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WATCH: Congress MLA slaps female cop, gets slapped back

Needless to say this isn’t the first time that the Indian politicians have put their foot in their mouth. To show another example of this, a video of a politician from Himachal Pradesh is doing rounds on Internet where she has slapped a constable. Congress Leader and Himachal Pradesh MLA Asha Kumari is seen slapping a woman constable in the video, only to be slapped back.The video of the incident was shared on Twitter handle of ANI news agency and was presumably shot on Friday.Kumari visibly was stuck in a huge crowd and was trying to make her way and gain entry to a Congress meeting that was being held by Rahul Gandhi to review the party’s loss in recent elections.Asha Kumari is a MLA from Dalhousie, All India Congress Committee secretary and AICC in charge in Punjab. She has also served as the education Minister of the state from 2003-2005.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
SHOCKING! ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot’s fake porn video goes viral, here’s what happened
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Allahbad University spends all its money fighting 300 legal battles

A month after the Ministry of Human Resource Development requested for a Visitor inquiry against Allahbad University Vice Chancellor Professor Ratanlal Hanglu, an audit report of the university has found that it has been fighting as many as 300 court cases and all the funds go into fighting legal battles rather than focusing on academic development.The committee appointed by University Grants Commission (UGC) was one of the committees conducting audits of ten central universities across the country. The audit team that visited the university between November 13-15 has recently submitted its report to the ministry. In the report, the committee has mentioned that the university administration is “wasting all its time, energy and funds in fighting the numerous court battles that have arisen as a result of the internal politics in the university”.”There is a group of retired teachers in the university, which has been conspiring against the Vice Chancellor and his work is getting affected because of it. There are many cases of corruption and financial irregularities levelled against the VC,” the committee in its report said.Because of the current situation, the university has been facing serious lack of funds and everything from academic development to salaries of employees is getting affected due to this. There is no co-ordination between the registrar and finance officer of the university and the university has no plans for its future, the committee said.The committee also said that law and order situation in the campus is very bad, in fact “it cannot be worse in any other university campus”, it said in its report.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars
SHOCKING! ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot’s fake porn video goes viral, here’s what happened

In Ajmer, Congress playing waiting game

After declaring Karan Singh Yadav as a candidate for Alwar parliamentary bypoll, the Congress still appears to be in a fix over announcing a candidate for Ajmer constituency. Names of senior leaders like Raghu Sharma and Nathuram Sinodia are making rounds to get the ticket, though extensive tours of Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot to the area once again fuelled speculation of his candidature which was subdued recently.The sources said that party has declared candidate for Alwar and now it intends to buy more time to field a candidate, possibly waiting for BJP to announce its candidate. “Congress will open its cards in Ajmer when BJP comes up with its candidature. Hopefully, after Election commission of India (ECI) issues notification over the dates of the poll, the name of the candidate will be made public,” says a senior party functionary while talking to DNA.Adding to that the office bearer said that a non Jat candidate is being preferred by the Congress as BJP mulls to field Ramswarup Lamba, a Jat, who is the son of late MP Sanwar Lal Jat. This may be strategy to consolidate votes of Non-Jats. “As a non Jat candidate, Raghu Sharma is among the top contenders. In Jats, the party mulls Nathuram Sinodia. The final call will be taken when the saffron party declares its candidature,” added another party functionary.Sachin Pilot was the first choice of the party in Ajmer which is his home constituency. He even had wished to contest election openly provided the high command nods. Though, his candidature was put on hold as a fraction may play a role of sabotage at the time of polling. His recent extensive tours of the area have speculations, once again. “The Congress is caught in a dilemma with regard to Pilot. There is a feeling that the PCC chief should be spared for larger party work,” he added.High commandMeanwhile, party state in charge and AICC general secretary Avinash Pandey met AICC president Rahul Gandhi on Monday to discuss the strategy of the bypolls. However, the high command will take the final decision.

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Gujarat HC upholds GSFS Act, but fees can be revised

In a big jolt to all self-financed schools, the Gujarat High Court upheld the Gujarat Self Finance Schools (Fees Regulations) Act, 2017 (GSFS) and its rules on Wednesday.The First Division Bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice Vipul Pancholi, while dismissing more than three dozen petitions of 2,500 private schools, concluded that the state government was competent to pass and implement such Acts and decide the administrative matters of schools affiliated with the central, international and the ISCE board. The Bench also said that the special status of minority schools was not violated by the Act.Though the court concluded that the Act was legal and constitutional, it also kept a window open for private schools’ associations to approach the competent authority for a review of the current fee structure.The associations can also ask for a hike against the services they provide to their students. However, the competent authority will have to take a decision witihin six weeks from the date of filing proposals. But, such proposals should not amount to exorbitant fees or profiteering.Court also rejected all schools’ request to stay the operative part of the judgment so that they can approach the Supreme Court and challenge the order. Those schools which have submitted their proposals and want to add any further information seeking review can submit the same within three weeks.Advocate General Kamal Trivedi while defending the state action had submitted that the RTE Act permits self-financed school to notify any fee, whereas the state Act under challenge seeks to put restrictions on these schools to charge any fees. RTE Act prohibits the capitation of fees.Appearing for parents Advocate Amit Panchal had submitted that the whole intention of the Act is to prevent commercialisation of education in all the schools, including the self-financed schools. He further submitted that the court should direct the state to implement the Act at the earliest.OPERATIVE PART OF THE JUDGMENTThe Act is not in violation of the equality of the Constitution The rules of the Act are not in the violation of the Article 30 of Constitution with regard to the minority institution Constitution of Fees Regulatory Committee and Fees Revision Committee under the Act are not unconstitutional as alleged by the petitioners Schools can put proposals within three weeks to the competent authority, which will take further action in accordance with the law.

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SDMC seals 30 shops in Chhattarpur

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) continued with its sealing drive on Wednesday shutting down 30 shops, most of which included marble trade showrooms, located on Chhattarpur-Bhati Road for “illegal” construction.The civic body had sealed a farmhouse on Tuesday in Chhattarpur. The sealing drive is being conducted as per the directions of the Supreme Court-appointed Monitoring Committee to crack down on unauthoursied constructions in the city.”The Building Department of South Zone took action against commercial establishment on Chhattarpur-Bhati Road on the direction of the Committee. All the three members of the Committee visited the site,” said a corporation official.Meanwhile, South Corporation Mayor Kamaljeet Sehrawat met the Monitoring Committee to discuss the plan to reduce the conversion charges for commercial-cum-residential properties from Rs 89,000 to Rs 22,000. The move has come days after the civic body conducted a sealing drive and shut down 51 popular restaurants and shops in Defence Colony market.

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BJP MPs to Chidu: Stop discussions on Aadhaar in panel

In a controversial move, on Wednesday, several BJP members in the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs asked its chairman P Chidambaram to stop discussions on the subject of privacy and national security of Aadhaar.A united opposition strongly objected to the BJP’s move in the committee meeting on Wednesday, highly-placed sources said.”The Committee was strongly divided on the issue with BJP members on one side and all the opposition parties’ members on the other side. The opposition was unequivocal in its stand that the subject matter on Aadhaar cannot be set aside or withdrawn. The meeting ended without any headway,” the source said.A BJP member was of the opinion that the subject can also be taken up by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, but the opposition members refused the proposition.Before taking up the issue in the meeting, about five to six BJP MPs — all members of the standing committee — had written a letter to Chidambaram, asking him to recuse himself from the matter, since he represented Jairam Ramesh as a counsel, who has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court on Aadhaar, sources added.A committee member said, the committee already has had four meetings on the same subject matter of privacy and security of Aadhaar, but did not face any issues by the BJP.

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Sachin Pilot calls Vasundhara Raje sops poll gimmick

Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot on Tuesday took a jibe on Chief minister Vasundhara Raje touring to the bypoll-bound constituencies where she is showering sops and making new announcements. Terming it a poll effect, PCC chief blamed the government for not paying heed to the concerns of common man in its past four-year rule.Pilot made the scathing attack on Raje in Ajmer on Tuesday where he is campaigning extensively ahead of the bypoll. Focusing on rural belt, he visited more than a dozen gram panchayats, including Kumharia Bandanwada, Padanga, Satwadia, Jamola and held dialogue with rural folks.Addressing separate gatherings during his visit, Pilot attacked the government. “The Chief Minister has never taken care of this area in the past four years. As polls are nearing she is making populist announcements to allure people. She declares to open a college somewhere and assures to make roads and bridges at some other place, but the truth is people of the state have been deprived of basic amenities in the BJP’s rule”.Citing example of the government’s insensitivity, Pilot narrated plight of farmers and poor sections of the society. “Farmers are committing suicides due to debt, and in the CM’s constituency (Jhalarapatan) a farmer died due to severe cold while coming to his field for irrigation purpose at night . The government has deceived farmers as it had promised to provide electricity in the day time to the farmers, but even after four years this promise has not been fulfilled,” said Pilot, adding that government is privatising education and health sector which the Congress will oppose.

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Congress Working Committee meet focuses on strategy to attract urban voters

Claiming that the party was regaining the trust of rural voters, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which met under its new president Rahul Gandhi for the first time on Friday, called on building a strategy to entice urban voters.Sources said that during the discussion, leaders pointed out that the party was still to find devices to allure the aspiring middle class and urban voters to its fold in order to unseat the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA in the 2019 general elections.Insiders said the issue cropped up after former prime pinister Manmohan Singh’s intervention, who said that despite the hard work in Gujarat, the party lost the elections because it wasn’t able to connect with the urban voters. In urban areas of Gujarat, the BJP won 45 out of 53 seats. The Congress managed just 8 seats. This was in contrast to rural areas, where the Congress won 69 seats against BJP’s 60.According to the 2011 Census, 270 million Indians aged 16 and above live in urban areas, who also form the backbone of the aspiring youthful middle class.The former PM, who had campaigned in Gujarat’s Surat and some urban pockets while blaming the BJP for the note ban and a faulty tax reform, admitted that the Congress was not able to convince urban voters to switch sides. He said in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress was able to do well in urban areas against all predictions. He stressed that the party must introspect why it hasn’t been able to do well and how it should reconnect with the urban voters.In 2009, the Congress had won 34 of the 57 parliamentary seats in big metros and a majority of the 144 Lok Sabha seats in the country’s smaller cities and towns.Deviating from the ‘Shimla Sankalp’ of 2003, the Congress party’s brainstorming session at Jaipur in 2013 had suggested to focus on the youth, middle class, and women to expand the electoral base beyond Dalits, minorities, and tribals. But there were no matching announcements of schemes to address the new class, which was swayed by the BJP.The meeting participants were also reminded that the party’s youth wing had formed a five-member committee to study an alternate economic model. But since then, the issue was never debated within the party forums.During the discussions, it was also felt to dust out the document adopted at the Jaipur session, which soon went into oblivion after Rahul Gandhi took over as vice-president. The document had asked the party and the then UPA government to recognise the changing aspirations of the people, generate more jobs for the educated youth, and bring gender issues to the top of the political debate.”We have to recognise the new, changing India, an India increasingly peopled by a younger, more aspirational, more impatient, more demanding, and better educated generation,” the document stated.”This is a natural and welcome outcome of rapid economic and social change that has been brought about by the success of our programmes to educate, empower, and indeed unshackle the oppressed and the disadvantaged. Our youth is getting more assertive, it wants its voice to be heard,” the document stated.But with the voters largely fed up with the corruption in the government and the perception build around it, an outreach to growing middle class remained a pipe dream for the Congress.

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Will not take any action that will hurt Jains: CM Vasundhara Raje

The state government will not take any action which can hurt the sentiments of Jain community, says Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, hinting that plan to acquire land of Padampura temple for proposed Greenfield Airport has been shelved. Raje’s statement comes after Jain Muni Shri Tarun Sagar met her on Friday at her residence to register protest against proposal of the acquisition.“The religious places are the centres of people’s faith and the government will not take any action that can damage such places. The Jain community needs to trust the government and also it need not worry about the safety of their pilgrimage sites – Padampura and Barkheda. Our government will not allow hurting sentiments of the community,” said Raje, adding she has unbroken faith in these pilgrimage sites. Saint Tarun Sagar reached at the CM’s residence in a procession along with his followers. Raje come to to recive and sought his blessings. “Raje is polite leader and she walks the talk. She has assured me that the government will not take land of the temples,” said the saint while talking to media.He has also announced to shelve the procession on Sunday in wake of Raje’s assurance which the community had scheduled as an opposition to the government’s plan of acquisition. The community representatives have welcomed to Raje’s statement, though they want it on paper. “Now, the CM should order for amendment in planning of Greenfield airport leaving out the land of Padampura temple on paper. This will further deepen te faith of community people in Raje’s words. We are also postponing our silent march and other protests in wake of Raje’s assurance,” said Sudhir Jain, president of Atishay Khetra Padampura Management Committee, in a press conference.Notably, the government intends to acquire land of 21 villages for Greenfield Airport and it’s proposes acquisition of land falling under Padampuraa and Barkhera temples. “Few Muslims are here who don’t like India while few Hindus are there in Pakistan who also not like Pakistan. So the right solution is bring those hindus to India and send these Muslims to Pakistan. This is how condition will be improved. India is just like Jannat for Muslims where live with safety, dignity and comfort,” says saint Muni Tarun Sagar.

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Jerusalem vote will affect UN budget, fear diplomats

Braving threats of retaliation from Washington, India and 128 countries voted in favour of the resolution in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that called upon the US to withdraw its decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But officials now say that it could have been a ploy by the US to scale down its budgetary commitments to the UN.The Committee on Contributions at the UN uses estimates of each member state’s gross national product (GNP) and a number of adjustments, including data for external debt and for low per capita incomes for their financial commitments to the regular and peace-keeping budget of the world body. The percentage shares range from a minimum of 0.001% to a maximum of 22%, and a maximum of 0.01% for those nations designated as “least developed countries.The US is the biggest economy in the world with the highest share of 22%, followed by Japan with 9.68% and China (7.921%). According to the assessment made for the years 2016-18, India has to contribute 0.737% to the UN regular budget, placing it at 24th position in the list of highest contributors. Officials here attributed the US’s intransigence coupled with unparalleled threatening communications to countries to a ploy to scale down its commitments to the UN and its various programmes particularly the peace-keeping efforts. The US contributions to the UN regular budget in 2017 stood at $611 million. It is also committed to providing $2 billion annually to peacekeeping, and hundreds of millions more to programs, including the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Program. The US had already conveyed to cut $150 million next year to peace-keeping budget.At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump asserted, “Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care. But this isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars and nobody knows what they’re doing.” Expressing “deep regret” over recent decisions over the status of Jerusalem, the resolution did not specifically mention the US, but states that the final status of the city will be “resolved through negotiations in line with relevant United Nations resolutions”.Officials here agree that the US communications to the smaller nations intimidating them to vote in its favour were highly inappropriate and the only explanation could be the US attempting to run away from its financial commitments. The resolution, which was tabled by Turkey and Yemen and supported by a slew of Muslim and non-aligned movement countries, was approved by 128 votes – two-thirds of the 193-member UNGA. While 35 countries abstained, only nine countries voted against the resolution – the US, Israel, Honduras, Guatemala, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Togo and Micronesia. Twenty-one countries did not vote at all.While officials here stated that India’s position on Palestine was unchanged, the lack of reiteration of East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital over past many months had raised questions. The ambassadors of Arab countries posted to Delhi meeting with the minister of state for external affairs, M.J. Akbar to discuss the issue. Arab countries were also apprehensive of India’s stand, apprehending that Modi government may change its policy in the wake of hosting Israeli PM early next year in New Delhi. Diplomats, who attended the meeting said there was no explicit demand made by the Arab envoys to take a stronger position, but they only reminded Akbar to convey the PM the 2016 Manama Declaration, which India signed with Arab countries, recognising East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and also called for the sanctity of UNSC resolutions.India’s positionAccording to the assessment made for the years 2016-18 by the United Nations, India has to contribute 0.737% to the UN regular budget, placing it at 24th position.

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2G scam verdict: CAG report triggered furore over 2G

A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on allocation of 2G licences pegging the presumptive loss to Rs 1.76 lakh crore in November 2010 triggered the political slugfest which led to the arrest of A Raja within three months in February in 2011.The CBI had registered an FIR in 2009 but did not name any accused. As the agency failed to take any action the CAG report opened the floodgates for the opposition to slam the UPA government.Petitions were filed in the Supreme Court that eventually began monitoring the investigations by CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.Regular status reports were filed by the investigating agencies in the apex that finally culminated in the charges being filed against then Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK leader Kanimozhi for being part of the conspiracy and receiving kickbacks.Parts of the CAG report were leaked before it was tabled in Parliament creating a furore. It finally became the basis on which criminal action was initiated as it gave a blow-by-blow account of how Raja bypassed procedures, ignored suggestions from Prime Minister Office (PMO), Ministries of Law and Finance.The report was taken by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament. There was no consensus and it was rejected by one vote by the committee.

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BJP MP Kirron Kher urges govt to remove cap on educational reimbursement to martyred soldiers’ kids

A BJP member in the Lok Sabha today urged the government to reverse its order which seeks to limit the educational reimbursement for the children of martyred and disabled soldiers.Kirron Kher raised the issue during the Zero Hour, saying that by limiting the educational reimbursement, the government would save a mere Rs 5 crore.She said as per the order, the reimbursement, which was unlimited, has been restricted to Rs 10,000 which was not sufficient.Recently, Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba had appealed to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to reverse the order.Admiral Lanba, who is also the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, had written that “this small gesture would assure the families of our brave women and men that the nation cares for them and their sacrifices are truly appreciated by the government.”P K Biju (CPI-M) said while the government is consolidating the banks, it was leading to a situation where the number of branches and ATMs were going down.Bhawna Gawli (Shiv Sena) said Bt cotton crop in Maharashtra has failed to resist pest attack and demanded action against Monsanto, the firm which had developed the Bt cotton seed.There were sharp exchanges between Shobha Karandlage (BJP) and some Left members when the former alleged that some “jihadis” were stabbing Hindu youths in coastal Kerala and Karnataka. She also displayed some photographs.Vinod Sonkar (BJP) referred to the reported killing of a Sikh in Pakistan who allegedly refused to get converted.Taking a dig at the Congress, he said the party of those who had visited temples and worn the sacred thread should move a resolution condemning the incident and the entire House should adopt it.Congress members were not present in the House as they had staged a walk-out a few minutes before Sonkar spoke.

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Tourism min rapped for mismanagement

A standing committee report on tourism has pulled up the ministry for non-performance in several schemes. It went on to recommended that the ministry close its overseas offices if it cannot manage them.”The committee notes that the ministry is admitting its lapses in managing its overseas offices. The Committee feels that if the Govt. cannot manage its overseas offices, it should close down all those offices and alternative arrangements may be explored for promotion of Indian tourism in foreign countries,” states the report of the department-related Rajya Sabha committee headed by TMC MP Derek O’Brien.In reply, the government said that it is realising the objectives of the offices through “an integrated marketing and promotional strategy and a synergized campaign in association with the Travel Trade, State Governments and Indian Missions overseas”. The government runs over 14 overseas tourism offices in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris, Milan, Dubai, Johannesburg, Sydney, Beijing, Singapore and Tokyo.The Committee also pulled up the ministry for not utilising all the funds allocated under the 12th five year plan. “From the data provided by the Ministry of Tourism, the total allocations made all these five years was only Rs. 5479.03 crore out of which the spending up to 31st January, 2017 is Rs. 4644.89 crore.This comes to 20.37% of the 12th Plan outlay,” the Committee stated, adding that it is disappointed.

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Anti-smog gun does little to curb pollution in national capital; breathing difficulties continue

The Delhi government today sprayed water from an ‘anti-smog gun’ at the highly-polluted Anand Vihar area, but it had very little effect in containing the level of particulates, and they kept rising by the hour.The device sprays atomized water (tiny droplets of water) up to a height of 50 metres, creating artificial mist, which isin turn expected to stick to air-borne pollutants and bring them down to the ground.One such device was tested at Anand Vihar, near a pollution monitoring centre, in the presence of Environment Minister Imran Hussain and senior officials of the environment department.Hussain said the government will take a call on whether to use it elsewhere in the city after monitoring data collected by a team of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).Also readDelhi unveils new weapon against pollution, tests ‘anti-smog gun’ in Anand Vihar However, the real-time concentration of PM2.5 and PM10 at the Anand Vihar monitoring station of the DPCC increased from around 10 am, when the trial started.The hourly-readings of PM2.5, were 444, 421, 476, 509 and 460 between 10 am and 2 pm while the corresponding readings of PM10 were 630, 608, 736, 842 and 702 microgram per cubic metre (ug/m3).The 24-hour prescribed standards of these ultrafine pollutants, which trigger respiratory and cardiovascular issues, are 60 and 100 respectively.Interestingly, the pollution levels did not drop despite the fact that the water spraying from the device, which costs around Rs 20 lakh per unit, was largely centred around the DPCC monitoring station.Vivek Chattopadhyay, the program manager for Clean Air and Sustainable Mobility at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said the effect of such devices are limited by space and time.”The range of such devices are very limited. It affects, if at all, the air volume of the immediate surroundings of where the spraying is done. The effect diminishes after the spraying is stopped,” he said.Chattopadhyay said resources should instead be mobilised in tackling the sources of pollution by taking small yet more effective measures such as preventing open burning of garbage and scientific management of landfill sites.Anand Vihar, a densely populated commercial zone in east Delhi, remains severely polluted through the year due to the presence of a bus terminus, which is unpaved at many places, and its proximity to the Uttar Pradesh border where a large volume of trucks ply.

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Environment minister takes stock of E-Waste management compliance

Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain on Tuesday took stock of the compliance with E-Waste Management Rules in the city. The rules had come into effect from October 1, last year.The minister, in the meeting, directed officials of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to ensure that there is no dismantling and recycling of the E-Waste.The electronic waste includes waste from electronic items, including discarded mobile phones, refrigerators, computers, television sets and electronic entertainment devices.As per these rules, every producer of the electrical and electronic equipment can apply for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for handling and managing the E-Waste.EPR is an authorisation given by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for collecting and managing the E-Waste. This authorisation is given for five years and for obtaining an EPR, a producer is required to submit a detailed plan for the collection of the E-Waste, mode of collection, details of collection points and agency responsible for such collection.The DPCC officers informed the minister that till date the CPCB has given EPR authorisation to 47 producers from Delhi. The environment minister also reviewed the working of Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste Management Rules, 2016.”The new Rules are aimed to check indiscriminate disposal of C&D waste and enabling the channelization of such waste for re-use and recycling. The purpose is also to promote public’s participation in the scientific management of this category of waste. This waste could be used for composting, high calorific waste could be used for producing energy; steel and concrete could be re-used as well. A policy for C&D Waste Management Rules is under preparation with Urban Development Department of Delhi Government. The role of the DPCC will be to ensure that facilities which are granted authorization for C&D Waste processing, comply with various environmental laws and prescribed norms in this regard.”

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Train services disrupted in Assam due to blockade

An Adivasi organisation on Tuesday put up a 7-hour rail blockade at Kokrajhar station in Assam affecting train services between the North Eastern region and the rest of the country.Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) spokesman Nripen Bhattacharjee said movement of 18 trains including Dibrugarh Town-New Delhi Rajdhani Express was affected by the blockade.Other affected trains included Guwahati-Anand Vihar Terminal North East Express and Gandhidham-Guwahati Kamakhya Express.Up and down express trains besides local passengers trains were controlled at Bongaigaon and Lumding divisions in Assam, at Alipurduar and Cooch Behar in north Bengal and Kathihar in Bihar, Bhattachajee said.Train services were disrupted since 6 a m when the blockade began at Kokrajhar railway station by the Adivasi National Convention Committee (ANCC), railway sources said.The ANCC has been agitating to press for their demands such as granting of Scheduled tribe status to the community, implementation of Traditional Forest dwellers Act and permanent settlement and land deeds to the tea garden workers of Assam.People came from lower Assam’s Chirang, Dhubri and Bongaigaon districts and demonstrated on railway tracks in Kokrajhar with banners and placards and shouted slogans in support of their demands.

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Gujarat Election Results: Congress may have lost, but the outcome will bost morale, says Ashok Chavan

The Congress may have lost the Gujarat elections on Monday, but the final results will certainly boost the party’s morale, feels Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President Ashok Chavan. In Gujarat, in total 182 seats of assembly, BJP won 99 seats while Congress 80. Congress won mostly in the rural belt of Gujarat due to farmers’ unrest. “We are also facing the same situations in Maharashtra. Farmers are not getting the good rates to their crops — cotton, soya bean etc. Besides, the promised farm loan waiver has not been yet fulfilled,” said Chavan on Tuesday.He said that during the Congress regime, farmers were getting Rs 6,000- Rs 7,000 for per quintal of cotton against present Rs 4,000-4,500. “Farmers are working hard but not getting fair rates. On this same issue, BJP MP Nana Patole resigned. BJP has gone back on its given promises. They no more talk about the Ache Din now,” the former chief minister said.Also readHow BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal will impact Bengal political equationsIn Maharashtra, there are total 288 seats. Presently, the BJP has 120, Shiv Sena – 62 while the Congress and the NCP 42 and 40 respectively. “Last elections, the Congress and the NCP fought separately. Now, NCP president Sharad Pawar has also indicated possible alliance of Congress and NCP again. In the upcoming elections, we will put the united face that will help to get us majority in state assembly and improve our tally in parliament as well. Modi-Shah juggernaut which was slower down by Congress in Gujarat will be halted in Maharashtra permanently,” Chavan said.NCP leader Ajit Pawar also criticised BJP. “If BJP struggled to get the century in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its party president Amit Shah’s home state, they will not make much impact in Maharashtra. Here, Gujarat pride, Pakistan and fanning Hindu-Muslim issue will not work. We believe in issue-based politics,” said Pawar.Also readAssembly elections 2017| ‘Gujarat model’ has been shaken, verdict a warning for 2019, Shiv Sena tells BJPInterestingly, the Shiv Sena is unlikely to form an alliance with the BJP in the upcoming state and Lok Sabha elections. “Seat sharing between the Sena and BJP is major issue. No one will cut down their current seats numbers to accommodate each other. Therefore, they have no options but to contest separately. And that will surely go in favour of Congress and the NCP,” said political observer.

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Use coach for disabled, face heavy penalty

In a bid to crackdown on abled persons travelling in train compartments reserved for the handicapped, the Government Railway Police (GRP) will aggressively book offenders under the Right of Persons With Disabilities Act (RPWD) which attracts a maximum punishment of Rs One lakh as fine and two years imprisonment or both.The Kurla police on Monday registered a case against an unidentified man after Nitin Gaikwad, 46, a Ghatkopar resident and physically-handicapped businessman, reported the matter to Chief Security Commissioner of the Railway Protection Force (RPF).The Kurla GRP registered a case under sections 91 (Punishment for fraudulently availing any benefit meant for persons with benchmark disabilities) and 95 (Alternative punishments) of the RPWD Act.A senior inspector on condition of anonymity said, “Normally, RPF fines the offenders around Rs 500 but we have been instructed that if offenders are found inside the compartment reserved for handicap commuters, a case under RPWD is to be registered.”TN Dubey, Chairperson, Naisargic Viklang Seva Sangh and former Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee, said, “The move will curb the number of abled persons entering the reserved compartment. The Railways should also make announcements requesting commuters to not enter these compartments.”

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Over 3 lakh applications received for next year’s Haj, draw in January 2nd week

The draw of lots for next year’s Haj will be conducted in the second week of January with more than 3 lakh people applying for the pilgrimage through the the Haj Committee of India till now, a senior official said today. Out of the applications, over 1,000 applicants are women who hope to go on the pilgrimage without a ‘Mehram’. The Centre has for the first time decided to allow women pilgrims over the age of 45 to undertake the pilgrimage in groups of at least four sans ‘Mehram’. The term Mehram refers to a male, a woman cannot marry in her life (i.e. father, brother or son etc). Till now, women pilgrims would be required to be accompanied by ‘Mehram’ during the annual pilgrimage. “India and Saudi Arabia will sign an agreement related to Haj on January 15,” Chief Executive Office of the Haj committee Maqsood Ahmed Khan told PTI Bhasha. He said the committee will push for raising the Haj quota. At present, India has a quota of 1.7 lakh pilgrims. This will be the first Haj under the new Haj policy. Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi will visit Saudi Arabia on January 7 to sign an agreement on issues related to Haj. Talking about the draw of lots, Khan said this time more transparency will be maintained so that first timers can get a chance to go on the pilgrimage. People often complain about lack of transparency in the draw due to which several people get many chances to go for the pilgrimage while some do not get even a single chance. The draw will be conducted between January 8-15, he said. More than three lakh people have applied for the pilgrimage till Friday evening, he said. The last day to apply for the pilgrimage has been extended to December 22 from December 7.

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Shooting time: State may throw open monuments to film makers

In order to encourage movie producers to come and shoot in the state, the government may allow film shooting free of charge in the monuments of the state.Though no decision is taken on this yet, the government has made a committee of various officials of department of archaeology and museums to review the rates of shooting in monuments and if found feasible the decision regarding this may be taken.Sources informed that the committee will be reviewing the current rates as they have not been revised since long. Based on the report of the committee which will be received in a week’s time. A final decision will be taken on whether making movie shooting at monuments can be made free.The present review may also be seen as a step to keep the movie producers happy and encouraged to shoot in Rajasthan.While it is being claimed that Padmavati issue has nothing to do with the present review, but the timing of making a review of shooting rates at monuments is being taken in some quarters as an indication of pacifying the movie producers. Moreover, the committee will also decide the rate for pre wedding shootings at monuments.Currently there is no pre decided rate for such thing and every time a proposal of pre wedding shoot at monument comes, rate is decided based on case to case, informed the sources. The basic idea is to increase the number of movie makers shooting at monuments.It may be recalled that several parts of controversial movie Padmavati were shot in Jaipur. Director Sanjay Bhansali faced opposition and was even roughed up which created controversy. Apart from Padmavati, movies like Salman Khan starrer Veer, Aishwarya Rai’s Jodha Akbar etc in recent years have been shot in Amber and other monuments of Jaipur and Rajasthan.Pre wedding shootsThe timing of making a review of shooting rates at monuments is being taken in some quarters as an indication of pacifying the movie producers.The committee will also decide the rate for pre wedding shootings at monuments. Currently there is no pre decided rate for such thing and every time a proposal of pre wedding shoot at monument comes, rate is decided based on case to case.

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South Delhi Municipal Corporation beautifies space under two major flyovers

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has beautified the space underneath Raja Garden flyover and Mayapuri flyover, constructed by PWD on the main roads. The aim, officials said, is to work on the look and image of the city .According to SDMC officials, an amount of Rs 78 lakh has been spent on this. The civic body had deputed employees of Horticulture and Engineering and Electrical Department and their resources for the purpose. Sarita Jindal, Chairperson, West Zone Ward Committee, said a few councilors and West Zone Deputy Commissioner Mona Srinivas were present for the occasion, along with West Delhi MP Pravesh Verma and Deputy Mayor Kailash Sankla.”The SDMC has been striving hard to beautify all its localities including flyovers that come under its jurisdiction. Keeping in view the instruction of L-G Anil Baijal, a number of flyovers have been beautified within the shortest possible time,” said Verma.He added, “The beautified spaces under the flyovers will glorify the image of Delhi in future, including in January 2018, when leaders of other countries will be in Delhi to attend a summit.”More than a dozen flyovers have been developed in the process so far. All the flyovers are being developed as per different themes. The details of the illustration for each were prepared separately and respective departments undertook the work assigned to them.”The Electrical Department also meticulously executed the work assigned to it. The entire work was undertaken under a mission to get rid of an atmosphere of filth and stink leading to an unhealthy ambiance and anti-social activities. Locals are now visiting the spaces for evening walks,” said Kailash Sankla, Deputy Mayor.”The actual work was done quickly once the unauthorised occupants were evicted. The entire work has been completed in a period of 30-40 days,” he said.

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Supreme Court raps Delhi govt over ‘illegal constructions’

The Supreme Court on Friday posed searching questions to the Delhi government on the issue of rampant unauthorised constructions in the national capital and asked whether it was prepared to stop them.A bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said the Delhi government should reply to its queries in ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the issue.”Are you (government) interested in stopping unauthorised constructions? Is the Delhi government prepared to stop illegal constructions in Delhi or not? We are asking you a simple question. Answer in yes or no,” the bench told the counsel appearing for the government.Responding to the court’s queries, the counsel said “yes” and told the bench that the city government would file an affidavit in this regard.The court directed the government to file an affidavit indicating the exact plan to stop unauthorised constructions.The bench posted the matter for further hearing on February 15 next year.The South Delhi Municipal Corporation had on Thursday told the apex court that it was taking action against illegal constructions in its area from time to time.The court had earlier said the rule of law over sanction to construct buildings has “completely broken down” and expressed concern over rampant illegal constructions here.It had decided to restore powers of the 2006 Monitoring Committee, which was relieved in 2012, to identify and seal unauthorised premises and construction in the city.The Monitoring Committee, comprising K J Rao, former advisor to the election commissioner, Bhure Lal, chairman of the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) and Major General (Retd) Som Jhingan, was set up in March 24, 2006, by the apex court to oversee implementation of the law relating to sealing of offending premises.

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Cheers & jeers

Congress’s eccentric ‘inventions’ to attack Raje government for its alleged failures in past four years continue to be revealed without any break. A day after Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee president, Sachin Pilot revealed a ‘digital bill board’ showing countdown of the ruling party in power, the Leader of Opposition, Rameshwar Dudi on Wednesday appeared with a ‘black box’. The black box (an electronic recording device placed in aircrafts) when recovered post accident of a plane, ascertains the technical cause of the mishap and accordingly a factual report is drafted. Implying the same concept metaphorically, Dudi brought a box in which 52 cards were written with the causes (read scams, failures, issues and broken promises” which, according to him, detail Raje’s government crashing. “The CM in Suraj Sankalp Patra had made 611 poll promises, of them, even 40 percent were not fulfilled. I have 52 questions in the ‘black box’, which is a bundle of promises which have not worked out till date. I will forward the box to the CM, ministers and MLAs seeking their reply and also the same will be tabled in next assembly session,” told Dudi to the scribes, accusing the government further for using public money to celebrate its fourth anniversary, while it did nothing for them. He expressed confidence that party will come into the power with a thumb majority. The issues written on cards ask questions about poor implementation of ambitious projects- Metro and Refinery, non compliance of complete loan waiver for farmers, poor state of Indira Gandhi Canal, ownership of Dholpur palace, unemployment, Mining scam, farmers suicide, increasing rate of crimes, death of newborn in the government hospitals and delay in Banswara rally project etc. In two days, the Congress leaders were found cornering Raje government on achievements it claims.

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Nationwide raids on 9 Bitcoin exchanges

Multiple teams of tax sleuths Wednesday, investigating virtual currency Bitcoin’s investors and transactions, conducted raids at nine cryptocurrency exchanges in Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kochi, Hapur and Gurugram.The raids come a month after the Supreme Court issued notice to the Centre and its agencies, including SEBI, Income Tax Department, RBI and ED to apprise it about their stand on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and how to regulate them.Beginning early morning, team of IT officials stormed 12 premises of prominent virtual currency exchanges, including Zebpay and Unocoin.Sources told DNA, “We are collecting the name of investors and their transaction details. The survey under Section 133A of the Income Tax Act, is being conducted for gathering evidence for establishing the identity of investors and traders, transactions undertaken by them, identity of other parties, bank accounts used, among others.”Bitcoin, though illegal in India, has jumped about 16-fold this year as investors continue to flock to this cryptocurrency as a safe investment option.”Even though virtual currencies do not have legal status in India, cryptocurrency exchanges have been adding over 3,500 users a day and now have reached 8 lakh downloads, said a source privy to the matter.DNA had first reported last month how cryptocurrencies were replacing the cash component in the real estate.Also, several real estate brokers, who have left the sector, are now luring investors to invest in Bitcoins, promising them returns of more than 300 per cent in just three months.Recently, the RBI issued an advisory, telling investors to beware of investing in cryptocurencies.However, despite the RBI refusal to give regulatory clearances, many leading Indian Bitcoin exchanges like Zebpay and Unocoin offers crypto coin trade, possiblly through online banking.The Finance Ministry had also constituted an Inter-Disciplinary Committee to review virtual currency both in India and globally and suggest measures to monitor these currencies.About the raidsThough illegal in India, Bitcoin has grown about 16-fold in 2016 Cryptocurrency exchanges have been adding over 3,500 users per day Nine cryptocurrency exchanges were raided, beginning early morning

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Sachin Pilot ‘ticks off’ Raje govt on fourth anniversary

A day before Raje government 4 years anniversary, the Congress on Tuesday unveiled a ‘digital countdown billboard’ at the party headquarters and expressed confidence in registering a victory in the assembly polls. The Congress party leaders also staged a protest at the district headquarters against the government’s celebration and called it a waste of public money.Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot in a press conference unveiled the clock and also released a book detailing fulfillment of claims and budget announcements made by the BJP so far under the rule.“It is immoral for the BJP government to celebrate the anniversary by spending public money. If it wants to celebrate, it should use party fund. The party leaders have protested against the misrule of the government which has been a complete failure to meet the promises committed by the party,” Pilot said at press conference held at party headquarters.Accusing the saffron party-led government of increasing rate of crimes, keeping farmers waiting for loan waiver, the death of thousand cows due to corruption, bulldozing temples in Jaipur and cheating the government employees in the name of 7th pay commission, Pilot made a scathing attack. The leader also took on Raje government for privatization of education and health institutions terming the decision bad for the commoners. “To set political scores, the government privatized education and health institution. It reduced the budget allocations for both sectors and even the poor, budget was not allocated to the department in time which resulted in the death of 32,000 newborns per year in Rajasthan.The pilot also accused the Raje government of corruption. He blamed that be it mines scam, LED scam, sand mining, giving contracts to NGOs under MJSY Scheme, BJP government was mired in corruption. “One 9W LED bulb was purchased at Rs 972 which is available at Rs 100 in the market, only 9 per cent of MoUs done in Resurgent Rajasthan realised on the ground, government schools were shut, free medicines availability has reduced, subsidy on agriculture support equipment was reduced.”

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Officers to get Rs Rs 20 lakh, informers Rs 2 lakh for info on drug trafficking

In order to crackdown on drug trafficking across the country and motivate police personnel, informers, and common citizens to report such instances, the Central government has issued new guidelines on Tuesday announcing rewards for those whose information would lead to seizures of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The government, however, has also clearly stated that any work done by an individual officer in his normal course of duties is not eligible for the reward.The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has come up with ‘guidelines for grant of rewards to be paid to the officers, informers, and other persons, 2017’. It will also regulate the grant and payment of reward to informers and government officers.As per this policy, an officer is eligible for Rs 20 lakh reward during his entire career and Rs 50,000 at a time. However a maximum reward of Rs 2 lakh may also be given to an individual in exceptional cases by the Apex Central Rewards Committee.”Up to 50 per cent of the total admissible reward amount can be given at pre-trial stage if the test report from chemical lab turns positive,” the ministry said.Further the reward sanctioning authority should also consider several factors — like accuracy of the information, degree of risk involved, extent and nature of the help rendered by the informer, and whether the information also gave clues of the person involved in the drug trafficking racket — while granting reward to informers.Narcotics Control Bureau has been made the coordinating agency to process the reward proposal of other central and state agencies working in the field of drug interdiction.As per the new policy, reward should not be granted as a matter of routine and provision for special efforts made by the government officials in developing the information, effecting the seizure and post seizure investigation should also be taken into consideration.The reward scheme will be made applicable to informers whose information leads to seizures of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, controlled substances, forfeiture of illegally acquired property under NDPS Act and contravention of rules made there under, which is booked by any central and state agencies.It is also applicable to the officers of central, state and union territories who make seizures, successful investigation and prosecution and conduct post investigation work in respect of contravention of provisions of NDPS Act.The new reward guideline has not only included new drugs and psychotropic substances in the revised reward policy but also increased the rate of reward of the seized drug. The highest reward has been kept for cocaine and its salts which is Rs 2.4 lakh per kilogramme but it should be 90 percent or more of anhydrous cocaine and thereafter heroin and its salts which is Rs 1.20 lakh per kilogramme but it should 90 percent or more of diacetyl morphine. In Ganja, the reward is Rs 600 per kilogramme and it should be commercially acceptable as ganja. Even Mandrax tablets attract Rs 2000 per kilogramme. The destruction of illicit cannabis and opium poppy crop attracts Rs 10,000 per hectare and destruction of poppy straw calls for Rs 240 which is 20 percent of the present street price.In case of controlled and psychotropic substances, the maximum reward is 25,000 per Kg for seizure of Buprenorphine or Tidigesic and its preparations but it should be 100 percent pure. Interestingly, diazepam and its preparations can get reward Rs. 0.53 per tablet of 5mg, alprazolam and its preparations can get reward Rs 0.20 per tablet of 5 mg, lorezepam and its preparations Rs 0.296 per tablet of 5 mg and alprax and its preparations can get Rs 0.52 per tablet of 5 mg.The ministry has put up a clause wherein the rewards shall be reduced pro-rate if the purity is less than the prescribed level.

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Farm sector in distress under BJP government: Rohit Shukla

Members of the Lokshahi Bachavo Abhiyan on Monday alleged that the condition of agriculture and farmers under the BJP government in Gujarat is in a dismay.Talking to mediapersons, Abhiyan member and an economist Rohit Shukla claimed that though agriculture and its ancillary fields are the largest employment generating sector in Gujarat, the farmers’ condition is pathetic as the government is focussed on industrialisation. “The average monthly income of the farming family is Rs6,426 only. On one hand, input cost is increasing and agricultural products are fetching lower prices and on the other hand the Minimum Support Price (MSP) is not enough to meet the cost. The Swaminathan Committee had suggested minimum support price should be based on input cost plus 50 percent amount,” he said.Citing an example he alleged that the present government is anti-farmer. “If a farmer is having his field near an irrigation canal and if the water level increases in the well on the field, the farmer is liable to pay water charges of irrigation, even if he/she has not drawn water from the canal,” he said.Taking it further, economist Hemant Shah alleged that 55% population is dependent on agriculture and ancillary sectors. “A farmer’s family earning is meagre Rs6,426 per month and out of that too, income from agriculture is just Rs3,078, rest comes from animal husbandry and labour activity. Farm loan scheme announced by the state government is an eyewash,” he said.Social activist Mahesh lambasted the government alleging that it has failed to take the Narmada or any other irrigation scheme’s water to the farms.

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AoL damaged Yamuna floodplains, rules NGT

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Thursday held the Art of Living Foundation (AoL) responsible for damaging the Yamuna floodplains when it organised a three-day cultural festival in March last year.In its order, the NGT bench headed by Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said, “We hold and declare that AoL is responsible for causing damage and environmental degradation of the floodplain of river Yamuna limited to the area that was awarded to it by DDA and the State of UP, in terms of the report of the High Powered Committee.”The bench, however, did not impose any further fine, ordering that the amount of Rs 5 crore AoL had submitted earlier would be used to restore the floodplains.Responding to the NGT order, the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar-led foundation called the judgment “erroneous and untenable” and said it would move the Supreme Court against the verdict.The green tribunal ordered that the Yamuna riverbed should not be used to hold any such cultural activities in future, while directing the DDA to assess the damage caused on floodplains and calculate the cost of restoration as per the recommendations of the expert panel appointed by it. The expert panel had earlier told NGT that an estimated Rs 42.02 crore would be required to restore Yamuna floodplainsThe bench said “in the event, the expenditure for that purpose on the portion of the land forming part of Phase-II of the project of DDA is found to be in excess of Rs5 crore, DDA would be at liberty to recover the said amount and AoL shall be liable to pay the said amount on demand.””If finally, the expenditure to be incurred on that amount is less than Rs 5 crore, the remaining would be refunded by DDA to AoL,” it said. Pulling up the DDA for failing to maintain the natural features and ecology of the Yamuna floodplains, the bench said the it had failed to exercise its statutory duty in consonance with the environmental laws in force. The bench said that even the Delhi Pollution Control Committee had failed to exercise caution in granting permission to AoL.It should have considered the request for permission in accordance with environmental laws in force, it said.The AoL had held the World Culture Festival in March last year in which it had constructed a stage over an area of seven acres on the Yamuna floodplains. The cultural extravaganza attended by thousands from across the country including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many other VIPs.The NGT was informed that Justice R S Rathore, who had earlier heard the matter, had recused from the bench.”We are not in agreement with the verdict. AoL is disappointed with the decision taken by the NGT for damaging Yamuna floodplains during its World Culture Festival,” the AoL stated, claiming that its submissions had not been dealt with/considered.”We will appeal to the Supreme Court. We are confident that we will get justice before the Supreme Court,” AoL said.The orderNo fine was imposed. The Rs 5 crore submitted by AOL earlier will be used to restore the floodplainsThe Yamuna riverbed should not be used to hold any such cultural activities in future
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Dengue death: Haryana panel blames Fortis

A committee formed by the Haryana government has found criminal negligence on the part of Fortis hospital, causing the death of a seven-year-old girl suffering from dengue. The statement comes after a committee of senior doctors, formed by the state government, gave its recommendations.The committee has alleged several irregularities, including refusal of appropriate ambulance service to the patient, not following leave against medical advice (LAMA) protocol, and overcharging.”The girl was on ventilator in the hospital, but she was provided with an ordinary ambulance. The ventilator system was withdrawn and even an ambu bag was not provided. This eventually led to her death,” Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij said on Wednesday.According to the Indian Medical Association (IMA) protocol, if a patient is discharged against medical advice, the hospital arranges or advises for an ambulance that could provide similar conditions. “The ambulance in which the girl was being transported had no such facilities.”An Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance should have been used. but a Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance was provided, which had no such facilities,” he added.The Haryana government will file an FIR against the Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI) under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for death due to negligence and will also ask the Medical Council of India (MCI) to take action against the hospital, which may include cancelling of its licence.The committee also found the Fortis Hospital guilty of overcharging for medicines and platelets and has sent a notice for cancellation of its blood bank’s licence. “Costly medicines were used even when its substitute was available, violating the IMA’s regulation. Also platelets were given 25 times, for which Rs 400 per unit was charged 17 times, while Rs 2,000 per unit was charged for the remaining eight times. Overall profit margin in medicine is 108 per cent and a few consumables have a 1,737 per cent margin,” Vij added.Moreover, a notice has been sent to the Fortis Hospital by the committee for violating the Epidemic Act by not notifying the dengue case to the local authority concerned. If found guilty, the hospital authorities could be imprisoned for a period ranging from a month to six months and may have to pay a fine of Rs 200 to Rs 1,000.It was also found by the committee that the hospital did not provide 20 per cent RBD to the patient’s family, violating a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). The parents had also alleged forgery of their signatures on consent form multiple times, Vij added.Parents of the seven-year old girl, who died on November 21 of Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS), had accused the Fortis hospital of charging Rs 16 lakh for the 15-day treatment.The hospital, however, denied all allegations.
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Bhanwer Jitendra likely to contest Alwar bypolls

The state Congress has started a campaign in the poll-bounded Alwar parliamentary constituency unofficially betted former union minister Bhanwer Jitendra Singh, a close aide of AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi who is set to become president of the party.It was quite evident on Wednesday when Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot, AICC general secretary, and Rajasthan in charge Avinash Pandey with Singh officially started the campaign by holding ‘Mera Booth- Mera Gaurav’ program’. Singh, who earlier represented the seat, was found leading the workers and having a conversation with workers along with Pilot.On this occasion, Sachin Pilot told the workers that party will win all three by-elections of Alwar and Ajmer Parliamentary seats and Mandalgar assembly election. “Soon Rahul Gandhi will take reign of the party as the president. We will win all three seats giving him a gift and assuring that party has a stronghold in Rajasthan,” Sachin Pilot spoke in the conference of workers.He also accused the chief minister Vasundhara Raje of ignoring bypoll bound constituencies in past four years and now touring these extensively and showering sops as the election are approaching.
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PM Modi, Kapil Sibal take digs at each other over Ayodhya case

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi trained guns on the Congress after party leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal sought deferment of the hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi case till after the 2019 general elections while pleading in the court, the lawyer hit back, asking the PM to check his facts.Earlier an alleged official of the Sunni Waqf Board — a petitioner in the case — had distanced itself from the stand taken by the senior lawyer. But other litigants — All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Babri Masjid Action Committee, and Ayodhya resident late Hashim Ansari’s son Iqbal Ansari — endorsed Sibal’s stand, saying that the plea of deferment was made after due consultations. Sibal blamed the PM and media for wrongly stating him as the counsel of the Sunni Waqf Board, as he was representing late Hashim Ansari — the first litigant in the case.Sibal sought to duck the attack mounted by Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, and other BJP leaders after one Haji Mehboob — claiming to be a member of the Sunni Waqf Board — said Sibal was never authorised to seek deferment of the hearing in SC.Late on Wednesday evening, even the Sunni Waqf Board’s advocate Shakil Ahmed said Mehboob was neither a member of the Sunni Waqf Board nor does he represent the Board in any capacity.PM was quick to congratulate Mehboob and the Waqf Board for exposing the Congress design through Sibal even before the Board sought to clarify that Mehboob had no locus standi in the organisation.Haji exposedHaji Mehboob — claiming to be a member of Sunni Waqf Board — said Sibal was not authorised to seek deferment of hearing. The Board later clarified that Mehboob was not associated with it.
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History will judge Rahul Gandhi as ‘failed dynast’, says Himanta Biswa

Soon after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi filed nomination papers for the party’s top post on Monday, Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said history would judge him as a failed dynast.Sarma took to his Twitter handle and said, “Those who dedicated their sweat and blood for @INCIndia are today silently sobbing on such treacherous lack of transparency in party. God bless @OfficeOfRG.”While talking to ANI, Sarma said, “Rahul got a historic opportunity and could have utilised it to cleanse Congress from feudal mindset but he did not do it. He is promoting same kind of feudalism and dynastic politics which his earlier generation used to do.”Also readCongress leader decorates bungalow to celebrate Rahul Gandhi nomination”History will judge him as a failed dynast,” said, Sarma, who was one of the most prominent leaders of the Congress in Assam before joining Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).Rahul filed his nomination papers for the post of the party president at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters in Delhi. The election, if necessary, will be held on December 16.If elected, Rahul will succeed his mother Sonia, who has been holding the post for nearly two decades.Also read’Pidhikaran’ of Congress is now complete: GVL Narasimha Rao mocks Rahul Gandhi
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Bombay High Court strikes down plea to hike Metro fare

The Bombay High Court, in a major relief to Mumbaikars, on Monday restrained the Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) from hiking the fares for the Versova-Ghatkopar Metro route.The bench headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur refused to approve a 2015 recommendation of the Metro Fare Fixation Committee, which proposed a hike of up to Rs 110. The Mumbai Metro Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), which has stakes in the project, had challenged the proposed hike. The court asked the Union government to form a fresh committee within one month, which would decide on the issue in the next three months.A spokesperson from the company said “We are studying the detailed order and will take the appropriate legal course.”The first elevated metro operations of the city began in June 2014 and the introductory fare was Rs 10 for a one-way journey along the 11.4-km stretch. It was subsequently increased to Rs 40, the entire distance one side. In July 2015, the fare fixation committee suggested a new fare range of Rs 10-110, instead of the existing Rs10 to 40. Citing heavy losses, the MMOPL had later announced that starting December 1, 2015, the fares would be increased by Rs 5.The MMOPL had argued for the increase, claiming that it was not able to meet the operation costs. On December 17, 2015, in an interim order, the HC had stayed the proposed fare hike.The MMOPL had moved the Supreme Court against the high court’s order, but the apex court refused to interfere. The fare fixation committee led by a retired SC judge, had recommended increasing the fare up to Rs110.
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Truly democratic process? How Congress leaders congratulated Rahul Gandhi for filing nomination papers

On Monday, Congress leaders with the sole exception of Shehzad Poonawalla, were full of plaudits and praises for Rahul Gandhi. Mani Shankar Aiyar even countered PM Modi’s Aurangzeb jibe by claiming that the Congress election was ‘totally democratic’.The counter to PM Modi’s Aurangzeb jibe however barely holds water, considering the events of the past week. Since Shehzad Poonawalla raised allegations of the election being ‘rigged’, he was removed from all Whatsapp groups from the Congress and disowned as a member, his work airbrushed out of history like the Soviets would do to dissidents.On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi who filed his nomination paper today for the post of party president was accompanied by the who’s who of the Congress party. Sonia Gandhi, his mother and Congress president for the last 19 years, was not present but she was the one who proposed his name. At the time of writing, he was the sole candidate, clearing the decks for a democratic process to make him the president.Also readDNA Edit- Rahul Gandhi’s elevation: A myth called ‘inner party democracy’ in India Former PM Manmohan Singh sang paeans about his greatness at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) saying: “Rahul ji has been the darling of the Congress. Congress president Smt Sonia Gandhi has served the Congress party and, through the Congress party, the country for the last 19 years. This is yet another step forward in that direction. Rahul Gandhi will carry on the great traditions of the Congress party.”Five sets of nomination forms were filed on his behalf by Congress leaders including Congress Working Committee members, party general secretaries, in-charge in various states and chief ministers of party-ruled states.Also read’Promotion without performance’: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi ‘congratulates’ Rahul GandhiAmong those who proposed Rahul Gandhi’s name in the first set of nomination papers were Sonia Gandhi, Motilal Vora, Ahmed Patel, Mohsina Kidwai, Kamal Nath, Ashok Gehlot, Mukul Wasnik, Sheila Dikshit, Tarun Gogoi and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy.Party leaders Manmohan Singh, Oscar Fernandes, P Chidambaram, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Anand Sharma, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his Meghalaya counterpart Mukul Sangma proposed his name in the second set of nomination papers.No one else filed papers till Sunday, revealed Mullapally Ramachandran, the chairman of the party’ Central Election Authority. The last date for withdrawal of the candidature is December 11. The poll, if necessary, will be held on December 16 and the counting will take place on December 19. Interestingly, just after he filed the nomination papers, congratulations poured in thick and fast, even though the so-called democratic process wasn’t over yet.Also readRahul Gandhi files nomination for Congress President, party dismisses allegations of dynastic politics Senior Congress leaders also took to Twitter to express their happiness at Rahul Gandhi’s impending elevation, with the likes of P Chidamabram, Shashi Tharoor, Sharmistha Mukherjee, Randeep Surjewala, Ajay Maken, Sheila Dikshit, Sanjay and others using the hash tag #IndiaWithRahulGandhi. Perhaps, the grand old party, often in a state of denial have confused its own members’ feelings for the rest of the nation’s. Because if one thing is apparent from the recent electoral results across the country, India is not with Rahul Gandhi.Here’s how Congress leaders ‘congratulated’ Gandhi for ‘filing his nomination papers’:
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Don’t know anyone by name of Shehzad Poonawalla: Tehseen disowns his own brother

Tehseen Poonawalla, Shehzad Poonawalla’s older brother, disowned his brother saying he didn’t anyone by that name.He said: “First of all, I don’t know anyone by the name of Shehzad Poonawalla. Me, my wife & my mother are no longer associated with this gentleman. Any questions he had could have been raised legitimately in forum within the ‘maryada’ & ‘daayra’ of the party.”Tehseen Poonawalla, brother of Maharashtra Congress Secretary Shehzad Poonawalla, on Monday came out in support of party vice president Rahul Gandhi, saying his entire family wanted him to lead the party.Also readSardar Patel was insulted by Congress, feeling the same way now, says ‘whistleblower’ Shehzad Poonawalla Speaking to ANI, Tehseen said, “I would like to clarify that me and my family are completely with Shri Rahul Gandhi and the Congress Party. We want Rahul Gandhi to take over as the leader of the party.”Tehseen further said that the Poonawalla family had cut off their relationship with his brother Shehzad.Also readEntire party wants Rahul to become Congress President: Party’s Karnataka chief on Shehzad Poonawalla’s allegations”We have cut off all our family ties with Shezad; he is no longer a part of our family. We would just say if he had any issues with Congress, he should have raised it in the inter-party forum rather than the media,” said Tehseen.However, Shehzad Poonawalla, who had called out the party’s president election ‘rigged’, called the entire procedure to be a coronation.Also readShehzad Poonawalla questions Rahul elevation”I have objection with this election procedure which is rather a coronation. I would like to tell Rahul to ask his people to wait with a crown and coronate him as soon as he reaches the place,” said Shehzad.Shehzad also expressed his concern regarding the presentation of a dummy candidate in the election procedure.”As per my sources, Congress will take support of a dummy candidate, so the entire procedure seems like an election. I think people shouldn’t be deceived,” added Shehzad.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday took a dig at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on his unopposed nomination to the post of party chief, saying that such an election was only possible in a feudal setup.Speaking to ANI, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi congratulated Rahul for ‘promotion without performance’‘I congratulate Rahul Gandhi for his promotion without performance. This can only be possible in a feudal setup. I fully know that the way Congress is in ventilator, Rahul Gandhi standing in elevator will not do anything different. He failed in all the exams,’ Naqvi said.Earlier in the day, Rahul filed his nomination papers for the post of party chief at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters here.The election, if necessary, will be held on December 16.If elected, Rahul will succeed his mother Sonia, who has been holding the post for nearly two decades. Rahul Gandhi on Monday filed his nomination papers for the post of party chief at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters in Delhi.
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‘Situation getting worse’: NGT raps Delhi govt, directs to submit action plan to curb air pollution

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday slammed the Delhi government for not filing the action plan on steps taken to curb air pollution in the city.The court observed that situation is getting worst and children are suffering because of it.The green court directed the Delhi government to file its action plan within 48 hours. The States of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have already filed the same. Meanwhile, it also slams authorities for holding India-Sri Lanka cricket match at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi despite hazardous air quality.Also readAir pollution: What Delhi can learn from Beijing and Mexico to clear its toxic smogThe green body had earlier directed the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and every state pollution control boards to file ambient air quality analysis before the tribunal on monthly basis and also put up on their websites to enable the concerned authority to take effective steps to control the air pollution. Earlier on Sunday, the CPCB, the body that measures air pollution, had stated: “Exposure to such air for a prolonged period can trigger respiratory illness. The most dominant pollutants are PM2.5 and PM10. These are ultrafine particulates, which can measure up to 30 times finer than the width of a human hair.Also readDelhi air pollution: Arvind Kejriwal government sat on Rs 787 crore green fundSmog is a very common phenomenon in Delhi as farmers in the adjoining states of Punjab and Haryana burn crops during the end of October and November.Millions began choking on foul air in the first week of November, forcing closure of schools, ban on entry of trucks and construction activities in Delhi.After a brief respite, the situation is back to square one. The city government issued a health advisory, urging people to avoid smoking and go in for carpooling, among other things, to combat the situation. The Supreme Court as also sought the Centre’s response on a petition seeking a series of steps to curb air pollution, including ban on sale, possession and bursting of firecrackers across the country.Also readDelhi air pollution: All you need to know
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Amarinder Singh signs papers proposing Rahul Gandhi’s name as Congress chief

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh signed nomination papers proposing Rahul Gandhi’s name for the post of Congress president and said the elevation would help revive the party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.”Congratulating Gandhi on his proposed elevation, Singh said he was extremely happy to be doing the honours of nominating the Congress vice president for the post and was sure he would do well as the new leader of the party.The chief minister said he had known Gandhi since the latter was a little boy and could see even then that the youngster would one day rise to the top.Also readEntire party wants Rahul to become Congress President: Party’s Karnataka chief on Shehzad Poonawalla’s allegationsThe move to elevate him to the top post is a good sign for the party, a release quoting Singh said here.He said that Gandhi’s performance during the last few days in Gujarat showed his strong capability. He had been drawing huge crowds in Gujarat, and showed remarkable political maturity on several other occasions in the recent past, said the chief minister.Also readCWC announces poll schedule, paves way for Rahul Gandhi’s elevationDescribing Gandhi as a “mature and competent” politician, the Singh said his elevation would help revive the party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.His visionary leadership qualities would help infuse young blood into the party, said Singh, who is a permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee (CWC).A fortnight back, Singh had said “It is time to pass on the baton of the party affairs into the able hands of Rahul Gandhi”.
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Man held on charge of minor daughter rape

A man has been arrested on the alleged charge of repeatedly raping his seven-year-old girl of in Jhalawar. This is the third incident of rape of a minor girl in the last six days in the district.According to police, victim’s mother had died and she was living with father. The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) came to know about the incident when the girl stopped attending Aanganwadi centre. A Aanganwadi worker went to her home where she narrated her ordeal. On the report by the CWC, a case under section 376 of IPC and section of POASO Act was yesterday lodged against the accused father Mohammed Rayees, who would be produced before the court today, he added. The victim is currently undergoing medical treatment at government woman hospital in Jhalawar and her condition is stated to be out of danger.This is the third incident of rape of a minor in the last six days. On November 26, a 12-year-old girl of Meena community, a class 6th student was allegedly raped by a neighbourhood youth. On November 28, a 10-year-old girl of Mehar community was allegedly raped and murdered in Dug town of Jhalawar district.
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Swaraj India attacks AAP on proposed DTC fare hike

The Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj India, a breakaway faction of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) attacked the Delhi government of planning to hike fares of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses on Thursday.The party alleged that the Delhi government was hand-in-glove with the Centre on the Delhi Metro fare hike issue and now plans to hike DTC bus fares as well.Yadav took to the social media site Twitter to attack the AAP. “One more lie nailed. Metro documents show MD of DTC told Fare Fixation Committee that they plan to raise DTC fares, following Metro fare hike. Metro hiked its fares on this basis. Now who controls the DTC? The LG? Modi government?” tweeted Yadav.However, AAP leader and Delhi Transport minister Kailash Gahlot rubbished the allegations retorting on the site: “Futile attempts to mislead the public. Have no basis. There is no proposal whatsoever to hike DTC fares – all these are lies.”Swaraj Party members also released a document on the site pertaining to discussions on the Fourth Fare Fixation Committee (FFC) where a proposal to revise DTC fares has been discussed.”Shocking to note that the Delhi Metro fares were increased on an assurance from DTC that bus fares will also be revised after that… Yet another proof that Delhi government was hand in glove in unjustly increasing metro fares and now plans to hike DTC bus fares…,” a member of Swaraj India wrote on Twitter.The AAP government had attacked the Centre for the hike in Metro fares last month. However, the central government had pointed out that the AAP did not raise an objection when the hike was being discussed by the Committee.UNDER FIREThe AAP government had attacked the Centre for the hike in Metro fares last month. However, the Centre had pointed out that the AAP did not raise an objection when the hike was being discussed by the Committee.
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BMC scraps TAC committee of citzens

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has scrapped the technical advisory committee (TAC), which was formed to improve transparency and accountability within the BMC and to help BMC put such information on its website which reduces the RTI application with help of citizen participation. Formed in 2013 by then municipal commissioner, Sitaram Kunte, it was headed by Shailesh Gandhi, former central information commissioner with some RTI activist and BMC officers being part of it. While Gandhi complained that much was needed to be done through the committee, BMC said that TAC had achieved its purpose and that since another high powered committee was appointed by state government on transparency for BMC, it would not be appropriate to have another committee. Citizens members who had been waiting for the monthly meeting to happen, and had sent reminders, said that the information came in a “rude” and showed lack of courtesy on part of BMC. “We had a meeting with the Municipal Commissioner on 22 May 2017 and he offered complete support. We suggested that most reports and dashboards which exist should be accessible by citizens and he readily agreed saying, “BMC has no information which cannot be disclosed to citizens”. I sent him an email on 27 May noting the main points of our meeting. Since there was no response to this email, I sent him a reminder on 10 July. After this despite verbal reminders to call for a meeting of TAC, no meeting was called. An RTI activist Girish Mittal had sought information about the TAC and has received information that the committee is scrapped. After my reminder of 10 July, BMC moved to disband TAC on 15 July. Apart from the fact that the municipal commissioner did not even have the courtesy of informing the citizen members, it appears our persistence irked MCGM and may have prompted this rude action,” said Gandhi. “There were a lot of information we would ask them to put up online. Most of it was not online including work orders, expenses on gardens and open spaces among others. The BMC should have shown the courtesy of informing us when we had been following up on the meeting,” said Bhaskar Prabhu, another member of the committee. “Citizens participation helps bring in more transparency in the work of authorities, said Girist Mittal, who had filed the RTI. Municpal commissioner, Ajoy Mehta did not respond to sms from DNA.
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Parliamentary panel grills Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Prasoon Joshi

Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali on Thursday faced a barrage of questions from a Parliamentary panel, which took stock of his controversial film ‘Padmavati’, reportedly based on the legend of Chittor’s Queen Padmini.The 30-member Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, led by Anurag Thakur, had asked Bhansali and censor board chief Prasoon Joshi to appear before it after the film attracted huge controversy.Fringe Rajput groups such as Karni Sena, aided by certain politicians, have accused Bhansali of distorting history by showing a romantic dance sequence between Queen Padmini and Delhi Sultanate king Alauddin Khilji. Bhansali, however, has refuted all these claims.Noting that a movie was meant for entertainment and not for creating a tensed atmosphere across the country, panel head Anurag Thakur raised the issue of why a huge amount of money of taxpayers was being utilised in this matter, and why the movie was being showcased to select media. At the time, even the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) was yet to see the film.The panel members asked Bhansali why his movies seemed to target communities and produce tension. They also asked whether creating a controversy was the new trend to sell movies and how could Bhansali assume that the movie could be released on December 1, when he applied for certification on November 11. As per the Cinematography Act, the CBFC has to take 68 days before certifying a movie.”Is selective media screening of the movie fair and ethical? Was it an act to influence the CBFC?” the panel members asked. Bhansali, sources said, clarified that the film was entirely based on Malik Mohammed Jayasi’s epic ‘Padmavat’ and he neither changed the context nor the facts.CBFC chief Joshi told the ad hoc Lok Sabha Committee on Petitions that the censor board cleared only the trailer and the promos of the period film. He later said he has not seen the film yet but would constitute an expert committee, which will see the film critically and decide if it can be screened as it is or with some cuts.The panel was yet to decide whether Thursday’s meeting satisfied their queries and will take a decision in a couple of weeks. Thereafter, it will submit a report of its findings to the Speaker’s office.
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Arunachal teachers force 88 girl students to undress as punishment for writing ‘vulgar words’ against head teacher

Students of a girls’ school in Arunachal Pradesh were allegedly forced to undress by three teachers as a punishment for writing vulgar words against the head teacher.Eighty-eight students of class VI and VII of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Tani Happa (New Sagalee) in Papum Pare district were subjected to the humiliating treatment on November 23, police said.The matter, however, came to light on November 27 after the victims approached the All Sagalee Students Union (ASSU), who then filed an FIR with the local police.According to the complaint, two assistant teachers and a junior teacher forced 88 students to undress before other students following the recovery of a piece of paper containing vulgar words about the head teacher and a girl student.Papum Pare Superintendent of Police Tumme Amo today confirmed the filing of the FIR by ASSU. He said the case has been forwarded to the women police station here.”The officer in-charge of the (women) police station said the victims and their parents along with the teachers will be interrogated before registering a case,” Amo said.A team of All Papum Pare District Students Union (APPDSU) had met the students and teachers yesterday, and found that an unidentified student had used vulgar words in a piece of paper mentioning the name of the head teacher and a girl student, a release by APPDSU said.The teachers demanded an explanation from all the 88 students of classes VI and VII, who were later made to undress before the other students as punishment, it said.”The school authorities did not speak to the parents of the students before punishing them,” APPDSU president Nabam Tado said.The Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) has condemned the incident and said such “heinous act” by the teachers might affect the students.”Tempering with a child’s dignity is against the law as well as the constitution,” it said in a statement.”To discipline a student is an attitude, character, responsibility and commitment of a teacher. Undressing a student is definitely not a corrective measure…Imposing such punishment is total violation of child rights, and more likely it may accelerate the risk of child abuse,” the party added.
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Vijay Kelkar Committee report on balanced regional development: Debate likely in the winter session of State legislature

The Vijay Kelkar committee report on balanced regional development in Maharashtra and the action taken report are expected to come up for discussion during the two week winter session of the state legislature slated to begin on December 11 at Nagpur. Opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party, who have organised a morcha at the legislature on a number of issues including farmers plight, government’s inept handling of the implementation of crop loan waiver scheme and deteriorating finances, have made a fresh demand for special debate saying that its implementation was necessary to boost the regional development. Opposition’s demand comes at a time when leading water expert Madhav Chitale has mooted separate Marathwada state while former state advocate general Shrihari Aney along with some local leaders has been pursuing demand for statehood for Vidarbha region.Though not part of recommendations, but in the chapter on perspectives of stakeholders, the committee recorded views like demand for autonomy for Vidarbha or sentiments aired in support of creating a separate state, if the government is unable to remove the injustice of underdevelopment and deprivation.The Vijay Kelkar committee, which was constituted by the Congress-NCP government to suggest ways for balanced regional development in the state, had proposed reworking the development paradigm and resource allocation in a radical manner. The panel had suggested major overhaul in allocation of plan funds for regions, and had 146 major recommendations. The around 600-page report was tabled in the legislature in December 2014. The panel was constituted in 2011 and submitted its report in 2013.Leader of opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde told DNA, “The report came up for discussion in the winter session held in December 2014 but the government has yet to hold debate on its action taken report. NCP and the opposition in general will press for such a debate when the government is not providing enough attention on the removal of regional imbalance.’’Congress party’s deputy leader in the council Sharad Ranpise said even though the government had appointed a committee comprising ministers to study the report and made suggestions, it lacks political will for its implementation. ”The government needs to put the implementation of Kelkar committee report on fast track to achieve regional balance,” he noted.On its part, the BJP spokesman Ganesh Hake defended a slew of initiatives taken by the party led government in last three years to boost development of Maharashtra. He informed the government’s focus has been to complete long pending irrigation projects, strengthen transport infrastructure, transform agriculture and attract more investments especially in less developed areas. The committee had formulated a model for financial allocation that aims to remove the irrigation backlog in next eight years and that of other sectors like health, education and connectivity by the end of the 14th plan or say the next 12 years. Further, the committee had suggested the region wise allocation of funds including Vidarbha (33.24%), Marathwada (25.31%) and rest of Maharashtra (40.71%), a paradigm change from the current ratios of 23.03%, 18.75% and 58%. Further, the committee had pressed the need to restructure regional development boards, which will be headed by the chief minister, and preparing five-year perspective and annual plans for the regions; establish a project appraisal board for managing large public private partnership (PPP) projects, and make power available in Vidarbha at cheap rate.
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Hunt for 2000-yr-old port off Goa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) will carry out a marine archaeological exploration in Goa’s Gopalapatnam area, after a team found traces of a 2,000-year-old wall there in 2015, hinting at the existence of an ancient port and a maritime trade route. The exploration, which will be carried out in the next two years, was approved by the Standing Committee of the Archeological Survey of India in September this year.In 2015, the NIO found a 2.5-km-long wall along the northern bank of the Zuari river. The team conducted a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey and found that the wall leads to steps that were leading into the sea, and that a ‘rajvithi’, an ancient path used by the king, was leading towards Old Goa. The findings led to speculation that the structure could belong to the Kadamba Dynasty.In the proposal, the NIO has stated that the project will “establish the status of maritime activities”.It explains that it will do so “through mapping of surface structures of archaeological importance on a detailed scale and mapping subsurface extension of the structure”. Work on the site was stopped and no systematic excavation was done due to the paucity of funds from the Ministry of Earth Sciences, states the proposal.However, Rakesh Nigam, who recently retired as the head of marine archaeology at the NIO, and was part of the 2015 explorations, says that the findings could push back the dates further than the Kadamba Dynasty. He said that the laterite stones that the wall was made of also pointed to an earlier date.”From the initial exploration that we have conducted, there is evidence of a grand structure below the sea and we are expecting a port. We will carry out dating tests, do a GPR survey and even an off-shore survey to see if the river changed tracks, and what relation does it have with the rise and fall of the sea level,” said Nigam.He said that there is also the idea that the structure could have been an Israeli one, and that since it lay on the trade route, the Israelis built a structure to keep an eye on the movement of the goods that passed by the port. “The Israeli authorities have been quite keen on the exploration and they have been in constant touch with us,” said Nigam.

School fee: Min assures new norms

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the topic of parents having a say in the issue of school fee hikes, Education Minister Vinod Tawde on Thursday said that the government is working on norms that will allow parents to have a say.A recent order by the Bombay High Court on the issue barred parents from approaching the District Fee Regulation Committee (DFRC), allowing only schools to do so. Tawde stated that the government will introduce some norms that allow groups of parents to approach the DFRC. He said, “If the court has ordered that parents cannot individually approach DFRC then the government will see if we can come out with some norms wherein groups of parents can approach DFRC for fee hike complaint.”Anubha Sahai, India Wide Parents Association, said, “If the parents cannot approach individually then the state government should intervene in this matter and resolve the fee hike issue to help parents.”

BMC won’t share 1% of property tax with BEST

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the one hand the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has asked its sister concern, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking, to come out with ways to increase revenue and cut cost, and on the other the civic body has shot down their proposal of allowing the Undertaking to have a minuscule share of the property tax earned by BMC. The BEST had proposed that the BMC share 1 per cent of the total revenue earned by it through property taxes annually.The approximate amount earned by the civic body in 2016-17 was over Rs 5,000 crore and the BEST would have got a mere Rs 50 crore out of it. The BEST wanted the civic body to create a new bracket on the basis of which property tax is determined. The BMC currently has a capital value-based property tax system in which property tax is calculated on five factors — price of property, area, age of the building, nature of property and type of construction.This came to light on November 21, when the first meeting over the BEST budget for 2018-19 was discussed by the BEST committee and they were intimated by the administration that the BMC has refused to clear the proposal of allowing sharing of revenue generated out of property tax. The Committee also passed the budget for 2016-17 where they faced a surplus of Rs 242 crore and in 2017-18, there was a deficit of Rs 880 crore.”The BMC is suggesting cost reduction measures but now they have rejected the our proposal to earn a mere one percent from property tax. We were not even informed either by the BEST or BMC,” said Sunil Ganacharya, member, BEST Committee. The administration on the other hand said that the BMC refused their permission almost a year ago.In 2013, the BEST first sent this proposal to BMC which was approved and sent to the government. Sources said that the government suggested some changes which was done by the BEST and resent to the BMC for approval. If it would have been approved then it would have meant that every Mumbaikar owning a house in the city would have paid for sustenance of BEST.HIT HARDWith deficit hitting Rs 880 crore for the year 2018-19, the BEST cut down the procurement of 303 new buses to 185. This curtailment was due to the heavy cost of Rs 100 crore which was being paid by the BMC. The BEST recently added six electric buses at cost the of Rs 10 crore to their fleet.

DUTA take out march against ‘retrograde’ recommendations of 7th Central Pay Commission

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) took out a march from Mandi House to Parliament Street on Tuesday against the “retrograde” recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission.DUTA president Rajib Ray said the proposed pay structure “will hurt interests of teachers awaiting permanent placements and promotions”. “College teachers have been downgraded at every level. Even principals have been downgraded from the level of professor to that of associate professor after the completion of their tenure. This is an indirect way of denying professorship in colleges,” Ray said.The DUTA also reiterated its demand to make public the UGC Pay Review Committee report. “The DUTA has submitted a memorandum with a detailed critique of the the 7th Pay Revision for teachers to the HRD Ministry. The DUTA demands an immediate rollback of the adverse provisions of the proposed pay structure,” he said in a statement.The DUTA has submitted a memorandum with a detailed DUTA critique on 7th Pay Revision for teachers to the MHRD. Earlier, the teachers’ body had observed November 15 as ‘Black Day’ in protest against the pay panel recommendations.

Centre plans to bring legislation in Winter Session of Parliament to end Triple Talaq

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Centre has decided to bring a legislation during the Winter Session of the Parliament to end the practice of triple talaq. Sources said that a Ministerial Committee has been constituted to frame a law in this regard. This decision comes in the wake of the judgement given by the Supreme Court of India in the matter of Shayara Bano Vs. Union of India and others connected matters. In majority judgment, the court had set aside the practice of Talaq-e-biddat among Muslim husbands.The judgment upholds equal rights and equal protection of every person enshrined under Article 14 of the Constitution, irrespective of majority or minority status. To give life to the order of the Supreme Court, Centre has decided to take the matter forward.Sources in the government say that the call for reforms in the personal law had come from the Muslim community itself. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) had contended that on matters of religious practice, such as Talaq-e-biddat, it is for the legislature to make law. Sources say that the endeavour is to bring suitable legislation to end the practice. Centre has noticed that there have been reports of number of divorces by way of Talaq-e-biddat happening even after the above said judgement by the Supreme Court.Centre felt that this is happening because of two reasons. Either the information on the decision of Supreme Court has not become a common fact or lack of deterrence was not changing the mind set on Talaq-e-biddat. In spite of reaching out to the members of the community to stop this archaic practice, there seems to have been no decline in the practice of Talaq-e-biddat, Centre noticed.In a recent incident of Talaq-e-biddat, it was noticed that a person in a leading educational institution divorced his wife through WhatsApp and short message service. Subsequently the wife approached the police. Centre says that there may be many such unreported instances of instantaneous triple talaq happening elsewhere in the country too.Government feels that as the law stands today, the victims of Talaq-e-biddat have no option but to approach the police for the redressal of their grievance as Muslim clergy is unwilling to assist them. Even police are helpless as no action can be taken against the husband in the absence of punitive provisions in the law.Hence the government is planning a legislation which will act as a deterrent against husbands from divorcing their wives and empower Muslim women who find themselves helpless against the use of the practice of ‘Talaq-e-biddat’.

Farmers hold protest march in Delhi, demand loan waiver

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The winter session of Parliament may have been delayed, but on Monday morning, thousands of farmers from across the country trooped onto Parliament Street to participate in what was dubbed as the ‘Kisan Mukti Sansad’. There was legislative business to be carried out, speakers announced, to address PM Narendra Modi’s unfulfilled promise of 50% profit margin over input costs and a loan waiver for the crippling debt farmers are facing due to unfavourable market prices and misplaced policies.For the Kisan Sansad, farmers affiliated to 184 organizations in 25 states of the country came together under the umbrella of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) after finishing a 10,000-km yatra.Past noon, the stage was set for a ‘Parliament’ session of women-only members. Speaker Medha Patkar convened the assembly. Pooja More, 24, one of the youngest Panchayat members from Morgaon, Beed was the first to take the mike. “Thousands of farmers have committed suicides and 50,000 are in Maharashtra alone. Vidarbha and Marathwada have become graveyards for farmers. Those making tall claims in long speeches are fooling the farmers,” More thundered. Over 50 widows from Marathwada region were also present. By evening, the Sansad tabled two draft Bills related to issues of remunerative pricing and loan waivers. These Bills would be sent to the Centre and all political parties, urging them to take it up on the floor of the Parliament. “Modiji, who had assured farmers they would get 50% profit over the input costs, has deceived them. Now he says they will double the income, but how will this happen? Incomes have not doubled but the debt has,” Shetti told DNA.

Congress delayed Parl session in 2011 due to elections: Arun Jaitley counters Sonia Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Sonia Gandhi and Arun Jaitley today clashed over the delay in convening the Winter session of Parliament with the Congress chief accusing the Modi government of sabotaging it on “flimsy grounds” and the union minister saying Congress had done so too in the past.Hitting back at Gandhi, Jaitley also said that rescheduling of Parliament sessions has happened several times before during election time. Assembly polls are due to be held in Gujarat in two phases on December 9 nd 14. The Winter session of Parliament usually starts in the third week of November and lasts till the third week of December. According to sources, the government is considering a truncated Winter session of around 10 days starting from the second week of December”The Modi-government in its arrogance has cast a dark shadow on India’ Parliamentary democracy by sabotaging the Winter session of Parliament on flimsy grounds,” Gandhi said in her address at the meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) in Delhi. Refuting Gandhi’s charge, Jaitley said Parliament sessions were often rescheduled to ensure they did not overlap with elections, and that the Congress had itself done so several times.Jaitley said the opposition party when in power had also delayed a session in 2011 and even earlier because the sittings coincided with election campaigns.”It has been a tradition and it has happened several times that Parliament sessions are rescheduled when an election is happening,” he told reporters in Rajkot. He also said the session would be held for sure and that the Congress will be “totally exposed”.”The Congress has given the most corrupt government in its ten years of rule, while Narendra Modi has given the most honest government. By forcibly saying that a truth is a lie does not make it a lie,” Jaitley said. “(The) timing is decided such that they do not overlap with election campaigns. (Congress) did so in 2011, and even before that,” the senior BJP leader said, adding, “Parliament session will be held for sure and on all subjects, and the Congress will be totally exposed.”

Cessed bldgs: Panel suggests tough action

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A committee formed by the state government for the redevelopment of cessed buildings has suggested that if a developer abandons a redevelopment project midway and isn’t completing it, then the government may auction his other properties and use the funds to complete the project.Ajay Choudhari, Shiv Sena MLA from Sewree and member of the committee said, “If a developer abandons the project midway, why should tenants suffer? His other properties should be attached, and it should be auctioned off. The funds can then be used to redevelop the property, and through Mhada it can be redeveloped.”The suggestions made by Choudhari and other members of the committee are with housing department right now.There are more than 100 projects where redevelopment of cessed buildings by private developers, as allowed under Development Control Regulation 33 (7), are stuck owing to the delays caused by them.Choudhari said that some tenants and residents had approached the High Court in a similar case of a developer abandoning the project. “In this case, the court had suggested auctioning off the other properties belonging to the developer to complete the project so then why not here,” said Choudhari.

Rahul Gandhi to be elevated as Congress President by December 5, Sonia calls CWC meeting on Monday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rahul Gandhi is set to be anointed as Congress president before Gujarat elections. Congress President Sonia Gandhi has called a crucial meeting of the Congress Working Committee on November 20 at 10.30 am.Sources in the Congress Party confirmed that the meeting has been called to finalise the schedule of the organizational elections of the Congress Party.Sources also said that Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi would be elevated as the President of the Congress before 5th of December. Sources also said that the elevation is not going to be delayed any further.The CWC is expected to adopt the resolution to make Rahul Gandhi as President on Monday which would subsequently be ratified by the All India Congress Committee later.As per the rules of the Congress constitution the final ratification has to be done by the AICC. Sonia Gandhi’s elevation as the President by CWC was challenged by Jitendra Prasad which led to an election.Earlier there were speculations that Rahul Gandhi’s elevation has been put off but the sources inside Congress confirmed that no such decision had been taken.The CWC can also expect to look in the Gujarat elections but it would be peripheral. It is for this reason that agenda of the CWC has been kept open. Sonia Gandhi had been the longest serving President of the grand old Congress Party. She assumed office in 1998 and continued since then.

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

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

Gujarat High Court pulls up GPCC for allegations of ‘faulty’ EVMs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat High Court on Friday pulled up the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee for making baseless allegations on the functioning of EVMs. The court asked the petitioner to substantiate the claim that old EVM machines can be tampered with.The third division bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice AY Kogje was hearing a petition filed by the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) challenging that EVM machines, Voters Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) and control units were defective and could be manipulated. The prayer was that the court should direct the Election Commission and Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to not use the defective units at polling booths.When the matter came up for hearing, the election commission in its reply claimed that in the first level checking, a total of 4,066 VVPATs and 3050 balloting units were found to be defective and were replaced. At all district headquarters, EVM machines were ready for use, and not one of them had any technical snags.Then the Congress alleged that old EVM machines could be tampered with easily and so the court should direct the CEO and EC to replace old EVMs and these should be replaced with new ones. The petitioner also alleged that while checking the EVM, EC’s guidelines were not followed.This irked the bench, and the court said that instead of making baseless allegations, the party should concentrate on its campaign. If it was thinking that moving such petitions can get cheap publicity, then it was wrong. The matter has been kept for further hearing on November 22.On the last hearing, the petitioner’s advocate Pankaj Champaneri’s submission before the bench was that from the newspaper report, the petitioner had come to know about the defect and tampering of EVMs and VVPAT machines.He further submitted that if the user votes for a party, the control machine showed a vote to BJP. The story was similar at Surendranagar and Patan. It was also observed that VVPAT printouts were blank and did not show to whom the person cast his vote. Then too, the court questioned the credibility of the news report and asked for an explanation.What the EC saidWhen the matter came up for hearing, the Election Commission in its reply claimed that in the first level checking, a total of 4,066 VVPATs and 3050 balloting units were found to be defective and were replaced. At all district headquarters, EVM machines were ready for use, and not one of them had any snag.

Complete Aadhaar seeding in banks by Dec 31 urges Haryana chief secretary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Haryana chief secretary D S Dhesi on Friday urged banks and Lead Bank Managers to complete the Aadhaar seeding in all bank accounts by December 31.Dhesi was speaking as a chief guest in the 142nd State Level Bankers s Committee meeting, held on Friday.He said that the state has achieved three major milestones–that is become a kerosene free state, first State to become Open Defecation Free and to distribute Public Distribution System (PDS) through Point of Sale (PoS) machines.Dhesi said that ten clusters have been identified by Industries Department to boost the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the state for which bankers have to play a major role.Speaking on this occasion, Executive Director, Punjab National Bank, New Delhi, Sunil Mehta said that under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana 6,52,468 farmers in the State have been covered by banks for crop insurance for Kharif 2017 and Rabi season 2017-18.”The Commercial Banks and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) opened 145 new branches during review period thus raising the total number of branches to 4708. Apart from this, the total deposits of Commercial Banks and RRBs increased to Rs 3,19,469 crore as on September 2017 from Rs 2,62,083 crore as on September 2016 thus showing an increase of Rs 57,386 crore,” Sharan said, as per the release.

Mumbai: BMC corporators raise objections on delay of funds

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Corporators from all parties on Wednesday raised an objection on the defunct System Application Product (SAP) of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) which is delaying the developmental work of the city. Mangesh Satamkar Standing Committee member and Shiv Sena corporator put forth the point of order in the standing committee and demanded six more months extension for spending the yearly funds given to the corporators.BMC corporators get Rs.60 lakh as corporator fund, another one crore rupees is sanctioned as budgetary funds and if the corporators is a member of some committees like a standing committee, improvements committee, etc he gets more Rs. 25 lakh and also some money they get from Mayors fund which brings the total to Rs.2 to 3 crores received by each corporator yearly. They are supposed to utilise the sanctioned money between the financial year April to March or otherwise, the budget will lapse.Satamkar said, “This time the budget is given to corporators in July month, as the allocation of budget delayed it will eventually further delay the expenditure. Also, the tenders are not being accepted by the SAP process, therefore, all developmental work has delayed. “He further remarked, “Being a public representative voters will question us regarding what work we have done? and due to defunct SAP process, the work cannot be started. Also, as SAP is not blocking the budget money for the work to be undertaken, the yearly funds sanctioned to all corporators will lapse and there will be allegations like corporators used only 10% of their funds etc.”In addition, he alleged due to the newly introduced Goods and Service Tax (GST) problems have increased like the civic officials are still confused how much percentage GST they should apply whether 5% is applicable or 18%, they are clueless for a particular project.

IPS Baranda resigns, set to contest poll

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Superintendent of Police (SP) of Chhota Udepur, PC Baranda, on Wednesday resigned from the service to contest the upcoming Assembly elections on a BJP ticket.The 58-year-old, a 2007 batch promotee IPS officer, is likely to contest from Bhiloda constituency, which is a reserved seat for Schedule Tribes (ST). Dr Anil Joshiyara has held the seat since the past three elections. Baranda claimed that there has been no development in his area.A notification by the state Home Department said that Baranda has been permitted to retire voluntarily with effect from November 15.”There is no development in my area at all. There are no roads, transportation, or any kind of infrastructure since many years. The area is not developed at all. For ‘Vikas’, I am going to contest poll from BJP. I will (undertake a) face-lift of the constituency,” Baranda told DNA.”I want to guide my community people who have supported me. I want to work for upliftment of people who are deprived. The Congress party or their candidate have done nothing for them. Being in service, i was not able to focus on the community’s development,” he added.Manish Doshi, spokesperson of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC), exuded confidence that Baranda’s candidature would not make a difference to the outcome.”They may rope any candidate but they are not going to win there. They are trying to mislead people and voters by spreading rumours, but voters are mature and they know very well what BJP has done in past many years,” he said, adding tthat Joshiyara has carried out many developmental works in the constituency.

Delhi High Court: We can’t intervene on Metro fare hike issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming it a policy decision and beyond their jurisdiction, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to interfere with the latest fare hike by Delhi Metro.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar stated that it was “not inclined”to step into the decision taken by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, it being a policy decision. “Neither do we have any jurisdiction to go into it,” the bench said, noting that the petitioner did not first approach the authorities with his representation.Amer Vaid, a second year law student, sought the quashing of recommendations by the fourth Fare Fixation Committee that gave a go ahead to revise metro fares by 100 per cent.The petition said that the increased fares were in contravention to the previous norms of the FFC, wherein, the distance zone was reduced from 15 to six kilometers, leaving citizens of the national capital region in a “detrimental situation”. It also contented that the new fare slab meant passengers travelling distances differing by nine kilometers, were made to pay the same amount, which was “unfair and unjust”.The bench, however, questioned why the DMRC could not charge the fare they desire. It also directed the petitioner to take up his representation with the DMRC, which would take a call on it and communicate to him immediately.According to the new fares, the cost of travelling upto 2 km was Rs 10, 2 to 5 km — Rs 20, 5 to 12 km — Rs 30, 12 to 21 km — Rs 40, 21 to 32 km — Rs 50 and for journeys beyond 32 km — Rs 60.Smart card users, who, according to the DMRC’s estimates, happen to be 70 per cent of the metro’s total ridership, would continue to get 10 per cent discount on each ride coupled with an additional discount of 10 per cent while travelling during off-peak hours. That is from the beginning of services till 8 am, between 12 pm and 5 pm and from 9 pm to the end of the services.The DMRC invited a lot of criticism for revising Metro fares for second time in less than six months. This also led to the Delhi government mounting pressure on the body to roll it back, even seeking Centre’s intervention in to the matter. The Metro, however, refused to stall the new fares.NEW FARESCost of travelling up to: 2 km — Rs 102 to 5 km — Rs 205 to 12 km — Rs 302 to 21 km — Rs 4021 to 32 km — Rs 50journeys beyond 32 km — Rs 60.Smart card holders to get extra 10% discount during off-peak hours

Cong accuses Bengal govt of illegally using FIFA logo

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a time when the TMC-led state government is yet to get out of the ‘Biswa Bangla’ ownership controversy, West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee has levelled a fresh allegation that the state has infringed copyright rules by illegally using the registered logos of FIFA.“According to the FIFA committee, the logos are internationally protected. It is a shame that being the host state for Under-17 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, the state had indulged in such an illegal activity. We have written to the FIFA authorities drawing their interest towards this unlawful act,” said state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury on Tuesday while interacting with mediapersons.He said during the tournament from October 6 to October 28, several municipalities and local self governments had used the picture of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and various state government-sponsored schemes, such as Sabuj Saathi, Kanyashree, Khadya Sathi, using the logo of FIFA U-17 World Cup. “The unauthorised use of FIFA logos not only undermines integrity of the tournament and marketing programmes but also puts interests of worldwide football community at stake,” he said.He also read out the rules from the FIFA website, which said, ‘FIFA is obliged to take action against any unauthorised reproduction of its marks in a commercial context. If FIFA did not follow up on any infringements of its trademarks and copyrighted works, it would risk losing its legal right and title to such works, thereby endangering the foundation of its commercial programme.”A letter has been shot to the FIFA president and pictures of hoardings carrying such advertisements have been uploaded on the website of FIFA.INFRINGEMENTA letter has been shot to the FIFA president and pictures of hoardings, during the Under-17 FIFA World Cup, carrying such advertisements have been uploaded on the website of FIFA

Postpone Delhi Half Marathon: IMA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has urged the Delhi High Court on Tuesday to pass necessary directions to postpone the Delhi Half Marathon after terming the air quality of the national capital as “poor” and “unsafe”.A bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva took note of the present air pollution and the urgency surrounding it. It issued notices to the Delhi government, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), organisers of the event and the Delhi police seeking their reply by November 6.The court’s direction come on a letter written by the IMA to the Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asking them to postpone the marathon scheduled on November 19.”The air quality is particularly poor in the early morning when pollution is extremely high. This is also the time when the proposed Half Marathon is scheduled to start. The hazardous pollution levels may have disastrous health consequences, even for the healthy participants,” Dr KK Aggarwal, IMA President, wrote in the letter.The letter was moved in the main PIL initiated by the high court to address the air pollution problems of Delhi and in which it has been issuing directions from time to time.On November 9, the Delhi High Court had issued a slew of measures to improve the worse air quality in the Capital. These included cloud seeding to produce artificial rainfall.Following the letter, the organisers of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon had said on Saturday the call for cancellation of the November 19 run is “shortsighted” and asserted they have support of international athletes despite the prevailing pollution in the city.The Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi has ranged from “very unhealthy” to “hazardous”. The levels have crossed the 300 ‘danger’ mark in several parts of the city.

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