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NCB raids varsity campuses, arrests 4 students

In a major crackdown ahead of the New Year bash, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) raided several university campuses and arrested four students of the Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), and Amity University for their alleged involvement in a narcotics supplying syndicate. The Bureau also seized 1.14 kg of charas (cannabis) and three lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) blot papers, which were to be supplied at party venues across the Capital.The arrests and seizures were made by the Delhi zonal unit of the NCB, which has booked the four students under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. Of the arrested men, two are students of the Hindu College while one each is from the JNU and Amity.Senior NCB officers said arrestee Gaurav, a BA Economic (H) student of Hindu College, has been identified as the kingpin of the racket. “Initial probe has revealed that the drugs were being transported in from Himachal Pradesh by these students. Others have been identified as Aniruddh Mathur, MBA in Hospitality management, Amity, Tenzin Phunchog, MSc Physics, Hindu College, and Sam Mallick, MA Philosophy, JNU. They are all addicted to charas and used to get it from Gaurav,” the officer said.The arrested youths also told the NCB that abuse of drugs was rampant in the DU campus area. Now, based on the information given by the arrested students about drug peddlers and others involved in the racket, the NCB is raiding hideouts and the matter is being thoroughly probed, officials said.”We are expecting a breakthrough. After receiving leads from the arrested students, more action will be taken. This will help us break the syndicates supplying drugs to reputed educational institutions at an altogether larger level,” the officer added.Expressing serious concerns over increasing drug abuse among college students, Rina Mitra, DG, NCB, said, “The NCB Delhi Unit began gathering intelligence inputs on drug peddling around campuses. On Thursday, the agency received information that 03 Nos of LSD blots will be shipped through DTDC courier services to Jaipur for New Year celebrations. The Delhi NCB then reached the DTDC office at Vijay Nagar and seized the consignment of 03 LSD blots,” she said.The Delhi Police said that ahead of the New Year’s Eve, a special watch is being kept over consumption of illicit liquor, drugs, and other narcotic substances. The police will also ensure ample deployment near party places and pubs in the city, they said.Despite several attempts, officials from none of the three universities responded to DNA’s queries. However, student leaders expressed shock over the incident.”This is a very shocking incident. A student’s involvement with such a gang is serious. We, however, don’t know the student personally,” said Duggi Rala, General Secretary of JNU students union.Daniyal Ubaidulllah, member of Hindu College students union, said, “The students from Hindu College who have been arrested do not deserve any support or advocacy from the union. If they have committed the act, then it’s very good that action has been taken against them. It’s for their good, the good of the college and the society as a whole.”NCB arrests students 4 students of Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Amity University held 1.14 kg of cannabis and 3 Lysergic Acid Diethylamide blot papers seized A BA Economic student of Hindu College identified as kingpin of the racket

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Mumbai cops refuse to file FIR against builder: Lawyer

A Sion-based lawyer, allegedly the victim of fraud builder, says his woes have been worsened by Mumbai police’s reluctance to register an FIR against the builder. Builder Uday Surve has allegedly cheated over 2,000 homebuyers and investors to the tune of Rs 150 crore under the pretext of redeveloping buildings built by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA). Advocate Deepak Thakur, a resident of Sion, is one of the victims.He has been trying to register a case against Surve, Managing Director of Shubh Enterprises for duping his father Prem Kumar Thakur of Rs 22 lakh since 2015 when he realised that he was cheated. Prem Kumar is a retired Army office, and was promised a flat in Surve’s Shiv Shakti project at Kurar village, Malad. “We paid for the flat in 2012 and were promised possession in 2014,” says 34-year-old Deepak. “We were repeatedly given false assurances of possession, and when we asked for a refund in 2015, he refused.” Deepak said that when he approached Kasturba Marg police to register the complaint, they refused to file an FIR, saying it was a civil matter.“This is despite me telling them that its a criminal case,” says Deepak.Dr. Vinay Rathod, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 12, said, “I am unaware of such an incident. I will enquire about it with the subordinates.”According to the Economic Offences Wing, Surve has been booked in 16 criminal cases across the city.The case against Surve has been probed by the Maharashtra Protection Of Interest Of Depositors and Housing Units of EOW.Surve faces charges of cheating and forgery under the Indian Penal Code and the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act (MOFA), 1963. Surve and two other accused ran Shubh Enterprises and had undertaken several projects to redevelop a housing society at DN Nagar. The trio sold the same flats to multiple buyers. Surve is behind the bars in Mumbai’s Arthur road jail.“Surve and his accomplices sold the sale components of redevelopment projects without procuring the requisite permission, and in some projects, constructed up to 10 storeys without procuring Commencement certificate (CC) and Intimation Of Disapproval (IOD) from the concerned authorities,” said a senior EOW officer. “We have attached the assets of the accused and both investors and flat buyers have filed the complaints and we are on the verge of recovering the money from the accused.”

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Russia bats for India’s participation in OBOR initiative

Russia today pitched for India joining China’s One Belt One Road initiative and hoped that New Delhi will find a way out to benefit from the mega connectivity project without sacrificing its position on the issues flagged by it.In an address at a think tank, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said a sustainable security architecture in the Asia Pacific region cannot be achieved through “bloc arrangement”, in a clear signal of Moscow’s opposition to the quadrilateral grouping comprising the US, Japan, India and Australia. Talking about regional issues, the Russian Foreign Minister said that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj “suggested” improving not only India-China ties but also India’s relations with Pakistan.Lavrov, Swaraj and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi today held the 15th Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral meeting during which a range of regional and global issues were discussed. On OBOR, Lavrov said Russia feels the concept is very interesting and needed to be explored in the context of building harmonious relationship for deeper regional trade and investment. About India’s opposition to the project, he said, “the specific problem in this regard should not make everything else conditional for resolving political differences”. India has opposed the OBOR due to its sovereignty concerns over the USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). CPEC is part of the OBOR.Lavrov said almost all the central Asian countries have already signed documents with China for cooperation in the OBOR while Russia and other members of the Eurasian Economic Union concluded economic cooperation agreement with it, indicating that the process is irreversible. “I am 100 per cent convinced that India has enough very smart diplomats and politicians to find a way which will allow it to benefit from this process and at the same time not to sacrifice your position,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.In a clear reference to the quadrilateral grouping among the US, India, Japan and Australia, he said, “We believe that sustainable security architecture in the Asia Pacific region cannot be achieved through bloc arrangement and is only possible through an open ended collective basis.” Officials of the four countries held their first meeting in Manila last month to give shape to the much talked about quadrilateral alliance to keep the Indo-Pacific region “free and open”.The formation of the bloc is seen as an effort to contain China’s growing assertiveness in the resource-rich area. The Russian Foreign Minister also talked about the need for peaceful settlement of the disputes saying use of force and threatening to use force will not resolve any issue. Calling India a key partner for Russia, he said further strengthening of ties between the two countries can address numerous problems in the Asia Pacific region.On tackling terrorism, he called for a “truly universal coalition” to act against the terror groups without “any double standards and hidden agenda”. Sounding critical of the role of the US in Afghanistan, Lavrov said every stakeholder including the Taliban and the war-ravaged country’s neighbours should be taken on board for brining lasting peace to it. The Russian Foreign Minister said his country was ready to ensure transfer of technology to manufacture critical military platforms in India in joint venture and co- development projects.

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Over 26 crore adults in India are illiterate, finds UNESCO report

Highlighting the state of education in India, the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report released on Monday revealed that a quarter of the population in the country are not completing lower secondary education, which makes for 26.6 crore adults and 3.3 crore young population unable to read.The report highlights that despite the Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) 4 calling for 12 years of free quality education for all, 28 lakh children are out of school as education is compulsory only till the age of 12 years.Talking about accountability in education, the report mentions that India spends below the benchmark for education financing, which is 3.8 percent of GDP on education not 5 percent and 14 percent of public expenditure instead of 15 percent. It highlights the responsibility of all education stakeholders primarily government to provide universal quality education and stresses that accountability is indispensable in achieving the goal of Sustainable Development on Education.It also mentions that there is an inequality in education standards between men and women, between general category and scheduled tribes and scheduled caste as well, which is a big challenge to improving the quality of education in the country. As compared to 73 percent of poorest males, 67 percent of poorest females have completed their primary education. The higher education attendance ratio among Scheduled Tribes is 12 percent and that of scheduled caste is 15 percent which is way below the national average of 23 percent in the year 2010.An analysis of several National Sample Surveys in India over 1983–2010 indicated that, despite progress, the education level of scheduled tribes and castes was far below average. The higher education attendance ratio among scheduled tribes increased from 2 percent to 12 percent and that of scheduled castes from 4 percent to 15 percent, compared to a national average of 23 percent in 2010.The report mentions what needs to be done to improve the quality of education which includes — improving school inspection, controlling teacher absenteeism, better regulation of private tutoring, better regulation of private sector, not linking teacher’s salary to student’s test scores.Talking about the report, Shigeru Aoyagi, Director and UNESCO Representative said, “With millions of children still not going to school, and many not achieving minimum proficiency levels at school, indicates that education systems are not on track.”Economic survey in the year 2016-17 recommended using biometrics to tackle teacher absenteeism in primary schools. However, the suggestion was met with protests from teachers, along with technical implementation challenges.The report that highlights the responsibility of all education stakeholders primarily government to provide universal quality education and stresses that accountability is indispensable in achieving the goal of Sustainable Development on Education.I also warns that disproportionate blame on any one actor for systemic educational problems can have serious negative side effects, widening inequality and damaging learning.OUT OF SCHOOLNearly 12 lakh children are out of school as education is compulsory only till the age of 12, says UNESCO India spends below the benchmark for education financing, which is 3.8 percent of GDP on education, according to the GEM report
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Yogi Adityanath


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‘Ready to strengthen connectivity…’: China hints it may rename CPEC to address India’s ‘concerns’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A week after a proposal by Chinese envoy to India to rename the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to address New Delhi’s concerns, Beijing has hinted that it mayn rename CPEC if India joins OBOR initiative.China’s ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui during an interaction with experts on Chinese affairs and students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) last week offered to rename the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as well as build an alternative corridor through Jammu and Kashmir.However, On Lu’s reported remark about building an alternative corridor through Jammu and Kashmir, the foreign ministry said, “China is ready to strengthen connectivity with all neighbouring countries and promote regional economic cooperation and common prosperity”.According to The Times of India, the Chinese ministry neither endorsed or denied Luo’s statement, indicating that it may be willing to discuss the issue with New Delhi while ensuring that the move does not affect its ties with Pakistan.The Chinese Foreign Ministry also said China s stand is that the CPEC is an economic cooperation initiative and has ‘nothing to do with territorial sovereignty disputes’. The CPEC “does not affect China and Pakistan’s position on the Kashmir issue,” it said.India skipped the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in May this year due to its sovereignty concerns over the nearly $ 60 billion CPEC, a flagship project of China’s prestigious One Belt One Road (OBOR), which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).India has raised concerns over the project as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The CPEC is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking southern Pakistan, and the Gwadar Port, to China’s restive Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region.In his address to the United Services Institution in New Delhi on May 5, Luo Zhaohui had echoed similar views.His remarks were, however, subsequently removed from the transcript of his address posted on the website of the Chinese Embassy amid reports that Pakistan sought a clarification on it.

India and World Bank sign USD 98 million loan for Solar Parks Project

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shared Infrastructure for Solar Parks Project will finance Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd (IREDA), to provide sub-loans to states to invest in various solar parks, the World Bank said in a statement.The solar parks will be mostly under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy s (MNRE) Solar Park Scheme, it said.The first two solar parks are in the Rewa and Mandsaur districts of Madhya Pradesh, with targeted installed capacities of 750 MW and 250 MW respectively, it said.Other states where potential solar parks could be supported under this project are in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Haryana.The government is committed to setting up an enabling environment for solar technology penetration in the country, said Sameer Kumar Khare — Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs.”This Project will help establish large-scale solar parks and support the government s plan to install 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar power out of a total renewable-energy target of 175 GW by 2022,” he said in the statement.The IREDA will utilise the funding under this project to develop the common infrastructure such as power pooling substations, intra-park transmission infrastructure and provide access to roads, water supply and drainage.While some states intend to provide a full range of infrastructure services to the selected private or public sector developers, others plan to provide only pooling stations to facilitate internal evacuation.With about 331 GW of installed capacity, India s power system is among the largest in the world. Yet, the per capita electricity consumption is less than one-third of the global average.An estimated 300 million people are not connected to the national electrical grid, the statement said, adding that with a rapidly growing economy the need for reliable power is only going to grow.The USD 75 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 5-year grace period, and a maturity of 19 years.The USD 23 million loan from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) has a 10-year grace period, and a maturity of 40 years.The USD 2 million is an interest-free CTF grant.

Economic implications of judgements now being considered: Justice A K Sikri

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Economic implications are now consciously considered by courts in India while delivering a judgement, Justice A K Sikri said on Saturday during a conference on law and economics at Indian Institute of Management — Ahmedabad (IIM-A).He said that while the concept is prevailing in Western countries, especially the US, for a couple of decades now, it is a nascent phenomenon in India.Sikri was addressing an audience during ‘Third International Conference on Law and Justice – 2017’ at IIM-A.He said that while earlier judgements in India had economic considerations at the back of the mind, they are finding a conscious mention now. “Economic implications are relevent in cases related to property, privacy, business law, banckruptcy petition and many others,” said Sikri.He emphasised the fact that law has implications across multiple disciplines and therefore it calls for an economic analysis of law. It can impact jobs, government revenue, economic growth. Sometimes, economic aspects are predominant. Courts are becoming increasingly receptive to this approach,” he said.Experts said apart from economics, other aspects related to law and judiciary also require debates. Prof Errol D’Souza, Director-In-Charge of IIM-A said debates are also necessary in aspects like a case being sub-judice. “Judges should be more open to criticism,” said D’Souza.EXPERT SPEAKAccording to experts, apart from economics, other aspects related to law and judiciary also require debates.
These include Freedom of Speech, the role of non-state actors in dictating what people should watch and what they should read, etc.

CM Vasundhara Raje presents bid for Tourism STZ to Alphons Kannanthanam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rajasthan is the best choice for Special Tourism Zones (STZ) due to its proximity with New Delhi and the Union ministry for Tourism should approve it, said Chief minister Vasundhara Raje during her meeting with Union state minister for Tourism, Alphons Kannanthanam in New Delhi on Thursday. Raje was meeting Alphons for the first time after his election as Rajya Sabha member from Rajasthan. Raje also asked the minister to release pending Rs 438 crore for the ambitious tourism projects in the state.“The ministry has a proposal to develop five STZs in the country in order to attract investment and boost infrastructure in the states. Rajasthan is the best choice for the project, as it has proximity with the national capital and also it has great tourism potential ,” Raje said, according to a statement released by the government. Notably, Modi government had announced to set up up five Special Tourism Zones in partnership with state this February. These will be anchored as Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) and set to be planned along the lines of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs).A boost to air services in Rajasthan was another important issue Raje raised in her meeting. She asked for direct air services from Jaipur -Goa-Agra and Jaipur-Kochi, as these destinations are hot tourism spots desired by both foreign and domestic tourists. Various tourism related projects in the pipeline and pending for approval at the level of union ministry were also taken up by Raje. The CM, particularly requested the minister, to sanction Rs300 crore under Swadesh Darshan Scheme to promote tribal tourism, eco-adventure and mega desert circuit.Raje also urged the minister to get released Rs438 crore fund proposed for heritage works, underground parking, sub-way and beautification works in Jaipur meant to boost domestic and religious tourism. “Also, there should be special grant of Rs 600-800 crore for Johari Bazar under-parking project, Rs100 crore for integrated tourism project in Dholpur and Rs25 lakh each year to organise Indian Travel Bazaar,” said Raje. ACS NC Goel, JMC commissioner Ravi Jain and other senior officers were present in the meeting.

India tops list of countries affected by climate change

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The recently released Global Climate Risk Index 2018 report has put India amongst the sixth most vulnerable countries after Haiti, Zimbabwe, Fiji, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The report, recently released in Germany, has, however, analysed and taken into account data between 1997 and 2016.Prepared by a group of researchers on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), has estimated that more than 5.24 lakh people died across the world, as a direct result of more than 11 000 extreme weather events accounting to loss of around US$ 3.16 trillion during this period.In India 2,119 people were killed during 2016, a number higher than any other country, losing $21,500 million the third highest financial loss after those suffered by China and the US. The report ranked the US fifth in fatalities from climate change impacts during 2016.It mentions the heat waves in South Asia which persisted until the beginning of summer 2016, breaking a record of 51°C in Rajasthan, in May 2016. Over a thousand people died of hyperthermia or dehydration. In total, 1 800 fatalities were reported, especially in Southeast India. The persisting drought and heat waves affected over 330 million people. They were followed by an extreme monsoon season lasting from June to October in eastern, western and central India. At least 300 people died due to the heavy rainfall and landslides and millions of people were affected by washed away crops, destroyed roads or disrupted electricity and phone lines. On 12th December 2016, cyclone Vardah, one of the costliest cyclones ever in the North Indian Ocean basin, made landfall in Chennai31. Several people died here and infrastructure was severely damaged.Researchers also conclude that sea surface temperature seems to play a key role in intensifying storms. But said, it was difficult to distinguish between natural variability and human induced extremes. It concluded that rising sea level, which is partly caused by climate change, was responsible for the increased intensity of floods, storms and droughts. For example, a study shows that the 2016 torrential rains in Louisiana, USA, were made almost twice as likely by human-induced climate change.Furthermore, the report also found increasing evidence on the link between extreme El Niño events and global warming. Date collected in 2014 showed, the occurrence of such events could double in the future due to climate change.

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

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

66% of women’s work in India is unpaid: World Economic Forum

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The proportion of “unpaid work” per day is far higher for women than men globally, while in case of India on average 66 per cent of women’s work is unpaid, says a World Economic Forum report.Unpaid work measures the average minutes spent per day on routine housework, shopping, care for household members, care for non-household members volunteering, travel related to household activities and other unpaid activities for men and women aged 15-64 years.According to the WEF Global Gender Gap Report 2017, on an average 66 per cent of women’s work in India is unpaid, compared to 12 per cent of men’s.In case of China, 44 per cent of women’s work is unpaid, while for men the figure stood at 19 per cent.Even for developed countries, like the United Kingdom, which was ranked 15th on the Global Gender Gap list, 56.7 per cent of women’s work is unpaid, as against 32 per cent men’s.In the USA also, 50 per cent of women’s work is unpaid while in case of men the figure stands at 31.5 per cent.An analysis of Global Gender Gap Index over the past years points to a continued under-use of the ever-increasing numbers of educated women than ever before, the report said.”While much of this imbalance is explained by the discrepancy in care-giving and unpaid work, institutional and policy inertia, outdated organisational structures and discrimination, one additional explanatory factor is the skills differentials in the types of degrees women and men seek out in their education,” it added.As per the report, the global average annual earnings for a female stood at USD 12,000, while for a male it was as high as USD 21,000.India has slipped 21 places on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap index to a lowly 108.Globally also for the first time since the WEF began measuring the gap across four pillars — health, education, the workplace and political representation — the global gap has actually widened.

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

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

Interstate migration in India doubled between 2001-2011, Pune and Surat most affected: WEF

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Interstate migration in India doubled between 2001 and 2011 compared to the previous decade, with Pune and Surat emerging as the most affected cities in the Asian region, says a WEF report.According to the World Economic Forum’s report on ‘Migration and Cities’, India is home to one-fourth of the 100 fastest-growing cities in the world while Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata are among the 10 most populous urban areas worldwide. The report further said in the Asian region, Pune and Surat have been named among the most affected cities, besides Guangzhou and Davao City.According to the United Nations, there are three times more internal migrants than international migrants in the world. In India, interstate migration doubled between 2001 and 2011 compared to the previous decade, growing 4.5 per cent annually, WEF said, adding annual interstate migration in the country averaged about 5-6 million migrants a year. “Migrants are drawn to cities in search of economic, social and creative opportunities,” said Alice Charles, Lead, Cities, World Economic Forum.Citing examples, the report said, Bihar, a state with one of the highest outflows of domestic migrants, has a per-capita income roughly equivalent to Somalia’s (around USD 520) and a birth rate of 3.4 children per woman, on the other hand, Kerala, a destination for in-migrants, has a per-capita income four times that of Bihar’s (about USD 2,350) and a birth rate of 1.6 children per woman, on par with Denmark. Moreover, cities like Faridabad, Ludhiana and Surat total over 55 per cent of in-migrants, whereas the rate in Agra and Allahabad is below 15 per cent, demonstrating the significant variation among Indian cities regarding in-migration.Regionwise, the report highlighted 22 of the most affected cities around the world, including from North America (Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, New York, Boston), Latin America (Sao Paulo, Medellin). The report further noted that in Middle East and North Africa (Dubai, Amman, Ramallah) were the most affected cities, in sub-Saharan Africa (Cape Town, Dakar), Asia (Pune, Surat, Guangzhou, Davao City), Europe (Berlin, Athens, Paris, Amsterdam, Rotterdam) and Oceania (Auckland).The report looked at the solutions implemented or initiated to meet the needs of the migrant population, particularly in the delivery of vital urban infrastructure and services like housing, education, health, employment, integration and social cohesion, and safety and security. “Partnerships between cities will have greater prominence in the years to come, with possibilities of migrant redistribution and responding to labour market needs with immigrants,” said Gregory Hodkinson, Chairman, Arup Group Ltd; Chair of the World Economic Forum Future of Urban Development and Services Initiative.

US-Iran freeze puts India’s Chabahar port project in a fix

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The deteriorating relations between the United States and Iran, coupled with the threat of return of sanction regime, have once again put India in a fix.Government officials confide that pace of work on projects such as Chabahar port and building railway and road networks would get affected if the US President Donald Trump operationalises his threats against Tehran. Sources said the issue will prominently figure during the October 24 visit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.What is worrisome is that ahead of Tillerson’s visit, a top US official has asked countries to take a hard look at their business partners in Iran. “What we’re asking is for countries to take a hard look at who you’re doing business with in Iran and to understand who are the beneficial owners of these companies,” the official said, warning against business deals with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-controlled companies.Recently, while deposing before a parliamentary panel, officials conceded that the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project hasn’t moved forward since 2008 in the wake of sanctions on Iran.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had prioritised the connectivity project in Central Asia and the Chabahar port in Iran to provide a key route to Afghanistan, while bypassing Pakistan.During his visit to Tehran last May, Modi had promised to accentuate work on Indian commitments and develop two terminals and five berths at Chabahar port located on the Gulf of Oman, within 18 months. India and Iran are simultaneously also developing the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) together with Russia, connecting the Gulf of Oman to Central Asia and Eastern Europe. These projects are crucial for India as they present an alternative to China’s One Belt One Road initiative and also a counter to Gwadar in Pakistan’s Balochistan.But the sanctions slapped by the Trump administration and threats of more sanctions has put India’s diplomats in a quandary. Though none of the 12 companies put on the US sanction list recently have any business with India, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) fears that the prospect of their expansion has potential to hit the port as well as the Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) between Iran and P5+1 on Iran’s nuclear programme and the corresponding easing of sanctions, concluded last July, has provided the long-awaited opening for India.Iranian Ambassador in New Delhi Gholamreza Ansari recently accused the US of trying to ensure that India reduced oil imports from his country. “The US wants to deprive Iran of the Indian energy market,” he said. India has cut its oil imports from Iran by approximately 20% in 2017, though its global imports have risen by 5.4%. Some companies, such as Essar oil, have dropped imports from Iran in August by as much as 75%, according to oil industry estimates.The US has made it quite clear that countries doing business with Iran should ensure that their economic relationships with Iran do not lead to the strengthening of the IRGC in particular and their ability to do so much harm to so many people.Under previous Western sanctions, India had devised a barter-like scheme acceptable to Washington that allowed it to make some oil payments to Tehran in rupees through UCO Bank. But since sanctions were partly lifted early last year, the rupee account has been run down by more than 90% to just Rs 2,000 crore ($305 million) because Indian refiners have resumed paying for Iranian oil in Euros. Sources here say as the tensions re-emerge, India was looking at reverting to the old rupee mechanism.Officials here said the government was still in a wait-and-watch mode and closely monitoring Trump’s approach towards Iran. But they concede that of late, reports of western manufacturers shying away from supplying equipment for the Chahbhar port for fear the fresh sanctions are hitting New Delhi’s strategic ambitions in the region.

IMF cuts India growth forecast

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) liberal scissoring of current fiscal’s economic growth outlook last week, International Monetary Fund (IMF) also on Tuesday joined a long list of agencies that have snipped their forecast for India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the current year.In its World Economic Outlook (WEO) report, released on Tuesday, the global multilateral lending organisation trimmed its projection for economic growth in 2017 to 6.7 per cent from the earlier 7.1 per cent citing government’s demonetization of high value currency and disruption of economic activities due to introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) as reasons for its slower growth outlook.According to IMF’s outlook, China is likely to grow 10 basis points (bps) ahead of India at 6.8 per cent this year but India would more than catch-up on growth with its Asian neighbour next year.The Fund projects India’s economic growth to recover in 2018 to 7.4 per cent, while China’ growth at 6.5 per cent.”In India, growth momentum slowed, reflecting the lingering impact of the authorities’ currency exchange initiative as well as uncertainty related to the mid-year introduction of GST.Strong government spending and data revisions in India led to an upward revision of 2016 growth to 7.1 per cent (6.8 per cent in April), with upward revisions of about 0.2 percentage points, on average, for 2014 and 2015,” it said in its latest WEO report.The IMF’s slash in India’s GDP growth forecast has come after similar downward revision by other agencies such as Fitch Ratings, which has brought it down to 6.9 per cent from 7.4 per cent; India Ratings and Research that has cut it to 6.7 per cent from 7.4 per cent and Asian Development Bank (ADB), which has lowered it to 7 per cent from 7.4 per cent.On Monday, World Bank’s South Asia Economic Focus (Fall 2017) report also marginally snipped India’s GDP growth forecast to 7 per cent for the current fiscal from its earlier prediction of 7.2 per cent. Like IMF, it also expects a turnaround in India’s economy to 7.4 per cent by 2019-20. Similarly, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) has also revised downward its estimates for current fiscal’s economic growth to 6.7 per cent from 7 per cent.DK Srivastava, chief policy advisor, EY India, said IMF and other agencies’ GDP growth projections were in line with RBI’s outlook but a turnaround, as predicted by them, would depend a lot on the government’s “accelerated GST reforms and fiscal stimulation”.”Their projection is very much in line with RBI’s projection but much will depend on the reforms that the government undertakes to change this picture. If they (government) undertake further accelerated GST reforms and fiscal stimulation then the turnover would be quicker,” he said.He said, by GST reforms he meant its accelerated simplification and further easing of compliance burden.”Public spending can be undertaken as far as it can be made without compromising with the fiscal deficit target. They (government) should try to adhere to the (fiscal deficit) target,” said EY’s economist.The central bank wrote in its review report of monetary policy that next fiscal growth would jump to 7.4 per cent, “assuming a normal monsoon, fiscal consolidation in line with the announced trajectory, and no major exogenous/policy shocks”.India’s GDP growth has been tumbling since the middle of last year after the government undertook demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes late last year and launched the new unified indirect tax – GST – from July this year. Economists attribute these structural reforms as reasons for slowdown in economic growth but expect a recovery in the medium term.The lowering of India’s GDP growth by IMF has come at a time when it has raised the global growth estimate marginally to 3.6 per cent.

Side effects of demonetization, GST: IMF lowers India’s growth forecast for year 2017

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The IMF on Tuesday lowered India’s growth projection to 6.7% in 2017, 0.5 percentage points less than its previous two forecasts in April and July, attributing it to demonetization and introduction of the GST.It also lowered the country’s growth for 2018 to 7.4 %, 0.3 % less than its previous two projections in July and April.India’s growth rate in 2016 was 7.1%, which saw an upward revision of 0.3 % from its April report.”In India, growth momentum slowed, reflecting the lingering impact of the authorities, currency exchange initiative as well as uncertainty related to the midyear introduction of the country-wide Goods and Services Tax,” the IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report.”Strong government spending and data revisions in India led to an upward revision of 2016 growth to 7.1% (6.8% in April), with upward revisions of about 0.2% , on average, for 2014 and 2015,” it said.The latest report, released ahead of the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank here this week, puts China slightly ahead of India in terms of growth rate for the year 2017. China is projected to grow at 6.8% in 2017, which is 0.1% more than its two previous projections in April and July.However, India is likely to regain the tag of the fastest growth emerging economies of the world in 2018, with China projected to grow at 6.5% in 2018, it said. The GST, which promises the unification of India’s vast domestic market, is among several key structural reforms under implementation that are expected to help push growth above eight per cent in the medium term, the report said.”In India, simplifying and easing labour market regulations and land acquisition procedures are long-standing requirements for improving the business climate,” the report said. Between 1999 and 2008, India on an average grew at a rate of 6.9%, IMF said adding that for the next three years its growth rates were 8.5% in 2009, 10.3 in 2010 and 6.6 in 2011.In the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 it grew at a rate of 5.5%, 6.4 and 7.5 respectively. In 2015, India clocked a growth rate of 8% points. For the year 2022, the IMF has projected a growth rate of 8.2%, as against its growth projection of 6.7 in 2017 and 7.4 in 2018.

Homebuyers up in arms against Powai builder

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Saturday a bunch of homebuyers and investors of JVPD Properties Private Limited’s Powai project approached the Economic Offence Wing alleging that the money they paid to the developer has been grossly misappropriated and siphoned away.Seema Saini, one such victim, said the allotment letter categorically read that it was agreed that if the developer doesn’t obtain the requisite clearances from the Municipal Corporation for construction on the plot within a period of nine months plus a grace period of three months, then one can claim refund from the developer of the amount paid to him plus an interest of 15 per cent per annum. The allotment letter is dated March 2014 but Saini alleged that since nothing has progressed on that front, she along with other affected buyers decided to approach the cops.The project is named Bhagtani Serenity and according to Saini around 25 victims have come together so far. They have allegedly paid between Rs 20 lakh to 1 crore each. They even alleged that no work has begun on the land where the building was to be built.When contacted, Diipesh Bhagtani, director, JVPD Properties Private Ltd, said, “The project Serenity is to be built in two phases. We have already received IOD & CC for the A building in the first phase and have started work for the same. We have so far cancelled and refunded the money to atleast 50 investors with 15 per cent interest. The project is also registered with RERA for the approvals that we have received. We are not aware of any complaints by the investors.”

Find replacement for death by hanging: Supreme Court to Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the central government in connection with a plea seeking replacement of death sentence.The top court has asked the Centre to give a detailed reply on the same within three months.A bench of three judges headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, while hearing the plea filed by Advocate Rishi Malhotra, said the Indian Constitution is a compassionate one which recognises principle of sanctity of life.It observed that with the invention of various modes of execution in modern time, legislature can think of other mode for death convicts, keeping in view the dynamic progress in science.The petitioner in his plea stated the execution as contemplated under Section 354(5) of CrPC (hung by the neck till the person is dead) is not only barbaric and cruel but it is also against the resolutions adopted by the United Nations Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC) which has clarified that “where the capital punishment occurs it should be carried out so as to inflict minimum suffering.” ​

Rohingya crisis: Tarun Vijay says relief material going to Bangladesh not reaching Hindu refugees

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former BJP MP Tarun Vijay on Monday in a blog claimed that humanitarian aid sent by India and other countries to refugees who had come to Bangladesh were only being distributed amongst Rohingya Muslims, while Hindu refugees were getting ignored.In the blog, published in The Economic Times, Tarun Vijay alleges that the village camp that sheltered 523 Hindu refugees from Myanmar ‘bore a pathetic sight’.“About 100 refugees have to live in a small hall-type hutment. The women and children, along with the men, have to huddle spending sleepless nights,” he wrote.Vijay added that a woman came to him with folded hands asking him to ‘take them away from here’. “We asked whether she faced difficulties from the Myanmar Army and government? Her husband and she replied that they were good to them; “only angry with the jangis”. “We want to go back. But Dada, please help us get resettled away from these Muslims”, she said sobbing.Vijay added that the Hindu community were paying the price of being loyal to Myanmar’s territorial integrity and for living peacefully.“I told all this to the Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka, Harsh Vardhan Shringla. He was categorical that Hindu refugees can’t be discriminated against and the Indian High commission is taking care that the relief material reaches them without any delay,” he added.

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

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

Economy isn’t paralysed, but demonetization, GST were ill-timed: Yashwant Sinha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former finance minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha on Thursday said the introduction of demonetization and Goods and Services Tax (GST) was ill-timed.In an exclusive interview to ANI, the former finance minister also spoke about the economy, employment, and Finance Minister Arun JaitleyHere is the full text of the exclusive interview of Sinha:What made you write the article on the current state of Indian economy?We all know that there has been a decline in economic performance of the country in the recent past. This decline is registered quarterly and has been continuing for last one-and-a-half months. So, I was worried about it and thought that the government should do something regarding this. But, I didn’t speak up and remained silent at that time. But, I became gravely concerned after I saw the data of the first quarter of this financial year, which showed that the growth rate has come down to 6%. A week passed away, but the government did not take any measure. Therefore, I thought that some points should be raised in the public domain, and that’s what I did.Do you think this government failed to improve the economy of the country and what is the difference between economic condition in UPA and NDA regime?I used to be the spokesperson of the BJP on their financial matters before the 2014 elections. I was always asked by the party to address all financial matters. At that time, we used to talk about economic paralysis in the UPA regime. During the UPA regime, we used to ask the then government to end the economic paralysis by resuming some of the paused projects and improve the condition of banks. So, I had expected that we would follow the same when our government comes to power. We progressed a bit, but the government apparently did not work on these projects with the speed that was expected. So, after being in the government for last 40 months, we can’t blame the previous government. We have been given a chance to improve and plug loopholes.The banks have stopped granting loans owing to their poor condition. Due to this, private investment, which works on bank loans, was stopped. So, the slow-down in the speed of economic condition revival has resulted in unemployment.What is your take on the GST and demonetization?I was in support of the GST and pitched for its implementation, and even Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that ‘Yashwant Ji has given good suggestions on the GST.’ The people who are terming the GST as the second most important reform after Independence, were not there at the time we discussed it. I was all alone pushing for the GST in the BJP. Then, the GST was implemented. But the way the GST has been implemented, it has created more problems.The government should have done proper research before introducing demonetisation. They should have done research on its impact on the economy and employment. It should not be introduced at a time when the economy was already in a poor state and weak.You further said that the GST gave another blow after demonetisation and affect economic condition adversely.We had already received a jolt by introducing demonetisation and then, the way the GST has been implemented, it worked as another blow. Will giving two jolts back-to-back not affect economic condition adversely? The GST should not have been implemented on July 1. I suggested that it should be implemented from October 1, but the government was in hurry. The problems are increasing. That is why I thought that there is need to bring these issues to light so that government takes remedial measures regarding this quickly.Do you thing the economic condition has paralysed?No. I won’t say that the economic policies have become paralysed. Decisions are being taken and some important decisions have also been taken. When we form a policy, the most important thing we should keep in mind is the people’s welfare and another important thing, is to improve the performance of the economy. I think, there is confusion in the government. They think the economic condition will improve only through welfare projects, which is not possible. To improve the economy, a separate policy should be there. The first task of the government after coming in power should have been to improve the condition of banks, but we are still awaiting actions in this regard. In the long run, we are dead.What is your take on Union Ministers’ claim that India is the fastest growing economy?I am not a seasoned economist. It might be possible that Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Rajnath Singh understand the economy more than me so. They think India is a mountain when it comes to the global economy, however, I don’t follow or accept this idea.What is your opinion about cashless economy which is being pushed by the NDA Government?A cashless economy is a good thing, we should move towards it. The ratio is always maintained in other foreign countries. However, in India, where a major chunk of the economy is based in rural areas, the rural area is based on cash transactions. In 1998, when I was the finance minister, I introduced the Kisan Credit Card for the same reason to move towards cashless transaction in rural India. We should move towards it, but demonetization has done no good and we should use other techniques to achieve that goal.What steps you would have taken on GST if you were the finance minister?I was the finance minister, and if we leave the Congress finance ministers, I am the only finance minister who has presented seven budgets. Nobody in the opposition has ever done that. I have proved myself by doing so many things. When we came to power, everybody had information about the problems. To counter such problems, swift action should have been taken place, some more steps could have been taken.What is your opinion on the employment crisis India is facing?I am constantly saying that economic growth is the only way to generate jobs. Slowing down the economy has never generated jobs in any country of the world. It is our first responsibility to speed up the economic growth. I hope the government wakes up and take all the necessary steps needed. There are several economists who can help the government with their suggestions.Prime Minister Narendra Modi has formed an Economic Advisory Council to take advice from them. The government should analyze what has happened in the past and then move forward.Do you think decline in the economic growth is result of structural changes? No, structural changes result in betterment, not downfall.What is your take on appointment of Arun Jaitley as Finance minister?I don’t have any objection regarding the appointment of ministers. In the party, rules keep on changing. Finance Ministry, Disinvestment, Corporate Affairs and then Defence Ministry, which is so huge being given to Arun Jaitley, and when the Defence Ministry was taken back, he was given charge of Information and Broadcasting. If you burden a minister, where will he have the time to concentrate or address the problems of the economy? That’s what I wanted to point out, and there are no personal opinions to be expressed on the appointment of Ministers in the government.

Economy on a downward spiral, many in BJP know it but are scared to say it: Yashwant Sinha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Union Minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has strongly criticised the Modi government over the economic situation and said that many in the party know that the economy is on a downward spiral, but are scared to say it.Sinha’s scathing remarks came a day after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi formed an Economic Advisory Council (EAC) amid the government’s endeavor to give a push to the growth which has witnessed a slowdown. In a column written in Indian Express — I need to speak up now — Yashwant Sinha said that he will be failing in his national duty if he does not speak up even now against the mess the finance minister has made of the economy. That private investment has shrunk as never before in two decades, industrial production has all but collapsed, agriculture is in distress, said Sinha describing the current situation of the economy.Sinha also criticised the note ban move and GST implementation saying, “The demonetization has proved to be an unmitigated economic disaster, a badly conceived and poorly implemented GST has played havoc with businesses and sunk many of them and countless millions have lost their jobs with hardly any new opportunities coming the way of the new entrants to the labour market.”Stating that he had handled Ministry of Finance and knows how much hard work there is in that ministry alone, Sinha said, “Finance ministry, in the best of times, calls for the undivided attention of its boss if the job has to be properly done. In challenging times it becomes more than a 24/7 job. Naturally, even a superman like Jaitley could not do justice to the task.”Sinha also said that the reasons for this decline are not far to seek nor have they appeared suddenly. “It was not difficult to anticipate them and take counter measures to deal with them. But that called for devoting time to the task, serious application of mind, understanding of the issues and then working out a game plan to tackle them. It was perhaps too much to expect from a person who was carrying the heavy burden of so many extra responsibilities. The results are there for all of us to see,” he wrote.The former minister has also hit out at the government saying, economies are destroyed more easily than they are built. “It took almost four years of painstaking and hard work in the late nineties and early 2000 to revive a sagging economy we had inherited in 1998.”Stating that nobody has a magic wand to revive the economy overnight, Sinha said, “steps taken now will take their own time to pr oduce results. So, a revival by the time of the next Lok Sabha election appears highly unlikely. A hard landing appears inevitable. Bluff and bluster is fine for the hustings, it evaporates in the face of reality.”The Economic Advisory Council formed by the prime minister comes over three years after he assumed power and at a time when the GDP has slipped to 5.7 % in April-June quarter, the lowest since May 2014.Earlier, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said “..whatever steps are required to change the (economic) environment, we are certainly in the process of addressing that.”The opposition has been attributing the slowdown to last year’s demonetization, an argument which the government rejects.Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week said the economy was on a ‘downhill path’ because of the ‘adventure’ of demonetization which, he said, was not required at all, either technically or economically.

What ails the Indian economy?

India has seen its slowest economic growth since Narendra Modi took over as prime minister.

CEA gets one year extension

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Doing away with uncertainties, the Modi government on Saturday decided to continue with the incumbent Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian by extending his tenure by another year.Subramanian was posted as the CEA on October 16, 2014 for a term of three years. “Delighted to take on the challenges. The government is working on multiple fronts,” Subramanian said after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced his extension at a press briefing.In a bid to allay apprehensions regarding economic slowdown, Subramanian said, “We have to revive growth, investment, exports. As Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, in the days ahead, you will know what the government is planning to do.”Struggling to fend government’s back-to-back decisions on demonetization and GST after GDP growth dipped to a low of 5.7 per cent, Jaitley on Friday had said that the government was fully prepared for a “responsive action” to boost the economy.Subramanian’s term as CEA has been marked by dynamic suggestions — including coining of the term ‘JAM trinity’ (for Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, and Mobile) and elaborating on its benefits.He had also mooted the idea of a ‘bad bank’ to deal with the persistent problem of non-performing assets (NPAs) afflicting the balance sheets of banks and corporates, and of a Universal Basic Income.

Notice to Guj over Rs 1400 cr stamp duty

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to Stamp Duty Superintendent of Gujarat asking why the state government has not recovered stamp duty for the land allotted for the Mundra Special Economic Zone (SEZ) between 2005 and 2017.The first division bench of chief justice R Subhash Reddy and justice Vipul Pancholi issued the notice while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) by Sanjay Bapat, who has alleged that the state exchequer incurred a minimum loss of Rs1,400 crore because of government’s inaction.The reply has to filed before November 8. The petitioner’s advocates, Jamini Patel and Sanjivkumar Patel, submitted he represented the issue before the Kutch district collector in 2016.The collector had issued a notice to Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd., asking it to pay the stamp duty. However, it was not followed up, the petition stated.From 2005 to 2017, hundreds of acres of land was allotted to the SEZ at 33 locations in Mundra. The PIL has sought a directive to the Stamp Duty Superintendent to calculate stamp duty based on Jantri and should recover it from Adani Group at the earliest.The PIL alleged that the state government has failed in recovering stamp duty, despite a government resolution of 2005, making stamp duty mandatory for land allotted for Mundra SEZ. Though the petition was moved in March, the court directive has come after nine hearings.The company’s has maintained that as per the government’s 2004 resolution, land allotted to SEZ is exempted from stamp duty.

In mid-level bureaucratic reshuffle, 17 new joint secretaries appointed by Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As many as 17 new joint secretaries have been appointed in various central government departments as part of a major mid-level bureaucratic reshuffle effected today.Of these, 11 officers are from Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and six from other civil services.IAS officers Anil Malik and Vivek Bharadwaj will be joint secretaries in Home Ministry.Anurag Agarwal, also from the same service, has been appointed joint secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.IAS officer N Saravana Kumar will be joint secretary, Department of Higher Education.Ruchika Chaudhry Govil, an officer of Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax cadre), has been named JS, Ministry of Steel.Manohar Agnani and Vijoy Kumar Singh will be joint secretaries in Department of Health and Family Welfare, and DoPT respectively.Amit Sahai, an Indian Forest Service officer, will be joint secretary, Department of Defence Production.Ravinesh Kumar, an officer of Indian Defence Accounts Service, has been named Financial Advisor, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).Sanjay Goel and Gopalakrishnan S have been appointed joint secretaries in Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.IAS officer Anuradha Thakur will be joint secretary, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management.Kalpana Rajsinghot and Manju Pandey have been appointed joint secretaries in Ministry of Labour and Employment, and Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry.Niranjan Kumar Sudhansu will be joint secretary, Ministry of Coal. S Suresh Kumar has been appointed Additional Chief Executive Officer, Government e-marketplace Special Purpose Vehicle– a portal to procure goods and services by all government departments and public sector undertakings.IAS officer Rajiv Arora, joint secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment has been sent back to his cadre state Haryana before completion of his central deputation tenure.

Google launches India mobile payments app Tez

Tez lets users transfer money via an audio signal as well as via the internet.

Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali accused of distributing expired products in flood-hit Assam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali has landed in a fresh controversy. According to Hindustan Times, Patanjali has been accused of distributing expired products like juice, milk powders etc to Assam flood victims. Some of the products handed over had expiry dates of October last year, according to local media reports. Patanjali spokesperson SK Tijariwala has been quoted as saying, ” “We don’t send out date expired products from our warehouses. Patanjali has helped the flood-affected in Assam purely on humanitarian grounds”. On the same vein, they have given an oblique statement that the company can’t ‘control the logistics of transport and distribution and are not responsible if someone other than our representatives indulge in some wrong doing’. So while Patanjali is denying giving expired products, it says it shouldn’t be held responsible if something like that has happened. In flood affected Majuli, the concerned state government official said that they have launched an enquiry to find out more details. Patanjali is currently setting up a mega food park in Assam. According to reports, several people fell ill after Patanjali distributed aides to flood victims on August 30. Recently, Patanjali hit the headlines after Delhi HC banned its soap advertisement. The Delhi High Court has ordered Baba Ramdev owned Patanjali Ayurved to stop telecasting its soap advertisements on TV. The Court’s order came after Reckitt Benckiser filed a case against Ramdev’s firm Patanjali over downgrading its soap brand-Dettol in its commercials. This has been the second time the Court raised eyebrows over Patanjali’s soap ad. Bombay High Court had issued a similar ad interim injunction asking Patanjali to refrain from airing the ad till the next date of hearing on September 18. The Bombay High Court ordered came after petitions had been filed by FMCG major, Hindustan Unilever Limited against the Yoga guru firm. The whole controversy started over Patanjali advertisement mocking RB’s Dettol soap and HUL’s Pears and Lifebuoy. Reactiong to the verdict, Reckitt Benckiser’s lawyer Nancy Roy told the Economic Times, “Our prayer was seeking injunction against this ad and damages in excess of Rs 1 crore.” Patanjali in its new soap ad termed Dettol as ‘Dhitol’, Pears as ‘Tears’, and Lifebuoy as ‘Lifejoy’.

I have nothing to say to those without vision: Baba Ramdev on Rahul Gandhi’s ‘right-wing remark’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a jibe at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s statement that the core constituency of right-wing leaders are those who cannot get a job, Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev on Tuesday said that people who have viewpoint, and a vision, there is a lot of work in this universe, but for people, who are devoid of any vision, there isn’t.”Rightist, leftist, capitalist, opportunist, socialist – these are different names given by some clever people. I believe that people, who have viewpoint, vision, there is a lot of work in this universe. And the one who is visionless and workless, I have nothing to say to them,’ Baba Ramdev told ANI.Rahul Gandhi today launched a renewed attack on the Union government slamming the November 8, 2016-move of demonetization.Speaking at the University of California, Berkeley, Rahul Gandhi said that the note ban caused a tremendous damage to the economy as the decision was taken without discussion with the Chief Economic Advisor and Parliament.Admitting to the fact that the Congress is not in its best of health, Rahul Gandhi said, “Around 2012, arrogance crept into the Congress party and we stopped having conversations with people.”Rahul Gandhi also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of massively opening up space for the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.

Rahul Gandhi criticises PM Modi’s economic policies; says politics of polarisation has raised its ugly head

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic policies, accusing him of causing “tremendous damage” to India’s economy with “reckless and dangerous” decisions like demonetisation and”hastily-applied” GST.Gandhi, 47, who arrived in the US yesterday on a two- week-long tour, addressed students at the University of California, Berkeley, to reflect on contemporary India and the path forward for the world’s largest democracy.He said the November 8 demonetisation decision was taken without asking the Chief Economic Advisor and Parliament, which caused tremendous damage to the economy.Demonetisation, he alleged, imposed a devastating cost on India.”Ignoring India’s tremendous institutional knowledge and taking such decisions is reckless and dangerous,” he charged.Gandhi is on his two-week visit to the US during which he will interact with global thinkers and political leaders, and address overseas Indians as part of an outreach initiative by his party.In Washington DC, the Congress vice president is scheduled to interact with members of the think-tank community, political leaders, and government officials.Gandhi is also scheduled to travel to Princeton University before his final address to overseas Indians in New York. Key highlightsRahul Gandhi in UC Berkeley► The Idea of non-violence is under attack today, yet it is the only idea which can take humanity forward. The idea of non-violence or ahimsa is what has allowed this mass of people (India) to rise together. As Indira Gandhi was asked whether India will switch ‘Left or Right’. She said it will stand straight and tall.► Hatred, anger, and violence can destroy us, the politics of polarization is very dangerous► There is no democratic country in history which has raised so many people out of poverty as India► Small and medium entrepreneurs are the bedrock of India’s economic progress► Decisions like Demonetisation took without asking Chief Economic Advisor and Parliament caused tremendous damage. Demonetisation has led to decline in economic growth► I am with them in their quest for justice, violence again anybody I strongly condemn: Gandhi on Sikh riots► I lost my father, my grandmother to violence if I don’t understand violence then who will?► In 2012, a certain arrogance crept into the party and we stopped having a conversation. Rebuilding the party, we need to design a vision that we can use moving forward.► I am absolutely ready for that, but our party works according to organizational elections► Modi clamped down on RTI. He shut it down. We got in trouble as we dramatically increased transparency► There’s a BJP machine..about a 1000 guys on computers tell you about me that I am reluctant, stupid. All they do is spread abuse about me and the operation is run by the gentleman who is running our country.► For 9 years I worked behind the scenes with PM Manmohan Singh,P Chidambaram,Jairam Ramesh and others on J&K► When we started, terrorism was rampant in Kashmir, when we finished there was peace, we had broken the back of terrorism. By 2013, we basically broke the back of terror, I hugged PM Manmohan Singh and told him it was one of the biggest achievements.► Modi has certain skills, he is a very good communicator, much better than me. He knows how to give a message to 3-4 different groups in a crowd, so his messaging ability is very effective and subtle. What I sense is he doesn’t converse with people he works with, even members of Parliament and BJP tell me that.

India-Russia friendship rock solid: Sushma Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday told her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that the “rock solid” friendship between the two countries cannot be weakened by anyone.Swaraj met Lavrov on the sidelines of Eastern Economic Forum being held in Vladivostok.She said the ties between the two nations were solid like a rock, according to a tweet by the Indian embassy in Russia.Details of their discussion were not immediately available.Earlier in the day, Swaraj attended the India-Russia Business Dialogue at the forum.She said India was keen to expand its economic ties with Russia’s resource-rich Far East and sought Russian government’s assistance in facilitating Indian investors in the region.Swaraj said under the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Start-up India’ programmes the Indian government has made concerted efforts to attract technology, investments and best practices from around the world.

List out steps taken to probe allegations against Khadse: Bombay HC to Maha government

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government to list the steps taken to probe the “serious” accusations of corruption and misuse of public office made against former state minister Eknath Khadse by activist Anjali Damania.A bench of Justices BR Gavai and MS Karnik said that if it finds that the state has taken required steps, then it might not continue hearing the PIL, but if it failed to do so, the court “cannot remain a silent spectator”.It was hearing an application by BJP leader Khadse seeking that a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Damania and five others against him and his family members be dismissed as they were associated with political parties.The PIL, filed in July this year, had alleged that Khadse had misused his office and “amassed great wealth at the cost of public interest throughout his political career”.It had alleged that “Khadse and his relatives had purchased several land parcels through benami transactions and that the assets owned by him and his family were disproportionate to their incomes.”The PIL had sought that a “Special Investigation Team be constituted, or a judicial inquiry be initiated” to look into the allegations.Khadse, however, argued through his counsel Darius Khambata that the PIL deserved to be “thrown out” of the court since the “petitioners were not bona fide”.Khambata alleged that since “Damania and three other petitioners were previously associated with the Aam Aadmi Party, and another petitioner was a working member of the Shiv Sena, they had approached court with the ulterior motive of exacting a political revenge against their rival BJP leader.” Besides, he argued, the petitioners had failed to disclose their political associations to the court at the time of filing the PIL.”The rules of filing a PIL mandate that the petitioner must make full disclosure of his identity, motives, and also of any pending litigation against him or her. In the present case, not only are the members associated with rival political parties, but, they chose to suppress this fact before the court.”Also, there are several criminal defamation cases pending against Damania, which she refused to inform this court of,” Khambata argued.”There is no public interest in this plea and it is merely an act of political vendetta,” he said.The petitioners’ counsel Mihir Desai however, argued that Damania and the others had resigned from their political posts in AAP much before filing of the PIL.He also said that Sena member Gajanan Malpure had approached HC merely as a “concerned citizen.” He also said that of the 27 cases of defamation pointed out by Khadse, Damania had “received notices in only three of the cases”.Desai also told the court that before filing the PIL, the petitioners had exhausted all other available remedies by filing complaints on the above allegations against Khadse before various state authorities including the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Jt Commissioner of the Economic Offences Wing, the Enforcement Directorate, and the income tax commissioner.The bench noted that since the state government had acknowledged receiving the above complaints on November 10, 2016, the court was “expected to find out what the state had done so far in response to the complaints”.It said that while the rules mandated that the courts verify the bona fide of petitioners in PILs, it was also the court’s “constitutional duty to ensure that justice was done in all cases.””Serious allegations have been made on affidavit by the petitioners against a senior BJP leader. If we find that the state has taken required steps then we might not continue hearing the PIL.”However, if we realise that the state has failed to take appropriate steps based on the complaints made by the petitioners, this court cannot remain a silent spectator,” Justice Gavai said.HC has granted the state three weeks to file an affidavit listing down the action it has taken since receiving Damania’s complaints in November 2016.

India new defence minister hails progress for women

The only other woman to have held the post is former prime minister Indira Gandhi.

Court rejects bail plea of Guj bizman in Rs 2K-cr scam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Sessions court while rejecting a bail application of a 51-year-old Gujarat-based businessman for his alleged involvement in Rs 2107.76 crore scam case held that the offence has deep-rooted conspiracies involving huge loss to public funds. The court also held that the offence poses a serious threat to the financial health of the country, and such economic offence needs to be visited with a different approach.According to the prosecution, the Mumbai branch of Canara Bank had registered a case against four persons including B G Jain, CMD of Surat-based Nakoda Ltd; company’s director D B Jain, chartered accountant J C Somani and Punit Rungta with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with a Rs 2,107 crore fraud. The accused have allegedly cheated a consortium of 13 banks led by Canara Bank.According to the agencies the accused had allegedly produced forged documents and utilised them to secure a loan from the bank. The accused allegedly had taken loan from the bank after submitting “manipulated financial data” and diverted the money to other businesses through shell firms. It allegedly took the loan for business activities and defaulted on repayment.The court in its order copy held that the Supreme Court in a similar charges case held that economic offences need to be visited with a different approach in matters of bail. Economic offences having deep-rooted conspiracies and involving huge loss of public funds need to be viewed seriously and considered as a grave offence affecting the economy of the country as a whole.

Massive rejig in bureaucracy: Mehrishi made CAG

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a massive bureaucracy rejig that may raise several eyebrows, Modi government on Thursday evening gave the plum post of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to Rajiv Mehrishi as soon as he retired from the post of the Union Home Secretary.Mehrishi, a 1978-batch Rajasthan cadre IAS officer, was made the union home secretary on the final day of his superannuation as Finance Secretary (in-charge of Department of Economic Affairs) on August 31, 2015. He handed over the baton of Ministry of Home Affairs to 1982-batch IAS officer of Jharkhand cadre Rajiv Gauba.Even before the announcement, it was speculated that Mehrishi might be handed over the post of a Governor or the Election Commissioner. Mehrishi will replace Shashi Kant Sharma, who was appointed by the Congress led UPA government in May 2013.Besides Mehrishi, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved the appointments of Ashwini Attri, Anita Pattanayak and Ranjan Kumar Ghose as Deputy CAG.In another key appointment, the government appointed former IAS officer Sunil Arora as the Election Commissioner. The Commission was working with only two Election Commissioners after the retirement of Nasim Zaidi as CEC.

Will move casinos out of Mandovi in next 3 yrs, claims Godinho

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Goa Panchayat Minister Mauvin Godinho today said the state government is committed to move casinos out of Mandovi river and claimed that it would be done in the next three years. Godinho said there would not be a single casino in Mandovi down the line three years and the government will execute it through a policy. “The BJP government is committed to remove casinos from Mandovi river. You will see that three years down the line there will not be any casino there,” he told a press conference here today. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had told the state legislative assembly in the recently concluded monsoon session that the vessels would be moved out of Mandovi by adopting a policy. When asked about where the casinos would be relocated in the near future, he said government is working out various alternatives and solutions to decide about it. “The decision will be taken in consultation with the stakeholders,” he said. Godinho, a former Congress leader, charged that it was the opposition party which brought casinos to the state. “Congress brought casinos to Goa and are now wanting them to be removed,” he said. The minister alleged that scams like land allotment to Special Economic Zones (SEZs) or be it rise of drug trade in the state, it all began during the previous Congress regime. “We are committed to get rid of the drug menace. We are concern about our youth. It is a serious issue and every BJP member and its coalition MLAs want to make Goa free from drugs,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Central team to inquire into ‘irregularities’ in PMAY

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A central team would inquire into the alleged irregularities in selection of beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY) scheme in Odisha s Cuttack district. This was informed by Union Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan through a letter. “Directions have been given to the Chief Controller of Accounts to send an internal audit team to Odisha for conducting a specific inquiry in the matter and furnishing the report,” Tomar wrote to Pradhan. Tomar’s letter came in response to Pradhan drawing his attention in which sarpanch of Barahipur gram panchayat in Cuttack district had alleged largescale irregularities in selection of beneficiaries. The Sarpanch Kishore Kumar Rout and some other villagers had alleged that ruling party MLAs, BDO and panchayat extension officers are involved in corrupt practices while selecting beneficiaries, Pradhan had written to Tomar earlier. Tomar said identification of beneficiaries should be based on the housing deprivation parameters as per Socio-Economic and Caste Census, 2011 data.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Odisha doubles incentive to encourage inter-caste marriages

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Odisha government, in an effort to encourage inter-caste marriages, today announced that the cash incentive for persons performing inter-caste marriages would be doubled to Rs 1 lakh from Rs 50,000. According to the SC/ST development, minorities & backward classes welfare department secretary S Kumar, the cash incentives would be given irrespective of the economic status of the marrying couple. The couple could use the cash to purchase land or buy household articles, he said. The state government had increased the amount to Rs 50,000 from Rs 10,000 in 2007, he added. He said since dalits comprise 17 per cent of the state’s population and the tribals comprise 22 per cent, such cash incentive may help to subside the conflict over inter-caste marriages. A couple will have to apply for a sanction of the grant and execute a bond in order to avail the opportunity. The recipients will have to refund the entire amount within a year in case the marriage ends in divorce within five years. Sources said as many as 4100 couples have availed the cash incentive facility between 2010 and 2016.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Bihar CM recommends CBI probe into Bhagalpur NGO scam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today recommended a CBI probe into alleged swindling of government money to the tune of over Rs 950 crore by an NGO in Bhagalpur. Kumar’s decision came after a high-level meeting on the the case in which government money was allegedly syphoned off by an NGO in Bhagalpur and some nationalised banks and government officials were also suspects. “The CM gave an order (to the state authorities) to hand over cases registered in the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation for inquiry,” an official statement said. The meeting was attended by state Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, Director General of Police P K Thakur, Principal Secretary of Home Amir Subhani and Inspector General of Police (Economic Offence Unit) G S Gangwar. The cases were being investigated by the economic offences unit (EOU) of the Bihar Police. The state police today issued a lookout notice against secretary of the accused NGO, ‘Srijan’ and her husband for allegedly swindling over Rs 950 crore of government money in Bhagalpur. “The lookout notice against NGO secretary Priya Kumar and her husband Amit Kumar has been sent to all airports of the country to prevent them from leaving the country,” Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) S K Singhal said. Priya Kumar is the daughter-in-law of Manorama Devi, the founder of the NGO. Manorama Devi died early this year after which the NGO was being run by Priya Kumar and Amit Kumar, son of Manorama Devi, officials said. Singhal said that the bank account of the wife of arrested District Welfare Officer Arun Kumar has been frozen in Bhagalpur. Officials said during a raid, over Rs 1.50 crore was allegedly found deposited in that account. The ADG said 10 arrests have been made so far in connection with the scam.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

NLUP brought economic development in Mizoram: CM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Independence Day was celebrated in Mizoram with gaiety and enthusiasm amid tight security today with Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla asserting that the New Land Use Policy (NLUP) has brought development in the state. Addressing the people at the Assam Rifles ground here after unfurling the National Tricolour on the occasion of the 71st Independence Day, Lal Thanhawla denied the allegations by some critics that NLUP was a failure. “I would like to remind the critics of NLUP that several long gestation crops like orange, areca nut, rubber and others need seven to eight years to yield results for sustenance of the beneficiaries,” he said. The chief aim of the NLUP, the flagship programme of Lal Thanhawla government for the past nine years, is to develop and provide all farmers of the state suitable, permanent and stable trades. The chief minister said that as per the Economic Survey report 2015-16, production of rice had gone up by 31.54 per cent in spite of reduction of ‘jhum’ (slash and burn method of shifting cultivation) area by about 40 per cent. He also claimed that there was a phenomenal increase in production of broom grass by more than 22 times. “When NLUP started, production of input supply was less than five per cent in almost all sectors,” he said, adding that by the end of 2015-16, most of the sectors have achieved self-sufficiency in quality input supply which was a highly commendable achievement. Outlining the state government’s achievements, Lal Thanhawla said that the 60 megawatt Tuirial hydel project would be commissioned during this year. He said that Mizoram continued to be one of the most peaceful states in the country as concerted efforts to maintain peace by the law enforcement agencies, the NGOs, the churches and the general public.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP core committee to debate scam charges against Maha Ministers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior leaders from the Maharashtra BJP unit will go into a huddle on August 16 to discuss strategy to counter opposition’s tirade against the party led government involving housing minister Prakash Mehta and industries minister Subhash Desai for their alleged involvement in scams. Even though Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced an inquiry into the allegations against Mehta by the state Lokayukta, an independent probe against Desai and an inquiry against IAS officer Radheshyam Mopalwar by the Economic Offence Wing, the leaders are expected to reiterate that party will not compromise on its policy of zero tolerance towards corruption.Fadnavis has already rejected resignations offered by both Mehta and Desai while Mopalwar has been sent on one month’s leave. State party president Raosaheb Danve told DNA,” The present political situation in the state will come up for discussion during the core committee meeting slated for August 16, a day before party’s state executive council meeting. The corruption charges made against the government will be debated. The committee will look into a roadmap for the party and the party led government to counter those charges.” Incidentally, Danve will chair the meeting slated for August 16 and it will be attended by Fadnavis and a few ministers.Another party leader, who desired not to be quoted, said opposition has been questioning CM’s decision in the past to bail out ministers including Vinod Tawde, Pankaja Munde, Babanrao Lonikar, and Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar despite corruption allegations. “However, the Opposition has created a perception that it was due to their attack that the CM ordered a probe against Mehta, Desai and Mopalwar. Fadnavis has clarified that he would not stick to the chair but never compromise on principles. But this is not enough, as now the onus is on ministers in the state cabinet to perform without getting embroiled in controversy, ahead of next assembly election slated for 2019,” Danve noted.Interestingly, controversy involving Mehta in particular won’t find any place in party’s political resolution to be taken up during state executive council meeting slated for Thursday. However, Fadnavis is expected to make his observations in this regard in his speech on the same day.Danve informed that the political resolution will talk about the BJP’s sterling performance in the Uttar Pradesh assembly poll, election of Ramnath Kovind as the President of India, Venkaiah Naidu as Vice President, three year tenure of Amit Shah as the national president. “In addition to this, the resolution will mention party’s victory in civic and local body elections and its preparedness for the election to the Mira Bhayander, Nanded and Ahmednagar civic bodies,” he said.Further, Danve said the executive council will pass resolution on agriculture thanking the state government for its decision to waive Rs 40,000 crore worth crop loan waiver. Besides, the issue of farm crisis in the wake of less rainfall and the government’s intervention will also be incorporated in the same resolution.

BJP MLA Anil Gote mired in audio clip controversy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An audio clip detailing a conversation between Anil Gote, BJP MLA from Dhule, and the party’s former office bearer Prashant Bhise has gone viral on social media. The conversation reveals that Gote reportedly obtained orders from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to initiate investigations against Radheshyam Mopalwar, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation’s (MSRDC) vice chairman and managing director, through the Mumbai Crime Branch in connection with the latter’s alleged involvement in the kidnapping of Satish Mangle.In the clip, Gote is believed to have asked Bhise to meet him and collect the copy of the CM’s order. The clip was released on Friday by the Dhule unit chief of the Nationalist Congress Party, Manoj More, who has also demanded an inquiry into the matter.”The voice speaking in the clip is mine, but the content is irrelevant. It has been in circulation for a while. I will soon file a case in court seeking criminal action against More. My character is my political capital, how can I let someone tarnish it?” The new clip has surfaced just 10 days after the government sent Mopalwar on a month’s leave after a clip wherein Mopalwar was allegedly mediating a land deal involving underhand payments had come to light.The government has asked the Economic Offence Wing to probe the authenticity of the clips.Mangale recently said he sent clips of his conversation with Mopalwar to all concerned authorities to initiate a probe into his assets.When contacted, Mopalwar said, “This proves that there is a sinister conspiracy to implicate me by misusing the august forum of the state legislature.”Gote, in the audio tape, further says that he will raise a calling attention motion in the Assembly on the subject.In the clip, Gote also says Bhise should bring new currency notes to Nagpur, and not the old ones. December 2016 was the time when currency change-over was under way following the Centre’s decision on demonetization. Gote thereafter adds that Mopalwar has been repeatedly calling him.Bhise pleads with Gote to discontinue the conversation on the issue as he feels his phone is being tapped.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Economic Survey warning, Pahlaj Nihalani ouster, Selectors to pick ODI squad for SL tour, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Economic Survey warning: Growth target difficult to meet, bullish on GSTAll’s not well on the fiscal side, says the second part of the Economic Survey 2016-17 tabled in Parliament on Friday. Read more here2. In blockbuster move, Pahlaj Nihalani snipped out of CBFCPahlaj Nihalani was removed as the chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) with immediate effect on Friday. Lyricist and adman Prasoon Joshi will be taking over as the next chairman of the film certification body. Read more here3. Uttar Pradesh: 31 kids gasp to death in GorakhpurAt least 31 children and infants, suffering from encephalitis, died in the last 48 hours at the state-run BRD Medical College in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, as a private firm allegedly stopped oxygen supply over non-payment of dues. Read more here4. Can selectors think beyond Dhoni, Yuvi for ODI series against Sri Lanka?Even though the Sri Lankan team has failed to pose any serious challenge against the visiting Indian side in the ongoing Test series, skipper Virat Kohli has made it clear that he will not skip the upcoming One-Day International series. Read more here5. It’s a British-Bollywood film: How Amy Jackson describes her indie movieOf late, Amy Jackson has been extremely busy with her shoot schedule in the English capital. She’s working in an independent film called Boogieman and is very excited about it. Read more here

Merge company with ONGC, suggests Pawan Hans employee union

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pawan Hans could be merged with state-owned ONGC or made its subsidiary, a section of employees at the helicopter service provider has suggested even as they opposed the government’s disinvestment plan. The All India Civil Aviation Employees’ Union (AICAEU) has again written to the Prime Minister’s Office seeking intervention for reconsideration of the decision to sell 100 per cent stake in Pawan Hans. Pawan Hans — where the Centre and ONGC hold 51 per cent and 49 per cent stake, respectively — has more than 900 employees, including 450 on permanent roll. The union claims to represent around 300 employees of Pawan Hans. In a letter dated August 7, the union has suggested that Pawan Hans be merged with ONGC or made a subsidiary company by way of increasing ONGC’s stake to 51 per cent. After ONGC hikes the stake to 51 per cent, Pawan Hans can go for public issue “to get the government a much higher price from the sale of shares… in the next five years with expansion and improved performance”, the letter stated. “Once Pawan Hans Ltd becomes a subsidiary of ONGC, its market value shall be two to three times higher based on its linkage to ONGC share prices,” it added. In October last year, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had given its in-principle approval to strategic disinvestment of profit-making Pawan Hans. Set up in 1985, Pawan Hans has a fleet of over 40 helicopters.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Week after Madras HC vacates interim stay, Chennai court files fresh case against TTV Dhinakaran

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A week after the Madras High Court vacated an interim stay on proceedings against AIADMK (Amma) Deputy General Secretary TTV Dhinakaran for alleged violations of the Foreign Exchange Regulations Act (FERA), a court in Chennai framed fresh charges against him.On July 24, the High Court had set aside the charges framed against Dhinakaran by the economic offences court here on April 19. The High Court had then directed the trial court to re-do the process after granting adequate time to the accused to submit his objections and complete the trial within three months.When the case came up for hearing today before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Economic Offences), S Malarmathy, she framed the charges afresh and provided opportunity to the accused to make his submissions.Dhinakaran denied the charges and requested the court to permit him to cross examine the prosecution witnesses.After recording the submissions, the judge posted the case to August 3 for further hearing.The case of the prosecution is that Dhinakaran acquired $10.4 million without obtaining prior permission of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and deposited it in the current account of Dipper Investments Limited, a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, and having account with Barclays Bank, Sutton, United Kingdom.Charging him with violating FERA, the ED imposed a penalty of Rs 28 crore.In a reprieve to Dhinakaran last month, Madras High Court Judge M S Ramesh had set aside the forex law violation charge framed against him by the trial court.The High Court had set it aside based on Dhinakaran’s plea that the trial court on April 19 last had framed charges against him in the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act case without giving him any opportunity to defend himself

Milli Council launches campaign against Constitution violation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The All India Milli Council (AIMC), an organisation of Muslims, today launched a campaign to highlight alleged violation of the Constitution and a “string of attack” against the Dalits and minorities. The council today held a convention — Save the Constitution and Build the Nation– at the Talkatora Stadium here. According to a statement issued by the AIMC, senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav also joined the convention and expressed his displeasure over his party’s alliance with the BJP in Bihar and pledged his support to the “fight for minorities and Dalits and to safeguard the Constitution”. Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, Arya Samaj leader Swami Agniwesh, social activists Harsh Mander and Teesta Setalvad and former Economic and Political Weekly editor Pranjoy Guha Thakurta were also present at the occasion, the statement said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Govt to sell entire stake in HPCL to ONGC: Oil minister Pradhan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Upcoming refinery in Barmer will contribute to HPCL achieving heights in oil production in the country.The company plans to set up a 9 million ton unit in Rajasthan and plans the expansion of its Vishakhapatnam refinery in Andhra Pradesh. This will take the company to 50 million tons-plus category. Union oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday said that HPCL will become India’s third largest oil refiner after state-owned ONGC acquires government’s entire 51.11 per cent stake.HPCL, under which all downstream refining units of ONGC will be accumulated post-merger, will continue to remain a PSU with separate brand and board.Making a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha, Pradhan said the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had on July 19 given ‘in-principle’ approval for strategic sale of the government’s existing 51.11 per cent stake in HPCl to Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) along with transfer of management control.“The proposed acquisition in the oil sector, will create a vertically integrated public sector oil major having presence across the entire value chain. This will give ONGC an enhanced capacity to bear higher risks, take higher investment decisions and to neutralise the impact of global crude oil price volatility,” he said.The acquisition of HPCL by ONGC will result in significant synergies in terms of optimisation of logistics costs, R&D activities, economies of scale of purchase of crude oil and optimisation in refinery operations.“For overseeing this transaction, CCEA approved setting up of an alternative mechanism, headed by Finance Minister, which will help in taking quick decision with regard to the timing, price, terms and conditions and other related issues,” he said.After the acquisition by ONGC, HPCL will continue to be a central government public sector enterprise. “It can still maintain its cultural uniqueness and brand identity, distinct from ONGC,” he said.Talking to reporters outside Parliament House, Pradhan said the transaction is targeted to be completed within the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2018.“HPCL currently has 24.8 million tons per annum of refining capacity. Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) – a subsidiary of ONGC, has 15.1 million tons. After this deal, the entire refining capacity of ONGC Group will come under HPCL so, HPCL will have 40 million tons of refining capacity and will be third largest in the country after Indian Oil Corp (IOC) which has 69.2 million tons capacity and Reliance Industries which has 62 million tons,” he said.Pradhan said MRPL will merge into HPCL but did not indicate timelines. HPCL already has about 17 per cent in MRPL. So there already is synergy there.

30,000 liquor bottles, sachets destroyed in Patna district

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Patna district administration today destroyed seized 30,000 liquor bottles and sachets of country-made brew . The destruction of the liquor bottles was carried out under provision of the new Excise Act, brought in by Nitish Kumar government to enforce total prohibition in the state since April 2016. Road rollers and demolition machines were seen crushing the liquor bottles and sachets spread on the road, under the supervision of district magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agarwal. Women assembled on the spot to celebrate the destruction of the seized liquor stock. They sung songs to sensitise the people about the advantages of prohibition. Giving details, a statement from the district administration said, 14509 bottles of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), 9780 bottles of beer and 5886 sachets of domestic brew were destroyed. The stock was worth about Rupees one crore. The stock destroyed today was lying with BSBCL (Bihar State Beverage Corporation Ltd) godown in Lakhni Bigha and Khagaul-Danapur. The liquor stock was seized by the Economic Offence wing, Excise department, Rail police stations and police stations of Mokamah and Beur in Patna district. On May 29 last, the Patna district administration had destroyed 29250 seized liquor bottles worth about Rs 1.25 crore, the statement added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India can ensure regional economic progress by controlling actions on border: Chinese media

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>State run Chinese media has said India can ensure progress towards an Asia-centered trade deal called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by controlling its actions along the border.An article titled ‘China, India must prevent border tensions from blocking progress toward RCEP’ in Global Times, said, “China hopes that India can strive to control its actions, ensuring that the escalation of the border tensions does not endanger the atmosphere of cooperation for the RCEP.”The article noted that hundreds of officials from 16 nations will address a gathering in Hyderabad, India next week where they will meet to negotiate an Asia-centered trade deal called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six states with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).Asserting that China and India are two prominent members of the group, the article said, however, the sides are facing the task of preventing an escalation of their border tensions from becoming an obstacle to reaching trade agreements at the negotiating table.”China’s “Belt and Road” initiative and its unequivocal support for free trade have drawn increasing attention from the international community, which recognizes that Beijing is trying to redevelop the concept of harmonious co existence and win-win cooperation amid increased anti-globalization rhetoric. This stance is in line with the interests of all the countries involved in the RCEP including India,” it said.The article maintained that sovereign territorial rights are sacred and inviolable for China but the country is always committed to resolving disputes through negotiation and opposed to intensifying conflicts that will lead to unnecessary political and economic wounds.It further said that early completion of the RCEP negotiations will allow not only China but also India to enjoy preferential tariffs or even zero tariffs when exporting to other RCEP member countries, thus bringing new momentum to economic growth.However, the opinion piece said that China will not make any compromises to wrap up the deal as soon as possible,The article warned India saying that China will fight back and spare no effort to safeguard its territorial sovereignty, which cannot be traded in any case if New Delhi encourages the border tensions to thwart the free trade negotiations.This incident came amidst India-China’s month long stand-off in China, Bhutan, and India tri-junction Doklam border.The stand-off emerged after Chinese troops were stopped by the Indian Army from construction roads in the Doklam border.India claims Sikkim border as part of its territory, while China has said that the area falls on their side as per the 1890 treaty signed between British and China.Consequently, China suspended the annual Kailash Manasarovar yatra and conceded that the decision to suspend the pilgrimage was due to the border scuffle.It also alleged that the Indian troops had crossed the Sikkim sector of the Indo-China border. Beijing has accused New Delhi of violating a convention signed in 1890 between Britain and China relating to Sikkim and Tibet.

China aiming at unilaterally changing tri-junction status:Govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China intends to unilaterally change the status of the tri-junction with Bhutan, which poses a challenge to India’s security, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today. Responding to supplementaries during Question Hour, she informed the Rajya Sabha that there was a written agreement between India, China and Bhutan in 2012 that the three nations will together decide on the boundaries at the tri-junction point. The Minister said the boundaries between India and China are yet to be finalised and the two nations will do that bilaterally through discussions, while the same between China and Bhutan too will be done through bilateral talks. She also accused China of building roads using bulldozers and excavators, which has been protested by Bhutan in writing to China. The Minister also said that India was not “unreasonable” on the issue and all nations were with it. “India’s position is not wrong on the tri-junction and all nations are with it. The law is with our country,” she said. Swaraj said all countries are supporting us and they understand that the stand taken by India on the issue is not wrong. She said the matter can be resolved through talks and “We are willing to talk, but both sides have to first take back their armies.” She said the moment India got to know that the OBOR (One border, one road), was part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), India objected to the move immediately.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Retail inflation drops to ‘historical low’ level of 1.54% in June

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Retail inflation hit a “historically low” level of 1.54% in June on dip in food items like vegetables, pulses and milk products, which may prompt the Reserve Bank to go in for rate cut next month.”The number of 1.54% is historically low and reflects the firm and ongoing consolidation of macro economic stability,” Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian told reporters. “The last time we saw such inflation — according to slightly different CPI (IW) — was in 1999 and before that in August 1978,” he added. The latest series of Consumer Price Index (CPI) was introduced in January 2012.Inflation in the previous month – May this year – was 2.18%. On the other hand, in June last year, it was 5.77%. As per the data released by Central Statistics Office, inflation in the food basket as a whole contracted further to 2.12% last month as compared to (-)1.05% in May. Vegetables inflation declined to 16.53 and that of pulses and products to 21.92%.There was decline in rate of price in eggs (-0.08%). On the other hand, the protein rich meat and fish turned costlier as the inflation spiked to 3.49% in June from 1.87% in May. Fruits too were dearer on monthly basis. The retail inflation in the fuel and light segment slowed to 4.54% as compared to 5.46 in May.The Reserve Bank, which mainly factors in retail inflation to arrive at its monetary policy, is slated to meet in early August to announce the next bi-monthly policy rate. In its last policy in June, the central bank had kept the key lending rate unchanged citing risk to inflation.

Chhattisgarh Govt. makes changes in administration

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Chhattisgarh Government on Tuesday reshuffled the positions of seven IAS officers, while other 11 IPS officers have been transferred. Principal Secretary of Revenue and Technical Education Renu G. Pillay has been transferred as OSD and Member of Board of Revenue, while member of Board of Revenue, N.K. Khakha has been transferred to the Department of Revenue and Disaster Management. Shahla Nigar has been given additional charge of Secretary of Skill Development and Technical Education, while Ritu Sen member of Hastshilp Vikas Board has been given additional charge of Managing Director of the CIDC. Shyam Lal Dhavde has been given additional charges of Managing Director of Hastshilp Vikas Board, while B.V. Uma Devi has been given relief from the additional charge of Director of Technical Education. Indian Forest Service officer Vivek Acharya, Indian Forest Service will be the new Director of Technical Education. Meanwhile, Additional Superintendent of Police of Durg, Vivek Shukla has been transferred to Korea and Additional SP, SIB, Dr. Lal Umed Singh has been transferred as SP of Kawardha. Rajnesh Singh from Economic Offences Wing has been transferred as SP of Dhamtari and Additional Superintendent of Police Crime, Azad Shatru will now serve as SP Crime. Anchal Kumar has been appointed as the new SP of Balarampur, while D. Ravishankar, SP of Kabirdham has been given the post of SP SIB. SP of Dhamtari Manish Sharma will now be the new SP of Economic Offences Wing and Sujit Kumar from SP Korea will take over as the AIG of CID. T. Ekka, SP Bemetara will now handle the 16th Battalion of Narayanpur, who was earlier handled by D.K. Gerg. D.K. Gerg will now hold the post of SP Bemetara and Sadanand Kumar, and SP Balarampur has been appointed as SP Police Academy Chandkhuri.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India’s policy to isolate Pakistan has failed: Pak media

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s policy to isolate Pakistan globally has failed, as foreign countries are showing a keen interest to invest in the country, the Express Tribune said in a report.It alleged that the larger objective of New Delhi’s aggressive approach is to dissuade Pakistan from taking the potential benefits of China’s massive investment and discourage foreign investors from investing in projects in the country such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).The report added that India’s policy has failed, as about a dozen companies from a single European country alone have recently decided to venture into Pakistan.Highlighting foreign investments in Pakistan, the report said, in April, a delegation of the Association of French Entrepreneurs, known as MEDEF, visited Pakistan to explore the possibilities of investment in sectors such as automobile, oil and gas, energy, water management, engineering and microfinance.The minutes of the meeting and discussions held between the French delegation and Pakistani interlocutors revealed that at least nine top companies decided to do business in the country, it added.Multinational automobile manufacturer Renault is now contemplating to build its own manufacturing facility at the Port Qasim, it said adding, Suez Group, a world leader in water and waste management, is keen to enter into an agreement with the government of Sindh for improved water supply to Karachi.The report also quoted a senior foreign ministry official as saying, “Even the allies of India are not toeing its line on Pakistan.”

Saifuddin Soz feels PM Modi wants solution for Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader Saifuddin Soz today said he feels that irrespective of his background and RSS connections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants a solution to the Kashmir issue. “I personally think, Hurriyat should be kept in the loop at the time of talks. Tomorrow they may be irrelevant, but today they represent the anger of the Kashmiri youth,” he said at a conference on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) here. A section of speakers at the conference called for talks with all stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the vexed issue. Lt General (retd) Syed Ata Hasnain said solution to the Kashmir issue lies in bringing the people of Jammu and Kashmir at par with other states — politically, economically and psychologically. “This is an achievable aim and can be achieved with the help of the Indian Army,” he said. Ashok Behuria, fellow and coordinator, South Asia Centre, Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, said, “We must re-federalise our states and empower local bodies. Decentralisation of power is essential.” ORF chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni said there should have been efforts for normalisation of issues between Hindus and Muslims, as well as between India and Pakistan. “A continuous dialogue should be held with all stakeholders, including separatists,” he said. “We should resume bilateral talks between the two countries and not wait till the last terror attack takes place or the last bullet is fired,” Kulkarni said. He added that India should re-look at the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor intelligently and try to convert it into an opportunity. “Let Kashmir be a bridge for physical as well as political communication,” Kulkarni said. “I am also of the opinion that Bangladesh, India, China and Myanmar route should be further connected to Kabul and Iran,” he added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sushma holds talks with Belarusian industry minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and Belarus today discussed issues of mutual interest in the areas of trade and economy as also the upcoming visit of President Alexander Lukashenko here. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held talks with Belarus’ Industry Minister Vitaly Vovk. Belarus had supported India at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) Session in Seoul in June 2016. “Both ministers discussed issues of mutual interest including the upcoming visit to India of the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko,” a press release by the external affairs ministry said. The meeting came ahead of the 8th Session of the Indian- Belarusian Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation to be held tomorrow. During the IGC, the participants will consider ways to further strengthen the cooperation between Belarus and India in trade, economy, science, technology, and humanitarian affairs, intensify the interregional ties, and create favourable conditions for the implementation of joint projects in areas of mutual interest, according to Belarusian media.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

UN spokesperson disregards query on rights abuse in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesperson sidestepped a question from a Pakistani journalist on rights groups within India demanding the government to stop alleged human rights violations in Kashmir. The Pakistani journalist at a regular press briefing asked Guterres’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the Secretary-General’s response to civil rights group within India asking the Indian government to stop the rights abuses. The journalist also asked the spokesperson whether the UN chief had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue. “We’re aware of the situation. I have nothing more to say than what the Secretary-General himself said during the press conference,” Dujarric replied to the journalist yesterday. In his first press conference at the UN headquarters since assuming charge in January, Guterres, responding to a question whether he is engaged in bringing about dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir dispute, had said, “why do you think I met three times the prime minister of Pakistan and two times the prime minister of India.” “For someone accused of doing nothing, it is quite a number of meetings,” he had said, referring to the criticism that he has been shying away and was reluctant to act to defuse tension between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue. Modi and Guterres met in June on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. There, Modi had stressed on multilateralism to address global challenges such as terrorism. Sharif and the UN chief met in January on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum at Davos and again this month in Astana during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Modi, Trump call for respecting sovereignty while boosting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid India’s concerns over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump today underlined the need for bolstering regional economic connectivity while respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity. India has been severely critical of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, as the USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of the BRI, passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Modi and Trump, who held wide-ranging talks during their maiden meeting, called for “support in bolstering regional economic connectivity through the transparent development of infrastructure and the use of responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law, and the environment.” They also urged all nations to resolve territorial and maritime disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law, a joint statement issued after the talks said. The assertion comes, days after Prime Minister Modi cautioned against rolling out connectivity projects without respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity. In an address at the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Astana, Modi, in presence of Xi, had said connectivity with countries of the region is a priority for India and that such projects should ensure inclusivity and sustainability. India has been protesting the CPEC vehemently and had abstained from the Beld and Road Forum held in Beijing last month to highlight its concerns over the project.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Chinese lawmakers stress solemnity of national anthem

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China’s lawmakers today deliberated a draft law on the national anthem, stipulating that it should be played during major diplomatic and sports events. Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), joined the deliberation. A draft was submitted to the NPC Standing Committee for the first reading at the start of its bi-monthly session, which runs until Tuesday. Legislating for the national anthem will be conducive to enhancing citizens’ patriotism and upholding national dignity, said Huang Qifan, vice chairman of the NPC Financial and Economic Affairs Committee. The national anthem should be played or sung at the opening sessions and closing sessions of the NPC and local people’s congresses at all levels, and that of national committee and local committees of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, constitutional oath ceremonies, as well as flag raising ceremonies, major celebrations, awards ceremonies, commemorations and national memorial day events held by governments at all levels. Important diplomatic activities, major sports activities and other proper events should also play the national anthem, the draft said. Zheng Gongcheng, a member of the NPC Standing Committee, said that opening and graduation ceremonies at schools should be added to the clause. The national anthem should be included in music textbooks for first-grade students at primary schools, according to the draft. Su Hui, another member of the committee, suggested that the song should be an important part of kindergarten education. According to the draft, those who maliciously modify the lyrics or play or sing the national anthem in a distorted or disrespectful way may face detention for up to 15 days. Sun Zhijun, a member of the committee, suggested that cases of gross violation shall be investigated for criminal responsibility, as the similar clause has been listed in the country’s national flag law and national emblem law.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cyber insecurity biggest threat to Indian businesses: Survey

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Information and cyber insecurity has emerged as the biggest threat to business operations in India, followed by terrorism and insurgency, a survey today revealed. The findings were released shortly before a spokesperson for the BJP outlined job creation and capital formation as major challenges before the government. “The biggest challenge for us is how will we create jobs. Now we are facing this problem with technological innovation and robotics coming in, further we will have a difficulty in job creation. “Capital formation is the big challenge the government is now facing. In spite of all the efforts of investment from the government’s side, private investment has not taken place, capital formation is not taking place, that is one challenge which the government has to take care of,” Gopal Krishna Agarwal, National Spokesperson for Economic Issues, BJP, said. He was speaking at the release of Ficci-Pinkerton India Risk Survey 2017, which noted that information and cyber insecurity has become more pronounced due to the shift that India is undergoing towards digitisation of various assets and services being delivered via Internet and mobile platforms, and the ever-present loopholes that hackers breach upon. The risk emanating from terrorism and insurgency rose two spots from last year to rank as the second biggest threat to businesses in India this year, according to the survey. It described the left-wing extremism perpetrated by communist terrorist groups as the most severe terror threat. “The persistent risk posed by terrorism and insurgencies creates a risk perception in the minds of investors with interest in the Indian market. “Although India has invested heavily in its security capability to mount effective counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations, the effects of the perception of this risk continue to affect businesses especially with respect to foreign investment,” the survey said. New risks have been identified on the basis of this year’s survey which include risk of non-compliance, business investment risk and legal regulatory risk. Corruption, bribery and corporate frauds rank as the third biggest risk, even though there is a sense of lowering corruption via regulations such as GST, demonetisation, Make in India and the Digital India programme. The India Risk Survey 2017 ranks natural hazards as the fourth highest risk to businesses, up from last year’s seventh position. India is considered at a ‘high risk’ of natural hazards with flooding identified as the most significant risk to businesses and communities in the country. Fire has been ranked fifth, up by three positions from the last the year’s ranking. In contrast to last year’s survey, strikes, closures and unrest dropped six positions to rank seven in the survey. Crime as a risk factor dropped to the eighth position in 2017, from its third ranking in last year’s survey.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

UN should only see Pak doesn’t encourage terrorism Swamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Thursday categorically said that there is no scope for the United Nations? mediation in Kashmir issue and the world body should see that Pakistan doesn?t encourage terrorism. Addressing his first press conference at UN headquarters, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday said that his recent meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif were targeted at initiating dialogue between the two neighbours to resolve the issue of Kashmir. Though the UN Secretary General has not given an impression that he would be mediating between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue, but his statement has raised many eyebrows in India and is being seen as a ?mediation bid?. Swamy said Kashmir is a part of India and so there is no question of any sort of negotiation. ?Kashmir is a part of India. There is nothing to negotiate. Only thing that the UN needs to see is that Pakistan does not encourage terrorism. There is nothing else to be done. So, there is no scope for UN mediation in the case of Kashmir,? Swamy told ANI. Guterres met Prime Minister Modi in St. Petersburg this month on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, whereas he met Nawaz Sharif in Astana on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit held this month. The UN chief had met Sharif in January also during the World Economic Forum meeting at Davos. Kashmir has been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan since independence of both countries in 1947. The ties between New Delhi and Islamabad have worsened in the recent past.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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