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Govt sets up body to dispute MahaRERA

On a daily basis, MahaRERA receives several complaints from homebuyers. While some are amicably settled between the buyer and developer, the authority does gives out decisions in cases of conflict. Until now, there was no proper tribunal where one could challenge the order of MahaRERA and thus a demand from various forums that a tribunal be set. However, some are still unhappy as they were expecting a full-fledged and permanent tribunal not a designated one. "Something is better than nothing but we were expecting a permanent tribunal to look into appeals. We had brought out the issues pertaining to having a designated one and also wrote to the CM regarding the same in the past," said Adv Shirish Deshpande, Chairman, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.”

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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByVarun Singh <!–end of artlbotbor–>Monday 1 January 2018 1:10 ISTMust readMumbai fire: BMC carries out demolition drive against illegal structures in Kamala Mills areaKamala Mills fire: Escape to Nowhere<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The state government has finally formed a tribunal where people can appeal against the rulings, judgments and orders of Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA). The government has designated the responsibility to Maharashtra Revenue Tribunal located in Mumbai. The housing department released a notification on December 28 informing on this development.On a daily basis, MahaRERA receives several complaints from homebuyers. While some are amicably settled between the buyer and developer, the authority does gives out decisions in cases of conflict. Until now, there was no proper tribunal where one could challenge the order of MahaRERA and thus a demand from various forums that a tribunal be set. However, some are still unhappy as they were expecting a full-fledged and permanent tribunal not a designated one. “Something is better than nothing but we were expecting a permanent tribunal to look into appeals. We had brought out the issues pertaining to having a designated one and also wrote to the CM regarding the same in the past,” said Adv Shirish Deshpande, Chairman, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.

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Why should anyone have problem with singing Vande Mataram: Venkaiah Naidu

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today wondered why should anybody have a problem with singing “Vande Mataram”, meaning salutations to the mother, a song that inspired millions during the country’s freedom movement.”Mother is not the photo but our motherland. ‘Vande Mataram’ is saluting the mother. Why should anyone have a problem with this,” Naidu said at an event in this temple town in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. “Irrespective of our caste, creed and religion, we are one nation, one people and one country,” Naidu said, after inaugurating the Global Sai Temple Trust Summit organised by the Shri Saibaba Sansthan, Shirdi, for trustees and representatives of Saibaba temples in India and abroad. Naidu also rejected as “irrelevant” the issue whether Saibaba, the 20th century saint, was a Hindu or Muslim, saying: “he (Saibaba) was a universal teacher who blended the core principles of Hinduism and Sufism”.Saibaba’s teachings of service to mankind and living in peace and harmony with others need to be imbibed by all and that would be the real tribute to him, Naidu said.”Serving the mankind is serving God. Saibaba is an embodiment of this culture,” he said. An official statement quoted Naidu as saying that being an Indian national amounts to being spiritual, as it is all about seeking a larger identity rising above narrow and divisive considerations. “India is a larger collective and to be known as Indian is going beyond the identity based on birth, caste, region or religion and coming together for a larger cause,” he said.He said nationality and nationalism are instruments of larger unity and integration, uniting the people, thereby going beyond primary identities. This unifying principle of nationalism should not be misunderstood. To feel, think and act as an Indian or ‘Bharatiya’ involves overcoming one’s primary and divisive identities, he added.Also readWinter Session: RS Chairman Venkaiah Naidu expresses displeasure over absence of ministers”So, in my view, to be an Indian is being spiritual, as it elevates us to a higher level of identity and shared experience, purpose and actions,” Naidu said. Shirdi, located 238 km off Mumbai, has the famous shrine of Saibaba. In October, President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the newly-built airport at Shirdi.

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Airport may shift some carriers to int’l terminal

Domestic passengers flying out of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (SVPI) here can now expect a few of their flights operating from the international terminal. With the city airport set to upgrade the existing infrastructure at the T2 international terminal by installing two new aerobridges, they are hinting at shifting some domestic operations to the international terminal.Manoj Gangal, Airport Director, said, “The two aerobridges will come up at the international terminal by the end of this year. Depending on time slots and a discussion with immigration, Customs and CISF, we may shift some operations, keeping airlines’ interest in mind.”Sources say that the international terminal is huge and remains non-operational for nearly six hours until the first flight of the day operates for Dubai in the afternoon. The terminal can easily be utilised for easing out some traffic at domestic terminal.Airlines Operator Committee (AOC) Chairman Shalin Joshipura said, “As of now, Air India and Jet Airways operate from T2. Once the aerobridges come, airlines might be interested to shift some of their flights to this terminal.”He added, “A lot of positive initiatives are being taken at the airport off late. This too will be an added feature.”A source said, “An international flight of SpiceJet that departs from Ahmedabad late in the evening comes from Chennai. As it has to fly abroad, it is parked at T2 and the domestic passengers are then taken to T1 by bus. This setting would surely be beneficial not just for the airlines but also convenient for the passengers.”However, while appreciating the effort, another official said, “Utilizing space is a good option but to maintain infrastructure as per standards of international airport would be a concern. Since Customs and immigration is critical points, extra care will have to be taken.”WINTER SCHEDULEFor winter schedule, Jazeera airways has commenced its operations from city whereas Air Arabia and Ethopian airlines are set to add new flights to the existing lot. Last week, SpiceJet also started Ahmedabad-Bangkok flight.

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Venkaiah Naidu: Don’t make a mockery of House

The Winter Session of Parliament was again disrupted as the Opposition continued to ask for an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his allegations that former PM Manmohan Singh had conspired with Pakistani officials to influence the Gujarat elections.The PM was in the Lok Sabha that was adjourned temporarily. After the adjournment, the Lok Sabha passed two bills. The Opposition-dominated Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day amid slogan-shouting.In the Rajya Sabha, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu’s said nobody will tender an apology because nothing happened in the House. “Don’t make a mockery of the House. Already wrong message is going out,” he said.”There was no mention of conspiracy as alleged by the Opposition in PM’s speech,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.Opposition parties, which disrupted Parliament for two days, had finally allowed government business on Tuesday, after back-to-back hectic parleys. But the sword of disruptions remained.In the meetings outside the House on Tuesday, Opposition leaders had made it clear to Jaitley that the blockade would be resumed unless Modi regrets, clarifies and withdraws his insinuation.They however relented to an extent. “We understand the stature of the PM office. We will not insist on his apology. But he must clarify and regret,” said a top Opposition leader.

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Facing depleted strength, IAF issues request for proposal to HAL for 83 Tejas aircraft

Faced with depleting strength of its fighter squadron, the Indian Air Force today issued the the request for proposal (RFP) to state-run aerospace behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the procurement of 83 Tejas light combat aircraft at a cost of over Rs 50,000 crore. The IAF had earlier placed an order with the HAL for 40 Tejas aircraft.The RFP for 83 Tejas light combat aircraft has been issued today, setting the ball rolling for finalising the contract for the mega deal, official sources said. The Defence Acquisition Council, the defence ministry’s highest decision making body on procurement, had in November last year approved purchase of 83 Tejas Mark 1 A by IAF at a cost of Rs 50,025 crore. The sources said the final deal for the procurement is likely to be inked within the next five months.They said out of the 83 LCA, 10 will be used for training purposes. According to official figures, 14 squadrons of the MiG 21, MiG 27 and MiG 29 are due for retirement in the next 10 years which will bring down the fighter squadron strength to 19 by 2027 from the current 33. The strength may be further reduced to 16 by 2032. In an interview to PTI, HAL Chairman and Managing Director T Suvarna Raju had said most of the 42 modifications in Tejas sought by the IAF, including weaponisation of the aircraft, had been carried out.Also readWatch: Singapore Defence Minister flies Tejas, says felt like riding a car “Tejas is a four-and-half generation world class fighter jet. There is no doubt about it. We can improve its various parameters. We are proud of Tejas. Every Indian will be proud of it. We will ensure enhancement in its quality and performance,” Raju had said. There have been views in the IAF that the Tejas aircraft was not enough to maintain its combat readiness and it needed to quickly procure a fleet of foreign single engine fighters to deal with any possible security challenges faced by the country in the backdrop of the dwindling size of its fighter fleet. The IAF believes that it has to have a wide mix of aircraft to maintain an operational edge over its adversaries.The HAL CMD had said that the four-and-half generation Tejas would be able to deliver what is expected of it.The lifespan of the jet would be a minimum of 30 years just like any other frontline combat aircraft, he had said. The combat jets are classified under various generations depending on their avionics, capability and weapons systems. The current fleet of fighter jets with the IAF range from three-and-half generation to the fourth generation.

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Winter Session: RS Chairman Venkaiah Naidu expresses displeasure over absence of ministers

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu today expressed displeasure at ministers not making it to the House in time for laying the papers listed against their names.The provocation was apparently caused by the absence of ministers like Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Tourism Minister K J Alphons when their names were called by the Chair for laying of listed papers. “I would like to advise the Parliamentary Affairs Minister to see that Ministers who are supposed to lay papers on the Table of the House are in the House on time,” Naidu said. If some Ministers have other engagements, they should not list papers against their names, he said. “If they (ministers) have any problem, they should not give their names. It can be done subsequently. Please take note of it and convey it to the ministers,” the Chairman said.Pradhan’s name was on the top of the list of ministers who were to lay the papers relating to their ministries in the Upper House today. However, he was not present when his name was called to lay the papers such as copies of rules for payment of subsidies under Aadhaar Act and the annual reports of PSUs under his ministry including Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum.Tourism Minister Alphons too was absent when his name was called to lay copies of annual reports of institutes under his ministry.Also readManmohan Singh-Pakistan remark: Nobody will apologise as incident did not happen in House, says Vice President NaiduWhile Alphons came in a few minutes after his name was called, Pradhan was absent even when his name was called the second time to present a statement regarding the status of implementation of recommendations contained in a standing committee report on ethanol blended petrol and bio-diesel policy. When Pradhan finally entered the House, Naidu called him to present the first set of papers, but he was not called to make his statement on a standing committee report relating to his ministry.

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CBI books two SBI officials for causing Rs 200-cr loss to bank

The CBI has booked two officials of State Bank of India for allegedly waving principal amount of over Rs 90 crore of term loan of a company in violation of guidelines, causing a loss of Rs 200 crore to the bank.Besides the SBI officials, the agency has named its FIR Chennai-based Quitegra Solutions Pvt. Ltd., its the then Chairman V Shankara Raman, its non-Executive Chairman Melvettil Padmanabhan, whole-time Director V Sriraman, and Independent directors Kamakshi Shankara Raman, R Kalyanraman and G Venkatrajulu.The CBI has alleged that the loan account was taken over by SBI from Andhra Bank in 2014 with a loan credit of Rs 7.14 crore.It alleged that the bank enhanced loans to Rs 114 crore over a period without any collateral security.The CBI has alleged that the two officers of SBI — N Parthiban and S Muralidhar — entered into a criminal conspiracy with executives of the company for a one-time settlement of Rs 14.50 crore with a condition to write off assets under custody against the total outstanding dues of Rs 214 crore by October, 2013.It alleged that the officers went ahead with the proposed one-time settlement of Rs 14.5 crore by waiving principal portion of the term loan amounting to over Rs 90 crore.”The huge waiver of principal portion of term loan running close to Rs 90 crore is very unusual and deviation from laid down norms and procedures of the bank and the RBI,” the FIR alleged.It said the officials of the bank and the company allegedly caused undue loss of over Rs 200 crore to the bank and corresponding pecuniary gains for themselves.All the accused have been booked under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy, cheating and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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After Naidu’s intervention, Rajya Sabha stalemate over PM’s remarks against Manmohan likely to end

The stalemate over the “conspiracy with Pakistan” charge by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against his predecessor Manmohan Singh seemed to be ending today in the Rajya Sabha as the opposition and the ruling party decided to form a panel after agreeing to the Chair’s suggestion for an amicable solution.As the Congress insisted on Modi coming to the House to clarify the statement he made during poll campaign in Gujarat and its members raised slogans and sought an apology, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu urged the opposition and the government to talk and resolve the stalemate over the prime minister’s comments on his predecessor. Raising the issue, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the prime minister should come to the House and clarify on what he said, as his charges that his predecessor was “conspiring” with Pakistan was “a big issue.”Also readCongress to raise ‘Pakistan interference’ remark in ParliamentAzad said allegations are levelled during elections but some are not good for democracy, politics and the country. “Such allegations are deadly for those against whom they are made,” he said, adding that Manmohan Singh’s integrity and loyalty to the country has been questioned. “Is he the person who is conspiring against the Indian state? Is the former prime minister, former vice president not loyal to the country? These allegations are made by no less than the prime minister. “The prime minister of India should come to the House and explain his remarks and if the former prime minister and others are proved wrong, then action should be taken against them,” he told the House amid vociferous protests by Congress members who sought an apology from Modi.Naidu said he had held an “informal meeting” this morning “my suggestion was it is not good for the country to see that the House is not running properly. “I myself suggested, leaders of different parties were there. … To Parliamentary Affairs Minister to speak to Leader of House Arun Jaitley, the Leader of Opposition and other seniors also and then find a way out to end this impasse, which is in the interest of the country,” Naidu said. He also said that for democracy and parliamentary system to function, both sides should come to an understanding and move forward. “All things can be internally discussed and seen that the House functions properly and dignity of Parliament should be maintained,” he said.Agreeing to the suggestion, Azad said, “Let the meeting be held under chairmanship of Leader of the House with all leaders of other opposition parties.” He said it was not a question of Congress party, as other opposition party leaders are equally concerned. “It is a matter of privilege. It should also be to the satisfaction of Manmohan Singh,” he said. Jaitley said “we will try and explore a solution out of that. I will certainly have the privilege to invite leaders of all my colleagues including LoP and we will try and discuss and find solution for this. We will try and do it today” and suggested the formation of a committee for the purpose.Earlier, the chairman said Manmohan Singh had met him and expressed his concern, his feelings to him. “I have talked to him and have understood what he meant. I have also received a note of what exactly what he said and also what the prime minister was sad by others, calling of names,” he said, adding that the prime minister is the prime minister of the country and that has to be kept in mind by everybody. Deputy leader of Congress Anand Sharma said “We want the House to function and the dignity is also maintained. It is the PM’s responsibility.”

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‘All in Well, not well’: When Chairman Venkaiah Naidu’s one-liners livened noisy RS proceedings

It was Day One of the Winter Session for Venkaiah Naidu as Rajya Sabha Chairman and the VP didn’t disappoint regaling the Upper House with his witty one liners. However, Congress MPs still fuming over PM Modi’s Pakistan remark during Gujarat campaign might have been too livid to see the funny side. On not finding Tiruchy Siva, a DMK MP from Tamil Nadu in RS, the VP quipped that Siva was missing and made a joke about Lord Shiva’s omnipresence as he remarked, that ‘Shiva was everywhere but not here in the house’.Also readNo need to beg, we are independent: RS Chairman Venkaiah Naidu asks members to get rid of colonial terms Another funny repartee came when SP’s Naresh Agarwal tried to raise a point regarding the disqualification of two former JD(U) members of the House.The Chairman did not agree with him saying there is no “point … in your point of order”. He also said the matte cannot be discussed as it is a decision of the Chair.Also readManmohan Singh meets Venkaiah Naidu on eve of Parliament sessionJoining the issue, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the opposition was not challenging the decision taken by the Chair and wanted to say something more, but Naidu repeated that it was not a matter up for discussion.Meanwhile, when Naidu asked A Navaneetha Krishnan (AIADMK) to go ahead with his Zero Hour mention regarding cyclone in Tamil Nadu, Congress and SP members trooped into the Well raising slogans.Also readPM Modi attacks Congress, Kapil Sibal for linking Ram Mandir with Lok Sabha electionsThis angered the VP no end, as he asked them to return to their seats but they continued to raise slogans. “You want to do like this on the first day…All in Well not well…,” he said and adjourned the House till noon. And that ended a nondescript day in Rajya Sabha where no work was done but the mood was certainly livened up by our quirky new Chairman who has a way with words. Opp leaders protest rejection of notice to discuss PM Modi’s Pakistan remarkOpposition leaders today protested the rejection of their notice in the Rajya Sabha demanding an explanation and apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his “conspiracy with Pakistan” remark involving his predecessor Manmohan Singh.The leaders termed the comment “unfortunate” and told reporters outside the House it was “disappointing” that Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu did not allow a discussion on the notice.They also objected to the “illegal disqualification” of rebel Janata Dal (United) leaders Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar Ansari.In place of Yadav and Ansari, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar should be disqualified for breaking away from the grand alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress, they said.”We gave a notice, but the chairman adjourned the House and did not let us raise the issue. We are disappointed. The chairman should have given us permission. This is a national… international issue,” Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters.At an election rally in Gujarat on Sunday, Modi had suggested that Pakistan was trying to influence the state assembly polls.He had claimed that some Pakistani officials and Manmohan Singh met at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house over dinner on December 6.Azad said the prime minister should come to the Rajya Sabha and explain his remarks to its members.His party colleague Anand Sharma, Naresh Agarwal of the SP and D Raja of the CPI said the people concerned should be punished if the allegations levelled by Modi were true.”But if it is false, if he levelled such a big allegation to polarise the people in view of the Gujarat polls, then he should apologise not only to the House but also to the people of the country,” Azad said.Raja said it was “not correct” on Modi’s part to cast aspersions on Singh.The CPI national secretary said Modi should have called up his predecessor if he had any information on the “conspiracy” issue.”He should have done it, but the way he raised the issue in an election campaign… It is highly objectionable. It is not good for democracy,” Raja said, asking the government to respect the Opposition.Sharma said it was “undemocratic” that the Opposition’s voice was being “muzzled”.He said the prime minister was “aware” of the notice and could have “used the opportunity to clarify his remarks, express regret and apologise”.”But the prime minister and the dispensation are arrogant and confrontational. And this is most unfortunate. This attitude does not augur well for democracy. It is an ominous development on the first day itself,” Sharma said.With inputs from PTI

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No need to beg, we are independent: RS Chairman Venkaiah Naidu asks members to get rid of colonial terms

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu brought minor changes in the conduct of the Rajya Sabha on the first day today after taking over as its Chairman, asking ministers and members not to use colonial terms while laying papers on the table.Presiding over the Upper House proceedings on the opening day of the winter session of Parliament, Naidu said no one should use the word “I beg to” while laying papers on the table.”Just say I raise to lay on the table” the listed papers, he said. “No need to beg… This is independent India.”Also readManmohan Singh meets Venkaiah Naidu on eve of Parliament sessionHe made the observation after the ministers called to lay the listed papers on the table, began their sentences by saying “I beg to lay on the table the papers listed against my name in today’s revised list of business.”Naidu was however quick to clarify that this was only a suggestion and not an order.Also readWhat’s wrong with Vande Mataram? If not mother, will you salute Afzal Guru, asks Vice President Venkaiah Naidu This was not only the change that Naidu brought in on the first day as the presiding officer of the House. He also stood up while reading out obituary references.His predecessors Hamid Ansari and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat used to read the obituary references while being seated.Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan too stands while reading out obituary references.Naidu took over as the Vice President of India in August. Vice President is also the presiding officer of the Rajya Sabha.

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Manmohan Singh meets Venkaiah Naidu on eve of Parliament session

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday called on Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu.Singh met Naidu, who is also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, on the eve of the winter session of Parliament.Naidu tweeted about the meeting.Singh is a Congress Rajya Sabha member from Assam.Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused Singh of colluding with Pakistan to ensure the BJP’s defeat in the Gujarat assembly polls.Singh hit back at Modi for allegedly spreading “falsehood and canards” to “score political points in a lost cause”.The opposition parties are likely to raise the issue in Parliament.

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Winter Session of UP Assembly starts on a stormy note

The Winter Session of the UP Assembly began on a stormy note on Thursday when opposition created ruckus disrupting proceedings and forcing several adjournments.Opening day’s proceedings began on stormy note when the Leader of Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary raised and sought a debate on steep hike in power tariff and demanded its rollback during the question hour.Following refusal from the Chair, members of the Samajwadi Party, carrying placards for rollback of hike in power tariff, stormed the Well and raised anti-government slogans. The house was adjourned thrice following disruption by the opposition members.“We will not allow the House to run till our demand is met. Power hike was causing a blow to farmers, poor and middle class at a time when prices of essential commodities are spiralling due to the wrong policies of the Central government,” charged the Leader of Opposition.Despite request from the Speaker HN Dixit to maintain calm and let the proceedings continue, unruly Samajwadi Party members continued to stage prorest in front of the Well and staged a boycott. The Congress too supported the issues raised by the SP members. The question hour in both houses of the State Legislature could not be taken up due to opposition disrupting proceedings.Also readUP CM Yogi Adityanath to trim 94 government depts to 37The House was adjourned for most of the day when Speaker’s plea went unheeded. The Parliamentary Minister Suresh Khanna said that after losing 2014 Lok Sabha, 2017 Assembly and now urban local bodies’ polls, the opposition is taking out its frustration on the floor of the house by creating ruckus to draw attention of the people who voted them out. “They are rendered unemployed by the people of the state. They have no work but noise to make,” charged the minister.Similar unruly scenes were witnessed in the Upper House (UP Council) when Samajwadi Party launched an attack on the ruling BJP on deteriorating law and order and shortage of seeds and fertilizers for the farmers. Carrying placards and donning sports caps with anti-government slogans written on them, Samajwadi Party and BSP members also raised the issue of faulty and rigged EVMs used during recently-concluded elections. Repeated requests from the Chairman Ramesh Yadav to maintain order were ignored the noise and din created by the opposition members forced the Chairman to adjourn the Upper House for the day.

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Innovation & market adaptation way ahead for renewables, say experts

Adapting to market demands and innovation will be the way forward for clean energy sources and technologies, experts from India and Japan said at the Global Partnership Summit here on Monday. The panel of experts was discussing the theme of ‘Clean Energy Sources and Technology’, especially the role of solar energy in India’s renewable energy expansion plan.The discussion saw the participation of Masatsugu Shimono, Vice Chairman, IBM, Japan; Taishi Sugiyama, Senior Research Fellow, The Canon Institute for Global Studies; Aishwarya Kachhal, Indus Towers Limited and Prity Khastgir, Founder & CEO, Tech Corp International Strategist (TCIS). The session was moderated by Pranav Mehta, Founder Chairman, National Solar Energy Federation of India.Setting the tone for the discussion, Mehta stressed that renewable energy has figured prominently in the Paris climate accord that has been ratified by 170 countries till now. He pointed out that while the developed countries were leading renewable energy production a few years back, China has now sped ahead by becoming the world’s top solar energy producer, ahead of United States of America, Germany and Japan. India is the sixth largest producer of solar energy and a recent report by consulting firm Bridge to India said that India’s solar energy capacity is expected to touch 20GW or 20,000 MW by the end of 2017-18 financial year. Currently, around 22% of India’s power comes from renewable energy sources, Mehta said.Mehta added that there is also an urgent need for energy efficiency as conventional energy production sees significant loss during generation, distribution, storage and use.Meanwhile, researcher Taishi Sugiyama said that in the coming years, electric vehicles, self-driven cars and car sharing are going to be major contributors in cutting carbon emissions. “Carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced up to 100% and can also bring a host of economic benefits,” said Sugiyama.The panelists also emphasized RE’s impact on social innovation, health and livelihoods of people. Keeping in mind the present growth rate of the economy, the energy needs are expected to double in the next 6 to 7 years. To meet these needs, solar harvesting and big data analytics will play a pivotal role, said Prity Kshatgir.The Global Partnership Summit has evolved from the India Japan Global Partnership and the three-day event will see participation of over 200 speakers including central government ministers, industry leaders, academicians and social entrepreneurs. They will speak on issues such as clean energy, urban development, mobility, health and education among others.

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Strategic global meet begins today in Delhi

The Global Partnership Summit (GPS), a four-day international event to be attended by government leaders, think-tanks, policy-makers, industry captains, social workers, business leaders, entrepreneurs and youth leaders from the world over, will roll out here from Monday. With 3,000 delegates participating, this initiative towards greater cooperation among the US, India and Japan will discuss an Alternative Development Model (ADM) framework and will strive to evolve energy efficient, environmentally responsible and sustainable model that will also contribute towards empowering societies across the globe.The GPS is chaired by Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party’s secretary-general Toshihiro Nikai and co-chaired by Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra. The US-Japan-India trilateral relationship was flagged off in Tokyo in 2006 by then Japanese Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, now the Prime Minister of Japan. It led to GPS that held its first edition in 2011. According to GPS founder-chairman Vibhav Kant Upadhyay, it has now transformed into a platform to integrate ideologies, ideas, initiatives, projects, people and policies. The organisers said through core values such as co-operation and inclusivity, the GPS will aim to establish models of development that will focus on empowerment and sustainability.The event will focus on building an agriculture corridor from Amritsar in Punjab to Dhanushkodi in Tamil Nadu to allow agriculture produce reach anywhere in India within 24 hours.This step, once realised is expected to raise incomes of farmers. The GPS founder-chairman Upadhyay, who also heads India Centre Foundation (ICF), said that the Summit would also focus on India-Japan-Africa partnership. “Africa has natural resources in abundance. China is already there. But their model is based on exclusivity and exploitation. People there now want partnership and participation. India and Japan will build partnerships and an inclusive model,” he said.In a message, Chairman of GPS Toshihiro Nikai said the overriding philosophy of the summit was ‘Omoiyari’, a social intelligence that allows us to be compassionate, considerate and focus on the power of the collective. “Together we can change the course of development in the world, and together we can make a difference,” he said.Stressing on the need for such events, GPS Co-Chairman & Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra said the prerequisite of a sustainable and empowered world order was a process of close interactions between the economic and cross-cultural systems. “Global Partnership Summit is an iconic platform where world leaders and influencers converge to set new paradigms of an order that creates opportunities for steadily accelerating economic growth and equitable social development for present and future generations,” he said. He expected the Summit to bring out the best of the best in business, governance and civil society.”This summit is going to be drawing on the expertise and experience of world leaders in government, business and civil society. This can only lead to a win-win situation for all concerned. I welcome the opportunity to work and partner with my colleagues and industry leaders from all over the world that are going to be present here. I look forward to welcoming leaders from all over the world and to an extremely successful summit. I look forward to an extremely engaging summit,” he added.

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75 glorious yrs of Campion School

On Tuesday the auditorium of NCPA Tata Theatre was full with the large number of current and past students, current and former teachers, as well as the former administration staff that had come to attend the platinum jubilee of the iconic Campion School located at Cooperage road at Fort on Tuesday.The event was also attended by renowned personalities that passed out from Campion School like Niranjan Hiranandani, MD Hiranandani Group and Senior Congress leader and Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor. Among other dignitaries present were Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, and Chief Post Master General HC Agrawal.Maharashtra Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao, in his speech praised Campion’s illustrious list of alumni. He said, “I was impressed to know many renowned personalities are alumni of the School. I do hope that the School will continue its tradition of producing men of character, values and compassion who will provide leadership to society in all areas of human endeavour.”The school released event brochure and its logo that will be used for whole year for correspondence. The documentary ‘Beyond the first step’ of the school was also shown.The Campion school at Fort was once started on 20 January 1943 with 23 students by members of Society of Jesuits. The school now has 830 students.The school was once in a small building in a rental ground floor at 45, New Marine Lines. The school’s first principal was late Fr Joseph Savall. It use to give Cambridge education to its students till 1956.RENOWNED ALUMNIPraful Patel, Former Aviation Minister Shashi Tharoor, MP Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, Managing Director of Hiranandani Group Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia, MP and Congress Leader Rajdeep Sardesai, Indian news anchor and author Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Group. (L-R) C Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra, Paul Machado, Principal, Dr Eric Borges, Chairman, Campion School, Niranjan Hiranandani, MD of Hiranandani Group and Dr Frazer Mascarenhas, Jesuits’s Provincial’s representative
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Pinarayi Vijayan govt mulls promotion of ‘green habitat’ concept in Kerala

Amid concerns about unscientific construction practises, the Kerala government is considering promoting a ‘green habitat’ concept giving thrust to eco-friendly and reusable building materials, natural water storage and solid waste management.Haritha Keralam Mission, the state-run agency which envisages a clean and green state, has initiated an initial round of discussion with various experts and stakeholders in this regard, official sources here said.An alternative and sustainable architecture practice would be promoted in place of the existing conventional mode of construction under the ‘green habitat’ concept, they said.Also readIndia’s biggest floating solar power plant to be inaugurated in KeralaThe buildings, under the concept, are planned to be designed in such a way that natural sunlight and wind would be used to maximum and the usage of electricity reduces to the minimum.A rainwater harvesting or natural water storage system would be a sure feature of such ‘green’ buildings, where even kitchen and drainage water would be recycled and reused for other household purposes, a top Mission official said.Not only the danger posed by unscientific construction practices, but also the scarcity of conventional building materials is a reason to draw up an alternative green habitat concept, Vice Chairman and CEO of Haritha Keralam Mission, T N Seema said.She said the programme is at the concept level only and discussions are going on.”Our objective is to introduce maximum eco-friendly and reusable materials in the construction.. For example, bamboo can be used for construction.. But, its usage is not common in our state,” Seema told PTI.Waste waster, especially the kitchen and toilet water, can be recycled and reused for watering plants in individual houses and flat complexes, she said.Roof-top solar plants can help bring down the dependency on electricity, Seema, also an ex-Rajya Sabha MP, said.However, she said the green habitat concept cannot be implemented through laws alone.”Laws and legislation alone are not enough to implement the green habitat concept.. A thorough grassroot level campaign is inevitable to create awareness about this among public and inculcate a green culture among them,” she said.Besides individual houses and flat complexes and other buildings, efforts would be taken up to bring government offices also under the initiative, the official added.CPI(M)-led LDF government in the southern state has been promoting green concepts in waste managements, conservation of ground water sources, rainwater harvesting and organic farming with people’s support.Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had recently said that laws would be framed to set apart a particular space for water storage in every new buildings being constructed in the state.
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Railway’s safety wing being strengthened, train accidents down by 40%: Ashwani Lohani

Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani today said train accidents had decreased by 40% in the country and over 1.25 lakh people were being appointed to the railways’ safety department.The number of accidents between April 1 and November 30 this year had gone down by 40% in comparison to the corresponding period in 2016, he told reporters here.”The safety wing is being strengthened. The maintenance work of the tracks is going on on a war footing and new tracks are being laid,” Lohani said, while acknowledging that there were certain cases of train accidents recently.A large number of posts were lying vacant in the railways and the process was on to fill up these posts, particularly those associated with the safety of the trains and tracks, he added.”In the safety category, 1.25 lakh group C and group D staff will be appointed on a priority basis,” Lohani said.Also readRailways at ‘critical juncture’, safety to be priority: Board chairman Ashwani LohaniTo a question, the railway board chairman said officials of the Dhanbad division of the East Central Railway and the Bharat Coking Coal Limited would attend a meeting in Delhi on December 8 to decide on the revival of the closed Dhanbad- Chandrapura route.The 34-km-long route was declared closed on June 15 on the recommendation of the directorate general of mines safety because of underground mine fire.Also readPassenger safety topmost priority: Railway Board chief LohaniThe DVC operates a thermal power station at Chandrapura.Lohani said the board had short and long-term projects for an alternative to the Dhanbad Chandrapura route, for which a proposal would be put up in the next budget.
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Day after voting ends for UP civic polls, Adityanath govt hikes power tariff by 12%

A day after urban bodies’ polls, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh gave an electrical shock to people of the state increasing the power tariff by 12%.Announcing the hike in the tariff, the Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Authority (UPERC) Chairman SK Agarawl said that against the demand of 22% hike, the authority has allowed only overall 12% hike.The UPERC has, however, kept the industries out of the power tariff hike. The worst affected are the rural consumers who will have to shell 63% more than what they were paying now. Commercial and urban consumers will have to pay 9.89% and 8.49% more.The cap for the subsidized tariff of 150 units for BPL consumers has been reduced to 100 units. Now they will have to pay Rs 3 for first 100 units and above that Rs 4.90. The worst affected are the rural consumers who were enjoying unmetered power at the rate of Rs 180 per month fixed rental charges will have to install metres or they will be asked to pay Rs 600-700 per month. The unmetered commercial traiif in rural areas has been hiked from Rs 600 to Rs 1000.Though industries have been kept out of the hike but farmers were not spared. They will have to pay Rs 150 per bhp against Rs 100 charged earlier. The new tariff plan has also given a jolt to urban consumers. They will have to pay Rs 4.90 per unit for first 150 units against Rs 3 per unit earlier, Rs 5.40 for 150 to 300 units slab and Rs 6.20 per unit 300 to 500 slab. Above 500 units, they will end paying Rs 6.50 per unit.Also readWhy Uttar Pradesh civic polls will impact Assembly elections in Gujarat Similarly, commercial power tariff in urban areas has been hiked to Rs 7 per unit for first 300 units and Rs 8 for 300 to 1000 units. The fixed charge has also been increased from Rs 200 to 300. The power department is running huge losses to the tune of Rs 75,000 crores and was desperate to seek tariff hike to fulfil the promise of the Yogi Aityanath government to make available power in every villages by October 2018 under Power for All Mission. Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation was losing Rs 22.50 crore per day due to power theft and lines losses which about 30% against national average of 15%. There are about 88 lakh katia (illegal) connections across state. To check power theft and reduce line losses, the department has proposed to install metres in every rural and urban household to bridge gap between the power supplied and revenue collected.
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Docs see rise in asthma, lung infections

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Medical experts in the Capital have started witnessing a steep rise in the number of cases of asthma, lung infections and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).”In the last one week, the cases have gone up immensely. The numbers are on the higher side as compared to the last year. Also, the pollution levels have also gone up suddenly. The weather is dusty and people who already have a history of respiratory illness are having a tough time,” said Dr Raj Kumar, head of department, pulmonology, Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute.Experts have advised patients to take precautionary measures. “Newborns and elderly should stay alert and take preventive measures. The weather is going to be worse in next three to five days,” said Dr KK Sethi, Chairman and Managing Director of the Delhi Heart and Lung Institute.Air pollution is contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere.”Carrying an inhaler has become a must in this weather. There is dust in the air which is also causing irritation in the throat,” said Rajbir Singh, resident of West Delhi.Singh was diagnosed with asthma three years back and since then Delhi’s high pollution level gives him a tough time every year.”One should cover their face while travelling. Even staying indoors is not safe as the suspended particles enter through windows,” says Dr JC Suri, HOD, Pulmonary Medicine at Safdarjung Hospital.

Time for consolidation of reforms to deliver ‘desired fruits’: Niti Aayog Vice Chairman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar today said the time has come for consolidation of reforms, including GST, bankruptcy code and benami law, initiated by the Modi government in the last 42 months to ensure that the steps deliver the “desired fruits”. The new initiatives in the next 18 months, Kumar said, should focus on health and education sectors as these two are going to be critical for human resource development.”You know Modi government has done far too much in those 42 months, it has taken some very major steps. My view is that time has come for consolidation and making sure that these reform steps which have been taken yield the desired fruits,” he told PTI in an interview. The Narendra Modi-led NDA government came to power in May 2014 and the next general elections are due in 2019. Reform measures such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and the flagship schemes like Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) are very major initiatives, Kumar said.”We should now focus on their successful completion except in social sector where some steps need to be taken” on public health and public education system fronts. On criticism that the government has failed to create enough jobs, Kumar said there are a large number of areas which have seen substantial increase in employment opportunities, though they may not be in organised and formal sector. “The number of EPFO accounts have increased, the number of National Pension System (NPS) accounts have increased… (There is a) significant jump in the number of employees within the services sector, especially in tourism, civil aviation, transport and services sector.”Let me say that the lack of employment story, I think, is quite exaggerated,” Kumar said. When asked whether the Modi government would go populist in its last regular Budget to be presented in February next year, Kumar said the government would do what is right for the country and not with an eye on elections. “This government has never believed in any kind of populism, I don’t see any populism coming…I think Prime Minister Modi’s instructions are going to be very clear, let us do what is right for the country,” he asserted.On overall macroeconomic environment in the country, the Niti Aayog vice chairman said the rating upgrade by Moody’s was clear vindication of the fact that the macroeconomic environment in the country is improving, specially with regards to the investor sentiments. “The only slight concern is the continued weakness of the exports sector, which has not taking off as expected,” Kumar said, adding that the rise in current account deficit (CAD) up to 2.4 per cent in the first quarter of the current fiscal should not be a cause of worry because of strong foreign currency reserves.Asked why private investments are not picking up, he pointed out that most people use only the figure of credit offtake on public sector banks (PSBs) as the proxy for private sector investment. “But if you look at credit offtake on private sector banks, it has now risen quite well…Finally also number of initial public offers (IPOs) have been higher than previous year. So if you look at all things taken together, the picture is not at all bad,” Kumar observed.

Ayodhya: Shia Board offers to give up land for temple

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Wakq Board (UPSCWB) has finally reached an agreement with Ayodhya sadhus and saints agreeing to surrender entire 2.77 acres of disputed land to Hindus for the construction of Ram temple. The Board has also agreed to build mosque in Lucknow outside Ayodhya.In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court for the settlement of the land dispute outside court, the Board Chairman Syed Waseem Rizvi said that the Shia Board and Ayodhya seers have reached an agreement on November 13 to resolve the land dispute amicably. As per the agreement, the Shia Board has surrendered entire 2.77 acres of land to Hindus for the construction of Ram temple and agreed to build mosque at Shia-dominated Hussainbad area in Lucknow.A four-page agreement between Shia Board and Hindus religious leaders has also been submitted along with the affidavit in the apex Court. The agreement is signed by Ram Janambhoomi Nyas Chairman Mahanat Nritya Gopal Das, All-India Akhara Parishad Chairman Mahant Narendra Giri, former BJP MP and VHP leader Dr Ram Vilas Vedanti, Mahant Dharam Das of Nirvani Akhara, Mahant Ram Das of Hanumangarhi, Mahant Suresh Das, Dr Rameshwar Das, member Kendriya Margdarshak Mandal VHP, Virendra Chaubey from Hindu side and Dr Waseem Rizvi on behalf of Shia Board and Muslim side.Rizvi said that Hindu organizations and leaders spearheading the Ram temple movement have agreed to the Shia Board formula and signed the agreement. “This will put an end to the ongoing dispute in court and erase the permanent schism between Hindus and Muslim over Babri mosque. The formula will restore peace, communal harmony and brotherhood between the two communities,” he added.Rizvi said that the Board would appeal to the Yogi Adityanth government to allot one acre land of Hussainabad Trust in Lucknow for the construction of mosque which will be named as Masjid-e-Aman. He said that the Shia Board would construct the mosque from its own resources.Rizvi said that the claim of the Sunni Centra Wakq Board over the Babri mosque land by way of February 26, 1994 order was already rejected by Faizabad District Judge and later by the High Court. “After rejection of their claim on Babri mosque and its land, only Shia Board is its rightful owner,” he pointed. He also pointed that Babri mosque was always under a Shia Mutwalli, a descendant of Meer Baqi who constructed the Babri mosque in 1528.Rejecting Shia Board formula, Sunni Central Wakq Board and All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) are sticking to their guns saying that they would go by the Supreme Court final verdict.”The matter is before the Supreme Court. Let the court give its final verdict, we will abide by it,” reacted Jafrayab Jilani, Secretary AIMPLB.Even the All India Shia Personal Law Board has rejected. “WaseemRizvi has no right to interfere in the matter when it is before the Supreme Court,” stated Yasoob Abbas, Board Spokesperson.Iqbal Ansari, a litigant in the case, said that they are with the Sunni Central Wakq Board. “His formula holds no legal value. Who is he to hand over land to the other party ignoring High Court order. Muslims will only abide by Supreme Court judgment in the case,” said Ansari.Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravishanker had also visited Ayodhya last week to broker the deadlock but he returned empty hands.THE FORMULAAccording to its affidavit, UPSCWB has agreed to surrender the entire 2.77 acres of disputed land to Hindus for the construction of Ram temple. The Board has also agreed to build mosque in Lucknow outside Ayodhya.

The lowdown on Congress’ plan to make Rahul Gandhi party president before Gujarat elections

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rahul Gandhi could be made Congress President as early as in the first week of December with party’s apex decision making body—Congress Working Committee set to meet on Monday to take a call on the issue.The CWC meeting on November 20 takes place amid growing view in the party, particularly its young leaders to elevate, Gandhi to the top position at a time the party braces for a generational change in leadership after a gap of nearly 20 years and Congress President Sonia Gandhi under medical treatment for some years.Sonia Gandhi had become Congress President on March 14, 1998 and could have completed 20 years, a record of sort had she continued till March next year.
ALSO READ ‘Why no questions on PM Modi over Rafale deal,’ Rahul Gandhi asks media The agenda of the CWC meeting is to finalise the schedule for party President’s election. According to a tentative schedule sent by Congress Election Committee, nomination filing exercise could begin from November 21 and candidates can withdraw their names till December 1. The polls, if necessary, will be held on December 8 and counting could be carried out on December 11.Talking to reporters regarding CWC meeting, party general secretary (Organisation) Janardan Dwivedi said, that dates for election of Congress President will fixed on Monday.He said that if only one nomination is filed, Gandhi’s elevation can be announced on date of withdrawal of nominations since there is no other nomination for contesting the President’s post. This means that Rahul who is spearheading the party’s campaign in Gujarat assembly polls will be party President before polling begins in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home turf on December 9. The elections are likely to go uncontested but if somebody files nomination, then the Congress Vice President’s elevation can take a few more days as formalities will to be completed and the result could be clear only after the last day of withdrawal of nominations.Up till now no Congress leader has dropped indications about contesting against Gandhi, though the Congress Vice President has been a strong votary of internal elections in the party from the top to the bottom rung.Elections for Congress President’s post have happened only twice post-independence- Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot had filed nominations against incumbent President Sitaram Kesri in 1997 and lost badly. Later in 2001, senior Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh Jitendra Prasada filed his nomination for the top post against incumbent Sonia Gandhi and again he lost badly.With the Election Commission having set a deadline of December 31 for Congress to complete its organizational elections, the party was running short time. Quite recently the Chairman of Congress’ Central Election Authority Mullappally Ramchandran , who was looking after the party’s organizational polls, had written to Sonia Gandhi to convene CWC to announce the election schedule for the new Congress President early.The entire election schedule will be around a fortnight long. The CWC meeting begins the final action towards elevation of Rahul Gandhi the state Congress committees have already submitted resolutions to the leadership seeking Rahul Gandhi as new President.The Congress Vice President’s elevation has been in speculation for more than three years. When recently it became clear that Congress has finally decided on Rahul Gandhi’s Presidency, there was a view that he should be taking over as Party President only after November 19, the 100th birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi.Now the spotlight will on Sonia Gandhi’s next role at a time when Congress is trying to arrive at maximum possible Opposition unity and a number of Opposition leaders, having indicated their preference for Sonia remaining in the lead role for Opposition unity.There are speculations that she could continue to be Congress Parliamentary Party Chairman or UPA Chairperson, a post she earlier also held during the last two UPA alliances led by Congress. Gandhi had UPA Chiarperson on May 16, 2004.Rahul, a three term Lok Sabha MP from family pocket borough Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, became AICC general secretary in September 2007, before he was elevated as Congress Vice President on January 19, 2013.Rahul (47) also mentored Youth Congress and party’s student wing NSUI as AICC general secretary in-charge.

India, Japan mulling possible joint lunar mission: ISRO chief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Discussions are underway between India and Japan on making use of space segment for providing inputs on weather-monitoring parameters and also on joint lunar mission, ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar said on Friday.”We are looking at a future for a possible joint lunar mission. In future, we will also be looking at how we can make use of this relationship for generating more input for climate change studies,” Kumar told reporters at the Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum 24 conference here.Kumar said there is a visible change in the relationship between space agencies of India and Japan, which are both working together for looking at possible future cooperative mission.Asked if China took into account the “competitiveness” of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to announce their plans to cut cost of launching satellites, Kumar said there is a move by space agencies around the world including India and China, to reduce the cost of accessing space.”In general, the endeavour of all space agencies is to make access to space cheaper. Unless you are able to reach there at lower costs, many of the activities including power generation, will not be feasible,” he said.”Hence, in this context, almost all agencies are working towards making the cost of access to space cheaper and cheaper,” he said.Recently, China had joined the global race to cut the cost of launching rockets, and announced its plans to bring down prices to USD 5,000 a kg.

Modiji and Moody’s jodi failed to to gauge mood of the nation: Congress reacts to India’s credit rating upgrade

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress accused the Modi government of “clutching at straws” to reclaim the lost credibility, and said it and rating agency Moody’s have failed to gauge the mood of the nation.Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala also sought to downplay Moody’s rating upgrade of India, saying the same agency had miscalculated US subprime mortgages before the economic meltdown.”After destroying India’s economy, the Modi government is clutching at straws to claim lost credibility,” he said on Twitter.”Modiji and Moody’s ‘jodi’ (duo) have failed to gauge the mood of the nation,” he said, adding that hunger deaths, agri distress, job losses, lowest credit ratings, rising prices, plunging exports, flawed GST, demonetisation disaster, stagnant growth are the real indices to measure it.Taking a dig at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Surjewala said, “Mr Jaitley, do remember that Moody’s, S&P and other rating agencies defaulted in rating American sub-prime mortgages…before the economic meltdown.” “Lesson is stop acting and get your act together. Shun arrogance and listen to the trade and industry,” he told the finance minister.The Congress leader said the Modi government relied upon a World Bank report of Delhi/Mumbai to claim all is well and quoted a PEW survey of 2,464 people to claim victory.”At this pace, Modiji should be fighting next election abroad,” he said, taking a dig at the prime minister.”Mr Jaitley, history teaches us valuable lessons. You ignore them at your peril! As greed, collusion and crony capitalism sank banks and Wall Street, please read who contributed to wiping away people’s money.”Hope you are not following the same trajectory!,” he said. Moody’s Investors Service today raised India’s sovereign rating for the first time in 13 years, saying growth prospects have improved with continued progress on economic and institutional reforms.The US-based agency changed its rating outlook to ‘stable’ from ‘positive’, saying the reforms will help stabilise rising levels of debt. Top ministers and officials of the government hailed the rating upgrade by Moody’s as “long overdue” and hoped others such as S&P and Fitch will follow suit as it presses ahead with steps to ratchet up growth. India’s rating upgrade reflects growth story: NITI Aayog India’s credit rating upgrade by Moody’s is a reflection of the country’s growth story, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said today and expressed hope that other global agencies such as S&P and Fitch would follow suit.The US-based Moody’s upgraded India’s sovereign rating after a gap of 13 years to Baa2, with ‘stable’ outlook, from Baa3 earlier, citing improved growth prospects driven by economic and institutional reforms.”Moody’s upgrading India’s Ratings is a reflection of India growth story and sound economic principles for a #NewIndia. Hoping others will follow,” Kumar said in a tweet.Former Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said in a tweet: “Moody s upgrade India’s credit rating after 13 years. A clear recognition of economic & institutional reforms; well paced shift towards formalisation of the economy; improvement in business climate;positive growth outlook.”In 2015, the rating outlook was changed to ‘positive’ from ‘stable’.The ‘Baa3’ rating was the lowest investment grade — just a notch above ‘junk’ status.In a statement this morning, the credit ratings agency said: “The decision to upgrade the ratings is underpinned by Moody’s expectation that continued progress on economic and institutional reforms will, over time, enhanceIndia’s high growth potential and its large and stable financing base for government debt, and will likely contribute to a gradual decline in the general government debt burden over the medium term.”It cautioned however that high debt burden remains a constraint on the country’s credit profile.

Sena proposes bus fare cut, BEST admin disposes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an unusual turn of events on Tuesday, a proposal to reduce BEST bus fares in the minimum slab by Re 1 was passed after discussions in the BEST committee meeting on Tuesday, only to be withdrawn after the BEST administration objected to the move.At the meeting on Tuesday, the Shiv Sena proposed a reduction in fares in the minimum slab by Re 1. Its alliance partner BJP maintained that there shouldn’t be any change in the existing fares. After a debate, the proposal was also passed at the BEST Committee. However, it was then objected by the administration and the proposal was then withdrawn by Shiv Sena members themselves who are at the helm of the BEST Committee.This is the first time that a proposal mooted by a committee member is approved and withdrawn within a matter of minutes. The BEST has proposed a hike in fares for travelling 6 km and beyond from the existing Rs 14 to Rs 15.Similarly, after every 2 km, the fare will go up by Re 1. Against this proposal, Shiv Sena member Rajesh Kusale mooted that the BEST should reduce the minimum fare slabs of 2-4 km by Re 1 so as to compete with share autos and taxis.This would ideally mean that the minimum fare would have been Rs 7 and the next slab would be Rs 9. When this proposal was mooted, it went for voting between the different Committee members belonging to various political parties. As no one from Congress were present, the five members of Shiv Sena went in to approve this, while the four members of BJP remained status quo; thus the proposal to reduce minimum fares by Re 1 got approved.This would have come as a big jolt for the loss making BEST as they have posted deficit of Rs 880 crore in 2018-19 while in the previous financial year of 2017-18 they showed deficit of Rs 590 crore. Their parent organisation — BMC — has already asked them to come out with cost reduction and revenue augmenting measures. For this, the BEST has also identified five major reforms that is expected to earn them Rs 653 crore per annum. However, this sudden approval of reduced fares would make matters worse for the Undertaking.This is when Surendra Bagde, General Manager of BEST appealed to withdraw this decision of the Committee members. “A reduction in minimum fare would not make much difference to people who have already accepted the Rs 8 as minimum fare. So I appeal to the members to withdraw this proposal as the BEST is already facing severe losses,” said Bagde at the meeting.Soon after, the chairman Anil Kokil, who is also from Shiv Sena stated that in order to save the BEST stern measures needs to be taken. What happened next was withdrawal of an approved proposal which until now has not happened at least in recent past. “I had proposed this (reduction in fare) so that it would attract more people; as it is fares for long distance was being hiked. But the Chairman and administration were apprehensive about it and so I withdrew the proposal,” said Kusale to DNA.The approved fare charts will now be sent to the BMC for final approvals after which it will be implemented.SERIES OF EVENTSAt the meeting on Tuesday, the Shiv Sena proposed a reduction in fares BJP maintained that there shouldn’t be any change. After a debate, the proposal was also passed at the BEST Committee. However, it was then objected by the administration and rejected by Sena.

‘Ready for sacrifice’: Sharad Yadav says no position holds importance when fight is over issues

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid indications of an early decision on his disqualification from the membership of Rajya Sabha, senior JD(U leader Sharad Yadav, who has rebelled against party chief Nitish Kumar’s decision to align with NDA, said: “no post or position holds importance when the fight is over issues”.Yadav, as well as another Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar Ansari, had on Wednesday appeared before Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venakaiah Naidu, who is hearing a petition filed by Leader of JD(U) in Rajya Sabha RCP Singh, seeking their disqualification from the party.It is learnt that Yadav has been told that the Rajya Sabha is looking at the issue only with the perspective of 10th Schedule of the Constitution regarding his disqualification for acting against the party line and it is separate from the issue which is the real JD(U), a matter being contested by both Sharad Yadav and Nitish camp before Election Commission.“Natural justice should be followed in the matter, though for me post and position does not hold significance when it comes to issues. When one fights on issues, one has to make all sorts of sacrifices and I am ready for it. If the sacrifice happens, so let be it. I had resigned from Lok Sabha twice,” Yadav told DNA. “Yadav’s remarks come in the backdrop of indications that the Rajya Sabha Chairman could decide the disqualification matter soon without referring the matter to Parliament’s Ethics Committee this time.Earlier on Tuesday evening Yadav had received a communication from Rajya Sabha office in which his request to allow a lawyer to appear on his behalf on the matter was rejected citing absence of any such precedent in past.Yadav camp’s argument is that the general practice in such matters has also been that such disputes regarding disqualification are referred to Ethics Committee of Parliament and if past precedents are to be followed, the committee route should not be bypassed.Before this Yadav had sought eight weeks extension from the Rajya Sabha Secretariat last month to appear before it citing his engagements in assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh but he was given only eight days’ extension with a rider that no further extension will be given in the case.The eighth-day timeline ended on November 8 and there are indications that Yadav may find it difficult to save his membership in Rajya Sabha.Ansari, however, questioned the remit of Rajya Sabha Chairman in deciding the matter.”Action regarding disqualification can be taken under 10th Schedule by Rajya Sabha Chairman only in case violation of whip of Parliamentary Party in the House. In other matters, it is for the party to take disciplinary action and in our matter, even this is still disputed as to which is the real party,” he told DNA.

We’re building reusable vehicles, says ISRO Chairman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is in the process to build reusable launch vehicles and is working on new technologies for interplanetary missions.ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar while delivering an inaugural talk at Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) on Wednesday, said, “We are also on the lookout for equipping with capabilities to carry objects in multiple launches than single launches. We want to reduce cost of access and hence are building reusable launch vehicles.”PRL has organised a three-day brainstorming session on ‘Vision and Explorations for Planetary Sciences in Decades 2020-2060’.The event is aimed at providing a forum for planetary researchers and academicians to explore, discuss and present the latest trends, promote understanding and exchange results and opinions in the area of planetary sciences and explorations.Speaking about the need of the hour, Kumar said, “We need to develop capabilities by solving problems going into deep space also. We need to remain relevant and need to solve issues differently. The world is changing very fast and private entrepreneurs are entering the segment.”Speaking about future of Mars exploration, he said, “The next step would be to search for signs of life and investigate resources that could support human habitation.”There are many newer institutions which are setting up an astronomy department in their institutes. One of the IITs have roped in NASA scientists for the astronomy department.Questioning the audience whether any of them are a part of the event at PRL, he said, “The linkage within our country is not good. We need to also work on linkages.”

Malls and hotels mark growth post note ban

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hotels and restaurants across the city that wore a deserted look on this day, a year ago, as demonetisation had impacted the food and leisure industry, have bounced back to normalcy. Back then, the immediate impact of demonetisation had resulted in a dip of footfall across malls, multiplexes, and restaurants.Jayen Naik, Vice-President, Ahmedabad One mall, said, “Demonetisation had hit us during its initial days, till November 15 last year where we witnessed dip in footfall as well as sales. The main reason then was that people were busy depositing money. However, then onwards, we have been growing at a decent pace. During Diwali, we witnessed a growth of 14%. On a daily basis, nearly 25,000 customers visit the mall which goes up till 50,000 on weekends.”Speaking in length about the hotel industry, hotelier Narendra Somani, Chairman, TGB Banquets and Hotels and President of Hotels and Restaurants Association, said, “I am happy with demonetisation as it has made systems easy. The industry was impacted till December last year but it has bounced back to normalcy and hotels are doing good now. In Diwali this year, where usually, business hotels witness just 5-10 % of occupancy, TGB had 60% room occupancy.For banquets, we get bookings 6-8 months in advance but due to demonetisation, we had hardly got any bookings in December last year for April this year. But the scene is different now. Caterers across the city are packed with their bookings and it says a lot.”For Iscon mall, it was not a major change. Nirav Vastik, manager, said, “Since we are into retail business, we have not had major impact. It was a temporary one. Our mall is undergoing redevelopment due to which only 50% of the mall is operational. Hence, we cannot blame just demonetisation for impact in footfall.”Interestingly, owner of Atithi restaurant Chirag Patel feels that demonetisation has impacted business a lot. He says, “Demonetisation, according to me, was a sudden decision. We did not have POS machine, which took 2-3 months to arrive. We suffered a lot in the initial three months as not many had debit or credit cards. Then GST came. Traditionally, we have been increasing our prices only once a year but since we had already lost our customers, we did not increase prices till Diwali.”

Supply not up to pre-DeMo time

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A year after demonetization, long queues outside ATMs are rarely seen but no-cash ATMs still persist.The currency in circulation is now at Rs 15,511.9 billion, less than the Rs 17,449.2 billion that was in circulation during the same time last year. While the cash pipeline needs more supply, banks have learnt to distribute it evenly among the branches and ATMs so that there are no queues. The shortage of cash, however, remains as physical usage of it remains high.Rajnish Kumar, Chairman, State Bank of India, told DNA: “We have sufficient cash and it is distributed in all our branches and ATMs based on the need.”However, some of the smaller banks say that cash is insufficient to distribute it across all its centres. “Cash shortage is still persistent. It is still an issue in the rural areas,” a senior official with a south-based bank said.”The cost of funds of banks have come down at least by 2-3 per cent and digital payments have seen a sharp rise,” Kumar added.Figures, however, show that electronic transactions have not seen a persistent rise. After demonetization, the value of electronic transactions hit a high of Rs 149 lakh crore in March 2017, which was Rs 94 lakh crore more than its prior days. But the initial euphoria has settled down and digital payments have fallen. Despite the expansion of the infrastructure, it slid in October to Rs 99 lakh crore.”There has been a large formalisation of financial savings and increase in the flow to mutual funds and insurance space,” Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director and Chief Executive Director of ICIC Bank, said on Monday.

32 dead in Unchahar blast, enquiry report in a month: NTPC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The death toll in NTPC’s Unchahar plant accident has climbed to 32, making it the country’s worst industrial disaster in eight years, while the company said today that investigations will be completed by an enquiry panel within a month.The accident is the worst since the 2009 collapse of a power-plant chimney under construction at Bharat Aluminium Co s Korba project, which killed 45 people.The NTPC management set up an enquiry to investigate the blast on November 1, when a boiler at 500 MW Unit-6 blew up and injured around 80 people.”Around 80 people were affected due to this accident. 32 succumbed to injuries and 48 are under treatment,” NTPC Chairman and Managing Director Gurdeep Singh told reporters here.As many as 12 seriously injured persons, including two with over 80 per cent burns, were air lifted and admitted to Safdarjung and Apollo hospitals in Delhi, he said.All possible measures are being taken to provide immediate relief to the families of the affected people in close coordination with the district administration, he added.Asked about the reasons for the blast, Singh said: “Enquiry will reveal whether it was human error, violation of safety norm or others. If I will tell you the reason then it would impose my view on the committee which will give its report in one month.”The panel is headed by an NTPC Executive Director SK Roy and includes two general managers.Terming the boiler plant blast as “the rarest kind of incident”, Singh said that people maintaining the unit were the most experienced.NTPC followed the laid down procedure to operationalise the plant and even the commissioning of the Unit-6 was delayed by six month, he said.The commercial date of operation was April this year as the company had achieved full load of plant (running at full capacity) in March itself, he added.The plant was declared commercially operational on September 30, 2017.Singh said external agencies, as per the procedure, were involved in the commissioning of the plant and NTPC has asked BHEL officials to visit the plant.BHEL had designed, manufactured, supplied and commissioned the 500 MW Unit-6 at the plant.On the issue of whether safety audits would be conducted on other plants of the NTPC after this accident, Singh said that it is a continuous process and the enquiry results will be a guide to maintenance of the plants.Asked when NTPC can make the Unit-6 operational again, he said that it will take nearly three to six months to put the unit back on track.

Senate confirms Kenneth Juster, old India hand, as US Ambassador to India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Senate confirmed by a voice vote the nomination of Kenneth Juster as the next US Ambassador to India.Juster, 62, is an old India hand who played a key role in the landmark Indo-US civil nuclear deal.He would replace Richard Verma as the top American diplomat to India. The position has been lying vacant since January 20 after Verma resigned from the post with the swearing in of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.The latest development follows Juster’s nomination confirmation which was on last Friday agreed by the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a voice vote, reflecting the bipartisan support his nomination has in the Congress.Juster is soon expected to be headed to India for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad later this month. The annual summit is being co-hosted by India and the United States.Trump’s senior adviser and daughter Ivanka Trump will be leading a high-powered American delegation of entrepreneurs to the GES, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Powerful Democratic Senator Mark Warner welcomed the Senate confirmation of Juster.”I was proud to support Ken’s nomination to be our country’s representative in India, one of our most important defence partners in the region,” he said.”I have known Ken since we were in law school in the 1970s. As Ambassador, I trust his decades of work on critical issues like trade, cybersecurity and defence will help advance the US-India relationship in a positive direction,” Warner said.Juster was nominated to be the Ambassador to India on September 5. He has over 35 years of experience as a senior business executive, senior law partner, and senior government official, including serving as the US Under Secretary of Commerce from 2001 to 2005.Juster founded and served as the US Chair of the US-India High Technology Cooperation Group, and was one of the key architects of the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership initiative between the United States and India.His work related to India played an important role in the transformation of the US-India relationship and helped provide the foundation for the historic civil nuclear agreement between the two countries.Most recently, Juster had served as the Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council.Juster played a key role in enhancing the Indo-US ties under the Bush administration.Juster has also served as the Counsellor (acting) of the State Department from 1992-1993, and deputy and senior adviser to the Deputy Secretary of State from 1989-1992. In the private sector, he has been a partner at the investment firm Warburg Pincus LLC, Executive Vice President at Salesforce.com, and senior partner at the law firm Arnold & Porter.He has also served as Chairman of Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and as Vice Chairman of The Asia Foundation.Juster holds a law degree from the Harvard Law School, a masters degree in Public Policy from the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and a bachelors degree in Government from Harvard College.

WEF Gender Gap index: India slips 21 slots to 108, ranked behind China and Bangladesh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India slipped 21 places on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap index to a lowly 108, behind neighbours China and Bangladesh, primarily due to less participation of women in the economy and low wages.Moreover, India’s latest ranking is 10 notches lower than its reading in 2006 when the WEF started measuring the gender gap. According to the WEF Global Gender Gap Report 2017, India has closed 67 per cent of its gender gap, less than many of its international peers, and some of its neighbours like Bangladesh ranked 47th while China was placed at 100th. Globally also, this year’s story is a bleak one. For the first time since the WEF began measuring the gap across four pillars — health, education, the workplace and political representation — the global gap has actually widened.”A decade of slow but steady progress on improving parity between the sexes came to a halt in 2017, with the global gender gap widening for the first time since the WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report was first published in 2006,” it said. The findings in this year’s report, published today, showed that an overall 68 per cent of the global gender gap has been closed. This is a slight deterioration from 2016 when the gap closed was 68.3 per cent. At the current rate of progress, the global gender gap will take 100 years to bridge, compared to 83 last year.The case is worse in terms of workplace gender divide, which the report estimates will take 217 years to close. On a positive note, however, a number of countries are bucking the dismal global trend as over one-half of all 144 countries measured this year have seen their score improve in the past 12 months, the report noted. At the top of the Global Gender Gap Index is Iceland. The country has closed nearly 88 per cent of its gap. It has been the world’s most gender-equal country for nine years.Others in the top 10 include Norway (2nd), Finland (3rd), Rwanda (4) and Sweden (5), Nicaragua (6) and Slovenia (7), Ireland (8), New Zealand (9) and the Philippines (10). India’s greatest challenges lie in the economic participation and opportunity pillar where the country is ranked 139 as well as health and survival pillar where the country is ranked 141, the WEF said. The report attributed much of India’s decline in position on the overall Global Gender Gap Index to a widening of its gender gaps in political empowerment as well as healthy life expectancy and basic literacy.”With more than 50 years having passed since the inauguration of the nation’s first female prime minister in 1966, maintaining its global top 20 ranking on the political empowerment sub-index will require India to make progress on this dimension with a new generation of female political leadership,” the report said. Moreover, the scale of India’s gender gap in women’s share among legislators, senior officials and managers as well as professional and technical workers highlights that continued efforts will be needed to achieve parity in economic opportunity and participation.In India, the workplace gender gap is reinforced by extremely low participation of women in the economy (136 out of the total 144 countries covered) and low wages for those who work (136th ranking for estimated earned income), the WEF said, adding that “on average, 66 per cent of women’s work in India is unpaid, compared to 12 per cent of men’s”. On a positive note, India succeeded in fully closing its primary and secondary education enrolment gender gaps for the second year running and for the first time has nearly closed its tertiary education gender gap. However, it continues to rank fourth-lowest in the world on health and survival, remaining the world’s least-improved country on this sub-index over the past decade, the WEF stated.”Competitiveness on a national and on a business level will be decided more than ever before by the innovative capacity of a country or a company. Those will succeed best who understand to integrate women as an important force into their talent pool,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum (WEF).

DMK chief Karunanidhi’s great grand son marries actor Vikram’s daughter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s great grandson Manu Ranjith and actor Vikra’s daughter Akshita entered into wedlock here on Sunday.Ranjith is the son of noted industrialist C K Ranganathan, who is married to Thenmozhi, daughter of M K Muthu, the eldest son of the 93-year old DMK patriarch.Ranganathan is the Chairman and Managing Director of fast moving consumer goods major Cavinkare Ltd.Vikram’s daughter Akshita and Ranjith are collegemates and their engagement was held in July last.The couple along with their family members called on Karunanidhi at his residence here and sought his blessings.Photographs of the newly wed couple along with their parents posing with Karunanidhi were widely circulated in the social media and also aired on TV channels.Ranganathan’s brother C K Kumaravel also shared some pictures of the wedding on the twitter.”Family is what happens when 2 people fall in love. My brother’s son Manu and Vikram’s daughter Akshitha will get formally wed in a moment”, he tweeted ahead of the wedding.

Aadhaar not required to fill board exam form

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state Education Minister Vinod Tawde has clarified in a press statement on Thursday that students appearing for Secondary School Certificate (SSC) or Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) board examinations will not be deprived of filling their board examination forms or sitting for the exam if they do not provide their Aadhaar card number.This comes after the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) had issued a circular in 2016 making it compulsory for students to provide their Aadhaar card number while filling board examination form.The minister clarified that no student will be stopped from filling the board examination form or to appear for the examination this year. The statement states that Aadhaar number is used to provide different concessions to the students in their education after the HSC exam. If students don’t provide the Aadhaar number, they will have to give an undertaking that they will provide the same before board examination results.In 2016, MSBSHSE Chairman Gangadhar Mhamane cited that most students fail in class 9 and while some don’t appear for board examination, others appear privately.Hence the In order to track whether these students appear for the examination privately or not the government want Aadhaar card number of all the students appearing for SSC and HSC board examination as well. That is the reason schools were asked to make sure to insert their Aadhaar number in the board examination form.

Sharad Yadav seeks eight weeks, gets 8 days to present in Rajya Sabha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Doing some plain talk, Rajya Sabha Secretariat has given eight days extension to rebel JDU leader Sharad Yadav to explain his stand over JDU’s disqualification notice against him, stating “no further extension will be given in the case.”Yadav, who has gone against party President and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to junk the JDU-RJD-Congress grand alliance in Bihar and join hands with the BJP in July this year, is facing the threat of disqualification as Rajya Sabha member.Yadav was served a notice on October 18 by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to appear and explain his position before Upper House Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu by October 30.Last month, leader of JDU in Rajya Sabha RCP Singh wrote to Naidu seeking Yadav’s disqualification.Yadav wrote to the Secretariat on October 23 seeking eight weeks time to appear before it citing his travel in next few weeks in relation to upcoming assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.He requested the Rajya Sabha Chairman to “kindly postpone” his appearance in person before him in this context for the aforementioned period.In reply, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat on October 24 stated that the Chairman considered his request and directed that Yadav should appear before him before November 8 to represent his case. “It may be noted that no further extension will be given in this case,” the missive from Rajya Sabha Secretariat said.Yadav was renominated for Rajya Sabha in May last year and around four and half years of his term remains.In August, he was removed from the post of Leader of House in the Upper House over the charge of “indulging in anti party activities” and the party later followed it up with seeking his disqualification from the Rajya Sabha on the ground of defection.Yadav, who claims his faction of the party to be the “real JDU” has organised a number of programmes against the BJP and also attended an anti-BJP rally organised by RJD chief Lalu Prasad in Patna on August 27.JDU general secretary KC Tyagi, however, argues that with “more than 90 per cent party leaders are with Nitish Kumar,” Yadav’s claim has “no basis” and is confident that his disqualification will be just a matter of time.

UP: Yogi Adityanath govt mulling merging Shia, Sunni Waqf board to make united Muslim body

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Uttar Pradesh government is mulling forming a “UP Muslim Waqf board” by merging the separate Sunni and Shia Waqf boards to prevent “wastage of money”, Minister of State for Waqf Mohsin Raza said.He alleged that both Sunni and Shia Waqf boards are being charged with corruption, and the government will dissolve them soon.Though things are still to be finalised, the minister said the UP Muslif Waqf board when constituted will have members of both Sunni and Shia communities and its chairman will be selected from among them.”The government has got a number of letter and suggestions from various quarters regarding the merger of Sunni and Shia Waqf boards. After which, the government has sought a proposal in this regard from the department concerned.”After Law department’s review of the proposal, the government will consider it and form the UP Muslim Waqf board,” Raza told PTI.He also claimed that all states of the country except UP and Bihar have only one Waqf board.According to Raza, having separate Waqf boards in the state is not “legal”.Quoting the Waqf Act 1995, he said Shia or Sunni should have at least 15 per cent share in total Waqf units for constitution of separate boards, which he said is not the case in UP where the Shias account for only 5,000 units of the total 1,24,000 Waqf units.”There should be at least 15 per cent of share of Shia or Sunni among total Waqf units. In UP there are 1,24,000 waqf units, of which Shia waqf has only about 5,000 units, which is only 4-5 per cent. Legally it should not be like this,” he said.The minister further said that as per the Central Waqf council, there are only 3,000 units of Shia Waqf Board, and that there was no point in keeping a separate Shia Board.”Separate chairman, CEO and other staff incure heavy expenses. It is a wastage of money,” Mohsin Raza said.Reacting to the development, Shia Waqf board Chairman Waseem Rizvi said there is no provision to separate Sunni and Shia boards which were constituted in 2015 for the the tenure of five years.”There is no provision to dissolve the board. After the tenure ends, the government can inquire about number of Waqf units and their income to proceed further,” Rizvi said.Rizvi also alleged that the share of income of Shia Waqf board is over 15 per cent of the total income.However, Chairman of UP Sunni Waqf Board Zufar Farooqui said they welcome the initiative of merging both the boards into one.But with that said, he wondered why the state government is changing a decision also taken under the BJP rule in 1999 by then Chief Minister Kalyan Singh.”In 1999, when the BJP was in power and Kalyan Singh was the Chief Minister he constituted separate Shia and Sunni Waqf boards. Question arises whether the present government does not endorse the previous BJP government’s decision,” Farooqui asked.

Kerala govt bans the words Dalit, Harijan from official communications

Updated: Oct 17, 2017, 07:28 PM IST, ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Kerala Information and Public Relations Department’s internal circular has directed to avoid usage of words ‘Dalit’ and ‘Harijan’ in its official communications.The order was issued based on the directive from Kerala State Commission for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) Chairman Justice P.N. Vijayakumar.The department informed that the government has also banned the usage of word ‘Keezhalar’ which was used to refer to scheduled communities.It says that usage of these words would only help sustain social boycott of communities.However, the move was not welcomed by few Dalit activists.They claimed that the ‘Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes’ were just administrative words.

Nobody opposed when Mayawati built statues; why are people questioning a Lord Ram statue: Shia Waqf board chief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chairman of the Shia Waqf board on Tuesday said that he was all for the erection of a statue of Lord Ram in Ayodhya.Speaking to ANI, W Rizvi of the Shia Waqf board said that it was sad that opposing the construction of the Ram Statue was sad, as Ayodhya is the centre of Hindu heritage. “No one said anything when Mayawati built her own statues; don’t understand why people are making an issue over constructing a Ram statue,” Rizvi added.He also spoke of the Taj Mahal being the symbol of love, but not worship. “Only a couple of Mughal leaders were great; the others were ‘aiyaash’ and Muslims don’t idolise them,” he added.Yogi Adityanath government had proposed to build a Lord Ram’s ‘grand statue’ in Ayodhya, as part of the ‘Navya Ayodhya’ project that is seen an initiative by the Uttar Pradesh government to promote religious tourism.The 100 metre tall statue will be built on the banks of River Saryu in Ayodhya.The statue will be built after securing permission from the National Green Tribunal. However, the proposal has not been sent to NGT for approval. Apart from the statue, a Ram Katha gallery, an auditorium in Digambar Akhada are also part of the plan.

Anupam Kher deeply humbled to become FTII chairman, Gajendra Chauhan wishes him well

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Actor Anupam Kher was appointed chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India, Information and Broadcasting ministry officials said. Kher replaces Gajendra Chauhan, who had a controversial tenure as head of the Pune-based institute. Reacting to the change of guard, Gajendra Chauhan said: “Anupam Kher has been appointed now as FTII Chairman, I hope he works well. My good wishes are with him.Prior to joining the FTII as its chairman, Kher has also held the chairman’s post in the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and National School of Drama (NSD). He is also the chairman of the acclaimed acting school ‘Actor Prepares.’The Padma Shri (2004) and Padma Bhushan (2016) awardee actor has more than 500 movies and several plays in his repertoire. FTII is India’s premier film and television institute, under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of India. His term had ended in March. A notification regarding Kher’s appointment has been issued, officials saidWith inputs from PTI

Truckers strike enters Day 2

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The transportation services of goods remained affected on Monday in the Delhi-NCR region due to the ongoing strike of truck drivers. The strike, called by the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), affected business worth nearly Rs 4,000 crore.”Around 1.5 lakh goods transport vehicles, including trucks, leave and enter Delhi-NCR daily. The operations were fully shut, hitting business worth around Rs 4,000 crore,” AIMTC Chairman Kultaran Singh said.The two-day strike may cause problems in the supply of perishables, such as milk and vegetables, among others, but no major disruption in the supply is expected, according to the operators. The truck operators across the country are on a token strike against the Goods and Services Tax (GST), high diesel prices, and harassment on roads. “If the government fails to take any steps to redress the grievances of the truck operators, an indefinite strike may be called after Diwali,” Singh said.The trucks were completely off-road in the Delhi-NCR region and surrounding areas. However, routine work at offices and godowns went on, Delhi Goods Transport Organisation President Rajender Kapoor said.”We will hold a meeting of goods transporters across the country in Delhi after Diwali and take a decision on the future course of action. If we go on a strike, it will be an indefinite one,” Singh added.Truck operators have been demanding concessions on the GST and bringing down prices of diesel, besides raising their voice against the “oppression and corruption” among road transport officers in different states.”Over 90 per cent truck operators are small ones, having less than five vehicles. They cannot comply with the GST. So, we are demanding no-registration, no-compliance,” Singh said.”Despite the falling international prices, diesel prices have only gone up here. The government should provide us relief by bringing down the prices. A major problem faced by the truck operators is corruption and extortion by road transport officers during inter-state operations and that needs to be sorted out,” he said.

25 years of a ‘public movement’ called Zee TV

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Twenty-five years ago, India’s first private channel Zee TV started as an “illegal” entity — “illegal” because there was no rule or law in the country then that could tackle such a revolution. It started a new era of entertainment in the country, metamorphosed into infotainment and later branched out into separate news and entertainment channels. In essence, Zee TV became a “public movement.”The journey, as many early employees of Zee recall, has been that of progress, growth and constant innovation. As Rajya Sabha member and Essel Group Chairman Dr Subhash Chandra puts it in his tweet — today the channel is a household name as “viewers have made this private channel a public movement with their love and support.” He added: “Reaching entertainment to the homes of people — with this conviction in my heart, I had made a start.”Today, Zee has become a global media giant offering entertainment, news and information to 1.3 billion people in 173 countries in 19 languages. The brand is present across news, broadcasting, movies, music, live entertainment, digital and talent businesses, both in India and overseas. Its entertainment wing has more than 240,000 hours of television content and houses the world’s largest Hindi film library with rights to more than 4,200 movie titles across various languages.Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, ZEEL, said: “25 years back, on this very day, our Chairman, Dr Subhash Chandra launched our nation’s first private satellite television channel. The launch of ZEE way back in 1992, sparked the evolution of not just a company, but an entire industry in itself.” Turn to P4Some of the finest and most successful talents of the country started as part of this Zee ‘revolution’. Union minister for Information and Broadcasting, Smriti Irani, was a stringer with Zee TV 23 years ago. Stating that the channel had helped many people make their dreams come true, Irani said, “I was like any other reporter who used to send news to Zee TV. This group has been really lucky for me. It has shown several programmes on television that transformed people’s lives in terms of entertainment. ‘Zee Antakshari’ made people listen to music, ‘Hum Paanch’ made people laugh and ‘Teen Bahuraaniyan’ made people cry.”The story of how Zee TV started is interesting. In January 1991, a well-known personality in the advertising world, Ashok Kurien, and Dr Subhash Chandra were watching CNN and decided that they wanted to get into satellite television. They spoke to senior managers at Li Ka Shing’s Hutchison Whampoa, then the owner of Asiasat 1, the only satellite broadcasting into India and China, to form an equally-owned venture. The proposal was to be presented to Richard Li (Li Ka-Shing’s son).In his remarkably candid memoir The Z Factor – My Journey as the Wrong Man at the Right Time, Dr Chandra describes what happened next: “It was on December 14 1991 when Ashok Kurien of Ambience ad agency and I reached Star TV’s office in Hong Kong. There were ten to twelve senior and junior executives in the room. Richard Li, head of Star TV, was not there. So we waited awhile. It was like waiting for the king to come in and give his blessings. Richard walked in suddenly and sat opposite me. ‘OK, Indian channel… Hindi channel. Where is the money in India?’ Richard was very dismissive. ‘I am not interested in a joint venture.’ Most of us in the room, including his executives, were shocked. It appeared that Richard had already made up his mind about the futility of the project. So I addressed him directly. ‘Mr Li, if you are not interested in the joint venture, can you consider leasing the satellite transponder to us?’ ‘There is no transponder available for less than $5 million per year,’ Richard said. It was a haughty statement to put me off.’ ‘That is fine. I will pay $5 million!’ It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. I did not realize the implication of what I had said…”Dr Chandra insisted the deal had to be signed there and then. Li, however, made him wait for two hours before refusing. Dr Chandra came back and started talking to the Russians, who had a satellite stationed over India. Li was intrigued enough to come to India in 1992. He then met Dr Chandra who took him to the Essel Propack factory. Its sheer scale and size made Li change his mind. In May 1992 he signed a deal with Dr Chandra and on October 2, 1992 Zee went on air, two years after the principal ‘revolutionary’ of the ‘Zee revolution’ had actually thought about it.

LEDs to replace streetlights in city

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of Diwali, the North Municipal Corporation Delhi announced on Tuesday that it will start replacing conventional streetlights with LEDs this September. Of the 2.05 lakh lights in two zones of North MCD — Rohini and Narela — contract has been given for 1.15 lakh fixtures. Tenders for about 90 lakh lighting fixtures in the rest of the four zones — City, Civil Lines, Sadar-Paharganj, and Karol Bagh — have been received and scrutinised.The manufacturers were given special instructions regarding the design and durability of the products, which need to have a life span of a minimum 7 years. It took about 2.5 months to develop the high-efficiency LEDs, which meet all testing standards. The south and east civic bodies are also planning to replace conventional streetlights with LEDs soon. North MCD Standing Committee Chairman Tilak Raj Kataria said: “The agency awarded with the job would ensure minimum 64.4 per cent energy saving. Of that, the agency would claim revenue made on account of 79 per cent or actual of the minimum guaranteed energy savings, whichever is higher. The remaining 21 per cent revenue, to the tune of Rs 14 crore annually, would go to north corporation for 7 years.”He added, “Apart from this, recurring maintenance charges of approximately Rs 24 crore being paid to discoms, Rs 7 crore and Rs 3 crore would be saved annually, for the maintenance and the replacement of semi-high mast lights, respectively. That means nearly Rs 50 crore per annum and Rs 350 c rore in 7 years would be saved, while people get a world-class streetlighting system.”Without making any capital investment on the project, the North MCD will save up to 9 crore energy units annually, while ensuring reduction of carbon footprint. Also, for better functionality of streetlighting and its control, the Central Control Monitoring systems will be installed zone wise.Work in progressOf the 2.05 lakh lights in two zones of North MCD contract has been given for 1.15 lakh fixturesTenders for about 90 lakh lighting fixtures in the rest of the four zones have been received and scrutinised

Action plan to curb pollution rolls out on Oct 15

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The much talked about Odd-Even road rationing system is all set to return to the Capital this winter, when the graded response action plan (GRAP) to curb air pollution rolls out on October 15. The plan also proposes hiking the parking fee at congested areas by three to four times.GRAP, which has an advisory for each category of air pollution — emergency, severe, very poor, moderate, poor — will be implemented in Delhi-NCR between October 15 and March 15. The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) — a Supreme Court (SC) mandated body to monitor air pollution in the city, has prepared the GRAP.The plan suggests that “Odd-Even system to be implemented” during the “severe” and “emergency” categories of air quality.”There will be off-peak hours, when the parking rates will fall, while during congestion, the charges will be hiked by three to four times. We will have to stop people from using private modes of transport. Here, the Odd-Even system and car pooling will come as a great tool to reduce pollution. We have told the government departments, including the traffic police, to plan adequately for these measures and create public awareness in advance,” EPCA Chairman Bhure Lal said.The plan came into existence last November, after the national Capital witnessed layers of smog following Diwali, with air turning almost to poison. “We have already issued letters to NCR states, including Haryana and Punjab, against crop burning, which contributes heavily to city pollution. Besides, we have submitted the measures under GRAP to the Apex Court. We have asked the Delhi government departments to be ready for the measures to be taken under the plan. It is crucial that we don’t allow a repeat of last year’s lethal smog,” Lal said.Besides, the EPCA will organise a meeting with the three municipal corporations on Tuesday to chalk out a strategy against garbage burning, and controlling dust on roads and construction sites.According to the action plan , measures under the “severe” and “emergency” categories also includes stopping heavy goods vehicles (except for those with essentials) to enter the city limits. The Transport Department and the traffic police will be responsible for identifying alternative routes for these vehicles.Also, the corporations and the government agencies will be tasked to identify construction sites across the city. “All construction will be stopped in case air quality reaches severe levels. District-level committees will be formed to monitor construction sites,” he said.Besides, the Pollution Under Control (PUC) test centers will be monitored by the state transport authority and the government’s task force.

MHADA’s affordable housing for the rich

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The aim of the annual MHADA lottery has been to provide common Mumbaikars the opportunity to buy affordable homes in the city. However, this year the lottery, scheduled for November 10, has received a lot of flak owing to the prices of the houses on sale.The homes in Lower Parel are being sold at Rs 1.95 crore while those in Powai have been priced upwards of Rs 1.30 crore. To top it all, out of the 819 homes on sale this year, only eight homes belong to the lottery’s Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category. The High Income Group (HIG) has 338 homes, the Middle Income Group (MIG) 289, and the Lower Income Group (LIG) 192.DNA spoke to people across the city to find out whether they think the houses listed in the MHADA lottery this year belong to the “affordable” segment anymore, and whether the houses are out of grasp for most average Mumbaikars.This wrecks the MHADA’s root scheme. Common people too aspire to live in prime locations. But now, the common man will refrain from registering. It is like breaking the common man’s trust.—Priyanka Joshi, BadlapurHow can EWS afford these rates? Moreover, only eight homes for the EWS in my opinion is in violation of ULC Act. The government should take proper measures to benefit weaker sections.—Neeraj Gupta, AndheriMHADA’s rates this year are at par with the rates of private builders who are providing housing with better facilities like parking space. If the common man could afford housing at the market rate then why would they wait an entire year for the MHADA lottery?—Neha Singh, ParelOver the past few years, MHADA has been a sheer disappointment for many home buyers due to fewer homes and skyrocketing prices. The common man would think twice before applying for the lottery with such high prices for much smaller homes. The government should rethink the scheme and make it accessible to common people.—Sanjay Patil, BorivliA lot of government schemes have turned into scams over the years and the flaws cannot be ignored. The MHADA lottery is meant for the common man but now the HIG will get housing and facilities as they already do, and the LIG and EWS have to deal with whatever is available to them. This trashes the whole point.—Sayli Raorane, DombivliMy family members have got good houses from the MHADA lottery in the past. I earn a decent amount annually hence I was considering MHADA as an option but now with the increased rates, I would rather opt for a rental apartment.—Manas Singh, AndheriJudicial intervention is needed to make sure that the common man’s rights are not cheated. Even if varying real estate prices are taken into consideration, paying such high prices for a MHADA home is a difficult proposition for the common man.—Shamali Gupta, ChemburIf one considers the rates according to the area where the homes are located and the space being offered, I think it is valid.—Deepak Agarwal, GoregaonThis defeats the purpose. It is following the same old Indian cycle of making the rich richer while the poor remain as they are.—Keith Gomes, KurlaEXPERT SPEAKWhen I was the chairman, the prices of the houses were decided after taking into consideration the land cost and construction cost, apart from the profit ratio for HIG and MIG categories. The prices in this year’s lottery are too expensive and the government should reconsider them. Even the number of homes for the EWS and LIG categories should be increased.—Amarjeet Singh Manhas, former Chairman, Mumbai Board, MHADAThis is an issue faced by authorities across expensive metro markets. The disputed properties are located in Mumbai’s premium localities hence the prices in the lottery seem inconsistent with the general perception of affordable housing. Overcoming the challenge of affordability in highly contested property markets will be key for the government to achieve its “Housing for All” agenda.—Shubika Bilkha, Business Head, Real Estate Management Institute (REMI)

Sharad Yadav submits reply to RS chair over disqualification plea

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> JD(U)’s rebel MPs Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar today submitted their replies running into over 400 pages to the Rajya Sabha chairman, as they contested their party’s plea that they be disqualified for their alleged anti-party activities.Javed Raza, a general secretary of the rebel faction, said the two Rajya Sabha members submitted their response through lawyers to the office of Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. “They have argued that they are the ones running the real JD(U). They have also referred to our national executive meeting held here recently. The reply runs into over 400 pages,” he said.The Nitish Kumar-led party had urged Naidu, who as vice president is the ex-officio Rajya Sabha chairman, to disqualify Yadav and Anwar, saying they had violated its directives and taken part in meetings of opposition parties. Yadav, in turn, has claimed that he had stuck to the party’s earlier line to oppose the BJP and it was Kumar who went against it by joining hands with the saffron party. After the two MPs sought one more month to file their replies to a Rajya Sabha’s communication seeking their response to their party’s disqualification plea, they were given one more week to respond.

State panel to examine Act execution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government has constituted a three-member committee to examine the implementation of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. The committee will comprise the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) Chairman, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) Commissioner, and the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) CEO.Appearing for the Delhi government, its counsel Siddharth Dutta informed the Delhi High Court on Monday that the committee will prepare an action plan for cleaning of drains, sewer lines, and septic tanks through mechanical means.The committee will also chalk out a roadmap to achieve 100 per cent mechanisation within a stipulated time frame, besides preparing Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for cleaning of sewer lines, which would be implemented by all agencies diligently.

HC judge impeachment: Jurists’ panel submits report to V-P

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over two years after the then Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari set up a three-member committee of jurists to probe allegations of sexual harassment (forcing a female Additional District Judge to resign to protect her ‘dignity’) against Justice SK Gangele, a sitting judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, the committee has finally submitted its report.Sources told DNA that the committee comprising Supreme Court Judge R Banumati, Bombay High Court Chief Justice Manjula Chellur, and Attorney-General KK Venugopal submitted the report to Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, last week. While the original committee was headed by Supreme Court judge Vikramjit Sen, after his retirement, it was taken by Justice Banumati.The committee examined several witnesses and also heard the complainant and the accused high court judge. Sources in Naidu’s office said that the report is being “studied” and will be placed before the House at the next session. However, neither the three members nor the RS Chairman’s office was ready to disclose the contents of the report.Ansari had constituted the committee in April 2015 after receiving a motion signed by 58 RS MPs seeking impeachment of Justice Gangele for allegedly sexually harassing a former Additional District and Sessions judge of Gwalior.The judge had resigned in 2014, saying she had done so to protect her “dignity, womanhood, and self-esteem”.In her complaint to the CJI, the ADJ had accused Justice Gangele of sending her a message through the district court registrar to “perform a dance on an item song” at a function in his residence. She said, a day after the function, which she chose not to attend, the judge allegedly told her “he missed the opportunity of viewing a sexy and beautiful figure dancing on the floor”.Incidentally, an in-house committee of judges constituted by the CJI to probe the charges against Justice Gangele, had exonerated him, stating there was “insufficient” evidence to establish a charge of sexual harassment.However, the committee had also found Justice Gangele to be “ambivalent and evasive about facts which are within his knowledge”. It had also raised questions of propriety of a high court judge (Justice Gangele) holding a public event to celebrate his 25th marriage anniversary on December 11, 2013, which was attended by many government officers.

Niti Aayog VC weighs in on the privacy debate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Privacy is all about trust between government and people, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said on Wednesday while maintaining that there is hardly any privacy left the minute one uses a credit card.He said that in today’s world even telecallers know what a person buys and what he needs.”You got to focus on mistrust between the government and people. This is core of all debates that are going on about privacy. I have got no privacy left ever since I got mastercard. I get calls from telecallers who know what I buy.”If we have any illusions about privacy, stop doing now” Kumar said. The Vice Chairman of the government think tank was speaking at a panel discussion here on various aspects of financial inclusion which cover the JAM trinity — the linkage of Jan Dhan bank accounts, Aadhaar ID and mobile phone numbers.The comments come amid various petitions having been filed in the apex court challenging the government’s move making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of various social welfare schemes. The issue got accentuated after the Supreme Court last month declared right to privacy a fundamental right, a far- reaching verdict that could impact a range of life choices of Indians, including food habits and sexual orientation. Kumar said that financial inclusion has been with us for a long time, but till current government took charge in 2014, 70 per cent of our population was unbanked. “The financial inclusion will help in increasing household savings,” Kumar said, adding that digital push and financial inclusion is what India needs to be at the frontiers of technology.SBI deputy managing director Manju Agarwal said if people can have trust social media sites like facebook, whatsapp and Google, they should trust the government on data privacy. “Each of one in this room is on facebook, whatsapp and Google. Trust me you are followed every second by these social media sites. Anybody who is concerned about privacy should not be on facebook, whatsapp and Google,” Agarwal noted.She further added that digital payments will explode once smartphones reach the last mile customer.

Ensure all school staffers are verified: Child rights panel to CBSE, Edu dept

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) team visited the Ryan International School in Gurugram recently and strongly recommended, to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Additional Chief Secretary of the School Education Department, and CBSE Chairman, immediate implementation of certain security measures in schools.The NCPCR notice to the DCP, dated September 9, said a team from the commission found negligence on the part of the school, which created circumstances for such a brutal incident. To the CBSE Chairman and Additional Chief Secretary of the School Education Department, the NCPCR stated that verification of employees must be done before their appointment.”If not so, then immediately issue instructions for verification of school employees and contractual staffers to prevent any kind of abuse. No candidate with a criminal record, including sexual or physical violence against children, should be recruited for any post at educational institutions,” the notice read.It further directed the two officials to take action against schools that were not following the mandate and sought a reply on this within seven days.Talking to DNA, NCPCR member Priyank Kanoongo said the case proved sheer negligence on the part of school staffers. “Lack of monitoring of security and safety arrangements by the school administrations need to be worked upon. We need certain dedicated bodies that can ensure that basic necessities and security arrangements are up to date and adequate,” he said.

Rawatbhata nuclear facility will be ready to fuel power plants by 2022

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Rs 18,000-crore Nuclear Fuel Fabrication Facility (NFFFF) and Zirconium Fabrication Facility (ZFF) proposed to come up at Rawatbhata, 65 km from Kota in Chittorgarh district, will cater to needs of the upcoming 10 units of 700 MW atomic power plant in the country. It is likely to be completed by 2022.The Rawatbhata plant will be the second nuclear fuel facility after Hyderabad,which was built in 1971.The foundation stone of the nuclear fuel complex at Rawatbhata was laid by the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission Dr . Shekhar Basu on Saturday. This project was cleared in 2014 by the Union Cabinet but got delayed by almost two years due to environmental clearance.Rawatbhata is country’s largest nuclear power generation centre with completion of seventh and eighth unit of the Rajasthan Atomic Power Project (RAPP). In Rawatbhata, six nuclear power plants are currently generating 1180 mwe of power. Two of new Indian-designed 700 mwe series of reactor (RAPP-7 and RAPP-8) would start generation soon.“The two reactors cost an estimated Rs 123.2 billion ($2.6 billion). Once the two new reactors go into stream, total production from RAPS will touch 1400 MWE,” said RAPP Station Director, Vijay Kumar Jain.The Hyderabad-based Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC) has already issued notice inviting bids for the project According to an official NFC, experts found the predisposed site along river Chambal ideal for the fuel complex.The official said that the proposed facility will supply nuclear fuel bundles and reactor core components. It is a unique facility where natural and enriched uranium fuel, zirconium alloy cladding and reactor core components are manufactured under one roof. NFC symbolises the strong emphasis on self-reliance in the Indian Nuclear Power Programme. “As the number of nuclear plants in the country has increased in the past four decades, the need for setting up another NFC facility was felt. As Rawatbhata is a big hub for nuclear power generation it was felt that this could be an ideal location.At present, NFC supplies fuel to the 19 operational power plants run by the NPC, which has 20 plants with an installed capacity of 4,800 MW.

Army Chief Gen Rawat calls on new Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman over prepardness along borders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Army Chief General Bipin Rawat today called on newly-appointed Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and apprised her of the overall security preparedness of the Army and the situation along the borders with China and Pakistan.The Army chief met the defence minister hours after she assumed charge.Sources said issues related to the security challenges the country was facing on the northern and western borders figured at the meeting between the two.The Army chief had yesterday said the country should be prepared for a two-front war, noting that China had started “flexing its muscles” and there seemed no scope for any reconciliation with Pakistan.Chief of the Naval Staff and Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee Admiral Sunil Lanba also called on Nirmala and briefed her on various key issues, including the security challenges at the high seas.A number of senior officials, including DRDO chief S Christopher and Defence Production Secretary A K Gupta, also briefed the defence minister on key issues.Nirmala also called on former president Pranab Mukherjee at his residence.Mukherjee had held the defence portfolio from May, 2004 to October, 2006 in the UPA-I government.

Nanda signs out of IIM-A, leaves much for successor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four months after stepping down from his post, Dr Ashish Nanda, Director of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A), exited the institute on Friday, leaving the implementation of major projects for the next director.Nanda had resigned in April this year, citing personal reasons, and the institute, on August 30, announced the appointment of Professor Errol D’Souza as in-charge director.On his last day in office, Nanda spoke about the challenges ahead, his achievements and nostalgia.Talking about his fight for the IIM-Bill that ensured autonomy to IIMs, Nanda, who was accompanied by his wife, said, “It is a very sweet and sad feeling. There is joy over what we have accomplished. And with sadness, I am stepping away from friends and the institute. I love the word ‘Aavjo’. I will always be an IIM-A person.”“I had spoken to many ex-directors of the institute to understand the right time to exit. And each of them advised me not to wait till the last day as it would entangle me in politics and other issues. Hence, the day after convocation, I told the Chairman that I would be here till September 1. I have enjoyed great support from the Chairman and the government. This is the right time as I do not want to go when I am sad. I should be happy to go,” Nanda added.Challenges ahead“The institute needs to continue to connect to the world of research and policy-makers, make IIM-A more international, and ensure the best quality environment for its faculty. After I joined, 32 faculty members joined. So the biggest challenge will be faculty recruitment and socialisation.“Another challenge will be to implement the projects that are underway like infrastructure, the School of Public Policy, swimming pool construction, student forms and staff housing. These will start in three months.”When DNA asked Dr Nanda whether he has contributed monetarily to the institute to support the funding initiative, he said, “I would not like to comment on my personal contributions to the institute.”

Removal of glass facade from WR building among staff’s top issues

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The new Chairman of Railway Board, Ashwani Lohani, in his first speech a few days ago spoke about the welfare of railway employees. Lohani in his speech had asked the administration across Indian Railways to spend more time with the staff, listen to them and address their grievances.However, Western Railway employees are stating that no concrete steps have been taken to address their complaint about the removal of the glass facade that covers the WR’s administrative building in Churchgate. No decision has been taken for the last seven years where nearly 1,500 people work.”The new CRB spoke the need to address our issue. But despite this nothing has been done. It’s like a furnace inside the building,” said a WR employee. In 2011, the WR had gone in for a building makeover costing Rs 10 crore. As part of this makeover, a huge glass facade was installed. The employees have been complaining that since then these huge windows are blocking the sea breeze from the west.There were plans to centrally air-condition the building which also did not take place as the estimated cost was a whopping Rs 14 crore. However, officials said that they have removed a few glass fittings for cross-ventilation. “We did remove a few glass windows a couple of years ago. Right now there seems to be no problem,” said Ravindra Bhaskar, Chief PRO, Western Railway.

Colleges run by non-qualifiers to go

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Warning stringent action against teacher training colleges across the country, the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) is likely to narrow down on fraud colleges with the aim to eliminate them.Speaking exclusively to DNA, NCTE Chairman Santhosh Mathew, who was in the city to deliver a talk on ‘The crisis in teachers’ education in India’, spoke about the large-scale fraud in the sector, which extends to about Rs 18,000 crore a year. He said, “It involves underpaying faculty who are meant to be paid as per the UGC structure, providing illegal services such as 100 per cent attendance, 100 per cent internal marks, impersonating identity during exams and issuing degrees to such students.” He added, “A lot of people have entered the sector like road contractors, alcohol distributors or whoever is in the twilight zone is a college owner today.”Mathew’s talk was held at Ahmedabad Management Association. “Now that we are investing in schools, the enrolment rates have gone up. But the same attention is not being given to teachers. As a result, the standards have gone down leading to a huge crisis,” he added.Using Aadhaar number to find duplication of teachers, he explained, “We have introduced a ranking system. We will be ranking top 100 teacher training institutes across the country. For this, 90 video vans are being used to videograph classes. We are setting up a national portal for details of teachers taking classes including the notes distributed. We are also inspecting and accrediting every college in the next 12 months. In the past 15 years, 1,500 colleges were accredited whereas we have a task of accrediting 18,000 colleges. Using Aadhaar, we will identify how many teachers show up against multiple colleges. These steps will ensure elimination of fraud colleges.”Mathew said, “In the past 20 days, 71 cases in 11 courts have been filed against us.”

Suresh Prabhu hints at pulling chain

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following two incidents of train derailment within a week, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. Taking moral responsibility for the mishaps, Prabhu offered his resignation, which is yet to be accepted. Besides, there are speculations regarding a Cabinet reshuffle later this month, and it is possible that Prabhu might be shifted out of the ministry.Also, Air India (AI) Chief Managing Director Ashwani Lohani has been appointed as the Railway Board Chairman, in place of A K Mittal, who also tendered his resignation following the accidents.According to Railway Board sources, Prabhu was very upset following the Utkal Express derailment, and the Kaifiyat Express derailment in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday morning served as a double blow. He made the phone call to the PM early in the morning, offering his resignation, but was asked to attend the Cabinet meeting. Prabhu then met the PM after the Cabinet meet and was again asked to wait.”I met the PM, taking full moral responsibility. He has asked me to wait,” Prabhu tweeted.”I am extremely pained by the unfortunate accidents, injuries to passengers, and loss of precious lives. It has caused me deep anguish,” he stated in a tweet after the meeting. The Kaifiyat Express derailed in UP after being hit by a dumper, injuring 70 passengers. On August 20, the Utkal Express derailed in UP, killing 23 passengers. The Railways had accepted, prime facie, negligence by its staffers as the reason behind the derailment.In fact, two other minor accidents were also reported on Wednesday – a train collided with a tractor trolley at an unmanned rail crossing in Villupuram, Tamil Nadu, and a narrow gauge train derailed in Gujarat.When queried about Prabhu’s resignation offer, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said: “Accountability is a good system in the government. The PM will take the final decision. “Meanwhile, the Congress demanded that the PM should either sack the Railway Minister or accept his resignation, adding that he should also lay down a roadmap for train safety. The party said Modi should appoint a responsible person for the position. “”Railway safety in India is a mess. Accidents, derailments, and complete apathy to passenger safety have become the new normal under the Modi government,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.In a series of tweets, Prabhu said that in less than three years as minister, he has devoted his blood and sweat for the betterment of the Railways. “Under the leadership of the PM, I tried to overcome decades of neglect through systemic reforms in all areas, leading to unprecedented investment and milestones. The New India envisioned by the PM deserves a railway that is efficient and modern. I promise that is the path on which railways is progressing now,” he stated.Railway Board Chairman A K Mittal, who was on a two-year extension, had tendered resignation late on Tuesday and it was accepted on Wednesday.Suresh Prabhu said in a series of tweetsIn less than three years as Minister, I have devoted my blood and sweat for the betterment of the RailwaysI am extremely pained by the unfortunate accidents, injuries to passengers and loss of precious lives. It has caused me deep anguishI met the Hon’ble Prime Minister @narendramodi taking full moral responsibility. Hon’ble PM has asked me to wait.SICResignations in the pastIn 1956, the then Railway Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri resigned after the Ariyalur train accident in Tamil Nadu left 142 people dead.
In 1999, Nitish Kumar resigned after the Gaisal train disaster in Assam, which killed at least 290 people. He came back as the Railway Minister in 2001.
In 2000, Mamata Banerjee offered to resign after two train disasters, but the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee did not accept the resignation. Accidents2014-15: 135 train accidents
2015-2016: 107 train accidents
2016-17: 104 train accidents
2017, till August 2: 21 train accidents

India’s railway chairman resigns after two derailments

Two train derailments in five days have more than a hundred injured and about two dozen people dead.

After two train accidents in four days, Railway Board chairman AK Mittal resigns

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railway Board chairman AK Mittal on Wednesday tendered his resignation after another train accident in less than a week.Mittal’s resignation comes hours after the Kafiyat Express derailed in UP’s Auraiya district early on Wednesday.AK Mittal was appointed as the Chairman Railway Board succeeding Arunendra Kumar in December 2014.According to media reports, Mittal’s resignation has been accepted by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. ALSO READ Kaifiyat Express derailment: Several trains cancelled or diverted, restoration work underwayAs many as 74 passengers were injured as nine bogies of the Kafiyat Express travelling from Azamgarh to Delhi collided with the dumper. This is the second train accident in Uttar Pradesh in four days.On Saturday, a passenger train derailed in Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh leaving over 22 dead and 156 others injured.In February, through an official letter, the PMO voiced its extreme displeasure at the functioning of the railways.Meanwhile, reports also said that Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani is likely to succeed Mittal

Speak up Mumbai: Should BEST hike fares?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BEST Undertaking, which has been providing bus services for over a century now, is reeling under crippling financial strain.With several blunders in the past such as selling its bus depots in prime areas to private players, and acquisition of substandard buses, the BEST undertaking has not been able to monetise its assets efficiently to pull itself out of its slump.Now, the BEST is looking to increase fares by Rs 2 on routes which are more than 4 kilometres, or those for longer journeys. The base fare still remains at Rs 8.The Undertaking is also planning to cut down its fleet size by another 450 buses. This would ideally mean the frequency of buses would further go down while commuters will have to pay more.At a time when punctuality of BEST buses are poor with an average speed of 12-14 kmph and already decreasing frequency, DNA speaks to Mumbaikars from across the city for their views on whether they are ready to shell out a higher amount for their bus rides, and to gauge their opinions on whether the hike in fares mooted is justified by the quality of services offered by BEST.”If the BEST is providing good services then the hike in fares shouldn’t matter. But they should try and improve connectivity and air conditioning in AC buses which should be maintained. I don’t mind paying money extra for a better travel experience—Asim Momin, Mazgaon”At the current frequency and facilities offered by the BEST, it would be unfair to increase its fare. However, it should consider increasing its fare to make the BEST buses profitable only after upgrading services. Lately, there has been a noticeable decline in its services. On many routes, the frequency has been halved causing delays and thereby losing customers to other services.—Animesh Vora, Dahisar”Yes I don’t mind paying more if the BEST services improve. There would be multiple benefits such as solving the problem of heavy traffic jam on roads, issue of parking and extra money for pay-and-park among others. It should be higher but reasonable for the common man. Along with improved services and infrastructure, staff members, drivers and conductors need to be trained in communication skills while dealing with commuters.—Ashraf Ahmed Shaikh, Mahim”Since the operation cost of bus services has risen substantially with the rise in fuel prices, we have no problem shelling out more money. However, the BEST administration must ensure that it will provide better services. There should not be delays or frequent breakdown of buses. It also needs to improve frequency of buses.—Sandeep Pandey, Andheri”The BEST is already suffering losses and now wants to put the onus on commuters by increasing fares. The BEST should first run their existing fleet of buses and take commuters into confidence before increasing fares. The decisions of BEST should be executed properly. Moreover, buses are not in good condition and increasing the fare will only pinch the pockets of the common man while their services will still be shoddy.—Sujeeth Puthran, KharI will not pay extra unless the BEST service improves. Any time I don’t have change, the conductor is very rude. I don’t see the point of paying more if the quality of service is so bad. I will pay more if they assure me the same quality of service the Metro provides.—Anitha Shetty, AiroliEXPERT SPEAKAs of now the committee has not received a proposal for fare hike from the administration. We will see depending on that.—Anil Kokil, Chairman, BEST CommitteeIf the BEST hikes fares for long distance routes then it is fine. But their main competition is with shared autos and taxis that ply till railway stations, which many people use every day. So, they cannot afford to hike fares here. They should also stress on the need for dedicated lanes for their buses which would improve the punctuality of buses.—AV Shenoy, member of Mumbai Vikas Samiti and transport expert

Air India properties to go under the hammer again

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After two failed attempts, Air India is back with its plan to auction some of its prime properties in Mumbai. The properties being re-auctioned are worth Rs 299.7 crore with the carrier increasing prices of the flats and hiring a marketing firm.The 14-flat building in Bandra, which was being sold at Rs 122 crore in the last auction in July, is now priced at Rs 200 crore. Similarly, prices of other flats have also gone up including those in Malad. Flats which were priced at Rs 85 lakh are now close to Rs 1 crore.The most expensive individual flat on auction, located in Bandra’s Cozihom, priced at Rs 7.40 crore in the July auction is now being sold at a reserve price of Rs 10.36 crore.The total auction amount for 28 properties including the Bandra building is Rs 299.77 crore. Ashwani Lohani, Chairman, and Managing Director, Air India said that he hopes this time the auctions would be successful this time.The closing date for bidding for half of the properties is August 31, and September 1 for the rest.While the auction will be held online by government-owned firm MSTC India, real estate consultancy firm, Cushman Wakefield Property Advisors Pvt Ltd will be marketing the properties.After the initial online auction, on June 21 for 14 properties, did not find any takers, another e-auction for 15 other properties was held on July 28. While Air India had claimed that buyers had shown interest, they had decided to not go ahead with the auction.Ashwani Lohani had then claimed that they would merge both the auctions and sell all the properties together.Air India called off the auction in July stating that bids received were below the reserve price.

Train derailment: President Kovind condoles loss of lives

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Ram Nath Kovind has written to Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, expressing condolences over the lives lost in the Utkal Express derailment near Khautali in Muzaffarnagar district. Thirteen coaches of the high-speed Utkal Express last evening jumped the rails, with one of them crashing into a house adjacent to the track near Khatauli, leaving 22 people dead and and over 150 injured, 26 of them grievously, officials said. “I am sad to learn about the derailment of the Puri- Haridwar Kalinga Utkal Express at Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, as a result of which a number of persons lost their lives and others sustained injuries,” a statement by the Raj Bhawan here said today, citing the President’s letter. “I understand both the state government and the railway authorities are providing all possible assistance to the bereaved families as well as the best of medical attention to the injured. Please convey my heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased. I wish speedy recovery to all the injured persons,” the letter read. A probe has been ordered to ascertain the exact cause of of the accident, with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu directing Railway Board Chairman to fix responsibility on “prima facie evidence by the end of day”. The train, which was on its way from Puri in Odisha to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, had 23 coaches, of which 13 derailed, said Divisional Railway Manager, Delhi Division, R N Singh.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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