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Don’t attend Modern school event, CM Devendra Fadnavis urged

The parents submitted the letter to the CM on December 26. It has also been sent to the school’s alumnus, Cabinet Minister Chandrakant Patil. The school said the parents have a vested interest. ”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByDNA Correpondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Thursday 28 December 2017 1:30 ISTMust readOn Day 2, Mumbai commuters warm up to AC localMumbai Metro authorities don’t see the need to increase coaches despite commuter rise<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Parents of students of Indian Education Society’s Modern English School in Dadar have written to CM Devendra Fadnavis, requesting him not to accept the school’s invitation to inaugurate a Shivaji statue in Hindu Colony for its centennial celebrations on Friday, because complaints against the management over fee hike are pending before the Bombay High Court.<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>The parents submitted the letter to the CM on December 26. It has also been sent to the school’s alumnus, Cabinet Minister Chandrakant Patil. The school said the parents have a vested interest.

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AAP sharpens attack after LG rejects home delivery scheme

"The BJP is getting sealing (drive) across Delhi. The BJP has got the doorstep delivery proposal of government's services rejected. The BJP has tried to stop the file of mohalla clinics through the LG.
"Why does the BJP want to destroy Delhi?" he tweeted. Labour Minister and AAP's Delhi unit convenor Gopal Rai said the LG's decision to return the proposal "defied logic". "The BJP is resorting to dirty politics and taking help of the Lt Governor's office," he claimed. Rai alleged that the Delhi BJP leaders cared little for the city and their motto was to keep obstructing the works being done by the Arvind Kejriwal government. The Delhi Cabinet had approved the proposal for doorstep delivery of essential public services last month and sent it for approval to the LG. ”
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Wednesday 27 December 2017 23:00 ISTMust readSurgical Strike 2.0: Indian Army planted IEDs to surprise Pak; toll could be higher Indian Army crosses LOC to retaliate, kills three Pak soldiers <!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today alleged that the BJP was using the office of the Lieutenant Governor to obstruct in the works of the Delhi government, a day after Anil Baijal shot down its ambitious proposal to “home deliver” basic public services.LG Baijal had yesterday sent back to the Delhi government a proposal for doorstep delivery of basic public services such as driving licences, caste certificates and water connections for reconsideration.Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who had termed the LG’s move as a “huge setback” to AAP government’s efforts towards providing a graft-free governance, today took to Twitter to lambaste the BJP, wondering why the saffron party wanted to “destroy” Delhi.”The BJP is getting sealing (drive) across Delhi. The BJP has got the doorstep delivery proposal of government’s services rejected. The BJP has tried to stop the file of mohalla clinics through the LG.”Why does the BJP want to destroy Delhi?” he tweeted. Labour Minister and AAP’s Delhi unit convenor Gopal Rai said the LG’s decision to return the proposal “defied logic”. “The BJP is resorting to dirty politics and taking help of the Lt Governor’s office,” he claimed. Rai alleged that the Delhi BJP leaders cared little for the city and their motto was to keep obstructing the works being done by the Arvind Kejriwal government. The Delhi Cabinet had approved the proposal for doorstep delivery of essential public services last month and sent it for approval to the LG.

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New Vijay Rupani cabinet: Mix of youth and experience

Vijay RupaniChief MinisterThe 61-year-old who began his second stint as Chief Minister on Tuesday, has had a meteoric rise in Gujarat’s politics. A man of the organisation throughout his political journey, he was nominated as CM after the abrupt resignation of Anandiben Patel in August 2016. There were question marks on his future, especially after BJP won just 99 seats, its lowest tally in the past seven elections, but the party has chosen to maintain a status quo.CABINET MINISTERSNitin PatelA six-term MLA, 61-year-old Patel is the senior-most in the ministry. He was widely seen as the chief ministerial nominee after Anandiben’s resignation, but BJP picked Rupani and appointed Patel as deputy CM.RC FalduFaldu, a former president of Gujarat BJP, was elected to the Assembly for the fourth time in 2017. Faldu was sidelined in the party from some time, but the influential, Patidar leader has made a strong comeback.Bhupendrasinh ChudasamaChudasama is among the senior-most ministers in the Vijay Rupani cabinet having served as one way back in 1990. The soft-speaking Kshatriya leader is in his fifth term in the Assembly.Kaushik PatelPatel had lost in 2007 and had not contested in 2012, which means he is back after 10 years. This is the 63-year-old’s fourth term as MLA. He had held revenue, energy, civil supplies, and other important ministries.Saurabh PatelPatel, who is in his fifth term as MLA, served as minister from 2002 to 2016, handling finance, energy, civil aviation, planning, tourism. He was one of the visible faces of the government during these years.Ganpat VasavaA four-term MLA, he has emerged as the tribal face of the BJP in south Gujarat. Back in 2011, Vasava was appointed as Speaker of the state Assembly, the first from the tribal community to occupy the chair. He was later appointed as a cabinet minister.Jayesh RadadiyaSon of influential Patidar leader Vitthal Radadiya, Jayesh has been elected to the Assembly for the second time in 2017. The 36-year-old is the youngest minister in the 20-member Vijay Rupani cabinet. He had served as minister of state.Dilipsinh ThakorThis is the 58-year-old’s fifth term in the Assembly. A prominent OBC face in north Gujarat, Thakor had served as minister in the first Modi government in 2001, and had remained till 2007. He was brought back in the cabinet by Anandiben Patel.Ishwar ParmarThe 46-year-old, who was elected to the Assembly for just the second time, is a surprise pick as cabinet minister. The loss of its prominent Dalit faces such as Ramanlal Vora and Atmaram Parmar left BJP with little choice but to promote Parmar.MINISTERS OF STATEPradipsinh JadejaJadeja was elected to the assembly from Vatva seat in the just concluded elections for his fourth term as MLA. He was serving as minister of state for home in the previous government, in addition to law, parliamentary affairs.Parbat PatelThe 5-term MLA from north Gujarat was elected to the assembly first time in 1985. The 69-year-old is a prominent Chaudhary leader, a community that is quite dominant in north Gujarat. He has served as minister of state for finance, water supply, health, transport.Parsottam SolankiThe powerful Koli leader has served in all governments since 1998, barring one. In spite of his poor health, and though he barely attends office, the 56-year-old has once again been included in the ministry, because of the influence he has in his community.Bachu KhabadThis is the 62-year-old’s third term as MLA. He first found a place in the ministry when Anandiben Patel became the chief minister in May 2014. He was made minister of state for fisheries, and forests & environment. He was retained in the ministry by Vijay Rupani.Jaydrathsinh ParmarHaving started as a sarpanch in the late 1980s, Parmar first became a minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet in 2011. The four-term MLA was included in the cabinet again in 2013 and has been its part since. The 53-year-old is a qualified lawyer by profession.Ishwarsinh PatelThis is Patel’s fourth term as an MLA. He had first found a place in the ministry in 2011 when the cabinet was expanded. He was dropped from the ministry in 2012, but was inducted again when Rupani took over as CM.Vasan AhirAhir, who has been elected as MLA five times, is among the senior legislators in the cabinet. The 59-year-old had first served as minister of state since 2008 in the second Modi government.Vibhavari DaveThe three-term MLA is the only woman in the Cabinet. She had served as deputy mayor and mayor of Bhavnagar in the mid and late 1990s, and was first elected to the Assembly in 2007.Raman PatkarThis is the first time Patkar has found a place in the ministry. He is a five-term MLA, and was elected from the tribal reserved Umargam seat in Valsad in the latest polls.Kishor KananiThis is the maiden entry of Kanani, a two-term MLA, in the ministry. He had won from Varachha Road seat in Surat. In fact, he was the only Patidar MLA from Surat city who was repeated by BJP.

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Muslim Women Bill that criminilises triple talaq to be introduced in Parliament

A bill seeking to criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq among Muslims is set to be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill is listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on December 28, according to the list of business in the Lower House.The bill, prepared by an inter-ministerial group headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, makes instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp — “illegal and void” and provides for a jail term of three years for the husband.It was cleared by the Union Cabinet earlier this month.The bill was listed for introduction last week, but Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar later told reporters that it would be introduced this week.As per the provisions of the bill, the husband could also be fined and the quantum of fine would be decided by the magistrate hearing the case.The bill is being introduced as the practice still continued despite the Supreme Court striking down ‘talaq-e- biddat’.The proposed law would only be applicable to instant triple talaq and it would give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself and minor children.The woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.

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Vijay Rupani, others to be sworn in today

Gujarat Chief Minister-elect Vijay Rupani, deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, and about 18 to 20 ministers are expected to take the oath of office and secrecy in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah, Union Ministers, and Chief Ministers of all 18 BJP-ruled states, in Gandhinagar on Tuesday.Rupani and Patel will take oath as CM and deputy CM respectively at the swearing-in ceremony to be held at 11:00 am in Sachivalaya Campus in Gandhinagar. Officials said that a huge 2,500 square metres dome — which can accommodate 10,000 people — has been booked and prepared for the ceremony.”Three stages have been erected in the dome. The centre-stage is for CM, deputy CM, and others who will be taking oath. One stage is for VVIP guests such as the PM, Amit Shah, visiting Chief Ministers, Union Ministers, and the other stage is for other politicians, sadhus, religious leaders, and other invitees,” the official said.Highly placed sources in the government said that about 18 to 20 ministers, including 7 or 8 holding Cabinet rank, and remaining state rank ministers, will take oath along with CM Rupani and deputy CM Patel.Security has been tightened at Ahmedabad Airport, which will see a lot of VVIP movement, as well as in Gandhinagar. Entry of private vehicles has been restricted in the Sachivalaya due to the swearing-in ceremony.Officials said that PM Modi is slated to have lunch with the new council of ministers and visiting dignitaries at Mahatma Mandir in the afternoon before leaving for Delhi.A Cabinet meeting is also slated in the afternoon, where newly-inducted ministers will be allocated portfolios.This is the sixth consecutive time that BJP is forming government in Gujarat, but this time with the lowest seat tally. The party won 99 seats in the just concluded assembly elections, just seven more than the half-way mark of 92. On the other hand, Congress increased its tally to 77 seats, its best performance since 1990.

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Jammu and Kashmir: A police station of the women, by the women, for the women

Gender-sensitive policing is the new mantra of the Mehbooba Mufti government to combat the rising crimes against women in the restive Jammu and Kashmir.Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet has accorded sanction for the creation of four new Women Police Stations with the strength of 208 cops in the state. Two each police stations will be established in Kashmir valley and Jammu division.Militancy prone district of Pulwama and border district of Kupwara will house the new women police stations in the valley while Kathua and Doda districts of Jammu have been selected in the Jammu division. Cabinet has also accorded sanction, to the creation of 208 posts, which includes four Inspectors, four Sub Inspectors, eight Assistant Sub Inspectors, 24 Head Constables, 136 Constables and 32 posts of Followers. Each police station will have the strength of 52 personnel.“The Home Department will separately notify the jurisdiction of these four Women Police Stations in consultation with the Police Headquarters”, said an official spokesman.Presently, there are six Women Police Stations– one each in districts of Jammu, Rajouri, Udhampur, Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla –functioning in the state.Also readJammu and Kashmir | Education gets mega boost, 16 new colleges, 400 upgraded govt schools to come up next yearJammu and Kashmir has one of the lowest numbers of women cops in the police force. Figures reveal only 3.12 percent of force comprising 2252 women personnel are working in the Jammu and Kashmir police department.Police figures reveal that 2,920 cases of crime against women were reported in 2016. These include 805 cases of kidnapping, 275 cases of rape, 157 cases of eve-teasing and 1,233 cases of molestation in 2016.Also readJammu and Kashmir: Cases against 5,000 stone pelters to be withdrawnOfficial figures reveal that the Jammu and Kashmir State Commission of Women (SCW) has received 3000 complaints of domestic violence and the harassment at the work place in the last three to four years in the restive state.Waking up to the rising incidence of violence against women, SCW has started one-stop-crisis-center to help the women in distress at their doorsteps.SCW has opened an exclusive phone line where women in distress can call or text or even WhatsApp to lodge a complaint. Officials of the SCW can immediately reach out to the women and help her to redress their grievances

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Bill on triple talaq likely to be tabled in Lok Sabha today

A bill which seeks to criminalise instant triple talaq is likely to be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday. The bill has been listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha amid protest by Congress against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘conspiracy with Pakistan’ remarks. Congress protested in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, over PM Modi’s insinuations against Manmohan Singh of colluding with Pakistan, and staged a walkout after they were not given permission to speak.Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had, on December 15, said that the Cabinet approved a proposal to introduce the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, to make instant triple talaq void and illegal.’Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill’, prepared by an inter-ministerial group makes giving instant triple talaq “illegal and void”. It also provides for a jail term of three years for the husband in such cases, according to reports. It also makes a provision for alimony for the woman on whom instant triple talaq has been pronounced and grants her the custody of her children, say reports.Also readMuslim bodies not consulted on triple talaq bill: Govt tells Parliament The Supreme Court, in August, by a majority of 3:2, had ruled that the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims is “void”, “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.Once the law is made to make triple talaq an offence, the victims will have the option of approaching the police and the legal system for the redressal of their grievances and for action to be taken against the husband.Also readNCW chief welcomes cabinet’s approval of triple talaq bill(With inputs from ANI)

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Government allows micro-breweries in city

Beer lovers in Delhi have a reason to cheer! The Delhi government has allowed micro-breweries for the first time in the Capital. The Delhi Cabinet has approved a proposal of the excise department to allow micro-brew pubs.”The Delhi Cabinet recently approved a new excise policy for 2017-18, under which micro-breweries will be allowed in the national Capital,” said a senior Delhi government official.Micro-breweries produce a small amount of lager and are usually set up in pubs that cater to niche customers. Haryana was one of the first states to have allowed micro-brew pubs.At present, people wanting to taste freshly-brewed beer have to travel to Gurgaon and Faridabad in Haryana where such breweries exist in large numbers. Hotels, malls and other entities will soon be able to offer freshly-brewed beer to their customers.The Excise Department notified the policy in June last year, but the “brewery and potable spirits” figure on the list of”prohibited/negative list of industries” in the Master Plan of Delhi-2021.The official also said that three applications are currently pending with the excise department for opening micro-breweries in Delhi.”As the Cabinet has approved the department’s proposal, a decision on these applications will be taken at the earliest,” the official added.This news has surely made Delhiites happy just before Christmas and New Year.”This is a great decision by the government. Finally, we can have a brewery in Delhi. So far, we had to travel all the way to Gurugram. Let’s hope this plan is implemented soon,” said Ankit Wadhwa, a resident of Vasant Kunj.Micro-breweries originated in Germany and have gained popularity globally in the past decades including in the US, Japan, Canada, Belgium and the UK, where the term was first coined in the 1970s.

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NCW chief welcomes cabinet’s approval of triple talaq bill

National Commission of Women’s (NCW) acting president Rekha Sharma on Saturday welcomed the Cabinet’s approval of a Bill to make instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat a criminal offence.“We fought because we were getting complaints regarding this. We welcome this move by the Cabinet. I also would like to add that any welfare scheme or policy should not be based on religion. The law should be common for everyone. This move is for the betterment of our society. I want triple talaq to be abolished all together,” she told ANI.The bill termed as the ‘Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017’ seeks to criminalise the practice of instant divorce in Islam.Cleared earlier yesterday, it will now be introduced in the winter session of Parliament.The Supreme Court, in August, had passed the order terming the practice of instant triple talaq (divorce) as “unconstitutional.”Despite the order, there have been sporadic incidents of husbands calling off their marriages through phones or messages or by uttering the word ‘talaq’ thrice.Now since the law has been framed to make triple talaq an offence, the victims will have the option of approaching the police and legal system for the redressal of their grievances and for the action to be taken against the husband.

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Cabinet approves landmark bill to set up National Medical Commission to replace Medical Council of India

On Friday, the Cabinet approved a landmark bill – the National Medical Commission, Bill 2017 – which will replace the Medical Council 1956 Act. Earlier, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said cabinet approved a bill to set up the National Medical Commission. The bill will seek to replace the Medical Council of India and will seek reforms in the field of medical education, move towards outcome-based regulation of medical education, create accountable and transparent procedures for maintaining standards in medical education and create a forward-looking approach towards ensuring sufficient health workforce in India.Sources told DNA that provisions in the ball will end heavy regulatory control over medical education institutions and help facilitate a shift towards outcome-based monitoring. It’s also expected to introduce a national degree examination, the first time such a provision with be added in higher education, similar to NEET and common counselling for undergrads.The bill also seeks to regulate up undergrad and postgrad seats which will ensure that at least 40% seats are reserved for meritorious students irrespective of their financial status.The draft bill provides for the constitution of four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate education, assessment and accreditation of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the National Medical Commission, a senior government functionary said.According to the draft bill, the commission will have government nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the Cabinet Secretary.There will five elected and 12 ex-officio members in the commission.The draft bill also proposes a common entrance exam and licentiate exam which all medical graduates will have to clear to get practicing licences, the official said.As per the provisions of the draft bill, no permission would be needed to add new seats or to start postgraduate courses.The deterrence for non-compliance with maintenance of standards is in terms of monetary penalty.The draft bill is aimed at bringing reforms in the medical education sector which has been under scrutiny for corruption and unethical practices, the official said. With inputs from PTI

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Ahead of election year, cabinet takes bold steps

A cabinet meeting headed by chief minister Vasundhara Raje has decided to amend the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (prohibition of slaughter and regulation of temporary migration or export) act 1995 to allow export of bull calves of the age of 2 years or above for breeding and purposes related to agriculture to the states where slaughtering is banned. The highest panel also changed the name of pensions scheme meant for prisoners arrested under Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and Defence of India Rules (DIR) into Rajasthan Loktantra Senani Samman Nidhi. Parliamentary affairs minister Rajendra Rathore, briefing the media of decisions taken in the meeting said that amendment bill in the Bovine Act 2017 will be forwarded to the President of India for consent before tabling in the assembly. “Under the amendment sections, the bull calves of 2 years or above age will be allowed to be exported into the states which have act for prohibiting cow slaughtering. The buyer will have to produce an affidavit that he will take care of the calves and later will use them for the purpose of agriculture or breeding. The amendment is for allowing only male calf and initially, Nagauri bull calves, who are known for their good growth and built will be covered under it,” Rathore told.The Cabinet gave a nod to amendments to cover left out prisoners, who were detained during the emergency, for the current pension scheme. “Currently, a provision in the scheme makes prisoners being Rajasthan native to get the pension when detained in the prisons of the state. Now, any Rajasthan prisoner detained anywhere in the country under MISA, DRI will get same medical allowances and pension. Also, those prisoners who have been left out from the pension will be covered fresh when they will produce an affidavit with a testimony of two prisoners and the affidavit needs to be attested by the MLA or MP concerned of the area. Also, minor prisoners can apply for the pension,” said Rathore adding that so far, only adult persons detained under MISA and DIR and kept in any of Rajasthan jails during the emergency were entitled to get the pension of Rs 12,000 and a monthly allowance of Rs 1200. There are 1,050 registered prisoners listed in Rajasthan.It was also decided to free the land of five villages from acquisition for Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) because the villages are close to the national highway and the compensation amount was high as compared to the compensation decided for other five villages. In place of those five villages, the land will be acquired from other villages and a 60-meter road will be constructed to link that land to the highway, the minister informed.

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Centre to decide if Ram Kishen Grewal’s family will get Rs 1 cr relief: Delhi High Court

The Centre will now decide whether ex-serviceman, late Ram Kishen Grewal who had committed suicide during the One Rank One Pension (OROP) stir, would get Rs 1 crore from the Delhi government, said the Delhi High court on Tuesday.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar disposed the plea filed by advocate Avadh Kaushik who had challenged the Delhi government ‘s decision to grant compensation to Grewal’s family stating that it cannot pass any order since the matter is now pending with the Centre.The bench refrained from passing any order after the Delhi government had informed in a counter-affidavit that the decision of the Delhi cabinet of granting Rs 1 crore compensation to the family of ex-serviceman Late Ram Kishen Grewal was rejected by the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) of Delhi four times.The L-G had stated that the specific case did not fall within the parameters of the scheme concerned. Delhi government had announced a compensation of Rs 1 crore to Grewal declaring him a ‘martyr’. However, the court while disposing of the case also expressed its displeasure and asked that how a person who has committed suicide be termed as a martyr. “You are laying a wrong precedent because then people will come to Delhi, commit suicide in the hope that their family gets money,” the court told the counsel appearing for Delhi government.The court held that the matter has been rejected by the LG and it is now pending with the Centre. So it is still at a premature stage. Following this, on March 3, 2017, CM Arvind Kejriwal met the L-G and requested that the Cabinet decision be implemented. Baijal, however, refused to do so, stating that the specific case did not fall within the parameters of the scheme, i.e death occurring in the discharge of official duty.

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UP CM Yogi Adityanath to trim 94 government depts to 37

Not satisfied with the performance of the state bureaucracy, the Yogi government is mulling over drastic administrative reforms in Uttar Pradesh by allowing merger of 94 government departments into 37 to bring in efficiency, coordination and effective implementation of government schemes in the state.A proposal, drafted by Additional Chief Secretary (Planning) Sanjiv Sharan, is ready and will be submitted to the government shortly for perusal and Cabinet approval. “The merger will gear up the administrative machinery and make it more accountable for effective delivery,” Sharan told mediapersons.During their visit to the state last month, officials of the Niti Aayog had also suggested downsizing of the state machinery by merging different government departments for effective functioning and greater convergence. The draft proposes to merge important government departments like health, agriculture, cooperative, administration, cane development, Public Works Department, estate and transport to streamline their functioning and better coordination.“At present, there are three to four departments for one sector which hampers the administrative functioning due to lack of coordination between them. If they are brought under one department, it will certainly help implement government schemes more effectively,” said a senior officer involved in the drafting the proposals.A few senior bureaucrats are, however, against the government’s move fearing it may affect the work allocation to the ministers and IAS officers. They suggest that the government should not drastically bring down their numbers but allow merger of only those departments which have less or no work. Small’s beautifulUP has 94 government departments, highest among all states in India. The draft proposes to merge these 94 departments to 37.Niti Aayog had also suggested downsizing of the state machinery by merging different government departments.

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Uma Bharti to fast unto death if Ganga cleaning plans don’t start by Oct 2018

Union minister Uma Bharti on Tuesday said she would launch ‘mahaupvaas se mahaprayan’ (fast unto death) if an implementation of plans related to Ganga cleaning did not start by October next year.The drinking water and sanitation minister made the remarks in the presence of Union Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari at an event here.Bharti had held the portfolio of water resources before Gadkari took charge of the ministry following a reshuffle of the Union Cabinet in September.”I want to see each Ganga-related plan being implemented by October, 2018. I am not saying that I want to see (complete execution) of the plans, but am keen on seeing the beginning or mid-way of (the execution),” she said at the event.”If it did not happen, I will go for ‘mahaupvaas’ till ‘mahaprayan’ at Triveni Sangam in Prayag (in Uttar Pradesh),” she said.Bharti also praised Gadkari, stating that the strings of the ministry implementing Ganga cleaning works were in the hands of the “right person”.Addressing the attendees at the event, largely comprising officials and scientists, the minister said the BJP-led NDA government had the mandate to rule the country till February 2019 and therefore, the works had to be completed by October, 2018.”Who has seen time (future)? Hence, we have to implement the Ganga-related plans by October, 2018,” she said.
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Rs 9,046-crore nutrition mission gets go-ahead

The Cabinet on Friday approved the National Nutrition Mission (NNM), giving nod to a funding of over Rs 9,046 crore, till 2020, to combat malnutrition in the country.According to the government, the policy aims at bringing down the incidence of undernutrition and low birth weight by 2 per cent every year, and reduce stunting from 38.4 per cent, as per the National Family Health Survey, to 25 per cent by 2022. Currently, 43 per cent of children under five years of age in India are underweight, while 48 per cent suffer from stunting due to undernutrition. The policy will affect over 10 crore beneficiaries, the government stated.The policy is a part of the government’s efforts to end malnutrition by 2022. Last week, in a high-level meeting, PM Narendra Modi called for a comprehensive movement to end malnutrition and said that with such high incidence of malnutrition, India’s image of growth and development was tarnished.The mission will first be rolled out in 315 districts this year, and will be extended to 235 more districts in 2018-19. The remaining districts will be covered in 2019-20. The Rs 9,046 crore budget will be funded in a 50:50 ratio, by the Centre and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).The policy will be implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Minsitry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, and government think-tank NITI Aayog. A technical committee, formed by the NITI Aayog and comprising dieticians, doctors, and experts will decide on the delivery system, WCD minister Maneka Gandhi said.Finance minister Arun Jaitley said infection and malnutrition were deeply connected. “Since the incidence of stunting in India is high, we need inter-ministerial cooperation. The first 1,000 days of a child’s life, including the nine months of pregnancy, are crucial,” Jaitley said.As part of the policy, there will be real-time monitoring of take-home rations and the updates of health parameters of beneficiaries through smartphones given to anganwadi workers. The Android smartphones will be given to over 10 lakh anganwadi workers. They will have an operating system version of 4.4 or above, which will support 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi connectivity, with a screen size of 5 inch, and a RAM of 1GB.Ministry officials said the mission beneficiaries will need Aadhaar cards, and those without Aadhaar cards will be assisted by anganwadi workers, who will get Rs 500 as incentive. WCD officials said they were trying to ensure over 85 per cent enrollment by December 31, including that of six-month children. When pointed out that Aadhar guidelines prohibit children below five years of age, officials said their cards will be linked to their mothers’.Policy goalsAims at bringing down undernutrition and low birth weight by 2% per yearReduce stunting from 38.4% to 25% by the year 2022
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ED conducts raids at six places in Aircel-Maxis case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday conducted raids at six places in Chennai and Kolkata in connection with its money laundering investigation into the Aircel-Maxis case.Two out of the four places raided in the city belongs to Dr Sadayavel Kailasam, brother of former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s wife Nalini, the sources said, adding others being searched in the city were identified as S Sambamoorthy and Ramji Natarajan. The ED officials also searching two places in Kolkata connected to Manoj Mohanka.The ED sources said that the raid was connected to the case pertaining to the FIPB approval granted in 2006 by Chidambaram during his tenure as Finance Minister in the Congress led UPA government.It had alleged that FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis FDI case was granted in March 2006 by then Finance Minister even though he was competent to grant approval for the project up to Rs 600 crore and beyond it should be granted by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. However, in the case of the approval for the $800 million (over RS 3,500 crore) Aircel-Maxis FDI, it was not obtained from the CCEA, it alleged.Chidambaram has on several occasions maintained that his approval was in normal course.
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Government approves launch of National Nutrition Mission, plans to spend Rs 9,000 cr in 3 years

The Union Cabinet has approved the launch of the National Nutrition Mission (NNM) to tackle the problems of under-nutrition, low birthweight and stunting, with a three year budget of Rs.9046.17 crore.The mission, commencing 2017-18, has a target to reduce under-nutrition and low birthweight by 2% each year.”The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday has approved setting up of National Nutrition Mission (NNM) with a three year budget of Rs.9046.17 crore commencing from 2017-18,” the government said in a statement today.This will be funded by Government Budgetary Support (50%) and 50% by International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) or other Multilateral Development Bank (MDB). Government budgetary support would be 60:40 between Centre and States/UTs, 90:10 for NER and Himalayan States and 100% for UTs without legislature. Total Government of India share over a period of three years would be Rs. 2849.54 crore, the statement said. Also readTwo ends of the spectrum: Every country’s nutrition problem is either obesity or malnourishment The programme will strive to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anemia and low birth weight babies besides creating synergy, ensure better monitoring, issue alerts for timely action, and encourage States/UTs to perform, guide and supervise the line Ministries and States/UTs to achieve the targeted goals, it said. The mission will strive to achieve reduction in stunting from 38.4% as per the National Family Health Survey-4 to 25% by 2022.Also readNow, pregnant women to get nutrition diet on monthly basisIt also aims to bring down anaemia among young children, women and adolescent girls by 3% per year. More than 10 crore people will benefit from the programme. All the States and districts will be covered in a phased manner – 315 districts in 2017-18, 235 districts in 2018-19 and remaining districts in 2019-20.At the heart of the mission is the use of information communication technology to monitor the implementation of the scheme as well as to check pilferage in distribution of supplementary nutrition at anganwadis under the Integrated Child Development Scheme, according to the statement.Anganwadi workers will also be offered incentives for using IT-based tools such as smart phones.Aadhaar card is a mandatory requirement to avail the benefits of the mission, according to Women and Child Development Secretary R K Shrivastava.The National Nutrition Mission (NNM), as an apex body, will monitor, supervise, fix targets and guide the nutrition related interventions across the Ministries.
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Great job Ivanka: Donald Trump praises his daughter for promoting women entrepreneurs at GES 2017

US President Donald Trump has applauded his daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump’s “great work” in promoting women entrepreneurs during her visit to India.Ivanka is currently in India leading a high-profile US delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad being co-hosted by the two countries.This is not the first time Ivanka is visiting India. But yes, this is her first visit to India as a senior presidential advisor.”Great work Ivanka,” Trump said in a late-night tweet as he retweeted State Department which said that Ivanka’s comments on US efforts to fuel entrepreneurship so that Americans can turn their dreams into incredible legacies.US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley also praised 36-year-old Ivanka.”Thrilled to see” Ivanka Trump “in India promoting female entrepreneurs. At home that means improving workforce development and cutting government red tape,” Haley said in a tweet yesterday.Haley is the highest ranking Indian-American in the Trump administration. She is also the first ever Indian American serving in the Cabinet of any presidential administration.”Globally it means creating an environment where women- across the world-have access to the capital & mentorship they need to succeed,” Haley said.In recent weeks, Haley said that she was planning to visit India this year but could not go because of her other pressing engagement, but hopes to travel soon.The State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert, also praised Ivanka for her accomplishments in Hyderabad.”We are certainly proud of what she’s been able to accomplish, and I can think of no better representative for the US Government to talk about women’s entrepreneurship than her,” she told reporters at a news conference.The GES is the preeminent annual entrepreneurship gathering that convenes emerging entrepreneurs, investors, and supporters from around the world, she said.”And we are excited about the focus that this year’s GES puts on the US-India bilateral relationship,” Nauert said.GES 2017 participants will empower innovators and entrepreneurs, particularly women, to utilise new skills and resources to achieve success through plenaries, workshops, and a pitch competition, she asserted.This is the eighth annual GES and the first time the GES has taken place in South Asia, she said, adding that it reflects the region’s strong entrepreneurial-ship achievements and future as well as the rapid growth of the US-India Strategic Partnership.
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Winter session of Parliament to be held from December 15 to January 5

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs has decided to hold the Winter Session of Parliament from December 15 to January 5.”This will be a 14-day session, 25th and 26th December will be Christmas holidays”, said parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar on Friday.”I request political parties to cooperate and make the winter session successful and fruitful. We expect that we will have attendance on all 14 days, including the New Year’s day,” Kumar said.The Committee met on Friday in the morning to finalise the schedule and agenda for the Winter Session. Earlier on Wednesday, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the schedule of the Winter Session and the Assembly Elections won’t overlap.The Opposition, especially the Congress had been attacking the government for delaying the Winter Session.The Congress party had alleged that in view of the Gujarat Assembly Elections, the Centre is trying to evade a discussion on issues the Opposition want to raise during Winter Session like scams of ministers, Rafale deal, GST and note ban.The BJP, however, rejected the Congress’s tirade as a “chorus of baseless allegations” and insisted that previous governments, including the UPA, had also scheduled sessions after state polls as politicians were busy campaigning.On Thursday, Sitaram Yechury, the Marxist leader, while speaking at an event also attacked the government for delaying the Winter Session of Parliament.Yechury accused the government of “playing with parliamentary democracy for the sake of victory in a state assembly election”.

When will Parliament’s Winter Session begin? Cabinet Committee to fix dates on Friday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid reports of the Winter Session of Parliament beginning from December 15, the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs is set to meet tomorrow.The Committee will meet at 10 AM on Friday to finalise the schedule and agenda of the upcoming Winter Session.This would put end to all speculations over the dates of the last Parliament session of the year.Earlier on Wednesday, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the schedule of the Winter Session and the Assembly Elections won’t overlap.“We are going to ensure that a regular Winter Session is held but we will make sure that the Parliament session and (Assembly) election dates don’t overlap,” Jaitley said while addressing media on the cabinet decisions.The Opposition, especially the Congress has been attacking the government for delaying the Winter Session. The party says in view of the Gujarat Assembly Elections, the Centre is trying to evade discussion on issues the Opposition want to raise during Winter Session like scams of ministers, Rafale deal, GST and note ban.On Thursday, Sitaram Yechury, the Marxist leader, while speaking at an event also attacked the government for delaying the Winter Session of Parliament.”The BJP does not want to hold the session as they know the opposition will raise issues related to the business activities of Jay Shah and Shaurya Doval and the Rafale deal for this can cost them in the Gujarat assembly polls,” he said.Yechury accused the government of “playing with parliamentary democracy for the sake of victory in a state assembly election”.(With PTI input)

Beti Bachao to cover all dists, gets Rs 1K cr

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Union Cabinet on Wednesday expanded the scope of the three-year-old Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme. From covering 161 districts, it will now cover all the 640 districts across the country. As part of the expansion, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a budget outlay of Rs 1,132.5 crore from 2017-18 to 2019-20.The CCEA also gave its approval for the expansion of a gamut of sub-schemes of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) under the umbrella scheme ‘Mission for Protection and Empowerment for Women’ for a period of 2017-18 to 2019-20. It approved a financial outlay of Rs 3,636.85 crore, of which Centre’s share is Rs 3,084.96 crore approximately.Apart from that, the Cabinet also approved a new scheme, Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendra (PMMSK), under which over 3 lakh student volunteers will be engaged in community engagements in over 115 districts. The volunteers will provide technical support to the state governments on issues related to women at the district, block, and national level.Under the new PMMSK scheme, advocacy and media campaign will be carried out in 640 districts and focused multi-sectoral action will be taken in selected 405 districts. “All low CSR districts shall be taken up in the first year itself under BBBP. To provide support to working women, 190 more Working Women Hostels will be set up to accommodate approximately 19,000 working women. Additional Swadhar Grehs have been approved to provide relief and rehabilitation of approximately 26,000 beneficiaries,” the government release stated.One Stop Centres (OSCs) will also be established in 150 additional districts in the next three years, and the Mahila Police Volunteers (MPVs) will be expanded to 65 districts covering all states and Union territories.A government release said that the expansion of the Beti Bachao scheme will correct the declining child sex ratio, adding that in the three years of the scheme it had produced results.It stated that as per health ministry data, of the 161 districts where BBBP is being implemented, “an improving trend in Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) is visible in 104 districts, 119 districts have reported progress in first trimester registration against the reported Anti Natal Care registrations and 146 districts have reported improvement in institutional deliveries,” the release stated.

Government approves wage policy framework for CPSE workmen

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government on Wednesday approved a policy framework for central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) to negotiate the next round of wage revision with their workmen.The move is likely to impact 9.35 lakh unionised workmen in central public sector enterprises.The decision to clear the ‘Wage Policy for the 8th Round of Wage negotiations for workmen in central public sector enterprises (CPSEs)’ was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.There are nearly 12.34 lakh employees of 320 CPSEs in the country, of whom some 2.99 lakh employees are board level and below-board level executives and non-unionised supervisors.The remaining 9.35 lakh belong to the unionised workmen category. Wage revision in respect of unionised workmen is decided by trade unions and managements of CPSEs in terms of guidelines issued by the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) for wage negotiations.”The wage revision shall be subject to the condition that there shall be no increase in labour cost per physical unit of output. In exceptional cases, where CPSEs are already working at optimum capacity, the administrative ministry/department may consult the Department of Public Enterprises considering industry norms,” an official statement said.According to the decision taken, the management of CPSEs would be “free” to negotiate wage revision for workmen where the periodicity of wage settlement for 5 years or 10 years “expired generally” on December 31, 2016, keeping in view the affordability and financial sustainability of such wage revision for the CPSEs concerned.”No budgetary support for any wage increase shall be provided by the government. The entire financial implication would be borne by the respective CPSEs from the internal sources.”In those CPSEs in which the government has approved restructuring or revival plan, the wage revision will be done as per the provisions of the approved restructuring or revival plan only,” the statement said.Besides, CPSEs must ensure that any increase in wages after negotiations does not result in increase in administered prices of their goods and services.”The management of the CPSEs concerned has to ensure that negotiated scales of pay do not exceed the existing scales of pay of executives/officers and non-unionised supervisors of respective CPSEs.”To avoid conflict of pay scales of executives/non- unionised supervisors with that of workmen, CPSEs may consider adoption of graded DA neutralisation and/or graded figment during the wage negotiations,” said the statement.The validity period of wage settlement will be for a minimum 5 years for those who opted for a 5-year periodicity and a maximum 10 years for those who have gone in for a 10- year periodicity of wage negotiation with effect from January 1, 2017.CPSEs will implement the negotiated wages after confirming with their administrative ministry or department that the wage settlement is in conformity with approved parameters.

Cabinet sets tur dal price at Rs 55 per kg

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The State Cabinet on Tuesday gave its nod to set the price cap for tur dal at Rs 55/kg for ration card holders. The tur dal was bought by the government from NAFED, which will now be made available at all ration shops.The Cabinet has also decided to consume almost 7 lakh quintals of dal by using it for various departments. The supplementary nutrition diet for social justice department, as well as Tribal department hostels, nutrition diet for schools, jails, and various other Government establishments, are consumers of tur Dal.Minister for Cooperatives Subhash Deshmukh informed that the government has 25,25,000 quintals of tur and after milling it would provide tur dal to the tune of 17 to 18 lakh quintals. An official informed that after milling the actual yield of the dal is 65 per cent. Last year the assured price for tur was Rs 5,050 and this year it stands at Rs. 5,400. The official informed that if it is brought in to open market, traders can take benefit by bringing their dal stock thereby making profits.

Rafale deal | ‘What’s shameful is your boss silencing you,’ Rahul Gandhi takes down Nirmala Sitharaman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman slammed the Congress over scam allegations in the Rafale deal, calling it ‘shameful’, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi hit out at the minister with a brutal tweet.In his takedown, Gandhi tweeted, “Dear RM (Raksha Mantri), what’s shameful is your boss silencing you (sic).”In a point-by-point rebuttal, the Gandhi scion questioned the government on a: Final price of each Rafale jet; b: Did PM take CCS permission before announcing purchase in Paris and c: Why PM bypassed experienced HAL & gave the deal to AA rated businessman with no defence experience.The Congress has been questioning the Dassault Aviation deal with Anil Amabani led company Reliance Defence Limited. The Opposition party asserts that its UPA-led government had negotiated a $10.2 billion deal for 126 Rafale jets, as opposed to the current government’s $8.7 billion contract for just 36 fighters without any provision for technology transfer.On Friday, Sitharaman defended the government over the Rafale deal and said that there was no overpricing as alleged by the Congress.”These allegations are shameful…The deal was finalised following a transparent procedure,” Sitharaman told reporters.The defence minister also called the bickering against the deal as “disservice” to the armed forces, asserting that urgent requirement of the Indian Air Force was the main reason for sealing it.The defence minister said the final agreement for 36 Rafale jets was signed in September, 2016, after five rounds of lengthy discussions between Indian and French sides and approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security.She said the UPA government had sat over the proposed procurement of jets for 10 years.

Rafale deal allegations are a disservice to armed forces and nation: Nirmala Sitharaman slams Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today that allegations relating to the procurement deal for 36 Rafale fighter jet were “shameful” and that such bickering was a “disservice” to the armed forces.Her remarks came a day after the Congress accused the prime minister of changing the “entire deal” to benefit a businessman.”These allegations are shameful…The deal was finalised following a transparent procedure,” Sitharaman told reporters.The defence minister also called the bickering against the deal as “disservice” to the armed forces, asserting that urgent requirement of the Indian Air Force was the main reason for sealing it.The defence minister said the final agreement for 36 Rafale jets was signed in September, 2016, after five rounds of lengthy discussions between Indian and French sides and approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security.She said the UPA government had sat over the proposed procurement of jets for 10 years.The Indian Air Force (IAF) said that there was “no overpricing” in the Rafale purchase as the government had “negotiated a very good” deal for the French fighter aircraft.”It is not overpricing… We have negotiated for 36 French fighter aircraft Rafale (at a price) lower than that in the contract. The government has negotiated a very good deal,” Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said.Stressing that it was a “government-to-government contract”, he told the media at the Adampur Air Force station near here that the IAF was getting 36 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) at a greatly “negotiated price”.”It is definitely a better deal. It is lower than what was there in the MRMCA contract,” he said without going into specifics.Hitting at the government over the same issue, Gandhi, who was talking to reporters after addressing a meeting of his party’s newly-formed wing All India Unorganised Workers Congress (AIUWC), said, “I happily answer all your questions fortnightly. Why don’t you question Prime Minister Modi on the Rafale deal, or on Amit Shah’s son. Why don’t you ask frankly about these. Why don’t you question the PM who changed the entire Rafale deal to help a businessman?” Gandhi also put out tweets taking a jibe at the government over Rafale deal and alleged a ‘loot’.“Modiji nice touch removing the suit. What about the loot?,” he tweeted tagging a report on the Rafale deal.He also tweeted, “Can you explain ‘Reliance’ on someone with nil experience in aerospace for Rafale deal? Self ‘Reliance’ is obviously a critical aspect of ‘Make in India’.”

Amit Shah cites Pew survey to hail ‘unabated’ rising popularity of Modi govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity has risen “unabated” across the country and people’s satisfaction with the economy is at an “all-time high”, BJP chief Amit Shah said today, citing a survey by the Pew Research Center.According to the survey conducted by the American think tank, more than eight-in-ten Indians say economic conditions are “good” in the country despite Modi’s decision to abolish high-value bank notes last November. Nine out of ten people in the country hold a favourable opinion about him and that indicates the popularity of Modi among the countrymen, Shah said in a BJP statement. Modi started the politics of performance in this country by ending casteism, minority appeasement and nepotism from Indian polity, the BJP chief said adding that the country has witnessed a decisive, transparent and corruption free government led by Modi in last three years.”The findings of Pew Global research are very significant. After Modi Government came to power, people’s trust in Government, Democracy and confidence that the nation is in the right direction has gone up drastically,” Shah said in a series of tweets. Modi remains the most popular national figure in Indian politics tested in the survey. His popularity is relatively unchanged in the north, has risen in the west and the south and is down slightly in the east, according to the survey’s findings.
ALSO READ PM Modi remains ‘by-far’ most popular leader, 70% satisfied with country’s direction: Pew survey”PM @narendramodi’s popularity rises unabated across the length & breadth of the country and across demographic groups. His handling of various issues also receive a thumbs up from people,” Shah said. The ease with which Modi handled all challenges for development and welfare of the country has further strengthened the people’s trust on him and also enhanced his respect among them, Shah added. At the briefing on the decisions taken by the Union Cabinet today, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad referred to the survey and said it showed that Modi and his governance has gained popularity in all corners of the country.He said the survey shows how the BJP and its leadership have gained popularity. Asked whether the report came up for discussions at the Cabinet meeting, Prasad merely said that he has been given the report.The survey was conducted among 2,464 respondents in India from February 21 to March 10. Shah also extended greetings to media professionals on the occasion of National Press Day and applauded their commitment towards their profession. “I applaud the commitment and efforts of every media person who works tirelessly to uphold the value of the fourth pillar of democracy,” he said in a tweet.

Governance home-delivered: Delhiites to get driving license, ration card and other services at their doorstep

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government on Thursday announced that it would roll out a scheme within three to four months to enable citizens to get 40 public services, including caste certificates and driving licence, at their doorstep.The decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.This is “home delivery of governance”, which is being done for the first time in the country, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia claimed while announcing the Cabinet’s decision.He said that the government would hire a private agency to implement the scheme.”Mobile Sayak (facilitators) will be hired through the agency that would set up call centres.”Various certificates such as caste, new water connection, income, driving licence, ration card, domicile, marriage registration, duplicate RC and change of address in RC, will be covered under the scheme in the first phase,” Sisodia told reporters.Giving an example, the deputy chief minister said that if a person wants to apply for a driving licence, he or she will have to call a designated call centre and register their details.Thereafter, the agency would assign a ‘Mobile Sahyak’, who will visit the applicant’s residence and get the required documents, he said.”The Mobile Sahyak will be equipped with all necessary machines such as biometric devices and a camera. For home delivery services, the applicant would be charged a nominal fee which is yet to be decided,” Sisodia said.

CM accuses L-G of disrupting elected govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal of encouraging officers to hide files from his Cabinet colleagues and wondered if the L-G was not “disrupting” the elected AAP government.”Isn’t the L-G disrupting an elected government by encouraging officers not to show files to ministers? Why are files related to teachers being hidden from education minister? How does an education minister run schools like this?,” Kejriwal tweeted.The statement comes a day after Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia wrote to Baijal seeking action against officials of education department who he alleged were sending files on teachers training to the Lieutenant Governor office without consulting him.”Whenever I speak to any officer from the department or the chief secretary, I am told that they have been given instructions by your office not to show any file regarding ‘teacher or principal’ to minister- in-charge. If this is not the case, then you must issue instructions to the education department that no file should go without being shown to the minister-in-charge,” he had said.In response to Sisodia’s letter, Baijal had written to him seeking to know who has given the impression to the deputy chief minister that L-G’s office has given instructions not to show any file concerning teachers to the minister-in-charge.Manish Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, was irked by the move of Directorate of Education (DoE) officials and Chief Secretary of sending the file to L-G office with a detailed plan of a visit of principals and teachers to Finland for training.The minister had alleged that the officers have been “killing democracy” on the “directions” of the L-G office by not consulting him before sending the files.In the recent past, the deputy chief minister had also claimed that officers were not showing files to him on the directions of the L-G.Earlier, Education Minister Manish Sisodia wrote to Baijal requesting him to give his nod to the guest and contractual teachers regularisation bill. On October 4, the Delhi Assembly had passed the bill and forwarded it to the L-G.But Baijal rejected Sisodia’s claim that a bill on regularisation of guest teachers was pending with his office, saying a solution could be found within relevant laws rather than”public posturing.”BLAME GAMEThe statement comes a day after Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia wrote to Baijal seeking action against officials of education department who he alleged were sending files on teachers training to the Lieutenant Governor office without consulting him.

Pollution: A threat to national security?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Security can no longer be confined to national security threats or international relations alone. Off-late, the world over environmental changes has now also been listed as security threats. Diplomatic historian and foreign policy scholar Richard Ullman has defined threat as “…anything which can degrade the quality of life of the inhabitants of a state, or which narrows the choices available to people and organizations within the state.” As pollution has emerged as a major threat to national security —there is a demand either to include Environment Minister as part of high-profile Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and including home, defence, finance, and external affairs ministers as the members or there must be a sperate group as ‘Cabinet Committee on Environment’ to constantly monitor environmental and pollution parameters.It was in this context that India’s premier think-tank Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) in a report had asked the government to reorient itself to environmental challenges posing threats to country’s defence system. The report believed that changing environmental conditions may affect warfighting capability, the existing defence works, and elaborate communication infrastructure.Here are challenges as enumerated by the think-tankMOBILITY ACROSS SNOW-BOUND PASSES: Reminding that reduced snowfall had come to the aid of Indian troops during 1999 Kargil war, the report stated that flash floods out of glacier melt would complicate military planning. Further, more heat would result in wear and tear on equipment and demands of more water. The glacial melt in areas where the Indian military operates would affect the campaign season, logistics, surface mobility and weaponry platforms.NAVAL OPERATIONS: The scholars believe that rise in water levels would affect Indian Navy at all levels of warfare—strategic, operational and tactical—impinging on issues of maritime boundaries, exclusive economic zone (EEZ), post operations, shallow water operations, notably for submarines and naval tactics. An increase in sea level rise between 1.06 to 2.75 mm per year by the middle and end of 21st century are bound to alter the balance of the mix of Indian naval missions and strategic interests. India Navy may have to consider acquiring more shallow draught ships capable of landing in disaster areas and heavy lift helicopters for ship-to-shore transport. A number of brown water ships may have to be replaced with multi-role expeditionary capability warships.AIR FORCE: The climate change would affect the performance of the aerial platforms, as well as that of the munitions, delivered from these platforms, because weather plays a key role in weapon delivery, particularly in the case of standoff weapons and laser-guided munitions. Climate change is expected to make a difference towards the conduct of all these operations. The changes could have an impact both at the tactical as well as strategic levels. The aerosol concentration in the atmosphere affects the performance of precession-guided munitions (PGMs). Moisture content in the atmosphere, fog particles, dust particles etc adversely affects state-of-art munitions.Militaries have used the environment as a weapon of war over many years. The intentional discharge of oil into the Persian Gulf during the Gulf War is one of the examples. In a workshop organized by the Coast Guard to apprise about such threats, it was emphasized that 70% of cargo coming into Karnataka is petroleum products and any damage to this cargo can play a havoc.The workshop concluded that that environment security is a crucial element of national threat matrix with other elements being military security, economic security, resource security, and energy security.

SC, HC judges get DA hike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The dearness allowance of judges of the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts has been increased even as proposals to give them a salary hike are pending approval of the Union Cabinet.In a letter to the secretary general of the apex court and registrars general of the high courts last month, the department of justice in the law ministry said that the DA of the judges has been revised to 139 per cent with effect from July 1 “at the same rates (139 per cent) as are admissible to the members of the all-India service”. The letter pointed out that according to the revised rates, central government employees continuing to draw their pay in the pre-revised pay scale as per the Sixth Pay Commission are entitled to the DA at the rate of 139 per cent which was revised from 136 per cent.The judges have been given the DA hike based on the 6th Pay Commission as two bills to provide them the benefits of the Seventh Pay Commission are pending approval of the Union Cabinet. The bills are likely to come up for Cabinet’s consideration in the coming days and would be tabled in Parliament in the Winter Session. While one bill deals with salary and allowances of the Supreme Court judges, the other deals with salary of the high court judges.During a hearing last week on a case relating to grant of washing allowance to apex court staff and officers, a bench of justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazir had reportedly asked Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha about the salary of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts which was to be brought on par with Seventh Pay Commission recommendations for central government employees.In 2016, the then Chief Justice of India T S Thakur had written to the government seeking a hike in salaries of the Supreme Court and the high court judges on the basis of the recommendations made by a committee of judges which was set up by the CJI to look into the issue of salary and emoluments.Sources in the government said the issue is under active consideration and a bill to amend The High Court and the Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Act may come up in the Winter Session of Parliament. Government functionaries said the quantum of the hike will not be as recommended by the judges’ committee. They said the hike in pay packets would be applicable from January 1, 2016.The judges’ committee recommended a pay hike of Rs 2.8 lakh for Supreme Court judges, Rs 2.5 lakh for high court judges.A Supreme Court judge at present gets Rs 1.5 lakh a month in hand after all deductions from salary and allowances. The CJI gets a higher amount than this, while the judges of the high court get a lesser amount. This amount does not include the rent-free residences provided to the judges while they are in service. After the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission, the matter was already under the consideration of the government. the approved strength of judges in the apex court is 31, it is 1,079 in the 24 high courts. There are several vacancies.

Amid sex CD row, arrested journalist Vinod Verma says this is ‘just the tip of the iceberg,’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior journalist Vinod Verma who has been arrested for allegedly blackmailing a Chattisgarh minister in connection with a ‘sex CD’ said, “This is just the tip of the iceberg”.Verma made the comment when he was taken to Mana police station in Raipur on Saturday night, on his three-day transit remand.On October 27, Verma was arrested by the Chhattisgarh Police in connection with extortion and blackmailing case involving a state minister, who called it ‘fake’ and an attempt at character assassination.A day after he was arrested by the Chhattisgarh police, an FIR was also lodged against the state Congress president Bhupesh Baghel and Verma.Verma, who earlier worked with BBC Hindi service and Amar Ujala, was denied bail and Chhattisgarh police has been given his transit remand till October 30 after he was produced before Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Archna in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. Verma is also a member of Editors Guild of India.Meanwhile, the Chhattisgarh government has recommended a CBI probe. The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Raman Singh at the Secretariat here, state’s Revenue Minister Prem Prakash Pandey told reporters.He said the Cabinet held a discussion on the purported video and decided to recommend a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the issue.Asked if Chhattisgarh PWD Minister Rajesh Munot, allegedly involved in the row, will step down from his post till the investigation gets completed, he said, “How can a state minister influence a CBI probe?”Accusing the Congress of hatching a conspiracy, the minister said his party has already stated that the CD was fake and even a local TV channel in its report mentioned that it has been tampered with.Raipur Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Shukla claimed that about 500 ‘porn’ CDs, Rs 2 lakh in cash, a pen drive, a laptop and a diary were seized from the journalist’s residence, who was picked up at 3.30 am from Mahagun Mansion Apartments in Indirapuram by a team of the Chhattisgarh Police with the help of the Ghaziabad Police.The SP said that Verma has been booked under Section 67 (A) Information Technology (IT) Act for possessing pornographic material.As Verma was being escorted by police, he claimed that the Chhattisgarh government was not happy with him as it suspected that he had a ‘sex CD of Chhattisgarh PWD minister Rajesh Munot’ and suggested he was being framed.

Chhath now battleground for political parties in city

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Purvanchalis in Delhi are slowly emerging as a very significant vote bank, which all political parties are trying to woo. So, while the Aam Aadmi Party has declared a public holiday on Chhath Puja, falling on Thursday, not to be left behind is its arch rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has launched a campaign for hassle-free rituals at the river banks, as politics takes centrestage this festive season.Purvanchalis constitute nearly 25 per cent of the electorate in the Capital, enjoying a sizeable popularity among all three parties, Congress included.Over the last few years, the voters belonging to this community have played a crucial role in deciding the fate of candidates, the recent being the AAP’s big win in the Bawana by-polls.Candidate Ram Chander, a Purvanchali himself, helped the party romp home to victory by securing votes from JJ clusters dominated by members of the community. BJP suffered a debacle in Bawana and lost the seat by a margin of 24,000 votes. It had fielded defector MLA from AAP, Ved Prakash.From Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to other ministers in his Cabinet, all have been keeping a close watch on the puja arrangements this year. According to an official statement released by Development Minister Gopal Rai, the government has developed over 550 ghats this year for the devotees and cleanliness at these banks was the top priority for them. Apart from pumping in Rs 20 crore to develop Chhath ghats and maintaining them, civic body officers, engineers, and other bureaucrats have been directed to review all facilities.Meanwhile, after launching an attack on AAP for “playing with” the faith of devotees, BJP started its own ‘shramdaan’ programme at different ghats. Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, who has roots in Purvanchal, announced a helpline for Chhath samities on Monday, to facilitate smooth organisation of the festival.PARTY WARSBJP workers and volunteers cleaned ghats across the Capital, as mayors in the east and north MCDs inspected banks in their areas
Congress has accused AAP and BJP of politicising the festival, claiming that in their bid to outdo each other, they have diluted the pious spirit of the festival

Govt unveils Rs 9 lakh cr package to boost growth, Cong calls it ‘shoddy attempt’ to defend ‘decimation of economy’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying “Modinomics” has destroyed India’s growth story.The main opposition party also termed as a “shoddy attempt” by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to defend the “decimation” of the economy after he reeled out economic indicators to support the government’s contention that GDP growth slowdown has bottomed out and economy is turning around.”‘Modinomics’ has destroyed India’s growth story. A shoddy attempt of a desperate finance minister Arun Jaitley to defend the decimation of economy has failed to impress either the Indian industry or common people. The growth as projected by the government is only on paper,” Congress’ communications department incharge Randeep Surjewala said.
ALSO READ Those used to 2G, coal scam will have trouble with genuine taxes: Jaitley on Rahul’s Gabbar remarkSurjewala said decisions like noteban and “poor” implementation of GST hurt the core of macro and micro economic fundamentals, and expressed concern over growing NPAs of public sector banks. The bank recapitalisation plan announced by the finance minister neither has a roadmap nor a timeframe, he said, asking the government to do a reality check and share a targeted framework of bank recapitalisation rather than engage in “hyperbole and high-sounding syllables”.On Jaitley’s claim that the macro economic fundamentals of economy are very strong, he said, “On the contrary, mindless and unsound decisions like demonetisation and the poor implementation of GST has hurt the core of the fundamentals of macro and micro economic fundamentals.” The Congress leader alleged common people were being made to suffer, jobs were in peril, and medium and small industries in dire straits, as economy stuttered due to demonetisation and GST roll out. “Time has come to travel from empty jumlas (rhetoric) to meaningful governance,” he said in a statement.
ALSO READ Government plans to revive ailing banking sector as FM Arun Jaitley announces Rs 2.11 lakh crore bank recapitalisation planCongress spokesperson Sushmita Dev said if the prime minister or the finance minister were claiming “all is well”, they should go to Gujarat and listen to what the people were saying. “Today, if the economy is turning around, then why is there ‘no feel good factor among the people. I will tell the prime minister and the finance minister that all is not well,” she said. Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said on Twitter, “If Economy was a wish-horse Arun Jaitley could have ridden it. Fact- in 41 months he created a new bumper sticker ‘Hey honey I sunk the Economy’.”Surjewala said the NPAs of public sector banks jumped from 36 per cent in March 2014 to 82 per cent in June 2017– from Rs 36,000 crore to Rs 8.35 lakh crore. Noting that the money given for recapitalisation of banks will increase the fiscal deficit, he said, “This is a desperate move by a finance minister groping in the dark as demonetization and GST failed to bring in the promised Rs 4-5 lakh crore.”Jaitley today announced a Rs 2.11 lakh crore bank recapitalisation plan to revive investment and growth.Accusing the government of waiving loans worth Rs 1,88,287 crore of wilful defaulters in the last three years, the Congress leader asked, “Is the government risking taxpayers’ money for more such loan waivers without commitment to MSME and agrarian sectors?” On Bharatmala project, he said it is completely debt driven with the burden falling on people of India. Bharatmala is an umbrella programme under which 34,800 km of highways will be constructed at a cost of Rs 5.35 lakh crore Seeking to boost note ban and GST-hit economy, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today announced a massive Rs 6.92 lakh crore infrastructure spending and another Rs 2.11 lakh crore for bank recapitalisation to revive investments as well as growth. Flanked by all his five secretaries and Chief Economic Advisor, Jaitley reeled out economic indicators to support government contention that GDP growth slowdown has bottomed out and economy is turning around.To boost job creation, the government granted enhanced access of funds for MSMEs, including by way of customising Mudra loans. A presentation was made at a briefing titled ‘The India Story: Speeding Up For Take Off!’ which highlighted that the economy grew by 7.5 per cent per annum in the three years of BJP-rule since 2014. For last three years India has been fastest growing major economy in the world, Jaitley said. “And our intention is that the high growth economy that India has become, we continue to maintain that position.”Economy slowed to 5.7 per cent in the April-June quarter of the current, the weakest pace since 2014 as demonetisation sucked out 86 per cent of the currency in circulation throwing cash-dependent businesses in disarray and the implementation of GST from July 1 hit small and medium enterprises. “There was a temporary slippage in growth in the last two quarters thanks to transitional effect of demonetisation (of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes) and GST,” an official statement issued at the briefing said.That effect, it said, is now over with all indicators – industrial production, core sector, automobile and consumer spending — pointing towards “a strong growth pick up”. “There is expectation of very good growth from second quarter of current year itself.” The Finance Minister said it is natural that when structural reforms happen there is some impact for limited time. “But medium to long term, there is huge benefit.” The Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today approved a Rs 6.92 lakh crore investment in building 83,677-km of road over the next five years, which will create 14.2 crore mandays of jobs.With this, the total infrastructure spending cleared by the government touched Rs 14 lakh crore, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said.Also, a massive bank recapitalisation programme has been approved. Of the Rs 2.11 lakh crore, recapitalisation bonds will account for Rs 1.35 lakh crore and another Rs 76,000 crore will come from budgetary support and equity issuance. Jaitley said the recapitalisation of PSU banks would be followed by a series of reforms. He, however, did not elaborate. “When you give such a big push to infrastructure, it helps in job creation. And job creation is the intention to push private sector investment and MSME funding,” he said. Public sector banks, which remain the main source of funding, have seen NPAs or bad loans swell from Rs 2.78 lakh crore as of March 2015 to Rs 7.33 lakh crore in June this year, primarily because of reclassification of loan, Department of Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar said.Of that, Rs 1.75 lakh crore relates to just 12 cases which have been referred to NCLT. The recapitalisation besides repairing their balance sheets would help banks meet the Basel III banking rules. “The net impact of all these is, private investment will be further strengthened. Infrastructure instantaneously creates job, lending to small and medium enterprises creates job,” Jaitley said. Macro economic fundamentals are strong, he said, adding that there was a need to increase public spending. “Infrastructure expenditure is unprecedented in the country.Efforts are on to increase public expenditure in various sectors of economy — rural roads, highways, Bharat Mala, housing, railways.” Also, the intention is to increase private investment in economy. “It was one area which had its own challenges. So far we believed that public sector banks have done indiscriminate lending at one stake. Between 2008-2014, because of indiscriminate lending, a bigger chunk is NPAs,” he said. On reforms that will follow in banking sector, he said, “I’m only indicating that more reforms will happen so as to ensure that there is no repetition of the situation that was there in 2014 where in you lend indiscriminately while hiding the real conditions of those loans. Its only after March 2015 the actual position of banks became clear.” Asked if the bank recapitalisation plan will impact fiscal deficit, he said: “It will depend on the nature of bonds and the manner in which it is dealt with.”The money which has been deposited in banks post demonetisation that is available for lending, but availability of money doesn’t ensure that it can be lent. For that capital adequacy is needed. And that capital adequacy was eroded because of excessive NPAs and because of situation of banks between 2008-2014.”Jaitley said the Cabinet decided that a “bold step” should be taken by the government to address this problem through Rs 2.11 lakh crore recapitalisation. “This will be accompanied by a series of banking reforms which you will hear from us in the course of next few months.” “Of this money, part of money will come from banks raising their own capital where government equity can come down to 52 per cent,” he said. “There is another Rs 18,000 crore from budgetary resources which will be put into banks under Indradhanush. So that makes it a total of Rs 76,000 crore.”In a presentation made at the briefing, Economic Affairs Secretary S C Garg said inflation has consistently come down since 2014 and will remain below 4 per cent this fiscal. Detailing macro-economic fundamentals, he said that current account deficit will be less than 2 per cent this year and foreign exchange reserves have crossed USD 400 billion. On fiscal deficit, he said the government is committed to sticking to the target of 3.2 per cent of GDP for the current fiscal but a review would be done in December.Stating that the GDP growth slowdown has bottomed out and the economy is turning around, he said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had recently projected that the country would achieve a 8 per cent growth rate soon.

Gram Sabha plots may soon become playgrounds

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With an aim to create playgrounds for children, Delhi Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot has ordered district magistrates to identify Gram Sabha plots located in rural areas under their jurisdiction.According to the order, the land will be identified in consultation with MLAs, who will also form committees comprising youths of their areas. These committees will be responsible for the maintenance of these playgrounds.”Gram Sabha plots, where village children can play, shall be identified in each village by the DM concerned,” Gahlot stated in his order. Gahlot, who also holds the charge of transport and law, said the area MLA will form a committee of not more than 21 youths, who will be responsible for maintenance of the land.”The land shall not be allotted or transferred in the name of any authority but will continue to be the Gram Sabha land,” he added.Earlier this month, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that the AAP government has drafted a policy under which training, travelling, and other expenses of national and international-level sportspersons would be fully borne by the government.Speaking at an event on October 7, Kejriwal had also said that there was no dearth of youths who could earn medals in sports, but their efforts were constrained by facilities and government assistance.In July this year, Kejriwal had written to Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal, requesting for ownership rights to those who had been allotted small Gram Sabha plots. This land was awarded under the Centre’s 20-point programme, nearly four decades ago.According to government officials, thousands of families in Mehrauli, Najafgarh, Kanjhawala, Narela, and Alipur villages were allotted small plots of Gram Sabha land in 1970s and early 80s, and were now facing hardship.The Delhi government had already approved the Bhumidhari (ownership) right in 2012, but as the then L-G had a difference of opinion on this issue, he had referred the matter to President Pranab Mukherjee.Kejriwal had also written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to resume the subsidy on sugar given to poor families. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, under the chairmanship of the PM, had taken the decision to end subsidy on sugar across the country.

Goa: Ally MGP unhappy with Parrikar govt, to remain in ‘wait and watch’ mode

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, which is a part of the BJP-led dispensation in Goa, today said some of its members are unhappy with the functioning of the government as they feel the administration has “collapsed”.The party with three members in the state assembly, two of whom are in the Manohar Parrikar Cabinet, also said it would adopt a wait-and-watch policy before deciding on the future course of action in the next six to eight months.Talking to reporters after chairing the party’s central committee meeting, MGP chief Dipak Dhavalikar said the party is mulling to contest the next Lok Sabha poll on its own. “Few of our members were unhappy with the functioning of state government. They feel the administration has collapsed. The party has decided that it will wait and watch for six to eight months and…then further action would be taken,” he said.He said his party has been keeping a close eye on the performance of the state government, which he alleged has “failed” in resolving the vexed issues of offshore casinos, drugs, unemployment and others. He, however, refused to say if the party will withdraw its support to the BJP-led government. The party’s central committee also decided to prepare for contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls on its own.”But the final call would be taken at a later stage… maybe six months prior to the polls,” Dhavalikar said, adding the party will restart the work in all constituencies it had contested during the last assembly election.He said the MGP polled 13 per cent votes in the state assembly election held in February this year. Dhavalikar said his party is not a part of the NDA, but the current support to the BJP-led government was only because none of the parties got majority in the assembly election. The MGP is yet to receive any proposal from the BJP to join the National Democratic Alliance, he said.”We are yet to receive any such proposal. Once we get it, we will decide,” he said, adding his party had discontinued the coalition with the BJP before the elections this year.We don’t have coalition with the BJP. The BJP sent us a proposal to support them to form the government which was accepted with the condition that Manohar Parrikar (who was the defence minister before the state polls) return to the state,” he added.

Bihar: Man beaten up, forced to lick saliva off floor as punishment for entering Sarpanch’s house without knocking

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Cabinet Minister Nand Kishore Yadav on Friday condemned the Nalanda incident and assured that culprits will be booked.Yadav’s statement comes after an elderly-looking man was allegedly made to spit and lick his saliva off the floor as a punishment for entering the Sarpanch’s house without knocking.Speaking to ANI, Yadav said, “I totally condemn this act and such incidents will not be tolerated in the state. We will take strict action against the culprits. The people of the state should trust BJP and its members. We will see to it that incidents like these never happen again”.The incident took place in the Ajaipur village of Noorsarai block in Nalanda, the home district of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.The man had gone to meet the village head to avail a government scheme.In an amateur video, the man can also be seen being beaten up with slippers by at least two women.

India gears up to break drug cartels

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last month, the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment forwarded a draft National Drug Demand Reduction Policy to the Cabinet after modifying the document as suggested by a group of ministers (GoM). This followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directive to the GoM, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, to examine the draft policy that seeks to address the problem of drug and substance abuse in India. The GoM comprises the ministries of Health, Social Justice and Empowerment, Women and Child Development, Transport, and Home Affairs.The redrafted policy mainly focuses on the rehabilitation aspect of victims, apart from covering two broad areas — illicit drugs, including cannabis, heroin and opium, and pharmaceutical preparations like tranquillisers and inhalants. The policy emphasises on strengthening coordination among various regulatory agencies to check the diversion of substances from lawful channels to illicit ones, including Internet pharmacies.However, much of the policy’s success will depend on how effectively authorities deal with drug trafficking, of which India has become a key global transit point, sources have told DNA. Trafficking routes have changed in the last five years. Cartels are using channels that are not well known.A renewed focus on drug trafficking began when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Mann Ki Baat programme on radio in December 2014, termed the addiction menace as “devastating”, saying the money spent by the youth on drugs could be funding terrorism. The PM said a thinking process should begin to ensure that the country is rid of this problem. He has involved celebrities from the cine world, sports and other fields to campaign for a “drug-free India”. “Let your children open their hearts to you. You should observe their behaviour to see that they do not go on the wrong path. Nobody else can do what parents can do,” the PM had said.In 2016, the national capital recorded the highest number of drug seizures in the country, data tabled in the Lok Sabha in March this year showed. Early this year, a government survey revealed that 70,000 children in Delhi alone were drug addicts.The Centre has issued orders for elimination of the menace of drug trafficking, directing the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) under the Home Ministry to play a major role in it. Home Minister Rajnath Singh has admitted that drug trafficking syndicates are a threat to the national security and sovereignty of states, and they need to be dealt with urgently. He has said that drug abuse in some parts of the country is causing an alarm and the youth should be protected from it. He has directed officials to expedite all pending proposals so that the NCB functions as one of the premier organisations to check the flow of narcotics in the country.HeroinThe NCB conducted a detailed study and is equipping itself to take on the challenge in coordination with other agencies. The study shows that foreign syndicates are mainly behind heroin trafficking in India. And the trend is rising. Southwest Asian countries, western Europe and Canada have become main suppliers of heroin in India. Recent seizures indicate that these regions account for 35 to 40 per cent of heroin in India. International airports in New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai are being used.Agencies have found that heroin trafficking from Southwest Asian countries was earlier limited to the Punjab border.But in the last two years, heroin is also coming through Jammu and Kashmir. Over 450 people have been arrested for drug trafficking in Jammu till August this year and a large haul of narcotic substances, including charas, brown sugar and heroine, was seized during the drive. A total of 379 cases were registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.Documents available with DNA reveal that small supplies are also reaching India, Myanmar and Bangladesh borders. Maritime routes are also being exploited. This year, till May, the NCB, the nodal agency for drug control enforcement, has seized 136 kg of heroin.OpiumThe NCB study says India is located between the world’s two largest areas of illicit opium production: Golden Crescent (Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan) and Golden Triangle (Myanmar, Laos and Thailand). This makes India both a destination and a transit route for opiates produced in these regions.CannabisAnother challenge is the wild growth of cannabis in India and Nepal, and its trafficking across the world. In India, there is a large-scale production and consumption of cannabis as ganja (raw leaves), and hashish and charas (resin). Cannabis is illicitly cultivated in some northern and northeastern states. Also a major quantity of ganja and hashish is trafficked into India from Nepal. Major trafficking junctions in India of cannabis are Imphal, Patna, Bhubaneswar, Bhopal, Goa, areas of Himachal Pradesh, and Gandhinagar. It is trafficked from Mumbai and Delhi airports to the US and European countries.This year, till May, 38,424 kg of cannabis and 801 kg of hashish were seized by the NCB. Last year, 2,94,347 kg of cannabis and 2,805 kg of hashish were seized, and in 2015, it was 94,403 kg of cannabis and 3,349 kg of hashish. The NCB managed to destroy 1,164 kg of illicit cannabis cultivation this year till May. Last year, it was 8,438 kg. In 2015, it was 818 kg. In August, the Union Cabinet gave its approval for a pact between India and Nepal on resolving the issue of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.CocaineThen there is the challenge of smuggling cocaine into India from Argentina, Brazil and West Africa. Another challenge is the diversion of ephedrine/pseudoephedrine drugs for production of synthetic drugs. There are also attempts to establish illicit meth labs in collaboration with foreign operatives and smuggle these banned drugs through the Internet and courier services. India is not a producer of the coca plant, and cocaine reaches here mainly from Brazil and African countries.In the last one decade, most cocaine seizures took place from Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi airports where human couriers were caught. This syndicate is run by mostly African nationals. In 2017, till May, the NCB seized 23 kg of cocaine. Last year, it was 28 kg. And in 2015, it was 113 kg. After agencies increased surveillance at these airports, traffickers are now using the Nepal and Sri Lanka airports to push cocaine into India.Pharmaceutical drugsThe biggest challenge for enforcement agencies is the abuse of drugs under Schedule – H, which cannot be procured without prescription. The problem became more serious after 2010. These drugs do not cost much and are easily available. Some of the major abuses of pharmaceutical drugs reported are codeine-based cough syrups, Buprenorphine injections, Tramadol, Alprazolam, Diazapam, Fortwin, Proxyvon, Spasmoproxivon, Relipan, Propoxyphene and Ketamine tablets. Another cause of concern for drug law enforcement agencies is that the substances frequently sold through pharmacies are opioid analgesics, central nervous system stimulants and tranquillizers, and there are no monitoring mechanisms.Drug addicts in Punjab are shifting to pharmaceutical drugs like Tramadol and Buprenorphine, Rajnath Singh was informed by the NCB recently. Apart from drugs like heroin and cannabis, newer drugs that are synthetic in nature are also entering the market. Pharmaceutical drugs that are easily available and cheaper are now being abused widely, Singh was told. However, these drugs do not fall under the purview of the NDPS Act.SyndicatesMost drug syndicates in India are run by West African nationals, especially Nigerians. Foreign tourists are being roped in for trafficking. African nationals have established solid networks of locals, particularly female couriers. This year, till May, 79 foreign nationals have been arrested. A total of 219 foreign nationals were nabbed in 2016, and 221 in 2015.Multi-lateral effortIndia is signatory to all UN and SAARC drug conventions. The NCB collaborates with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the International Narcotics Control Board and drug liaison officers across counties. India has mutual legal assistance treaties with 37 countries, extradition treaties with 37, and extradition arrangements with eight countries. Director General-level talks with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and now with Singapore are regularly organised.India has also signed MoUs with 11 countries, including Australia, Bhutan, Indonesia, Iran, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Singapore, the US and Vietnam. Indian has also signed bilateral agreements with 24 countries like Mauritius, the US, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Zambia, Romania, Bulgaria, UAE, Egypt, China, Italy and others.Timely exchange of information with international organisations has resulted in the arrest of carriers and seizure of drugs both inside and outside India.The NCB has increased co-ordination with other law enforcement agencies and border-guarding forces, and is carrying out regular raids. Taj Hassan, Deputy Director General, NCB, said, “The NCB’s field officers have been directed to ensure more interdiction.” The NCB is also trying to reduce the demand for illicit drugs — a key element in the overall strategy. It has undertaken awareness campaigns through special classes in schools, colleges and universities, besides street plays.(With agency inputs)

Pranab Mukherjee defends amending I-T Act retrospectively

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former President Pranab Mukherjee, whose decision as the Finance Minister to amend the Income-Tax (I-T) Act retrospectively in 2012, in the backdrop of the Vodafone case, had led to an uproar, has strongly defended the move, saying it was borne out his conviction that India’s Direct Tax Policy should not discriminate between domestic and foreign entities.In his book ‘The Coalition Years 1996-2015’, which was released on Friday, Mukherjee says he remained resolute on the decision, despite being advised to take the middle path. Retrospective tax has been one of the most contentious issues in corporate world in the last five years. It is related to a tax dispute between Vodaphone and tax department.A huge controversy had broken out on the issue as soon as Mukherjee had announced in his Budget Speech of 2012-13 that he proposed to amend the I-T Act, 1961, with retrospective effect, to undo the Supreme Court (SC) judgment in the Vodafone tax case.This was after the SC, in January, 2012, set aside a Bombay High Court judgment directing the Vodafone International Holding to pay Rs 11,000 crore as income tax on a deal made abroad. The SC order created an unusual situation, wherein the tax department was required to return several thousands of crores to several companies.Making a strong defence of his decision, Mukherjee notes in his book that “despite the angst that my proposal generated at the time, and even now, both from within my party and outside, I wonder why every succeeding Finance Minister in the last five years has maintained the same stance”.Mukherjee further recalls that while the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was convinced that the proposed amendment in the I-T Act would impact the FDI inflow in the country, Sonia Gandhi, Kapil Sibal, and P Chidambaram also expressed the apprehension later that the retrospective amendments would create a negative sentiment for FDI.Without naming anyone, Mukherjee says two more of his Cabinet colleagues advised him to take the middle path and to reconsider the decision, but he remained resolute.”Days ahead of introducing the Finance Bill in the Parliament in 2012, several colleagues, including one along with a high-ranking Vodaphone official, approached me, seeking a reconsideration of the move to retrospectively amend laws,” he recalls.He further says that he was convinced that the certainty of payment of taxes needed to be embedded in India’s tax policy and just because some foreign investors chose to structure their investments through tax havens, they should not be allowed to get away without paying taxes.Mukherjee also argues that the budgetary proposal to amend the IT Act with retrospective effect from 1962 was an enabling provision to protect the fiscal interests of the country and avert a crisis. “This retrospective arrangement was not merely to check the erosion of revenues in present cases but also to prevent the outgo of revenue in old cases. As Finance Minister, I was convinced of my duty to protect the interests of the country from the revenue point of view,” he says in the book.He further mentions how he tried to explain to the then PM Singh that India was not a “no tax” or “low tax” country and that it could not be a case of someone paying no tax at all. He also writes that he explained to Congress leaders that FDI comes when there is profitability and not on account of zero tax.

Reconsider regularising guest teachers: L-G to govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a fresh tussle between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal, the latter on Tuesday wrote to the state government to “re-consider” the Cabinet’s decision of introducing a Bill to regularise 15,000 guest teachers, citing constitutional limitations.The move comes a day before the Delhi government was all set to table the Regularisation of Services of Guest Teachers and Teachers engaged under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Bill, 2017, in the legislative Assembly on Wednesday.As per the Bill, all guest teachers and teachers hired under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, who have been engaged for at least 120 days after April 1, 2016, and fulfill the required educational qualifications, would be eligible for permanent jobs.Citing the fact that the introduction of the Bill is not in accordance with the constitutional scheme of governance of NCT of Delhi, Rules, 1993, Baijal said the “procedure requires mandatory consultation with the Law Department as to the competence of the Legislature of the Capital to enact the measures proposed.”According to a statement issued by the L-G’s office, as per a Delhi High Court (HC) judgment dated August 4, 2016: “Matter related to ‘Services’ falls beyond the legislative competence of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi. It should be approved by the L-G before being tabled in the Assembly.”Officials in the Delhi government, however, begged to differ, saying that the regularisation of teachers falls under the ambit of state’s Education Department. “As per the law, the Bill will be tabled in the Vidhan Sabha and then be sent for the L-G’s approval. In any case, the decision cannot be taken without the L-G’s approval,” a senior official said.Reacting to L-G’s statement, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said: “Last month, the Delhi Cabinet took a decision to regularise Kashmiri Migrant teachers and the L-G approved that decision. Why can’t it take a decision to regularise guest teachers?”According to sources, the Cabinet will now meet on Wednesday before the special one-day session to discuss the points raised by Baijal.THE BILLGuest teachers engaged for at least 120 days after April 1, 2016, are eligible.
Nearly 15,000 guest teachers and teachers under SSA to become permanent.
Regularisation will be done against sanctioned posts.

UP government aims to link all beneficiary schemes with Aadhaar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has decided to link all its beneficiary schemes to Aadhaar card for transferring subsidy directly to the accounts of the beneficiaries.A decision to this effect was taken on Tuesday at the Cabinet meeting. The Cabinet has also decided to introduce legislation in this regard during the winter session of the UP Assembly.Briefing mediapersons on Cabinet decisions, the government Spokesperson and Health Minister Dr Siddharth Nath Singh said that the state government aims to link all its beneficiary schemes with Aadhaar card to bring them under the direct benefit transfer (DBT) in a bid to check leakage, pilferage and corruption.To begin with, he said that all pension schemes, government scholarships and public distribution system (PDS) will be linked with Aadhaar to transfer the amount direct ly into the accounts of the beneficiaries. “This will also bring in accountability and the government will also get to know how much budgeted fund was distributed to beneficiaries,” he pointed.The government has also amended existing rules for opening more kerosene shops in villages.

Cabinet sub-committee for Rlys, no changes on ground

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While there has been no qualitative change in passenger facilities at railway stations in Mumbai since the tragic stampede on a Foot-Over-Bridge (FOB) at Elphinstone Road station on September 29, announcements continue on new measures that will provide Mumbaikars a safer and more comfortable commute.Even as commuters continue to jostle for space on narrow FOBs at both Parel and Elphinstone Road stations, inspections have begun at stations.Committees are also being set up by the government. On Tuesday, the Maharashtra Cabinet offered condolences for the 23 lives lost in the stampede and decided to set up a sub-committee to ensure co-ordination between multiple agencies and departments for passenger facilities.A delegation of Shiv Sena ministers met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis just before the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning. State environment minister Ramdas Kadam told media persons that Chief Minister Fadnavis had accepted all the demands of the delegation and had assured that the Cabinet sub-committee would be set up in two days and the names of its members would also be announced then.Kadam said there is a need to increase the width of all the FOBs in Mumbai. He said that the sub-committee would also ensure that all the bridges are hawker free.Meanwhile, multi-agency teams, formed by Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR), began inspections on Tuesday, and managed to visit around 20 railway stations. Officials said the teams will not be able to visit all 122 suburban railway stations.WR has prepared five teams of seven members each, which visited the following stations – Marine Lines, Elphinstone Road, Vile Parle, Andheri, Goregaon, Palghar, among others – on the first day of inspections. CR has formed nine teams of seven members each, which inspected Thane, Dombivli, Diva and a few others.The teams comprise members from the Railways, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, Government Railway Police and the city police. A total of 36 stations on the WR and 86 stations on CR need to be covered.These teams have been tasked with inspecting all aspects of a railway station — right from a broken tile to the narrow width of a FOB, improperly placed roof, leakage from a pipe, excessive food stalls or anything that is hanging precariously. They are also meant to check entry and exit points, ticket counters, pathways and connectivity outside the station.The teams are also talking to commuters for feedback. “These details across various railway stations will then be compiled and made into a single report that needs to be prepared by October 8,” says Ravindra Bhakar, Chief PRO, WR.The final report is to be submitted within seven to 10 days to the Railway Board in Delhi, and will then be put up before Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

Arun Jaitley’s comments ‘cheap’, below my dignity to respond to it, says Yashwant Sinha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP veteran Yashwant Sinha on Friday accused Arun Jaitley of making “cheap” remarks and said the finance minister’s criticism of his work amounted to criticism of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had entrusted him with key ministries.In a dig at Jaitley over his “job applicant at 80” barb, Sinha said the finance minister did a great “disservice” to L K Advani as he first quoted the BJP veteran’s advice that his remarks should be confined to issues and not involve personalities, and then went on to make a personal attack against him.”So cheap is the remark that I consider it below my dignity to respond to it,” Sinha said.He then went on to recount his decision to quit the IAS 12 years before his retirement to join politics and added that he “voluntarily” decided not to contest Lok Sabha election in 2014 when he was “certain” of his win as he wanted to quit electoral politics.Asked if he would not contest elections now, he replied in the affirmative.”He (Jaitley) has completely forgotten my background. I gave up the IAS when I had 12 years of service left to join public life. I refused to become a Minister of State in the V P Singh Cabinet in 1989 as I had some issues.””I retired from electoral politics. I am not active in politics and am living a quiet life in my corner. So if I was looking for a post, then first of all I would not have given up all these things I gave up,” he said.Sinha also hit back at Jaitley and other BJP leaders for their criticism of his work as a finance minister under Vajpayee and said he was given the crucial external affairs ministry and became “even a more active member of the Cabinet Committee on Security”.Sinha said those were “challenging times” when he took over as the external affairs minister in July 2002.”Following the terror attack on Parliament (in December 2001), India and Pakistan were eyeball to eyeball on the border. To say that the external affairs ministry was a useless ministry and I was forced out of the finance ministry is a contradiction,” he said.This government, Sinha noted, has given the great honour of Bharat Ratna to Atal Bihari Vajpayee and BJP leaders then then criticise him too.He had presented five regular and two interim Union budgets, he said.Asked about his response to the government’s recent moves, including the constitution of the Economic Advisory Council, Sinha said, “Let’s see what great pearls of wisdom they come out with. Nothing has happened so far, so I will wait for some action before I make my comments.” A newspaper article written by Sinha on Wednesday in which he slammed the government’s handling of the economy has sparked a raging political debate with opposition leaders coming out in his support while top ministers rejecting his criticism and insisting that the Indian economy remained strong and vibrant. ​

Veteran Cong leader Fotedar breathes his last in Gurugram hospital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A quintessential Gandhi family loyalist, Makhan Lal Fotedar, a veteran Congress leader surprised many when his book ‘The Chinar Leaves: A political Memoir’ hit the stands in 2015 in which he questioned the leadership credentials of Rahul Gandhi.After Fotedar’s death, Sonia Gandhi on Friday hailed him as ‘one of the guiding lights’ for the Congress and said that his death has left behind a void, which can never be fulfilled.Expressing her deepest condolences, she recalled Fotedar in his long and active political career spanning over five decades fighting for the rights of the people.In his book, Fotedar had said, “Sonia Gandhi is not Indira Gandhi,” and “Rahul Gandhi is not Sanjay Gandhi,” but lauded Priyanka Gandhi.Fotedar, who breathed his last on Thursday in a Gurugram hospital, was a close confidante of former prime minister Indira Gandhi and a loyalist of the Congress first family. Fotedar, who owed his rise in the party to his proximity with Nehru-Gandhi, was brought into politics by Jawaharlal Nehru in early 1950s.As a former member of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, he represented Pahalgam constituency from 1967 to 1977. After serving as a Cabinet Minister in Jammu and Kashmir government, he shifted base to the national Capital.He became a key part of Indira Gandhi cabinet soon after. His clout was immense during her tenure and she appointed him as her political secretary in 1980. Fotedar was also a two-time Rajya Sabha member and a former union minister.After Indira Gandhi’s death, Rajiv Gandhi also made him his political secretary for three years before inducting him in his Cabinet as a minister. However, by then his clout had begun waning. But Fotedar was the darling of media reporting on AICC affairs.His long association with the Gandhi family and his understanding of Congress was so promising that years after he ceased to be in the corridors of power, media men thronged him.

Central govt docs to retire at 65 years: Cabinet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a move that will benefit over thousand doctors, the Union Cabinet has extended the service of doctors serving in various central departments to 65 years.In order to mitigate the acute crunch of doctors across the country, the cabinet has sanctioned the extension of superannuation of doctors.These doctors belong to Indian Railways Medical Service. The cabinet will also enhance superannuation age for doctors working in Central Universities and Indian Institutes of Technologies (IITs) as well as doctors in major port trusts under the Ministry of Shipping.”The decision would help in better patient care, proper academic activities in Medical colleges, and also in effective implementation of National Health Programmes for delivery of health care services,” a press statement stated.The age of superannuation of doctors of Central Health Service was earlier extended to 65 years in May 31, 2016.The latest cabinet decision comes with a view to bring about parity between doctors serving in various cadres.The decision will benefit around 1,445 doctors of various ministries and departments of the Central Government would be benefitted.

India to sign a pact for technical cooperation in police training and development with Afghanistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and Afghanistan will soon sign a pact for technical cooperation in police training and development which will help the war-torn country in strengthening its security apparatus.The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval for signing of a bilateral MoU between India and Afghanistan for technical cooperation in police training and development, an official statement said.The MoU will help in capacity building of Afghanistan National Police and improving the security apparatus in the region, it said.The cabinet’s approval will be effective for a period of five years from the date of signing of the MoU and will be extended for a further period of five years on the condition that there are not further changes and revisions.India and Afghanistan have friendly relations and the police personnel of Afghanistan National Police come regularly to different training institutes of India for training purposes.India and Afghanistan had signed an agreement on strategic partnership in October, 2011.A meeting was held between delegates of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, Afghanistan, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Afghanistan and officials of the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) in New Delhi in October 2016.The delegates from Afghanistan expressed their desire for assistance from India in the field of police training, police development, law enforcement, strengthening the rule of law in Afghanistan and building sustainable long-term cooperation, the statement said.In order to take this cooperation forward, this MoU has been jointly agreed through diplomatic channels, it said.

Modernisation of police forces: Cabinet approves scheme worth Rs 25,060 crore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Wednesday, approved implementation of an umbrella scheme of “Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF)” for the years 2017-18 to 2019-20. The financial outlay for the scheme over the three year period is Rs 25,060 crore, out of which the Central Government share will be Rs18,636 crore and the States’ share will be Rs 6,424 crore. Salient Features:- Special provision has been made under the Scheme for internal security, law and order, women security, availability of modern weapons, mobility of police forces, logistics support, hiring of helicopters, upgradation of police wireless, National Satellite Network, CCTNS project, E-prison project etc.- Under the umbrella scheme, Central budget outlay of Rs 10,132 crore has been earmarked for internal security related expenditure for Jammu & Kashmir, North Eastern States and left wing extremism affected States.- Scheme of Special Central Assistance (SCA) for 35 worst LWE affected districts has been introduced with an outlay of Rs.3,000 crore to tackle the issue of underdevelopment in these district. – An outlay of Rs 100 crore has been earmarked in the North Eastern States for police infrastructure upgradation, training institutes, investigation facilities etc.- Implementation of this scheme would bolster the Government’s ability to address challenges faced in different theatres such as areas affected by LWE, Jammu and Kashmir and North East effectively and undertake development interventions which will catalyze in improving the quality of life in these areas and help combat these challenges effectively at the same time.- New initiatives are being introduced to provide assistance to States for upgradation of police infrastructure, forensic science laboratories, institutions and the equipment available with them to plug critical gaps in the criminal justice system. Police Stations will be integrated to set up a national data base of crime and criminals’ records. It will be linked with other pillars of criminal justice system such as ‘prisons, forensic science laboratories and prosecution offices.- The umbrella scheme also provides for setting up of a State-of Art forensic science laboratory in Amravati, Andhra Pradesh and upgradation of Sardar Patel Global Centre for Security, Counter Terrorism and Anti Insurgency in Jaipur and Gujarat Forensic Science University in Gandhi Nagar.It is expected that the umbrella scheme, “Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF)” will go a long way to boost the capability and efficiency of Central and State Police Forces by modernizing them.

Centre to invest additional Rs 12,000 crore for nourishment of maternal, neonatal health till 2020

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre will for over the next three years invest an additional Rs. 12,000 crore for the nutrition of pregnant and lactating women, children in the age group of 0-6 years, and out of school adolescent girls. The decision was made during a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The Cabinet has approved the proposal for revision of cost norms with annual cost indexation for Supplementary Nutrition (SN) for the beneficiaries of Anganwadi Services and Adolescent Girls (out of school 11-14 years) under the Umbrella ICDS Scheme. This addresses a long-standing anomaly and ensures that the changes in norms keeps pace with changes in costs on an annual basis. This follows the decision by the Government to provide cash benefits to pregnant and lactating mothers under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, and is part of an intensive effort to improve the nutritional status of women and children. The revision of cost norms for SN for beneficiaries of Aanganwadi Services would cost additional expenditure of Rs.9,900 crore and for beneficiaries of Adolescent Girls, it would cost Rs.2,267.18 crore as GoI share for a period from 2017-18 to 2019-20.The revision in the cost norms of SN for the beneficiaries of Anganwadi Services and Adolescent Girls would impact the health and nutritional status of about 11 crore beneficiaries per annum.

Devendra Fadnavis dismisses Sena ultimatum as Rane waits in wings

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday dismissed coalition partner Shiv Sena’s threat of an ultimatum for withdrawing its support with a pithy “We only are ultimate.”Another senior BJP minister indicated that the party does not view Shiv Sena’s threats as well as present ultimatum as a serious matter. He added that a lot of water has flown under the bridge in the past 15 years and that the BJP has edged out the Sena to emerge as the dominant partner in the saffron alliance.Sena president Uddhav Thackeray had on Monday met with Sena legislators at his residence Matoshree, following rumours of veteran Congress leader and former chief minister Narayan Rane joining the Bharatiya Janata Party.Rane, who has been a fierce critic of the Sena as well as its founder, the late Bal Thackeray, is expected to announce his final decision on Thursday. BJP leaders told DNA the final decision on Rane’s induction would be taken at the party president Amit Shah’s level.Shiv Sena leaders, including Minister of state for Home and finance Deepak Kesarkar, have openly cautioned the BJP against inducting Rane.The Sena president is also scheduled to hold division-wise meetings of legislators to hear their grievances about the current government. Most Sena ministers had on Monday complained that despite having four Sena leaders as Cabinet ministers, none of the works in Sena MLAs’ constituencies are being sanctioned by the government. Sena minister Ramdas Kadam, however, expressed his inability to help party MLAs, claiming that despite being made a minister, he did not have any powers.Rane in the frayBJP sources told DNA that any decision on Rane’s inclusion in the party will be taken during the two-day national executive meeting in New Delhi on September 24-25. A senior Maharashtra minister said that Rane’s induction is almost certain and that it could take place as early as this week, while a Cabinet expansion may happen in the first week of October.

Six months of Yogi Adityanath govt: ‘Jungle raj’ of previous governments over; UP in right direction, says CM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Presenting the report card of his government after six months in office, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday said that his government had ended the ‘jungle raj’ of the previous governments to make people feel safe.CM Adityanath said that the biggest challenge faced by the government was to free the state from the clutches of casteism and nepotism, control crime, launch people and farmer-oriented welfare policies, instil confidence amongst the bureaucracy, and bring state’s economy back on track.“I am happy that my Cabinet colleagues worked more than 18 hours a day to achieve desired results within six months. We had addressed 34 lakh complaints without any bias or family considerations. This indicates the kind of anarchy previous regimes had spread in Uttar Pradesh,” he pointed.Adityanath claimed that Uttar Pradesh has topped in the month of August in GST collection across country that shows that the economy is back on track. “When we had taken over, the atmosphere was certainly investor-friendly but through our new industrial policy we aim to speed up growth and generate employment,” he pointed.Around 6 lakh youth have already been trained under various skill development programmes, he said, adding that the government has already cleared recruitment of 47,000 police men on vacant posts.The biggest challenge was to control rising crime. “We gave free hand to the police. As a result, 17 hardcore criminals were killed in 431 encounters, 1,106 were arrested and 668 carrying rewards were sent behind bars. During operations, 88 police men were also injured and we lost one sub-inspector. Illegal properties of 69 mafias were seized and encroachment on land worth Rs 3,500 crore was removed in the last six months,” claimed the Chief Minister.“The land revenue department has done some wonderful job. They are linking Aadhar cards with Khataunis. Once it is done, no one would be able to fudge Khataunis to usurp lands of poor,” he said.Despite criticism, Adityanath claimed that loan waiver to 84 lakh farmers was the biggest achievement of his government in the last six months. “Record wheat and potato purchase, free tube-well connections, solar pumps, opening of Krshi Vigyan Kendras, timely payment to care farmers etc were some of the measures his government had taken to double their income by 2022 as envisaged by the Prime Minister Naendra Modi,” he added.

Maharashtra: Here’s BJP’s ‘plan B’ if Shiv Sena quits coalition government

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is confident that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis would complete his five-year tenure, even if Shiv Sena decides to quit the government in Maharashtra. According to a media report, BJP has a plan B in place which aims at surviving on the support of smaller organisations and independent members to reach the magic figure of 145, required to retain power. On Monday, Shiv Sena dropped enough hints that it plans to quit the coalition government in Maharashtra. But BJP appears ready to face the challenge, says a report in The Indian Express. A senior BJP functionary, requesting not to be named, told The Indian Express, “If Shiv Sena walks out of the government, we have plan B in place. There is absolutely no threat to the Fadnavis government.”According to report, BJP has decided not to depend on any one political party to cobble up the numbers. BJP has 123 MLAs in the 288 seats Maharashtra Assembly. The party has claimed that it has garnered the support of 22 MLAs which makes their strength reach 145, mentions the report. The frayed relationship between saffron allies–the BJP and Shiv Sena–on Monday came under fresh strain with the latter saying it will soon decide on whether to continue in the two-party coalition government in Maharashtra.After a meeting of senior party functionaries, MPs and legislators called by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, its Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut castigated the BJP-led governments in Maharashtra and at the Centre, and said the party was “very close” to taking a decision on its continuance in government.”We are very close to taking a decision (on whether to continue in the government)… wait and watch. There is tremendous resentment among the people in Maharashtra and across the country.”There are various issues people are facing due to the inefficiency of the government. The Shiv Sena does not want to be a part of all this,” Raut told journalists.While he castigated both the Devendra Fadnavis dispensation in Maharashtra and the Modi government at the Centre, he only spoke about giving an ultimatum to the former before taking a call on whether or not to continue being part of it.”Uddhavji will give an ultimatum to the chief minister and then take a decision (on continuing in the government),” Raut said.Shiv Sena has 12 ministers in the Fadnavis government, including five of the Cabinet rank. Maharashtra has a 39- member council of ministers. The BJP’s oldest saffron ally has just one minister in the Modi Cabinet and has often voiced its unhappiness over it.(With PTI inputs)

YC Modi next NIA head, Misra named SSB DG

YC Modi, an Assam-Meghalaya cadre officer, will hold the post of NIA chief till May 31, 2021 <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre on Monday made IPS officer YC Modi the Director General of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). He will take over from Sharad Kumar, who completes his tenure on October 30.The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by PM Narendra Modi also cleared the name of another 1984-batch IPS officer Rajni Kant Misra as the next Director General of Sashastra Seema Bal. Misra will replace Archana Ramasundaram, who retires on September 30. Misra is currently Additional Director General at the Border Security Force.YC Modi, an Assam-Meghalaya cadre officer, will hold the post of NIA chief till May 31, 2021. He will also take charge as Officer on Special Duty in the NIA immediately to ensure smooth transition. He is currently a special director with the CBI where he has handled the Sheena Bora murder case. He also investigated Gujarat riots cases. Sharad Kumar was appointed chief of the NIA in July 2013 and was given two extensions. In October, he was given a one-year extension.

Y C Modi appointed new chief of National Investigation Agency

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior IPS officer Y C Modi, who was part of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team that probed the 2002 Gujarat riot cases, was today named chief of the National Investigation Agency.The federal probe agency is tasked with probing terrorism and terror-financing related cases.The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved Modi’s appointment as director general of the NIA, an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.Another senior IPS officer, Rajni Kant Misra, has been appointed director general of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).Modi will hold the post till his superannuation, i.e. May 31, 2021, the order said.ACC has also approved the appointment of Modi as officer on special duty (OSD) in NIA with immediate effect to ensure a smooth takeover.Modi, a 1984 batch IPS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, is at present special director in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).He will take over from Sharad Kumar after he completes his tenure on October 30, the order said.Kumar, who was appointed DG NIA in July 2013, has been given two extensions.In October last year, he was given a one-year extension, apparently to help the agency complete some important probes, including the Pathankot terror case, terror strikes in Kashmir, Burdwan blast case and the Samjhauta blast cases Misra has been appointed director general of the SSB till the date of his superannuation, i.e. August 31, 2019, the DoPT order said.​

Rajyavardhan Rathore: A Gold Medal for Sports Ministry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The new Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore is a man to watch in the sports world. While retaining his “strategic presence” in the I&B Ministry as the next man in command, the Prime Minister and Amit Shah have virtually promoted or upgraded Rathore as a Union Cabinet Minister with an independent charge of sports.The entire sports world is jubilant on the elevation of a renowned and decorated sportsman as the Sports Minister. For the first time in the history of independent India, a sports-loving Prime Minister has done this experiment. Matching with the expectations of the sports community, Rathore, on day one, after taking the charge of his new responsibility, had publicly announced that now the real VIP in his Ministry will be the sportspersons only.The ministry of sports and youth affairs has decided to pay a monthly stipend of Rs 50,000 to each elite athlete preparing for the coming Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Tokyo Olympics. The amount would be used by the athletes for their out of pocket expenses, Sports minister Rajyavardhan Rathore announced on Friday. The government has selected 152 elite under the TOP (Target Olympic Podium) scheme who will get benefit from this decision. The money will be paid with effect from September 1, 2017.Since his Army days, Rathore always had a keen interest in the area of sports and even before becoming the Sports Minister, he had been actively persuading the cause of a lesser known Indian sports like “Kabbadi” in his home constituency of Jaipur rural by frequently organizing a well-attended series of “Kabbadi” matches.His presence in the I&B Ministry is also helping him to publicize these domestic games via popular TV channels. By camping every Saturday and Sunday in his Parliamentary constituency, Rathore is confident to make his comeback in 2019.

BJP to show door to dud MPs in ’19

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>About 100 of the 282 BJP MPs are not likely to be fielded because of performance, age and other criteria as the ruling party starts the process to pick candidates for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, informed sources told DNA.The party believes that the major — and perhaps the only — factor of winnability lies with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charismatic leadership which, aided by party president Amit Shah’s skilled poll management, will help in retaining the states where the BJP has already peaked. The dual factor will also allow the party to make sizeable push in newer territories such as Odisha, West Bengal and in north-eastern and southern states.”With winnability factor taken care of, everything has boiled down to the choice of candidates on the basis of their ability to perform and show results. It may cost about 30 to 40 per cent MPs, who have been laggards, their seats as the party would like to choose people who can perform,” said the source.Candidates will be judged on work in their constituencies, performance in Parliament and their effectiveness in promoting and implementing PM Modi’s flagship schemes such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jan Dhan Yojna, Start Up India, Stand Up India, Digital India and Housing for All.Shah has already laid out a roadmap to win 360-plus seats in the 543-member House in 2019. He has identified 150 seats which the party lost in 2014 in states such as West Bengal, Odisha, Karnataka and in the northeast.Modi and Shah recently met the Chief Ministers and their deputies of all 13 BJP-ruled states to devise strategy to fight anti-incumbency in states such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.By not retaining non-performing MPs, the BJP also wants to get rid of the charge that most of its ministers are from the Rajya Sabha and, thus, not elected by the people. In the present council of ministers, at least 18 are from the Upper House. They include: 12 Cabinet ministers such Arun Jaitley, Nirmala Sitharaman, JP Nadda, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal, Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Smriti Irani, Suresh Prabhu, Prakash Javadekar, Dharmendra Pradhan, Chaudhary Birender Singh and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.In comparison, only 15 Cabinet ministers are elected representatives from the Lok Sabha. They include Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Ananth Kumar, Uma Bharti, DV Sadananda Gowda, Dr Harshvardhan, Ramvilas Paswan, Maneka Gandhi, Anant Geete, Harsimrat Kaur, Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, Narendra Singh Tomar, Jual Oram and Radha Mohan Singh.Sources said that the party general secretary in-charges of states have been tasked to evaluate MPs’ performance by taking feedback of their work from the field, and submit it to party president Shah.”Once the list of shirker and doer MPs is prepared, the party will decide on the names of other deserving candidates in advance, but the announcement of candidates will be done at a later stage, close to the elections,” said the source.

Shouldn’t have written on ‘private discussion’ with Sharad Pawar: Sanjay Raut

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after the NCP and the BJP rubbished his claim, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut today said he should not have made public his “private discussion” with Sharad Pawar in which the NCP supremo had purportedly told him that the prime minister had offered a cabinet berth to his daughter Supriya Sule.Raut said there could have been some “misunderstanding” and he should not have written about the “private discussion” he had with Pawar in the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’. “I published that discussion (between me and Pawar) in my article (in Saamana). Maybe I should not have published it. It was a private discussion,” Raut said. “In Indian politics, nobody is anyone’s enemy. We are ideological enemies. We can extend invitations. If such an invitation has been extended (by Modi to Sule), it does not mean that some political ‘khichdi’ is cooking,” he said.Raut said he feels that Pawar desired the “discussion” should not have been published as it had a reference to the prime minister. “After all, there is a reference of the prime minister in this (discussion),” Raut told a Marathi news channel. “Maybe he (Pawar) did not like the prime minister’s reference appearing in the article. After all, it may be a private discussion between them (Pawar and Modi). These are not public discussions,” the Sena MP, who is executive editor of ‘Saamana’, said.”Such discussions may be of a humorous or family nature. He (Pawar) may have spoken to me in that way. Maybe there was a ‘gaflat’ (misunderstanding) somewhere,” Raut said. In a signed article in ‘Saamana’ on Sunday, Raut recalled that during a meeting with Pawar, he had asked about media reports that Pawar would be joining the Modi Cabinet. “Pawar told me there is no truth to media reports. He described such reports as height of stupidity,” Raut wrote.Raut, however, claimed that Pawar once told him that prime minister wanted Supriya Sule in his cabinet and Sule who was present at that meeting turned down the offer saying she would be the last person to join the BJP.Pawar has not responded to Raut’s article but Sule, who is the Lok Sabha member from Baramati, denied meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with her father ahead of the recent Cabinet reshuffle at the Centre.

Haryana: State Cabinet says all gram panchayats will be WiFi enabled by 2019

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Haryana Cabinet today said all gram panchayats in the state will have Wi-Fi zone within the next two years.The Cabinet, which met under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar here, approved ‘Haryana IT and ESDM Policy-2017’, an official spokesman said.”The policy envisages one Wi-Fi zone in all 6,078 gram panchayats within two years, broadband to every household and Wi-Fi zone at important public places in all towns and cities, 4G services in every village in the next three years,” the spokesman said.The policy aims to develop Information Technology (IT) and Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sectors over five years as key growth drivers, he said.The five-year goal of the draft policy includes generation of employment for 15 lakh persons in the IT-ESDM sector by 2020, increasing the sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state from 9.4 per cent to 15 per cent, and making Haryana pioneer in research and development for ESDM by producing 1,000 patents.Provision has been made under the policy for various financial incentives, simplified regulatory regime and infrastructure augmentation for different categories such as IT and ITeS, ESDM, startups, MSME backward and most backward regions and digital governance, the spokesman said.

BJP denies Shiv Sena’s claim that PM Modi offered Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule cabinet berth

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A senior Shiv Sena leader said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had offered a Cabinet berth to NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s lawmaker daughter Supriya Sule, a claim both the NCP and BJP trashed today.In a signed article in the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ yesterday, Sanjay Raut, who edits the newspaper, claimed that Pawar once told him that his daughter was offered a Cabinet berth by Modi while trashing media speculations at the time that he himself might join the NDA Government.”Pawar told me there is no truth in media reports (that he would join the Modi cabinet). He described such reports as the height of stupidity,” Raut, a Rajya Sabha MP, wrote.”Rumours are being spread about my party. Modi had once told me he wanted Supriya in his Cabinet. Supriya, who was present at that meeting, told Modi that she would be the last person to join the BJP,” Raut claimed Pawar told him.The Sena MP also said that Pawar told him that the NCP’s stand is very clear on not joining the Modi government, yet rumours are being spread to create confusion.”Sharad Pawar says this. But, there are senior NCP leaders who are in touch with CM Devendra Fadnavis. The Shiv Sena has no reason to be worried even if the NCP seeks inclusion in the Fadnavis cabinet. The chief minister is holding secret meetings with NCP leaders,” Raut said.Though a long-time ally of the BJP and a member in the coalition governments headed by the saffron party in Maharashtra and at the Centre, Shiv Sena has often been at loggerheads with the senior partner and aired highly critical views about the NDA government.In a sharp retort to the Sena leader’s claims, a BJP spokesperson said Pawar and Raut have no political credibility left.The NCP said the party would never join the BJP, considering the ideological differences between them.”Do Sanjay Raut and Sharad Pawar have any political credibility? One should keep in mind they have no credibility before believing such reports,” BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari told PTI.”There is another possibility as well. The NCP wanted a berth in the Cabinet but could not get a favourable response from PM Modi. Hence the outcry. Raut and Pawar should reveal (the reasons for) the camaraderie between them,” he said.When PTI tried to contact Pawar for his reaction, a close aide of the NCP chief said he was in his home town Baramati and would respond to the Saamana article at an “appropriate” time.However, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said there is no question of his party joining the BJP in future as well, considering the ideological differences between the two parties.When these rumours were being spread, Supriya Sule and Praful Patel had clarified there was no truth in the reports. “The NCP never had any plan to join the BJP and will not do so in future as well due to ideological differences,” Malik said.

Nirmala Sitharaman takes charge as Defence Minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Giving a push to ‘Make in India’, addressing issues of welfare of armed forces and military preparedness will be the top priorities of Nirmala Sitharaman who took over as the country’s first full-time Defence Minister on Thursday.Sitharaman took charge of her office a little late, as her predecessor Arun Jaitley was travelling to Japan.Before she assumed charge, a priest conducted prayers in her office.”My priority will definitely be armed forces’ preparedness. It is important that Indian armed forces receive all attention in terms of giving them every necessary endowment and equipment,” Sitharaman, said.Soon after taking over, senior officers of the Ministry of Defence briefed her on various aspects.Sitharaman was the surprise pick as Defence Minister in the Cabinet reshuffle that took place last week.She has added to the list of 13 women holding the critical portfolio in their respective countries.She said resolving long-pending issues in consultation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Cabinet and ensuring effective implementation of the ‘Make in India’ initiative would also be a focus area.Reaching out to armed forces personnel, Sitharaman said soldiers perform their duties at the “toughest borders” and it would be her endeavour to ensure their welfare as well as that of their families.She takes over at a time when the defence forces need a major boost in the wake of hostilities on borders with Pakistan and China.With incidents of incursions by the Chinese Army expected to increase after the Dokalam face-off, Sitharaman will face challenges in handling such complex issues.

Do BJP high command-RSS want to run Rajasthan by remote control?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A powerful RSS functionary Ramlal’s two-day Jaipur visit once again fuels a prevailing perception whether BJP high command–RSS wants to run Rajasthan through remote control. It may be a tragedy of circumstances that even after winning all 25 Lok Sabha seats for Narendra Modi, the lady Chief Minister of Rajasthan never got her “due” in the political matters related to Rajasthan, including the nomination of few MPs for the Central Cabinet. Since Narendra Modi’s took over, a “particular negative perception” has been tried to be circulated by a particular group of BJP leaders in New Delhi and Jaipur painting Chief Minister in a poor taste. The same impression continued after Amit Shah’s takeover of the party affairs. However, subsequently, by realising ground realities in Rajasthan, the Prime Minister started appreciating Vasundhara Raje’s developmental agenda and performance in the desert state.However, by taking a “U” turn, during his recent Udaipur visit, the Prime Minister did not demonstrate the same gesture, which again fueled the speculation about the future of the Chief Minister and there was a talk in power corridors about her likely induction in the Union Cabinet as the Defence Minister. But that did not happen and Raje returned from Delhi Darbar as the Chief Minister only. It only indicates that the BJP high command has finally reconciled with the ground realities in Rajasthan, where nothing much can be done in the party and the government, without actively taking the Chief Minister into confidence. Knowledgeable sources say that Amit Shah, during his Jaipur visit in July, had also given a similar report to the Prime Minister that it will not be advisable to change the leadership at this critical juncture, where only after one year, the party is going to face Assembly elections. However, it has been reportedly decided by the BJP high command and RSS to keep the Chief Minister into a “ceremonial confidence” and to take active participation in the decision making process related to party and government affairs in Rajasthan, which includes the distribution of Assembly tickets for the coming polls. Political observers feel that in this way, BJP high command and RSS is trying to take over the command at remote level.Another important aspect of this prevailing Rajasthan scenario is that Narendra Modi and Amit Shah know well that these days elections are not won by the Chief Ministers, they are being continuously won by a two-member team of Modi and Amit Shah. Everyone in the party, including the RSS, knows well that Amit Shah is an exceptional and brilliant combination of strategy and execution and on this pattern he is quite confident to sweep Rajasthan assembly polls like he did in UP. So, there is no harm to continue with the same Chief Minister, while trying to have a major say in the decision making process of the party.After org secy, BJP may get a new state chiefNow, with this background, Amit Shah has recently appointed one UP politician Chandrashekar as Organisation Secretary for the state BJP, who, along with V. Satish is going to play a key role in the appointments of remaining Chairmen, Boards and Councils and also in ticket distribution in the upcoming Assembly elections … and now one more powerful and trusted Amit Shah confident Ramlal is in the state capital for the last two days. During his stay, he had a crucial three-hour long meeting with the Chief Minister this afternoon at her residence, in which a variety of issues have reported to be discussed, which also includes the likely replacement of Ashok Parnami by some centrally “sponsored person”. There is a speculation that Ramlal has reportedly suggested four names for her consideration, which includes Gulab Chand Kataria, Om Birla, Arjun Meghwal etc. Similarly, Madam has also reportedly suggested the name of Shrichand Kripalani and may be Nihal Chand Meghwal. Ramlal also met a number of Ministers, MLAs and Local bodies’ Chairmen.In this entire process, interestingly, a low profile Bhupendra Yadav was also present, as a nominee of Amit Shah and also as a Rajasthan expert. Yadav maintains a very tactful balance between Raje, State BJP and local RSS leaders, though basically the job of “liaison” between Raje and RSS is being performed well by a hardcore loyalist Ashok Parnami and things have also improved considerably between RSS and the government. Therefore, in case of a likely shifting of Parnami from the party Chief’s post, Raje is likely to induct him as a powerful Minister in her cabinet. Now, the crux of the story is that Ramlal’s Jaipur visit, which is followed by his Karauli and Bharatpur visit on Friday, happens only to be a part of BJP high command’s well thought strategy to control Rajasthan affairs, especially in an election year, through remote control, but at the same time, also keeping the lady Chief Minister into confidence. In this context, political observers feel that this may be a distant dream for the party and RSS, while knowing well the style and functioning of the grassroots and powerful Chief Minister, where you may, of course have some “concessions and adjustments”, but can’t hijack or take away the crucial decision making process from the Chief Minister, at least in the area of ticket distribution and political appointments.

Three derailment and one near miss, Railways faces tough day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three trains jumped off the tracks and another derailment was averted today in Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi and Maharashtra within a span of nine hours, the latest in a string of such incidents which saw the exit of Suresh Prabhu as railway minister in the Cabinet reshuffle last Sunday.The first derailment occured at 6:25 am when seven coaches of the Jabalpur-bound Shaktipunj Express went off the tracks near the Obra Dam station in UP’s Sonbhadra district.Within hours, at around 11:45 pm, the Ranchi-Delhi Rajdhani Express derailed near Minto bridge in the national capital, leaving one person injured. These were folowed by yet another derailment of a goods train in Maharashtra’s Khandala at 3:55 pm, railway officials said.An accident was averted after locals spotted a fracture in a track between Farrukhabad and Fatehgarh in UP, minutes before the Kalindi Express was scheduled to pass the place, officials said in Farrukhabad.Ironically, these mishaps occurred on a day Piyush Goyal, the new railway minister, chaired a high-level meeting with Railway Board officials to discuss ways for ensuring safe operation of trains.The spate of derailments over the past few weeks has raised concerns over the safety of railway operations despite large-scale overhaul of the infrastructure of the public sector transporter in the last couple of years.Railway Ministry officials said today’s derailments did not result in any major damage or casualties as all of them were approaching stations and were travelling at slow speed.”We are upping our efforts to stop such incidents. In these cases also, our officials took immediate measures to make sure that the passengers do not suffer. We cleared the tracks quickly and the minister has issued instructions to officials to probe the matter,” said Railway spokesperson Anil Saxena.Saxena said while the Shaktipunj incident occurred at around 6:25 in the morning, the passengers were off to Jabalpur by 7:28 am.The hattrick of derailments are the first since Goyal shifted to Rail Bhavan after the Cabinet recast. Suresh Prabhu, his predecessor, had reportedly offered to step down taking moral responsibility for two previous accidents.On August 20, 14 coaches of the high-speed Kalinga-Utkal Puri Haridwar Express had derailed in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district, killing at least 23 people and leaving scores injured. The train was on its way to Haridwar from Puri.Three days later, nine coaches of the Delhi-bound Kaifiyat Express had derailed in the Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh after it collided with a dumper, which had strayed on to the tracks, leaving around 100 passengers injured.

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