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Delhi govt to re-send to LG doorstep delivery of services proposal with detailed replies to questions raised

The AAP government will again send its proposal for the ambitious ‘doorstep delivery of services scheme’ to Lt Governor Anil Baijal for approval, with a detailed reply to each objection raised by him, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said.The scheme is currently at the centre of tussle between the L-G and the Delhi government with Deputy Chief Minister asking Baijal if he was trying to “protect” the corrupt system by the opposing the proposal. Recently, Baijal had returned the proposal to the Delhi government asking to reconsider it and raised several objections, including safety of citizens and corruption. “We will again send the doorstep delivery proposal to the Lt Governor with detailed replies to all objections in the next few days,” Kejriwal told PTI.He said that the government is currently preparing a response to the L-G’s objections, adding that the proposal was good for Delhiites. Under the proposal, government wants to provide 40 services at the doorstep of citizens, including driving licence, ration cards, caste certificates among others. In his objections, Baijal had said the present proposal had implications on safety and security of women and senior citizens, privacy, loss of documents, and it added unnecessary expenditure for the government and the people.Also readLG vs AAP govt: Anil Baijal decries ‘misinformation campaign’ on doorstep delivery of servicesIn response to the objections, Sisodia had said that despite the online service system, people had to visit department offices once or twice to submit their documents. To the government’s comparison of the scheme with pizza delivery at the doorstep of citizens, the L-G had said “Pizza, unlike documents, cannot be downloaded”. Replying to the L-G’s pizza remark, the deputy chief minister had said that just like “pizza cannot be downloaded online, a human being seeking a certificate cannot be uploaded and sent to a government office for verification”.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
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India facing possible mental health epidemic, warns President Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind today said India was facing a possible “mental health epidemic” and stressed the need for providing access to treatment facilities to those suffering from mental disorders by 2022.Speaking at the 22nd convocation of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences here (NIMHANS), he called for addressing the shortage of mental health professionals. “For those who are getting their degrees at the convocation, the real challenge has just begun. They are going into a world where their skills are acutely needed more than ever before,” the president said. “India does not simply have a mental health challenge… it is facing a possible mental health epidemic,” he said.Pointing out several reasons for this, he said the country was experiencing technological, economic and demographic changes that were transforming the nature of diseases.Kovind said in 2022, India would be celebrating its 75th anniversary of Independence and it should be ensured that by then at least those suffering from serious mental disorders have been diagnosed and have access to treatment facilities. “Let us take this up as a national mission,” he said.Also readDispleased with food packets being distributed, Prez Kovind stops speech midway The government, non-government sectors and all related public and private institutions need to contribute to this effort, he said, and asked the NIMHANS, as the country’s premier health institute, to draw a road map and to be the navigator towards achieving this goal. Observing that the shortage of mental health professionals was another major gap that the country has to address, Kovind said there were just about 5,000 psychiatrists and less than 2,000 clinical psychologists in the country. These numbers were very small, he said.”Especially for the purpose of diagnosis of mental illnesses, it will be advisable to use (the services of) physicians, psychologists who teach in colleges and educational institutions as well as auxiliary nurses and midwives who are at the front line of public health system across the country,” he said. On the NIMAHNS’s mental health survey, the president said the findings were alarming as 10 per cent of Indians have one or more mental health problem.In a nation of 1.3 billion people, that was a staggering figure. The number of Indians suffering from mental health problem was larger than the entire population of Japan, he said. He said the one of the biggest problems faced by those with mental and neurological issues was the stigma which lead to the matter being ignored or not discussed. In some cases it led to self diagnosis that could worsen the situation, he said, adding, “our society has to fight this culture of stigma”.”We need to talk about mental health issues and treat ailments such as depression and stress as diseases that can be cured,” he said. Other than conventional treatment, the role of counselling services and practices such as yoga and vipassana in helping those with mental health problems should also be explored with greater vigour, the president said. Karnataka Governor Vahubhai Vala, Union ministers Ananth Kumar and JP Nadda were present at the event during which sub- speciality block for Neurosciences, Medical Cyclotron facility and Intra-operative MRI with three operation theaters were inaugurated.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
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L-G Anil Baijal’s note on scheme ‘saddens’ Manish Sisodia

Continuing the attack on Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal, Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said on Wednesday that he was “extremely saddened” after reading the noting of the L-G on doorstep delivery of services scheme.On Tuesday, Sisodia had alleged that the L-G rejected the proposal for 40 doorstep services in the national Capital. “I am unable to understand why the L-G has a problem with residents of Delhi getting delivery of services at their doorstep? The basic question that arises is that should a selected L-G have the power to reject a major decision of the elected government?” Sisodia asked on Wednesday.Among the 40 public services that were to be covered under the scheme in the first phase were caste certificates, income certificates, driving licences, duplicate driving licences, new water and sewer connections, handicap pension schemes, domicile certificates, delayed birth order, Lal Dora certificates, etc. Clarifying the doubts raised by the L-G, Sisodia said these services will put an end to the long queues in government offices. “There will be a 100 per cent feedback system to check corruption and quality of services. There is no fear of documents going missing as the executive will visit your place, scan the documents, and upload them then and there. This system will be super quick. The executive will visit your place on a phone call and provide the services,” he explained.The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had planned to hire a private agency to implement the decision. According to the plan, mobile sahayaks (facilitators) will be hired through the agency, which would set up call centres.

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Political storm over Mehbooba Mufti government’s gag order

A major political storm has hit the Mehbooba Mufti-led Jammu and Kashmir government after it ordered a social media gag for its employees.General Administration Department (GAD) of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday issued a notification circular restricting the government employees from posting ‘inflammatory, extraneous messages’ on the social media.The notification was issued after Governor NN Vohra amended the Jammu and Kashmir Government Employees Conduct Rules, 1971 affer sub-rule(3) of rule 13.Under the new order, no government employee shall engage in any “criminal, dishonest, immoral or notoriously disgraceful conduct on social media which may be prejudicial to the government”.”They shall also not use their personal social media accounts for any political activity or endorse the posts or tweets or blogs of any political figure, and also shall not use their accounts in a manner that could reasonably be construed to imply that the Government endorses or sanctions their personal activities in any matter whatsoever. They shall also not post inflammatory, extraneous messages in an online community with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on topic discussion,” said the GAD notification.This move has sparked a major political controversy with employees, opposition and separatists calling it a ‘dictatorial’ approach of the state government to silence the people.The main opposition party National Conference has asked the government not to label entire employees community as ‘terrorists’.”The diktat, in the form of an amendment to the J&K Government Employees Conduct Rules 1971, aims to defame and vilify lakhs of government employees as either terrorists or anti-social elements who are apparently unable to differentiate between right and wrong in conducting themselves on a day-to-day basis”, said Junaid Azim Mattu, National Conference State SpokespersonLambasting the government, the Congress has asked the government to withdraw the notification saying it is as an attack on the fundamental rights of the people.Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) chairman Abdul Qayoom Wani said imposing restrictions on the employees over the use of social media exposes the dictatorial and regressive mindset of the present government.Separatists too have jumped on to the bandwagon to lampoon the government’s social media gag.”Ordering gags and threatening punishment to State employees for expressing their opinion on social media completely exposes the aversion to truth or its disclosure by the occupational regime and its unscrupulous local agents!” tweeted Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference.

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PM Modi takes break from Himachal schedule; has coffee at Shimla’s iconic Coffee House

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday took a break from his busy schedule to have a cup of coffee at Shimla’s iconic Coffee House.News of the prime minister’s visit spread, and soon the venue was swarmed with supporters wanting to take a picture with the prime minister.Earlier, PM Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah, former deputy Prime Minister LK Advani and several Union ministers and chief ministers attended the swearing-in ceremony of new Himachal Pradesh CM Jairam Thakur at the historic Ridge Maidan in Shimla.Governor Aacharya Devvrat administered the oath of office and secrecy to Thakur. Along with Thakur, a few MLA also took oath as Cabinet Ministers today. The five-time BJP MLA from Seraj constituency of the hilly state was elected to lead the state after the party’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal failed to register a win from his constituency.The BJP have ousted the Congress from power in Himachal Pradesh by winning 44 out of the 68 seats in the recently held Assembly polls.Along with many senior leaders and workers of BJP state unit, thousands of people also witnessed the swearing-in ceremony.

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L-G Anil Baijal for exclusive police stations run by women

Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal on Tuesday said that the Delhi Police should have police stations run exclusively by the women police officers. Laying emphasis on more women power in the Delhi Police, the L-G stated that the force needed more women officers at the forefront.Baijal was speaking at the ‘Sashakti’ programme organised by the Delhi Police where he was the chief guest as well. The programme saw the participation of over seven thousand school-going girls trained in self-defence sending out a strong message of ‘Ab nahi sehna, Na chup rehna’. Baijal, while addressing the audience, acknowledged that girls were the real chief guest on the occasion.The South Zone of the Delhi Police, in order to promote self-defence training for women and girls as a sign of women empowerment, organised a function wherein the girls who were trained by the Delhi Police displayed their techniques and skills. Over 7,000 school girls from South East, South, South West, Dwarka, West and Outer Delhi have been trained in martial arts and self-defence. Around 361 camps all over the area were held in order to promote self -defence training.On the occasion, Commissioner of Delhi Police, Amulya Patnaik highlighted the need for learning self-defense techniques as a tool for raising self-confidence and empowerment of women, and reiterated the commitment of the Delhi Police towards the safety and security of female citizens.”One year of Sashakti has been a learning experience and in the days and months to come, the training program will be further intensified and remodeled to compare with the best in similar community policing initiatives,” said Patnaik.A documentary film showcasing trained girls enacting real-life situations of stalking, snatching and harassment was also played at the event. Trainers also displayed their skills and gave live demonstrations on how one could save themselves from possible stabbing attack or acid throwers.

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PM Modi takes a driverless Metro ride on Magenta Line

Scores of locals swarmed the Botanical Garden Metro station in Noida on Monday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived to inaugurate the much awaited Magenta Line.Breaking the infamous “Noida jinx”, Modi arrived with UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, whose predecessors have always avoided visiting the state’s urban hub as it is widely believed that whoever visits Noida loses power.The PM inaugurated a section of the Magenta Line and even took a ride in the new driverless Metro around 1 pm. He was accompanied by Adityanath and UP governor Ram Naik. Amid heavy security, the trio travelled from Botanical Garden to Okhla. The PM then reached the Amity University ground to address the public.The Metro was ready for public use from 5 pm onwards.Talking to DNA, Ambrish Kuhar, a government employee and a resident of Noida Sector 37, said the Magenta Line was an answer to their long pending prayers. “It was so cumbersome going all the way to Mandi House and then boarding Violet Line to reach south Delhi. The new route will ease our commuting woes,” he said.Echoing the sentiment, Himanshu Kukreja, who lives in East of Kailash and works with an MNC in Noida, said: “I am very relieved that the travel time to my office and home will be lesser with this new train. It was long overdue.”The 12.64 km Magenta Line will connect Noida to Kalkaji Mandir and will be extended till Janakpuri by March next year. The stretch runs between Kalkaji and Noida’s Botanical Garden and would cut the travel time to 19 minutes, thus facilitating easy access for commuters from south Delhi to Noida and vice versa.The Magenta Line has automated platform screen doors at every station, which will open only when the trains arrive at the platform. The coaches will reportedly have LED display, power charging capacity, and colourful seats, while the stations will portray themes of nature, yoga, and cultural landmarks.Further, the driverless trains will be run on Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling technology, which will facilitate the movement of trains with a frequency of 90 to 100 seconds.The new trains will also offer lumbar support and backrests near the wheelchair areas, so that even if a commuter is standing, he or she can do so comfortably. While most Metro trains have power outlets, the new trains on the Magenta Line will also feature USB ports to connect phone charging cables directly, without a power adapter.The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has stated that trains on the Magenta Line will have Wi-Fi connectivity for seamless internet browsing. This feature, however, may not be available immediately, the officials added. Besides all this, fully programmable LCD screens will display videos, graphics, and other information on the trains.YOGA THEMEThe Magenta Line has automated platform screen doors at every station, which will open only when the trains arrive at the platform. The coaches will reportedly have LED display, power charging capacity, and colourful seats, while the stations will portray themes of nature, yoga, and cultural landmarks. Further, the driverless trains will be run on Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling technology, which will facilitate the movement of trains with a frequency of 90 to 100 seconds.

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Himachal: Mandi wins the battle for CM after 54 years, Jai Ram Thakur to take oath on 27th Dec

The second largest district of Himachal Pradesh with ten assembly seat, it was after a 54- year wait that Mandi has won the battle for chief ministership.No legislator from Mandi, a district with cultural affinity with Kangra and Kullu and topographic similarities with Shimla and Sirmaur districts, has ever become chief minister. Congress leader Karam Singh won five assembly elections from Chachiot from 1952 to 1972 and was a strong contender for the post of chief minister in 1963 and 1967, but missed out and Dr Y S Parmar became the chief minister.Sukh Ram, whose son Anil Sharma is now a BJP legislator, was another senior Congress leader who was in contention for the top job in the state. He also never managed to become the chief minister. The BJP, this time put up a stunning show in the district, winning 9 of the 10 Assembly seats. The saffron party’s chief ministerial face P K Dhumal lost his own election leaving the field wide-open. Finally, it was again Chachiot, or Seraj after delimitation, that again came to the fore with its five-time MLA Jai Ram Thakur, who will now be sworn as the 14th chief minister of Himachal Pradesh on December 27. Also readThe Accidental CM: Meet Jai Ram Thakur, new Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh He will take oath in a star-studded ceremony attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah among others. The 52-year-old Thakur leader edged past party stalwarts in the race to the top office and will be the first leader from the politically-significant Mandi region to helm the hill state. Thanking the party leadership and workers after his election Thakur said that swearing in ceremony would take place on December 27.Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who along with Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman was appointed as a central observer by the BJP, announced that Thakur was chosen to be the next chief minister as thousands of party workers began celebrating.The Seraj MLA, a throughbred RSS man, emerged as the frontrunner for the top post after the shock defeat of BJP’s chief ministerial face Prem Kumar Dhumal in the state Assembly polls, the results of which were announced last week. A former chief minister, Dhumal, was still in the reckoning for the chief minister’s post till last night, when he opted out. Union minister J P Nadda was another top contender. Thakur, a former state unit chief and rural development and panchayati raj minister in a government headed by Dhumal, was elected the leader of the BJP legislature party today.The decision was taken at a meeting of BJP MLAs.His name was proposed by senior leaders Suresh Bhardwaj and Mahender Singh and seconded by others. “It is expected that Thakur will take oath as the state’s next CM on December 27 at a ceremony where Prime Minister Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and a galaxy of top leaders would be present,” a source said. Thakur along with senior party leaders handed a letter staking his claim to form the government in Himachal Pradesh to Governor Acharya Devvrat who invited him to do so.The five time MLA will be the first chief minister from Mandi, the second largest district of the state. Himachal’s chief ministers and political leaders mostly belong to or hailed from Shimla, Kangra and Sirmour districts. Mandi has 10 Assembly seats, second only to Kangra’s 15. In this election, the BJP put up a stellar show in Mandi, winning 9 of the district’s 10 seats.Seen largely as a low-profile man, Thakur is from a farming family of Mandi. He did his post-graduation from Panjab University in Chandigarh and decided to join politics when he was in his 20s. Thakur contested on a BJP ticket in the 1993 Assembly polls. He lost, but went on to win in 1998 from the now delimited constituency of Chachiot (Seraj) and every Assembly election after that. A soft-spoken man, Thakur’s strength is that he is seen as a leader who has managed to straddle the party’s warring factions in the state.A lack of consensus among the newly elected MLAs had resulted in the two central observers — Union ministers Sitharaman and Tomar — returning to Delhi from Shimla yesterday to hold fresh consultation with the BJP central leadership. Earlier, the two-member team of central observers, which was in the state on December 21 and 22, had taken feedback from members of the state BJP’s core committee, MPs and some MLAs. The BJP ousted the Congress from power by winning 44 out of the 68 seats in the Assembly polls.

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CM Kejriwal seeks LG Anil Baijal’s intervention to ensure safety of girls rescued from Delhi ashram

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today sought Lt Governor Anil Baijal’s intervention in ensuring the safety of girls recently rescued from facilities being run by a self-styled godman in the national capital.He demanded that if any police personnel was involved in sabotaging the case, he should be acted against while the Aam Aadmi Party went a step ahead and alleged a “nexus” between police and “certain BJP leaders” behind the activities of the controversial ashrams.The BJP rejected the allegations.Also readFive more minors rescued from Dixit Ashram branches”I urge Hon’ble LG to personally intervene and ensure strict action against ashram and ensure safety of rescued girls. If any policeman acts malafide, strict action shud be taken against him,” Kejriwal tweeted.In a press conference, senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh demanded the arrest of Virender Dev Dixit, who was running the ashrams, many of which have come under the scanner of police, in Uttar Pradesh as well.Also readGirls in Rohini Ashram force fed intoxicants: DCW chiefIn Delhi, around 46 girls have been rescued from two ashrams in Dwarka and Rohini.”It is an outcome of a nexus between the police and certain BJP leaders. Till now, the fake godman has not been arrested and it is still not known as to how many such centres are being run by him,” he said.Also readGirls in Rohini Ashram force fed intoxicants: DCW chiefDelhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said the BJP, like every other political party, follows Indian culture, respects all religions and spiritual leaders.”However, trying to associate the BJP’s name with the recent exposes relating to the ashram is condemnable. The party has no association with the ashram’s activities. Police should keep a watchful eye on them in view of the recent undesirable activities,” he said.

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Vijay Rupani, others to take oath on Tuesday, ceremony in Gandhinagar

Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani met Governor O P Kohli on Saturday and staked claim to form the government. Vaghani told media persons that party leaders would meet again and, with the consent of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, will decide on the probable names for the cabinet.”We met the governor and staked claim to form the government. The governor invited us to form the government on December 26. The swearing-in ceremony will be held at Helipad Ground on the Secretariat campus,” said Vaghani”The party leaders will sit with the CM and Deputy CM in a day or two and decide the size of the cabinet and who all will be included. Many eligible candidates have been elected, so there is no dearth of options,” he added.The BJP won the Assembly elections with 99 seats. But many of its prominent faces, such as Shankar Chaudhary, Dilip Sanghani, Chiman Shapariya, and many others who were ministerial probables lost the polls. This also indicated that the party will have to induct young new faces this time, according to a senior leader.”The size of the cabinet may be around 20, including the CM and the deputy CM. Nine members can get cabinet-level portfolios, while 10 to 12 members will get state-level portfolios. In the absence of experienced women and scheduled caste members, making selection in those categories will be a tough task,’ the leader noted.

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L-G: Fast track construction of Rani Jhansi flyover project

Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal took stock of the long-delayed construction of Rani Jhansi flyover being built to ease out congestion by the municipal corporation in north Delhi on Saturday. The L-G has directed the civic agency to put work on a “fast track mode”.The 1.6 km flyover was proposed to be built since the erstwhile MCD was in power and has missed a number of deadlines since. The latest deadline was of January 2018.”The officials were told to expedite the development of the portion by putting all the resources so that commuters on the route can get relief by availing services at the earliest,” said a statement issued by the L-G’s office.He also directed the Public Works Department (PWD) and traffic police to study traffic pressure for its smooth flow at the entry and exit points of the grade separator from both sides so that it may not become a bottleneck.Also, officials of the North MCD have been asked to put up a weekly report on any hurdles being faced by them in the completion of the project.Four times the initial cost, the flyover was earlier given December-end as its deadline. From Rs 177.70 crores in 2008 to Rs 722 crores in 2016, the delay has caused the cost to go up manifold.The grade separator to link Filmistan to St Stephens Hospital, Tis Hazari was to ease traffic movement in areas including Civil Lines, ISBT Kashmere Gate, Karol Bagh, Paharganj, Sadar Bazar, Azad Market, Kamla Nagar and Mandir Marg, among others.However, civic officials have been claiming that they faced many complications in shifting utilities as well as the traders from the area.Fresh ordersThe L-G also directed the PWD and traffic police to study traffic pressure for its smooth flow at the flyover’s entry and exit points.Officials of the North MCD have been asked to put up a weekly report on any hurdles in the project’s completion.

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Ashok Chavan may get second term as MPCC chief

The Bombay High Court’s rejection of the Governor’s prosecution order in the Adarsh scam has brightened Ashok Chavan’s chances of getting yet another term as the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) supremo.The state unit has already completed the election process, authorising the party high command to decide Chavan’s fate. However, insiders in the party admit that the court order has come as a major slap on the BJP’s face which will have to rework its strategy to target Chavan.This apart, Chavan was instrumental in organising protests against the BJP-led government in November and December in six revenue divisions, where he travelled extensively. By and large, the party leaders say Chavan had brought factions together to take on the BJP on issues such as farmers plight, lapses in the implementation of crop loan waiver, deteriorating law and order and finances.Subsequently, the state Congress unit and the state Nationalist Congress Party jointly took out a march and organised a rally at Nagpur on the second day of the winter session on December 12 hinting at an alliance in the run-up to the next Assembly elections slated for 2019.Further, Chavan’s stock soared after Congress won 73 of 81 seats in the Nanded Municipal Corporation, where BJP had made it a prestige issue and cornered him in his home town.MPCC spokesman Ratnakar Mahajan told DNA,” Clearly, Chavan will now strive for the responsibility bestowed upon him with renewed vigour as the Bombay high court has set aside the Governor’s sanction to act against him in the Adarsh case. The party’s high command is expected to continue with him as the state unit president for another term.”Newly-anointed All India Congress Committee president Rahul Gandhi is soon expected to take a call in this regard.Already, the party high command has given a green signal to Chavan to organise a mass contact programme in all 288 Assembly constituencies across the state in January. Chavan had already begun preparations for the same.The party MPs, legislators, party office bearers will address public rallies, hold protest marches and reach out to voters at the booth level in a bid to further strengthen the party’s organisation to take on the BJP.Congress had won 42 Assembly seats and bagged only two seats in the 2014 elections. Thereafter, the party has been struggling to regain its stronghold and come second in successive elections held for civic and local bodies in the state.Past protestsAshok Chavan was instrumental in organising protests against the BJP-led government in November and December in six revenue divisions that he travelled.

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Timeline of fodder scam case which rocked Lalu Prasad Yadav’s political career

A special CBI court on Saturday convicted former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and 14 others in the high-profile fodder scam case. The quantum of sentence will be announced on January 3 next year.However, another former Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra was found innocent along with six others.The fodder scam case has been at the center of Bihar politics and have rocked Lalu Prasad’s political career.The case pertains to an alleged fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994. Here is a brief timeline of the case: 23 December 2017: Special CBI court in Ranchi announces verdict on fodder scam. Lalu Prasad Yadav found guilty in the fodder scam case along with 14 others. The quantum of sentence will be announced on January 3, 2018.8 May 2017: The SC ruled criminal conspiracy charges against Lalu Prasad in connection to the two-decade old fodder scam.November 2014: Lalu Yadav moved Jharkhand HC challenging the CBI court’s 2006 verdict that named him in six cases within the fodder scam. The HC ruled that the proceedings would continue under IPC Sections 201 and 511. Other charges were dropped on grounds that a person once convicted or acquitted cannot be tried for the same offence.30 September 2013: The CBI court convicted Lalu and 44 others in the fodder scam. This made him ineligible to stand in elections for six years. The former CM stood disqualified as a member of Lok Sabha.13 August 2013: Lalu Prasad’s plea to transfer the trail court judge was rejected by SC.1 March 2012: Charges were framed against Lalu Yadav, Jagannath Mishra, Jagdish Sharma and 31 others for fraudulent withdrawal of 46 lakhs from the treasuries of Banka and Bhagalpur against forged bills.2 April 2010: The SC ruled that a state government “is not a competent authority” for a plea by the state government to the Patna High court challenging the CBI’s 2006 verdict on disproportionate asset case.31 May 2007: 58 people, including Lalu’s nephews, two former regional directors of the Animal Husbandry Department, and four suppliers were all given 5-6 years in prison.18 December 2006: Lalu, and his wife Rabri were acquitted of charges in the disproportionate assets case filed against them by the CBI seven years ago in the special CBI court.February 2002: The trial began in a special CBI court in Ranchi.5 October 2001: The creation of new state forced the case to be transferred to the Jharkhand High Court.9 June 2000: Charges were framed against Yadav in court.10 May 2000: Patna High Court granted provisional bail to Lalu. It will be extended on 25 occasions.5 April 2000: Both Yadav and Devi surrendered to CBI court. While Rabri Devi was granted bail, Lalu Prasad was sent to jail as judge dismissed his bail plea.4 April 2000: A charge sheet was filed against Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi.19 August 1998: A case of disproportionate assets was registered against Lalu and his wife Rabri Devi.30 July 1997: After stepping down as the Bihar chief minister, the RJD chief surrendered before a court.23 June 1997: 56 people, including Yadav were accused in charge sheets filed by CBI. The charges included IPC 420 (forgery) and 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) and Section 13 (b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.17 June 1997: The Governor of Bihar gave his approval for the prosecution.10 May 1997: The CBI issued a formal request to Governor of Bihar to prosecute Yadav.March 19 1996: A two member bench was appointed by the SC to examine the development of the investigation.11 March 1996: The Patna High Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe into the case.27 January 1996: The Rs. 1000 crore fodder scam surfaced after conducting a raid in the Animal Husbandry department. The large scale embezzlement took funds from government and supplied it to non-existent companies for purchase and supply of cattle fodder in Bihar in the 1990s.(With inputs from ANI)

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Adarsh scam: Ashok Chavan alleges BJP indulged in vendetta politics

After the Bombay High Court decided to set aside Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao’s decision to sanction his prosecution by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), former chief minister and state Congress chief Ashok Chavan charged that the BJP government was indulging in vendetta politics.”The Bombay High Court has decided to set aside and squash the decision of the incumbent Governor to allow (the CBI) to prosecute me,” said Chavan, who is also a Lok Sabha MP from Nanded, while speaking after the HC’s ruling on Friday. No new material and evidence had been found to justify the overturning of previous Governor K Shankarnarayanan’s decision to the agency to disallow prosecution, he added, stating that Rao’s predecessor had noted that there was no evidence to allow prosecution against him.Chavan alleged that the decision of the BJP-led government to suggest his prosecution smacked of “political vendetta.” “This was done with an intention of revenge, to finish off political adversaries,” he charged.Also readAdarsh scam: Big relief for Ashok Chavan, Bombay HC sets aside governor’s sanction to prosecute him”The prestige of the office of the Governor has been restored. Otherwise, this would have set a wrong precedent… I have not done anything wrong and today’s decision has made it clear. The truth shall prevail” noted Chavan.

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Slugfest begins as Max Hospital resume services

After fighting a battle for more than 10 days, services at Max hospital in Shalimar Bagh resumed on Wednesday. The hospital had presented its case to the Finance commissioner on Tuesday. “The operation of the impugned order is stayed till the next hearing,” says the order by Finance Commissioner. The next hearing is on January 9.As the decision to open the hospital came out in public, a political slugfest kicked off between BJP and AAP over the decision. Neither the Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal not the Delhi government owned up to the decision fearing public outrage, instead who is ‘ruling’ the Finance Commissioner became the trending topic.”Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh has resumed its operations from today, following a stay order issued by the appropriate Appellate authority to whom an appeal was made.We are fully focussed on providing quality care to all our patients and honouring our commitment of ensuring free treatment to the economically weaker sections of the society,” the hospital said in its statement on Wednesday morning. However, the ‘Appellate authority’ has not been specified by the officials.The L-G house stated on Wednesday that no officials from the hospital met Baijal regarding the cancellation order. “The powers of appellate authority, being a quasi judicial function are performed by the Financial Commissioner, Delhi as per his/her judgment without any interference or supervision by any authority,” a statement from L-G house stated.The Delhi government on December 8 had cancelled the license of the hospital’s branch in Shalimar Bagh for wrongly declaring a baby dead. A preliminary report submitted by a panel of doctors to the Delhi government had found the hospital guilty of not having followed the prescribed medical norms in dealing with a pair of newborn twins.”On what basis & by whose decision was the appellate authority formed to hear the Max Shalimar Bagh licence cancellation appeal ? How did the appellate authority reach to the conclusion in the first hearing itself that a stay can be given on the DGHS decision ??,” Delhi government spokesperson Nagender Sharma tweeted.The Finance Commissioner is a statutory post and the incumbent on this post exercises the powers of the Lieutenant Governor/ Chief Commissioner, delegated under various statues. The commissioner has been delegated powers to act in a quasi-judicial capacity. The commissioner hears revision petitions/appeals against orders passed by competent authority under various acts including Delhi Nursing Home Registration Act, 1953.”The Commissioner falls under the jurisdiction of the L-G and not Delhi government. We were not even informed about the order,” said a senior Delhi government official.The blame game between AAP and BJP began with both the parties turning it into a political issue. “It was just to attract public attention. The government has taken back its decision. There is definitely some behind this decision,” said Manoj Tiwari president, Delhi unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).”What was the tearing hurry for the appellate authority to stay the cancellation of Max Shalimar Bagh licence ? Why did the heart beat only for profit making hospital & not the new borns ?? Decision on whose directions ??,” Delhi AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj tweeted.

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Arun Jaitley, Saroj Pandey to be in Gujrat to decide on CM: Jitu Vaghani

Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani said that observers appointed by BJP high command for the election of Gujarat CM will come to the state in a day or two. The BJP chief addressed a press conference at BJP headquarters Shri Kamalam on Wednesday. Vaghani also slammed Congress for celebrating their defeat.Vaghani said, “In very short time, our observers, Jaitley and Saroj Pandey, will come and the process of election of CM by calling a meeting of elected candidates of BJP. The procedure will be conducted very soon in day or two.”Taking potshot over Congress and Gujarat in-charge Ashok Gehlot, Vaghani said, “The Congress is celebrating for what? Their defeat in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. They are creating an uproar that they have got more seats in Gujarat, but they have lost and defeat is defeat. Why they are not talking on their leader Rahul Gandhi’s failure in Himachal Pradesh polls.””The Congress gave luring promises in their manifesto but they should understand that people of Gujarat are self-respecting and they cannot be enticed by hollow promises. We thank the voters who showed faith in BJP, PM Narendra Modi’s leadership and good governance in Gujarat under BJP’s rule for 22 years,” added Vaghani.Vaghani also said that Congress should not go overboard after Gujarat polls and should start daydreaming for Lok Sabha polls. He also added that Congress would not be able to win in Lok Sabha polls to be held in 2019 and next assembly polls of Gujarat to be held in 2022.Meanwhile, The Gujarat government’s cabinet passed the resolution to dissolve the 13th assembly and that was moved to Governor for his approval. The Governor also approved the same and the assembly issued the notification accordingly. Including Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani and other cabinet members, will submit their resignations to Governor on Thursday.

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PM Modi meets BJP MPs from Gujarat, Himachal

Even as the choices for chief ministers of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh are shrouded in secrecy, BJP MPs from both states met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.”Met party MPs from Himachal Pradesh. Had a wonderful interaction with BJP MPs from Gujarat,” Modi said in tweets.The two sets of MPs felicitated the Prime Minister for the two victories; the party retained Gujarat for a sixth consecutive term and recaptured Himachal after a gap of five years.Also present were party president Amit Shah and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The party’s state in-charge Bhupendra Yadav was also present for the Gujarat MPs’ meet, while Union Minister JP Nadda and MP Anurag Thakur were present in the meeting with Himachal MPs.Within the party, the thinking seems to be that there are no ‘moral grounds’ for making Prem Kumar Dhumal the CM, given his electoral loss. He is also just two years shy of the BJP’s 75-year caveat for retirement. The two other top contenders are Nadda and Jai Ram Thakur, a five-time winner.In Gujarat, however, Vijay Rupani is likely to stay on as CM as insiders believe removing him would look like capitulation to Patidar pressure, not to mention that he was projected as the Chief Minister face. Rupani won by a huge margin, beating one of Congress’s strongest candidates.Apart from Vijay Rupani, the other names doing rounds are that of MoS road transport and shipping Mansukh Mandaviya, Vajubhai Vala, the incumbent governor of Karnataka. Ranchodbhai Chanabhai Faldu, who is a Patel leader and won the Kalavad seat is also being projected as a Patidar face.

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Memories of a struggle

Goans remember the day in 1961 when they won freedom from Portugal and joined independent India.

What is govt doing? Rajnath Singh targets Cong over deaths of Gauri Lankesh and Paresh Mesta

Speaking at the Parivartan Rally in Bengaluru, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh targeted the Karnataka government over the alleged murders of Paresh Mehta and Gauri Lankesh.He said: “Paresh Mesta was recently killed. What this govt is doing in these murder cases’ Gauri Lankesh was killed. I want to assure Karnataka public that when our govt is formed, we will probe her death from all angles, culprits will be punished. We won’t save anyone.”With the assembly elections in Karnataka on the agenda for 2018, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday appealed to the natives to support the formation of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government under the leadership of B.S. Yeddyurappa.Also readWhen Rajnath Singh met the Maulvi saab who caned him as a kid and got emotionalRajnath while praising the former chief minister said, ‘We want to empower Karnataka, and this will be possible when, in two to three months, a BJP government will be formed here. The BJP will contest in the upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka under B. S. Yeddyurappa Ji’s leadership.’ Also readRSS pays tribute to slain journalist Gauri LankeshAccusing the Congress Party and its leadership in the state of indulging in corruption, Rajnath alleged that the grand old party is indulging in ‘divide and rule’ in the state and causing communal disharmony by involving caste and other related factors. He further claimed that scams such as that related to the construction of a steel flyover are being ignited by the Congress. ‘Congress government here wants to divide Karnataka community to rule. I received information that even though there is no regulation in the constitution, Muslim community here was befooled with reservation which was later out ruled by the Court,’ he said. Also readParesh Mesta death: BJP urges Karnataka Guv to intervene, Siddaramaiah says ‘unfortunate’ incident being politicisedRajnath added, ‘The government here created such an issue over Tipu Sultan. I do not want to dive deep into history, but I have to ask: Why is there no celebration for Kempegowda, Kittur Rani Chennamma or Sir M. Visvesvaraya’ Why only Tipu Sultan?” Congratulating the newly-elected president of the party, Rahul Gandhi, Rajnath further accused the Congress of igniting disorder and turmoil in several states, including Kashmir. ‘I want to congratulate him (Rahul Gandhi) but also ask- did the fire of communalism, terrorism and axalism in India erupt due to BJP’s policies’ Did fire erupt in Kashmir due to BJP’s policies? If someone formed governments by setting fire, it is Congress. BJP is trying to douse the flame,’ claimed Rajnath.Lauding the initiatives across various fronts taken under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rajnath claimed that India is no longer considered weak, and is now a superpower that nobody can questions. ‘If not for the BJP and Prime Minister Modi, the Doklam issue would not have been resolved. China too has understood that diplomatic ties have to be maintained. On the Indo-Pakistan border, our forces are strongly retaliating against attacks, as was seen during the surgical strike last year. We will not fire first, but if someone fires at us, we will not sit back,’ claimed Rajnath. Highlighting the economic reforms undertaken in the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, Rajnath opined that steps such as demonetisation have led to an intense crackdown on benami properties, shell companies and black money. Further, steps like financial inclusion and strengthening of agriculture have been praised by international agencies such as Moody and others too, he said. At the rally, Rajnath was accompanied by Yeddyurappa and other party leaders. On a related note, Karnataka will go to polls in April next year. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders on Tuesday took out a ‘Raj Bhavan Chalo’ march from Gandhi Statue to submit a memorandum to Governor Vajubhai Vala seeking direction to the Karnataka Government for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe in youth activist Paresh Mesta death case. The march was led by MP Shobha Karandlaje. They later reached the Governor’s house and urged him to intervene in this incident. The body of the missing activist Paresh Mesta, a resident of Thulisinagar in Honnovar was found in a lake behind Shani temple on Friday. He was missing from last Wednesday. There has been significant tension in parts of Uttar Kannada post his death. Mesta’s family has alleged that there was foul play and it’s unlikely that he drowned in the lake. However police have ruled out any foul play, according to reports. Doctors who have performed autopsy on the body say they didn’t find any evidence of assault or mutilation, according to multiple reports. ​BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje has alleged that it’s a ‘brutal murder’ and the state government is trying to cover it up. Several top leaders including Union Minister Ananth Kumar was part of Mesta’s funeral procession, the report says. According to BJP MP Karandlaje, police were mute spectators when a hostile mob attacked Mesta near a temple on Wednesday. The trigger was a street fight between an autorickshaw driver and motorbike rider, which soon took a communal colour. There was stone pelting too and shops were attacked. Reports suggest that Mesta was missing after trying to evade stone pelting. His body was found from Shettikere Lake a couple of days later. Gauri Lankesh edited the anti-establishment Gauri Lankesh Patrike. Her killing was very similar to the earlier killings of the rationalists and activists Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar, and MM Kalburgi who were equally critical of the right wing.The journalist’s family has made a plea not to give a political colour to her killing. They had said the investigators should look into all possible aspects of the case, as reports had emerged about a possible Naxal hand in the crime, besides the suspected involvement of right-wing extremists.With inputs from ANI

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Instruct district administrations to not attend meetings called by Guv; be worthy of office: Chidambaram tells TN CM

Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday hit out at Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit’s statement that the governor is the titular head of the state, but the real power belongs to the chief minister.“Amused by TN Governor’s statement. Governor is only the ‘titular’ head of the Executive, not the ‘real’ head. Since the real head, the Chief Minister, is cowering in fear of the central government, the TN Governor is exceeding his authority,” Chidambaram tweeted.The former finance minister also sent a message to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palanisami, saying that if he was worthy of the office he held, he (Palanisami) should instruct district administrations to refuse to participate in meetings called by the Governor.Also readTN governor discusses development work in Coimbatore; opposition calls it interference by CentreEarlier, Raj Bhavan in Tamil Nadu issued a press release stating the role of the governor. “The governor is the executive head of the state as per the Constitution. He has complete power to obtain any information connected with the administration of the state and to visit various parts of the state without any restrictions. There have been reports, discussions and comments from various biased quarters about the Constitutional illegality of such actions,” the release said, adding that meetings being held between the governor with district officials is in conformity with his role as governor of state under the provisions of the Constitution of India.On Thursday, Purohit held meetings with officials of Cuddalore district, despite mass protests from the opposition DMK party.On December 7, DMK leader M.K. Stalin had said party supporters will hold peaceful protests against Purohit during his visits to various districts to review developmental works.Stalin said the Governor should stop indulging in “political” work to review projects and instead order Chief Minister K. Palaniswami to prove his government’s majority in the assembly.

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Puducherry governor Kiran Bedi bans business class air travel by officials

Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi today banned business class air travel by officials in view of “severe financial constraints” faced by the territorial administration. “Business travel is not essential.It is a comfort and a luxury and not a right,” she said in a WhatsApp message to mediapersons after an urgent meeting with chief secretary Ashwin Kumar. “If we travel in economy class, we can save for the people in the current circumstances when we need every rupee,” Bedi said.A ban has been imposed with immediate effect on business class air travel by officials, she said.The former IPS officer said in the message that various measures were finalised at the meeting to overcome the financial constraints faced by the administration.She issued “immediate instructions” to all secretaries of the territorial administration asking them to strictly comply with the instructions.Bedi also instructed officials that before tenders are floated, it must be clearly stated in the proposed note for approval whether required money is available within the budget estimates of the departments.Also readKiran Bedi tweets video of old lady dancing thinking it was PM Modi’s mother, apologises for faux pas”Or else the exercise of tenders becomes futile in the event of funds not being available. This would also ensure prevention of blame games which only causes confusion in the minds of the people,” the Lt governor said.She contended that these measures would be followed in the interest of financial administration of the territorial government.The Secretary to Finance here has been duly informed about the measures and all government funded societies have also been directed to adhere to “principles of financial prudence lest the Heads of Departments should become accountable.”Also readSEE PIC: Kiran Bedi tweets a picture of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s chappals to highlight his simplicityThe objective is to save every rupee for essential expenses of the people of Puducherry, she added.

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Stone inscription should be made available for public viewing

A 14th century stone inscription which sheds new light on the history and evolution of Mumbai may be opened for public display and research.The state government has written to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) asking that the medieval-era stone tablet be handed over to it or displayed to the public. The inscription discovered in the BARC last year lists out a land grant by King Hambirrao, who ruled over Mahikavati (modern-day Mahim) and was a feudatory of the Tughlaqs. The edict was made in 1368 and (Samvat 1290) sheds new light on Mumbai’s pre-colonial history.Historians say that apart from the city’s history and social structure, it also reveals that Mumbai was not a medieval backwater before it was colonised.State Directorate of archaeology and museums officials said they had written to the BARC asking for the tablet, which was an important artefact about the history and urbanisation of Mumbai, to be handed over to the directorate.”It can also be displayed for people at an appropriate place in the BARC premises,” the official suggested.Mugdha Karnik, Director, Centre for Extra-Mural Studies (CEMS), noted that this stone inscription was “a property of the country and was very important for Mumbaikars.” “So, it should be available for public view, either (in) the BARC or they should hand it to the state department of archaeology,” she said. Karnik rued that despite communication from them, the BARC had not loaned the inscription for display at the ongoing exhibition organised by the CEMS at the varsity’s Kalina campus, which sees at least 20,000 footfalls.KN Vyas, Director, BARC could not be reached for a comment despite repeated telephonic calls. Queries sent to the director on email were not answered until the time of going to the press.”The history of Mumbai between 1300 and 1420 is very nebulous… the Yadava dynasty (of Deogiri) was routed by Allaudin Khilji in 1303 after which his son became the Governor. They were later replaced by the Tughlaqs. But we do not know who ruled Mumbai then,” noted archaeologist Kurush Dalal, Assistant Professor, CEMS, University of Mumbai.He added that the stone tablet referred to “Maharajadhiraj Shri Hambhirrao,” Ferozshah Tughlaq (whose vassal Hambirrao was), and Hambhirrao’s ministers like Arisini Prabhu. It mentions the grant of land near Nanale village (later acquired for the construction of the BARC). Hambhirrao, whose stone inscriptions are also found at Nagaon and Uran in Raigad, was the ruler of ‘Mahim Bimbasthan’ (today’s Mahim), which is referred to in the edict, and his domains encompassed northern Raigad and southern Thane.”The inscription also lists out names of people like Deonarkaru (from Deonar), Marolkaru (one from Marol) and Daithankaru (Daithan, though there is no evidence of where it was located in Mumbai) and Saharkaru (from Sahar)… as witnesses. The titles like Desila and Mhatara may be the root-words of surnames like Desai and Mhatre and tell us about the social system of those times,” explained Dalal.”(The inscriptions) reveal that in 1368 AD, there was a local Hindu ruler for Mumbai, whose domains covered Mumbai’s island city, Sashti, Deonar, Thane and parts of the Konkan and was a feudatory of the Tughlaqs… this has changed the understanding of Mumbai’s history. We know that Mumbai was not some backwater before the advent of the Portuguese,” he noted.

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Centre to decide if Ram Kishen Grewal’s family will get Rs 1 cr relief: Delhi High Court

The Centre will now decide whether ex-serviceman, late Ram Kishen Grewal who had committed suicide during the One Rank One Pension (OROP) stir, would get Rs 1 crore from the Delhi government, said the Delhi High court on Tuesday.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar disposed the plea filed by advocate Avadh Kaushik who had challenged the Delhi government ‘s decision to grant compensation to Grewal’s family stating that it cannot pass any order since the matter is now pending with the Centre.The bench refrained from passing any order after the Delhi government had informed in a counter-affidavit that the decision of the Delhi cabinet of granting Rs 1 crore compensation to the family of ex-serviceman Late Ram Kishen Grewal was rejected by the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) of Delhi four times.The L-G had stated that the specific case did not fall within the parameters of the scheme concerned. Delhi government had announced a compensation of Rs 1 crore to Grewal declaring him a ‘martyr’. However, the court while disposing of the case also expressed its displeasure and asked that how a person who has committed suicide be termed as a martyr. “You are laying a wrong precedent because then people will come to Delhi, commit suicide in the hope that their family gets money,” the court told the counsel appearing for Delhi government.The court held that the matter has been rejected by the LG and it is now pending with the Centre. So it is still at a premature stage. Following this, on March 3, 2017, CM Arvind Kejriwal met the L-G and requested that the Cabinet decision be implemented. Baijal, however, refused to do so, stating that the specific case did not fall within the parameters of the scheme, i.e death occurring in the discharge of official duty.

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When Rajnath Singh met the Maulvi saab who caned him as a kid and got emotional

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today recalled how a teacher, who used to cane him and his classmates, waited on the roadside to garland him when he became a minister in the Uttar Pradesh government.At the convocation of Lucknow University, an emotional Singh remembered that when he was traveling to his hometown, he saw the “Maulvi sahab” holding a garland to welcome him.But as a tribute to his teacher, who was particular about discipline, the minister garlanded the Maulvi sahab instead.”When I was in primary school, a Maulvi sahab, who was our physical education teacher, used to cane students if they indulged in indiscipline. After the punishment, we would do the right thing.”When I became education minister of Uttar Pradesh… On the way to my hometown… Near Chandauli, I saw a 90-year-old man on the roadside… I immediately recognised he was my teacher.Also readContinue good work as friends of hill people: Rajnath Singh to Assam Rifles”I got my vehicle stopped. The Maulvi sahab was holding a garland to welcome me … I garlanded him instead, touched his feet and sought blessings. My teacher started crying and that made me emotional too,” the minister said.Home Minister Rajnath Singh urged students to maintain “maryaada” (dignity) in life as he exhorted them to take a pledge to make India “Vishwa Guru”.Also readRajnath meets CMs of Bangladesh bordering states, looks to expedite setting up of additional outpostsAddressing the 60th Convocation of Lucknow University here today, he said, “I am the Home Minister of India, even then I do not lower my dignity. Maintaining dignity in life helps a person to become great.”Singh said, “The law of gravity and Pythagoras’s theorem were given by India to the world. There are many things which India had given to the world. All we have to do is to take a pledge to make India a ‘Vishwa Guru’ (mentor of world)…And to make India a ‘Vishwa Guru’, the youths have a major role to play.”The home minister was also honoured with a honorary degree of DSc. Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma were present at the ceremony.”I had even asked the vice-chancellor not to bestow upon me the honorary degree as I do not consider myself ‘laayak’ (worthy) of it. But, when the VC cited tradition, I agreed to it,” said Singh, who represents Lucknow in the Lok Sabha.Also readIf GST is Gabbar Singh Tax, why did you support it in Parliament: Rajnath Singh to CongressLaying emphasis on character building, he said, “In a person’s life, character plays a major role. I would like to tell the students not lower ‘maryaada’ (dignity) in their life…It helps make a person not only popular, but also respectable…This thought comes from education and some of its from the society.””Education builds character. As compared to Lord Ram, Ravana was more wealthy, stronger and more knowledgeable. Despite this, Ravana got destroyed as there was a decline in his character,” he said.Referring to a foreign newspaper article on tech giant Infosys versus terrorist organisation al-Qaeda, said, “In both the organisations, the youngsters work very hard. At one organisation, the youth work for the development of the country, while at Al-Qaeda, they work for destructive activities.”The home minister added, “I am working in the political sphere. People would say that a person who is working in the political sphere is advising me…I know that in independent India, there is a difference in words and deeds of politicians, and this is the reason that there has been a fall in trust about the politicians among the public.””…But, you should not try to keep yourself isolated from the political system…I urge the youth to a pledge and restore politics which has lost its meaning and spirit. The youth must join politics of development, as we have to make India great. An India which is gyaanvaan (knowledgeable), dhanvaan (wealthy) and mahaan (great). We have to build an India, which can lead the world in terms of gyaan (knowledge) and vigyaan (science),” he said.Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks about making a “New India” and it will be achieved by making the country free of caste, poverty and corruption, he said.

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DCW volunteer beaten, paraded naked, six held

A day after a Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) volunteer was assaulted and paraded naked for raising her voice against the liquor mafia in outer Delhi’s Narela, the Delhi Police on Friday arrested six women in connection with the case.Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal directed Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik to ensure a speedy investigation into the case. Also, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal met the victim at the hospital and the L-G in the evening, besides summoning the Excise Commissioner.The Delhi Police, meanwhile, have claimed that the woman was not paraded naked and that her clothes were torn while she was being beaten.The volunteer had tipped off the DCW regarding the sale of illicit liquor in Narela by another woman, who along with other women, later assaulted the victim. None of the eye witnesses in the case interfered or tried to help the victim.Special Commissioner of Police Dependra Pathak stated on Friday that on December 6, DCW chief Swati Maliwal, along with the volunteer, had gone to raid a premise where some containers of illicit liquor were found. A case was also registered in the matter.”Later, on December 7, a group of local women beat up this volunteer. Certain aspects of the allegations were not correct but on the basis of the complaint by the victim, all six accused have been arrested,” Pathak said.Maliwal, who was present with the victim during the raid, tweeted: “For those who think that only one woman was paraded naked, they should know that the drug and liquor mafias operating in the national Capital have also exposed the police officers and the administration.”Talking about the Delhi Police’s zero-tolerance policy towards illicit liquor, Pathak said: “The total number of cases registered against illicit liquor this year is 55, as compared to 42 in the previous year. The total number of related seizures was 1,218 as compared to 689 in the last year.”

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Legal age for consuming alcohol raised from 21 to 23 in Kerala

The Kerala government on Wednesday decided to raise the age limit for consumption of liquor from the existing 21 years to 23 years.A decision to promulgate an ordinance to make necessary amendments in the Abkari Act in this regard was taken at a cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here. A recommendation would be made to the Governor, Justice P Sathasivam, to issue the ordinance, an official release said. The cabinet also decided to enlarge the powers of the State Women’s Commission by making necessary changes in the relevant law, the release said.It gave approval to a draft bill for the changes.The amendment envisages giving power to the Commission to summon any individual for taking a statement in connection with the hearing of a complaint. At present, the Commission has only the power to summon witnesses and ensure their presence during the hearing, the release said.Also readKanpur residents asked to submit personal details and get picture clicked before buying alcohol!On other cabinet decisions, the release said approval was accorded to set up 20 small Hydro electric power projects in the private sector under the Built Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis. The projects were sanctioned as per the Small Hydro Power project policy of 2012. The sanction would be for a period of 30 years from the date of signing agreement with the government. The state regulatory commission would fix the power tariff as and when the projects start operation, the release said.
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Campion School celebrates 75th anniv today

Campion School in Fort that was instituted on January 20, 1943 by members of the Society of Jesuits with a mere 23 students has now grown into an establishment of 830 students. The school marks the completion of its 75 years on Tuesday.When it just began, the school ran from a rental ground floor flat at 45, New Marine Lines and its first principal was the late Fr Joseph Savall. Until 1956, the school imparted Cambridge education to its students before switching to the ICSE board in 1957.Paul Machado, the school’s longest-serving principal, from 2003 to present, said, “Students come from Wadala, Worli and even Mahim. In the 1950s the school shifted to Wellesley House and Arthur House buildings. Earlier, the school was imparting education from grade three to eight and now it is imparting education from junior kindergarten to grade 10. Our alumni organisation is very active and they, along with the school, have decided to raise funds for the present and former teachers’ health and other aid. On its 75th year celebration, the school is going to release a logo that will be used on our letterheads for a year.”Several renowned personalities are alumni of Campion School, some of them include former aviation minister Praful Patel, politician Dr Shashi Tharoor and builder Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, to name a few.The event to mark the school’s 75 years will take place on December 5 at NCPA at 6 pm, which will include the Governor of Maharashtra C Vidyasagar Rao releasing a special cover followed by the release of 75th year logo.GIVING BACKThe school’s PTA introduced a program called 75 acts of kindness in which the school will reach out to less privileged citizens. Dr Shashi Tharoor will address the audience.
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Lalu Prasad puts aside political hositility to attend Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi’s son’s wedding

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi’s son and private sector employee Utkarsh married Kolkata-based chartered accountant Yamini today in the presence of a large number of politicians and dignitaries.Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ram Vilas Paswan, Dharmendra Pradhan, Giriraj Singh, Bihar Governor Satyapal Mallik, Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das were among those present at the ceremony.RJD supremo Lalu Prasad was also conspicuous by his presence as a threat by his son Tej Pratap Yadav to disrupt the function had led to a change in the venue. Tej Pratap had, however, retracted his statement later.Also readNot a criminal, don’t take my words literally: Tej Pratap Yadav tells Sushil Modi to go ahead with son’s weddingPolitical hostility took a backseat today as Prasad greeted Modi with a warm handshake before taking a seat beside Union Minister Giriraj Singh.In a departure from tradition, the wedding was held during the daytime and without any ornate arrangements, musical bands or feasts. All guests were requested not to bring gifts to the wedding and were handed over a packet containing four laddoos.Also readWill skin PM Modi, says Tej Pratap over Lalu Prasad Yadav’s securityThe groom was dressed in a simple white khadi kurta, pyjama and a maroon waistcoat and the bride wore a red sari.The sprawling veterinary college ground, where the wedding was solemnised, was dotted with banners and hoardings carrying slogans against dowry and child marriage.A stall was set up on the ground to hand out forms that urged people to take a pledge against dowry and child marriage.At an adjacent stall, pamphlets encouraging people to donate their eyes and other organs were distributed to the guests.
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Capital may soon follow London model to unclog roads

The national Capital may soon follow the London model of levying congestion charges in a bid to unclog the city roads. The move was suggested at a review meeting held by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal where he asked the Traffic Police to carry out a study to explore the feasibility of introducing the congestion charge for driving on designated roads.Baijal held a meeting with the Traffic Police, Public Works Department (PWD) and experts from the Central Road and Research Institute (CRRI). The meeting also explored the possibility of introducing one-way traffic on few roads.”Delhi Traffic Police will get a study conducted on Delhi roads where congestion charge can be levied or one-way traffic system can be implemented,” said a senior traffic police officer.A number of key roads remain congested despite alternative routes being available in the Capital.”Congestion charge on such roads will ease traffic and prompt people to use alternative routes, the officer said. An electronic system, like the ones in London and Singapore, will be launched for smooth implementation of the charge if it is found feasible,” the officer added.Besides, the LG also reviewed measures for decongestion of traffic on Capital’s lifeline – Ring Road – between north Delhi’s Salimgarh bypass and Majnu Ka Tila. The stretch witnesses hour-long jams on a daily basis becoming a hassle for commuters. The LG also asked the government and the police to update commuters about the real-time traffic situation through radio, apps and social media.The stretch of the Ring Road from Shanti Van to Chandgi Ram Akhara measuring 4.7 km has a heavy volume of both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The stretch has a number of bottlenecks leading to traffic snarls near Old Hanuman Temple, Yamuna Bazar, ISBT Kashmere Gate and opposite the Monastery Market.Some of the short-term measures suggested by the experts, include installation of lane-based traffic signal at Y-intersection behind Red Fort; establishing a traffic signal on the merging point of Kela Ghat Road, which will have the police manually man the traffic merging from Shahdara flyover loop. Besides, entry/exit of pedestrians would be made directly from the ISBT by extending foot-over-bridge (FOB) and removal of garbage containers placed on the Ring Road near Hanuman Temple.
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Watch: PM Modi inaugurates Hyderabad Metro, takes first ride

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated the Hyderabad Metro Rail and took a ride along with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao in its maiden run.The first phase of the metro rail project covers a 30-km stretch between Miyapur and Nagole, having 24 stations.The train was driven by a woman driver covering four stations. The trains would run from 6 am to 10 pm initially.Prime Minister Modi was accompanied by Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana ESL Narasimhan, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, Telangana’s IT Minister KT Rama Rao and state BJP chief K Laxman. ALSO READ Delhi metro fares among the lowest in the world: Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri ALSO READ 3 lakh passengers ditched Metro after fare hike: RTIBefore the inauguration, Modi said: “We believe in cooperative federalism. There is no question of discriminating against states where we are not in power. We are committed to the overall development of our country.”

On issue of joining politics, my wife clearly says no: Raghuram Rajan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Ruling out any possibility of entering politics, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan today said he is happy being a professor and it’s the job he likes.On being asked if he had an offer from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to join the Rajya Sabha, he said, “No comments on whether I was offered anything. When I was in RBI, people were desperate to get me off to IMF, when I am back as professor, people are desperate to see me elsewhere. I am very happy being a professor. I have my brain working many hours of day.It is a job I like.”On possibility to join politics, Rajan said, “The answer is no…on issue of politics my wife says very clearly no.” The AAP had approached Rajan offering him a Rajya Sabha seat from Delhi, which was reportedly rejected by the ex-RBI governor.In a recorded interview played at the Times Litfest here, Rajan, without disclosing much details, said he is working on another book.This book will be “an attempt to understand better the world we live in. The issue of identity, issue of community and how it impinges on the broader process of economic integration and growth”, he said.His last book, titled ‘I do what I do’ was released in September, touched various aspects of the Indian economy.He also talked about issues like tolerance and connection between political freedom and prosperity in the book, which was a collection of essays and speeches during his stint as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor.Talking about the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Rajan said it is good in the long run even though there are some issues.”There is need to remove the glitches,” he observed.On the relationship between the RBI and the government, the former central bank governor said that it has been developed over the years and it is largely of mutual respect.”Yes, there are frictions which are always there in any relationship,” he said.To a question if autonomy of the RBI as an institution compromised, he said, he is not alarmed.The RBI functions under the government and complete independence is not possible, he said.

Talks of fissures in AIADMK as OPS skips party event

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after the Election Commission recognised the ruling unified faction under Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and his Deputy CM O Panneerselvam as the AIADMK and allocated them the Two Leaves symbol, fissures seem to have now emerged in the party with Panneerselvam supposedly skipping a party event.The conspicuous absence of Panneerselvam in an event in Madurai to celebrate the retrieval of the symbol has triggered talks of growing differences in the ruling party.OPS loyalist Aspire Swaminathan, member of the AIADMK’s IT wing, expressed his displeasure at the event organised on Saturday to celebrate the retrieval of the symbol, pointing out that no invite was sent out to anyone. “Minister has announced success meet to celebrate retrieval of the symbol today. They will hoist party flag in a grand manner. There is no invite or information about these celebrations to anyone,” he tweeted.The banners and posters erected across the city did not mention the name of Panneerselvam. Besides, Palanisami, after hoisting the party flag, unveiled a plaque that did not have Panneerselvam’s name. His supporters saw this as an attempt to sideline him.Swaminathan’s post came in the wake of another OPS loyalist and Rajya Sabha MP V Maitreyan expressing his concern over the differences in the unified party. “It has been three months since the EPS, OPS factions merged. Months have gone, but have the hearts synced,” he asked in a Facebook post.On Saturday, Maitreyan who made a sudden visit to Raj Bhavan to meet Governor Banwarilal Purohit, said there was no information about the event to celebrate the retrieval of the symbol to the OPS supporters. “I don’t know whether Panneerselvam or party deputy coordinator KP Munnusamy were invited or not. But I can tell you Madurai MP Gopalakrishnan and Madurai South MLA SS Saravanan were not informed about the event. Both of them are OPS supporters,” he told reporters. He expressed hope that OPS and EPS would ensure that no such incidents happen in the future.The growing differences in the ruling AIADMK might impact the outcome of the December 21 RK Nagar bypoll. Already, the principal opposition party DMK has begun electioneering retaining Marudhu Ganesh as its candidate.DMK working president MK Stalin also wrote to opposition parties including Left and VCK seeking their support. VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan immediately announced his party support the DMK.

Now, maternity benefits for guest teachers of govt schools

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Guest teachers in Delhi government-run schools will now be entitled to maternity benefits with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal approving a proposal regarding it.“It has been decided to extend the benefits under the Maternity Benefits Act, 1961 and Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Act, 2017 to all guest teachers working in the Directorate of Education, Delhi Government,” an official order read.The Delhi School Tribunal had recently pulled up a private school for “illegally and arbitrarily” terminating the services of a contractual teacher on grounds she asked for maternity leave, and ordered her “reinstatement”.The Delhi Guest Teachers Association has been demanding regularisation of over 17,000 guest teachers, pay parity.Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had at a meeting assured the association of fulfilling their demands.—PTI

Manipur: President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates The Sangai festival

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the biggest annual tourism festival of Manipur ? The Sangai Festival ? Hapta Kangjeibung in Imphal on Tuesday.Soon after his arrival at the festival venue, the president cut the ceremonial ribbon to mark the opening of the festival in the presence of hordes of dignitaries.Speaking at the opening ceremony held at Bhagyachandra Open Air Theatre, the President said, “The festival is the perfect showcase of cultural diversity of Manipur comprising its various communities and beautiful social fabric.””Manipur is India’s window to South East Asia and a key player in Union Government’s Act East Policy. As a result, there is a concentrated effort to quickly develop connectivity projects,” the President added.”In this regard, the most prominent development is the construction of India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway. In addition, an air cargo terminal is being planned at Imphal airport,” he further stated.First Lady Savita Kovind, Governor Najma Heptulla, Union Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge) K. Alphons, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Nagaland Chief Minister T.R.Zeliang also graced the function as guests of honor while Chief Minister N. Biren was the functional president.The 10-day Sangai Festival is an effort to showcase the rich culture and traditions besides promoting state’s handloom and handicrafts.Informing that the NDA government has given thrust to tourism sector, Alphons said, “Rs. 169 crore has been sanctioned for development of tourism in the North East region so far.”Speaking at the occasion, Biren said the northeastern states could work together on the idea of a pan North East Tourism Circuit.”The state government would approach the Union Tourism Ministry with some projects including overall tourism development of Loktak area, cable car projects and development of wellness centres and strengthening of tourism infrastructure in the hills of the State,” he said.The most unique feature in this edition of the festival is the showcase of culture, art forms, cuisine, handloom and handicrafts of partner States of Madhya Pradesh and Nagaland under ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’.The inauguration ceremony that was held on November 21 ended with mesmerizing cultural presentations that were showcased before the crowd.The 10-day festival will end on November 30.

Former PM Manmohan Singh to get Indira Gandhi peace prize

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Former prime minister Manmohan Singh will receive the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development this year for his leadership of the country between 2004 and 2014 and for enhancing India’s stature globally.According to a statement from the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust, Singh was unanimously chosen for the award by an international jury chaired by ex-president Pranab Mukherjee.”The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development is awarded to Manmohan Singh for his leadership of the country and his achievements during the momentous 10 years from 2004 to 2014, for his contributions to the cause of economic and social development, for improving India’s stature in the world and its relationship with the neighbours and the leading nations of the world, and for his dedication to the security and well being of ordinary citizens regardless of their faith, caste, region or language,” a statement from the Trust’s secretary Suman Dubey said yesterday. The Trust said Singh is only the third Indian prime minister to complete two full terms as the PM. His tenure witnessed the path-breaking nuclear agreement with the US and the Copenhagen Climate Change agreement, the statement said.Singh, who as the governor of the Reserve Bank of India and the finance minister in the government headed by P V Narasimha Rao, played a pivotal role in ushering economic reforms, it said, adding that as prime minister he led India in achieving the highest sustained rate of economic growth since Independence. The Trust said Singh has been responsible for making India’s voice heard more effectively at international forums.”The 10 years of his premiership were not only a period of rapid economic and social changes, they witnessed the lowest terrorist violence, prolonged period of communal harmony, peace on the country’s borders and a globally acknowledged rise in India’s standing in the global community of nations,” the statement said.The international award named after former prime minister Indira Gandhi was instituted in 1986. The last two recipients have been the Indian Space Research Organisation and the UN High Commission for Refugees.

AAP yet to decide to nominate leaders or outsiders for Rajya Sabha seats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is still exploring whether to nominate its leaders or eminent people from various walks of life in the Rajya Sabha election from Delhi early next year, senior leader Gopal Rai has said.Rai said the party was “yet to take a final call” on its nominees.The party approached former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan to be its candidate, but he is believed to have declined the offer.An AAP leader, requesting anonymity, said last week that the party was looking for an economist, an eminent jurist and a known name in the field of social service to represent the party in the Rajya Sabha.This was also being done to put to end to the rancour within the party over the Rajya Sabha nominations.The AAP has 66 members in the 70-member Delhi Assembly and its victory on all three seats looks certain.The tenure of the three incumbent Rajya Sabha members from Delhi ends on January 28, 2018.Talking to reporters at an informal briefing on Friday, Rai said the party was exploring all possibilities.Many AAP leaders are reportedly vying for the Rajya Sabha nomination.Kumar Vishwas is considered to be a strong contender for a Rajya Sabha berth, but looking at his rocky relationship with the leadership at the moment, his nomination looks unlikely.Asked whether anyone has made their ambition clear for the Rajya Sabha seats, Rai, in a dig at Vishwas, said, “There aren’t many insecure people in the party.”

Fire at Bhalswa landfill aggravates pollution crisis

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Capital already facing a severe pollution crisis, Delhi’s largest landfill site at Bhalswa caught fire on Saturday afternoon, worsening weather conditions.Fire officials maintained that the fire was later put out and no casualties were reported.According to a senior fire officer, the incident took place at around 12:50 pm. He said four fire tenders were rushed there with the help of two more tenders and it took them around six hours to doze of the fire.”The exact cause of the fire is still unknown. The fire kept on spreading in the landfill site due to which it required a lot of time to doze it off,” said the officer.The landfill site had been “exhausted” in 2006 after reaching the maximum permissible limit which ranges from 15 meters by the Environment Ministry. However, with no options, garbage dumping carried on here. As a result, the site has crossed the permissible height limit by over 30 metres.”People from nearby localities dump garbage here on a daily basis. As a result, the landfill site has crossed the permissible height. Because of the rise in height, fires usually break out due to the excessive release of methane gas. It happened last week as well. We have officials at the site who have been directed to immediately call fire tenders if any major fire breaks out,” said an official, North Corporation.Earlier, an accident at the Ghazipur landfill site in September which claimed two lives had caused Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to direct all the corporations to stop dumping garbage at existing landfill sites, which are overfull, and start processing waste.Experts from IIT Delhi had been called in and a plan to process waste was discussed with the government and relevant authorities.THE ALTERNATIVEEarlier, an accident at the Ghazipur landfill site in September had claimed two lives
This prompted Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to direct all the city’s corporations to stop dumping garbage at existing landfill sites, which are overfull, and start processing waste.

After brawl over Kanhaiya Kumar’s presence, Lucknow DM cancels literary festival for inviting political leaders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The brawl over JNU President Kanhaiya Kumar’s presence at the Lucknow Literary Festival on Friday has led to its cancellation. The Lucknow District Magistrate Kaushal scrapped permission to hold the festival following violation of conditions by the organisers.The DM had granted the permission to hold the festival on the condition that it will be apolitical literary meet. “The organizers have grossly violated conditions by inviting political leaders without any prior information and allowing the festival to become a political meet. The district administration is left with no choice to cancel the literary fest,” said the Lucknow DM.The district administration was particularly annoyed with the organizers for inviting political leaders including Asaduddin Owaisi, Shatrughan Sinha, Rahul Gandhi, Jayant Chaudhary, former Uttarakhand Governor Aziz Qureshi etc in literary fest without informing and seeking prior permission from the district administration . All these leaders are known for their anti-Modi stance.The RSS student wing ABVP and the Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) activists had raised strong objections over the presence of former JNU leader Kanhaiya Kumar on the opening day of the fest on Friday at Sheroes Hangout, a café run by acid attack survivor victims. Calling him a ‘traitor’, they shouted ‘Kanhaiya Kumar go back’ slogans and disrupted the proceedings for over 30 minutes.The ABVP-HYU activists also clashed with members of Samajwadi Chatra Sabha who had welcomed Kumar in the literary fest. Acid attack survivor victims had to make a wall to shield the JNU leader when agitated right wing activists tried to manhandled Kumar when he was about to deliver speech.Finally, police were called in to flush out ABVP-HYU activists from the Sheroes Hangout for function to begin. After the brawl, Kanhaiya stated that he was not perturbed by the protest. “They have governments in 18 states but they cannot suppress my voice. I belong to a family of freedom fighter and no one can stop me expressing my thoughts,” he stated.

Long-term measures need to be stepped up

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The national Capital has been witnessing toxic levels of pollution with the Air Quality Index (AQI) hitting the 500 mark, beyond which no reading is available. The air has remained “severe”, the worst stage of the index, for four days.While the government finally took emergency measures by shutting down schools and announcing the third round of odd-even road rationing scheme, long-term measures to be implemented through the years have been missing from the scene.The measures as suggested under each category of pollution under a Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) prepared by the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) include mechanical sweeping, sprinkling of water on major roads to control dust, monitoring of construction site for taking dust-control measures, preventing waste burning and finding a solution to do away with landfills. They have all been largely ignored by the civic agencies. The EPCA is a Supreme Court-mandated body and the agencies are bound by its orders.However, officials in the government said, unless the orders come through the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) or the Delhi government, it is difficult to implement these on the ground.Sprinkling of water on major public works department (PWD) roads by Delhi Jal Board (DJB) tankers was conducted only as a token drive this week at ITO, which is one of the most polluted spots.”Mechanical sweeping is a costly affair. We have floated tenders thrice to procure these machines but every time either the companies don’t come forward or the ones which do ask for very high prices. Only the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) had two machines to sweep Lutyens’ Delhi,” said a senior Delhi government official.The AAP government’s environment department said it has taken action against incidents of waste burning, however, it needs more monitoring teams and manpower to strengthen these checks across the city. The EPCA under its plan had asked all government departments and agencies, including DDA, PWD, DJB, Delhi Metro, Transport, traffic and the three municipal corporations, to create monitoring teams and implement the measures on the ground.

Bihar’s Krishi plan will help farmers: Ram Nath Kovind

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Ram Nath Kovind, while unveiling the Rs 1.54 lakh crore Bihar Krishi Road Map 2017-22 here on Thursday, said the state had the potential to usher in the next green revolution and contribute towards food security of the nation.”We are celebrating the centenary year of the Champaran Satyagraha in 2017, so this was the best time to introduce the new ‘Agricultural Road Map’ in the interests of farmers. It will further energise the agricultural sector’s performance in the state and empower the farming community, which will help in boosting Bihar’s image,” Kovind said, on his maiden visit to the state after assuming the office of the President in July this year.The President said Bihar had been lucky for him and that he would always remember the regard and affection received from people of all sections and regions during his tenure as the Governor of the state. “It is a moving and emotional experience for me to be back here. I will remember Bihar’s affection forever,” he said.Kovind also launched nine schemes related to the Krishi Road Map including Bihar Fisheries College at Kishanganj, organic farming corridor, foundation-stone-laying of agriculture feeder at Naubatpur in Patna and vegetable processing and distribution cooperative system, and said these would strengthen the agriculture sector. He advised for improving management of the state’s water resources.

Delhi Metro announces more trips, four-times more parking rates

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi Metro on Wednesday announced that its trains will undertake over 180 additional trips from Thursday and charge four times the prevalent parking rates to discourage use of private vehicles in light of the alarming pollution levels in the city.The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will be running 3,317 train trips from Thursday instead of 3,131, an increase of 186 train trips to provide increased capacity to the public in this weather, it said in a statement.Even on Wednesday, metro ran around 90 trips more after Lt Governor Anil Baijal approved the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority’s orders announced on Tuesday.However, it was decided that the metro will not have to slash commuting fares temporarily as it already has a differential pricing system for peak and off-peak hours for smart card users in place.The number of trips will remain unchanged on the Red Line and the Airport Express Line.Besides this, deployment of additional ticketing operators, customer facilitation agents, CISF personnel has been done to facilitate the passengers and their speedy frisking, the statement said.The augmented services will be in effect till further notice, metro said.It will effectively lead to 701 daily trips on the Yellow Line against the prevailing 679, 772 on the Blue Line as against 752, 546 on the Green Line as against 438 and 588 on the Violet Line against the current figure of 552, it added.​

Will try to meet separatist leaders to resolve Kashmir issue, says Dineshwar Sharma

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre’s special representative for Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, on Thursday said he would try to meet separatist leaders as part of government’s efforts to resolve the issues facing the state through a sustained dialogue.He is on a five-day visit to the state and will spend two days in Jammu where he will hold talks with Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and various delegations.”I will try my best,” Sharma told reporters when asked if he would go an extra mile to meet the Hurriyat Conference leaders.The Joint Resistance Forum, a conglomerate of three separatist organisations–the hardline and moderate factions of the Hurriyat Conference and the JKLF–had announced that they would not meet with him and dubbed his appointment a “time-buying tactic” of the Centre.On his engagements so far, Sharma said his meetings had gone well.”I met a lot of people. I wish that peace returns to Kashmir very soon and a political solution also comes as quickly as possible,” he added.​

PM Modi meets ailing DMK supremo Karunanidhi, Stalin says no politics discussed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met ailing DMK supremo M Karunanidhi, a former Tamil Nadu chief minister, even as the regional party said no politics was discussed during the meeting.This was the first meeting between the two leaders after Modi became the prime minister in May 2014.The meeting at Karunanidhi’s Gopalapuram residence during which Modi enquired about his health lasted about 20 minutes.Modi sat next to wheelchair-bound Karunanidhi, 93, and held his hands.”Met former Tamil Nadu CM, Thiru M Karunanidhi and enquired about his [email protected],” Modi wrote on his official Twitter page.The opposition DMK indicated that not much should be read of the meeting and that it was a “courtesy call.””The prime minister did not come with any political intentions nor did he talk politics. He only enquired about Kalaignar’s (Karunandhi) health,” M K Stalin, who is Karunanidhi’s son and DMK working president, told reporters.Modi called on Karaunanidhi as he was a senior Dravidian leader and only came to enquire about his health, he said.The DMK leader said only the media was thinking that there was a political angle to today’s meeting.”Kalaignar (Karunanidhi) is a very senior leader in Indian politics. Mr Modi has respect for Kalaignar,” DMK spokesperson T K S Elangovan said.He said in the past, when both were chief ministers, they used to greet each other during meetings in Delhi and this has been the practice.”This is a courtesy call,” he said, adding, the meeting was only to greet the leader who is recuperating.Stalin welcomed Modi at the gate of the residence and honoured him with a red shawl.Stalin, also Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, in his official twitter page said that Modi during the meeting wished Karunanidhi a “speedy and full recovery.””Hon’ble PM @narendramodi made a courtesy call on Dr @kalaignar89…The PM enquired about his health & wished him a speedy & full recovery,” Stalin wrote.During his visit, Modi was accompanied by state Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan and state BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan.Soundarrajan told reporters that the prime minister invited Karunanidhi to visit Delhi.DMK leaders, including Kanimozhi, who is the daughter of Karunanidhi and a Rajya Sabha MP, were among those present during the meeting.Later, Karunanidhi made a brief appearance outside and waved at his supporters who cheered him.Karunanidhi, who was taken ill in October 2016 due to a drug-induced allergy, was twice admitted to a private hospital in December last.He has been since confined to his house, but made one rare appearance on October 19 this year when he visited an exhibition here held to showcase the 75-year journey of DMK’s mouthpiece, ‘Murasoli.Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had called on the nonagenarian DMK patriarch at his residence in December, 2016.

Manish Sisodia demands CBI probe in DSSSB exam paper leak case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged DSSSB examination paper leak case. Sisodia has written to Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal, demanding strict action against the officials involved.The Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB) exam was recently held for appointment of primary teachers in municipal schools. Sisodia has also sought cancellation of the exam for the paper that was allegedly leaked and demanded that the officials involved in conducting of the exam be suspended, so that they could not tamper with the evidence.”Since the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) has taken no action in the past, this case should immediately be referred to the CBI for a fair and an unbiased investigation,” he said in his letter.Referring to the incident, Sisodia said it was a serious case of corruption in the teacher recruitment process and there have been numerous complaints of exam papers being leaked. There have also been complaints of papers being set from a particular guidebook and servers being down at the time when documents were to be uploaded, he said.He added that all these issues have already been referred to the L-G. “There have been instances of students being barred from exams, but no action has been taken against any senior DSSSB official, despite multiple such instances,” Sisodia stated in the letter.”Strong action needs to be taken in this case, so as to give a clear message that the L-G’s office is not protecting the corrupt within the DSSSB,” he said.

Decks cleared for panchayat polls in J&K

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra has set the ball rolling for holding panchayat elections in the state in the winter of 2017-18.The panchayat polls were due last year but due to the unrest, were postponed indefinitely. However, Vohra promulgated the ordinance so that no time whatsoever is lost in commencing preparations for the conduct of the pending elections.”The Governor observed that the establishment of the PRI set-up shall ensure effective participation of the people in the decision making process and enable them to oversee the implementation of developmental programmes,” an official spokesman said.Governor has been pressing for the early conduct of elections to both the urban and rural self-governing bodies since summer of 2016 . “The Panchayat elections are now envisaged to be held in winter 2017-18,” the spokesman said.Considering the time-frame for the forthcoming elections the Governor has also consented to the issue of the J&K Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Ordinance 2017 to empower the State Chief Electoral Officer to determine and de-limit Halqa (block) panchayats and to conduct the Panchayat elections.Seen as one of the biggest achievement of the Omar Abdullah government, the panchayat elections were held in 2011 after 33 years hiatus in Jammu and Kashmir. More than 80 per cent people had defied terrorists and cast their votes in the panchayat elections in 2011.

Foes turned friends? P Chidambaram to argue Arvind Kejriwal govt’s case against Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Union Minister and renowned lawyer P Chidambaram is all set to argue the Arvind Kejriwal government’s case against the Centre in Supreme Court.According to an NDTV report, the senior Congress leader has joined the legal team of the Delhi government to argue the pleas challenging the Delhi High Court’s ruling that favoured Lieutenant Governor administrative rule on the national capital.’I don’t think the Constitution makes the Lieutenant Governor supreme and the Government of National Council Territory of Delhi a toothless body,’ Chidambaram was quoted as saying by NDTV.Ever since the news broke out, the Congress has been teasing the AAP for it’s u-turn.It must be noted that there was a time when during his anti-corruption stir days, Arvind Kejriwal used to slam the Congress for graft.Now with Chidamabaram on his side, it seems that foes have turned in new friends.Senior Delhi Congress leaders wasted no time in reacting to the development.Former President Parnab Mukherjee’s daughter and Congress leader Sharmistha Mukherjee tweeted, ‘After calling Mr.Chidambaram most corrupt & anti-people, shameless AAP wants 2 avail his services! Did @ArvindKejriwal go 2 brief him? (sic).’Ajay Maken also quipped with a exoneration tweet and asked ‘Would AAP apologise.’Yesterday, the Supreme Court had said that the LG can’t ‘scuttle an executive decision by sitting over a file’ as it heard pleas against the LG being the head of the national capital.However, the apex court added that the Delhi government needs LG’s nod to govern the national capital. Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra remarked: “Land, police and public order isn’t under you.”

Uncertainty looms over formation of MU governing bodies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a time when some of the key posts at University of Mumbai are occupied by in-charge officials, uncertainty looms over formation of the varsity’s key governing bodies including the Academic Council, Management Council and the Senate.A few days after the governor removed university Vice-Chancellor Dr Sanjay Deshmukh from his post over the unprecedented delay in declaring examination results, the varsity is yet to begin the process of forming some of the key bodies. The state government had earlier asked the university to complete the process by August 31, six months after Maharashtra Public Universities Act, 2016 came into effect. The Act mandates universities to complete the process of formation of these bodies by November 30.However, with the process of elections and appointments to some of these bodies yet to kick-start, uncertainty looms over what would happen to them. “The process of formation of these bodies has been delayed due to the results mess and the absence of permanent officials in some key posts, including the Vice-Chancellor, Registrar, Director, Board of Examinations and Evaluation etc. Even if the process starts now, it cannot meet the November 30 deadline,” said a university official on the condition of anonymity.With the delay, concerns are now being raised over the continuation of ad hoc bodies for another few months. “The university has appointed several underqualified individuals to bodies like the Academic Council and Management Council, who are currently taking all the key decisions. If bodies are not formed soon, students would be affected on a large scale as there would be no accountability to decisions being taken, which would set a dangerous precedent,” said Sanjay Vairal, ex-Senate member of the university.The university’s governing and statutory bodies, including Academic Council, Management Council and Senate are responsible for taking policy decisions and decisions on administrative and academic matters. Currently, these bodies, for which appointments were done on an ad hoc basis under Dr Sanjay Deshmukh, are responsible for all key decisions at the varsity.

Dengue menace in Bengal: Mamata Banerjee threatens to dissolve errant municipal bodies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that she had allotted additional funds to municipalities for dealing with dengue and would dissolve a municipality if it was found to be faltering in dealing with the spread of the disease.“I have alerted all municipalities against dengue. If I find anyone not putting enough effort, I might dissolve the municipality as well,” she said interacting with mediapersons at Nabanna, the state secretariat.Dengue menace had affected several areas across the state especially areas such as Deganga, Bhangar, Bongaon and Dum Dum in North 24 Parnagas and pockets of East and West Midnapore, Malda and Murshidabad districts as well.Although chief secretary Malay De had said on October 24 that dengue had claimed 34 lives in the state Mamata, who is also the health minister, said today that only 13 persons have died at state-run hospitals. “Even one death is not desirable. I have been told that another 27 have died at private nursing homes and hospitals. We are looking into the papers. Those have not been confirmed yet because there are many private health institutions which resort to corrupt practices. There are private hospitals which are charging Rs 5-7 lakh for administrating saline and oxygen. We have cancelled the licences of three pathological laboratories,” she said and added that a section of media had also been blowing things out of proportions making it look like an epidemic whereas the picture in other state was worse than in Bengal. “Gujarat is a smaller state compared to Bengal but there too 435 people have died of dengue, 695 persons died in Maharashtra, 230 in Rajasthan, 165 in UP, 141 in Madhya Pradesh, 80 in Assam, 83 in Odisha and 111 deaths in Kerala,” she said.Mamata said that dengue had spread because of the prolonged monsoons. “Dengue has changed its character as well. More research needs to be done to deal with it,” she added. Mamata also alleged that political parties were crying hoarse for political dividend. “When we were in the Opposition, I had hit the streets to help people who had been affected during an outbreak of malaria. At present, political parties are taking out rallies and panicking people,” she said.State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said that West Bengal Congress would move High Court against the state for charges of suppressing actual figures of death caused by dengue. “We will submit a memorandum to the governor on November 2 and will put up an agitation on November 3. Doctors are under pressure not to write dengue on prescriptions of affected. We want the state to file an affidavit and say that the deaths cause is owing to an unknown fever. I will file a PIL in this regard,” he said.

Three years of hits and misses, two remain to fulfill promises

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the Devendra Fadnavis-led mega-alliance Government completes three years in office on October 31, its report card looks like a mixed bag characterised by a few hits and misses. The three-year journey may have helped Fadnavis establish his command over the government but at the same time, a few issues pertaining to the capacities of a handful of ministers in his council persist.Bringing to an end the Congress-NCP alliance Government’s 15-year rule in Maharashtra, Fadnavis took oath as chief minister on October 31 in 2014. Traditional alliance partners BJP and Shiv Sena were joined by the Ramdas Athavale-led Republican Party of India, Rashtriya Samaj Party, Swabhimani Party, and Shiv Sangram to form a mega-alliance to defeat Congress-NCP in the 2014 assembly elections.Over the past three years, Fadnavis has emerged as the Government’s tallest leader. Politically speaking, his triumph over rivals — which include veteran Eknath Khadse and other leaders who have been eyeing his chair — has made him stronger. BJP’s performance in Maharashtra has turned the party into the strongest political outfit in the state particularly when it comes to ruling the municipal corporations, and increasing its mass base by winning almost all the elections in the past three years.This, despite the Maratha reservation and silent marches for the issue losing steam — for the simple reason that the decision doesn’t solely lie with the government. Even the delay in reaching a conclusion on the Kopardi rape-murder incident, again linked to the issue of Maratha reservation, is affecting the Government’s image although the final decision doesn’t rest with the Fadnavis Government. Fadnavis, who looked strong in the first two years, is realising the importance of veterans like Eknath Khadse who took the Opposition head-on — especially with the Government facing problems like implementing loan waiver for farmers.On the government front, the BJP — when in power in any part of the country — has brought along investment in infrastructure and Maharashtra has been no exception. However, the slow pace of ambitious projects remains a concern for Fadnavis. Three of these — the proposed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial in the Arabian Sea, the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Memorial on the Indu Mill land in Dadar, and the proposed Coastal Road linking Nariman Point to Kandivli — are significant with respect to poll promises, but have seen more movement on paper than on the ground. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the Shivaji Memorial in December 2016, actual work remains miles away. The same is the case for the Ambedkar Memorial, the bhoomipoojan for which happened in October 2015. In the meantime, while the proposed Coastal Road has received requisite clearances from the Union Environment Ministry, actual work remains only on paper.The Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyaan has been the Government’s flagship scheme and after the drought years of 2014-15, several existing water sources across the state were widened and deepened, resulting in additional water holding capacity of almost 50 TMC in the state. Funds for the scheme were chipped in by thousands of NGOs, Ganesh mandals and social organisations, while hundreds of corporate houses contributed their CSR funds, making it a significant achievement.Following the scheme, the Fadnavis Government claims that 15,000 villages have been made drought-free. However, this claim loses sheen in the backdrop of the continued rise in farmer suicides in the state over the past three years. Despite the Government claiming that it has never been opposed to loan waivers, the announced loan waiver package is not being implemented efficiently thanks to the chaos regarding eligible farmers, online applications, and figures provided by the state-level bankers’ committee turning out untrue. The Chief Minister’s plan to provide loan waivers to farmers in at least a few districts before or during Diwali also proved to be a failure.While the Government, right from its first year, provided separate schemes for 14 districts affected by farmer suicides, its impact is yet to be felt at the state level. Eight Marathwada and six Vidarbha districts received wheat at Rs 3 per kg and rice at Rs 2 per kg, fee concession for farmers’ wards, and health-related benefits, under this scheme. However, this failed to improve the Government’s image at the state level since the agrarian crisis continues.Despite the large-scale Make in India week organised by the Government, questions on foreign direct investments have been continually raised. Despite claims of being the state with surplus power, the failure to manage continuous coal supply resulted in the state facing a power crisis last month, adding to the Government’s negative image.The major fiasco with Mumbai University’s online results put the Government in a soup, and the Governor gave the University’s vice-chancellor the pink slip in an unceremonious manner.With two years remaining, the Fadnavis Government has to ensure that no unfulfilled promises remain and decisions taken reach the common man.

CM’s olive branch breaks ice

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The concluding day of the ninth session of 14th legislative Assembly commenced amid protest of opposition MLAs, who had been staging sit-in in the House since Tuesday on demand of loan waiver for farmers. Unconvinced with the governments reply, the Opposition continued its demonstration within the House even after the the session was adjourned sine die by the Speaker on Thursday. However, an initiative from the chief minister broke the ice and had the protest ended. It was after the ‘informal’ talks with the chief minister that the Opposition MLAs decided to forward a 5-point demand letter to the Governor, seeking his intervention on loan waiver for farmers and other demands. Despite intermittent disturbance of the protesting Opposition MLAs, the government was able to have the Bill for extending reservation for Gurjars and four other castes passed. However, as a little embarrassment couple of MLAs of the ruling side too expressed their reservation on the Bill.The concluding day of the session commenced with protest of Opposition MLAs who had been camping at the house througout the night. The proceedings commenced with question on loan waiver of farmers and purchase of produce on minimum support price raised by independent MLA Subhash Mehariya. Two of the opposition MLAs Shankuntla Rawat and Mewaram Jain did not stand up to ask the questions that were listed and the question hour proceeded.The speaker though did not granted permission for adjournment motions moved by Heeralal Darangi, Manoj Kumar and Hanuman Beniwal. However, Heeralal Darangi and Hanuman Beniwal were granted two minutes each to speak on the issues raised by them related to difficulties in ST caste certificate and murder of Prahlad Jat respectively. During the day, 11 members were granted to read out on the point of information. While out of 26 questions received through slips, four were granted permission.

Karnataka: State clears policy for transgenders to live a normal life

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Karnataka cabinet on Thursday cleared the State Policy for Transgenders, 2017, aimed at bringing the community into the mainstream society and providing its members with a secured life.The policy had been drafted in compliance with a Supreme Court order, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra told reporters here after a cabinet meeting.”They face insecurity, discrimination, insults, anxiety, suicidal tendencies. Therefore, this policy aims at bringing them into the mainstream of the society and provide them with a secured life,” he said.The different categories of transgenders mentioned in the policy include “jogappa, jijra, female to male, male to female, inter-sex, kothis, jogtas, shivashakti and aravanis”.The policy aims to create awareness about the transgender community in all the educational institutions of the state, reach out to the family members through anganwadi workers to sensitise them about trans-children, bring into place a monitoring committee or cell at the educational institutions to address the issues of discrimination, sexual abuse and violence against transgenders.It also moots defining the indicators for a friendly policy, which goes beyond non-discrimination, and to include the transgender community in the ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’, Right to Education and similar efforts to promote literacy.Jayachandra, quoting from the document, said, “All levels of the formal education system should have reservations for transgender students.”The cabinet also decided to recommend to the governor for a premature release of 93 life convicts from various central jails in the state on the ground of good behaviour.Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait, who also addressed the media, said in view of the state Assembly polls due early next year, the schedule for the SSLC (class 10) and PUC (class 12) examinations had been fixed.This had also been brought to the notice of the Election Commission (EC), so that there was no clash of dates, he added.Sait said the PUC exam was scheduled from March 1-16 and the SSLC from March 23-April 4.Stating that the preliminary notification in this regard had been issued and public comments on the same invited by November 25, the minister said the final notification would be issued after the due process.He added that while seven lakh students would be appearing in the PUC examination, 9,60,000 students would appear in the SSLC exams this year.

Gram Sabha plots may soon become playgrounds

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With an aim to create playgrounds for children, Delhi Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot has ordered district magistrates to identify Gram Sabha plots located in rural areas under their jurisdiction.According to the order, the land will be identified in consultation with MLAs, who will also form committees comprising youths of their areas. These committees will be responsible for the maintenance of these playgrounds.”Gram Sabha plots, where village children can play, shall be identified in each village by the DM concerned,” Gahlot stated in his order. Gahlot, who also holds the charge of transport and law, said the area MLA will form a committee of not more than 21 youths, who will be responsible for maintenance of the land.”The land shall not be allotted or transferred in the name of any authority but will continue to be the Gram Sabha land,” he added.Earlier this month, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that the AAP government has drafted a policy under which training, travelling, and other expenses of national and international-level sportspersons would be fully borne by the government.Speaking at an event on October 7, Kejriwal had also said that there was no dearth of youths who could earn medals in sports, but their efforts were constrained by facilities and government assistance.In July this year, Kejriwal had written to Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal, requesting for ownership rights to those who had been allotted small Gram Sabha plots. This land was awarded under the Centre’s 20-point programme, nearly four decades ago.According to government officials, thousands of families in Mehrauli, Najafgarh, Kanjhawala, Narela, and Alipur villages were allotted small plots of Gram Sabha land in 1970s and early 80s, and were now facing hardship.The Delhi government had already approved the Bhumidhari (ownership) right in 2012, but as the then L-G had a difference of opinion on this issue, he had referred the matter to President Pranab Mukherjee.Kejriwal had also written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to resume the subsidy on sugar given to poor families. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, under the chairmanship of the PM, had taken the decision to end subsidy on sugar across the country.

Kiran Bedi tweets video of old lady dancing thinking it was PM Modi’s mother, apologises for faux pas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Friday, Puducherry governor Kiran Bedi tweeted a video of an old lady dancing to a famous Navartri song and mistook her for PM Narendra Modi’s mother Hiraben.People on Twitter were quick to point out that old lady, despite her enthusiasm and vigour, wasn’t actually PM Modi’s mother. The video turns out to be quite old which shows a woman, draped in a white saree, dancing to Falguni Pathak’s popular ‘Indhana Vinvaa Gayi Thi More Saiyan’.Kiran Bedi tweeted: “Spirit of Deepavali at tender age of 97. She’s mother of @narendramodi (Hiraben Modi -1920) celebrating Diwali at her own [email protected] Bedi had tweeted tagging both spiritual guru Sadhguru and PM Modi but neither of them replied to her tweet. The video was actually uploaded on October.Later realising her faux paus, she wrote: “Am informed it’s mistaken identity @SadhguruJV. But salute to the mother with so much vigour. I hope i can be like her if/ when I am 96..!”

PM Modi in Kedarnath: Will build modern infrastructure, ensure environment laws not flouted

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday offered prayers at the Kedarnath shrine in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. The Prime Minister was accompanied by Uttarakhand Governor K.K. Paul and Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat.In his speech, the Prime Minister said his visit to Kedarnath renews his commitment to serve the nation. He added that reconstruction of Kedarpuri, with improved facilities for devotees, will be expensive but there will be no dearth of funds.The Himalayan shrine, dedicated to Shiva, will be closed from Saturday for six months owing to winter.Later, he will lay the foundation stone for reconstruction work at the shrine. He is also likely to address a public meeting near the famed temple.This is the second visit of Prime Minister to the shrine this season. He had visited it on May 3 when its gates had been reopened after the winter break.Updates: PM Modi: Discipline is in the blood of people here in Uttarakhand, atleast one person from each family is a soldier:

Don’t question my faith: Yogi Adityanath lashes out at Oppn criticizing grand Diwali celebrations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday slammed the Opposition for criticizing the grand Diwali celebrations which took place in the temple town of Ayodhya on Wednesday.”This is my personal faith and how can opposition interfere in this?” Adityanath said.The Chief Minister further asserted that another reason why he came to Ayodhya was to check the security and other preparedness for thousands of devotee which throng the temple town on the occasion of Diwali.”As the Chief Minister of the state, it is my duty and I am committed towards development of every place of the state,” he added.After offering prayers at a Temple in Ayodhya, Adityanath said that he has also come to Ayodhya to pray for peace, security and welfare of the state.Adityanath offered prayer at Hanumangarhi Temple, Sugreev Temple and Ram Janam Bhumi in Ayodhya.Later in the day, the Chief Minister will celebrate the festival of light in Gorakhpur, which is his constituency.Adityanath celebrated Diwali in Ayodhya on Wednesday.Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik was also present at the event.

Eyeing Guiness records, UP Govt brings back Treta Yug

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Treta yug is set to be recreated on the eve of Diwali on Wednesday in Ayodhya where a mega event costing Rs 35 crore to the state exchequer has been organised for the coronation of Lord Ram on his return as King of the temple town.The Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in Uttar Pradesh is also eyeing to find a place in the Guinness Books of World Records by lighting 1.71 lakh diya and their immersion in holy river Saryu.Scenes from Ramayana will be recreated to raise the Ayodhya pitch ahead of Supreme Court hearing, beginning December. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Governor Ram Naik will welcome Lord Ram-Laxman and Sita at Bharatkund in Nandigram on the outskirts of Ayodhya.In Treta Yuga, Lord Ram, Laxman and Sita had arrived in Ayodhya on ‘Pushpak Viman’. This time they will fly from Nandigram to Saket College in a specially-decorated state government’s chopper with another chopper above raining flowers from the sky.Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons and Culture Minister Dr Mahesh Sharma have been invited to participate in the event. A special welcome gate is being made at Saadatganj area, which joins Ayodhya and Faizabad, with 201 quintals of flowers and lights to welcome the Ram Baraat which will be accompanied with ten ‘raths’, including one in which Lord Ram, Laxman and Sita would be sitting.”It is an attempt by my government to showcase the rich cultural and religious heritage of Ayodhya before the world through this unique event,” Adityanath said. He will announce development projects in Ayodhya worth Rs 135 crores and a helicopter service to the temple town at the event.The event will be telecast live through 25 LED screens installed at every nook and corner of Ayodhya. At Saryu ghat, about 1.71 lakh diyas will be lighted and immersed in river Saryu to qualify for a place in the Guinness Books of World Record. Earlier, the record was for 1.5 lakh diyas from Ayodhya only.A special Ramleela would be performed by artistes from Indonesia in the evening at Saryu ghat where a 108-feet statue of Lord Ram is to be installed. Ramileela would also be depicted through a unique Laser Show at the Saryu ghat.

90 per cent of IAS officers do not work, hold up files: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday alleged that ninety per cent of the IAS officers “do not work” and said at times he feels development was “stuck up at the secretariat”.On the bureaucrats’ alleged “objection” to the regularisation of contractual workers, Kejriwal said if Delhi had full statehood, his government would regularise all the contractual employees within 24 hours.Kejriwal, while speaking at a function organised to felicitate pensioners of the Power department, alleged that the IAS officers “obstructed files” of development works.”Ninty per cent of them (IAS officers) do not work and hold up the files,” he said, citing his proposal for the regularisation of contractual employees, as chairman of the New Delhi Municipal Corporation.”When I proposed regularisation of contractual employees, all the officers opposed me. They said if regularised they won’t work. I said, if this is the logic then all the IAS officers should be ad-hoc because they do not work,” he said.Referring to the cashless health service for the Power department pensioners, the chief minister said that he has learnt that officers were causing obstacles for the scheme.”I sometimes feel that the development was stuck up at the Secretariat,” he said.Kejriwal said the labour department has been asked to prepare a notification for regularising contractual employees.”I have asked the Labour department to sent the draft notification for LG’s approval. If he obstructs it, they (contractual employees) will give him a befitting reply (Khaat Khadi Kar denge),” Kejriwal said.Talking about his government’s proposal to regularise guest teachers, passed recently in Delhi Assembly, he said that the matter was now in Lieutenant Governor’s (LG) hands.”We have sent the file to the LG. Now, it is between the LG and the guest teachers and they can settle it out themselves,” he said.Kejriwal also said that his government was working to implement equal pay for equal work.”We are working on it and my request to you is that if he (LG) causes any obstacles in it, you will need to sort it out,” the chief minister said.​

Biggest problems in Delhi: Unauthorised colonies, delay in metro Phase-IV among issues, traffic congestion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Unauthorised colonies in Delhi, delay in metro Phase-IV and growing traffic congestion in the capital were some of the key issues discussed today at a meeting attended by Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Lt Governor Anil Baijal among others, a senior official said.Issues relating to land management by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), implementation of the Land Pooling Policy, and resource constraints of Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs) were also discussed in the one- and-a-half-hour long meeting held in Nirman Bhawan here, the official said.The meeting was also attended by Delhi Lok Sabha members and mayors of the three MCDs.Puri said the issues related to urban infrastructure in the national capital will be discussed with the Delhi MPs and mayors every month and today’s meeting was part of the plan, the official said.Noting that it was easier to address issues such as police, law and order and land, which were under his direct control, Baijal urged the MPs and mayors to pursue more rigorously issues relating to transferred subjects coming under the jurisdiction of Delhi government, according to the official.Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Durga Shanker Mishra informed that the works for decongestion of traffic at Mahipalpur, India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) and Kashmere Gate will be taken up very soon.MPs called for examining if the same share of developed land could be given to land owners irrespective of the size of the land pooled under the Land Pooling Policy, the official said.The policy proposes to give 60% of developed land back to owners if the pooled land is above 20 hectares and 48 per cent if it is between 2 and 20 hectares.

Himachal Pradesh polls: Congress will win with handsome majority, says Sushil Kumar Shinde

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As in-charge of poll-bound Himachal Pradesh, former Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has an important task at hand –ensure that Congress wins Himachal Pradesh assembly elections again. Shinde has welcomed the imminent elevation of Rahul Gandhi as Congress President but believes Sonia Gandhi’s relationship with the Congress party cannot be broken. Sushil Kumar Shinde spoke to Kartikeya Sharma on Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections. Here are excerpts:Q: Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as Congress President is imminent. How do you see this generational change?A: We all welcome it and in fact, I would say that we were waiting for this occasion. Even the Congress Working Committee has passed a resolution asking Rahul Gandhi to be made President of the Congress Party. The resolution was sent to the Congress President Sonia Gandhi and she has rightly indicated that he would be elevated soon.Q: What role do you see for Sonia Gandhi post-Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as President of the Congress Party?A: Sonia Gandhi has been the President of the Congress Party for the longest time. Her relationship with the party and country cannot be broken.Q: You are in charge of poll-bound Himachal Pradesh and it is being said that the incumbent Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh called you a tourist. Is it correct?A: There is nothing like this. Even if he said something like this then I would dismiss it as a joke. He is a good friend of mine and this is all I have to say.Q: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi took a meeting today and a presentation was made to him on elections in Himachal Pradesh. is it correct?A: There was no presentation made at his residence. All of us went to meet him and Rahul Gandhi asked us to work together and we assured him of that.Q: Is it correct that Congress is hiring an agency for the Himachal Pradesh elections?A: No. I’m not aware of any such suggestion.Q: When will Congress declare seats in Himachal Pradesh?A: We will do it soon. Once we receive the report from the scrutiny committee and the meeting takes place, tickets for Himachal Pradesh will be declared. We will try to finish our work before Diwali.Q: There is a lot of factionalism in Congress unit of Himachal Pradesh. The sitting minister defected to Bhartiya Janata Party? Sukhram wasn’t allowed to sit on the stage and it is being cited as a reason for his defection?A: There is no factionalism in the Congress Party. Even earlier people have left the Congress Party. I don’t want to comment further on this issue.Q: Can Congress win Himachal Pradesh again?A: People talk about anti-incumbency and constant rotation of power between Congress and BJP in Himachal Pradesh. I disagree. I have travelled through HP and the feedback I received from the public is that Chief Minister has worked well. I believe that we will come back with a handsome majority.Q: You effected a generational change in Maharashtra and Ashok Chavan could become the Chief Minister. Have you failed to do that in Himachal Pradesh?A: It depends. Maharashtra’s case was different. Even in my case, I got the party back to power in Maharashtra but I was sent away as Governor of Andhra Pradesh. Later I was recalled to Delhi as a minister. Virbhadra is contesting the assembly election for the 7th time. HP is a different case and anyways, Congress Vice President has already declared his candidature as the Chief Ministerial candidate.Q: What is your advice to senior leaders? Should all of them start playing the role of mentors?A: I don’t think Rahul Gandhi needs mentoring. Even Indira Gandhi was once also called kathputli (string puppet) once. Things changed later.Q: Don’t you think that corruption cases against the Chief Minister have become an electoral issue in Himachal Pradesh?A: Opposition has raised this issue but I don’t want to comment on it.

Puducherry given status on par with States by Finance Commission, says CM Narayanasamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Sunday said the Union Territory has been accorded status on par with states by the Finance Commission enabling it to receive funds like any other state.Speaking to reporters here, he said, “As a result of our sustained efforts the Centre has now treated Puducherry on par with states by including it in the Central Finance Commission enabling the Union territory to get devolution of funds on par with States.”All along Puducherry was kept out of the ambit of the Central Finance Commission, he said.The allocation of funds by the 15th Finance Commission for Puducherry would be 42 percent of the total budgetary allocations of Puducherry as is the case for States, he noted.Narayanasamy said the territorial administration has been incurring a revenue loss of Rs 40 crores per month ever since the Goods and Services Tax was enforced in July this year.”Although the Centre had earmarked Rs 40 crores for the loss suffered in July after GST was enforced I hope the compensation for subsequent months would be available without break,” he said.Charging the Centre with adopting a different yardstick towards Puducherry, the Chief Minister said, “the Centre should implement its promises given in the past to meet shortfall in plan and on plan allocation of funds without any discrimination.”He said, President Ram Nath Kovind had given “very good” suggestions at the recent conference of Governors and Lt Governors in New Delhi asking the incumbents of gubernatorial posts to function as bridge with the governments.The bridge as envisaged by the President should be “a sound structure and should not be rickety and a damaged one,” Narayanasamy, whose government had been at loggerheads with the Lt Governor Kiran Bedi said in a veiled reference to ongoing tussle with the latter.On October 12, the President had said that Governors can provide a new dimension to the development of their states by communicating with legislators and deliberating on subjects related to public well-being. ​

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