI

OP Mehra in a file photo. PTI

His cremation was held on Monday at Brar Square in the Delhi cantonment.

He is survived by four children, three sons and one daughter.

Air Chief Marshal Mehra was also honoured with a Padma Vibhushan in 1977 for his service to the Indian Air Force.

He was the chief of Indian Air force from 1973 to 1976.

PTI

Rajasthan HC allows prosecution plea in sexual assault case against Asaram Bapu

The defence opposed this argument stating that the defence of the accused has already been closed and it would be prejudiced to allow this prayer of the prosecution.

In another setback to Asaram, the court rejected another petition seeking call details of the girl, who was allegedly sexually assaulted

File Photo
In a setback to self-styled godman Asaram Bapu accused of sexual assault, the Rajasthan High Court has allowed a prosecution plea and directed the nodal officer of the telecommunication company to appear in the trial court. The HC also gave the defence liberty to cross examine the officer. The prosecution had moved the High Court seeking permission to summon the nodal officer of the telecom company, by whom the call details were provided to the investigation officer along with the certified copies supported by the verification certificate issued by him to be taken on record. “In the absence of this, the call details record could be treated by the trial court as secondary evidence and could be excluded from consideration during the final decision,” said prosecution counsel P C Solanki.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The defence opposed this argument stating that the defence of the accused has already been closed and it would be prejudiced to allow this prayer of the prosecution. After hearing both the sides, justice Sandeep Mehta allowed the plea of the prosecution to summon the nodal officer of the telecom company with a liberty to the defence to cross examine him. “However, it is made clear that if the prosecution desires to file the call details in addition to the certificate of the nodal officer then, the entire call details for the relevant period without any filtering shall be filed on record and shall be allowed to be proved by summoning the nodal officer of the service provider,” the order said.In another setback to Asaram, the court rejected another petition seeking call details of the girl, who was allegedly sexually assaulted, and her family between August 13, 2013 and August 16, 2013. While rejecting the plea, justice Mehta said in his order that these details should have been called during the testimony of the victim and her family in the trial court. “But seeking them now at the fag end of the trial, is just a move to stall the trial,” said the order. The defence had sought this detail on the ground that the call details of this period was missing from the details provided by the investigation officer. “The prosecution cannot be selective and they are necessary for a fair trial,” the defence had argued.A teenaged girl of Asaram s Chindwara (MP)-based gurukul had accused him of sexual assault at his ashram at village Manai near Jodhpur. The girl belonging to Shahjahanpur (UP) was the student of the gurukul run by Asaram and had been allegedly advised to come to Jodhpur in the name of some treatment. Followed by her complaint against Asaram, he was arrested by Jodhpur police on August 31, 2013 and is in jail since then.The trial of the case is currently in progress in the sessions court here.

Army successfully test-fires Brahmos supersonic land attack cruise missile

Pokhran: Army on Saturday successfully test fired the nearly 300-km-range Brahmos supersonic land attack cruise missile in Pokhran.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“At 1000 hrs today, the Indian Army fired Brahmos land-attack cruise missile successfully against a designated target at Pokhran test range in Rajasthan, demonstrating the weapon’s supreme operational capability,” defence officials said.

The missile was test launched by a Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL) deployed in full configuration.

The test-fire, carried out in the user-deployment configuration by trained army personnel, met all the mission objectives, they said.

“BRAHMOS missile system, the most lethal and potent weapon system for precision strike available with Indian Army, has proved again its effectiveness in today’s successful launch,” said Sudhir Mihra, Chief of BrahMos Aerospace.

The Army has already inducted three regiments of Brahmos in its arsenal. All are equipped with Block-III version of missile, which was tested on 8 and 9 May this year.

The land-attack version of Brahmos has been operationalised in the Army since 2007.

The fire-and-forget Missile has the capability to take on surface-based targets by flying a combined high-low trajectory, thus evading enemy air defence systems.

Inclusion of the powerful weapon system in Indian Army has given it a distinct operational advantage to knock down any enemy target even in the most difficult and hidden terrains, the officials said.

The missile, having a range of 290-km and a Mach 2.8 speed, is capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air against sea and land targets.

BrahMos is a joint venture between DRDO of India and NPOM of Russia.

PTI

Rajasthan: Ex-MLA seeking prohibition of liquor dies after 33 day fast; Congress, BJP blame each other

Former Janata Dal MLA Gurcharan Chabbra, who was on a fast-unto-death demanding liquor ban and strengthening of Lokayukta in Rajasthan, on Tuesday died at a hospital.​

Former Janata Dal MLA Gurcharan Chabbra, who was on a fast-unto-death demanding liquor ban and strengthening of Lokayukta in Rajasthan, on Tuesday died at a hospital.​ The 65-year-old anti-liquor crusader, who was on fast since October 2, passed away in the wee hour. He had been admitted to SMS hospital here a fortnight ago and was in coma for the last couple of days.Chabbra’s death triggered a blame game between BJP and Congress whose leaders held each other responsible for the Gandhian leader’s demise.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot said Chhabra’s life could have been saved if CM Vasundhara Raje had intervened to get the agitation called off.”This is very unfortunate and will be remembered as a case in Rajasthan’s history when a man had to sacrifice his life for the sake of public interest instead of personal interest,” Gehlot, who had visited Chabbra last night when he was in critical condition, said.Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot, while expressing condolence over the demise of the former Janta Party MLA who had undertaken the hunger strike for the fourth time, also held the state government responsible for his death.”It is very unfortunate that a Gandhian leader died due to anshan (hunger strike) which he began on October 2. The Rajasthan government had promised to look into his demand but no step was initiated.”Chhabra had to sit on the agitation because the state government did not take any initiative to fulfill his demands despite assurance in written. He would have been among us if the government had taken any initiative,” he said.Holding the Raje-led BJP government of being “solely responsible” for Chabbra’s death, PCC vice-president Archana Sharma alleged that the state government ignored Chhabra and his demands which ultimately led to his demise.Reacting to Congress leaders’ allegations, BJP state president Ashok Parnami claimed the government had fulfilled nearly 90 per cent of the demands of Chhabra and blamed former CM Gehlot for his demise.Asking Gehlot to answer as to why he did not take a decision to fulfill Chhabra’s demand during his tenure, he said, “Chhabra was on anshan two times during the Congress government led by Ashok Gehlot. Why did he not fulfill his demands then? Chhabra would not have died if Gehlot had accepted his demands when he was the chief minister.”Former Congress government is responsible for Chhabra’s death,” he said.

False accusations being concocted against me, says Robert Vadra

His reaction came a day after Agency sleuths searched the premises of a firm in connection with a money laundering case arising out of land grab charges in Bikaner.

Robert Vadra
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Robert Vadra on Tuesday dismissed as “false accusations” reports related to an Enforcement Directorate raid against a Delhi-based company. Vadra, Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law, said on his Facebook page that the nation is not misguided by these tactics anymore. “Here they go again …Whenever they get insecure, they concoct some false accusations on me. The nation is not misguided by their tactics anymore,” Vadra wrote.His reaction came a day after Agency sleuths searched the premises of a firm in connection with a money laundering case arising out of land grab charges in Bikaner.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>ED’s probe found that the firm was “involved” in purchasing land from companies, which had initially procured land from the border town of Rajasthan.”It is suspected that the firm acted as a dummy or shell company. Some documents and computer peripherals have been seized. The premises, which were brought under the search operation, belongs to a chartered accountancy firm,” sources had said.

Worry about female foeticide, not population ‘imbalance’: Muslim cleric on RSS resolution

The RSS passed a resolution on this contentious issue at its three-day national executive in Ranchi.

Muslim cleric Imam Umer Iliyasi on Sunday drew attention towards the rising cases of female foeticide and downplayed the RSS resolution

File Photo
Muslim cleric Imam Umer Iliyasi on Sunday drew attention towards the rising cases of female foeticide and downplayed the RSS resolution asking the government to reformulate the population policy to check demographic imbalance. “Instead of worrying about the increase or decrease of population of the country, we must worry about female foeticide. The balance of the country’s population is being disturbed because of this. If you look at Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan, you will notice that our balance has been disturbed in a way that the women population has gone down and male population has increased,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”As far as the demographic balance is concerned, it is the work of God to maintain the balance. It cannot be handled by man. An example of the interference by man in maintaining balance can be seen in China where they started a 100 years policy and now the result is in front of all. They are now requesting people to give birth to more and more number of children,” he added. The RSS on Saturday sought a review of the population policy to counter ‘severe demographic changes’ in India, flagging what it considers a high rate of growth among Muslims in the country.The RSS passed a resolution on this contentious issue at its three-day national executive in Ranchi. The RSS and its affiliated organisations have been citing the last census figures to claim that Hindus are facing the threat of being swamped by Muslims, though the minority community accounts for only 14.2% of the country’s population while their population is growing at a slower rate.

South African grannies: How these India-trained solar engineers are lighting entire villages

Trained in India, South Africa’s solar mamas have taken light to 12,000 houses in 161 villages

Solar Mama from Africa fabricating her LED Solar Lantern
File Photo

“Men are untrainable; they’re restless competitive and demand certificates. A man who learns the craft will never teach another man,” says Sanjit ‘Bunker’ Roy of the Barefoot College. “Women, on the other hand, are stable learners. They grasp well, and always teach other women what they learn.”The craft Roy is speaking of is assembling solar lanterns. And, the women he speaks of are grannies from South African countries.Roy’s Barefoot College, a grassroots movement that started in 1972 in Tilonji in Rajasthan works for community development.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>His movement has been educating school drop-outs for decades. In 2005, Barefoot College started training women in to assemble solar lights.
Training Solar Mamas from Africa – Barefoot CollegeTill now, 700 women from several countries in the Middle East, Pacific, South Africa, have graduated from the college.However, Barefoot’s most successful run has been in South Africa. “Our outstation facility is in Zanzibar. And another is coming up in South Sudan. Facilities are planned in Tanzania, Bukina Faso, too,” says Meagan Fellone, CEO, Barefeet. Each of these countries have pledged $4,00,000 for upcoming facilities. Between them they have solar electrified 161 complete villages covering nearly 12,000 houses and saved close to 1 million litres of kerosene from polluting the atmosphere-their significant contribution to combating climate change.Sanjit ‘Bunker’ Roy Founder of Barefoot College These are women who don’t know how to read and write at the forefront of the global efforts on climate change. Our women are more trained than solar engineers that hold degrees from prestigious colleges,”On Wednesday, a group of 25 South African grannies of the current batch, along with their Indian counterparts will welcome the South African first ladies.In the facility in Tilonji, the women, who are trained for six months, learn to make. 40-watt LED wall lights fitted with a USB port and charger for mobiles and 10-watt panel lights with charger for mobiles. African Solar Mama Learning how to fabricate charge controller by sign language – Barefoot College”They also undergo a workshop, and when we send them off, they are given a starter kit that lasts them for two years,” says Fellone. Roy says that there are plans to scale up the work to bring light to the homes of over 120,000 households in 100 communities, and will train another 480 women in the coming 3 years. A TEDTALK video of Roy explaining the work of Barefoot College:

All’s fair in war and Bihar polls: Quota narrative gets a communal twist, courtesy Modi

It is back to Mandal and Kamandal in Bihar.

On Monday, when he spoke for almost half an hour at Buxar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proved that in the end the Bihar election always boils down to just one question: What can divide voters more — caste or religion?

“I will not allow any change in the existing system of reservation. I was the chief minister of Gujarat for several years, and there wasn’t any change in the quota criteria. Even during Atal Behari Vajpayee’s tenure, there was no change in the reservation policy,” Modi thundered at the rally.

File image of PM Narendra Modi. PTI

File image of PM Narendra Modi. PTI

So far so good.

The next two rounds of polling in Bihar are in constituencies dominated by Dalits and backward caste voters. Since the Nitish Kumar-led Mahagathbandhan has turned the election into a fight between upper caste (agda) and backward caste (picchda) voters by claiming that the BJP wants to review the existing reservation system, Modi is justified in countering the campaign.

Modi then went on to claim that the Mahagathbandhan is scheming to introduce religion-based quotas. “They will take away five percent of your share for reservation on religious basis,” Modi said, adding that it was his duty to expose the conspiracy.

Quota on religious lines is an old debate triggered by the previous UPA government. In 2011, just before the UP elections, the Centre had carved out 4.5 percent quota within the 27 percent reservation available to OBCs. The sub-quota was for backward communities belonging to religious minorities who form part of the OBC list. The proposal was later struck down by the Andhra Pradesh High Court. The Centre had filed a review petition against the order in the Supreme Court, but the proposal died a slow death after the Modi government called it unnecessary.

By raising it again, Modi has attempted a masterstroke: He has not only countered a canard with another canard, but has given a communal twist to the quota narrative. By arguing that Nitish Kumar will give away to minorities something that rightfully belongs to the picchdas, Modi has gone back to the core BJP strategy of obliterating the vertical caste divide with a horizontal communal line.

The Mahagathbandhan’s success depends on its ability to keep the Muslim-Yadav-Kurmi-Picchda vote bank intact. So, its leaders are trying to unite them by claiming that the upper caste voters — the core supporters of the BJP — are their common enemy.

The BJP’s future, in an election dominated by the debate triggered by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s call for a review of the reservation policy, depends on its ability to divide the Mahagathbandhan supporters by claiming that their real rivals are people from other religions.

You’ve got to pity the Bihar voters. In the end, they are the ones who will have to decide which brand of divide-and-rule politics is the lesser evil for them.

There are, of course, the known perils of playing with the quota fire and speaking in different voices for electoral gains on this contentious issue.

In 2003, Rajasthan BJP leader Vasundhara Raje had indicated to Gurjars that her party would support their demand for a separate sub-quota. When the BJP came to power, the Gurjars, who were part of the OBCs till then, launched two violent agitations for reservation that led to death of more than 100 persons and days of arson and rioting. A few months ago, Raje included Gurjars into a separate category of specially backward castes and recommended 5 percent quota for them. If this law is implemented, the total quota in Rajasthan (currently 49 percent) would exceed 50 percent.

Incidentally, at his Buxar rally, while talking about the quota for religious minorities, Modi claimed that this 5 percent reservation can only be at the cost of the existing beneficiaries. Modi argued since the Supreme Court has already ordered that reservation should not exceed 50 per cent, it can be extended to others only after curtailing the existing quota meant for Dalits, Mahadalits, Backward Castes and Extremely Backward Castes.

Wonder what Gurjars would be thinking after hearing Modi declare quotas exceeding 50 percent illegal!

Video-conferencing feasibility in Asaram trial to be checked: Gujarat govt

On October 15, Asaram had written a letter to the court in Gandhinagar seeking fast-track trial in an alleged rape case against him filed by a Surat-based woman.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The Gujarat government on Monday told a court in Gandhinagar that it will need some more time to check the feasibility of producing self-styled godman Asaram through video-conferencing facility to expedite the rape trial process against him.After considering the arguments put forward by Special Public Prosecutor R C Kodekar on behalf of the government, Additional Sessions Judge R A Ghoghari posted the case for hearing on November 2.On October 15, Asaram had written a letter to the court in Gandhinagar seeking fast-track trial in an alleged rape case against him filed by a Surat-based woman.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During the arguments today, Kodekar told the court that in order to expedite the trial, there should be a video conferencing facility available in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur prison, where Asaram is lodged at present, as he is facing another rape case trial there.Kodekar sought more time from the court to find out if the jail is equipped with video-conferencing facility, which can be used to produce Asaram in Gandhinagar court without bringing him here, and save time.Asaram had in the letter to the Gandhinagar court urged it to expedite the trial of the rape case against him, saying he is an elderly person and has been framed in a false case. He said in the letter that he has been in jail for a long period and the case against him in Gujarat is not proceeding further.Two Surat-based sisters had lodged separate complaints against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape, sexual assault and illegal confinement.The elder sister had in her complaint against Asaram accused him of repeated sexual assaults between 2001 and 2006 during the time she was living at his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The 73-year-old controversial religious preacher had also sought temporary bail in the alleged rape case in March this year, which was rejected by the Gandhinagar court The framing of charges against Asaram and others accused in the case is pending in the court.Asaram was arrested in September 2013 for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl at his Jodhpur ashram.

Monk seeks eight-month walk to court

An Indian monk from the Jain religion says he needs eight months to answer a court summons, as he will have to walk in accordance with his faith.

Rajasthan government notifies quota for Gujjars and other Special Backward Classes

Rajasthan government has issued a notification to provide 5% quota to Gujjars and other Special Backward Classes (SBC) for which the Assembly has passed a bill last month.

Rajasthan government has issued a notification to provide 5% quota to Gujjars and other Special Backward Classes (SBC) for which the Assembly has passed a bill last month.The notification, issued last night by the Department of Personnel, states that Rajasthan Specific Backward Classes (Reservation of seats in Educational Institutions in the state and of Appointment and Posts under the state) Act, 2015 (Act No 32) comes into effect from October 16, an official said on Saturday.The said Act shall come into force from October 16, 2015, he said.The Act will provide 5% reservation in jobs and educational institutes to Gujjars, Banjara, Raibari, and Gadiya Lohar communities in the state.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On September 22, the state assembly had passed two separate bills for providing 5% quota to SBC, and 14% to Economically Backward Classes (EBC) of unreserved categories, sparking a controversy as it crossed the 50% quota cap.The second bill of EBC is yet to get the Rajasthan Governor’s approval.Criticising the government’s move, Congress leader Sachin Pilot had said it was a “tragedy” that despite knowing very well that there is no provision in the Constitution for economically backward people to get reservation, the BJP government has made a “farcical attempt”.

Now, Rajasthani writer Nand Bhardwaj returns Akademi award

Rajasthani litterateur Nand Bhardwaj has returned his Sahitya Akademi award, blaming the literary body of failing to “protect” the rights of writers.

Image Courtesy: jaipurliteraturefestival.org
Rajasthani litterateur Nand Bhardwaj has returned his Sahitya Akademi award, blaming the literary body of failing to “protect” the rights of writers.In a letter to Secretary of Sahitya Akademi yesterday, Bhardwaj, also attached a check of Rs 50,000 which he got with the award in 2004 and sent “prateek chinh” (logo) separately.”My sentiments are hurt the way MM Kalburgi was shot dead and Akademi is unable to do anything to protect the rights of writers and not even expressed any condolence on this serious issue”, showing letter to media persons, the former DD Director, commented.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bhardwaj has won the prestigious honour for his book ‘Samhi khulto marag.’Not only writers the common man’s feeling were also threatened in the present scenario where freedom of expression has been facing fundamentalist and communal challenges, he alleged.”This is a protest against religious and creative intolerance which is rising in recent time,” he added.Bhardwaj is also the Rajasthan coordinator for Jaipur Literature Festivals (JLF), since its beginning.With this, at least 29 authors including Nayantara Sahgal and Ashok Vajpeyi have decided to return their Akademi awards and five writers have stepped down from official positions of the literary body, which in turn has convened an emergency meeting on October 23 to discuss the developments.

85-year-old Rajasthani woman stripped and tortured for being a ‘witch’

Jaipur: An 85-year-old woman has complained of being tortured with searing tongs and stripped after being branded as a witch in Rajasthan’s Bihara village, over 260 km from here, police said.

The incident occurred on Sunday in Bhilwara district.

Representational image. Image courtesy: ReutersRepresentational image. Image courtesy: Reuters

Representational image. Image courtesy: Reuters

“The woman, Chau Bai, met additional superintendent of police of the area on Monday and told him about the incident. Police have launched an investigation into it,” a police official told IANS on Tuesday.

The woman, a mother of two daughters, in her complaint alleged that on Sunday about 14-16 people from her village branded her as a witch and tortured her with searing hot tongs. “I was beaten with iron chains,” she alleged.

Bai, who was later admitted to Mahatma Gandhi Hospital in Bhilwara, alleged the villagers targeted her to grab her property and wanted to force her out of the village.

“On Sunday some villagers brought a witch doctor. They (the villagers) dragged me forcibly by my hair to my veranda (porch). The witch doctor poured a liquor like substance on my body. I was beaten up and stripped naked and later they threw me into a nali (drain),” she said.

The Rajasthan Prevention of Witch Hunting Act 2015, which is in force in the state, says that forcing a woman, after branding her as a witch, to drink or eat any inedible substance or any obnoxious substance or parade her naked or with scanty clothes or with painted face or body or committing any similar acts derogatory to human dignity or displacing her from her house or other property is punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than three years but which may be extended to seven years or served with a fine not less than Rs.50,000 or both.

Despite the Act, several cases of women being branded witches and harassed have been reported in Rajasthan in the last few months. In the last three days in Bhilwara alone, three cases of women being branded as witches have come to light.

IANS

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal sacks minister Asim Ahmed; challenges BJP to remove Shivraj Chouhan, Raje

The graft charges against Khan were quite serious.

He said that the government is referring the graft complaint to CBI

File Photo
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal sacked his minister Asim Ahmed Khan on Friday over corruption charges. He said that the government is referring this complaint to CBI. Khan held the portfolio for Food and Civil Supply, Environment and Forest, Minority affairs and Election. Speaking about dropping the minister from his cabinet, Arvind Kejriwal said, “We’ve received serious complaint of corruption against our Cabinet Minister Asim Ahmed, the complainant has sent us a one-hour audio clip.”Kejriwal said, “I will not even spare my son, Manish Sisodia or anyone else if he is corrupt.” He added saying that now that AAP sacked a tainted minister it was now BJP’s turn to do the same with Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Regarding Ahmed, he added that along with Manish Sisodia he conducted a preliminary assessment after listening to the audio clip said that prima facie it seemed to be a serious matter.

Beef ban: Govt to set up labs at ports to check illegal cow meat export

The Minister said the buffalo meat exports have declined 14.7% to $ 1,483 million during April-August of this year due to strict monitoring of shipments via the software.

APEDA officials said there is no illegal export of cow meat as production and exports are strictly monitored through a software ‘Meat Net’. (Sanjeev Balyan- Image source Twitter)

Testing labs will be established at ports to check illegal export of cow meat, the government announced on Tuesday in the midst of a raging controversy over the Dadri killing of a man over rumours of eating beef. Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Kumar Balyan made the announcement after a review meeting on illegal export of cow meat with senior officials of agri-export promotion body, APEDA, and the Food Processing Ministry and the Agriculture Ministry. “APEDA officials said there is no illegal export of cow meat as production and exports are strictly monitored through a software ‘Meat Net’. However, it has been decided to set up labs at ports to check illegal export of cow meat,” Balyan told reporters. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Exports are largely undertaken via the Mumbai port, he said. The Minister said the buffalo meat exports have declined 14.7% to $ 1,483 million during April-August of this year due to strict monitoring of shipments via the software. The buffalo exports are being undertaken by 49 APEDA registered slaughter houses, of which 20 are in Uttar Pradesh, he added. There are 1,696 slaughter houses in the country, of which a maximum of 316 houses are in Maharashtra, followed by 285 in Uttar Pradesh and 185 in Telangana. When asked about the Centre’s plan to bring a model law on cow slaughter, Balyan said, “I have no idea about such a proposal.”He also said the Centre cannot control illegal cow slaughter as the matter is a state subject.Currently, five states and one Union Territory — Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Lakshadweep — have no laws on prohibiting cow slaughter.Movement of beef within and outside the state is completely banned in states such as Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Daman and Diu, Haryana, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Sale of beef is completely banned in Chhattisgarh, Daman and Diu, Delhi, Haryana, Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. India exported buffalo meat worth USD 4,781.18 million in 2014-15. Yesterday, Balyan had said the lynching incident at Dadri was a “spontaneous” act” and no communal colour should be given to it. He had asked the Uttar Pradesh government to take strict action against cow slaughter. “The incident was spontaneous and there was no conspiracy. The Centre has banned import and export of beef. We will review if cow meat is exported illegally,” Balyan had said.

Raje’s plank to resurgence

Rajasthan has met with some success in its new drive against graft. Can it sustain the campaign or is it a move to divert attention from the Lalit Modi saga?

Transporters strike day 3: Govt refuses to budge even as truckers plan protest

New Delhi: Transporters continued their nation-wide strike for the third consecutive day today, disrupting supply of goods to various parts of the country. However, the government has refused to budge on their demand for scrapping the present toll system.

The supply of essential goods such as milk, vegetables and medicines has been kept out of the purview of the indefinite strike, called by the apex transporters body, the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC).

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

According to reports from states including Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the supply of goods has been hit.

“For toll barrier-free India, our members will stage a peaceful dharna at Jantar Mantar today. We will continue our strike till the government comes out with some practical solution to our problem. We are not against paying toll, but we are demanding it in an annualised form,” AIMTC President Bhim Wadhwa told PTI.

The electronic-toll collection system as promised by the government is “not practical”, he said.

AIMTC claims to have 87 lakh trucks and 20 lakh buses and tempos across the country under its fold.

Another truckers body, All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA) has decided to keep away from the strike.

Wadhwa said the cumulative loss to the truckers in three days was estimated at about Rs 4,500 crore while the loss to the government could be more than Rs 30,000 crore.

However, the government has refused to budge from its stance and said it cannot scrap the toll collection system.

“It is up to them to continue their strike. The government cannot scrap toll. We have already assured to implement electronic tolling system pan-India by December. I appeal to them to call off the strike,” Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has said.

AIMTC is demanding scrapping of the existing toll system, saying it is a tool of harassment, while it is seeking a one-time payment of taxes and simplification of TDS procedure.

On the other hand, Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT) said AIMTC’s suggestion to have fixed annual toll is not rational.

PTI

Southwest monsoon ends 14 percent lower than normal in India

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

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PTI

Muslim organisations launch campaigns against ‘un-Islamic’ ISIS

Slamming ISIS for “un-Islamic” acts and “undermining the basic tenets” of the faith, several Muslim organisations in the country have launched campaigns against the terror group, saying it was trying to justify its violence by distorting Islamic symbols and history.

Islamic State

Slamming ISIS for “un-Islamic” acts and “undermining the basic tenets” of the faith, several Muslim organisations in the country have launched campaigns against the terror group, saying it was trying to justify its violence by distorting Islamic symbols and history.Muslim organisations have held meetings in places like Delhi, Jodhpur, Kozhikode and Lucknow to urge Muslim youths to refrain from associating with ISIS, which they said was involved in un-Islamic activities resulting in the killing of thousands of innocent victims.According to a Home Ministry report, in Kerala, Ittehadul Subhanil Mujahideen had organised a state-level conclave in Kozhikode on September 20 under the banner of ‘Youth Movement Against IS Terrorism’, which was inaugurated by its president, TP Abdulla Koya Maudani.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his address, Maudani called for united efforts to counter the proliferation of the ideology of the Middle East terror group, asserting that the outfit was justifying terrorist actions by distorting Islamic symbols as well as history.ISIS was distorting ideologies related to ‘Jihad’ and ‘Khilafat’, Maudani explained, and added that Sunni and Shia “extremism” would only lead to destruction of the Muslim community.Separately, chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Kerala, MI Abdul Aziz said at a press conference in Kozhikode earlier this month that terrorist activities of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) were un-Islamic as well as a challenge to society.He said that the claims of ISIS with regard to the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate were “fake”. His organisation also held several meetings at other places in Kerala highlighting the atrocities committed by ISIS.The Rajasthan unit of Jamiat Ahle Hadees had organised a youth conference in Jodhpur on September 13 against terrorist activities of ISIS. Speakers at the conference urged youths to refrain from associating with ISIS which they said was involved in un-Islamic terrorist activities.Also, Syed Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, Dargah Dewan, Dargah Sharif, Ajmer, said at a press conference on September 19 that the entire world should unite against ISIS, which was undermining the basic tenets of Islam.In Delhi, ISIS was criticised by several Muslim outfits at a ‘Peace Conference’ held at India International Centre on September 17.In Uttar Pradesh, Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahli, Imam, Eidgah Aisbagh, Lucknow; executive committee member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, issued a ‘fatwa’ on September 9 against ISIS, saying the outfit was involved in un-Islamic activities in killing innocent people.

Narendra Modi takes jibe at Robert Vadra, Congress says ashamed of PM’s behaviour on foreign soil

“Listening to the Prime Minister’s speech I am ashamed. Indian PM after going to California is making fun of his countrymen and and is only praising himself,” Congress leader Rashid Alvi said.

Congress on Monday hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his barbs at the party in the US, saying they were “ashamed” of his behaviour on foreign soil.”Listening to the Prime Minister’s speech I am ashamed. Indian PM after going to California is making fun of his countrymen and and is only praising himself,” Congress leader Rashid Alvi said. In a veiled attack on corruption during UPA regime and a barb at the Congress President’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, Modi in his address to the Indian community in California today deprecated the culture of graft in the country.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In our country it doesn’t take much for allegations to come up against politicians… Someone made 50 crores, someone’s son made 250 crores, (someone’s) daughter made 500 crores, (someone’s) damaad (son-in-law) made 1000 crores…” he said. Countering Modi, Congress leader Manish Tiwari said, “Indians are fed up with the government who helps a ‘baghoda’.Is there any state government in India like Rajasthan where there are scams after scams. Before taking a dig at others, he should look at his party,” he said. JD(U) leader K C Tyagi also took a dig at Modi, saying, “Questions can also be raised as to why he does not stay with his mother”. He said the Prime Minister should never attack his country’s opposition in the foreign land.Alvi said he had written to Modi after Lok Sabha polls, saying “You say your mother works even today. Then why are you not caring for your mother. Is your salary less that you cannot take care of your mother?”Modi had on Sunday got emotional while talking about the sacrifices his mother made as he grew up.

BJP govt failed to arrest spread of dengue in Rajasthan: Sachin Pilot

Health and medical departments, and civic bodies are lacking fogging equipment and chemicals nor the state government is providing free medicines to patients

Expressing serious concern over the outbreak of seasonal diseases in Rajasthan, Congress leader Sachin Pilot accused the BJP government of failing to arrest the spread of dengue in the state. “It is unfortunate…a BJP MLA revealed that dengue claimed 30 lives in last six months in Jhunjhunu district alone, and medical and health departments are constantly denying casualties,” Pilot said in a statement.Even the BJP MP from Jhunjhunu has posed a question to the chief medical and health officer on careless attitude of medical and health departments, Pilot said. Health and medical departments, and civic bodies are lacking fogging equipment and chemicals nor the state government is providing free medicines to patients, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Sanjay Nirupam urges old guard of Congress to fall in line

The larger subtext of infighting between the party leaders is that many of the old guard are not comfortable with Rahul Gandhi as the head of the party.

Sanjay Nirupam

Amidst report of friction between the old guard of Congress and the new turks, because of the party’s slump to a historic low in the last election, senior leader Sanjay Nirupam has now spoken out on the issue. Nirupam said that in many state units, the president of the unit was not getting a free hand to run the party owing to obstruction from the old guard. According to the Mumbai Congress chief, it is the young turks that have to finally drive forward the party and hence the old leadership shouldn’t be an impediment to their growth. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab, Congress has promoted relatively young leadership to the top echelons which has led to much heartburn among its older leaders. But, according to Nirupam, this is only natural and the likes of Ajay Maken, Sachin Pilot and Pratap Bajwa deserve their time in the sun for their hardwork over the years. Nirupam was quoted as saying, “The tussle is a matter of concern among the Congress rank and file nationally. It has to end”. The larger subtext of infighting between the party leaders is that many of the old guard are not comfortable with Rahul Gandhi as the head of the party. Hence many of the younger ones, considered proteges of Congress VP, are facing stern opposition. There has been a lot of speculation about when Rahul Gandhi will formally take over the mantle of the party, but many believe that the simmering dissent has delayed his coronation. Nirupam though believes that it is high time that Congress got its act together to fight against BJP.

With PM Modi in US, Gujarat placates Patels with Rs 1,000 cr package for ‘weaker sections’

By Swati Bhan

In a bid to puncture the agitation led by Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) fighting for reservations for Patels, the Gujarat government on Thursday declared an economic package of Rs 1,000 crore for all economically backward classes.

The Anandiben Patel-led Gujarat government had already made it clear that her government would not give into the demand of the Patidar community by giving them reservations. By announcing this package, the BJP has also ensured that voices of resentment from other backward castes would also be negated. Speaking to reporters, government spokesman and senior cabinet minister Nitin Patel said,”Any family from any caste with an annual income of 4.5 lakh per annum can apply for this scholarship.”

Patel also added that the decision of announcing this package was taken after consulting representatives of all castes. The members of PAAS and Sardar Patel Group, however, stayed away from these discussions.

Hardik Patel arrives at the Gujarat HC on Thursday. PTIHardik Patel arrives at the Gujarat HC on Thursday. PTI

Hardik Patel arrives at the Gujarat HC on Thursday. PTI

The Gujarat government’s decision comes at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a crucial visit to New York. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in New York, a section of the Patel community called off a planned protest, saying they would welcome him.

The government and BJP must have heaved a sigh of relief because even a small protest would have been amplified by the media taking the spotlight away from a high-stakes visit.

“We never spoke of protests, always spoke of a welcome rally,” Alpesh Patel, spokesperson of the group that had reportedly planned a show of support for Hardik Patel, who is leading a campaign in Gujarat for reservation for the powerful Patel community, told NDTV.

Extending support to the PM, who will attend the United Nations General Assembly session and will also meet President Barack Obama during his five-day trip, Patidar Samaj of Gujarat on Saturday issued a press release in the name of Baldev Thakor from North Carolina.

“The community of the US has unanimously opposed the proposed rally against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the UN on 25th September. As members of the overseas Patidar community, we condemn it (the proposed rally). This is an exercise in political mud-slinging and we do not want to be a part of it. The group believes that the agitations in India and now in the US are politically motivated and these protests do not represent the voice of the entire Patidars, Thakor was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

While Patels contribute 14 percent of the population, as per the last caste census OBCs count up to 40 percent of the total population. The Opposition Congress meanwhile has preferred to stay away from any debate in this whole agitation, fearing that their core vote bank like the Thakores too would distance themselves from the party if they take a stand in favour of the Patel reservation.

Gujarat’s move to placate the forward castes comes days after the Rajasthan government passed an act to provide 14% reservations for economically weaker sections in education and government jobs across all castes not previously covered under quotas.

This thus is the second BJP government to move in the direction of addressing the rising anger of forward castes against reservations. A direction that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had suggested when he said the effectiveness of reservations needed to be reviewed.

That kicked up a lot of political dust, especially in poll-bound Bihar, though it is too early to surmise that the moves by Rajasthan and Gujarat are a piece of the RSS line of thinking or just political expediency.

dna Must Reads at 11 pm: Modi in Ireland, Govind Pansare case, Ishant Sharma, Volkswagen

Here are some of the must read stories on dna at 11 pm.

dna Must Reads at 11 pm

dna webdesk
Here are some of the must read stories on dna at 11 pm.1) Modi addresses Indian diaspora in Ireland: Speaking in Hindi, he apologised for spending such little time with them. He said to a cheering crowd: “I want to apologise first of all, I should have given more time to you and it would have been better if I had a little more time in my hand. But this is an auspicious visit.”2) Govind Pansare’s daughter slams Goa government: The daughter of rationalist Govind Pansare joined the growing chorus for a ban on right wing group Sanatan Sanstha suspected to be behind his murder and said she is satisfied with Maharashtra police probe into the killing.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>3) Volkswagen CEO resigns: Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned on Wednesday amid controversies when the company has found itself in a huge mess over emissions scandal.4) Ishant Sharma goofs up: Not responding to phone calls and text messages of chief selector Vinay Lamba has cost Ishant Sharma a place in the 15-man Delhi squad for its Ranji Trophy opener against Rajasthan starting October 1.5) Father of Saudi teen on death row asks King for clemency: The sentence against Ali al-Nimr, only 17 when he was arrested in February 2012, has drawn international condemnation over his young age at the time and allegations that he was tortured into making a confession.​

Three Pakistan boys held in Jaisalmer, to be sent back home

. The children told us that they had a fear that the herd owner would beat them therefore they made all efforts just to search the cattle

Representational Image

File Photo
Three Pakistani boys, who were held by BSF near the border here in Rajasthan after they crossed into the Indian territory, will be sent back to their country by tomorrow, an official said on Wednesday. “Pakistan rangers have been informed about the matter and they (boys) would be sent back today or tomorrow depending upon the meeting with them,” BSF IG BR Meghwal said.The boys identified themselves as Salim, Sajan and Saaval and said they trespassed the border while while searching for their missing cattle, he said. The juveniles, aged between 12 and 14 years, were caught by villagers near Kishangarh area of the district yesterday and were handed over to the Border Security Force which has decided to hand over the boys to Pakistani rangers. “They children entered into Indian territory from under fencing by digging land. During the interrogation, they said they were searching for missing cattle. The children told us that they had a fear that the herd owner would beat them therefore they made all efforts just to search the cattle,” the official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They slept near the border area after trespassing the border and were roaming in the Kishagarh area when they were nabbed. “Nothing objectionable object found from their possession. They were interrogated jointly by intelligence agencies after which it was decided to send them back to their country,” he saidAny intruder caught in the area is handed over to the local police for further interrogation but the children are with the BSF as they would be sent back.

Rajasthan assembly brings in quotas for Gujjars, brings total reservation to 68%

Jaipur: The Rajasthan assembly on Tuesday passed two bills, providing reservation in educational institutions and government jobs to economically backward classes and special backward classes including Gujjars.

Gujjars have been agitating for reservation since 2007.

The Rajasthan Economically Backward Classes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions in the State and of Appointments and Posts in Services under the State) Bill, 2015, passed by voice vote in the state assembly, specifically defines “Economically Backward Classes” as people not included in any other category of reservation.

An agitation seeking reservations for Gujjars. Image courtesy: AFPAn agitation seeking reservations for Gujjars. Image courtesy: AFP

An agitation seeking reservations for Gujjars. Image courtesy: AFP

Presenting the bill in the assembly, Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said: “The bill provides for the reservation of seats in educational institutions in the state and of appointments and posts in the services under the state in favour of the economically backward classes to the extent of 14 percent.”

Kataria said that there was a long standing demand from the poorest classes of the unreserved categories, who claimed that due to their economic weakness they were unable to compete with the other affluent classes, due to which they were becoming socially and educationally backward.

Conceding a long standing demand of Gujjars, the Rajasthan state assembly also passed by voice vote the Rajasthan Special Backward Classes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions in the State and of Appointments and Posts in Services under the State) Bill, 2015.

Special backward classes include castes such as Gujjars, Banjara, and Gadiya Lohar, among others.

The reservation in respect of the annual permitted strength for admission into educational institutions and courses in the state and for appointments and posts in the services under the state for special backward classes shall be five percent.

The two bills — reservation to economically backward classes and special backward classes — bring the total reservation in the state to 68 percent.

Kataria said: “It will be our endeavour to include both these bills in the ninth schedule of the Constitution.”

IANS

Rajasthan assembly passes bills for Gujjar, EWS reservation

Vasundhara Raje-led previous BJP government had in 2008 passed a bill providing 5 per cent reservation to SBC and 14 per cent to EBC but it was stayed by the high court. This time the government decided to bring in separate bills for both the categories.

The Rajasthan Assembly on Tuesday passed separate bills providing five % reservation to Gujjars and other communities under Special Backward Classes (SBC) and for 14 % quota to Economically Backward Classes (EBC) of unreserved categories.The House also passed resolutions requesting the state government to make efforts to get both the bills Rajasthan Special Backward Classes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutes in the State and of Appointments and Posts in Services under the State) Bill 2015 and Rajasthan Economically Backward Classes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutes in the State and of Appointments and Posts in Services under the State) Bill 2015 – included in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five communities namely Banjara/Baldiya/Labana, Gadiya Lohar/Gadoliya, Gujar/Gurjar, Raika/Rebari/Debasi and Gadariya/Gadri/Gayari have been included in the bill for 5 % quota under SBC.Both the bills will exceed the permissible legal limit of reservation in the state as the reservation under SC, ST and OBC categories will remain unchanged.Vasundhara Raje-led previous BJP government had in 2008 passed a bill providing 5 % reservation to SBC and 14 % to EBC but it was stayed by the high court. This time the government decided to bring in separate bills for both the categories.”The state government will also make full efforts to get the bills included in ninth schedule of the Constitution,” Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said in the House.He said that in the opinion of the state government, the bills were necessary for “upliftment and advancement” of backward communities and financially weaker sections of unreserved categories.He said certain backward classes need special treatment so that they can improve their condition and therefore, the state government decided to provide them five % quota under SBC.A large percentage of the state’s population that suffered due to social and educational backwardness for many years has started enjoying the fruits of the reservation policy and has been able to improve its standard, whereas poorest classes of unreserved categories are unable to compete with other affluent classes, he said.

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