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Bill allowing Ayurveda, Homeopathy doctors to practice allopathy after ‘bridge course’ introduced in Lok Sabha

Doctors pursuing Indian systems of medicine, including ayurveda, and homeopathy may be allowed to practice allopathy after clearing a bridge course, according to a bill introduced in the Lok Sabha.The National Medical Commission Bill, 2017, which seeks to replace the existing apex medical education regulator, the Medical Council of India (MCI), with a new body, was moved by the government in the House yesterday.Clause 49 of the Bill calls for a joint sitting of the National Medical Commission, the Central Council of Homoeopathy and the Central Council of Indian Medicine at least once a year “to enhance the interface between homoeopathy, Indian Systems of Medicine and modern systems of medicine”.It has also proposed that specific educational modules or programmes for developing bridges across the various systems of medicine and promotion of medical pluralism, can be done with the approval of all the members present in the joint sitting.”The joint sitting, may, by an affirmative vote of all members present and voting, decide on approving specific bridge course that may be introduced for the practitioners of Homeopathy and of Indian Systems of Medicine to enable them to prescribe such modern medicine at such level as may be prescribed,” according to the Bill.It provides for the constitution of four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate education, assessment and rating of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the National Medical Commission.The commission will have a government-nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the Cabinet Secretary, it says.A 25-member commission will replace the elected MCI, the Bill says.The proposed measure has been strongly opposed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) which claimed that it will “cripple” the functioning of medical profession by making it completely answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators.”Regulators need to have an autonomy and be independent of the administrators. The National Medical Commission will be a regulator appointed by the administrators under their direct control,” IMA’s president K K Aggarwal said.The Bill also proposes a common entrance exam and licentiate (exit) exam which all medical graduates will have to clear to get practicing licences. The licentiate (exit) examination will have to be coducted within three years after Parliament passes it.A medical advisory council, including one member representing each state and Union territory (vice-chancellors in both cases), the chairman, University Grants Commission, and the director of the National Accreditation and Assessment Council will make recommendations to the NMC.No permission would be needed to add new seats or to start post-graduate courses, it says.The Bill is aimed at bringing reforms in the medical education sector which has been under scrutiny for corruption and unethical practices, a senior health ministry official said.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
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
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
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

Palestine has issued regret, taking serious cognizance of envoy’s presence in Hafiz Saeed’s rally: MEA

Palestine has issued regret, a day after pictures surfaced of country’s Pak envoy attending a rally organised by 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed. In a statement, MEA said that the government issued its strong response to Palestine authorities regarding Walid Abu Ali’s rally organised by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council in Rawalpindi.Difa-e-Pakistan (Defence of Pakistan) Council (DPC) is an alliance of Islamist groups in Pakistan, including Saeed’s outfit.According to MEA, Palestine authorities expressed regret and promised to take serious cognizance of envoy’s presence in that rally. MEA statement said, ” They have said they will deal with this matter appropriately. It was also conveyed that Palestine highly values its relationship with India & stands with us in war against terrorism & will not engage with those who commit acts of terror against India”. On Friday, MEA spokesperson had assured that India will take up the matter strongly after reports appeared about Palestine’s Pak enoy’s presence in Hafiz Saeed’s rally. Hafiz Saeed has been declared a global terrorist by UN who is currently out in bail in Pakistan. The Indian government has faced several questions from domestic constituency after voting against Trump’s Jerusalem decision in UN. The presence of Palestine envoy in Saeed’s rally have only added to the questions.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
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
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
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

Central medical units not following MCI norms

In its recently revised guidelines, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has enhanced the upper age limit for appointment to senior residentship from 33 to 40 years. Some doctors have, however, pointed out that some Central and autonomous medical institutions have still not implemented these guidelines.In a letter written to the Health Minister on December 25, 2017, the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA), an umbrella body of resident doctors, pointed out that the guidelines have been implemented in Delhi government institutions but the not in Institutions such as AIIMS and PGI, Chandigarh.”Implementation of the 40 year age criteria for senior residents will help in filling up the posts lying vacant in our medical institutions. In addition to this, various state governments have rural service bonds after MBBS and some have service bonds after post-graduation as well. Many doctors are well above the age of 33 years when they complete the compulsory posting. Bringing uniformity in age criteria for SRs will help in solving the problem of shortage of doctors in the country,” stated the letter signed by FORDA president Dr Vivek Chouksey.

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Max case: Dad seeks fresh inquiry on docs

The father of the twin babies, one of whom was wrongly declared dead by Max Hospital in Delhi’s Shalimar Bagh, has sought a court-monitored probe. He has alleged that the ongoing “tainted” probe may harm the prosecution case.In a plea at magistrate’s court here, Ashish Kumar has urged the station house officer concerned be directed to share details of the progress made in the investigation.Doctors at the hospital had allegedly declared the baby dead along with his still-born twin and handed over the bodies to the parents in plastic bags. The father was on his way to a cremation ground when he noticed moments in one of the bags.The family alleged that the babies were declared dead after it expressed its inability to pay exorbitant fees for their treatment.Union Health Minister JP Nadda had directed the Delhi government to look into the matter, after which a probe was ordered and a report sought. A case has been registered under Section 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Delhi Medical Council (DMC) also took cognizance of the case.The plea in the court has sought directions to the police to explain why the statements of the family members of the complainant (the father) have not been recorded by the police.The hospital’s licence was cancelled by the Delhi government on December 8, following an uproar over the incident. But the hospital resumed its operations 10 days later after it got relief from an appellate authority which stayed the Delhi government’s order.

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FDA suspends 12 blood banks in state

The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) department has suspended the licenses of 12 blood banks in the state. During the inspection, a few blood banks also received show cause notices.While the NACO rule makes it mandatory to collect blood and its components in the presence of a Blood Transfusion Officer (BTO), many blood banks in the state do not have a BTO working in all shifts.FDA Joint Commissioner AT Khadtare said, “The suspension of licenses is mainly due to the lack of BTO officers in those blood banks. While only one Mumbai blood bank got a suspension, most of the suspended blood banks are from Pune. The inspection started in March.” A private blood bank from Vile Parle got license suspension notice.As per the rule of State Blood Transfusion Council, in 24×7 blood banks, every shift requires one BTO and one extra for camps.In July, a Right To Information (RTI) application was filed to know which blood banks have less number of BTO staff. The RTI reply stated that 34 private blood banks in the city which collect more than 2,000 units of blood had less number of BTO.RTI activist, Chetan Kothari, said, “Last year, the FDA had issued show cause notices to government-run blood banks for violation of SBTC rule. They should keep an eye on private blood banks too for violation of rules.”

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JNU rolls back de-linking of integrated MPhil-PhD course

In a notice issued by the Director of Admissions, the University administration said, “All the terms and conditions related to the admission into Mphil/PhD programmes of JNU for the academic session 2018-19 will be as per the prospectus, 2018-19. In other words, those candidates who applied for the MPhil PhD programme will be considered for the integrated programme and not MPhil alone.On December 12, students who had applied for the integrated MPhil/PhD programme at the JNU discovered that the administration has decided to scrap the integrated course and their admission to be considered in MPhil programme only. The declaration was made in admit cards provided to students for the entrance exams, scheduled from December 23-27.JNU has an integrated MPhil/PhD programme, which meant students are expected to sit for an entrance exam at the MPhil stage. The admit cards released to the students had said,”The candidates who have applied for MPhil/PhD programme for the academic year in 2018-19 will be considered for MPhil programme only. The MPhil programme will be a terminal degree programme as per the decision taken in the 144th Academic Council meeting held on December 1.”

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

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

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Too early to comment on GST collections, says govt

The government has said that it is too early to comment on GST collections, which slipped about 10 per cent in November – over the previous month – to Rs 85,931 crore.As per the information provided by the finance ministry to the Lok Sabha on Friday, as many as 33.2 lakh new taxpayers have registered themselves under GST till December 11 from the day of roll out on July 1.”It is too early to comment on the changes in the tax collection as a result of changes in the tax base because of factors like overlap of taxpayers pre and post introduction of GST, variation in exemption limits between Centre and States and among States and mechanism of apportionment of fund under IGST,” Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla said in a written reply to a question.He also informed that total number of tax payers who migrated from pre-GST regime was 64.12 lakh as on December 11.The GST collection was Rs 95,132 crore in October. It was over Rs 93,000 crore in September as well as August.In reply to another question, Shukla said that the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been smooth so far.The GST Council, he added, had made some changes in the new tax regime based on the representations from stakeholders.

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EC to set up panel to suggest amendments in election law in view of latest communication technologies

The Election Commission (EC) on Sunday decided to set up a panel to suggest amendments to a provision in the election law barring campaigning 48 hours ahead of polling, following complaints that it has failed to keep pace with information technology.In an order issued tonight, it said the proposed committee will have members from the poll panel, the information and broadcasting, law and IT ministries, in addition to those from the National Broadcasters Associations (NBA) and Press Council of India (PCI).They will “examine these provisions in the prevailing context of communication technologies and suggest required changes”, it said.The order comes in the wake of controversies over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s FICCI meeting, Rahul Gandhi’s TV interviews and the release of BJP manifesto — all after campaigning had ended in Gujarat.The poll panel accepted that Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act does not take into account the revolution in communication technologies.”It appears imperative to revisit the provisions relating to the last 48 hours before completion of poll to appropriately address challenges unleashed by fast changing technologies in the context of multi-phase polls,” the EC said.

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Mehbooba Mufti’s brother quits cell, likely to join Cabinet

Decks have been cleared for Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s brother Mufti Tassaduq Hussain to enter into the Legislative Council seemingly paving the way for him to join her sister’s cabinet.Tassaduq on Friday resigned as the Coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister’s Grievance Cell, the post he held since May this year.“Tassaduq Hussain Mufti today resigned as Coordinator, J&K CM’s Grievance Cell. Tassaduq has submitted his resignation to the Chief Secretary BB Vyas. He was appointed Coordinator, J&K CM’s Grievance Cell in May this year”, said an official spokesman.Sources said Tassaduq will be nominated as Member of Legislative Council on the seat which fell vacant after the resignation of PDP leader and erstwhile royal Vikramaditya Singh on October 22. Sources said Tassaduq will eventually be inducted into the cabinet of Mehbooba Mufti from the PDP quota. Insiders said he may be allocated tourism portfolio which is currently held by chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.Tassaduq had formally joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the first death anniversary of his father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7. Later PDP fielded him from the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat in the May by polls. Election Commission later postponed the polls after violence rocked the first phase of polling in Srinagar Parliamentary seat, which witnessed the historic low turnout.A trained Cinematographer from US, Tassaduq has earned a name in the Bollywood by the body of his work. He made a debut in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Omkara in 2006 and his camera work received rave reviews. Tassaduq went on to win Zee Cine Award for Best Cinematography and Star Screen Award Best Cinematographer in 2006 for Omkara. Tassaduq teamed up with Bhardwaj again in 2009 for Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra starrer Kaminay, which was received well on the box office. In fact, sources said late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed wanted Tassaduq to join politics and contest elections in 1996 when he was in the Congress. However, he was then underage and not eligible for contesting polls. Eventually, late Mufti convinced his eldest daughter Mehbooba Mufti to contest assembly polls from home constituency of Bijbhera in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district. .NEW ROLESources said Tassaduq will be nominated as Member of Legislative Council after the resignation of PDP leader Vikramaditya Singh on October 22. Tassaduq had formally joined PDP on January 7

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Soon, ancient havelis, forts to be in commercial use

Ancient heritage havelis and forts can be used for commercial purpose now, with a rider of not altering their traditional look. The user will have to file affidavit for this. Soon, the state government will implement state heritage conservation and protection rules.Local self-government department has prepared draft of state heritage conservation and protection rules for conservation of heritage buildings, folk art, culture, dance and paintings. The proposal has been sent to LSG minister Srichand Kriplani’s approval.The BJP government had tabled Rajasthan heritage conservation bill in the state assembly two years ago. However, it faced opposition from its own ministers and MLAs who belonged to erstwhile royal families. They were not happy about government interference in conservation of private heritage buildings forcing the government to withdraw the bill.Now, the government has come up with state heritage conservation and protection rules, which unlike the bill does not have strong provisions regarding government interference.Notably, any heritage building can be used commercially, even if it is in non-commercial zone in the master plan.The owner of the building will have to give affidavit for not distorting the heritage look of the building. However, repair will be allowed, keeping the traditional look of the building intact. While the owner will get 25% rebate in urban development tax for conservation of building. All concessions entailed in tourism policy will be extended to heritage conservation projects. While the proposed state heritage council can enter an agreement with the building owner for heritage conservation, government will not be responsible for heritage conservation of private buildings. Also permission for commercial use will be withdrawn if the heritage look is distorted.Highlights of rules to beState heritage council to be constituted Principal Secretary LSG will head the council Council will categorise heritage on basis of aesthetics, history, culture, scientific, social and spirituality State heritage centre to be formed to give technical advice Heritage buildings will receive grades 1, 2 and 3 City heritage cell to be constituted in all cities headed by municipal body chairman Unified building bylaws to be issued for construction in heritage buildings and their vicinity Construction permission as per advice of council Conservation area to be notified in periphery of the building

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Ashes: ICC looks into claims Indian bookmakers are offering to fix third Test

Claims that Indian bookmakers offered to fix the third Ashes Test are being investigated by the International Cricket Council.

IMA recommends self-regulation procedures for doctors

In the backdrop of alleged medical negligence and overcharging by two private hospitals of the city, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) today urged state governments to subsidise emergencies in private sector and create a reimbursement mechanism.No hospital can force their consultants to work on targets and the choice of drugs and devices should rest with doctors based on affordability of a patient and not the management, it said.The recent death of a 7-year-old girl due to dengue at Fortis Hospital in Gurgaon which also billed the victim’s family Rs 16 lakh for the treatment, as well as a premature baby wrongly declared dead by Max Hospital’s Shalimar Bagh unit, have brought the country’s private medical care under a cloud.Also readAfter Max, another Delhi hospital accused of medical negligenceIMA president K K Aggarwal said the doctor-patient trust was experiencing a “downward spiral” in the country as people were looking at the medical profession with suspicion.”It is disheartening to see the erosion in trust, and we want to make it more transparent. The doctor to patient ratio in India is skewed due to which doctors are under a lot of stress, and doctors are also human beings.Also readMax hospital’s licence cancellation irrational, autocratic: DMA”Once a treatment is administered, the recuperation of a patient depends upon physical and organic factors. It is unacceptable and absurd to victimise a medical practitioner if a patient does not respond to treatment,” Aggarwal told reporters here.Referring to the Max Hospital incident, he said such errors happened by accident and not intentionally.Also readMax Hospital’s licence cancelled: Kejriwal says ‘open loot’ won’t be tolerated, IMA says ‘too harsh a step'”Having said this, it is time for the medical profession to introspect and come out with self-regulation procedures. From today onwards, all doctors in the country shall choose affordable drugs.”We also appeal to the state governments to come out with an urgent ordinance for ‘one drug-one company-one price policy’. Doctors should actively participate in ensuring that no hospital sells any item priced higher than the Market Rate Price (MRP). No service charges should be added to procure drugs from outside. The MRP shall not be dictated by the purchaser,” he said.The IMA chief also announced formation of ‘IMA Medical Redressal Commission’ at the state level to engage in social, financial and quality audits of health care.The commission will have a public man, an IMA office bearer, a former state medical council representative and two subject experts, he said.”Such a commission shall consider every grievance in a time-bound manner. An appeal to the state commission will be heard by the headquarters of IMA Medical Redressal Commission, which will also have the power to take suo moto cases,” Aggarwal explained.The professional body of doctors also recommended the medical practitioners to prescribe National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) drugs and promote Jan Aushadhi kendras. It also appealed to the governments to classify all disposables under NLEM and non-NLEM categories and cap the price of essential ones.”Till then all medical establishments should sell the disposables at procurement prise after adding a predefined fixed margin,” the IMA president said.All doctors should ensure that hospital estimates at the time of admission are near to actual, he said.”Emergency care is the responsibility of a state government and it should subsidise the costs of all emergencies in private sector, and create a mechanism for reimbursement,” Aggarwal said.The IMA chief added that the recommendations have been forwarded to the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Delhi Medical Council, to be considered during the bodies’ ethics committee meeting.He said the recommendations would also be sent to chief ministers of all states, including Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.

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Shiv Sena retains Nashik’s Igatpuri municipal council, wins 13 of 18 seats

The Shiv Sena today retained the Igatpuri Municipal Council (IMC) in Nashik district by winning 13 out of 18 seats in the election, results for which were declared today.<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>Out of remaining five, the BJP won four seats while an Independent walked away with one seat.The election for the 18-member IMC was held yesterday.Sena’s Sanjay Indulkar has been declared president of the municipal council.

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Medical cover for sex change ops on anvil for transgenders

The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has sought to make a few changes to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill before introducing it in the Winter Session of the Parliament. Significant among these changes — nine to be precise — include the expansion of the definition of transgender to include the hijra community, inclusion of the definition of intersex, and providing medical cover for sex reassignment surgery.Ministry officials said the reason behind the changes was a report on the Bill that the Standing Committee submitted to the Parliament in July this year. The committee, headed by BJP MP Ramesh Bais, pointed at several loopholes in the Bill and said that transgenders “remain at risk of criminalisation under Section 377 of the IPC”, if the Bill was implemented.To bring in these changes, the ministry first sent the changes to the law ministry, which approved it.In a note to the Cabinet that the ministry sent out in November, it wrote: “The Standing Committee has made recommendations, of which nine have been accepted by the ministry. In the above backdrop, based on the report of the Standing Committee, the ministry proposes to make official amendments to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016,” read the note.One of the key changes is the redrafting of the definition of transgender. As per section 2 (i) of the Bill: “Transgender person means a person who is a) neither wholly female nor wholly male or b) a combination of female and male or c) neither female or male, and whose sense of gender does not match with the gender assigned to that person at the time of birth. It includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, and gender-queers.”Yet, as per the new changes mooted by the ministry, a transgender person is one “whose gender does not match to the gender assigned to the person at birth and includes trans-man or trans-woman (whether or not such person has undergone sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy or laser therapy or such other therapy), gender-queer, and persons having such socio-cultural identities as kinnar, hijra, aravani, jogta, kothi, or other similar identity.”A “person with intersex variations”, an addition to the Bill proposed by the ministry, is defined as “one who at birth shows variation in primary sexual characteristics, external genitalia, chromosomes, or hormones from a normative standard of male or female body.”Apart from that, the government has also proposed defining of “family” as “a group of people related by blood or marriage or by adoption made in accordance with law”. The government has also proposed doing away of the District Screening Committee for the issuance of a transgender certificate, and doing away of the minimum number of 100 individuals that need to be in an organisation to make it mandatory for the organisation to have a complaint officer.Another addition is that of children to the list of people that cannot be separated from a transgender, and the provision for “coverage of medical expenses by a comprehensive insurance scheme” for sex reassignment surgery.Yet, the proposed changes to the Bill do not reflect some key recommendations of the Standing Committee report, including addition of a section on “discrimination” against transgender people, specifications of the division of the share of responsibilities of the Centre and the states, defining the role of the National Council for Transgender Persons, provision for counselling for better mental health, provision of meaningful livelihood options, and the inclusion of a section on transgender in application forms or other such forms.Bill’s journeyDMK Rajya Sabha MP Tiruchi Siva introduced a private member’s Bill titled The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 in December 2014, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha in April 2015. His Bill, with several expansive sections, was rejected by the government because they felt it suffered from some “infirmities” and the government drafted its own Bill and introduced it in the Lok Sabha. When appraised of the changes that the government was mooting, Siva said that unless the Bill has provisions for employment, education, reservation, self-identification of gender, and a tougher National Council for Transgender Persons, it was lacking in will. “The Bill will not realise the goals it sets out to make,” Siva said.

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Family celebrates loss of Max Hospital’s licence

More than a week after one of the newborn twins of a family was erroneously declared dead by Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, the family heaved a sigh of relief on Friday after the Delhi government cancelled the licence of the hospital for medical negligence.The 22-week premature baby had died at a nursing home in Pitampura on Wednesday.The grieving parents of the newborn are now also demanding the immediate arrest of the two doctors involved in the alleged negligence.”We welcome the Delhi government decision, as we were also demanding the cancellation of the hospital’s licence. But why have the two doctors involved in the negligence not been arrested yet, even after being declared guilty by the hospital itself?”asked Ashish Kumar, the child’s father.”We demand the immediate arrest of both doctors. Also, they should be black-listed, so nobody has to go through a similar situation,” he said.Soon after receiving the news of the cancellation, the family members, who have been sitting on strike outside the hospital for the past five days, said that they had never imagined that the government would actually cancel the licence.”It is a historic decision and it will set an example for all those fraudulent doctors and hospitals who have been playing with the lives of innocent people,” said Deepak Kumar, the baby’s uncle.The child’s mother Varsha Bidawat, 21, has still not recovered completely. “It will take a lot of time for her to recover from what she has gone through. She is still feeling very weak both physically and mentally,” Kumar said.The family members said that they will meet Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday. “We will meet Mr Kejriwal to express our gratitude for his decision,” Kumar added. They will also hold a condolence meet in the memory of their child at India Gate on Saturday evening.Last Friday, the hospital had handed over the twins it had declared dead to the family in polythene packets. One of them was found alive while being taken to the cremation ground.DECEMBER HORRORDec 1 Newborn declared dead by hospital, found alive when taken for last rites Dec 1 Delhi Police registers case of attempt to commit culpable homicide against the hospital. Delhi government orders probe Dec 2 Delhi Medical Council issued show-cause notice to the hospital. Delhi health minister says if found guilty of medical negligence, hospital’s licence could be cancelled Dec 3 The hospital terminates two doctors for negligence Dec 5 Initial probe finds hospital “guilty of not having followed prescribed norms” Dec 5 Delhi govt says it would form a legal framework to track “criminal negligence” cases Dec 6 Newborn passes away Dec 7 Family members continue agitation outside the hospital Dec 8 Delhi government cancels the licence of the hospital after the probe committee finds it guilty of “medical negligence”.

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University of Mumbai Law academy not functioning well: Parents

Parents of several students studying under the University of Mumbai’s Law Academy have written to the varsity officials, state government and the office of the Prime Minister raising concerns over the poor functioning of the academy.In the letter, parents have raised concerns like lack of a permanent Director and teaching staff, poor condition of classrooms, lack of a designated library and the absence of a separate Board of Studies.”The university is charging Rs 50,000 annually. Despite this, some of the basic requirements are not provided such as a library as prescribed by the Bar Council. The institute has no permanent director at the moment and is running on an ad-hoc basis. Despite several requests, neither the university nor the state government officials are looking into the issue. We are now forced to do a gherao-and-fast-unto-death if we get no response,” said Bhushan Virkar, a parent.Dr Devanand Shinde, acting V-C, MU, said the varsity is trying to resolve the issue. “We have taken a few good decisions in this regard which will be communicated soon,” he said.
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Yogi Adityanath

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India reacts to Donald Trump’s Jerusalem move, says ‘our views not determined by any third country’

Hours after US President Donald Trump dramatically announced his decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, India on Thursday reacted with a firm resolve.In response to queries regarding India’s position on recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel by the US, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affair said, “India’s position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country.”Even as the world leaders reacted to President Trump’s decision, the eight countries have called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council.Also readDonald Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in reversal of US policyBolivia, Egypt, France, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Uruguay want a meeting by the end of the week, the Swedish mission to the 15-member body said.Japan, which currently holds the council’s rotating presidency, had not set a time for the meeting by Wednesday afternoon.Also readWorld leaders call emergency meeting after Donald Trump’s decision on JerusalemJerusalem’s status can only be resolved through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said following Trump’s announcement.Guterres added that he had “consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures.””There is no alternative to the two-state solution.” Bolivian Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorenty Soliz called Trump’s move “a reckless and a dangerous decision which goes against international law, the resolutions of the Security Council.””It’s a threat not just to the peace process, but also it’s a threat to international peace and security,” said the envoy.
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Maharashtra: Key appointments at various universities not made, norms ignored

Nearly eight months after the Maharashtra Public Universities Act, 2016 came into force, appointments to some of the key posts at various universities in the state are still in a limbo. This could have serious implication on the career of the students as there is no one, in most of the cases, to address their concerns and issues. As per the act, every university needs to have four Deans to ensure that each stream like Arts, Commerce, Science, and management is adequately represented. However, the state government has failed to make way for the appointments long after the implementation of the act as a result of which several universities including the University of Mumbai is running with ad hoc Deans. Apart from this, the government is also yet to streamline the appointments of various directors of centres and subcentres at the University level. With the ad hoc appointments, some of the key decisions at these centres are being hauled leading to delays in the various processes like examinations, results etc. Sanjay Vairal, an ex-Senate member at the University said that the delay in making some of the key appointments would be dangerous for students. “in the absence of permanent Deans, those with merely few years of experience who have been appointed on an ad hoc basis would take all the key decisions with respect to academics, which isn’t a good sign” added Vairal. Currently, the university is functioning with temporary governing bodies including the Academic and the management council as permanent appointments to these bodies are yet to be made as per the new act. Sachin Pawar, President, Student Law Council said that the government should ensure that all the key appointments are made with immediate effect. ” Currently the VC, Pro VC, Registrar, Director Examinations are all in charge officials. With students facing so many issues, there is no redressal mechanism with this” he added.
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India stands ‘isolated’ on Kashmir issue, claims Pakistan

Pakistan today said India has been “isolated” on the Kashmir issue after a UN General Assembly committee recently adopted a resolution in support of the right to self-determination.The committee last month unanimously passed the Pakistan- sponsored draft resolution, co-sponsored by 75 countries, over the right to self-determination for peoples who are subject to colonial domination and foreign occupation.It was a “testimony to the fact that on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, India stands isolated”, the Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement.The resolution, which is being adopted every year for the past four decades, signified that India “had failed to convince the world and its obfuscate facts trying to pass off its crime against humanity as counter-terrorism efforts had also failed”, it claimed.The only way for India to end its international isolation on Kashmir is to implement the resolutions of the UN Security Council that call for a free and fair election under the auspices of the UN and allow the people of Jammu and Kashmir to choose their own destiny, it added.
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Newborn, declared dead by Delhi hospital, found alive later

A newborn, who was declared dead along with his still-born twin by Delhi’s Max hospital, was about to be buried when his family found him alive.After this, both the mother and newborn were admitted to another hospital. Delhi Police Spokesperson Deependra Pathak told ANI that the police were taking into account all details of the situation, and were also consulting legal experts. “It is a very shocking incident, and shows height of negligence. We have started immediate inquiry and investigation in this case. We are also consulting legal experts,” Pathak said. The Delhi Police will take further action if a case of negligence surfaces.”Under the court’s direction, we will also consult Delhi Medical Council or Indian Medical council, and convey to them details of all circumstances. Then, we’ll take legal action if a case of negligence surfaces,” Pathak said, adding that the police will also look if there are more cases of criminal negligence in the hospital. Meanwhile, Union Health Minister JP Nadda has spoken to Health Secretary in this connection.
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BJP keeps Rane waiting, fields ex-NCP leader Prasad Lad in bypoll to state council

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Facing strong opposition from its ruling partner Shiv Sena, the Bharatiya Janata Party was forced not to nominate former Shiv Sena leader and chief minister Narayan Rane in the by-election to the Maharashtra Legislative Council slated for December 7.BJP has now given candidature to a businessman turned politician and former NCP leader Prasad Lad who is now being pitted against Congress nominee and former legislator Dilip Mane who comes from Solapur. BJP spokespersons Madhav Bhandari and Shaina NC were two others whose names were doing the rounds for party’s nomination but BJP has picked up Lad who enjoys wide-ranging contacts has deep pockets.BJP preferred to take one step backward and not to make Rane’s nomination a prestige issue ahead of crucial Gujarat assembly election not to displease Shiv Sena but to keep it in good humour. BJP realises that Shiv Sena’s support is necessary for the survival of the state government. Rane had recently deserted Congress to form his own outfit and extend support to NDA. He was making unilateral announcements that his ministerial berth in the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis led the council of ministers was a matter of few days.This is despite Shiv Sena stepping up its criticism against BJP and the party led government on a number of issues including farmers’ plight, delays in the implementation of much ambitious crop loan waiver scheme, deteriorating law and order in some parts of Maharashtra and implementation of Mumbai Metro rail project and Mumbai Nagpur expressway.Lad, who had contested as an independent, had lost to Congress nominee Bhai Jagtap in the election to the state council held in December 2015.Lad, in the same election where corporators from BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation were to elect members of legislative councils, had managed to win 55 votes. That had led to the speculation that BJP was supporting NCP rebel Lad’s candidature to ensure the Congress candidate’s defeat. Lad then had thanked Fadnavis accepting his defeat with humility.Congress has already declared that it has a backing of NCP and other smaller parties. However, Congress party’s move to seek Shiv Sena’s support to give a united fight against BJP did not materialise after Shiv Sena’s refusal. Congress party however, will have to keep a close eye to avoid cross-voting.In the 288 members Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, the BJP has 122 legislators while Shiv Sena has 63. On the other hand, Congress and NCP have 42 and 41 members respectively, the Peasants & Workers Party 3, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi 3, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen 2, Rashtriya Samaj Paksh, CPM, MNS and Samajwadi Party one each. There are eight independents. The BJP enjoys support of four independent legislators

Winter session of Bihar Assembly likely to be stormy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The winter session of the Bihar legislature, commencing from November 27, is likely to be a stormy one with the Opposition ready to target the government over the multi-crore Srijan Scam and Toilet Scam, which surfaced in the state over the last few months.The session will witness five sittings, and the government is likely to introduce some important bills besides the second complementary budget.The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which is the single largest party with 80 MLAs but sits in the Opposition after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dumped the Mahagathbandhan to join hands with the BJP, held a meeting of the legislators on Sunday evening. “We will not interrupt the Assembly if we get satisfactory answers for the adjournment motions moved by us,” said Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, the leader of the Opposition in the Bihar legislative assembly.The Opposition has plans to target the government over “deteriorating law and order in the state, scams, health facilities and education.” “We will show a mirror to the claims of good governance made by the NDA government,” said a Congress leader. The three MLAs of CPI (ML-L) will also target the government over “increased crime graph and communal violence.”Meanwhile, leaders of the JD-U and BJP said the treasury benches were ready with their answers for the Opposition. “The developmental works done by the Nitish government will be an answer to all their questions,” said a JD-U leader. The JD-U and BJP will hold their legislature party meets on Monday.Assembly speaker Vijay Choudhary and Council chairperson Harun Rashid have sought cooperation from all members of the smooth functioning of the House. The session will conclude on December 1.

Outrage after India minister terms cancer ‘divine justice’

An Indian minister’s remark about the disease “saddens” patients and their family members.

Varsities get more time to form statutory bodies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state government on Tuesday gave an extension to all the universities to form their governing and statutory bodies like the Management Council and the Senate. The state cabinet decided to pass an ordinance in order to extended the earlier deadline of November 30 up to February 28 for forming all these bodies.DNA had earlier reported about snail paced working of the University of Mumbai in the absence of permanent bodies which were dissolved in 2015. The varsity delayed the process of elections to these bodies as a result of which the government was forced to extend the deadline. “The deadline for appointing all the bodies of the state universities has been extended up to February 28, 2017 as several universities could not complete the process by the earlier deadline” stated an official statement from the government. The cabinet also decided to make changes in the schedule for accepting applications from new colleges for the upcoming year considering the suggestions that the expert committee had made with respect to the perspective plan” read the statement.Another important decision was to allow the Vice Chancellor to use a lottery system to nominate reserved candidates from the senate to the management council.

Herculean effort behind ICJ win: MEA reached out to 175 countries, Swaraj spoke to 60 of her counterparts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Intense efforts were made since June when India announced Judge Dalveer Bhandari’s name for the International Court of Justice and support was sought from nearly 175 nations, including at the highest level, culminating in his re-election to the world court.According to officials, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj directly spoke with her counterparts from nearly 60 countries to push Bhandari’s case.In the run up to the re-election, India made intense positive campaign regarding the candidature. It raised the issue at every possible meeting at various levels, an official said.At the highest level also, the prime minister raised the issue during his meetings with world leaders, the official said.”India never indulged in the negative campaign. It was run on the strength of our candidate and strength of India strong constitutional system,” an official said.In what was described by India as one of its “biggest diplomatic victories” in the multilateral arena, Bhandari received 183 of the 193 votes in the General Assembly and secured all 15 votes in the Security Council to fill the final vacancy on the Hague-based International Court of Justice after separate but simultaneous elections were held at the UN headquarters here.Bhandari, 70, was declared re-elected for a fresh nine- year term at the ICJ after Britain withdrew its candidate Christopher Greenwood from the race about an hour before the scheduled voting.According to observers, Bhandari’s victory has sent a strong message to the leading powers about the winds of change in the world and underscored the point that India is now a force to reckon with.The ICJ has a bench of 15 judges, five of whom are elected every three years for a nine-year term. To be elected, the candidate needed majority in both the chambers.Established in 1945, the role of the ICJ is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions.Soon after the election results were announced, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin was congratulated by representatives of other countries on the floor of the General Assembly.”Vande Matram – India wins election to the International Court of Justice. JaiHind,” tweeted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.In the previous 11 rounds of voting, Bhandari had consistently polled nearly two-thirds of the members of the General Assembly.With Bhandari’s election, Britain will not have a judge on the world court’s 15-member panel for the first time.Also for the first time in 70 years, a permanent member of the Security Council lost to a non-permanent member for a seat in the ICJ.The British move to block voting in the Security Council and go for the joint consultation mechanism, which was last used some 96 years ago, also fell flat yesterday.This is because, many of the Security Council members including some Permanent Members which were consistently supporting Britain in the secret ballot, backed off from voting in favour of the UK move to stop next rounds of voting as this required open voting, observers said.”It is actually perhaps the biggest diplomatic victory we have in a multilateral arena,” a long-time friend of India at the United Nations said.In a dramatic move, British Permanent Representative to the UN Matthew Rycroft wrote identical letters to the presidents of the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council before the two chambers were scheduled to meet at 3 pm (local time) for the 12th round of voting.Rycroft said in his letter the current deadlock is unlikely to be broken by further rounds of voting and the UK therefore has decided to withdraw Greenwood’s nomination.”In taking this step, we have borne in mind the close relationship that the United Kingdom and India have always enjoyed and we will continue to enjoy…,” Rycroft said.Noting that Britain is a major player in the UN system, sources said the “signal to all the membership is clear that Indians are now a force to reckon with”.According to informed sources, three hours before the voting, General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak and Italian Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi in his capacity as Security Council President for the month of November convened a consultative meeting with the Permanent Representative of the UK to the UN Rycroft and Akbaruddin.India refused to budge against any kind of pressure and insisted to complete the democratic process, sources said.It was unclear what transpired in the next two hours that forced Britain to withdraw from the race.In Washington, US President Donald Trump in between had a meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Indian- origin Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.It is learnt that many of the Britain’s supporters at this point of time clearly told them that they would vote for Greenwood only in a secret ballot but could not be seen voting in open against India and that too at a time when two-thirds of the world community was backing New Delhi.Reading the writing on the wall, Britain decided to withdraw from the race, sources said.At the start of the General Assembly and the Security Council meeting both Lajcak and Cardi read similar letters from Rycroft informing them about UK’s decision to withdraw from the race.Thereafter Lajcak and Cardi announced to complete the rest of the election process by having the name of just Bhandari on the ballot. Soon Bhandari was declared elected.In the last 10 days, it is learnt that India mounted an unprecedented diplomatic campaign to win the ICJ seat.Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself is believed to have taken up the matter with some of the world leaders.After Bhandari’s re-election, he congratulated him and said: “His re-election is a proud moment for us”.He also expressed gratitude to the members of the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council for “their support and trust in India.”

‘A vote that brings cheer to a billion’: Congratulations pour in for Dalveer Bhandari after ICJ win

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s Dalveer Bhandari was today re-elected to the International Court of Justice with more than two-thirds of the UN members backing him, forcing Britain to withdraw its candidate amidst high drama in the hard-fought race to the world court.In one of the country’s “biggest diplomatic victories” in the multilateral arena, Bhandari received 183 of the 193 votes in the General Assembly and secured all 15 votes in the Security Council to fill the final vacancy on the Hague-based International Court of Justice after separate but simultaneous elections were held at the UN headquarters here.Bhandari, 70, was declared re-elected for a fresh nine- year term at the ICJ after Britain withdrew its candidate Christopher Greenwood from the race about an hour before the scheduled voting.
ALSO READ Win wouldn’t have been possible without PM Modi and Sushma Swaraj: Dalveer Bhandari after ICJ re-electionBhandari, 70, was declared re-elected for a fresh nine- year term at the ICJ after Britain withdrew its candidate Christopher Greenwood from the race about an hour before the scheduled voting.According to observers, Bhandari’s victory has sent a strong message to the leading powers about the winds of change in the world and underscored the point that India is now a force to reckon with.The ICJ has a bench of 15 judges, five of whom are elected every three years for a nine-year term. To be elected, the candidate needed majority in both the chambers.Established in 1945, the role of the ICJ is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions.Soon after the election results were announced, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin was congratulated by representatives of other countries on the floor of the General Assembly.”Vande Matram – India wins election to the International Court of Justice. JaiHind,” tweeted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.In the previous 11 rounds of voting, Bhandari had consistently polled nearly two-thirds of the members of the General Assembly.With Bhandari’s election, Britain will not have a judge on the world court’s 15-member panel for the first time.Also for the first time in 70 years, a permanent member of the Security Council lost to a non-permanent member for a seat in the ICJ.The British move to block voting in the Security Council and go for the joint consultation mechanism, which was last used some 96 years ago, also felt flat yesterday.This is because, many of the Security Council members including some Permanent Members which were consistently supporting Britain in the secret ballot, backed off from voting in favour of the UK move to stop next rounds of voting as this required open voting, observers said.”It is actually perhaps the biggest diplomatic victory we have in a multilateral arena,” a long-time friend of India at the United Nations said.In a dramatic move, British Permanent Representative to the UN Matthew Rycroft wrote identical letters to the presidents of the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council before the two chambers were scheduled to meet at 3 pm (local time) for the 12th round of voting.Rycroft said in his letter the current deadlock is unlikely to be broken by further rounds of voting and the UK therefore has decided to withdraw Greenwood’s nomination.”In taking this step, we have borne in mind the close relationship that the United Kingdom and India have always enjoyed and we will continue to enjoy…,” Rycroft said.Noting that Britain is a major player in the UN system, sources said the “signal to all the membership is clear that Indians are now a force to reckon with”.According to informed sources, three hours before the voting, General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak and Italian Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi in his capacity as Security Council President for the month of November convened a consultative meeting with the Permanent Representative of the UK to the UN Rycroft and Akbaruddin.India refused to budge against any kind of pressure and insisted to complete the democratic process, sources said.It was unclear what transpired in the next two hours that forced Britain to withdraw from the race.In Washington, US President Donald Trump in between had a meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Indian- origin Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.It is learnt that many of the Britain’s supporters at this point of time clearly told them that they would vote for Greenwood only in a secret ballot but could not be seen voting in open against India and that too at a time when two-thirds of the world community was backing New Delhi.Reading the writing on the wall, Britain decided to withdraw from the race, sources said.At the start of the General Assembly and the Security Council meeting both Lajcak and Cardi read similar letters from Rycroft informing them about UK’s decision to withdraw from the race.Thereafter Lajcak and Cardi announced to complete the rest of the election process by having the name of just Bhandari on the ballot. Soon Bhandari was declared elected.In the last 10 days, it is learnt that India mounted an unprecedented diplomatic campaign to win the ICJ seat.Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself is believed to have taken up the matter with some of the world leaders.

Inside Story: Here’s how India ensured Dalveer Bhandari’s re-election as ICJ judge

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The re-election of Indian nominee Justice Dalveer Bhandari to the last seat of the world court has sown India’s strategic connect as well as the new world order based on democratic processes and principles.Ahead of the election, where Bhandari was pitted against the British nominee Christopher Greenwood, India pulled all stops to ensure his victory with the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj contacting some of her 100 counterparts mostly from African and Latin American countries. Officials at her ministry were also in constant touch with the envoy of developing countries stationed in New Delhi.“They had all ensured support, but were skeptical whether India will be able to pull support at the 15-member United Nations Security Council (UNSC) dominated by world powers,” a source said.For a victory, it was necessary to enlist majority both at the UN General Assembly as well as at the UNSC.After former Navy official Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case (currently on a death row in Pakistan) reached to the world court, there was an understanding that having an Indian judge in the ICJ was a political priority. Insiders said that till early 2017, the South Block had almost made up mind to demit the Indian seat in the current election cycle, as they had assessed there were not many chances for their nominee to get re-elected with Britain and other countries joining the race. Bhandari’s nomination was officially backed by India, along with Australia, Bangladesh, Colombia, and Israel.In a carefully crafted strategy involving Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Swaraj, the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and India’s representative at the UN Syed Akbaruddin, India sought to enlist the support of countries raising the issue of democratic process.“We convinced countries that the democratic process needs to play its full course in both the Security Council and the General Assembly and there should not be an intervention or adoption of a process that has never been used before or the one that undermines the voice of the majority,” officials said.The strategy clicked with a number of developing countries pledging their support to India against the nominee of a former colonial power and member of the UNSC. Admitting that there were pulls, pressures, and allurements, asking India to withdraw its candidature in favour of powerful UK, but it was firmly put down. In a typical disruptions style of PM Modi, the team overlooking the election ruled out any compromise asserting that the candidate who enjoys the overwhelming support of the General Assembly members can be the only be a legitimate candidate to go through. As the lobbying has intensified, the campaign took an ugly turn with Greenwood’s supporters trying to break Bhandari’s growing support in the Assembly by carrying out a stealth campaign to make it appear that India was giving up, according to diplomats.But Indian officials maintained that voting in the General Assembly which overwhelmingly favoured India is reflective of the new global order, which is not pleasant to the world powers. In earlier rounds Bhandari has nearly a two-thirds majority with 121 votes in the 193-member Assembly, while Greenwood has a slender majority of nine in the 15-member Council. Both the 193-member UNGA and the 15-member UNSC have to vote independently to elect the members of the ICJ.A beaming Syed Akbaruddin admitted that a huge diplomatic effort had gone into electing Bhandari to the world court. “There was a crucial meet before the vote. We put forward our view and stuck to it. It was apparent that vote will be in our favour. We are grateful that the UK judge recused and recognised that the Indian judge was doing good in UNGA,” he said in New York.Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj congratulated Justice Bhandari this morning. “Congratulations to Justice Dalveer Bhandari on his re-election as a Judge of the ICJ. Huge efforts by Team – MEA. Syed Akbaruddin, our Permanent Representative in UN deserves a special mention,” she said in a tweet.President Ram Nath Kovind also congratulated Bhandari, posting on Twitter. “Congratulations to Justice Dalveer Bhandari for his re-election to the ICJ. A diplomatic milestone for India.”India officially began the process of re-nominating Bhandari in late June, which kick-started the lobbying process to get him on back on the bench in The Hague’s Peace Palace. With the ICJ to adjudicate the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav over the next few years, the perception in New Delhi is that having an Indian judge on the bench is a national priority. Pakistan, the other party in the ‘Jadhav Case’, also has the right to nominate an ad-hoc judge to the bench since the ICJ has a serving Indian judge, but not one with Pakistani nationality.Sources here said that the lobbying had already begun at the highest level at the G-20 meeting in Hamburg in the first week of July, when Modi solicited support for Bhandari in all his diplomatic interactions with foreign leaders. He also got support from BRICS leaders during the summit in Xiamen, China, and then raised the issue again during his bilateral trip to Myanmar, while calling for just international order.Swaraj, who led an Indian delegation at the UNGA’s annual session, stayed in New York last September for seven days. Her top priority was to directly speak to her counterparts and get as many committed votes for Bhandari as possible. As one source here confirmed that there was a very high level of effort being put in by the Indian government. “Instructions had gone out to ensure that Bhandari’s candidature finds mentions at India’s diplomatic interactions, whether they involve just diplomats or the country’s top leaders,” they said.Plans were also drawn up to draft personal letters from the prime minister to his counterparts. Diplomats were also sent to the critical countries to garner support. India decided on Bhandari’s re-nomination only a few weeks before the July 3 deadline. This despite that India’s seat for Asia Pacific group already had a contender in the form of Lebanon’s permanent representative, Nawaf Salam. Egypt, currently a non-permanent UNSC member was the first to announce that it will support Bhandari. In return, India agreed to back the Egyptian candidate for the post of director general of UNESCO.The current diplomatic push for the world court seat reminded the 2010 elections for the UNSC non-permanent seat when the government of Manmohan Singh also pulled all stops to win the election. Due to those efforts, India won the seat that it held for two years with an overwhelming number of countries including Pakistan endorsing its sole candidature from the Asian group. India received the highest number of votes — 187 out of 192 — among all countries in the fray.

ICJ election: Amid Britain resorting to ‘dirty politics’, India and UK face off today for last seat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The UN General Assembly and the Security Council will meet on Monday for a new round of voting for the last seat at the International Court of Justice, amid reports of the UK trying to ‘misuse’ its UN Security Council membership by pushing for a joint conference mechanism.India’s nominee Dalveer Bhandari and Britains Christopher Greenwood are locked in a neck-and-neck fight for re-election.On Monday, PTI quoting sources saying that the UK is trying to ‘misuse’ its UN Security Council membership. The ‘dirty politics’ being played by India’s former colonial ruler, as one UN insider put it, has sent a sense of “uneasiness” among other members of the powerful UN Security Council, many of whom are aware of the long-term implications of a move to ignore the voice of the majority of the United Nations General Assembly.Bhandari, 70, has the support of nearly two-thirds of 193 UN members. Greenwood, who has already served one nine-year term in ICJ, is trailing behind more than 50 votes in the General Assembly. However, he received nine against five for Bhandari in the Security Council.To win ICJ election a candidate needs to get a majority in both the General Assembly and the Security Council, which has not been the case in the 11 rounds of voting so far.In all previous incidents, the candidate getting a majority in the General Assembly has eventually been elected a judge of The Hague-based International Court of Justice.Last week, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin asserted that the momentum lies with India.”The situation is clear even at this stage. One candidate has failed to reach anywhere near the absolute majority mark in the General Assembly for numerous consecutive rounds – when he was in a group of six and when he is on a ballot with two names,” he said.Based in The Hague, the ICJ has a bench of 15 judges, five of whom are elected every three years for a nine-year term.Established in 1945, the role of the ICJ is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions.(With PTI inputs)

LG in Delhi has more power than governor of a state, says Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today said that Delhi’s lieutenant governor has more power than the governor of a state as he does not have to act on the aid and advice of the council of ministers all the time.It said that the governor of a state has to more or less act on the aid and advice of the government expect in the case of discretion that could be exercised by the office.The Delhi government claimed that the LG cannot govern Delhi, has no role in the affairs of the national capital. It is only the council of ministers, headed by the chief minister, which can govern, it said. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that under Article 163, the governor has to act on the aid and advice of the council of minister except in the case where he has to exercise his discretion. The court is hearing a batch of pleas on who enjoys supremacy in governing the national capital, referred to in Article 239AA of the Constitution.”The language of Article 163 is similar to Article 239AA sub clause 4 but the only difference is that the Legislative Assembly cannot make laws with respect to entries 1, 2 and 18 in which the LG can exercise his discreation. Thus, the LG has more power than a governor of state,” a bench also comprising justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan said. It said land, police and public orders fall in the domain of the Centre and the Delhi Assembly cannot make laws with regard to these subject.Senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for the Delhi government, said that Article 239AA and the GNCTD Act of 1991, made it clear that the LG is just a delegatee of the President and can only act on his own in case of an urgency. “The LG cannot run Delhi. He has no role to run the affairs of Delhi. That role is assigned to the council of ministers headed by the chief minister. Nowhere in the Constitution such power has been given to the LG,” he said.Dhawan questioned as how can the LG say that this officer will stay in a particular department or the officer needs to be transferred to another department. “Delhi does not have its own public service commission though it has power to establish one but still it has not done so. The officers posted in Delhi are from all-India cadres of the IAS, IPS and IRS and they listen to the directions of the LG,” Dhawan said. He said that the LG can interfere in the affairs of Delhi only in two cases — if the state government crosses its powers or if Delhi is under some kind of a threat.Dhawan cited the Jat agitation when lakhs of people from Rajasthan and other adjoining states poured in the national capital. “The LG can’t pick and choose from the wide canvas of Delhi’s various allocations of business. If there is some disagreement between the council of ministers and the LG over some issue, then it has to be resolved through negotiations and if that too fails, then the President has to take a call,” he said. The senior lawyer further said that there were instances when same parties ruled at the Centre and in Delhi and at that time simple request was enough to get the work done, but now different parties are at the helm and they are at loggerheads.The AAP government said that the aid and advice of the council of ministers has some meaning and it is not limited since it is from the elected representatives of the people. Dhawan said that land, public order and police are with the central government but it cannot be stated that the Delhi government has no say. He cited the violence at Ramlila Maidan that took place during a protest led by yoga guru Ramdev against black money in 2011 and said in those cases when there is threat, chaos and law and order problem, the LG can step in.To this, the bench said that there cannot be any disagreement over the subjects like land, police or public orders which fall within the domain of the Centre and not the Assembly. It said that allocation of the business rules does not confer absolute power to the government and they have to work through the provisos. The apex court had yesterday said the Constitution provided restrictions on the legislative powers of the Union Territory of Delhi.The AAP government had told the court that Parliament’s power to override legislative authority of the states was an “emergency” power.The apex court had said that with regard to Delhi’s legislative powers, the state and concurrent lists have been merged into one where both the state and Union have legislative powers.Earlier, the apex court had raised a question whether the constitutional scheme on division of executive powers between the Centre and the states can be made applicable to Delhi. The court is hearing a batch of appeals filed by the AAP government challenging the Delhi High Court verdict holding that the LG was the administrative head of the national capital.

Move to block resolution on Masood Azhar not contradictory to BRICS declaration: China

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China has asserted that there is no contradiction in its policy to block India’s bid to designate Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN, saying the BRICS declaration was against terror groups and not individuals, Pakistani media today reported.A veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, China has repeatedly blocked India’s move to impose a ban on the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council. The latest technical hold by China came on November 2 when it blocked another proposal by the US, France and the UK to list Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN. Beijing had blocked such a move in February this year. Speaking to a delegation of Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors in Beijing this week, Counsellor and Asia Division Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chen Feng said vetoing a resolution against Azhar after the BRICS declaration against terror outfits did not reflect a contradiction in China’s policy as BRICS members have not entered into any such agreement.The Chinese move was not in contradiction with Chinese policy in the context of BRICS declaration against terrorism, Chen was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune. Chen clarified that the BRICS summit discussed only banned organisations and not individuals, Pakistan Today reported. The BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – at a summit in China in September named, for the first time, Pakistan-based groups like the Lashkar-e- Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Haqqani network in a joint declaration condemning terror.In early November, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said: “we raised a technical hold so as to allow more time for the committee and its members to deliberate on this matter. But there is still absence of consensus on this matter.” Defending the repeated technical holds, Hua said China’s actions are meant to ensure and safeguard the authority and effectiveness of the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council. China in the past has also asked India to discuss the issue directly with Pakistan to reach an understanding on Azhar’s listing.In the last two years, China has stonewalled efforts by India to declare Azhar as a global terrorist. The senior Chinese Foreign Ministry official also briefed the Pakistani editors about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an ambitious project that is opposed by India as it is passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Chen said Beijing was trying to convince India that the multibillion dollar project is based on economic cooperation and that its main aim is to promote peace and prosperity in the region.”The CPEC is neither a way to achieve political aims nor to be used in regional conflicts. Basic aim of the economic plan is to expand the mutual relations. China wants to engage other countries in the economic corridor too,” Chen said. He said China had time and again clarified it to India that it had no hegemonic designs in the region.”We rather view CPEC as a way of forming equal relationships with regional countries and to promote friendship and neighbourhood in the region,” he added. Feng clarified that China was not a party in the Kashmir dispute. “India’s accusation of Chinese occupation on any part of Kashmir is baseless. We have denied such claims in the past as well. Kashmir is a bone of contention between India and Pakistan, peaceful solution of which is the only way to regional peace and prosperity,” he was quoted as saying.

Arun Jaitley denies govt lowered GST on over 200 goods due to electoral compulsions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today debunked Congress’ claim that it forced the government to lower tax on over 200 goods, saying rationalisation of rates was in works for 3-4 months and it is “juvenile politics” to link it to any election or political demand.Rejecting Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s demand for a single rate of tax, he said there is scope for further rationalisation of rate but the course will be decided by revenues that accrue from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that was implemented from July this year. “This rationalisation is 3-4 month exercise,” he said, adding that the GST Council decided on the rate cut on the recommendation of a Fitment Committee.The decisions in the GST Council are “all consensus decisions,” he said. “This is really juvenile politics to link it with either elections or political demands”. The GST Council, which Jaitley heads, had last week brought down tax rate on 178 products from 28 per cent to 18 per cent and pushed down several others in lower bracket. Congress, which has made high tax rates and increased compliance burden in the GST regime an election issue in the run up to the assembly elections in Gujarat, claimed credit for the move.Its vice president Rahul Gandhi had demanded a single rate of up to 18 per cent GST tax as against 0, 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent slabs currently. Explaining the rationale for the rationalisation in rates of goods and services that have been done after the launch of the GST in July, Jaitley said the principle objective is that the transition has to be smooth and not abrupt. He said almost every item is better off than it was in July 1.”Those who are speaking of a single rate GST have no understanding of the tariff structure. Food items have to be taxed at Nil. Common man items have to be taxed at the lowest range of 5 per cent. “Luxury goods, sin products and products hazardous to environment and health cant be taxed at the same rate as aam admi (common man) product. So, wheat, rice, sugar cant be taxed at the rate as Mercedes car or yacht or tobacco,” he said. Without taking any names, he said those who speak of single rate have “no elementary understanding” of GST.He, however, said there is a scope for rationalisation of rate.”In 4 months we have rationalised the 28 per cent slab. Such rationalisation (will happen in future) depending on revenue buoyancy will take place,” he said. He went on to reel out the benefits of GST saying there is a single rate for products across the country, all inter- state barriers have gone and inspectors have disappeared. “You only have to address software (issue with filing of tax return). I think there is already a net advantage in medium and long term, smooth and a larger market and revenue buoyancy,” he said.Jaitley said the government expects all the tax rate benefit to be passed on to consumers, helping bring down inflation. “This is the advantage of an efficient tax system.” “Rationalisation process in the transition will always continue. So, wherever there is scope for improvement and procedural simplification will always continue,” he said. As the transition from over a dozen central and state levies to a single GST, the Council has been very pragmatic and flexible. “It has not been rigid. We react to market realities,” he added. On the decision of lowering tax on food bill in restaurants to 5 per cent from 18 per cent previously, the finance minister said the Council has taken a tough decision to deny the restaurant owners the right to set off tax paid on inputs from the tax on products as they had “unfairly” “pocketed” tax credit and did not pass on the credit to consumers.After the November 10 decision of the GST Council, Gandhi said the Congress will continue to fight for a lower 18 per cent tax for all products. “India need a simple GST, not a Gabbar Singh Tax. People of India and the Congress fought to bring down the rates of many items under the 28 per cent slab. Our struggle will continue to have a single rate and an 18 per cent cap. If the BJP doesn’t do it, Congress will show how to do it,” he tweeted on November 11.Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said, “Ministry of Finance must be complimented for ‘improving’ macro-economic situation in 4 months and 10 days! This is the time taken for common sense to germinate, flower and ripen into a fruit”. He said on November 10 that “Gujarat elections did what Parliament and common sense could not do”. Jaitley said the Council has simplified the return filing process till March because GST is in its early days and it was important to get people into the habit of filing regular returns. Last week the Council decided to simplify return filing till March 31, 2018, to bring down compliance burden. When asked about anti-GST sentiment, Jaitley said “there is an initial reluctance whenever there is a change. But, I have no doubt that in medium and long term businesses will realise that this is a change for better

Speak up Delhi | Up in smog: Delhiites question Odd-Even as a viable solution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government called off the Odd-Even road rationing scheme for the time being, after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked them to cut back on the exemptions, people across the city have mixed reactions to the idea.According to experts, the scheme which helps decongest the city, in absence of a robust public transport system, does not have the planning or means to tackle the large volume of commuters.The city has over 60 lakh registered two-wheelers, which are more polluting than cars. During the last two editions of the scheme, people relied on two-wheelers for the daily commute.However, studies conducted on the effects of the scheme suggested that pollution levels did not show any major improvement during the implementation.Even as the Delhi government is all set to bring back the odd-even road rationing system due to rising pollution levels, environment experts and scientists claimed that there was no ‘concrete evidence’ of air quality improvement in the city.A study conducted by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) —an independent think tank — during the first trial of the policy in January 2016 stated that there was no ‘conclusive evidence’ to prove if the air quality of the city has improved during the fortnight.However, an air quality analysis done during both the odd-even implementation — January 2016 and April 2016 — by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) showed that there was a slight improvement in levels of air pollution. However, it depended on the meteorological conditions to a large extent.”While there was a decrease in pollutant concentrations in the first week of January, farm fires in neighbouring states led to a spike in pollution levels again in the second week. Also, weather conditions such as the wind speed responsible for the dispersal of pollutants was very low during this period. The air quality, however, showed improvement during the second experiment in April, as meteorological conditions were favourable,” the CSE report stated.The government had earlier announced the revival of the third round of odd-even between November 13 and November 17 (Monday-Friday). The scheme, however, like its previous two editions exempts two-wheelers and vehicles driven by women (with only women passengers and children under the age of 12 years).ODD-EVEN SCHEME IN NUMBERSJanuary 2016First phase of Odd-Even scheme was implemented by the AAP government19,140 challansIssued by the government during the first phase, collecting over Rs 1.82 croreVOICESThe government has put emphasis on the use of public transport in view of the crisis in the city. However, buses are already very crowded. Travelling in DTC buses and the metro in peak hours isn’t comfortable and it is a major reason why people are switching to private vehicles. Also the recent hike metro fare hasn’t helped matters. Improving services is a better alternative to this.—Harsh Yadav, stuent, University of DelhiThe scheme reduces pollution up to an extent when almost half the vehicles are not allowed on the roads. But the government should shift its focus towards a more permanent solution. Every year, chaos is created by neighbouring states due to stubble burning. These issues need to be settled to avoid such conditions in the future.—Dr Priyanaka Meena, NoidaFor someone who travels occasionally to Delhi, it’s really hectic to manage things due to this Odd-Even scheme. It affects people’s daily lives and their work schedules. The government must look into building a robust transport system before conducting these experiments. Also, they need to work all through the year to cut down on pollution levels.—Vishal Meena, engineering student, NoidaThe Stubble burning in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and the presence of industries inside Delhi are bigger contributors to air pollution. A few years ago, industries were shifted to Bawana but new illegal industries have cropped up again. The Delhi government should take care of all the factors rather than just implementing the scheme which targets only one reason for pollution.—Naveen Kumar, DelhiEven if two-wheelers are to be banned, we will support the government. We want the air to be safe for our children. But it becomes difficult to commute as Delhi does not have a very good public transport system. If this problem can be addressed, then cab services such as Ola, Uber and private vehicles will automatically reduce. Other issues too should be should be given attention rather than targeting only one cause.—Kamal Gupta, DelhiThe condition of Delhi is severe. The Odd-Even scheme failed to prove its purpose. It was only effective in decreasing traffic on the roads, which worked for a while. The government needs step up and find effective measures to curb pollution in the city.—Anoop Singh, DelhiEXPERT SPEAKThe Odd-Even scheme is one of the measures under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to be taken during ’emergency’ levels of air pollution. However, it can only be of any impact if the public transport system is strengthened. The objective is to discourage people from using private vehicles. The administration has to work all through the year to make this happen. Besides, the exemptions for two-wheelers, which are way more polluting than cars, renders the scheme meaningless.—Bhure Lal, former bureaucrat and chairman, EPCA (Environment Pollution Control Authority)

PM’s panel gives plan on jobs, growth, infra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The second meeting of the Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, chaired by Bibek Debroy, formulated recommendations to guide the evolving framework for the Fifteenth Finance Commission, including the incentivisation of states for achieving health, education and social inclusion outcomes.The meeting was attended by renowned economists Dr Surjit Bhalla, Dr Rathin Roy, Dr Ashima Goyal, Dr Shamika Ravi and Member Secretary and Principal Adviser NITI Aayog Ratan P. Watal.Lead presentations were made by experts on key themes — including Infrastructure Financing by Debroy. Dr Vinod K Paul, member of NITI Aayog, highlighted strategies for achieving Swastha Bharat by 2022. Secretary in Skill Development KP Krishnan presented Skill Development Strategies highlighting convergent initiatives to reach youth and women. The meeting spelled out a clear road map towards skill development, job creation, enhanced resource investment in the social sector, including for Health and Education and for boosting Infrastructure financing.The council is also evolving the design of a new economy tracking monitor, linking economic growth indicators with social indicators for last-mile connectivity.Apart from transformation of the gold market, improvements needed in national accounts and innovative steps for unlocking growth, exports and employment potential of growth drivers were discussed.The council took stock of economic and social analysis undertaken by theme groups and evolving initiatives led by different members. It identified key issues, strategies and recommended interventions in respect of these themes.

Rahul Gandhi’s Gabbar Singh Tax mantra for BJP: Don’t waste India’s time, acknowledge your incompetence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Keeping up his attack on the government over the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today said his party will not allow imposition of the “Gabbar Singh Tax” and asked the Centre to do some course correction shedding “arrogance”.Taking to Twitter, he also said that the government cannot break the back of small and medium size enterprises in the country, crush the informal sector and destroy millions of jobs.Gandhi’s remarks come in the wake of the GST Council meeting held in Guwahati where it was decided that tax rate on a wide range of mass use items would be reduced.”We will not allow BJP to impose a Gabbar Singh Tax on India. They cannot break the back of the small and medium businesses, crush the informal sector and destroy millions of jobs. #GSTCouncilMeet,” Gandhi tweeted.He suggested the government to give the country a “genuine simple tax”. The government, he said, should not “waste time” of the country by allegedly engaging in lip service.”… acknowledge your incompetence, shed your arrogance and listen to the people of India,” he said on the micro- blogging site.Talking to reporters here, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi sought to find “flaws” in the GST, saying it cannot be a “one nation, one tax” if 40 per cent to 45 per cent of the goods or services are kept out of its ambit.He questioned the timing of the GST Council meeting, which he said, took place ahead of the Gujarat assembly polls (scheduled to be held on December 9 and December 14).Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government, Singhvi said the Centre has been going about implementing the GST “without thinking first”.”The prime minister and his government first shoot, then they aim and then think, be it on the issues of demonetisation or GST. And that is exactly what is happening in case of GST,” he added.​

Fresh salvo from Yashwant Sinha: PM Modi should remove Arun Jaitley, current GST structure is ‘faulty’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Veteran BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Friday launched a fresh attack on the government, saying Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had not applied his mind while rolling out GST and should be removed from his post.Sinha, who served as finance minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, said demonetisation has not achieved its goal of flushing black money out of the system.He also charged the current regime with resorting to lies on the note ban and the new tax regime.”The finance minister did not apply his mind while rolling out the Goods and Services Tax and that’s why he is tinkering with GST everyday…,” Sinha told reporters on the sidelines of an event organised by former Bihar speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary on reservation.Jaitley, he added, has made a mess of GST.”The prime minister should bring a new finance minister. I am saying this with full responsibility,” Sinha said.The former Union minister’s comment came on a day the GST Council chaired by Jaitley met in Guwahati to lower the tax rate on many household items — from the top 28 per cent slab to 18 per cent.”Now the government is saying that out of 227 items, tax rates will be brought down from 28 to 18 per cent on around 200 items,” Sinha said.He asked whether the reduction would lead to a decline in revenue collections.”The current structure of GST is a faulty one and that’s why the government is making amendments everyday,” Sinha alleged.In his view, “tinkering” with the GST will not serve the purpose, what is needed is a complete overhaul.In September, Sinha had blamed Jaitley for messing up the country’s economy.Jaitley returned the barb by caustically referring Sinha as “a job applicant at 80″.inha has suggested that a committee be formed under economist Vijay Kelkar, who had earlier headed a committee on GST, for advising the government on effective and efficient implementation of the tax.”After one year of demonetisation, we can say that it could not wipe out black money,” he said.Both demonetisation and GST have brought down the pace of the economy, he said.The attorney general had submitted before the apex court that the government hoped Rs 4-5 lakh crore would not return to the system, but that did not happen, he said.”Around 99 per cent money got deposited in the banks.” People, he added, had deposited money in huge amounts in banks.”A raid raj is going on across the country and cases are being registered under Income Tax Act. Years will go in deciding whether the deposited money was black money or not,” the former finance minister said.Ridiculing statements made by some Union ministers that stone pelting has come down in Jammu and Kashmir after the note ban, Sinha said the government was trying to give demonetisation credit for everything.”The government is publicising it as a success but the fact of the matter is that it has not achieved its objective,” Sinha said, adding that he has taken “sanyas” from electoral politics.​

I am still unable to understand GST, won’t speak about it: Madhya Pradesh Food Minister Om Prakash Dhurve

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid Opposition parties targeting government over the Goods and Service Tax (GST), Madhya Pradesh Food and Civil Supplies minister has said that he has still not understood the new tax regime.The minister made the remark during a discussion on note-ban and GST on Wednesday, ahead of the crucial meeting of the GST Council slated to be held on Friday.”I am still unable to understand the GST… therefore, I won’t speak anything on this topic. Chartered Accountants, Businessmen are not understanding GST (GST mai khud hi nahi samajh paa raha hoon, to iss sambandh mein nahi bolunga. Bade bade CA nahin samajh paa rahe hain, vyapari nahin samajh paa rahe hain), said Om Prakash Dhurve.The minister also said that he will be satisfied and feel better when he will understand it slowly.
ALSO READ DeMo, GST have crippled Surat’s textile, diamond hubs, says Rahul GandhiMeanwhile, the GST Council meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, is likely to witness deliberations on a number of topics, including extended liberalization given to small traders, rate cuts on A/C restaurants from 18% to 12%, and the issue of benami properties.With the 23rd meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the cards, exporters, small traders and those in the restaurant business are hoping for a much-needed relief to come their way.
ALSO READ GST, Aadhaar to transform Indian economy, to take it to a new level: UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan PandeyPunjab, Karnataka and Puducherry, where the Congress is in power, jointly voiced their reservations over glitches with the GST tax-filing network, demanding that real estate and petroleum products be brought under the new regime and the tax rate be kept at no more than 18%.In the run-up to the assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the opposition party and its leaders have been targeting the government over difficulties faced by some businesses under the GST regime, with party vice-president Rahul Gandhi even calling it a “Gabbar-Singh Tax (GST)”.

JeM Chief Masood Azhar is a ‘bad guy’, should be called global terrorist: US

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar is a “bad guy” and should be declared a global terrorist, the US today said as China blocked a bid at the UN to list Pathankot terror attack mastermind as a designated terrorist. Last week, China for the fourth time had blocked a proposal backed by the US, France and Britain to list Azhar as a global terrorist, citing a lack of consensus among the members of the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.The JeM, founded by Azhar, has already been in the UN’s list of banned terror outfits. “We certainly think that he is a bad guy. We would like to have him on that list,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said at a press conference when asked about China’s move.“There are some committee discussions that are underway over whether to add him or the entity to the sanctions list. That list is confidential under the United Nations, so unfortunately, I am not going to be able to comment on the deliberations at the UN under that,” Nauert said. “I’d have to refer you to the Chinese Government to explain why they voted the way they did, but we certainly think that this guy is a bad guy,” she said when asked about China’s action.“We consider the organisation to be a foreign terrorist organisation under the US law,” Nauert said. A veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, China has repeatedly blocked India’s move to put a ban on the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council.China had in August extended by three months its technical hold on the US, France and UK-backed proposal to list Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN after having blocked the move in February this year at the United Nations. Notably, China was the only country opposing the designation of Azhar by the Security Council as a terrorist.All other 14 of the 15 members of the UN Security Council were supporting the bid to place Azhar on the sanctions list that would subject him to an assets freeze and travel ban. Azhar is accused of several terrorist attacks in India, including one on the Pathankot air force station in January 2016.

Will neutralise terrorists in J&K: Bipin Rawat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Tuesday said the force is ready to eliminate terrorists infiltrating Kashmir from across the border a day after Indian forces killed Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar’s nephew in Pulwama district.General Rawat said security forces also seized an assault rifle which NATO forces use in Afghanistan from the three terrorists which indicated Pakistan was aiding terror operations in Kashmir.Rawat said it is clear that terrorists are getting support from across the border.Based on ground intelligence, agencies have warned security forces that Pakistan army along with terror groups and ISI has stepped up attempts to infiltrate and carry out attacks in Kashmir to derail efforts of special representative Dineshwar Sharma.”It doesn’t matter if he is Masood Azhar’s nephew or anyone else,” he said.Talha Rashid, was killed along with two other terrorists in the gun fight which also claimed the life of one Indian soldier.He added that the aim of the forces was to neutralise terrorists irrespective of where they came from.”If any terrorists carry out activities that put the life and property of our citizens at risk, if they target any building, police station or Army, they are troubling the citizens. Our attempt is to neutralise whoever is involved in terror activities,” he said.While there has been an escalation of violence in the last one year, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said that the number of stone pelting incidents have come down as a result of choking of funds after demonetisation.DNA reported on Monday that intelligence inputs indicate that two days after the announcement of Sharma’s appointment on October 23, Syed Salauddin who heads the United Jihad Council, an umbrella group of terror organisations active in Kashmir in a meeting on October 25 gave instructions to plan a massive infiltration with the help of Pakistani army.According to the intelligence inputs his instructions were that 45-50 terrorists should infiltrate India and carry out strikes aiming to disrupt any efforts for a dialogue.

AICTE shuts 1,400 ‘bad standard’ tech courses

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to improve the standard of technical education in the country, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has closed nearly 1,400 courses that did not meet required standards in various technical institutions in the academic year 2017-18.The number of courses is the highest in last five years.The maximum number of institutes where courses have been closed are in Maharashtra with over 400 situated in the state. Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka also have a high number of such institutes.Maximum courses that have been closed are on engineering and information technology, while a minuscule percentage are courses on pharmacy and management. Authorities have advised students to check details about courses as well as the institute before applying.After various surveys on engineering education in India pointed that majority of the graduates in the country have become unemployable, the Ministry of Human Resource Development started taking initiatives to improve the quality of technical education, specially engineering. As a part of this, the government regulator has also decided to close 800 engineering institutions that are not getting any admissions. These institutions will be shut over the next two years.The courses that have been shut by AICTE did not meed required educational standards. According to data obtained from AICTE, 468 courses were closed in 2012-13, 912 in 2013-14, 604 in 2014-15, 1,093 in 2015-16, 670 in 2016-17 and 1,389 in 2017-18.”A high number of course closures shows that we are going after improving the quality of technical education in the country. Courses that either do not have any students of are not meeting the required standards of curriculum have been closed. There are many institutions where popular departments like civil and mechanical engineering have also been closed because they were not performing well,” said a senior official in AICTE.”We want to advise students to check credentials about the course, apart from the institute before seeking admission in an institute,” the official added.India has, over the last three years, seen a dip in number of students opting for engineering. After failing to secure a seat in the top technical institutes like IITs, NITs, students have steered clear of private engineering colleges.FALLING STANDARDSMaharashtra has the highest number of institutes (400) where courses have been closed
A total of 1,398 courses did not meet required standards

Narendra Modi taunts Opposition over WB rankings

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a swipe at the Opposition for questioning the improved World Bank’s (WB) Ease of Doing Business ranking, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday took potshots at his predecessor Dr Manmohan Singh, without naming the leader, saying that those who earlier worked in the WB were now raising questions about its ranking.Before returning to India in 1990, Dr Singh served as the secretary-general of the Geneva-based South Commission and was in the board of governors of Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB).Speaking at a session held to discuss India’s business reforms, the PM promised even more reforms by leveraging the pace built by India’s ranking. At the same time, he also sought to address the glitches in the Goods and Services Tax (GST). He said a tireless push “in all sectors” had led to the improvement in the Ease of Doing Business ranking from 142 to 100.”But, there are some people who cannot understand this. They don’t want to work but are quick to question those who do,” the PM said, in the presence of World Bank chief executive officer Kristalina Georgieva. “This is not just an Ease of Doing Business ranking, it is also an Ease of Living Life ranking,” he said, responding to criticism from the Congress.Modi said after India’s WB ranking was declared, he was not able to sleep as he kept thinking about doing more.He promised that soon, his government will move to reducing the cost of doing business for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), a sector that accounts for a large number of jobs. According to the data available from the ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises, there are nearly 56 million MSMEs, accounting for 110 million jobs in the country.”The quantum improvement in this ranking means that life has become easier for the common people, the middle class. Because most parameters selected for this ranking are linked to the day-to-day life of people,” Modi said, while counting efforts to simplify filing tax returns, train reservations, and gas bookings.This ranking takes into account reforms initiated only till May-end and does not reflect the impact of the GST, which was implemented from July 1, Modi said, while expressing confidence that India would occupy a place of pride in the ranking. once GST and other reforms are accounted for.The PM also attempted to blunt the criticism over GST, telling traders that the government has been listening to their concerns with an open mind and was making amends. He announced that in the forthcoming GST Council meeting, to be held in Guwahati on November 10, the GST structure will be further improved. “All concerns raised by small businesses and traders regarding the new indirect tax regime are being addressed,” he said.The GST Council has already taken several measures to ease the compliance burden of small businesses. The next meeting is expected to further liberalise the ‘composition scheme,’ a simplified tax payment scheme for small businesses, and introduce lower tax rates.

Senior Brookings India fellow Shamika Ravi appointed as part-time member of PM’s EAC

Updated: Nov 4, 2017, 06:36 PM IST, PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shamika Ravi, a senior fellow at Brookings India, would be appointed as part-time member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM), a senior government official said.Headed by NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy, the EAC-PM includes NITI Aayog’s Principal Advisor Ratan Watal as its member and economists Surjit Bhalla, Rathin Roy and Ashima Goyal as part-time members.”The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has cleared the appointment of Ravi as part-time member of the EAC-PM,” a senior government official told PTI.Ravi leads the development economics research vertical at Brookings India. Ravi is also a visiting professor of economics at the Indian School of Business (ISB) where she teaches courses in Game Theory and Microfinance.

Ready to promote ties with ‘important neighbour’ India, says China after blocking move to list Masood Azhar as global terrorist

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after blocking a move to list JeM chief Masood Azhar as global terrorist for the fourth time, China on Friday said that it was ready to work with India to promote ‘constant progress’ of bilateral relationsA veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, China has repeatedly blocked India’s move to put a ban on the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council.The JeM, founded by Azhar, has already been in the UN’s list of banned terror outfits.”We are ready to work with India to promote constant progress of bilateral relations guided by this diplomacy with Chinese characteristics for the new era,” said China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong “India is an important neighbour of China,” Chen saidHe further added that China plans to step up ties with neighbours under the “neighbourhood diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era” enunciated by President Xi Jinping.Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is scheduled to visit India next month to attend the Russia, India, China (RIC) Foreign Ministers meeting. In the last two years, China has stonewalled efforts by India and then later by the US, the UK and France to declare Azhar as a terrorist, stating that there is no consensus on the issue.All other 14 of the 15 members of the UN Security Council were supporting the move by the US and France.This has led to bilateral discord between India and China as Beijing’s move has been seen as an attempt to shield Azhar on behalf of Pakistan.The relations between the two neighbours are also strained by a 73-day standoff at Doklam over Chinese army s plans to build a strategic road in the area also claimed by Bhutan.China had in August extended by three months its technical hold on the US, France and UK-backed proposal to list Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN after having blocked the move in February this year at the United Nations.In September, the BRICS expressed ‘concern’ over the security situation in the region and the violence caused by the Taliban, ISIS, al-Qaeda and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Hizb ut-Tahrir.

All unwelcome contacts are not sexual harassment: Delhi HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court said on Thursday that all unwelcome physical contacts cannot be called sexual harassment unless they are made as part of sexually oriented behaviour. Justice Vibhu Bakhru said that an accidental physical contact — though unwelcome — would not amount to sexual harassment.A physical contact which has no sexual undertone and is not occasioned by the gender of the complainant may not necessarily amount to sexual harassment, the court said.The court was hearing an appeal by a Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) scientist who had challenged a clean chit by the complaints committee and the disciplinary authority to her former senior colleague she had accused of sexual harassment.Both were working at the CRRI, part of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).The woman had alleged that the man had entered CRRI’s lab and snatched samples from her hand, thrown materials and pushed her out of the room in April 2005.The complaints committee had examined her allegations and concluded that it was a case of altercation in the background of the uncongenial environment prevailing in the division.The disciplinary authority had accepted the committee’s report and in October 2009 gave a clean chit to the man.The court also rejected the woman’s challenge to the constitution of the committee and the disciplinary authority.(With PTI inputs)WHAT’S DIFFERENT?A physical contact which has no sexual undertone to it
Is not occasioned by the gender of the complainant

Chuck Schumer, Tulsi Gabbard and other top US lawmakers bat for strong ties with India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Top US lawmakers cutting across party lines have advocated strengthening of ties with India and asked the Indian-American community to chip in to find new opportunities for growth.Senators and Congressmen from both the Republican and the opposition Democratic party said that relationship with India was important and Indian-Americans have a significant role to play in this. “I have worked very very hard on allowing more immigrants and particularly South Asian immigrants, people from India come to America,” Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, who is often criticised for his strong anti-H-1B stand both inside and outside the Congress.The H-1B visa, the most popular among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. “The Indian community has done so much for our country in terms of science, in terms of business, in terms of creativity,” Schumer said in his address to the 20th annual Legislative Conference of Indian American Friendship Council. Schumer said when he wrote the immigration bill, he made special provisions to allow more Indians to come to America. The top American Senator from New York said that he plans to travel to India soon.Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said that over the years, the US and India have made great strides in strengthening the important relationship, from cooperating in education to business to counterterrorism and so much more. As co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans and through her work on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, Gabbard said she had been working to strengthen the friendship and bonds that the two nations already share, and to encourage new opportunities for growth.”The Indian American Friendship Council s work to promote mutual exchange of knowledge and ideas, further understanding between elected leaders and those in the private sector, and provide a voice to the more than three million Indian Americans living in the United States has furthered this progress and expanded the US -India relationship for the benefit of both countries and their citizens,” Gabbard said.Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Relations Committee said the two countries have a historic opportunity moving forward. India, he said, lives in a tough neighborhood.He called for counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries.Congressman Eliot Engel, Ranking Member of the powerful House Foreign Relations Committee, said that the relationship between the United States and India will continue to strengthen and will continue to be strong.The gathering was also addressed by more than a dozen lawmakers including Ami Bera, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Frank Pallone and Sheila Jackson Lee.

MCI’s new scheme to help nail fake docs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A year after the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) initiative to keep a constant vigil on the standard of medical education being imparted through CCTV solutions, under its Digital Mission Mode Project (DMMP), the medical body — on Tuesday — launched its ‘Go-Live’ mission to keep a check on classroom attendance and fake doctors.The MCI has directed all states to provide a Unique Permanent Registration Number (UPRN) to every doctor registered in their jurisdiction. Through this they said that a doctor’s history could be tracked.”MCI’s DMMP project will streamline and infuse more efficiency and transparency in the medical body governance. The online faculty monitoring system will enable the Ministry and MCI to monitor the presence of faculty members in the colleges. This will improve the standards of medical education and will provide our nation with better qualified medical practitioners,” said Dr Jayshree Mehta, president, MCI.As MCI went online on Tuesday, doctors said they they already have 1,10,000 faculties across 425 medical colleges in India for biometric attendance and over 10 lakh doctors recorded in the Indian Medical Register (IMR). These doctors can mark their attendance at 4,500 machines installed at various locations on the colleges premises.With the new system in line, anyone can background check a doctor with the UPRN number.The system would show doctor’s previous place of work, work experience, education etc. This way MCI and MOHFW are looking to tackle the problem of fake doctors in the country.THE DIRECTIVEThe MCI has directed all states to provide a Unique Permanent Registration Number (UPRN) to every doctor registered in their jurisdiction. Through this they said that a doctor’s history could be tracked.

JNU ranked A++ by National Assessment and Accreditation Council

Updated: Oct 31, 2017, 11:33 PM IST, PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Jawaharlal Nehru University has been ranked A++ by National Assessment and Accreditation Council(NAAC).”This milestone for JNU reflects the sheer hard-work and untiring effort by all members of the university,” JNU Rector II S C Garkoti said in a statement.The ranking comes after a review was conducted between 9 and 11 October.”We are certain this acknowledgement will further encourage and inspire us all to work even harder to keep JNU ahead of every higher institution in academic teaching and research,” it said.A++ is the highest ranking which is given to an institution based on various parameters, including research, infrastructure, learning resources, evaluation. PTI CPB ANB

India sends 1st wheat shipment to Afghanistan via Chabahar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj along with Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Salahuddin Rabbani and Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif through a joint video conference on Sunday flagged off the first shipment of wheat from India to Afghanistan circumventing Pakistan, which has been refusing to provide a corridor. The wheat will be transhipped through the Chabahar port in Iran. The shipment is part of India’s commitment to supply 1.1 million tonnes of wheat to the people of Afghanistan on grant basis.The Foreign Ministers welcomed the fact that this will be the first shipment to reach Afghanistan through the Chabahar port after the trilateral agreement on establishment of international transport and transit corridor was signed. It was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran in May 2016. Six more wheat shipments will be sent to Afghanistan over the next few months. The two ministers also reaffirmed their commitment to continue their cooperation for the benefit and prosperity of the people of Afghanistan and the region.Indian officials described it as a landmark moment that will pave the way for operationalisation of the Chabahar port as an alternate, reliable and robust connectivity for Afghanistan. Swaraj reiterated India’s continued commitment to support reconstruction, capacity building, and socio-economic development of Afghanistan, including under the framework of the New Development Partnership that she had jointly announced with Foreign Minister Rabbani last month during the meeting of India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Council.She said the people of India, Afghanistan and Iran have been connected for centuries. There is shared commonalities of art and culture, ideas and knowledge, and language and traditions. She said mentioned that the current government is rejuvenating these connects and commonalities. “I am extremely delighted that today we have joined on a momentous occasion for the people of our three countries and the region,” Swaraj said, terming the move as an important step in realising the shared aspiration to carve out “new routes” of peace and prosperity.THE FIRST ONEThis will be the first shipment to reach Afghanistan through the Chabahar port after the trilateral agreement on establishment of international transport and transit corridor was signed.

JJ Hosp yet to get renewed licence for blood bank

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>JJ Hospital’s blood bank in Byculla is yet to get a renew​ed licence for its ​blood bank from the Food and Drug Administration, as per data from the ​State Blood Transfusion Council (SBTC).According to data on the SBTC website, the licence of JJ Hospital blood bank had an expiry date of December 2016. After a second appeal ​was ​filed by RTI activist Chetan Kothari, the State Information Commission (SIC) had ordered the SBTC to upload relevant data of ​all blood banks​ on their website by August 2017.The head of the JJ Hospital blood bank Dr RV Taksande said​ that the renewal process ​is underway and will be given a new license soon.“The license renewal process takes time. We had already applied for renewal. The documents have been sent to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which had visited the blood bank for inspection more than two times. They had pointed out a few deficiencies and wanted us to make changes. We had already implemented the changes and are expecting a renewal soon,” he said.Unless the license has been cancelled, blood banks can continue functioning. According to the statistical data on the SBTC website, JJ Hospital’s blood bank had a total blood storage capacity of around 1,000 to 1,200 units from January to June 2017.The total amount of blood collected voluntarily is 2,972 units​, while the total amount utilised ​is ​3,030 units and 267 units ​were discarded. Licenses​ of few other civic-run hospital’s blood bank​s​ located in south Mumbai are about to expire by the end of this year.BLOOD UNIT STATS AT ITS BLOOD BANK1,000 to 1,200 units
(Jan-June 2017)
Total blood storage capacity
2,972 units​
Of blood collected voluntarily
3,030 units
Utilised
267 units
Were discarded Source: SBTC websiteNEARING EXPIRYBlood Banks in south Mumbai whose license are set to expire by this include:St. George HospitalNair HospitalCama Hospital

How much does he know and when will he know: Arun Jaitley questions Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of GST

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi over his “Gabbar Singh Tax” jibe, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today asked “how much does he know and when will he know”.Jaitley also asked whether the Congress vice president was satisfied with 17 taxes and 23 cesses which the Nehruvian era gave to the country and wants a system whereby there is no free flow of goods throughout the country.”If somebody chooses to call it ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’, then all I can say is how much does he know and when will he know,” the finance minister told a news channel in an interview.Jaitley said when one does things, one is bound to be praised by people who appreciate it and “criticised by those who either don’t understand it or are at the receiving end of reforms”.Asked if he means that Gandhi does not understand economy, the Finance Minister said, “from the quality and the kind of statements which have come, I am sure he could have done much better”.”Today it is those frivolous tweets at 7 in the morning and politics is really around that,” he said in response to Gandhi’s tweets targeting him.Jaitley said Gandhi does understand that all Congress chief ministers are a party to each of the decisions taken at the GST Council.”Is he more satisfied with 17 taxes and 23 cesses which the Nehruvian legacy gave to the country and that is a legacy that hangs around his neck.”Does he want to go back to a system where every 20 km there is a checkpost checking goods in trucks and where free flow of goods and services are not allowed throughout the country,” he asked.Gandhi while campaigning in Gujarat had earlier this week dubbed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as the “Gabbar Singh Tax” and has been mocking Jaitley with his one-liner tweets everyday.The Congress has criticised the government for introducing the GST in the present form, saying it is “unacceptable” to it and is causing hardship to small and medium businesses.Gandhi had yesterday said the GST was “flawed” and it had unleashed a “tsunami of tax terrorism”.

No concrete evidence of improved air quality

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the Delhi government is all set to bring back the odd-even road rationing system, in case of pollution levels increasing, environment experts and scientists claimed that there was no “concrete evidence” of air quality improvement in the city.While a study conducted by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) – an independent think tank – during the first trial of the policy in January 2016, stated that there was no”conclusive evidence” to prove if the air quality of the city has improved during the fortnight.However, an air quality analysis was done during both the odd-even implementation – January 2016 and April 2016 – by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) which showed that there was slight improvement in levels of air pollution, however, it depended on the meteorological conditions to a large extent.”While there was a decrease in pollutant concentrations in the first week during January but then farm fires were high and pollution levels again spiked in the second week. Also, the weather conditions such as the wind speed responsible for disbursal of pollutants was very low during this period. The air quality, however, showed improvement during the second experiment in April, as meteorological conditions were favourable,” said Vivek Chhatopadhyaya, senior scientist and project manager, Air Quality Campaign, CSE.The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) also showed a fall in pollution levels after January 8.In its analysis of the same week as compared to previous year, CSE reported that despite hostile weather conditions, peak pollution during odd and even scheme had been much lower.”This proves reduced traffic volume has arrested the peaking of pollution and validates the importance of emergency action,” the report stated.

Dialogue futile without participation of Hurriyat: Pak on India appointing interlocutor for J&K

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Pakistan on Tuesday dismissed as unrealistic India’s move to appoint an interlocutor to understand the legitimate aspirations of people in Jammu and Kashmir, saying no interaction or dialogue would carry any weight without the participation of the Hurriyat Conference.India yesterday appointed former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as its special representative for a “sustained dialogue” with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, in a fresh move aimed at bringing peace to the troubled state. Responding to a question on Sharma’s appointment, Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that the measure did not appear to be sincere and realistic. He said that, if anything, the Indian Government s announcement illustrated a recognition — once again — of the futility of the use of force and of the indispensability of dialogue.”However, for any dialogue process to be meaningful and result-oriented, it has to include the three main parties India, Pakistan, and the Kashmiris. In that context, without the participation of the Hurriyat leadership, no interaction or dialogue would carry any weight or meaning,” he said. The spokesperson said that the designated interlocutor had been entrusted with the task of understanding the “legitimate aspirations” of the Kashmiri people.He said that the need of the hour was to have dialogue for peacefully resolving the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.”This was imperative for ensuring durable and sustainable peace and stability in South Asia. Pakistan hoped that the international community would play its rightful role in facilitating such an outcome,” he said.

IT officers visit Vishal’s office, department says nothing to do with ‘Mersal’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The visit by Income Tax officials to actor Vishal Krishna’s office had nothing to do with his film “Mersal” and it was a routine procedure to check for any TDS violations, the department on Tuesday said.It said the exercise of Tax Deduction at Source to check for violations had been on since the beginning of the current fiscal throughout Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.Such inspections had been done “in more than 400 cases in the region” and it was in the same context that the actor’s office was inspected yesterday”, an official release said.The department denied media reports that the inspection was carried out after Vishal alleged that BJP leader H Raja had advocated piracy by watching the movie online, a charge rejected by the latter.Vishal, head of the Tamil Film Producers Council and General Secretary of South Indian Artistes’ Association, had also demanded an apology from Raja.”The income tax department denies that the action taken against the film producer (Vishal Krishna) has anything to do with the film (Mersal). It is clarified that the action was taken in routine course on specific information and similar actions are being taken in several other cases,” the department said.It said that according to the provisions of the Income Tax Act, the TDS amount should be deposited in the government account within seven days from the end of the month of deduction.The department said it wished to convey to all defaulters that they should comply with the provisions of making correct and proper deduction of tax and remitting the same within the permitted time to avoid any consequential actions.

It’s terrorists vs terrorist in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The United Jihad Council (UJC), an umbrella group of over a dozen militant outfits based in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, has stirred the hornet’s nest by claiming that a new Ikhwan (the disbanded pro government militia) is being created in the name of ISIS and al-qaeda using the facade of Zakir Musa.”A new Ikhwan is being created for the past several months in the name of ISIS and Al-Qaeda using the façade of Zakir Musa. Indian-paid agents are being recruited for this brigade. They are being hailed by the Indian media and the impression is being given that these paid agents are the real heroes of the Kashmir freedom struggle,” Syed Sadakat Hussain, the spokesperson for UJC, told a local news agency.Hussain claimed that Indian intelligence agencies are busy hatching conspiracies and trying to “use the paid agents to weaken the ongoing “freedom struggle in Kashmir.””For the past few days, the media has been busy cooking up a cock-and-bull story claiming that Zakir Musa is meeting with militants who had managed to enter into the Valley through Gulmarg route. We appeal to the people of Kashmir to be alert and expose such types of conspiracies,” Hussain said.After breaking ranks with Hizbul Mujhadeen, Musa formed the Al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind and was named chief in July.

MHA tightens guidelines amid cyber threats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The increased threats of cyber attacks targeting confidential government information has prompted the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to prepare guidelines on securing government data.The National Information Security Policy and Guidelines, prepared by MHA, have been sent to the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), which is an apex body on security policies headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval as its secretary.The proposed policy looks at strengthening the mechanism to safeguard critical data by roping in experts and the use of better technology.The guidelines deal with combating cyber attacks affecting organisations in sectors such as defence, energy, finance, space, telecommunications, transport, public essential services and utilities, law enforcement and security, which, if compromised, will lead to a national crisis. A national nodal agency to deal with cyber security and developing indigenous technology has been proposed.According to a study, India is ranked the fifth most vulnerable country when it comes to cyber attacks but cases of data breach remain under-reported with the legal mechanism being limited to deal with such situations.”Almost every developed country is indulging in cyber espionage. There is a need to enhance our system to secure critical information. The policy is being vetted by the NSA,” said a senior government official.

Now, no more Multani mitti packs for Taj Mahal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has withdrawn the decades-long conservational method of applying Multani mitti (or Fuller’s earth) on the surface of the Taj Mahal. The reason, officials of the conservation body said, is that the scaffolding on the monument has been damaging the structure.An official from the ASI headquarters said that the scaffolding around the dome of the Taj Mahal could damage the facade, and so, the ASI will go ahead only after expert opinion on the matter, likely from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).However, an official from the Agra Circle of the ASI said that the work has been stopped because of tourist season. “Work on the minarets has been completed, and we have halted the work on the domes simply because we are in the midst of tourist season. The ASI has received several requests from different tourist agencies to this effect,” said Dr Bhuvan Vikrama, superintendent archaeologist, Agra Circle.He added that while the mud pack has been used on the surface of the Taj for years, it has mostly been used under the arch. “This time, the exercise is extensive as we are now using it on the entire surface of the monument. The process is likely to take over two years,” said Dr Vikrama.Despite ASI’s denial, sources in the organisation said that the alarm is likely to have been set off because of damage that the minarets may have suffered. However, DNA could not independently verify this.Multani mitti was first used by the ASI in 2001-03 on the Taj’s marble surface to get rid of “accretionary deposit”. The clay, which has refined aluminium silicate, is applied on the surface in the form of a semi-liquid paste, left to dry and flake out on it own, as per data from National and International Council For Scientific Research, under the Center for Human Resource Development and Scientific Research.

Govt to add medicinal items in meals

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Union government is preparing an outline for ‘Food and Medicine Mission’ aimed at providing combination of food, which will not just have taste also help in fighting disease. The anti-diabetics ayurvedic formulations and Indian spices will soon become an important part of this program.The format for ‘Food and Medicine Mission’ is being prepared by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research Council (CSIR). The CSIR is going to include ayurvedic formulas, nutrient food techniques developed in its laboratory and traditional spices in this program.However, the scientists will determine which ayurvedic formula, including the spices and the product will help in providing protection against the particular disease. According to experts, use of allopathy and ayurveda can lead to effective rescue and diagnosis of diseases.”The Ayush Ministry has identified many such medicines which are written by the allopathy physicians,” said a senior heath ministry official.HEALTHY MEALSThe products developed by CSIR which include carbonated fruit juices, anti-oxidant herbal tea, (Cordyceps sinensis or caterpillar fungus) Krirajadi, BGR-34 will protect people from several diseases.

Mumbai University Academic Council hails V-C Deshmukh’s OSM efforts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a time when close to 4,000 students at the University of Mumbai are still awaiting their results, five months after the exams, the varsity’s Academic Council has hailed Dr Sanjay Deshmukh ‘s decision of introducing on-screen evaluation at a meeting convened on Wednesday.The university’s academic council in its meeting on Wednesday passed a resolution congratulating Dr Sanjay Deshmukh (who is currently being sent on ‘forced leave’ owing to the result mess) for his ‘efforts that led to the introduction of the on-screen marking (OSM) system’ hailing it as a successful practice.Sources in the academic council said that a senior professor who happens to be close to Deshmukh proposed that the council should acknowledge Dr Deshmukh’s efforts for bringing in a new system of evaluation. This was backed by a group of academicians who are a part of the council and a resolution congratulating Dr Deshmukh was passed.University officials denied that such a resolution was passed. “No such decision was taken” responded Dr Devanand Shinde, acting Vice Chancellor, University of Mumbai.VESTED INTERESTMany see the resolution as an attempt of a few members in bringing Dr Deshmukh back to the university even as the state government is yet to take a final decision in this regard.

Shocking gaffe from Bihar: Kashmir is not part of India, says class 7 question paper

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After toppers scam and open cheating disaster, Bihar is in news again, all for wrong reasons.This time a question paper for class VII exam by the Bihar Education Board stated that Kashmir is not part of IndiaAccording to a Times of India report, the question paper asked students to name what the people of five countries — China, Nepal, England, Kashmir and India —are called.“I was on leave and have just resumed work. I will have to look into the matter,” Vaishali district education officer Sangeeta Sinha was quoted as saying by the TOI report.The examination that began on October 5 will end today. The Bihar Education Project Council conducts the exams and the question paper gaffe was highlighted by a student from Vaishali district.BEPC official Prem Chandra knew about the gaffe. “It’s very embarrassing, I admit,” he said and called it a printing error.Earlier this year, a ‘fake topper’ Ruby Rai was arrested by the SIT team in Patna. Rai had claimed that she had asked her father to ensure she just passes in the exams, but he managed to make her the topper in the state.Rai came to limelight after a video went viral in which she described political science as “prodigal science” and stated that political science, a subject she virtually aced, teaches cooking.

Truckers go on 2-day strike, Rs 600 cr biz hit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Business worth Rs 600 crore was hit in the state as truckers began their two-day strike against GST on Monday.Transportation of goods was affected, said industry sources. Truckers had called for the strike in protest against the indifferent attitude of the government. However, the recent meeting of the GST Council sorted out certain issues while some are still pending.Truckers in Gujarat joined their 1.5 crore brethren across the country for the strike. Industry sources told DNA that the strike evoked a mixed response as it was not expected that trucks already in transit would participate in it. “However, new departures were affected. While it is difficult to quantify the losses, it can be estimated at Rs 500-600 crore,” said Mukesh Dave, vice president, Western Region of All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), which had given called the strike.The recent rollbacks by the central government after the GST Council meet on Friday had eased pain points like the Reverse Charge Mechanism and e-Way bill, whose implementation was deferred till March 31, 2018. This also placated transporters to an extent.However, the issue of 28 per cent tax while buying and selling of vehicles is not yet resolved. AIMTC said that the registration is coercive and many of the compliances unnecessary. An unregistered transporter has to pay GST while buying and selling of trucks. Also, GST needs to be paid even if the goods are shifted from one branch of the office to another.AIMTC also suggested that diesel and toll expenses be brought under GST fuel expenses, constitute 50%, while toll expenses constitute 20% of truckers’ total expenses. “The exorbitant rise in the price of diesel and daily fluctuations have brought the neck of the road transport sector,” said AIMTC. The central government had announced a reduction in excise duty on fuel and had urged the state governments to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) on the products. “Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani is ready to reduce VAT,” said Dave.

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