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2017: When outrage became our national past-time

If you started counting the number of things Indians were outraging about at 11:30 PM on 31st December 2017, you’d be well into the New Year before the list was completed. That’s because 2017 was a breakout year, where social media increasingly set the agenda in real life and we collectively jumped from one outrage to another.Facts were twisted, spliced, made into WhatsApp videos, packaged as viral posts on propaganda websites, as those who benefit from spreading falsities continued their merry ways with little disdain for the consequence of their actions. And often this systematic outrage was part of well-orchestrated campaign to peddle political agenda.Sample some of the topics from 2017 which generated fury and tonnes of coverage – Rajput royals and a little-known organisation losing their cool over Padmavati, political parties and their supporters convinced that EVMs could be hacked by Bluetooth, outraging over the celebration of festivals like Christmas and even the choice of destination of Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma’s wedding.The problem wasn’t that particular interest groups raised hell about issues that ‘affected’ them, but them getting a modicum of legitimacy by those who claim to be serious newsmen, who instead of calling out the stupidity gave tacit support to them when it suited their agenda. And make no mistake, all the meaningless outrage and insinuation weakened the institutions which we cherish and are essential in binding together this vast country of a thousand contradictions.Thus, when the judiciary is called anti–Hindu for banning Diwali fireworks; when EC is called biased for not going back to old ballot system; when a modicum of doubt is raised about integrity of an ex- PM; when art surrenders to alter of rabble rousers, it hurts us, it dents what we hold dear, what some of us like to call the ‘Idea of India’. We seem to have become a nation dominated by WhatsApp canards, a land where hate could be normalised by using the instrument of outrage.A murder of a migrant labour can somehow be justified as retribution for love-jihad, lynching of alleged cow smuggler can be passed off as some holy deed. Whether Tipu Sultan’s birthday should be celebrated thus gets prevalence over farmers’ death, systematic rotting of infrastructure in major Indian cities, becomes a boring topic to discuss compared to Rahul Gandhi going to watch Star Wars. It as if someone has cast a spell to put the entire nation under a massive brain freeze, stalling the age-old ability of the argumentative Indian.This led to a situation that we could count on someone to get angry about something at the drop of a pin. From Anushka Sharma’s elaborate sindur to Sunny Leone’s new-year performance, everything was a cause for mass rage. And the enraged came from all quarters, irrespective of their political leanings. Gurmehar Kaur’s poster for peace enraged the right wing, Sonu Nigam’s appeal for sleep was bitter music for left-wingers. People picked up issues based on what suited them and then started the game of outrage – freedom of expression and right to disagree be damned. In the process, the echo chambers only became denser, the ideological walls more pronounced. Nothing except cricket united us. Or not. Even there, critics went after MS Dhoni’s head after one bad performance or found ways to complain about Virat Kohli’s brilliance arguing he hadn’t faced any ‘real’ bowlers of calibre to justify his presence among the pantheon of greats. Those who tried to make sense were drowned out in the sea of cacophony of loud mouths, willing to pit even the most complicated issues into banal binaries. The media, influencers, politicians can be blamed but end of the day- it’s the common people which enabled them to carry on the status-quo, making mountain out of molehills. Any pushback would have forced for an idea of recalibration, a rejig of strategy. But none was there.Can 2018 be any different? Well, it’s hard to be hopeful. With a year to go for general elections, expect more non-issues being discussed and debated both on mainstream and social media. Yet, there is always hope. In the West, a powerful #MeToo campaign shook the sexist cabal in Hollywood that has stood firmly for decades. Maybe a desi campaign will someday kick off to excoriate random outrages dating back 800 years and debate meaningful issues from today’s time for true nation-building. Till then, let’s stick to awkwardly listening to national anthem in theatres only.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
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
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
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

50,000 Aadhaar enrolment operators suspended till date, govt tells Parliament

Nearly 50,000 enrolment operators have been suspended for violating the process guidelines for Aadhaar enrolment till date, Rajya Sabha was informed today.An operator is blacklisted on crossing certain threshold of errors during enrolment, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Alphons Kannanthanam said in a written reply.The erroneous enrolments are rejected during quality checks, and, as a result, Aadhaar is not generated in respect of such enrolments. Eligible enrolments, that are error-free, lead to Aadhaar generation, he added.Also readFacebook gives Aadhaar name prompt to some new users, says not mandatory “As on date, about 50,000 Aadhaar enrolment operators have been suspended for violating process guidelines relating to Aadhaar enrolment,” he said.The Aadhaar Act and its regulations prescribe punitive actions for various Aadhaar-related offences.The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the Aadhaar-issuing body, routinely organises training and sensitisation workshops for enrolment agencies and operators working under them on various issues of enrolment.To another query, the Minister said, that about 71.24 crore mobile numbers, 14.63 crore Permanent Account Numbers and 82 crore bank accounts have been linked with Aadhaar as on December 8, 2017.Also readUP Aadhaar Racket: Police bust gang that made fake identifications, one arrestedAadhaar, the 12-digit number backed by fingerprints, iris scans and certain demographic details of Indian residents, is today the world’s largest biometric database.The government is pushing for linking Aadhaar to a host of schemes and services such as mobile connections, PAN, and bank accounts to weed out ghost holders and check tax evasion.

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

Cyclone Ockhi: Central team visit parts of Chennai, Kanyakumari to assess damage

A Central team today visited parts of Chennai and Kanyakumari districts to assess the damage caused by torrential rains and cyclone Ockhi.While one group visited parts of Chennai and its neighbourhood, the otherheld discussions with fisherfolk in Kanyakumari, which was battered by Ockhi last month.Members of the fishing and farming communities expressed their grievances to the team members.Relatives of missing fishermen wanted the government to expedite search and rescue of the fishermen still missing in the aftermath of the cyclone.Revenue Secretary B Chandramohan told reporters here that the team will continue their survey of the affected areas in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur till tomorrow.The officials will study the extent of damage to roads, infrastructure, loss of lives and areas that faced inundation during the downpour in these districts.It will later submit its report to the Centre, he added.The Central team, headed by Sanjeev Kumar Jindal, Joint Secretary in the Union Home Ministry, is likely to meet Chief Minister K Palaniswami tomorrow.The team members are drawn from various central ministries like Finance, Power and Water Resources, according to officials.The state government had sought a central relief package of about Rs 9,300 crore from Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards taking up rehabilitation efforts in cyclone-hit areas of the state, including Kanyakumari, during his visit to the district post-Ockhi.The state government had wanted the Centre to declare the cyclone as a “national disaster” on account of its “severity.”It sought Rs 5,255 crore assistance towards implementing permanent rehabilitation measures in Kanyakumari and another Rs 4,047 crore to cater to other parts of the state, including Chennai, affected by the north east monsoon.

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

Central govt in no hurry to push through Women’s Reservation Bill

Despite overwhelming numbers in the Lok Sabha, there seems to be no urgency by the Centre to seek passage of 108th Constitutional Amendment Bill or the Women Reservation legislation to reserve 33% seats in elected bodies for fairer sex.On Wednesday, Minister of State for Law and Justice, PP Chaudhary, ducked a question in Lok Sabha, saying the government was awaiting a consensus among all political parties to seek passage of this Bill. The proposed legislation was passed by the Upper House seven years ago. Since then it awaits the nod of the Lower House, where the ruling BJP and its allies have an overwhelming majority. The number of MPs from the SP, RJD, BSP, who had been opposing the Bill, has trickled down.The minister told the House that the government endeavoured “to provide for reservation of one-third seats for women in the House of the People and the State Legislative Assemblies”. However, he conveniently passed the buck and placed the onus of passing the Bill on consensus among all parties.Being a Constitution Amendment, it requires a special treatment for its passage — that is a majority of the total membership of the House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the House present during the time of voting. A total of 63 women are MPs against 471 men. And women account for 21.6 per cent in the Cabinet — of the 37 members, only eight women hold various portfolios in the Lok Sabha, which means women representatives are at a mere 11.80 per cent.

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50% home buyers prefer proximity to workplace, reveals study

When Sameer Dhingra, vice-president in a multinational company decided to buy a house, the only factor to influence his decision was the proximity of his new abode with his workplace. He was firm, he shares, to not travel for hours shuttling between his office and home. Dhingra and many others like him depict a growing breed of people in metros who are promoting ‘Walk To Work’ culture.A latest study by an international research firm, Kantar TNS, highlights that 50 per cent home buyers in Delhi-NCR prefer to purchase a property in proximity to their workplace, a trend emerging among the millennial homebuyers in the Capital. Conducted over a period of six months, the study involved qualitative and quantitative research with a sample size of over 200 male corporate employees in the age group of 30-55 years, having an annual income of more than Rs 8 lakhs, and who are regular internet users.The research was designed to accomplish the following objectives i.e., understanding the current experience/usage behaviour of property buyers, understanding of buyers–expectations from property sites and uncovering category needs/need gaps.Furthermore, according to the data collated by Kantar, which also took into account the user behaviour on online classified forums, including OLX, 48 per cent of the respondents saw buying a home as a long-term investment that came with additional financial security. Meanwhile, better amenities like gymnasium, swimming pool, etc too influenced the decision of 45 per cent buyers. Other factors such as a gated society for better security, more space, proximity to school for kids and shopping places too are desired by Delhiites while planning to buy a home.Apart from closeness to the office, demand for ready-to-move apartments is the highest, with one-third of the property seekers searching for the same. This is followed by 25 per cent browsing online classifieds for independent houses; 17 per cent seeking builder floors; and only 15 per cent interested in land/open plots.The study further reveals that mid-size 2-3 BHK apartments are most popular among the prospective buyers. Smaller units, as opposed to 4 BHK, are preferred by nuclear families, independent working professionals, and students.Among the locations, Dwarka in Delhi remained the most searched for being close to corporate hub Gurugram. The satellite town itself is not far behind in being popular among millennial working population looking for ready-to-move-in accommodation as Sohna Road is the most searched location on OLX followed by Sector 49 and 57, known for its prime residential gated community with direct connectivity to metro and shopping malls.Talking to DNA, Sachin Hajela, associate vice-president, Kantar TNS said,”The study explores preferences of home buyers in key cities across the country, and highlights the increasing adoption of online platforms in the property purchase journey of consumers. We found that the benefits of online in handholding a property-seeker in the initial journey of shortlisting a property, contacting a seller/ broker has resulted in online medium becoming the starting point for 80% of property seekers. Replete with property choices, the online medium also proves to be the most preferred search avenue amongst digitally evolved property seekers of Delhi-NCR.”

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UP Aadhaar Racket: Police bust gang that made fake identifications, one arrested

Police in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district on Sunday claimed to have busted a gang which made fake Aadhaar and PAN cards with the arrest of one person.The accused was arrested from a house in Khurgan village in Shamli’s Kairana during a police raid on Saturday, officials said.A car, a laptop, a camera and a large number of fake Aadhaar and permanent account number (PAN) cards were seized from the accused, Javed, station house officer (SHO), Kairana police station, Bhagwat Singh said.The SHO said two of Javed’s accomplices managed to give police the slip during the action and a hunt has been launched for them.Interrogation of the arrested accused was underway, Singh added.Also readAadhaar debate: Open to improving privacy framework, says JaitleyAadhaar is a 12 digit unique-identity number issued by the government to all residents based on their biometric and demographic data.

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Christmas 2017: Jingle all the way this Xmas as we bring you the best list of greetings to send your loved ones!

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashesSnowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashesSilver-white winters that melt into springsThese are a few of my favourite things!It’s that time of the year you flaunt your new dress, munch your best-liked muffin and spend time with your family and close friends and relax and only think about the favourite things and moment you want to treasure all your life.Santa Claus, X-mas tree, Christmas carol and jingle all the way….it’s time to get ready for the much awaited fun-filled time of the year. Christmas is celebrated on December 25 every year which marks the birthday of Jesus Christ. With Christmas just around the corner and as the year comes to an end, we know you all have been busy planning Christmas dinners and gifts. It is that time of the year where you spend time with your family and close friends. But did you think about the Christmas messages you have to send to the ones who lives far away? Don’t worry, we got you covered!DNA brings you the top 10 list of messages and greetings you need to send anyone and everyone on Christmas. 1. May the spirit of Christmas fill your heart and home with joy, love and peace. Wish you and your family a merry Christmas!2. May your world be filled with full of joy and warmth on this holy season and in the upcoming year. Merry-wala-Christmas to you and your family!3. Count your blessings, sing your Christmas carols, open your gifts, and make a wish under the Christmas tree. Merry X-mas!!4. Joy to the World, the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King…repeat the sounding joy! Merry Christmas to you and your family!5. Sending you the blessings of the season and wishing you a joyous, fun-filled Christmas!6. May Jesus Christ fulfill all your wishes and aspirations. May he bless you with tide and prosperity in life. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.7. Good tidings we bring to you and your kins…Ohh bring us some figgy pudding! We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!8. May this Christmas be a piece of cake with chocolate pie and mango pudding!9. “Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder10.May your stars shine brighter and feel winter days warmer! Merry Christmas to you!

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Gujarat University exam leaves students in chaos

Semester 1 students of B.Com, BBA, BA, B.Sc, MA and M.Com were baffled when their examination centre was changed at the last moment on Thursday.While the university claims that the centre was changed because of the sudden visit of National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) at one of its colleges, students allege that their one hour was wasted.Himanshu Pandya, V-C, Gujarat University, said, “At the last moment, NAAC team members had a visit at one of the college. Since it is a technical issue, we had to cooperate with them. But none of the students suffered a loss in their exam hours..”University also changed the seating arrangement a night before the BCom examination. The second phase of examination that was to begin on Thursday led students in chaos. Failing to take into account the actual capacity of examination centres, the department allocated a higher number of students to colleges leading to chaos. Eight government colleges wrote to the varsity that they will not be able to accommodate the higher number of students which forced the varsity to change the seating arrangement at night before the examination starts. More than 50,000 students appeared for exams at more than 70 centres.SEATUniversity also changed the seating arrangement a night before the BCom examination. Eight government colleges wrote to the varsity that they will not be able to accommodate the higher number of students which forced the varsity to change the seating arrangement at night before exam starts.

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CBI, ED to appeal against verdict

Shocked over the special court’s judgement to acquit all the accused, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) stated that they had been filing monthly status reports before the Supreme Court and the investigation was appreciated at every step. However, sources said they fail to understated why the judgement went against them. The agency decided to appeal against the court order.Also Enforcement Directorate decided to appeal against the order. ED said the Special Court appears to have failed to appreciate the money laundering offence that probed by it should have held ground and not linked to CBI’s corruption case.”Besides the observation and findings of the Supreme Court in this case appear to have not been considered by the Special Court,” the ED added.Sources in the CBI said, “Our key contention was not taken into account by the special court. We are going through it for as it is lengthy judgement. The key points which struck us immediately was that there written and documentary evidence and it was not given due to importance.”Sources further pointed out that the court has relied on oral evidence of the accused and also failed to see the bribe trail wherein Rs 200 crore ‘pay-off’ happened wherein a company take loan on 14 percent and given at 5 percent. “We had documentary evidence running into lakh of pages, the court relies on accused statements,” the source said.CBI in a statement said, “The judgement relating to 2G scam case today has been prima facie examined and it appears that the evidence adduced to substantiate the charges by the prosecution has not been appreciated in its proper perspective by the Learned Court. CBI will be taking necessary legal remedies in the matter. In due course, CBI will be filing an appeal.”In the meantime, ED pointed out that the Special Court prima-facie appears to have failed to appreciate the offence of money laundering as defined under Section 3 is, based on the term proceeds of crime.ED also said the special court has appreciated the material evidence qua offence of money laundering at the time of framing of charges against the accused persons but the same material appears to have not been considered while deciding the prosecution complaint under PMLA and the accused persons have been acquitted from the offence of money laundering only on the basis of no commission of offence and not the occurrence of criminal activity.”We have decided to move in appeal against the judgement of the Special Court on a number of grounds based on the facts as well as legal provisions,” the ED said in a statement.

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Govt launches helpline to tackle cyberbullying, will it really help?

After the avalanche of harassment cases in India and abroad have spawned a social campaign under the hashtag #MeToo, India is now all set to start relaunch a campaign against cyberbullying under the hashtag #HelpMeWCD.Earlier, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi had launched #HelpMeWCD to urge women and children to tweet along with the hashtag if they face any harassment or violence.The Ministry of Women and Child Development on Thursday launched a separate helpline to file complaint against abusive behaviour, harassment and hateful content on social media. The recent decision was taken in light of the high number of cyber bullying cases in India.Everyday on the Internet, people are abused regardless of their caste, creed and opinion. Huge number of cases goes unnoticed and people sometimes fail to understand the seriousness of the issue. Trolling and cyberbullying can be called as the side effects of the Internet. Determined bullies does not leave any stones unturned to prey on any given opportunity. The intensity of online abuse can be as violent and scary as in the physical existence. The chatrooms and social media pages are filled with comments and posts aimed at character assassination and defamation.Cyberbullying can cause us grave mental distress and pollute our thoughts and everyday work schedule. It can trigger negative emotions and sometimes can even lead to depression and suicide.In a shocking incident in November, an MBBS student in Kerala committed suicide by jumping off from the top floor of her college building. Police suspect it is a case of online harassment after examining her Facebook post showing discontent over the comments made by a fellow MBBS student in her earlier posts.A day before committing suicide, Ooshmal Ullas, the 23-year old student in KMCT College, shared a screenshot of the angry comments posted in the college confession page named ‘KMCT Xposed – MBBS Confessions her FB post’ in her FB post.In February this year, Gurmehar Kaur, a 20-year-old student from Delhi University’s Lady Shri Ram, may have never imagined that she would be threatened to be raped and killed for even daring to raise her voice or share an opinion.Unknown persons trolled Gurmehar on social media sites and send her ruthless death and rape threats for launching a campaign against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP ). The college student had to deactivate her Facebook account in the midst of the brutal threats and the poor girl had to rush to police station to file complaints against the online harassment.In another incident, Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone was slammed in social media for sharing a ‘not-so traditional’ photo on Instagram. The hot MAXIM photoshoot of the xXx: The Return of Xander Cage’ starwas not handled well by some disgruntled geniuses. She was trolled and abused for breaking ‘Indian traditions’.With everyone having easy access to internet and technology, cyber bullying and cyber stalking is a serious concern. Eight out of 10 are subjected to online harassment in India, a research conducted by global cyber security firm Norton by Symantec revealed on October this year.The survey said that around 63% of online harassment cases are of abuses and insults and 59% are of rumours and gossips aimed at degrading someone’s image. Another survey by Feminism in India found that around 50 per cent of women living in major Indian cities have been a victim of online abuse.In another survey conducted across 25 countries by Microsoft Corporation in 2012, India was ranked third.Cyberbullying is dealt by the enforcement agencies under the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 and different sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

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Doc of private hospital misappropriates funds, held

The Bhoiwada police have registered a cheating case against a doctor of a private hospital and two others for allegedly misappropriating funds related to providing security guards to Tata Memorial Hospital at Parel.According to the police, a firm of three partners called Rapid Guard Security Force had bagged the contract for providing security to Tata Memorial Hospital through connivance with the doctor working in the said hospital.The police alleged that the doctor had taken money from the partners for giving them the contract, however, later two of the three partners with the help of doctor duped the third partner, who was also the investor in the said firm.The complainant in the case, Qaisar Khan had invested in the firm and had signed partnership deal with the two accused. However, later the doctor started transferring payments to the different bank account instead of the partnership bank account to cheat Khan.After the accused persons did not give Khan his share, he approached the police. “We have registered a case of cheating against the doctor and other two partners of Khan. The doctor was asked to resign from the job by the hospital authorities after he was found giving illegitimate favors for allotting contract to the security agency. The alleged scam is between Rs 75 lakhs to Rs 1 crore,” said a senior police officer.Swami Mhatre, spokesperson of Tata Memorial Hospital, refused to comment when contacted.

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Air quality in Delhi dips to ‘very poor’, US Consulate report raises concern over Kolkata’s pollution level

Delhi’s air quality dipped on Wednesday due to a drastic fall in wind speed, triggering rapid accumulation of pollutants and a grey haze, which affected visibility across the city.The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 359, marking the return of ‘very poor’ air after eight days. The AQI had turned ‘moderate’ on December 12 and since then had remained ‘poor’. CPCB scientist Dipankar Saha said the situation is likely to improve soon as winds blowing from the north will bring down temperature resulting in precipitation of fog. “We are witnessing calm conditions but good news is that wind is likely to come from north and we can expect drop in temperature, and fog,” Saha said.Due to precipitation of fog (liquid droplets turning into vapour), the level of particulates also fall. Vivek Chattopadhyay, a researcher with the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said conditions are considered calm when wind speed hovers around 0.3 metres per second. “It makes the air more dense. Moreover, due to drop in temperature, the boundary layer, the layer where particulates and air mix, also comes near the surface,” he said.The concentration of PM10 was 408.8 ug/m3 at 8 pm after rising through the day. PM2.5, which are finer and deadlier particulates, was recorded at 256.2 ug/m3 as per the Central Control Room for Air Quality Management of the CPCB.Also readAnti-smog gun does little to curb pollution in national capital; breathing difficulties continueConcern over Kolkata’s air qualityAn air quality report by the US consulate here has shown that the PM 2.5 level at the city’s Park Street area has surpassed Delhi’s Chanakyapuri locality on Tuesday, with environmentalists and people here expressing concerns.Also readSoon, we might have pollution meters like light meters: Ravi Shastri on smog halting India v/s Sri Lanka TestThe particulate matter (PM) level — an important index in measuring pollution — in the Chanakyapuri area of Delhi had improved from 292 Acceptable Quality Limit (AQL) to 189 AQL between noon to 6 pm on Tuesday. In Park Street here, the count went up from 274 AQL to 288 AQL during that time, the consulate website report says. Expressing concern over the report, environmentalist S M Ghosh said diesel cars are the main contributing factor to the alarming level of pollution in the city.The West Bengal Pollution Control Board is doing very little to reduce the fleet of diesel cars, he alleged. The situation, however, improved this morning with the PM 2.5 level at 171 AQL, far higher than the minimum alarming level of 151 AQL (acceptable quality limit), the website said. In New Delhi, the AQL count shot up to 389 at 1 pm today, it added. WBPCB Chairman Kalyan Rudra, however, said there was no reason to panic as the report covers just one area and does not give a complete picture.The WBPCB is initiating a number of measures to ensure good ambient air quality for the people here, Rudra said. There are 14 WBPCB air pollution monitoring units in the city and their display boards have been put up across the thoroughfares here to give updates on Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) and PM 2.5. Environmentalist Ghosh, however, said three pollution monitoring devices in the city are lying defunct for months now. “The WBPCB is sitting on a proposal by environmentalists to increase the monitoring devices across the city from 14 to 25. They (WBPCB) would not admit but three of their monitoring units are lying defunct for several months,” he alleged.Debmit Dutta, a 39-year-old telecom engineer who works at an MNC in the Salt Lake area of the city, said he has ordered special air filter masks online considering the situation.”The situation is not very different here from that of Delhi, I feel. I have ordered masks online and hopefully it will protect us from the toxic air to an extent,” he said. West Bengal Public Health Engineering Minister Subrata Mukherjee said the situation here is better than Delhi and necessary steps are being taken to curb air pollution. Echoing similar sentiments, West Bengal Environment minister Sovon Chatterjee said, “I am yet to go through the contents of the US consulate report. But the government is taking every measure to reduce pollution level.

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

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

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Smart card gets smarter: MMRDA plans all-purpose card

Not only for using various modes of public transport in the city, the single transport smart card being prepared by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) can also be used for making cashless payments during shopping. The Authority has said that the smart card will also allow commuters use it as credit card or debit card along with using it for travelling in suburban local trains, metro, monorail, buses, auto and taxis along with paying toll.Sanjay Khandare, Additional Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA, said, “We have appointed a consultant and are in the final stages of preparing a bid document for integrated ticketing system which will also allow commuters use it for shopping as credit or debit card along with using it for paying toll and travelling on various modes of transport.”However, these cards will be the Rupay card promoted by Central government and not a Mastercard or VISA card. Rupay card is the first of its type of domestic debit and credit card payment network and was prepared by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).”It is going to be a complicated task considering it involves many parties unlike in London wherein they have an oyster card and only one single corporation operates all modes of transport. Here we have a different authority for every mode of transport like bus, train and metro,” added Khandare.He further, said, “We will also have to tie-up with banks and ultimately all the payments made by commuters will have to be routed to one single bank account that will keep the accounts and forward the funds to different agencies accordingly.”Similarly, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is planning to launch a common smart card for commuters who will travel by DTC buses and Metro train network being operated by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.The idea of a common mobility card, to provide a seamless travel between different modes of transport by Union Ministry of Urban Development to have a National Common Mobility Card but was put on back burner due to the complexity involved.ALL-IN-ONEPayments that the card will enable: Shopping and making cashless payments Metro, Monorail BEST buses and public transport buses in Thane and Navi Mumbai Suburban local trains Auto/Taxi Cities worldwide that have similar cards:London, Hong Kong, Seoul and Singapore

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15-year-old rape survivor moves Delhi HC seeking permission to abort 26-week pregnancy

A 15-year-old rape survivor moved the Delhi High court on Monday seeking to terminate her over 26-week pregnancy after the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) refused to conduct the abortion of the minor.A bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice PS Teji sought a reply from the Centre and the Delhi government following the plea. It also directed the officials of AIIMS to present before the court the medical opinion rendered by them.The bench also directed that since the co-ordinate bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice I S Mehta has been dealing with this matter, so it be listed before the concerned bench after taking orders from the Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal.Also readBombay High Court allows 26-weeks minor rape survivor to terminate pregnancyThe matter came up for hearing after it was urgently mentioned in the court. According to the plea filed through her father, the minor sought urgent directions to allow her to medically terminate her pregnancy.The plea, filed through advocate Kamlesh Kumar Mishra, said the victim was missing since March 31 after she left home following an altercation with her mother. An FIR in this regard was lodged on April 1 at the Sarita Vihar police station. A habeas corpus petition was filed on November 21 following which she was recovered on November 26.Also read12-year-old rape survivor delivers baby after abortion denied by Madhya Pradesh High CourtThe accused was arrested a day later on November 27 from Narora village, district Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh.The plea alleged that the police’s version of the minor eloping with the accused is false. On the account of the ordeals as narrated to her parents, the plea said that she was taken away by a woman who further sold her off to a family in Etah, Uttar Pradesh allegedly to be married off to a handicapped person. A fake court marriage was conducted following which she was made to live with the family.Also readSupreme Court allows 13-year-old rape survivor to abort pregnancyOn her recovery, the minor had refused to go with her parents following which she was sent to Prayas Juvenile Home. However, her parents were allowed to meet her. A few days later, she visited her parents and expressed her desire to terminate the pregnancy.On December 8, the Child Welfare Committee (South East District) recorded that the child is pregnant and wants to terminate her pregnancy and therefore referred her to AIIMS. However, it was informed to her on December 15 that she is not allowed to terminate the pregnancy.“The petitioner is before this Hon’ble court not only to seek an order directing termination of her own pregnancy but to pass a specific guideline with regard to the termination of pregnancy of any rape survivor specifically if minor whatever may be the age of the foetus,” the plea stated.

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Picture perfect: the effectiveness of pictorial health warnings on tobacco products

The Karnataka high court on Friday struck down the 2014 amendment rules that mandated pictorial health warnings to cover 85% of tobacco product packaging space on all tobacco products sold in India. It is worth mentioning that the pictorial warnings on both sides of packages of tobacco products came into effect in April 2016 following the direction of the Rajasthan High Court and subsequently the Supreme Court too made it mandatory. After the decision of Karnataka High Court, health activists and doctors in Rajasthan have expressed their worries about the adverse effects of diluting the pictorial warning.“The second edition of Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2) says that in Rajasthan 50.4% of cigarette smokers,47.4% of bidi smokers and 60.5% of smokeless tobacco users thought of quitting smokeless tobacco use because of warning label on the packets. These figures show that the bigger pictorial warning on pack is critical to protect our youth from the dangers of tobacco and the government’s earlier decision of 85% pictorial warnings on all tobacco packages should be defended,” said Jayesh Joshi, Secretary of Vaagdhara, an NGO working for tobacco control in Rajasthan. Highlighting the severity of tobacco triggered cancer, Dr Naresh Somani, senior consultant, Medical Oncology Department at Bhagwan Mahavir Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Jaipur said that in Rajasthan 30% of total cancers patients suffer from the cancer caused by tobacco use. “It is estimated that 30,000 new cancer patients every year reach to the hospital due to tobacco generated cancer. Cancers of oral cavity and lungs in males account for over 50% of all cancer deaths in India,” he added.Raj takes the first step:Bigger pictorial warnings were first mandated by a notification issued in October 2014. Followed by the removal of the then Union Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan and the then Health Secretary Keshav Desiraju, the notification was then taken up suo motu by the Lok Sabha Committee on Subordinate Legislation, which asked the government to put the implementation on hold. While the implementation was then stayed, Rajasthan HC in July 2015 asked the government to implement it.Bigger the picture, bigger the impact:As per GATS-2, there has been a change in perception. 92% of adults surveyed under GATS-2 believed smoking caused serious illness, and 96% said use of smokeless tobacco causes serious illness. It was also found in survey that in Rajasthan 50.4% of cigarette smokers,47.4% of bidi smokers and .60.5% of smokeless tobacco users were planning or thinking of quitting tobacco use.Pictorial warning impact across IndiaIn India, more and more people of those still consuming tobacco are thinking of quitting on seeing pictorial warnings. AS PER GATS-262% feetcigarette smokers…54% feetbeedi users…46% feetsmokeless tobacco… …users are thinking of quitting because of pictorial warnings, compared with 38%, 29% & 34%, respectively during GATS-1

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Gujarat Elections 2017: EC withdraws notice to Rahul Gandhi over his TV interviews

The Election Commission of India on Sunday withdrew its notice to Congress President Rahul Gandhi which it had issued on December 13 for allegedly violating the provisions of the election law and the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by giving interviews to TV channels in Gujarat where the final phase of polls was due the next day. The ECI had asked Mr Gandhi to respond to the notice latest by December 18 evening. The EC had also directed the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat “to initiate necessary action by filing FIR against those who have violated the above mentioned provisions in phase two districts in Gujarat”.It had said that Gandhi, then Congress president-elect, talked about the Gujarat Assembly elections in which the polling for the second phase will be held tomorrow.Also readIf EC can send notice to Rahul Gandhi, why isn’t a notice being sent to the BJP: Congress questions ‘partisan’ moveSome local news channels in Gujarat had telecast Rahul Gandhi’s interview ahead of the second phase polling in the state on December 14.The BJP had complained to the poll panel about the interviews. Also readCongress cries foul over EC notice to Rahul for TV interviews, demands action against BJP leadersThe Commission also found that BJP’s election manifesto release on the eve of first phase of polling noting that there is no limit prescribed in the model code of conduct in this regard.The Congress had alleged that the BJP releasing its manifesto a day ahead of the first phase of polling in Gujarat on December 9 was also a violation of electoral laws. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: All eyes on Modi’s home state as stage set for counting tomorrowThe poll body has also decided to set up a committee to draw new guidelines on the violations of MCC and the Section 126 of the Representation of the People, 1951, in the new digital age.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.It said it will soon consult political parties, media, News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and other stakeholders to seek suggestions.

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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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UIDAI blocks Bharti Airtel’s e-KYC key

The UIDAI has temporarily barred Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers using eKYC process as well as e-KYC of payments bank clients.In an interim order, UIDAI has suspended e-KYC licence key of Bharti Airtel Ltd and Airtel Payment Bank Ltd with immediate effect, according to people aware of the development.For the past few weeks, there have been allegations that Bharti Airtel has been using the Aadhaar-eKYC based SIM verification process to open payments bank accounts of its subscribers without their ‘informed consent’. UIDAI also took strong objection to allegations that such payments bank accounts are being linked to receive LPG subsidy.This order means Airtel would not be able to, in the interim, carry out ‘electronic-verification’ or link mobile SIMs of its customers with their Aadhaar number though eKYC. Also, Airtel Payments Bank will not be able to open a new account with Aadhaar e-KYC. However, accounts can be opened through alternate methods, if available.When contacted, an Airtel spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we have received interim order from the UIDAI regarding temporary suspension of Aadhaar linked e-KYC services till their satisfaction on certain processes related to Airtel payment banks onboarding of customers.””We are engaging with the authority and are hopeful of an early resolution. We are also undertaking to complete the said actions on priority and have commenced thorough checks of our process flows. Being compliant to all guidelines is paramount to us. Any inconvenience to our customers is regretted,” the spokesperson said.More than 23 lakh customers have reportedly received as many as Rs 47 crore in their Airtel bank accounts, which they did not know had been opened. Airtel Payments Bank has about 50 milion users.UIDAI also asked PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct an audit of Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank to ascertain if their systems and processes are in compliance with the Aadhaar Act.The first notice was sent in September but replies of Airtel was found to be unsatisfactory. Subsequently, another notice was issued in November where also the reply of Airtel was not found satisfactory.

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Why are VVPATS used in first place? Hardik Patel questions SC rejecting plea for cross-check

On Saturday, PAS leader Hardik Patel took umbrage to VVPATs being used stating he didn’t understand the Supreme Court’s stand on the issue.He was quoted saying by ANI: “Why are VVPATs used in the first place? It is used for smooth counting of votes wherever there is a fault. I did not understand Supreme Court’s stand on the issue.”He went on to say: “I think Exit Polls results will turn out to be false. If EVMs do not malfunction then BJP will lose the election. I have 100% doubts on EVMs.”Earlier, Congress said it would file a “fresh comprehensive petition” on the Gujarat election after the Supreme Court refused to entertain its plea seeking counting of at least 20 per cent of the paper trail slips manually along with votes cast in EVMs in each constituency.”We are very shortly going to represent and then file a fresh comprehensive petition,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters.Also readGujarat elections 2017: BJP confident of victory, but won’t celebrate till results out”…The Congress will remain at the forefront of creating awareness about what is the basic structure of our Constitution, namely free and fair elections… Free and fair elections have been held to be part of our democracy,” he said.A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud permitted petitioner Mohammad Arif Rajput, a Gujarat Congress leader, to withdraw his plea but granted liberty to file a comprehensive petition later seeking election reforms.Also readGujarat elections 2017: Hardik Patel held a roadshow at Vadodara”There was a very sympathetic and very elaborate hearing by the Supreme Court. Ultimately, the apex court gave us full liberty to withdraw the petition and equally in the order, reflected full liberty to file a fresh petition,” he said.Singhvi said the party would first represent to the Election Commission, seeking a comparison of the electronic result and the paper trail result.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | Ravan’s arrogance had ruined Lanka: Hardik Patel”A comprehensive fresh petition, raising all issues relating to EVMs and VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) will be filed soon,” he said.Earlier in the day, senior advocate Singhvi, appearing for Rajput, said the counting of the slips of the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines along with the votes cast in the electronic voting machines (EVM) count in at least 20 per cent of the booths of each constituency would reassure the people about the fairness of the polls.”This court can’t interfere unless the Election Commission’s decision for a random check of the EVM-VVPAT paper trail in one booth per constituency is proved arbitrary, illegal or malafide. We cannot discredit the Election Commission’s decision without cogent material,” it saidWith inputs from PTI and ANI

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Gujarat elections 2017: BJP confident of victory, but won’t celebrate till results out

The array of Gujarat BJP leaders, ranging from current CM Vijay Rupani, party chief Jitu Vaghani to national leaders like PM Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah are confident that the saffron party will win the state assembly polls that concluded on Thursday. However, in a bid not to be seen as counting the chicken before they are hatched, it has been quite restrained and anxious.Party spokesperson Jagdish Bhavsar said, “There is nothing like celebration in the party, as it is not the right time yet. We are confident the party will win with more than 150 seats, but there is no need to show exuberance at this moment. We will celebrate on the day of results and that would be statewide. We will not need too much time to prepare for the celebration.”The election has been a closely fought one, as there were many weighing factors.There were issues like community agitations, Rahul Gandhi’s extensive campaigning and temple visits, anti-incumbency in rural parts of state and focus of Modi and Shah on local issues that could turn the tide.A senior party leader, on condition of anonymity, said, “I agree that the party can win in Gujarat, but it will be hard to predict how many seats it will ultimately get. Congress has also worked hard and to an extent, convince many voters of Gujarat. This could lead to upsets and that is why the party is not celebrating till the results. We are keeping fingers crossed. “Meanwhile, the state party leaders are going to meet on Saturday at the party headquarters in Gandhinagar. The meeting will focus on analysing the poll results and discuss other poll-related issues. The party leader also will prepare an account of the poll expenses of party and candidates individually. State Party chief Jitu Vaghani will head the meeting, and will be attended by Rupani, Nitin Patel and other senior leaders.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Cong will win more than 120 seats: Bharatsinh Solanki

Voting for the state Assembly is now done with and with the results due on December 18, exit polls are predicting a BJP victory in Gujarat. But the Congress is confident of a victory and are questioning the exit polls. President of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) Bharatsinh Solanki briefed the media on Friday and said that the Congress will gain more than 120 seats.At GPCC, there was a marathon meeting of Congress members. Candidates and in-charge of the party at district levels participated in the meeting to know where congress party stands after two phases of polls.”Let the exit polls says what they wants to predicts. People have seen the real result in Bihar and Delhi after exit poll predictions. Congress is winning and we are getting more than 120 seats,” said Bharatsinh Solanki, GPCC president.Congress members and participants in the meeting were briefed out what should be taken care during the counting day. Counting will take place on December 18. Solanki said that if they will not be satisfied with the result, they will ask to count the votes based on VVPAT.”We have discussed about two phase of polling state, we take a stoke of where the Congress stands. There is a fear that at many places people EVMs were connected with Bluetooth,” said Solanki.

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Karnataka High Court strikes down 85% pictorial warning rule for tobacco products

The Karnataka High Court on Friday struck down the 2014 amendment rules that mandated pictorial health warnings to cover 85 per cent of tobacco product packaging space, holding that they violated Constitutional norms.However, the court made it clear that the 40 per cent pictorial health warning rule, which existed prior to the amendment rules, would remain in force.A division bench comprising Justices B S Patil and B V Nagarathna passed the order on a batch of petitions filed by various tobacco manufacturing companies and others from across the country, challenging the 85 per cent pictorial warning rule notified by the Union Health Ministry.The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014 (COTPA) came into effect from April 1 last year.In May last year, the Supreme Court had transferred all petitions against the 85 per cent rule filed in various high courts to the Karnataka High Court and asked it to hear and dispose of them.Passing its orders, the high court bench held that the Union Health Ministry does not have any jurisdictional power to make such rules.The court said even if the health ministry enjoyed power to make such rules, they violated constitutional norms as it was an “unreasonable restriction” on the right to do business.From the perspective of tobacco growers, such a rule violated the Right To Equality under Article 14 of the Constitution because there was no connection between the images and the warnings, the bench observed.The petitioners, the Tobacco Institute of India and others, had challenged enforcement of the COTPA which required printing of pictorial health warnings covering 85 per cent of tobacco product packages.The petitioners argued the rules were impractical and would boost smuggling of imported cigarettes.The tobacco industry had said there was no evidence to show smoking causes the diseases depicted in the “extremely gruesome and unreasonable” pictures.The bench observed that the rules cannot be made to scare people but to issue notifications.The industry also said the global average size for graphic health warnings (GHWs) was only about 30 per cent of the principal display area.Moreover, the top three cigarette consuming countries– the US, China and Japan which together account for 51 per cent of global cigarette consumption–have only text based warnings and not adopted GHWs.

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Lalu Prasad demands probe over Nitish Kumar’s Vikas Samiksha Yatra, calls it a ‘scam’

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad on Friday attacked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over his ongoing ‘Vikas Samiksha Yatra’, saying it was a “scam” wherein crores of rupees from the public exchequer was being splurged on an image-building exercise.He claimed that for every district covered under the yatra, Rs 10 crore was spent from the public exchequer.However, the ruling Janata Dal (United) dismissed the charge as “sheer frustration” of the RJD supremo, who is facing trial in several corruption cases and convicted in one.Addressing a press conference, Prasad distributed copies of a purported order issued by an official of Jeevika, a state government project for providing employment to rural women.As per the order, “4,000 women would participate in every public meeting of the CM during ‘Vikas Samiksha Yatra’ and would be paid Rs 75 each apart from the conveyance.”This is in addition to expenditure incurred on security arrangements, allowances to officers, arrangements for public meetings etc,” Prasad, who was accompanied by senior party leader Shivanand Tiwary, claimed.”This is turning out to be Vikas Samiksha Yatra ghotala (scam). At least Rs 10 crore is being spent in every district during CM’s Samiksha yatra,” he alleged.”If the ‘yatra’ was so indispensable, the CM should have taken only security personnel along,” Prasad said, wondering why review meetings were being held in districts, away from the state capital.He also alleged that flags of the JD(U), of which Kumar is the national president, were being displayed at the public meetings funded by the state.”There should be a probe into how much money has been spent on the CM’s yatra,” Prasad said.Kumar is on a state-wide ‘Vikas Samiksha Yatra’ since December 12 to take a first-hand account and review the progress made in various districts on development schemes launched by his government over the years.Prasad also reiterated his earlier claim that Kumar’s standing in his own government has diminished and JD(U)’s junior ally, the BJP, was establishing a “firm grip on the government and administration”.JD(U) chief spokesman and MLC Sanjay Kumar Singh, however, said, “It is sheer frustration of Lalu Prasad…a person, who is convicted in a corruption case, is levelling charges against a man known for his honesty and probity”.Prasad also dismissed exit polls predicting a BJP victory in Gujarat and claimed that the Congress would form government in the state and “all the exit polls will prove to be wrong like they did in Bihar in 2015”.On Sonia Gandhi’s “retirement”, he said, “She may not hold a post but will continue to give her guidance.” The RJD chief also added that Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as the Congress president will “strengthen the Grand Alliance”.He also opined against the draft law banning instant triple talaq with provision of of three years imprisonment for violations, saying “the Centre is behaving like an autocrat, taking steps as per whims and fancies”.

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Three-member RS panel acquits Madhya Pradesh HC judge accused of sexually harassing colleague

A three-member panel set up by the Rajya Sabha to probe the impeachment of a Madhya Pradesh High Court judge over allegations of sexual harassment of a lady judicial officer found him not guilty.The committee comprising Justices Bhanumati, Manjula Chellur and AG KK Venugopal also said if the lady judicial officer, who resigned due to sexual harassment, wants her job back, she should be given it.The complainant made the charges against the high court judge days after she was transferred and resigned from her position subsequently. In 2015, while the apex court case was pending, 58 members of the Rajya Sabha sought to initiate impeachment proceedings against the high court judge.An additional district and sessions judge at Gwalior had alleged that the high court judge sent her a message through the district court registrar to “perform a dance on an item song” at a function in his residence. She also claimed that she was “victimised” later by being transferred from Gwalior to Sidhi.The panel, however, found evidence that is “suggestive of the respondent judge’s interference with the transfer and rejection of the representations of the complainant… but since charges of sexual harassment are not proven, it cannot be said that this interference is on account of not submitting to his immoral demands”.

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Speak For Me: This website allows you to write to your MPs against mandatory Aadhaar linking

Frustrated over government’s decision to make Aadhaar linking mandatory, activists have started a website called speakforme.in.The website enables the people to file complaints and write to their MPs against the continuous calls, messages and emails to link our Aadhaar number with various services. The website helps the citizens to urge the issue to their MPs to raise in the upcoming winter Parliament session.It enables the user to select the state and his or her constituency in the drop down box. A template email is also available to make the Aadhaar non-mandatory. The emails can be customised too before hitting the send button. The petitions can be filed in different languages like English, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam. Also readDate for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts extended to March, 2018: List of other deadlines you should not missIn just three hours of the website going live, around 1000 complaints have been filed. The website run by 90 volunteers was started by IT professional Kiran Jonnalagadda known for starting net neutrality campaign two years ago.Also readGovernment extends deadline for linking Aadhaar with bank account till March 31 “We want Parliament to discuss this. Everyone has been receiving harassing SMSes and calls to link their Aadhaar to mobile phones and bank accounts. This is coercion,” Jonnalagadda was quoted saying by TOI.The government on Wednesday extended the deadline for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts till March 31. Earlier, the deadline for linking bank accounts, mutual fund folios and insurance policies with Aadhaar was December 31, 2017.

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Rajasthan hacking: Rs 2.75 lakh deposited in Shambulal Regar’s wife’s account before being frozen

Police in Rajsamand district have frozen a bank account in which 516 donors had transferred Rs 2.75 lakh for fighting the court case of Shambhulal Regar, who is in custody for hacking a Muslim migrant labourer to death, burning the body and filming the barbaric act.Two local businessmen were also arrested for allegedly circulating images on social media of receipts acknowledging their donations to the account of Regar’s wife, police said.”Rs 2.75 lakh was deposited into Sita’s bank account, details of which were circulated on social media. 516 people from across the country deposited the money for fighting Regar’s case. Police have frozen the account,” IG (Udaipur Range) Anand Shrivastava said.Also readRajasthan hacking: “We only know our father was a hero of the family, don’t know what love jihad is”SHO, Bhim police station, Gyanendra Singh said two businessmen, Prakash Singh and Dinesh Singh, were arrested under relevant sections of the law for circulating receipts of donations on social media.The administration has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in Rajsamand after some right-wing groups announced to take out processions in support of Regar today.Also readMamata Banerjee to labourers wishing to return: Will give 200 days’ work”All processions, rallies and protests have been banned and those who defy the rule of law will be dealt with accordingly,” Shrivastava said.Regar, 36, had hacked Mohammed Afrazul to death and burnt the body on December 6.Also readRajasthan hacking- If people want to return to Bengal, will provide assistance to set up business: Mamata BanerjeeAfrazul had migrated to Rajsamand from West Bengal for work.Regar had roped in his 14-year-old nephew to film the killing.After the barbaric act, Regar posted videos of the killing with inflammatory and communal comments to defend the act.

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Mumbaikars prefer 2 BHK houses over 1 BHK, says report

A report by international real estate consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) shows that as per data from MahaRERA, in Mumbai more 2BHKs were sold than 1 BHK and also the supply of flats is almost double than the demand.In the report, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) is divided into three areas- Mumbai City, its suburbs, and Thane. An analysis of the residential market reflects that of the 3,465 residential projects registered under RERA, maximum sales were recorded in Mumbai City (24,681 apartments sold out of the 50,329 units available), followed by Thane (86,479 apartments sold out of 1,80,071 units available) and Mumbai Suburbs (87,126 apartments sold out of 1,81,155 available). A distinct observation is that supply is double and clearly outstripping demand.The report further states that, Mumbai prefers living small, as the numbers reflect 2 BHKs to be the configuration of choice. Thane sold the maximum 2 BHKs (61,145 units) as compared to Mumbai Suburbs which sold marginally lower (60,728 units) with Mumbai city selling the least (11,142 units).According to the report, 1 BHKs were the second preference amongst Mumbaikars, with Thane selling most 1BHKs at a count of 29,551 units, while Mumbai City sold 5,295 units and Suburbs sold 19,803 units. However, supply far exceeded demand in Thane with 62,000 1 BHK units available for sale and only 47 per cent recording sales.The report states that, the luxury housing market performed better in Mumbai’s suburbs as compared to the city.While almost 49 per cent of the supply of 4 BHKs and 4 BHK+ sold in the suburbs, the city saw sales at 42 per cent of the total supply in this category for the region.”Post RERA, apartment details are provided only on the basis of carpet area, making it easier to compare one against the other. This ensures that home buyers don’t get tangled up in the confusing and misleading jargon of ‘built-up ‘ and ‘super built-up’ area and have a standard area comparison.REGISTER TO SELLThe confusion of selecting an appropriate real estate agent has also been resolved to a certain extent. Only agents who are registered on the MahaRERA site against a specific project are allowed to sell units of the respective projects.

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Rs 2,000 notes are here to stay

This should put an end to the rumours of Rs 2,000 note being demonetized anytime soon. In an RTI query filed by a Pune based activist Prafful Sarda, seeking clarification on whether there were plans to demonetize Rs 2000 notes to promote digital and cashless transactions, the RBI replied that the query is hypothetical in nature. Apart from this, the RBI also revealed in the RTI query that, the total value of the notes in circulation as on November 4, 2016, just three days before the announcement of demonetization was Rs 17.87 trillion, and Rs 15.28 trillion was deposited till June 30, 2017. The RTI was filed on November 11, and the date of reply is December 7.The 17.87 trillion includes the notes of Rs 1, 2, 5, 20, and 100 apart from the demonetized Rs 500 and 1000 notes. However, the bank has no information on how many Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were collected in income tax raids and other illegal activities. The queries also included on how much money deposited in non performing loan account, non performing account and non performing assets, to which the reply from RBI stated that it didn’t have information on. Also readGujarat tops in fake Rs 2000 note seizuresOn the question of demonetization of Rs 2,000 notes, the RBI replied, that the query is hypothetical in nature and not information as contemplated under section 2 (f) of RTI Act, 2005.Even the total money deposited in the banks, post demonetization, is subject to future corrections, and can change. Till the last update, the figure stands at Rs 15.28 trillion. Sarda is an entrepreneur based in Pune and claims that his RTI will now put an end to the rumour of Rs 2000 note being demonetized. Apart from this also says that his aim was to check the number of notes deposited. He said, “The decision taken by PM Modi was historic and had received mix reaction from every section of the society. Rs 15.28 trillion of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes deposited in banks is quite high than the actual valuation. I must say the government took the right decision, which will help Indian economy in the long run,” said Sarda.

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2 women dupe man of Rs 2.25 L

A Mumbai-based businessman approached the Bangur Nagar police claiming that he had been duped of Rs 2.25 lakh by two women under the pretext of exchanging US dollars at a cheap rate. The victim claimed that the women instead of giving him US dollars duped the victim by giving him newspaper scrap.According to the victim, Hanif Shaikh, he met a woman near Malad West who showed him a $20 currency note and asked him to help her convert it to Indian Rupees as she didn’t understand what exactly it was. Thinking that the woman is genuine, Shaikh got the note converted returned the money to her. The woman told Shaikh that she was working at an international citizen’s house who gave her few household items in which she got 1,335 of such notes. The woman offered to give all the notes to Shaikh which amounted to around Rs 18 lakh and asked him to pay Rs 3 lakh in return.However, after exchanging the notes for Rs 2.25 lakh, he found that there were newspapers cuttings in the shape of notes instead of US dollars.”I had checked all the notes before taking it from them but I don’t know how did they tricked and exchanged original with a duplicate bundle. She cheated me stating that she cannot deposit it in the bank as she does not have a bank account and hence she cannot get it converted. Later I learnt that it’s a gang who trick people with same modus operandi,” said Shaikh.

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BJP not discussing Gujarat model: Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia

Congress leader Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia on Monday lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he is rattled with the popularity and people’s agitation and he doesn’t have any local issues to discuss for the Gujarat elections.Talking to mediapersons at Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC), he said, “We inherent principles of Gandhi and Sardar. We will win people’s trust and love with our principles. We will establish welfare, development and progress here. The BJP and PM are not talking about the Gujarat Model. They talk about religion, caste, Aurangzeb, international politics, but they don’t talk about their hyped development model.”Scindia added, “We are talking about local issues like health, education, agriculture, justice for the agitation against Dalits and Patidars. The BJP government at local and central level is forcing farmers to commit suicide. Their schemes like Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is a joke. The government is deducting premium automatically from farmers’ account and the claims the government is sending a cheque of Rs3,” said Scindia.”The promises BJP has made for MSP is nowhere to be seen. Farmers are not getting adequate price for cotton, sugarcane and potato. In the health sector, 7,251 health sub-centers were opened before 22 years and the situation is still the same. Not a single government sub-health centre has been opened in the last 22 years,” added Scindia.Congress is keen to revive the tradition of what Sayajirao Gaekwad set for girls education, he said. “We are going to give free education on the lines of what Gaekwad did ages ago. We are going to give free laptops and mobile phones to students. We are ensuring health and education to the people in unorganised sector,” remarked Scindia.

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Actress Zaira Wasim: I was molested on flight

Indian star Zaira Wasim, 17, says she was touched inappropriately on a flight from Delhi.

Yogi Adityanath to tighten noose around private schools

The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh (UP) is bringing in a legislation to curb the exorbitant fees charged by private schools.The state has drafted the UP Self-Financed Independent School (Regulation of Fee) Bill, 2017, to tighten the noose around private schools that charge high fees as well as raise it almost every year.The Bill, which is likely to be tabled during the Winter Session of the state legislature, was drafted after studying similar legislation in Delhi, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan by a committee, headed by deputy chief minister Dr Dinesh Sharma, and taking into account views of parents, teachers, and management of private schools.Prominent private schools in Lucknow charge anything between Rs 3,000 and Rs 12,000 per month from each student. The new Bill will cover all private schools affiliated to ICSE, CBSE, UP Board, and even the minority institutions. Primary schools charging less than Rs 20,000 annually have been kept out of the Bill.Sharma, who is also the education minister, said the main aim of the new legislation was to regulate fee structure in private schools. Under the new Bill, private schools will not be allowed to charge admission fees every year. It can be charged only at the time of admission and three other times — when a student is promoted to Class VI, IX, and XI.The Bill provides for annual fixation of fees and allows a maximum of 15 per cent as development charges. Most schools in the state charge 30-50 per cent on this head. The Bill also directs schools to spend fees raised from this head only on renovation and development of the school infrastructure.No more secretsThe Bill makes it mandatory for private schools to keep their fee accounts and display them on their notice board and website. Also, schools must disclose income from commercial activities

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Asthmatics rejoice as Capital gets first pollen count station

Delhi has got its first pollen count station to monitor the levels of airborne grass pollen. The station inaugurated at Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute will benefit people with asthma and other respiratory ailments, as they can check the forecast and take preventive measures, like taking anti-histamines or staying indoors and minimising the health risk.”Pollution apart, airborne pollen also has a major impact on our respiratory system. While much efforts towards raising awareness and education on impact of pollution on health are being made, effects of pollen on health of patients with respiratory disorders are not given its due importance, although it is affecting a significant number of patients. Having a pollen count station can be crucial for such patients, who would be able to check the pollen count status in the vicinity and take necessary steps to avoid exposure,” said Dr Raj Kumar, Director (Acting), Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute.A recent study found that 30 per cent of the population reportedly suffers from one or the other allergic ailment and the majority is not even aware what exactly worsens their condition and how to avoid it.According to the study, the maximum and minimum pollen count recorded in past years was in the month of September (4,805 pollens) and December (1,973 pollens), respectively. The pollen concentration starts increasing in the months of September, October, and November (282.65, 275.73, and 245.44 pollens/m3 /month) and starts declining December onward.Experts say that for patients with respiratory problems and asthmatics, the pollen count would be an indispensable resource to help manage their symptoms and take precautionary measures. Many studies have also found that not only vehicular and industrial emissions, but pollen grains, fungal spores, dust mites, insect debris, and animal epithelial are also major contributors to allergies, breathing problems and respiratory disorders.

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Now, CBI unearths kala dhan from Customs inspector

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday raided the house of a customs and central excise employee posted in Mumbai and unearth huge amount of unaccounted money. Parmanand Singhariya, a preventive officer (inspector), during the last five years had deposited more than Rs 70 lakh in a Mumbai-based bank. The CBI Jodhpur team on Friday conducted raids at his native house Sojat and Mumbai offices and also checked his bank accounts. Rs 17 lakh in cash, FDR of Rs 15 lakh rupees were recovered from the house situated in Singhariyon ka Bas. Also US$150 and Rs15 lakh balance in bank accounts were found in Mumbai. His properties are being investigated.According to the CBI, Parmanand was depositing huge amount in the Bank of Mumbai which he used to transfer into his sister’s account at the SBI bank branch located in Sojat. He also sent some amount in a bank account in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The CBI has registered a case against him for in possession of assets disproportionate to his known sources of income The investigation revealed that in the last six months, he had deposited Rs 23 lakh in abank. This amount was sent to Mumbai and Bhopal. Whenever he came to the village, he used to withdraw money from sister’s bank account with the help of ATM.Worth lakhsCBI Jodhpur team on Friday conducted raids at his native house Sojat and Mumbai offices and also checked his bank accounts. Rs 17 lakh in cash, FDR of Rs 15 lakh rupees were recovered from the house situated in Singhariyon ka Bas.

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DNA EXCLUSIVE: Guj High Court has asked EC to clarify on VVPAT counting by Dec 12

In its reply to the Gujarat High Court on December 12, the Election Commission has decided to stick to its decision of randomly electing and counting vote slips of one voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machine in each constituency and match it with the corresponding electronic voting machine (EVM).Hearing a petition seeking 100 per cent manual counting of VVAPT vote slips and matching it with corresponding EVMs, the Gujarat high court on Thursday had sought Commission’s reply on if had set up any framework for sample counting of VVPAT slips along with EVM votes on random basis or not.EC sources said, the Commission has decided to do it on a pilot basis as it cannot take the risk of counting more than one VVPAT per constituency which may put the counting process in disarray, create confusion and delay the results.”On the basis of this pilot, we will be able to know exactly what are the lacunae and problems and will increase the number of VVPATs in future elections,” said the source adding that the Commission had never said that votes of 5% VVPATs will be matched in Gujarat elections.”The former CEC (Nasim Zaidi) has said 5% in terms of elections that will take place in distant future as he also knew that the EC first does everything on pilot basis and slowly increases the number and implements it,” said the source.Sources added that in case of any dispute or mismatch of votes between the VVPAT and EVM, the VVPAT counting will prevail as it is documentary evidence. He also clarified that a mismatch will not mean that votes of all machines in the particular polling station or constituency will be physically counted.”But the polling agents can ask for counting and matching of a particular VVPAT if they come across a complaint by a voter that the button pressed on the EVM and VVPAT slip are not matching,” said the source.In an elaborate statement issued on Friday, the EC described in detail the entire framework of administrative system, security protocols and procedural checks-and-balances in Gujarat to prevent any possible misuse of EVMs/VVPATs or procedural lapses in the use of EVMs and VVPATs during polls.”The Commission would like to reassure the people of the country that the Commission would leave no stone unturned in preserving the purity, integrity and credibility of the elections and reinforcing the faith and trust of the people in the electoral democracy of our county,” it said.On the poll day, a mock poll by casting at least 50 votes will be conducted at every polling station by the Presiding Officer in the presence of the polling agents one hour before start of actual poll.After the mock poll, Presiding Officer will ascertain the result in the CU, count the VVPAT paper slips in the presence of the polling agents and confirm that the results tally for each candidate. All mock poll data in CU and VVPAT paper slips from VVPAT will be stamped as mock and removed by the Presiding Officer and the empty drop box verified by the Polling Agents.After poll, EVMs and VVPATs will be sealed in their respective carrying cases and polling agents will also be allowed to put their signatures on the seals, which they can check for the intactness of the seal before counting.Candidates/representatives will also be allowed to follow the vehicles (with escorts) carrying EVMs and VVPATs from polling stations to counting storage rooms where the central armed police force (CAPF) will be on guard, the EC said.No vehicle, including that of any official or ministers or any other political functionary, will be allowed inside the secured campus where the EVMs and VVPATs are stored and it will 24X7 under video surveillance with a gazetted officer along with a senior police officer put on duty round the clock for monitoring the security arrangements of strong room.DCs and SPs have been made personally responsible for security of the strong room within the district and meticulous implementation of the protocol.On the day of counting of votes, the strong room will be opened in the presence of candidates/their representative, RO and observer under videography.After completion of counting of votes, Control Units and VVPATs shall again be sealed as and shifted back to strong room for safe storage for a period of 45 days to allow any party seek redressal through courts.The Commission said it is confident and of firm conviction that no unauthorised person is allowed access to EVMs and VVPATs before, during or after the polls. Besides, no unaccounted EVMs and VVPATs can enter the election eco-system at any stage, since all EVM/VVPAT activities are done in presence of stakeholders and tracked through the ETS.POLL RULESPolling agents can ask for counting and matching of a particular VVPAT if they come across a complaint by a voter that the button pressed on the EVM and VVPAT slip are not matching, said a source.

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Deadline to link PAN, Aadhaar pushed to March 31

The government on Friday extended the deadline for mandatory linking of Permanent Account Number (PAN) with Aadhaar number by three months, to March 31, 2018. This is the third extension given by the government to individuals to link PAN with the biometric ID.”It has come to the notice that some of the taxpayers have not yet completed the linking of PAN with Aadhaar. Therefore, to facilitate the process of linking, it has been decided to extend the deadline till March 31, 2018,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.As of November, 13.28 crore out of 33 crore PANs have been linked to Aadhaar. Earlier this year, Aadhaar number was made mandatory to file income tax returns (ITRs) and to get a new PAN.According to Section 139 AA (2) of the Income Tax Act, every person having PAN as on July 1, 2017, and eligible to obtain Aadhaar, must intimate his Aadhaar number to the tax authorities.The government had, in August, extended by four months the deadline to link PAN with Aadhaar till December 31, pending the Supreme Court (SC) verdict. The SC is hearing petitions challenging the government’s decision on Aadhaar. The deadline to link PAN with Aadhaar previously was July 31, but was first extended to August 31, and later to December 31, 2017.In another statement from the finance ministry, a complaint was received making serious allegations against DK Meena, Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, posted at Surendranagar in Gujarat, for harassing a taxpayer with malafide intention in a scrutiny case.The officer was alleged to have demanded illegal gratification through the taxpayer’s chartered accountant, for favourably completing the assessment. The audio recordings of the conversations were also received which, inter alia, mentioned the bribe amount being demanded by the officers to settle the case. On examination of these case records, serious lapses and irregularities were found. The matter is under investigation.Pending the investigation, the officer has since been placed under suspension.

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BMC ignored NGT order on falling trees: Activists

Green activists are up in arms against BMC for failing to ensure tree safety as well as de-concretise the tree bases in the city, despite a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order.In its order the NGT had directed the civic body to clear all concrete, paving blocks and rubble around avenue trees (those lining roads) and construct tree basins. “Removal of concrete from the base was to be done in a scientific way but the BMC seems to have thought otherwise and ended up doing a shoddy work and simply cleared one feet area around the tree. NGT clearly said that the basins should be provided with nutrient rich soil, which was ignored,” said Stalin D, Director Projects, Vanashakti an NGO which took the matter of trees dying in Mumbai to NGT.He added that a majority of the trees in Mumbai were not de-concretised and where ever authorities removed concrete it made the trees even more vulnerable in the absence of soil support.“We expect the number of trees falling to only increase now due to this unscientific approach,” alleged Stalin. He added that the de-concretising work was carried out properly only in a few places in Mumbai like Dadar, Sion Panvel Highway and Matunga.Experts opine that the concretised base or paver block that is set all around the tree trunk deprives it of soil and moisture and due to it the roots also get damaged and it finally results in death of the trees. “The rigidity of the trunk on account of cementing also does not allow trees to be flexible to winds, making them prone to falling,” said an expert botanist who claimed to have given a detailed presentation to BMC’s Tree department. Meanwhile environmentalists also blamed the tree trimmings carried out as another major factor for tree falling. “Unfortunately despite so many tree falling cases, BMC has still not been able to get its act right when it comes to tree trimmings. The staff that cuts the tree seems to be more interested in chopping the bigger and thicker branches. Due to wrong method of pruning the tree becomes unstable and is prone to falling,” said Rajesh Jain a Dahisar based activist who had taken up the matter of unscientific trimming of trees with local elected representatives. CHOKING IN CONCRETEVanashakti had presented the BMC with a 14-month study in collaboration with Jhunjhunwala College’s botany department showing that one of the main causes behind deteriorating condition of trees was extensive concretisation of their critical root zone, which leads to the tree being depreived of water and falls prey to pests and fungus. It also prevents aeration of roots and interaction with the soil. Unscientific tree pruning on only one side causes it to lose its centre of gravity, making it vulnerable Concretised base or paver block set around the tree deprives it of soil and moisture damaging its roots PAST MISHAPSJuly 21, 2017 Kanchan Nath, 57, is seriously injured after a palm tree falls on her at Swastik Park in Chembur. She dies on July 22. June 6, 2017 Naval officer’s son dies after a Gulmohar tree falls on him, causing serious head injuries.July 29, 2016 48-year-old accountant loses his life after a huge tree falls on the car while he was travelling in Malad. July 27, 2015 Incessant rains lead to a tree falling on a wall which collapses on a hutment in Vakola, Santa Cruz, killing four.June 23, 2015 A 25-year-old man dies after a tree falls on him near Sahakari Bhandar at Agar Bazaar, DadarJune 23, 2015 A 60-year-old man dies on the spot after a tree falls on his cab opposite LT Marg police station. Three others injured. DNA – Research N Archives
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India warns on Bitcoin as investors rush in

The Bitcoin bull run has been welcomed by many but regulators are still trying to understand it.

Gujarat Election 2017: Will provide free sanitary napkins to girl students if voted to power, says Congress

The Congress will provide sanitary napkins to girl students in Gujarat free of cost by abolishing GST if voted to power, All India Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev announced here on Wednesday.Dev also attacked Narendra Modi government for imposing “12 per cent” GST on sanitary napkins, which she said “runs contrary” to the government’s “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” campaign for girls.”Imposition of 12 per cent GST on sanitary napkins is a big shocker for poor girls and women. The Modi government did not slash the tax (on sanitary napkins) despite demands raised by various NGOs and women’s group though it reduced the tax on other items,” Dev said while addressing reporters.The campaigning for the first phase of polls, slated for December 9, will end on Thursday.If voted to power, Congress will provide sanitary napkins to girl students of schools and colleges in the state free of cost, she said.Dec said not reducing the GST on sanitary napkins is “contradictory” to the “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” campaign of the Centre government.”At one end, the government is promoting healthier menstrual hygiene practices among girls and women while on the other hand they are increasing the cost of sanitary napkins,” said Dev, who represents Silchar seat in Assam.She said the imposition of 12 per cent GST on sanitary pads is a “regressive move in the menstrual health discourse”, which will take a toll on health of poor girls and women who lack the access to sanitary napkins.Dev sought to link the “rising girls school dropout ratio in Gujarat” with costlier sanitary pads.”I am afraid that higher price (of sanitary pads) on account of GST might push girls back to adopting unhygienic menstrual practices,” the Congress leader said.Dev also attacked Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani for “not filling up” posts of women in the state police department.Former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel had in 2014 announced 33 per cent quota for women in Gujarat police force.Dev also claimed that the Gujarat Police have been refusing to register complaints of rape sought to be lodged by affected women.”Congress will set up a committee in each district of Gujarat to extend help to the victims of rape,” she said.Speaking after Dev, Congress national spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi termed as an “eyewash” the “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” campaign.”When it comes to female sex ratio in Gujarat, the state is ranked at 24th position in the country. Rate of literacy in women is also low in Gujarat,” she said.Chaturvedi accused the prime minister of “remaining silent” on the Naliya gangrape issue while addressing public rallies in the poll-bound state.”Modi didn’t say a word about the gangrape because some BJP office-bearers are allegedly involved in the crime,” she said, adding that no progress is made in the case despite the chief minister ordering a judicial inquiry.
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PM Narendra Modi second ‘most-tweeted about leader’ in 2017 after Donald Trump

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emerged as the “most tweeted-about world leader” after United States President Donald Trump, according to annual data released by the Twitter.Twitter said that Trump with 44.1 million followers and Prime Minister Modi with 37.5 million followers are respectively the first and second “most tweeted about world leaders” for the year 2017.However, Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama’s two postings were among the top three most-liked tweets of 2017.Obama’s tweet, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion”, was the second most-retweeted tweets of the year.Obama also had three of the top 10 most-retweeted tweets of 2017, according to several media reports.None of Trump’s tweets ranked on those lists.While Trump’s Twitter account has 44.1 million followers, Obama’s twitter handle has 97.6 million followers.Other world leaders to feature in the top 10 list are Nicolas Maduro from Venezuela, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Emmanuel Macron from France, Enrique Pena Nieto from Mexico, Mauricip Macri of Argentina, Britain’s Theresa May, Columbia’s Juan Manuel Santos and Akun resmi Joko Widodo of Indonesia.
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Hyderabad: Software employee held for ‘cyber stalking’ ex-woman colleague

The Hyberabad Police on Tuesday arrested a software employee here on charge of harassing his former woman colleague online after she spurned him and got married to another person.The accused, Sandeep Kumar Gupta P, was arrested on charge of harassing the woman by creating a fake account on her name in a social networking site and uploading abusive messages as well as her phone number in an online classifieds network to project her as a call girl, an official release said.”The accused also sent her emails with an intention to defame her as she rejected his love and got married to another person,” it said.On Monday, the woman lodged a complaint with the Cyber Cell stating that there are some abusive emails sent on her name to all her relatives, friends and colleagues with fake email IDs.Police registered a case and during probe traced Gupta through call data and the IP address.
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India leprosy patient’s pension restored after outrage over ID card

The Indian woman could not provide fingerprints or a retina scan to get her new welfare card.

Singapore Airlines flight ‘mistakes’ Juhu airport as CSAI

The civil aviation industry was on Monday abuzz about a Singapore Airlines flight SQ422 (Singapore-Mumbai) which mistakenly approached Juhu airport for landing instead of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA).However, the pilot realised the mistake just in time and corrected his course by making a ‘go-around’ before landing at the correct airport.The incident, if true, could have turned catastrophic as the runway at Juhu airport is much smaller than the desired length for larger aircraft and it is surrounded by tall structures. The Airbus A350 had 245 passengers and 14 crew members on board. The distance between the runways in both the airports is 1.5 km and is published as caution internationally to all pilots.Juhu airport is the oldest civil aviation airport in the country and currently handles only helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft for chartered flights. It is also used for aircraft carrying workers to oil rigs owned by ONGC in Bombay High seas.However, Singapore Airlines denied the allegations saying that at no time did the pilots of the Airbus 350 aircraft mistake Juhu airport asCSIA. “Due to poor visibility conditions, the crew discontinued the approach to Runway 09 at approximately 1000 feet, in accordance with standard operating procedures,” spokesperson of the airline said. Furthermore, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) Mumbai then vectored the flight for a subsequent approach on to Runway 09, he added.A CSIA official said that the pilot had to opt for go-around due to the sun and smoggy weather. The visibility was around 3 km for most part of the day on Monday due to the weather forecast on account of Cyclone Ockhi.
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Armed Forces Week: RS MP Subhash Chandra’s appeal on occasion of Flag Day

Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra has appealed to all Indians to do their bit for the Army during the Armed Forces week. Here’s what he said in a video message:Armed Forces Week is being celebrated as Flag Week between December 1 and December 7. On Dec 7, there will be Flag Day which is dedicated to the sacrifices made by our army and our jawans. This whole week, all of us, must thank our soldiers in some way or other- remembering them, hoisting flag or donating something towards their families. Our soldiers stay vigilant in bone-chilling cold and challenging conditions, even take bullets for us so that we could sleep in peace, assured of our security. This week is special and is for remembrance. Keep thanking them by donating online to make their lives better on the occasion of Armed Forces Flag Day. We rarely get the opportunity to serve those who guard us and the nation. We mustn’t miss it. The tricolour must keep flying high in our hearts. Jai Hind, Jai Bharat.Here’s how people can contribute: Link for online payment:Also readArmed Forces Week: Defence Minister urges civilians to wear Armed Forces Flag with prideUPI [email protected] number8800462175For Cheque payment, Account number is : 34420400623SBI RK Puram Branch
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Controversy, films, polls go hand in hand: Dr Praveen Bhai Togadia

The international Executive President of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Dr Praveen Bhai Togadia, on Thursday favoured the banning of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial film “Padmavati”. Togadia said that the Central Government should ban the movie with immediate effect while using its power.The VHP leader, who was in Jaipur on a two-day trip, said that some people in the name of artistic license are conspiring to defame the revered Hindu figures.Togadia said that the government should ban Padmavati film taking into account sentiments of the public, otherwise it can become a serious law and order situation.He also questioned the timing of the release of the film. “Jodha-Akbar film was released before elections and now Padmavati,” Togadia said.“Padmavati is our mother and our self-esteem and our pride,” he further added. He said that this is not just a matter of Rajputs. It concerns crores of Hindus. He said that no film producer can distort historic facts and present objectionable content in the name of freedom of expression.The central government should ban the movie using its power immediately.Death threats unacceptable: Nana PatekarMeanwhile, actor Nana Patekar said on Thursday that death threats to filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali and actress Deepika Padukone in connection with ‘Padmavati’ film were unacceptable.“Why does controversy happen in his films? I feel this is not a big issue but death threats to Deepika Padukone and Sanjay Leela Bhansali are completely wrong and unacceptable. As of now, I don’t know how the characters are portrayed. I can react only after watching the film,” Patekar said while speaking to media after attending an event at National Defence Academy in Pune.
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Want police protection in Maharashtra ? You must foot the bill

The Maharashtra government today told the Bombay High Court that it has revised its police protection policy wherein only those private citizens would be provided security who have a real threat to their life and they would have to foot the bill for it.Appearing for the state government, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told a bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice MS Sonak that citizens could not make a claim to receive police protection as a matter of “right”.”They must also not think that police protection is a service provided by the state that they can avail simply by paying the service charge,” he said.As per the new policy submitted by Kumbhakoni today, all private citizens, including celebrities, would henceforth receive police protection only if a real threat to their lives was perceived.”And all those private persons, whose applications for such protection is approved by the state authorities, will have to pay fees for the same in advance, or deposit a bank guarantee in lieu of the same,” the top legal officer said.He said the revised fees for such protection would be computed on a new formula that would take into account several considerations, including the salaries of the police personnel deployed as bodyguards.”Such fees, however, will not exceed 15 per cent of the total monthly income of the person receiving police protection,” he told the High Court.Also, people, with monthly income less than Rs 50,000, need not pay any fees if their applications for police protection were approved.”Politicians who get bodyguards to accompany them while on official duty, and government and semi-government staff, who get police protection to help discharge public duties, however, will not have to pay any fees for such protection,” the advocate general said.The revisions in the policy were made in compliance with a previous order of the high court directing the state government to streamline its process of providing police protection to politicians as well as private persons.Earlier this week, the bench headed by the chief justice had directed the government to recover dues from all such private persons who enjoyed police protection for years but failed to pay for it.The bench had also directed the state to ensure a periodic review of the status of each applicant to ensure that one was not given police protection indefinitely irrespective of any threat perception to his life.The bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a lawyer seeking directions to the state police to recover dues from VIPs, including politicians and film actors, who were provided security cover, but did not pay the charges for the same.Stressing that the government would ensure that all pending dues for police protection were recovered, Kumbhakoni said a state-level committee headed by the director general of police would henceforth review the status of all such persons every six months.He said the state had also amended its decision to not grant any protection to people with a criminal record.”Such applications will be scrutinised on a case to case basis and the deserving applicants will be given protection,” he said.
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Come, Make in India, Invest in India: PM Modi’s message at GES 2017

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hard selling his government’s reforms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today invited global entrepreneurs to come to India saying that it provides an investment friendly environment where restrictions have been removed and archaic laws abolished.Speaking at Global Entrepreneur Summit 2017, he said over 1,200 outdated laws have been scrapped, 87 rules for foreign investment eased in 21 sectors and several government processes have been taken online.”To my entrepreneur friends from across the globe, I would like to say, ‘Come, Make in India, Invest in India’, for India and for the world,” he said. “I invite each one of you to become a partner in India’s growth story. And once again assure you of our wholehearted support.”
ALSO READ Watch: Mitra – a humanoid robot – helps PM Modi and Ivanka Trump kickoff GES 2017Ivanka Trump, US President Donald Trump’s daughter and advisor to the White House, is leading a US delegation to the summit and gave the keynote address.Stating that an investment-friendly environment needs to be stable from the macro-economic perspective, Modi said his government has succeeded in containing the fiscal and current account deficits as well as curbing inflation.
ALSO READ Hyderabad’s tech centers may soon outshine its biryani: Full text of Ivanka Trump’s GES 2017 speech”Our foreign reserves have crossed USD 400 billion, and we continue to attract large foreign capital flows,” he said.To young entrepreneur friends from India, he said: “Each of you has something valuable to contribute towards creating a New India by 2022. You are vehicles of change and instruments of India’s transformation.”Listing out business friendly measures the government has undertaken, Modi said loans worth Rs 4.28 trillion (Rs 4.28 lakh crore) have been sanctioned under the entrepreneurship loan scheme, MUDRA.Under the ‘Atal Innovation Mission’, Tinkering Labs are being opened in more than 900 schools to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among children, he said.After taking electricity to almost all villages, a new scheme, ‘Saubhagya’ will provide electricity connection to all the unelectrified families by December 2018, he said, adding that a programme to provide high-speed broadbandInternet to all rural areas by March 2019 has also been launched.”We are working on developing a national gas grid. A comprehensive national agency policy is also in the pipeline,” he said.The Prime Minister said the taxation system has been overhauled with the launch of GST, while the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has been introduced to ensure timely resolution for stressed ventures.”We have recently strengthened this further, preventing wilful defaulters from bidding for stressed assets,” he said.”Tough measures have been adopted to tackle the parallel economy, check tax evasion and control black money.” The government, he said, understands that an environment of transparent policies and a rule of law providing a level playing field are necessary for entrepreneurship to flourish.Modi said Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric based digital database, covers over 1.15 billion people and digitally authenticates over 40 million transactions daily.”We now digitally provide monetary benefits of various government schemes to the beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer using Aadhaar,” he added.On financial inclusion, he said almost 300 million bank accounts with deposits of over Rs 685 billion have been opened through the Jan Dhan Yojna. “These brings previously un-banked sections of society into the formal financial system. Of these, 53 per cent account are women.” “We are steadily working towards a less cash economy and have launched a Unified Payment Interface App called BHIM. In less than a year, this platform is facilitating almost 280,000 transactions daily,” he said.Modi said India has been an incubator for innovations and entrepreneurship over the ages.Stating that the government’s Start-Up India programme is a comprehensive action plan to foster entrepreneurship and promote innovation, he said the scheme aims to minimise the regulatory burden and provide support to startups.

Kailasar sarpanch, husband accused of grabbing arrears

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Employees of the tube wells operating under Janata Jala Yojana in Kailasar Gram Panchayat have accused Sarpanch Shakuntala, and her husband Punit Singh and e-Mitra Operator Shravan Bishnoi for grabbing their arrears.The employees have filed a case in the Chakhu police station and demanded action.According to the report employees of tube well were given arrears from January 1, 2012, by the State Government, which was deposited in the account of Rajasthan Marudhar Bank, Jaisala for payment.This bank’s VC is holding the possession of e-Mitra operator working in Kailasar. Shravan Bishnoi, Sarpanch Shakuntala, and Sarpanch Husband Punit Singh, together with informed Banne Singh, Arjunram, Umaid Singh that their account has to be linked with adhar so they have to visit e-MitraOn the third day, when these employees went to the bank, they saw that Arrear amount of Rs 49 thousand from Banne Singh’s account, Rs 98 thousand from Arjuna Ram’s account and 1.5 lakh from the account of Umaid Singh were missing.

IT dept sends Rs 30.67 crore notice to Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income Tax department on Monday slapped Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Admi Party (AAP) with a Rs 30.67 crore tax notice.The IT department has reportedly pulled up the party for not recording full details of 462 donors who donated Rs 6 crore.The party on Sunday marked the five-year anniversary and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched a broadside against the BJP, accusing it of ‘polarising’ the country, saying the saffron party has realised the goal of Pakistan of dividing the nation in just three years of its rule.Without naming Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, Kejriwal said the AAP is ‘not like a Napolean’ whose intention is to win every state election, but its real purpose is to change the system.Earlier this year, the IT department had issued a notice to AAP asking why it should not be prosecuted for alleged falsification of account books and ‘wilful attempt’ to evade tax on donations received by it.The tax department had charged the party with not filing a ‘true and correct’ contribution report for donations received for the assessment year 2014-15 which have been found to be over Rs 30.08 crore after year-long investigations.

After Fortis shocker, it’s Medanta now

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Inflated medical bills have come back to haunt Delhiites again. After parents at Fortis were in for a shock after the hospital charged them Rs 16 lakh for the treatment of their daughter,who died of dengue in the ICU, parents who admitted their seven year-old child Saurya Pratap to Medanta underwent a similar experience.After 22 days of treatment wit no hope of improvement, the family had enough and against medical advice withdrew their child from the hospital and transferred him, barely breathing, to RML Hospital on November 20, where he died two days later on Wednesday.The parents of the child claim that going to Medanta was not even their choice. On October 30, the child was brought via ambulance from Gwalior to Gurugram and here the father Gopendra Singh, an insurance agent, claims that they took them to Medanta despite their protests.”I wanted to admit my child to Sir Gangaram Hospital but the ambulance man insisted on taking my child to Medanta, as they said the treatment would be better there. Having no choice, we agreed,” Singh said.After this the child was admitted on October 30 into the ICU there. And though the family claimed that the doctor gave them and their child a lot of attention, they said that they were unclear about the line of treatment that was being followed.”The doctors continued to do tests and talk to us in English which we were unable to follow. We were constantly assured by them that our child would get better but after three weeks when we saw no improvement, we decided to shift him,” Singh added.There was another reason for the shift. The family, which had mortgaged their house and borrowed money from relatives, felt that after a bill of Rs 10 lakh they could not afford the hospital’s care. So they took the child, who had trouble breathing — doctors at Medanta claim that he was on the verge of death — to RML where he died.The family claim that the hospital kept them there with false promises, saying that they would reduce the amount of the final bill. But in the final bill there was only a discount of Rs 20,000.In a tweet, the hospital stated. “Our bills are absolutely transparent, anyone can come and check them.” However, doctors at the hospital have refused to comment on the matter.Medical experts say that the problem is not in legalisation but in political will. In 2010, the Clinical Establishments Act was set up and measures were put in place to rationalise hospital bills but so far little has happened with only seven states and six union territories having implemented it so far.

Agusta Westland deal: Chhattisgarh govt need to answer few questions, says Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today said it wanted the Chhattisgarh government to answer a few questions on the purchase of a AgustaWestland helicopter for VIP use in 2006-2007 as it was only concerned whether any “fraud or hanky-panky” was committed.The top court said it was not questioning the choice of the helicopter made by the state government as it was an executive decision, but wanted it to explain the bid for the chopper. A bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit said there were few questions which the state government needed to answer and it may order probe only if the court was satisfied that some wrong has been committed.”You (state government) need to answer few questions, like explain the alleged sham bid, why only that particular helicopter, opening of foreign bank account by son of the Chief Minister at the time of bidding process,” the bench said.
ALSO READ Agusta Westland chopper scam: Company middleman used cover of journalist to contact George Fernandes, claims Jaya Jaitly”We are only concerned whether there was any fraud or hanky-panky committed on public exchequer. Nothing more or nothing less,” it said. The bench said if it found that there was nothing wrong, then it will close the case. The court was hearing a plea seeking investigation into the alleged irregularities in the purchase of the helicopter and also foreign bank accounts purportedly linked to the son of Chief Minister Raman Singh.At the outset, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner NGO Swaraj Abhiyan and leader of opposition and Congress leader T S Singhdeo, said that the documents received under the RTI show that although Bell helicopter was denied bid, the government was still hiring it on rent. He said the petitioners would like to reply to the affidavit filed by the state government. Senior advocates Mahesh Jethmalani and Harish Salve, who appeared for the state government, said there was nothing wrong in the bid and at present, 24 AgustaWestland helicopters were flying in the country.
ALSO READ Last minute tweaking in specifications brought AgustaWestland into fray: CBIAgustaWestland SpA was an Italian helicopter design and manufacturing company and a wholly owned subsidiary of Finmeccanica SpA, now called Leonardo. It was formed in July 2000 as an Anglo-Italian multinational company. “The state government was not satisfied with Eurocopter as on July 14, 2007. It had crashed and two pilots were killed,” Jethmalani said, justifying the bidding process.He said at that time, the existing helicopter was four years old and incurring huge cost on maintenance and servicing with replacement of its components.The bench said it trusted the choice of the executive but only wanted to see whether there were any “extraneous reasons” for the particular choice of helicopter. It asked Bhushan to file a reply on the affidavit and posted the matter for further hearing on January 18. At the fag end of hearing, Salve said although they have handed over the government records to the petitioners to enable them file the reply, these documents should not find their way to the media.Justice Lalit then asked Bhushan to ensure that the documents do not exchange hands.During the hearing, Attorney General K K Venugopal, who had during the last hearing, raised objections over cabinet file notings filed in the PIL and said if the documents were given by state government under RTI, then he does not wish to press his objections.”You see all these documents are given under RTI. Your grievances are now addressed Mr. Attorney General. This is quiet a transparent government,” the bench said on a lighter note. The apex court had on November 16 put some searching questions to the state government on the purchase of the Agusta helicopter and directed it to place the original files relating to the deal. It had asked the state government why a global tender was issued only for the purchase of one AgustaWestland chopper and how the recommendation of then state chief secretary to invite tenders from all the companies was “overturned”.

‘Chai-Wala versus Bar-Wala’: All out war on social media between Congress-BJP over Meme-Tweet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On defensive after a tweet of Youth Congress’s online magazine Yuva Desh mocking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tea-seller origin, Congress on Wednesday went all out against BJP after its MP Paresh Rawal took ‘bar-wala’ jibe, which he deleted finally, conceding it was ‘in bad taste’.“Our Chai-Wala is any better than your Bar-Wala,” Rawal, who is MP from Ahmedabad East said on Twitter reacting to ‘chaiwallah’ remark for Modi in a meme on Yuva Desh handle.”The meme, now deleted, showed PM Modi speaking to US President Donald Trump and Britain’s PM Theresa May in Hindi speech bubbles. PM Modi is seen asking, “Have you guys seen how may-may’s made on me by the opposition?”. Trump corrects PM Modi and responds, “It is called memes not maymays”, while Britain’s PM is seen responding with remarks, “you sell tea”.As BJP went all guns blazing, an apparently embarrassed Congress on Tuesday disapproved of the tweet with Congress’ media in-charge Randeep Surjewala tweeting “INC strongly disapproves and rejects such humour through memes. Differences on policy and opinion aside, Congress culture imbibes respect for the PM and all political opponents (sic).”The discomfiture in Congress with the meme was all the more palpable as it came just days after Rahul Gandhi’s advice to Congress party’s social media cadre in Gujarat, not to disrespect the PM’s post.Congress has been wary of any personal attack on Modi’s origins.In the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar had mocked Modi’s tea-seller origin saying that while Modi will never become the Prime Minister of the country. But if he wants to distribute tea here, we will find a place for him. Many in the Congress felt the remark antagonized the poor.Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani termed the tweet of ‘Yuva Desh’ as “classist and anti-poor” and asked Rahul Gandhi if he supports this kind of tweet.Whereas, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked Sonia Gandhi and Rahul as to whether they ‘still believe that only u have a divine right to rule India’. He also said Congress ‘thinking towards the poor stands exposed’A day after the embarrassment, Congress on Wednesday got its chance.Latching on to the tweet of Rawal, Surjewala remarked “To what cheapness and filth, the BJP MP of Gujarat has stooped. Is this the BJP’s definition of the honour of women. Modiji apologise and take action…”Rawal later tweeted, ‘deleted the tweet as it’s in bad taste n I apologise for hurting feelings’.However, when a twitter user asked him why does he not delete his Twitter handle itself, Rawal replied: “Cong ke delete hote hi account bhi automatically delete Ho jayega.”The all-out war on social media has broken out between BJP and Congress in the run up to Gujarat polls as the medium is playing a big role in the high-octane election campaign by both sides.Rawal’s earlier tweet about tying author Arundhati Roy to army jeep instead of a stone pelter, had also kicked in a controversy in May this year.

Ujjwala scheme may not add power to BJP’s Gujarat campaign

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), touted as harbinger of change in the rural landscape, may not prove to be a big game changer for the BJP in Gujarat elections.The scheme that took off with great promise in May 2016 and has already released 3.12 crore gas connections in one-and-a-half years to the BPL families, up from 87 lakh connections in 2014, is attracting fewer customers for a refill in rural Gujarat.According to Vimesh Shah, one of the biggest Gas Agency of Hindustan Petroleum in Vyara, Tapi district, the scheme was a roaring success initially but is turning out to be dud as only 40% household have come back for a refill since May 2016.Lot of BPL families took the connection as the entire Rs 1600 cost, including security deposit (cylinder and regulator), hose pipe, book, installation and administrative charges was being borne by the government on one-time basis.”Due to enormous pressure of the government, we made rapid progress and registered 44,782 registration until November 5, 2017 in Tapi district alone. Of these 40,448 connections have already been installed. But almost 60% of them have not come back for a refill which raises a question mark of the efficacy of the scheme,” said Shah.The percentage of refill in rural area would plummet further if they take data of towns into account as BPL families in urban areas come back for refills, he said.Vindicating Shah’s figures Sylvi Gamit, a beneficiary from Dhamodi village of Sonegarh Taluka, said, there are very few takers of a refill in our village because it is much costlier than firewood.”Firewood remains a cheaper option as Rs. 1200 worth of wood lasts full one year whereas, a cylinder costing Rs. 714 plus transportation cost is barely sufficient for 3 months,”said Sylvi.According to Ashok Gamit, women in villages like to keep LPG cylinder handy for an emergency. They use it like costly medicine in times of monsoon when the dry wood is difficult to procure.With the increase in international crude and gas prices, the subsidy has also become less lucrative. Of the cost of Rs. 714, BPL families get only Rs. 214.88 as subsidy.”This subsidy too does not reflect initially as most BPL families take upfront loan for the gas stove that costs about Rs 1000 which means they will have to forego subsidy for at least 4 to five refills,”said a gas dealer in Sonegarh.

Lalu and his family bought benami properties through bank run by RJD man: Sushil Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi today accused RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his family members of having transacted through a cooperative bank headed by a former party MLC to invest in benami properties, and sought a probe by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate into it.The main opposition RJD, however, rejected the charges levelled by the senior BJP leader, saying he was suffering from “lalu phobia”. Modi alleged that Prasad and his family used the Awami Cooperative Bank, headed by former RJD MLC Anwar Ahmed, for converting black money into white, taking loans from it and exchanging scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes post note ban. Tbe BJP leader also alleged the money for several “dubious” purchases by the family was routed through the bank.”The CBI and the Enforcement Directorate should probe the role of Prasad and the bank in the matter,” he said.Ahmed, the bank’s chairman, is considered close to Prasad and was a nominated member of the state Legislative Council. Modi claimed Prasad’s account number S/B A/C 1001 and Rabri Devi’s S/B A/C 6651 were still active. He said Prasad’s account had a deposit of Rs 58 lakh, while that of Rabri had Rs 15.62 lakh. The deputy chief minister, who also holds the finance portfolio, said the state government would also get the matter probed by its agencies.Post demonetisation, he claimed, Rs 2.30 lakh each was deposited in 60 new accounts that were in the name of labourers who were unaware of the existence of the accounts. He claimed central agencies found evidence of transaction of Rs 10-12 crore through 70 benami accounts with the bank during a raid at the office of a trust headed by Ahmed. The RJD dismissed the allegations as baseless and without substance.”Sushil Modi is suffering from Lalu phobia. He has lost mental balance…Have you ever heard of banks indulging in any such illegal activity of converting black money into white. This is sheer his imagination. The charges are baseless and without substance,” RJD spokesman and MLA Shakti Singh Yadav said. Modi has accused Prasad and his family of acquiring a number of benami properties, including during his stint as railway minister.The family has been under the Income Tax department and Enforcement Directorate’s lens in connection with benami land deals and tax evasion. Some properties belonging to Prasad’s MP daughter Misa Bharti and his son and former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav have also been attached.

Gujarat Elections 2017: Battle between dynasty and casteism versus development, says Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP president Amit Shah today said the Gujarat election was not just a fight between two parties but a battle between Congress’s casteism and dynastic rule and Prime Minster Narendra Modi’s developmental politics.Shah also took a jibe at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, saying his visits to Gujarat had increased as he thought the state was a “tourist spot”. “The Gujarat election 2017 is not just a fight between two parties or a fight for who will become the chief minister, but it is to decide if ‘jativad’ (casteism) and ‘vanshvad’ (dynastic rule) will win or Narendra Modi’s ‘vikasvad’ (development politics),” Shah said here. He was addressing a rally before Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani filed his nomination from the Bhavnagar (west) seat.”The people of Gujarat have to decide, that will they choose the Congress which had tried to create a caste divide between 1985 and 1995 by putting the KHAM theory into practice or chose the development and stability provided by the BJP government from 1995 to 2017,” Shah said.KHAM, an acronym for Kshatriyas, Harijans, Adivasis (tribals) and Muslims, was often seen as a potent vote bloc. “This time the Congress has tried to outsource its campaign and is just indulging in casteist politics to win the Gujarat polls,” Shah alleged.
ALSO READ Gujarat Elections: CM Vijay Rupani has Rs 9.08 cr assets, opponent Congress MLA Rs 141 croreThe BJP president said it was time for the people of Gujarat to decide if they would choose “casteism, dynastic rule, minority appeasement or the developmental politics and stability offered by the BJP”. “Friends, our leader Narendra Modi has started the process of ridding India of the politics of casteism, dynasty and minority appeasement,” Shah said. Targeting Rahul Gandhi, he said the UPA government had done nothing for Gujarat.”Rahul Gandhi thinks that this is a tourist spot. He is coming here quite often. I don’t have any problem with that but he should come here and give an account of what the Sonia-Manmohan (UPA) government, which ruled in Delhi for 10 years, did for Gujarat,” Shah said.
ALSO READ Gujarat elections 2017 | Phase 1 polls: Deadline for filing papers ends today”They (UPA) did nothing. After Narendra Modi came to power in Delhi, he gave the bullet train, he gave the ‘Ro-Ro’ ferry service, he gave the international airport (for the Saurashtra region) and he resolved all the pending problems that Gujarat had with the Centre,” he said.

Real-life hero: This man rescued a baby from an auto and safely handed her over to Mumbai Police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 14-day-old baby girl was found abandoned inside an autorickshaw. The incident was reported at Kanjurgaon, near a bus stop, on Sunday night. A youth after rescuing the baby tweeted about the incident to the Mumbai Police. Shockingly, the passersby instead of helping the youth tried to dissuade him from helping the baby girl and tried to scare him with legal police troubles. The local police immediately rushed for the aid of the baby girl and admitted her to Sion hospital for treatment.A Twitter handle user Aman Sharma,26, an employee for a logistic firm along with other two friends were walking on the street when they heard the cries of the baby girl inside an autorickshaw at Kanjur gaon near a bus stop. After hearing the cries they checked the locality and found the baby girl and from his account Jugadu_banda tweeted to the Mumbai police Twitter handle.The police personal soon reached at the spot and rushed the baby girl for treatment. The police have now launched a search to nab the parents of the baby girl.”We were walking on the street at around 11.30pm when we heard the cries of the baby who was shivering due to cold. We immediately tweeted the incident to the Mumbai police Twitter handle and we were given help. We are happy that we managed to save a life.”, said Aman Sharma.”Many passersby walked by after seeing the baby girl and no one came forward for help fearing police procedures. Instead of helping me in the situation the passersby tried to scare me of legal troubles. This is so lame that the passersby instead of giving me a helping hand were advising me to not get into legal trouble.”, said Sharma.Gajanan Tapale, Senior Police Inspector, Kanjurmarg police station, said, “We have registered a case under section 317(Exposure and abandonment of child under twelve years, by parent or person having care of it.) of the Indian Penal Code against unknown person and we are checking the CCTV camera footage of the locality. Moreover, we are also seeking details from nearby nursing hospitals about women who have delivered baby girl in last week.””The baby girl is recuperating and is out of danger. We are investigating further.”, said Tapale.

Housewife shares OTP number six times to lady conman, gets duped

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 47 year old housewife allegedly became the victim of Credit card fraud after she gave One Time Password (OTP) six times to a female caller. The woman did not realize that the money from her credit card was being siphoned off. The woman lost Rs 44,999 in six transactions made by the fraudster. The Manpada police have registered a case of cheating in this regard.According to police, the woman, a Sion resident was at her Dombivli residence when she received a call from an unknown woman. The woman allegedly convinced the housewife that she was from her credit card company and wanted to unblock the card. The female caller later went ahead to seek OTP from the woman.”The complainant woman had panicked after getting the call after which she gave the OTP number to the female caller. Total of six transactions were completed until the victim learnt about the fraud.”, said a Manpada police officer.”We have registered a case of cheating of the Indian Penal Code and under relevant sections of the Information Technology Act. We have forwarded the complaint to the Cyber Cell for tracing the contact number and verifying the bank account details”, said the officer.

Maharashtra: sugarcane farmers’ agitation turn violent as they press for higher price

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ongoing agitation launched by farmers to press for higher sugarcane price is becoming violent in the sugarcane growing areas of Maharashtra.The Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) led by MP Raju Shetti, who recently broke his alliance with BJP in the state, has threatened to further step up the stir from November 22 if the state government and the millers did not take a pro-active stand for a dialogue to arrive at an amicable solution.The agitation has hampered transportation of sugarcane to the mills in various districts including Solapur, Ahmednagar, Sangli, Hingoli, Parbhani as the agitators have hit the roads and at some places allegedly put vehicles on fire. In last two days, the farmers marched towards the Lokmangal sugar factory in Solapur district connected to the state cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh and shouted slogans and held rasta rook impacting its operations.Since the commencement of the current crushing season, 137 mills comprising 76 cooperative and 61 private are in operation. As on date, these mills have crushed 4.8 million tonnes of cane to produce 2.8 million of sugar. The state has estimated sugar production of 7.4 million tonnes after crushing 6.5 million tonnes of cane by the end of current crushing season 2017-18. However, the millers have feared that production may adversely impact if the agitation continues for a long.Farmers, by and large, are not happy with the fair and remunerative price (FRP) of Rs 2,300 to Rs 2,500 per ton announced for the state depending on the sugar recovery. FRP varies from region to region.Farmers are pressing for payment of Rs 3000 to Rs 3,500 per ton. In the sugarcane rich Kolhapur district, where the state revenue minister Chandrakant Patil took initiative for talks, the millers have orally agreed to pay Rs 100 per ton over and above FRP of Rs 3,100 per ton and another Rs 100 per ton in next two months. However, the similar deal has yet to be reached between millers and farmers in other districts.Millers have cited falling sugar prices as a major factor for making any commitment to the farmers. An officer from the cooperation department told DNA, “The sugar prices are falling. They are now in the range of Rs 3,400 to Rs 3,420 per quintal against Rs 3,500 to Rs 3,600 per quintal a month ago. Most of the cooperative sugar mills have hinted that their financial position will become weak if they have agreed to the farmers’ demand. Besides, it will also be difficult to make payment to cane growers within 15 days.’’ He informed that the department is alive with the situation and making all efforts to break the stalemate.Sanjeev Babar, former managing director of the Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories in Maharashtra, which is a representative body of over 200 factories, said the millers work out their revenue from sale of sugar after taking into account prevailing sugar prices. ‘’During the present trend of falling prices, the millers will find it difficult to pay a higher price to cane growers. In such a delicate situation, the Government of India needs to either reduce or completely waive the 20% duty imposed on the export of both raw and white sugar. This will help millers to earn some additional revenue which can be used for the payment to cane growers,’’ he noted.

Author loses Rs 15L and cheques, her accounts head in police net

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Versova police arrested a 30-year-old employee of author and motivational speaker Priya Kumar for allegedly siphoning funds worth more than Rs 15 lakh. The accused transferred the funds from the author’s account to his personal account by depositing signed blank cheques.According to the police, the accused Mahaveer Bagri, 30, was the accounts department head of Priya Kumar Training Systems (PKTS) in Andheri for the past eight years. Bagri allegedly transferred funds from Kumar’s HSBC and ICICI bank accounts over the period of one year. Kumar found out about the alleged fraud on November 14 after the bank contacted her to ascertain if the funds which were to be transferred were signed by her.When contacted by DNA, Kumar, said, “When we confronted him, he confessed that he had transferred the funds because he needed them. On learning that the transferred amount is to the tune of almost Rs 15 lakh, we reported the matter to the police.”A senior police officer from Versova police station, said, “The accused not only siphoned the money but also changed Kumar’s contact details so that the transactions conducted by him do not reach her via bank notifications. We have arrested the accused under section 408 of the Indian Penal Code and the accused has been remanded to police custody up to Tuesday. We have collected the bank statements of the accused and have seen transactions worth Rs 40 lakh in past 14 months. We are investigating further.”Kumar is the bestselling author of four books — I Am another YOU, License to Live, The Perfect World and Thinking Aloud. She is also a celebrity columnist and motivational speaker.

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