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Rajinikanth to float political party: The journey of Shivaji Rao Gaekwad

Superstar Rajinikanth, who rode to stardom with his unique acting style and cast a spell on people cutting across barriers, has come a long way from his humble beginnings to his much-delayed political plunge.Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, rechristened Rajinikanth on screen, is set to unveil his brand new theme of spiritual politics as he seeks to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious seniors in the industry – such as M G Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa, who rose to rule the state after successful film careers.The 67-year old actor, who had kept everyone in suspense on his political entry for the past over two decades, has chosen to make the much-awaited announcement today, saying he would form a party ahead of the next assembly elections.Also readTop 10 quotes from Rajinikanth’s speech to launch new political partyHis political plunge comes at a time when Tamil Nadu is passing through a state of flux with the death of Jayalalithaa last year and wheelchair-bound nonagenarian DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi’s virtual retirement owing to age-related issues.Born on December 12, 1950, to Ramabai and Ramoji Rao Gaekwad in Karnataka, Rajinikanth tried his hand at several odd jobs before becoming a bus conductor.Also readTamil Nadu: Rajinikanth to float political party, says, will contest next assembly pollsTo chase his dream, acting, he had to quit as a conductor on then Bangalore Transport Service’s “10 A” bus route.The first movie offer came to him when he was in the Film Institute here where he was spotted by noted director K Balachander, credited with introducing several actors who made it big in filmdom.Also readSwamy calls Rajinikanth ‘illiterate’, says ‘political entry only media hype, people of Tamil Nadu are intelligent’He made his celluloid debut in 1975 in Tamil film “Apoorva Ragangal”, a family drama directed by Balachander who gave him the screen name Rajinikanth.In his first appearance, Rajinikanth exhibited uniqueness in doing even the most mundane things like opening a gate with his leg while smoking a cigar, indicating he was a star to reckon with.He gained immense popularity with his unique style which included popping cigarettes into his mouth with ease and one- liners such as “Idhu eppadi irukku” (How is it?) in his formative years film “16 Vayadhinile”.After starting with negative image characters, Rajinikanth exploded into the Tamil film world as his potential as a hero came to the surface a few years later.His fan following kept swelling and scenes of ‘milk bath’ of his life-size cutouts and bursting of crackers became synonymous with release of his films most of which went on to become box office hits.A Padma Vibushan awardee, a honour he received last year, Rajinikanth has to his credit over 150 films, including some in Hindi and Telugu.If movies like ‘Billa’, “Aarilrundhu Arubathu Varai’ and ‘Murattu Kaalai,’ (during his formative first ten years) dramatically improved both his performance and rating as a top hero, later flicks like ‘Padayappa,’ ‘Annamalai,’ ‘Arunachalam,’ helped him become the ultimate ‘superstar’.Notably “Muthu,” became a hit even in Japan bringing him Nipponese fans.Rajinikanth’s recent super hit films include ‘Kabali’, ‘Endhiran’, ‘Chandramukhi’, and ‘Shivaji the Boss’.The cult image he had developed over the years gave away for expectations among his die-hard fans of his political foray though he appeared reluctant apparently knowing that not all matinee idols replicated their reel success in politics.Top yesteryear star and a contemporary of MGR, Shivaji Ganesan’s debut in politics turned out to be a nightmare as he was trounced his his home Thanjavur District in 1989.Many of Rajinikanth’s later films were sprinkled with “punch dialogues”, apparently aimed to please the masses.A dialogue in one of his films “Muthu” (1995) which translated “none can predict when and how I will come, but will arrive at the right time” became a rage and further fuelled hopes of his fans.Rajinikanth’s other popular punchlines including “En vazhi thani vazhi” (my way is a unique, separate way) (Padayappa), “Andavan solran Arunachalam Seiyaran (God directs me, I do it, – Arunachalam) contributed immensely to his mass appeal.For the first time, he had a taste of politics when he famously voiced his opposition to Jayalalithaa in 1996 and conversely supporting the then DMK-led coalition which captured power in the state that year.Though the actor’s opposition to Jayalalithaa was hyped by his fans as a prime factor for DMK’s success in the hustings in 1996, his declaration that he will vote for the BJP-led front in 2004 Parliamentary polls did not have any bearing.Rainikanth had said his move to support the front was based on an assurance given by the National Democratic Alliance that it would strive for linking all rivers.A spiritually inclined person, Rajinikanth has survived a serious ailment in 2011, which he referred to in his ongoing interaction with fans here yesterday and said because of their prayers to God he was alive.Despite Rajinikanth’s stature, he is not without opposition in Tamil Nadu. Fringe pro-Tamil outfits, oppose him for his Marathi roots and previous Karnataka domicile.The actor had also often been targeted for allegedly not fighting for the state’s lifeline issues such as Cauvery water row with Karnataka.Every time, the Cauvery issue erupted, the pro-Tamil outfits used to target him for his “silence,” in the matter.Seeking to counter such attacks, in 2002 the actor had said he would start a people’s movement the Cauvery issue stressing on interlinking of Himalayan and peninsular rivers.The actor had also said some months ago said he was a “Pachai Tamilan.” (A pure Tamil).Pointing to living in Tamil Nadu for over four decades patronised by the people, he had said that his father was born in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri district.Rajinikanth married a Tamil Brahmin woman Latha and has two daughters Aishwarya and Soundarya, who have also entered the film world as directors.

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

Looking forward-2018: A possible make or break year for Rahul Gandhi

Indian politics in 2017 virtually followed the trajectory of the past couple of years. A predominately saffron domination interspersed by pockets of opposition resistance. But overall the polity has slowly shifted towards right with BJP slowly and steadily becoming the numero-uno force in India, with its government in 19 states of the country, either directly or in alliance. Yet, as we turn the chapter of another year, the opposition is hopeful of breaking the pattern, of putting up a real fight in 2019 general elections. Is it a misplaced bravado, just a delusion based on one-off Gujarat results? 2018 will provide strong clues in that direction. The elections to crucial battleground states of Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are lined up in the coming year. These states in total have 93 Lok Sabha seats and in 2014 BJP had won a staggering 79 of those seats. Hence these states are vital in the national perspective and 2018 would be a fair indicator if BJP can repeat its stupendous performance in the next general elections. Karnataka is only the major state which is currently under Congress control. Slated to go to polls in April, it is number 1 in Amit Shah’s priority as he looks to reclaim the state under saffron fold. Shah is spending New Year’s Eve in Karnataka and already the state unit has launched a spirited campaign to dislodge Siddaramaiah. And here is where Rahul Gandhi needs to act, and act fast. In Gujarat, we saw he did a commendable job in galvanising the rural discontent against BJP government for Congress. But he failed to sway the swing voters who finally made all the difference. PM Modi’s masterstroke of changing the narrative in the last phase saved BJP from blushes. Rahul Gandhi needs to be proactive in Karnataka from the word go. Congress morale is currently in high after an improved performance in Gujarat. But a reversal in Karnataka can again get them to square one. Also readLooking forward – 2018: Amit Malviya sees a positive disruption in social mediaFor Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, Rahul needs to fix the leadership issue. Congress needs a strong state leader to counter BJP’s aggressive onslaught and rock-solid organisation in each of these states. Empowering the younger generation is the only way out. In Madhya Pradesh, Congress is heavily divided into several factions. Each work on their own accord, without any central planning thus giving Shivraj Singh Chouhan a free pass. Can Rahul manage the senior leaders and give a free-hand to Jyotiraditya Scindia? It may determine the fate of Congress in the state. Mandsaur agitation showed the extent of farmer’s anger in MP. A charismatic leader may just tip the scale in Congress’ favour in this BJP stronghold. Similarly for Rajasthan, Sachin Pilot needs full backing of the High Command to oust Vasundhara Raje government, which has been plagued by many problems recently. Former CM Ashok Gehlot did a stellar job for the party in Gujarat. It will be up to Rahul to give him a respectable position without upsetting the current equation in Rajasthan and giving Pilot the full authority to run the campaign, like Captain Amarinder did in Punjab. Also read2017: A year of roller-coaster India-China relationshipIn Chhattisgarh, post the Ajit Jogi era, Congress has seen a bit of void in leadership talent. Here Rahul’s job is to scout for a leader who can take on the formidable Raman Singh. It’s not that winning these states is any guarantee to winning the General election. In 2003, BJP did commendably well in these states and then slumped to an unexpected loss in 2004. But for 132-year-old Congress gasping for life, state victories or even improved performance in some of the states will provide much needed fillip to its sagging fortunes. And more importantly, it will earn Rahul Gandhi much needed respect among his peers. That he is not merely a leader who is the President of Congress by dint of his surname, he actually has the mettle to challenge the Shah-Modi campaign. It will help Congress to get the opposition united in 2019. A BSP in UP or DMK in Tamil Nadu or even the Left, TMC may only be inclined to support Congress, if they think Rahul Gandhi has a realistic chance of becoming the next PM of India.That’s why 2018 is so politically important. A clean sheet for BJP in this year would mean Congress staring down the barrel before the 2019 LS Polls. It would significantly reduce Rahul’s legitimacy to stake claim as being the natural leader of the opposition camp. Many regional satraps will be more than willing to occupy that position. Hence 2018’s Congress fight with BJP will have the larger subtext of Rahul Gandhi establishing himself as first among the equals in the opposition camp. He has several tricky decisions to make, about how to counter BJP’s Hindutva agenda and countering their development message. Truly a tricky year in offing for the Janeu-dhari Brahmin which may make or break his political career.

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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
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

In eight years, only one transgender gets fellowship for minorities

Only one transgender student was awarded fellowship by the Ministry of Minority Affairs under its ‘Maulana Azad National Fellowship’ scheme since 2009-10, the Lok Sabha was informed today.The Ministry is implementing MANF for minority students for pursuing higher studies such as full time M.Phil/Ph.D degrees in sciences, humanities, social sciences and engineering and technology.Over 750 students belonging to the minority communities get the fellowships every year, Minority Affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said in written reply.”During the selection year 2017-18, one online application was received from candidate belonging to transgender community and was awarded fellowship,” he said.The student was the first in the transgender category to secure fellowship under the scheme since 2009-10.In 2017-18, Muslim students were awarded 517 fellowships, followed by Christian (109), Sikh (72), Buddhist (33) and Jain (25).Replying to another question, Naqvi said 18 states have constituted their own state minority commissions so far.However, no such panel was set up by any state or Union Territory in the last two years.Responding to another query, the minister said the National Wakf Development Corporation (NAWADCO) has identified properties across India, inlcuding Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Jodhpur, Pune and Aurangabad (Maharashtra) for consideration of development.He said Rajasthan has also shown interest in getting properties in Jaipur and Kota developed through NAWADCO.Letters of Expression of Interest have been received from State Waqf Boards of Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Chandigarh for commercial development of 24 waqf properties, Naqvi said.

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Secular remark: Ex-panchayat member announces Rs 1 crore bounty for Ananth Kumar Hegde

A former zilla panchayat member of Karnataka today said he would pay Rs 1 crore to anyone who chopped off Union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde’s tongue for his reported remark that secular people were unaware of their parentage.Former Kalaburagi zilla panchayat member Gurushant Pattedar said he had announced the “bounty” because Hegde’s comment had pained Dalits, Muslims, backward classes and secular people. “Opposing his (Hegde’s) remarks I’m announcing a bounty of Rs 1 crore for chopping his tongue and bringing it (over),” Pattedar, who identified himself as a senior Dalit leader, told reporters in Kalaburagi. Pattedar, who is currently associated with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), said he was announcing the “bounty” on his volition.”I’m ready to give the bounty amount to anyone who chops Hegde’s tongue and brings it in one month’s time, by January 26,” he said. He also accused Hegde of “denigrating” the Constitution. The minister for skill development and entrepreneurship had kicked up a controversy on Sunday when he said at an event in Kukanur town in Koppal district that people who “call themselves secular” were unaware of their parentage.He said he was happy if people recalled their religion or caste with pride.Also readConstitution will be ‘changed in the days to come’: Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde “I feel happy because he (the person) knows about his blood, but I don’t know what to call those who call themselves secular,” the minister had said. Hegde then said, “Those who, without knowing about their parental blood, call themselves secular, they don’t have their own identity… They don’t know about their parentage, but they are intellectuals.” He also said while he respected the Constitution, “it will be changed in the days to come”.”We are here for that and that is why we have come,” the five-time Lok Sabha MP from Karnataka said, drawing the ire of the ruling Congress in the state. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the BJP leader did not know “Parliamentary or political language”.

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‘Be U’: Brand Bengaluru gets its own logo, joins select group of global cities

Brand Bengaluru finally has a logo and a tagline to go along with it. The brand ‘Bengaluru – Be U’ (be you) is expected to build the city’s image on an international platform. Only a select group of cities in the world like New York City, Melbourne and Singapore have a tourism logo of their own.The logo was unveiled in the presence of Bengaluru development minister KJ George, Gandhinagar MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao, Shantinagar MLA NA Haris and Bengaluru mayor Sampath Raj on Sunday at Vidhana Soudha. The logo was selected from 1,350 entries and the was devised by bankers-turned-designers Rushi Patel and M Venkateswara Rao, founders of Nammur, a design firm.The red and black logo is part English and part Kannada.“It was an open contest after a brief had come in the papers. Uru is taken from Kannada and we have done the typography to match the Kannada font. The typography was created in-house from scratch,” Vinod Kumar, creative designer at Nammur, was quoted as saying by The News Minute. “We wanted the ‘Be’ and ‘u’ to stand out,” he added. Besides the English-Kannada logo, there is only-Kannada design too. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said “Bengaluru – the most enterprising, dynamic, progressive & glocal city – allows U to be yourself.””Launching Brand Bengaluru – the most enterprising, dynamic, progressive & glocal city; a city that allows U to be yourself. Participate in the #NammaBengaluruHabba near Vidhan Soudha today, and celebrate Namma Ooru Bengaluru,” he said ahead of the launch. Priyank Kharge, the minister Minister IT-BT and Tourism, said that the “identity” will “tell the Bengaluru stories across the globe”. “#NammaBengaluru gets its own identity. A city steeped in history, culture, art, cuisines. A identity that will tell the Bengaluru stories across the globe. #NammaBengaluruHabba,” he tweeted.

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BJP will see a pan-India win over Congress in 2019, says Prakash Javadekar

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, the minister in-charge for BJP for Karnataka is on a three day visit the state from December 23. Before he left the national capital, DNA speaks to him about his views on Gujarat polls, its impact on other elections and BJP’s position in election year 2018 vis a vis that of Congress.2018 BJP faces elections in many states where it has been in power for long time. How do you see anti-incumbency playing out there.We will win hands down in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan but before that along with Karnataka, three North Eastern states- Tripura, Meghalya and Mizoram will go to polls and we will do wonderful in all these three states also. So by 2019, we will have 22 plus states with us. Out of four states, we will win at least three or even all four we can win. We will retain Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. So by 2019, it will be a pan India BJP hurting Congress.Is the defection of Himanta Biswa Sarma, the Congress leader from Assam to BJP two years back is a big boost for BJP in North East?Congress is not serious to retain their folks and good people. People are coming to us and in our party, we give good roles. In Manipur, N Biren Singh (current BJP Chief Minister) was a senior Congress minister, was the right hand of Ibobi Singh (then Chief Minister) but anybody can see the changed Birender Singh now aftern he joined BJP. So people change completely when join BJP. The way he has united Nagas, Kukis and Maitis altogether in keeping peace in the state is really a very difficult task that he has completed..Tripura is a Left bastion. In another Left-ruled state Kerala, BJP has tried hard to expand but not with much success. What is your hope in Tripura?In Tripura, there is a mass upsurge against the Communist government. Besides people from both Trinamool Congress and Congress are leaving their parties and joining the BJP. So it will be a fight between Left and the BJP the Communists. We will give a surprise there. We will win Tripura also.You are the Minister in-charge of BJP for Karnataka. What BJP’s hopes this time in Karnataka, which it lost to Congress in 2013.BJP is 100 percent going to win in Karnataka this time. Last time we lost not for any other fault but because we were a fractured party. Our party had got divided into three factions. Now everybody is together. Everybody has learnt the lesson. Congress has, in last five years, given anti people governance, bad governance. They have made Bengaluru city a pot-holed city, a garbage city. And therefore people are angry, the farmers, the youth are angry.They (the state government) have allowed terrorism. Law and Order is so bad that day in a day out Hindu activists are being killed by terror outfits and Karnatka government has not nabbed even a single accused. They have failed miserably. So People are angry and we are going to win. People will give us decisive mandate.BJP has not done so well in rural areas in Gujarat polls. Will Gujarat rural divide will also be seen in Karnataka, where there are 150 rural seats.In Karnataka, people will unitedly vote for us because the rural support was always with us there and in Lok Sabha Bengaluru city and other cities voted us. This time urban areas are also voting for BJP because they have suffered heavily at the hands of Congress. Gujarat was a different ball game. It was not rural- urban issue. It was the worst kind of politics done by Congress, which was piggybacking on Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani. They tried to divide the society. Here also in Karnataka, they are trying to divide the society on caste and other lines. But I am very happy that Karnaktaka is standing united and they will defeat this divide politics. They (Congress) want to divide and rule, we want to unite and make Karnatka progress. That is what is our slogan.In Gujarat we were fighting for sixth term. After winning five terms consecutively, winning the sixth term is a rare feat no other party could achieve. Congress has never been able to do it anywhere. And therefore we will win this time.How do you see the corruption issue panning out in Karnataka with B S Yeddyurappa as your prime face vis a vis corruption charges against him in past?Corruption (under Siddaramaiah government) and the death of various honest officials and their testimonials is the real issue. Congress is looting the sate Left, Right and Centre. People remember B S Yeddyruappa’s government as a good governance model and so those bogus charges do not stick to BJP.In Karnataka, Yeddyurappa is considered a strong Lingayat face. What about other communities like Vokaligga.He is strong Karnataka leader and he is loved by all communities. All are coming together. First time you will see people are not voting their caste but casting their vote in Karnataka for development.2G case verdict has enthused Congress. How do you assess its impact electorally?What has happened in 2G. Licenses got cancelled because it was a clear case of corruption. The Supreme Court judgement (that had cancelled 122 2G spectrum licences in 2012) is important. What this CBI court has done, they are going to challenge. So let us wait for future. But the issue is very simple. In 2G, Congress did corruption. There was a bad policy. And therefore our stand was vindicated when the licenses were cancelled. And when we auctioned, we exactly received 1lakh 76 thousand crore rupees in auctions.So the BJP will continue to target Congress on corruption in Karnataka even after 2G verdict.Yes: Absolutely.There has been internal dissension in BJP state unit. BS Yeddyruappa versus others particularly with K S Ishwarappa.There were different opinions but we listened to everybody and chalked out a common strategy and therefore now there is now a united BJP team and there is no issue now.Why did BJP declare Yeddyurappa the CM face in Karnatka so much in advance. In many states did not declare CM face at all while in some like Himachal declared it at the last moment.It’s a strategy not a policy issue. Every state election is a different election. So every state will have a different strategy. And therefore here, we have already made it very clear that Yeddyurappa ji will be CM.Will the BJP declare CM faces in other states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh as well?Election in those states fall in December, which is one year away. So Let us talk about these four states that are going to polls now. So like in Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya, whether we will have alliances or whether we will declare CM face is a state specific strategy issue and that will define our targets.Since Congress has also declared that incumbent Chief Minister Siddharmaiah is the party face, do you see it as a clash of personalities in Karnataka?It’s not a fight just between two personalities. It’s a fight between personalities, parties and principles. And on all these three, principles, personalities and parties, we are much ahead of Congress.Anything that you want to say on your own.The politics of Modi ji has won the hearts of people. It’s politics of development. He is responding to the aspirations of the poor class—like good health service, good houses, good education. Now the poor class are also aspirational class and they are voting for Modi ji. That is our most treasured trove. The plan of the poor, which was with the Congress has already shifted to Modi ji after demonetization, Mudra Yojana, Ujjawala gas and many other schemes that are directly benefitting the people,Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that the BJP has a foundation of lies and Modi vision got exposed in Gujarat. Your Take?This narrative of one liner scripted by somebody else does not work in the long term. BJP has proved and Modi ji has provided a good governance. We have brought a change in the society at many levels and therefore the people are with us.What is BJP’s over-all plank in these state polls.Over all plank is development. Overall plank is new India. That is what we are aiming at.There have been accusations by the Opposition and in the run up polls, BJP goes all out for polarization. What do you say?We donot believe in polarization. The only plank is development, growth and prosperity for all sections of society.

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A dialogue with JC | Manoj Sinha on his way to realise Modi’s Digital Dreams

Q: You are implementing Prime Minister’s vision of digital India. How do you view the entire campaign?A: Our ministry is providing infrastructure for ‘Digital India’. The UPA government had launched BharatNet known as National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) in 2012. It was supposed to be completed in two phases. Between 2012 and 2014, only 328km optical fiber lines were laid. However, during three years of Modi government 2.48 lakh km lines have been laid. First phase target was broadband in one lakh gram panchayats, which has been achieved of which 86% work was done by the BSNL. In the second phase, the target is to cover 1.5 lakh gram panchayats by 2019. We are careful in the second phase. Eight states have come forward to do the work and we have signed MoU with four of them. We will definitely achieve the target of providing broadband to six lakh villages.Q: How did you transform BSNL into a profit making PSU?A: BSNL’s growth was hampered due to some reasons but now there is improvement in technology. BSNL is at present there, where no one else is. It is there where money can’t be made. It works in every circumstance and performs its social responsibility. The credit goes to its officials and workers. In the future, BSNL would do even better and fulfill expectations of the country.Q: How will you improve financial health of public sector telecom companies?A: BSNL’s financial condition is not bad. At least in the last three years it has improved. In last one and half year, there is churning in telecom sector. Other service providers have been losing market share but our share is increasing. MTNL has certain problems, which I do not want to discuss here. Merger of MTNL with BSNL will cause problems for the latter. We are discussing about improving MTNL’s condition. Indian telecom industry will turn into black from the next financial year; this is a surprisingly positive news for the country.Q: What is the status of new telecom policy which is in the offing?A: We are working on it. It will be out in March 2018.Q: Do you think Jio’s launch is a big move in direction of PM’s digital India?A: Digital India has benefitted immensely from Jio. Yes, Jio has contributed but there are other factors as well. We welcome new service providers.Q: But Jio has brought cut throat competition in the telecom industry? Other telecom companies are facing the heat and incurring losses? Are they satisfied? Are they thinking of giving incentives to them?A: This happens whenever a new entrant comes. This is business competition but the government is neutral and it will take decision in the interest of consumers. For the government ‘customer is king’.Q: What is your opinion about CBI court’s verdict in 2G spectrum case?A: One should see this judgment from a different perspective. If I kill someone and no one comes up in the court to testify against me, I would be acquitted but this is true that I have murdered a person. The Supreme Court had ruled that there was irregularity in allocating spectrum licence. The apex court said that those who got licence had proximity with those in power. So, their acquittal doesn’t mean that Congress starts giving certificate of honesty. The country is aware that there was huge corruption in it. When the judgement came and the auctions took place for the first time, you just add up the amount: in 2015, Rs 1.09 lakh crore and Rs 65,678 crore in 2016, which comes to Rs 1.76 lakh crore. I think that the country knows that some people escaped for lack of evidence. It is up to investigating agencies to appeal against it. The apex court had said that “first come, first pay” policy was based on valuation of 2001 but spectrum were given in 2000. What it means is that they were served first. Understand this difference, it would have made sense if targets of 2001 and 2009, were set in 2000.Q: Will it be an issue for the Congress in 2019?A: No, we do not want to contest election on this issue. We will go to people with what we have done in five years, which did not happen in 50 years. We will contest on change in lives of the poor. There is prosperity in the country and we will contest in the name of development.Q: What do you feel about forming government in Gujarat for the sixth time?A: A large section in the country wants to see Modi ji as PM. Only Modi ji could have made it possible to win in Gujarat despite being in power for 22 years.Q: After Gujarat and Himachal are you hopeful of regaining power in Karnataka?A: Not just Karnataka but we will form governments in the North-East states wherever we are not in power at present.Q: Do you think that Modi ji is now a global leader?A: Undoubtedly and this is a matter of pride. Modi ji is counted among the strongest leaders in the world.Q: Do you have any godfather in the politics?A: I do not have a godfather. BJP’s policies and principles are my godfather. Other parties may have godfathers. I was an ordinary worker who has reached this stage.Q: How is Yogi government’s performance in the UP?A: The government is doing a good job in Uttar Pradesh. Our government is working as per our ‘Sankalp patra’.Q: What are your thoughts about party president Amit Shah’s work?A: Amit Shah has killer instinct. He works on war footing to ensure victory. We have been performing well even in those areas where the BJP’s support base is weak.

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Rajinikanth to meet fans at 6-day meet from December 26, announcement on political entry likely

Actor Rajinikanth is all set to meet his fans for six days here, beginning December 26, giving rise to expectations that he might finally announce his long expected political entry. Rajinikanth, who has stridden the Tamil cine world like a colossus for the past four decades and enjoys almost a demigod-like status among his legion of followers, might make public his political entry during his address to fans.”There is an expectation that he will spell out his stand on entering politics. He may do it or may not…Only he knows…Let no one speculate,” a senior functionary of the All India Rajinikanth Fans Welfare Club told PTI.Also readRajinikanth will announce political entry before Dec 31The 67-year-old actor, whose second look poster of “Kaala” was released on his birthday on December 12, is scheduled to address his fans on December 26 and 31, the opening and valedictory sessions which might be tweaked if warranted.The possibility of his entry into politics has been debated for about two decades, but has revived now in view of a perceived political vacuum in Tamil Nadu after the demise of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. DMK chief M Karunanidhi is also not active in politics due to ill health.Rajinikanth had in 1996 famously said that even “God cannot save Tamil Nadu if Jayalalithaa is voted back” to lead the state.The actor’s opposition to Jayalalithaa was seen as one factor which helped catapult the main opposition party to power in the assembly elections that year.Since then, his fans have urged him to enter politics and and expectations have risen among political observers.Reviving anticipation of his imminent political entry, the actor had said in May that the “system is rotten” despite the presence of “efficient” leaders like DMK’s M K Stalin and PMK’s Anbumani Ramadoss.Countering opposition from some pro-Tamil quarters that he is a non Tamil (since he has Marathi roots and Karnataka origin), he had then asserted that he was a “pachai Tamizhan (pure Tamilian).”Addressing his fans in May for a similar photo-op, Rajinikanth had said, “Let us face the war when it comes” which was seen as an indication that he might enter politics.Rajinikanth met fans from as many as 16 districts during summer.Next week, he is scheduled to meet fans covering as many as 18 districts, which includes Chennai and Kancheepuram.Rajinikanth is scheduled to meet about 900-1000 fans during the six days ending December 31. The session is scheduled to begin by 7 AM and go on till about 3 PM.

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Antrix-Devas deal case: Ex-ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair granted bail by court

Former ISRO chairperson G Madhavan Nair on Saturday was granted bail by a Delhi court in the sensational Antrix-Devas deal case in which a loss of Rs 578 crore was caused to the exchequer.Special Judge Santosh Snehi Mann granted the relief to Nair on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and two sureties of the same amount.During the proceedings, the CBI informed the court that two accused could not be served summons as they had settled in the US, and the process was still on to execute the summons to them.The court, meanwhile, took a strict view over the non-appearance of accused Veena S Rao, a former additional secretary in the Department of Space (DoS), on the ground that she had a meeting with the Karnataka chief minister.”She (Rao) should be careful about her decisions…Since it is her first appearance after the summons, she is exempted,” the judge said.The probe agency opposed the bail plea, saying they were high profile people and may flee if released on bail.However, except three accused, the court granted bail to the rest who appeared before it, including A Bhaskar Narayana Rao, the then director in ISRO and K R Sridhar Murthy, the then executive director of Antrix.The court had on September 16 summoned Nair and others as accused while taking cognisance of the CBI charge sheet which alleged that Nair and other officials of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Department of Space (DoS) wrongfully leased out S-Band, a restricted wavelength of the INSAT satellites, to Devas Multimedia by Antrix.The cognisance of the final probe report was taken after the CBI apprised the court that it had secured the requisite sanction from the authorities concerned to prosecute the former officials of premier space organisations.The FIR was filed on March 16, 2015 against Nair and others accusing them of facilitating “wrongful” gain of Rs 578 crore to private multimedia company Devas by Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO.The probe agency had on August 11 last year filed a charge sheet against the accused, alleging they had caused a loss of Rs 578 crore to the exchequer by abusing their official position to favour a private company.The case relates to leasing of S-Band, a restricted wavelength of the INSAT satellites to deliver video, multimedia and information services to mobile receivers in vehicles and mobile phones to Devas Multimedia by Antrix.

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Rajinikanth will announce political entry before Dec 31

Actor Rajinikanth will announce his political entry and put an end to all speculations before December 31, said activist Tamilaruvi Manian after his 90-minute meeting with the actor on Friday.”When he meets his fans from December 26 to 31, he will make an announcement of his political entry on any one of the day. Mostly, he will announce on December 31,” said Tamilaruvi Manian who founded Gandhia Makkal Iyakkam, a movement campaigning for prohibition.Tamilaruvi Manian who has been closely associated with the actor lately, had helped the BJP-led NDA float a rainbow alliance comprising DMDK, MDMK and PMK in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the alliance went on to win two seats and pushed the DMK to the third spot in seven seats.Tamilaruvi Manian, who is a strong critic of both AIADMK and DMK told DNA that the actor will confirm his political entry but will not announce the name of the party later. “He has already begun the groundwork for launching a political party. He will announce its name at the appropriate time,” he said.Rajinikanth’s announcement of political entry comes after his colleague and friend actor Kamal Haasan confirmed that he will join politics.When asked what would be the ideology of his party, he said that he was not authorised to speak on behalf of the actor. To a question on whether the actor would join hands with the BJP, he said that the actor was close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah but that does not mean he would make an alliance with them. “He will decide on the alliance at an appropriate time,” he said.Though the speculation of Rajinikanth’s possible political entry is over two-decades old, the latest round began when he addressed his fans on the first day of his five-day meet and greet to take an individual photo with his die-hard fans in Chennai on May 15. The actor told his fans that he has no political aspirations, but “If God wills it, I will enter politics tomorrow.” On the last day, the actor who hails from Karnataka asserted that he “is a pure Tamil, you have made me a Tamil.” He went on to tell his fans that he will call them when “there is a war. You come then.”Strangely, the normally reclusive actor was meeting a cross-section of people from actors to politicians of different shades. All who meet Rajinikanth made one thing very clear — that the actor was seriously considering politics

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Goa: Govt. hospitals to charge nominal fee for outstation patients

The Goa government on Friday announced that they will start charging nominal fee for the patients who are non-residence of the state at the government hospitals from January 1, while locals will continue getting free of cost treatment.State Health Minister Vishwajit Rane told reporters that the state-run facilities including Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) will charge nominal fee for the patients who are from outside Goa from January 1, 2018.He said the patients from outside Goa would be charged 20% of the fee as prescribed in the state’s ‘Deen Dayal Swastha Seva Yojana (DDSSY)’ charged by ‘C’ category hospitals, which comes to a nominal amount.Rane said the step was taken to ensure that the locals are given priority in these hospitals as the state government is spending crores of rupees to maintain and upkeep these facilities.”Nearly 30-40% of the patients on these hospitals arrive from outside the state, specially from Maharashtra and Karnataka. We need to provide treatment on priority to the locals,” he said.Rane said the emergency cases would be given priority in these hospitals, even if the patient arrives from outside the state.Also, he said, those patients who are “poor” will not be charged though they are not locals.”The Dean of GMC and Medical Superintendents of the district hospitals have powers to exempt the poor patients from being charged in the hospital even if they are not from Goa,” he maintained.In yet another announcement, Goa government has also made it mandatory for the local patients to provide DDSSY cards for the locals while availing free treatment facility at state run hospitals.Rane said the state government is spending more than Rs 80 crore annually to pay the premium to the insurance company under DDSSY but the number of patients taking benefit of the scheme is less.”When the state is paying so much for the insurance firm, the patients should start using the DDSSY cards,” he said adding the health department has already put up camps in various panchayats to enrol all the citizens of the state under this scheme.

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Yogi Adityanath corners Congress over Tipu Sultan

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday launched a scathing attack at the Congress saying that it do not worship Lord Hanuman but show their devotion to Tipu Sultan.Speaking in Hubli of Karnataka, Adityanath said, “They (Congress) do not worship Hanuman ji, but worship Tipu Sultan. This is the difference of mentality. The Congress wants to implement the ‘mafia raj’, which Rahul Gandhi has got in legacy, all over the country.”He further said that people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have rejected the Congress adding, “If Karnataka rejects Congress, nobody will worship Tipu Sultan.”Adityanath’s statement comes on the heels of Karnataka assembly elections, scheduled to be held in 2018.This is not the first time when such statements have been made against the Mysore ruler. Earlier, BJP leaders including Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah had slammed Congress-led Karnataka government for celebrating the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan.”The Congress government wants to divide Karnataka community to rule..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,” Rajnath questioned during a rally in Bengaluru.While addressing a rally, the BJP chief said, “Karnataka Mahotsav was supposed to be grand but the state government was not enthusiastic about it, instead they are about Tipu Jayanti.”

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In-principle approval for 19 greenfield airports given, Aviation Minister Gajapathi Raju tells Lok Sabha

The government has given “in- principle” approval for 19 greenfield airports, of which some would be developed through Public Private Partnership (PPP), the Lok Sabha was informed today.Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the country’s civil aviation sector was growing leaps and bounds but the safety of air passengers will never be compromised.Emphasising that air travel is growing leaps and bounds, Raju said during Question Hour that the number of aircraft in the country was around 548 compared to about 395 in 2014.Since the government came to power in 2014, around 50 aircraft is being added every year, he said.Responding to a query whether shortage of skill was affecting the aviation sector, Raju said there is a problem and mismatch of skill.The minister asserted that safety of passengers was “never compromised and will never be compromised”, adding that safety and security was paramount for the government.When a member expressed concern over air safety against the backdrop of incidents involving Pratt & Whitney engine- powered aircraft, Raju said, “passenger safety is never put at risk”.Out of the 19 greenfield airports for which “in- principle” approval has been granted, some are to be developed through the PPP model.”Mopa in Goa, Navi Mumbai and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, Bhogapuram and Dagadarthi in Andhra Pradesh, Hasan in Karnataka, Kannur in Kerala and Dholera in Gujarat” would be through PPP model by the respective state governments with a total investment of around Rs 27,000 crore, Raju said.The responsibility of implementing these projects rests with the state governments concerned, he noted.To a query, the minister said, “we like more airports to come,” and the government would work with the states in this regard.

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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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What the Gujaratj results mean for Congress and Rahul Gandhi

Even though Congress has lost elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the fight and spirit exhibited by the party has given its newly elected president Rahul Gandhi to live for another day. Commenting on the results, a senior Congress leader told DNA that campaigning in Gujarat has helped them to test raw nerves of PM Narendra Modi and imparted lessons on how to defeat him in his own game. “We had modest expectations in the state, where we have been out of power for 22 years. Don’t forget, it is also home state of Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. It was always a tough fight,” he said. The party hopes that the spirited fight in Gujarat will help the party to evolve strategies to retain Karnataka, and wrest Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan from the BJP before 2019 general elections. The party’s general secretary incharge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot said the results were a “victory” for the party keeping in view the response Gandhi’s campaign got from the people. “The way the Congress campaigned and the way Rahul Gandhi did bus trips, we put up a very nice campaign. Whatever the results, the country will see this as the Congress’ victory,” he said.Since the Gujarat election was nothing but a perception-driven war of credibility and acceptability between Modi and Gandhi, the post poll narrative will focus on them. The Congress has succeeded wresting some 20 seats from the BJP in Gujarat. If one goes by the statistics of 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress has jumped from 33.4% popular votes to 43% plus. The BJP which secured 60.11% in 2014 has come down to 49.3%. With this statistics, the Congress has already announced Gandhi the winner who was able to contain the mass might of Modi and the mind power of Shah. But there are many within party who believe that remarks of Mani Shankar Aiyar against the PM, Kapil Sibal argument in the apex court on Ayodhya issue, pleading to put off the argument till 2019 general elections did cost the party in the second phase of polling.

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Focus shifts to Karnataka and Northeast polls

Gujarat secured. Himachal Pradesh wrested. The BJP has shifted its focus, strategising for Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Karnataka where elections will take place next year.The party believes that a dip in groundnut prices, which cost it dearly in Gujarat’s rural pockets, will help it in Congress-ruled Karnataka, where it has been highlighting “no steps” taken by the Siddaramaiah government to compensate farmers.”In Gujarat, we had assured farmers that the entire produce will be bought by February, and prices have only dipped marginally. In Karnataka, the Congress is doing nothing to restore groundnut prices or buy the produce from farmers. It will be a major issue during the Assembly polls there,” said a Union Minister, who declined to be named.Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a rally in Karnataka on January 28, concluding a 75-day Nav Karnataka Nirman Parivartan Yatra. Undertaken by the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, BS Yeddyurappa, it was launched by party chief Amit Shah. Modi is expected to attack the “failure and corruption” in Siddaramaiah.Modi also made a brief stopover in Mangalore on Monday, which was interpreted as a message that Karnataka is next on the radar.BJP leaders insisted that the party is serious about making a concerted bid to wrest Karnataka, which is the gateway to South India. Karnataka was incidentally the first Southern state to witness a lotus bloom in 2008. The BJP’s poll in-charge for Karnataka, Prakash Javadekar, will visit the state for four days from December 23 to December 26. Meanwhile, Modi visited Mizoram and Meghalaya last week and inaugurated various development projects.He also inaugurated a new BJP Meghalaya unit office there.The BJP is already in power in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh in the Northeast and has set up a North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) in 2016.Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland will go to the polls in February 2018, and later in the year in October, elections will take place in Mizoram.The BJP is looking at adding all three states to its tally. The BJP has already sent in research teams in the three states. The Congress, on the other hand, is up for a tough contest in an effort to save its presence in the region.In Tripura, both parties are in for a tough contest against the Communist Party of India (Marxist) whose Manik Sarkar has had an uncontested run for the last 19 years. While the BJP will focus on development in the state where over 65% of the people live below the poverty line, the Congress’s poll pitch will be inclusive development to woo the tribal vote.In Meghalaya, apart from the Jaintia vote bank, the BJP will focus on wooing Christians. Modi has focused on scams. In contrast, the BJP has allies in the Nagaland, where it will face severe attacks on the Naga Peace Framework, and face questions on the territorial integrity of neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Mizoram.Battles aheadThe BJP is already in power in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh in the Northeast and has set up a North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) in 2016. Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland will go to the polls in Feb 2018, and later in the year, Mizoram will go to polls

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Narrow escape for jodi no 1 in Gujarat

Gujarat was indeed tough for BJP. And the ruling party knew that very well. No wonder Jodi No 1 – Narendra Modi and Amit Shah once again led from the front and saved BJP from blushes. Had this invincible Jodi taken this election for granted, the outcome would have easily been termed as referendum against Modi’s radical reforms including GST and demonetization. But the thin margin of 19 seats is enough to trigger a panic button for BJP, which is slated to face stiff challenge from rejuvenated Congress in major states like Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.The results have been a set back for BJP as it was claiming 150 seats but failed miserably to even touch the three figure mark. This is termed as a victory of two individuals rather than the party’s. The Jodi has so far created a record of sorts by winning 13 elections out of 15. Gujarat’s result may not savour well for BJP but it will definitely germinate internal democracy in the party. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are likely to be more flexible and receptive to ideas of other senior leaders. A green shoot was evident when Amit Shah, in a press conference allowed reporters to ask questions in otherwise what used to be one-sided press conferences.For Congress, this was a moral victory and led to an emergence of a strong leader in party. Rahul Gandhi, who had been relegated as a flop leader after a series of drubbings, is now being hailed as a leader who revived the ailing Congress. He showed consistency, maturity and quick decision making in his 40-day long campaign. For the first time, he looked like throwing direct challenge on Modi. With Rahul, Congress also discovered a shrewd strategist in Ashok Gehlot, who charioteered the election rath of Gandhi. People are saying that Gehlot may take up role of Ahmed Patel but it is not easy to replace Patel. However, still Gehlot might have a major say in Rahul’s decision making process in coming days.There’s much to cheer for Congress but the magic of Jodi No 1 is there to stay. At this moment, there is no apparent challenge to the domination of Modi-Shah, but the tight finish of Gujarat elections has given them enough food for thought ahead of 2019.

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

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

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BJP to contest Karnataka Assembly elections under Yeddyurappa’s leadership: Rajnath Singh

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will contest the upcoming Assembly elections in Karnataka under the “leadership” of former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, Union Minister Rajnath Singh announced today. Speaking at the BJP’s Parivartan Yatra in Bengaluru, the Union Home Minister said, “BJP to fight upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka under BS Yeddyurappa ji’s leadership.”Rajnath Singh was accompanied by BJP’s Karnataka unit chief Yeddyurappa, Union Ministers Ananth Kumar and Sadananda Gowda.Also readParesh Mesta death: BJP urges Karnataka Guv to intervene, Siddaramaiah says ‘unfortunate’ incident being politicisedThe elections for the 225-member house will be held in mid 2018 as the term of the Assembly expires in May.Earlier, BJP President Amit Shah had announced that Yeddyurappa would be the party’s chief ministerial face in the Assembly polls.Also readI am contesting assembly polls to prevent BJP coming to power: SiddaramaiahHe will face incumbent Siddaramaiah who has announced that this will be his last election. The Congress has announced Siddaramaiah would be the party’s face during the 2018 Assembly polls, and is yet to decide on the Chief Ministerial candidate.Yeddyurappa, 74, is an influential Lingayat leader, who had led the saffron party to its maiden victory in the southern state in 2008. He was forced to resign following charges of corruption against him. Also readKarnataka: Protest in Kumta turns violent over death of activist Paresh Mesta He floated his own outfit in 2011 which performed poorly in the 2013 Assembly polls but managed to wean away a substantial chunk of the BJP votes, leading to a rout of the saffron party. He returned to the BJP fold ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

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Air force gets two more women pilot

The Indian Air Force got two more women fighter pilots on as Flying officers Pratibha and Shivangi Singh were commissioned on Saturday after completing their training and were part of the 105 cadets who became officers of the Indian Air Force. The passing out parade took place in HyderabadShivangi Singh and Pratibha have followed the footsteps of Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh who were commissioned as Flying Officers last year in July.The two fighter pilots will now be sent to the Bidar Air Force Station in Karnataka for more advanced training on Hawk trainer, Air Force sources said.Pratibha is from Rajgarh, Rajasthan and Shivangi hails from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.After a second phase of training that will last 15 months the duo will be assigned fighter squadrons.Rashi Raina, another women cadet who was being trained as a fighter pilot along with the two missed out this time as she was medically unfit following a recent crash during training.”There will be a review and she will be back to training once she is fit and will need to complete all the courses,” an Air Force source said.Talking about women being inducted as fighter pilots the Indian Air Force Chief BS Dhanao had said during his annual press conference in October that flying is a gender neutral like driving. “Women have to volunteer to become fighter pilots and have to make the cut,” he had said.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Post Guaratj polls, politics to weigh more on economy, says Assocham

With conclusion of the high stakes Gujarat Assembly elections, and several other states to go to polls in 2018, political realities are expected to weigh heavily on economic decisions of the central government, said industry body Assocham based on its internal assessment.The industry chamber said that the political compulsions would also be visible on the forthcoming Union Budget, which is expected to be the last full-fledged budget of the Union government before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.”Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, a number of states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh are due to go to polls. Inevitably, the Centre and states concerned would have to factor in populist sentiments in their decisions. Any tough reforms such as flexibility in labour laws may not go well with the popular sentiment, and hence India Inc’s expectations should be muted,” the chamber said in a note, indicating that tough reform measures may not be taken.However, Assocham also said that streamlining of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and rationalisation of tax rates would be an important takeaway from the current political-economic environment.”GST had not gone down well with traders, and the issue was in focus during Gujarat elections,” it said adding that the Centre’s plans to streamline regulatory procedures and rationalise tax slabs would be welcome measures.The chamber said that SMEs would also get a boost in the coming days, starting with the Budget proposals, as the government starts focusing more on job creation in the run-up to the 2019 General Elections.”Going forward to 2018 and 2019, we expect major attention going to the rural landscape with initiatives like support to farmers, rural and agri infrastructure,” Assocham added.

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

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

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Yamuna water to resolve drinking, irrigation issues; report set

The state government has started preparations to bring Yamuna water in the state. It will be brought to Churu district via pipeline from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh and will be used for drinking and irrigation in Churu, Jhunjhunu and Sikar district. The Water Resources Department has prepared a project of Rs 20 thousand crores for this.Water Resources Minister Dr Ram Pratap, during a press conference on Monday, said that the pre-feasibility report of 20 thousand crore rupees for bringing Yamuna water to Rajasthan was presented in the Central Water Commission(CWC). The Commission has approved the report and has appreciated the state government for this. Now, DPR will be made and sent to the CWC. Principal Secretary Shikhar Agrawal said that under this project, about 270 KM long, five pipelines of 3.2-meter diameter each will be laid down from Ghaziabad to Rajgarh (Churu) after which, the irrigation and drinking problem of the area will be resolved. On the fourth anniversary of the state government, Dr Ram Pratap organized a press conference and told about four years achievements of his department. He said that the government sanctioned the budget of Rs 11 thousand 930 crores in four years whereas, in the previous government’s five years, only 4 thousand 257 crores projects were made. He said that many major projects will be inaugurated and laid out in coming days. In this order, the foundation stone of Parwan Project will be laid on December 15 and work orders of Rs 273 crores have been issued for construction of dam and tunnel under this and after 15 days, the foundation stone for the construction of the Isarda dam will be done. Similarly, the foundation stones of the Batissa Nallah Project and Dholpur Lift and Irrigation Project in Sirohi district will be put up. “State government has formed Rajasthan River Basin and Water Resources Planning Authority. Under the Eastern Basin Transfer Project, drinking water and Irrigation facility will be provided in 2 lakh hectare area in 13 districts namely Jhalawar, Baran, Kota, Bundi, Sawaimadhopur, Ajmer, Tonk, Jaipur, among others,” said minister.LOAN WAIVER: A REPLY, NOT ANSThe Minister of Water Resources, Dr Ram Pratap, did not give a clear answer to the farmers’ bank loan waiver, on Monday. But in a philosophical way, the minister said that all political parties and farmers have to solve it, by studying this problem.In order to consider the demand for farmers’ debt waiver, the state government had formed a committee under the chairmanship of Dr Ram Pratap. On the question, in a press conference, Dr Ram Pratap said that in states like Kerala, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra etc., it has been declared to waive bank loans of farmers. These states have announced debt waiver, but have not done anything on the ground. He mentioned that something has happened in Kerala and Karnataka in this direction for debt waiver. That’s why our government sent a team of officials to study. Apart from this, the members of the committee, co-operative Minister Ajay Singh Kilak and Minister of State for Energy Pushpendra Singh, went to Karnataka to study the work.

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SC stays Madras HC order on thumb impression of ex- TN CM J Jayalalithaa

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Madras High Court order directing Bengaluru jail authorities and the UIDAI to produce records containing the thumb impression of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa.The high court, while dealing with an election petition, had on November 24 sought Jayalalithaa’s thumb impression details which is available with Bengaluru’s Parappana Agrahara Jail and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). The former AIADMK chief had died on December 5 last year. The high court had asked the authorities to give the fingerprint details by today in a matter relating to an election petition filed by P Saravanan, a DMK candidate for the November 2016 Thirupparankundram Assembly bypoll, challenging the election of AIADMK’s A K Bose.The matter came up for hearing today before a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, which also issued notice to the petitioner before the high court and asked him to file a reply within eight weeks. The bench said there would be “stay of operation” on the high court’s order. Bose has moved the apex court against the high court’s direction claiming it intruded into the fundamental right to privacy.Also readJayalalithaa death anniversary: Scores of people pay tribute to their ‘Amma'”Her death does not make any difference as right to privacy is available to every citizen during his/her life time and even after the death of that person,” the plea said. “The personal details of a third party which will undoubtedly include the finger print could not be divulged by the authorities holding the same without consent of the person to whom it belongs,” the plea claimed while seeking an ex- parte stay of the interim order of high court. During the pendency of petition before the high court, Saravanan had filed an additional affidavit, questioning the validity of the election documents.He had alleged that thumb impression of Jayalalithaa was obtained without her consent and knowledge while she was unconscious, with the “connivance” of the doctors and others who were attending to the former chief minister. Jayalalithaa was lodged in the jail after her conviction in the Rs 65.66 crore disproportionate assets case in 2014.Also readA year after Jayalalithaa’s death, AIADMK suffers without a strong leaderShe had subsequently secured bail from the Supreme Court and was released on October 18, 2014, after spending 21 days in the prison.The Karnataka High Court had later acquitted her and three of her associates of all charges, but the Supreme Court on February 14 this year had set aside the order. However, since Jayalalithaa died on December 5 last year, the apex court had abated the proceedings against her.

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SIT arrests arms dealer in connection with Gauri Lankesh murder

In a big breakthrough in the journalist Gauri Lankesh murder case, Karnataka SIT has arrested a man who sold murder weapon to the suspected killer. According to India Today report, the person arrested is Tahir who supplied weapons to a man, suspected of killing the journalist. Karnataka Home Minister has been quoted as saying that Tahir who is an arms dealer was apprehended by the police. He gave weapons to a person called Sashidhar, who police believe is the main accused in this murder case. However, the state Home Minister said that they are looking for the ballistic report to come to have a conclusive link to connect the two accused with the Lankesh case. Police so far has released three sketches related to Gauri Lankesh’s murder case. Also readGauri Lankesh murder: Killers will 100% be caught in a few weeks, says Karnataka Home MinisterLast month, Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy said that killers would be nabbed ‘100 per cent’ in a few weeks. The minister, however, clarified, “Weeks do not mean one or two weeks. It (the arrest of the killers) will happen in a matter of a few weeks. This will happen 100 per cent.” Reddy said whether Lankesh was killed by left-wing or right-wing extremists or was it due to “some other thinking” was “one issue”. Lankesh, known to be an anti-establishment voice with strident anti-right wing views, was shot dead at close range by unidentified assailants outside her residence here on the night of September 5. The Congress government in Karnataka, which constituted the SIT headed by Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) B K Singh, has also announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for anyone providing clues about the perpetrators of the crime.Also readGauri Lankesh murder case: Two suspects identified, SIT releases sketchesWith PTI inputs

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Padmavati row | ‘Our democratic nation is at stake…what have we come to be,’ Bombay High Court blasts fringe groups

Openly coming out in support for the release of film Padmavati, the Bombay High Court on Thursday said “what have we come to be. This is called a censorship of different kind, where you will not be alive to say anything, we are very disturbed.”A division bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati Dangre, while coming down heavily on the present situation, where chief minister of different states have stopped screening of films, it said “we have been noting that all the crimes and attempts by fringe groups to attack rational views and expressions is disturbing. What would have happened, if these people (filmmakers/performers) were not financially strong to withhold open threats of being beheaded, does this not affect government. Soon people will not be able to even convene a meeting.”The observations came by the bench while hearing a petition filed by the family members of deceased rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar and Dr Govind Pansare, seeking a court monitored probe.Commenting on the reward being offered by some people for killing actor Deepika Padukone and director Sanjay Lela Bhansali, the court said, “The situation so created is not conducive for writers, performers, social thinkers, who are under threat. What is at stake is our democratic nation, we cannot take pride to be a largest democracy, when we are confronted with the happenings around.”Asking the government to learn from the attack on the Indian Parliament and assassination of Prime Minister, the court said “In other countries when a man drives in a truck with arms, within hours the police track him down, dead or alive. The entire country is locked down and they take the attack as an affront to the nation. Everybody is alerted, but we don’t take it seriously. It has a cascading effect, officials are detached from public sentiment.”The court has asked the CBI and SIT probing the cases, of Dabholkar and Pansare to work together and convene a joint meeting to share information and details to track down the wanted accused.Asking the government to be sensitive to the threats faced by journalist, writers, performers and social thinkers especially in progressive states of Maharashtra and Karnataka, court said, “These states were known for their progressive thinkers and social reformers but now the situation is such that if your view is contrary, they will knock you out. Situation will get worse. If this continues, we will not hesitate in taking charge, how many incidents can we keep ignoring.”Referring to the attack on two foreigners by a mob for refusing to take their pictures, Justice Dharmadhikari said “somebody visits this country as a tourist and he is attacked. Performances are disrupted, shows stopped. It is happening in every state. Imagine the image of country that is being seen outside in the world. The court continue hearing the plea on December, 21.
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Supreme Court collegium clears 44 names for HCs

The Supreme Court collegium has cleared the names of 25 additional judges of different high courts for appointment as Permanent Judges. It also cleared the names of 19 lawyers for elevation to the bench in some high courts.As first reported by DNA, the Supreme Court met on Monday to take up the names recommended by the HC collegiums and which had been pending as long as over one year. Of the 53 names discussed at the meeting comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and Justices Jasti Chelameswar and Ranjan Gogoi, only 44 were cleared – 25 Additional to Permanent and 19 advocates-to-judge.While one candidate, whose name was recommended by the Chhattisgarh HC collegium for appointment as Permanent Judge, has already retired, one lawyer-candidate of Calcutta HC was rejected for not meeting the income criteria. One candidate from Madras HC was rejected for having crossed the age of 57 years while the case of another from the same HC was deferred till complaints against him are got verified.A lawyer recommended by the Karnataka HC collegium was found “unsuitable” while names of four others were sent back to the HC for reconsideration. Incidentally, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had opposed in writing names of some of the recommendees as did the State Governor.Among the high courts whose cases were cleared for Additional to Permanent are Madhya Pradesh (18), Himachal Pradesh (2), Karnataka (1), Jharkhand (2) and Chhattisgarh (2). As for HC for which names of lawyers have been cleared for elevation to the bench, these include Karnataka (5), Calcutta (5) and Madras HC (9).
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Amarinder Singh signs papers proposing Rahul Gandhi’s name as Congress chief

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh signed nomination papers proposing Rahul Gandhi’s name for the post of Congress president and said the elevation would help revive the party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.”Congratulating Gandhi on his proposed elevation, Singh said he was extremely happy to be doing the honours of nominating the Congress vice president for the post and was sure he would do well as the new leader of the party.The chief minister said he had known Gandhi since the latter was a little boy and could see even then that the youngster would one day rise to the top.Also readEntire party wants Rahul to become Congress President: Party’s Karnataka chief on Shehzad Poonawalla’s allegationsThe move to elevate him to the top post is a good sign for the party, a release quoting Singh said here.He said that Gandhi’s performance during the last few days in Gujarat showed his strong capability. He had been drawing huge crowds in Gujarat, and showed remarkable political maturity on several other occasions in the recent past, said the chief minister.Also readCWC announces poll schedule, paves way for Rahul Gandhi’s elevationDescribing Gandhi as a “mature and competent” politician, the Singh said his elevation would help revive the party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.His visionary leadership qualities would help infuse young blood into the party, said Singh, who is a permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee (CWC).A fortnight back, Singh had said “It is time to pass on the baton of the party affairs into the able hands of Rahul Gandhi”.
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Gujarat tops in fake Rs 2000 note seizures

A total of 39,725 fake Indian currency notes (FICN) were seized from Gujarat in 2016, the second highest number of seizures among states, behind Delhi, where 1.4 lakh notes worth Rs5.65 cr were seized.As per the NCRB data, Gujarat seized the maximum number of fake notes of Rs 2000, with around 1,300 notes, followed by Punjab (548) and Karnataka (254).The Gujarat police registered a total of 68 complaints related to FICN in 2016, and a total of 83 accused were nabbed.Of the 39,725 fake notes seized, 1300 were of Rs2000 denomination, 11,706 were Rs1000 notes, 15,900 were Rs500 notes, 9,561 were of Rs100, 231 were of Rs50, 13 were of Rs20 and 14 were of Rs10 denomination.FAKE NOTE COUNT2.8L worth Rs15.92 cr seized across the country 2016 1.1L worth Rs5.65 cr: Delhi 39,725 worth Rs2.37 cr: Guj 32,869 worth Rs2.32 cr: West Bengal 14,541 worth Rs92L: AP 14,228 worth Rs80L: K’taka
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61,974 cases of riots, group clashes in 2016; highest in Bihar: NCRB

A total of 61,974 cases of riots and group clashes took place in the country in 2016, down five per cent from the previous year, National Crime Records Bureau data said today.According to it, 35 cases of sedition were also registered in 2016 out of which Haryana accounted for the highest number of 12 cases followed by Uttar Pradesh with six.Among the 61,974 cases of riots and group clashes, the highest — 11,617 cases — were registered in Bihar, 8,018 in Uttar Pradesh and 7,898 in Maharashtra.There were 61,974 cases of riots and group clashes in the country in 2015.The 35 sedition cases registered in 2016 included three each in Karnataka and Kerala, two each in Delhi, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.Also readWith 16%, UP accounts for most murders in country: NCRBAs many as 60 cases of custodial deaths or disappearance from lock-ups were reported in the country in 2016 of which 12 were in Maharashtra, nine each in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, five in Madhya Pradesh, four in Punjab, three each in Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh and two in Rajasthan.A total of 32 people also died or disappeared in the country last year while they were under the remand of the police. These included six each in Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, four in Maharashtra and two each in Assam, Gujarat, Haryana and Tamil Nadu.
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Karnataka whistleblower cop D Roopa sued by her ex-boss for defamation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karnataka’s whistleblower police officer D Roopa is in trouble. She has been sued for Rs 20-crore defamation by her former boss HN Sathyanarayana Rao for allegedly levelling ‘baseless allegations’ whcih led to the VK Sasikala controversy, reports NDTV. Roopa came into limelight when he blew the lid over how VK Sasikala is enjoying perks of normal life while being confined in Bengaluru jail. In her report, Roopa had said that Sasikala even had her own kitchen inside the prison. Five prison cells were specially reserved for Sasikala, alleged Roopa At that point of time, Roopa was acting as Director General of Police (Prisons). Post massive political ruckus following this report, both Roopa and her boss Rao were shunted out of Bengaluru prison. The state government also ordered a high level probe in this incident. Rao, who retired as Director General of Police recently was asked to go on leave following this massive controversy. Now, he is looking to hit back on Roopa for ‘damaging’ his reputation.

Bananas successfully cultivated for first time in Jammu and Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Scientists have achieved a rare feat after they successfully cultivated bananas in Jammu and Kashmir. It is for the first time that the experiment of growing bananas in Jammu and Kashmir has succeeded with precision.“Experimental works involved growing the banana by tissue culture technique at Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM) Jammu. The samplings of this high quality tissue culture variety known as Bhim Grand Naine (G-9) banana were brought from Agro Division of Cadila Pharmaceutical Limited, Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The first trial of cultivation over two acres land of Field experimental farm Chatha has been successfully completed”, said Dr. Ram Vishwakarma, Director CSIR-IIIM, Jammu.First cultivation trial was conducted by planting 2000 samplings of banana plants with the narrow spacing in August 2016. The fruit setting commenced in July-August, 2017 while as the maturity and harvesting attained in 13 months.“The plant grew to a height of 6.5 to 7.5 feet and gave yield 20-30 kg per plant and 20-25 tonnes/acre. In term of economy involved, as per market analysis, price of banana in Jammu is approximately Rs. 20 per kg. Thus on an average, 20-30 Kg yield/plant gives Rs. 250-300/Banana plant”, said Dr Vishwakarma.On the basis of market demand, approximately Rs. 2.5 lakh net return can be obtained by cultivation of this crop on one acre of land which is attractive business for farmers of the Jammu and Kashmir as it involves very less inputs but lucrative profit.More than 164,000 acres of land in India is under the banana cultivation. Most edible banana species are widely cultivated in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarart, Karnataka, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. Many wild species of banana are also reported from Northeast and South India.Till date, no initiative of commercial cultivation of banana has been done in Jammu and Kashmir. Scientists said the commercial cultivation of banana in Jammu and Kashmir would be most profitable agriculture business for farmers of the State. This crop will be particularly suit Jammu region. “The next target of IIIM to introduce the banana cultivation in Kashmir region through modern biotechnology approach (Polyhouses) which would be done in 2018”, said the spokesman of CSIR-IIIM.

Gadchiroli: CRPF jawan killed, two others injured in encounter with Naxals

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A CRPF jawan was killed while two others were injured in an encounter with Naxals in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district, officials said.A gunfight broke out between a joint team of the CRPF and Maharashtra Police and Maoists near the Dhanora village of the district when the troops were out on operation.The first encounter broke out at about 5:40 PM yesterday and it was followed by another one at about 8:00 PM.Constable Manjunath Jakkanavar of the 113th battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force was killed in the encounter while two other men of the same unit suffered injuries, they said.Manjunath hailed from Karnataka’s Dharwad district, they said adding reinforcements are in the jungle area for combing operations.It is estimated that a good number of Naxals have also been hit during the encounter, they added.

ISRO satellite imageries to monitor suspicious vessels and boats venturing into seas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> ISRO satellite imageries will soon monitor suspicious vessels and boats venturing into seas as part of the fortification of the country’s coastal security, the home ministry said on Friday. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will provide 1,000 transponders by March next year as part of the coastal security ring, being set up to thwart terrorist attacks on the lines of the 26/11 Mumbai carnage. For boats under 20 metres, satellite monitoring has been proposed, a senior home ministry official said. India has strengthened the coastal security after the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai which claimed 166 lives. Ten terrorists reached the metropolis from Pakistan sailing through the Arabian sea.So far, 19.74 lakh fishermen have enrolled for biometric identity cards and of whom, 18.60 lakhs have been issued identity cards. For monitoring of boats, automatic identification system would be installed in all boats above 20 metres, while colour coding of boats was being undertaken by coastal states and Union Territories for easier monitoring in the high seas and on the International Maritime Boundary Line, the official said. India has a coastline of 7,516 km running through Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal and the Union Territories of Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.Standard operating procedures (SOPs) were developed for dealing with the breach of the International Maritime Boundary Line and SOPs were issued for upgrading security in non-major ports and single point mooring facilities, another official said. The SOPs were issued to coastal states and Union Territories for better coordination among stakeholders, coastal mapping started in states for entering terrain details, coastal and local police stations, bomb disposal facilities, ports railway stations, bus stands, fishing villages and fish landing points, the official said.Security of the coastline is vital for the country as there are nuclear stations, missile launching centres, defence and oil installations along the coast. India’s long coastline presents a variety of security concerns that include landing of arms and explosives at isolated spots on the coast, infiltration/ex-filtration of anti-national elements, use of the sea and off-shore islands for criminal activities, smuggling of consumer and intermediate goods through sea, the official said.Absence of physical barriers and the presence of vital industrial and defence installations also enhance the vulnerability of the coasts to illegal cross-border activities, the official said.

‘Apologise or I will sue you,’ actor Prakash Raj sends legal notice to BJP leader over ‘trolling’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prakash Raj, National Award winning actor, on Thursday said he has sent a legal notice to BJP MP Pratap Simha seeking an apology for “trolling” him in the social media.The talented, multi-lingual actor said he would sue Simha if he did not apologise within ten days.”People who are open to power are shamelessly trolling.I have sent him (Simha) a notice that he has to reply to my queries. I have questioned his act of trolling. I have asked him to answer legally, if he doesn’t I will be taking criminal action against him,” Raj told reporters in Bengaluru.Simha on October 2 tweeted flaying the actor for questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence over those “celebrating” the killing of activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh.Alleging that the comments against him had been made with a malafide intent to affect his reputation, family ties and personal life, the actor urged Simha to delete the Facebook posts and tweets about him.Raj said he was thinking of claiming monetary damages too for “soiling” his reputation and “hurting” his sentiments.He said there was nothing personal or political about it and expressed hope BJP would restrain Simha from posting such comments.When asked about his “double standards” in not questioning Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah when RSS and BJP members were killed, Raj said, “Many people were saying this to me that I should have started (questioning) before. Yes, I was late in starting, but better late than never.”He said it did not show which political ideology he supported. “…but I am very very clear which political ideology I am against …I am not saffron,” Raj added.

Al-Qaeda terror suspect arrested in kolkata got fake Aadhaar card made in Karnataka

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two days after the two alleged Al-Qaeda linkmen got arrested by officials of Kolkata Police’s Special Task Force, it was revealed that fake Aadhaar card recovered from one of them was not the only one which had been made. A total of three people were arrested by the STF team. STF sources said that upon interrogation they had revealed that the card was made in Karnataka. “There had been many such cards made there at the cost of Rs 10,000 each. Many cards have been distributed and some were under process. We are probing into how these cards with West Bengal’s address have been made from Karnataka,” said a senior STF official. He also said that Karnataka police have been alerted and together joint operations are underway to nab those behind the scam.Two of the three arrested on November 21 were members of banned Bangladeshi group Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) also called Ansar Bangla which has direct links with Al-Qaeda network. STF officials said that one of the arrested, 26-year-old Samsad Mia possessed a fake Aadhaar card under the name of Tushar Biswas.It was also found out that Samsad was the head of the explosive making department of the group and used to train others about how to make explosives.On November 21, acting on a tip-off, Samsad, along with Riazul Islam (25) alias Riaz alias Suman and Manotosh Dey (46) had been arrested from Kolkata Railway Station in north Kolkata between 2.30 and 3 pm by the STF. While Samsad and Riazul were Bangladeshi citizens, Monotosh was found to be a resident of Basirhat in North 24 Parganas where he has two houses and married to two separate persons. To each one he had been living with a fake identity – one of a fish dealer and other of a BSF jawan.

PM pulls up babus for consumer complaints

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday pulled up top bureaucrats in view of increasing number of consumer complaints. At the 23rd interaction through PRAGATI — the ICT-based, multi-modal platform — with top Central bureaucrats and chief secretaries of various states, he emphasised on the need for improvement in the administrative arrangement to benefit consumers. Some 4.2 lakh cases of consumers are pending in consumer forums across the country, and at least 70 per cent of them are in district forums.Officials briefed the PM on the action taken to ensure speedy and effective disposal of consumer grievances. Citing reasons behind the inordinate delay in disposal of complaints, it was mentioned that inadequate infrastructure at consumer forums had affected their functioning. PM’s initiative of interacting with bureaucrats so far has led review of 200 projects with a total investment of Rs. 9.31 lakh crore.Modi also reviewed the progress of nine infrastructure projects in Railway, road, power, and renewable energy sectors spread over several states including Uttarakhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Nagaland, Assam, Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. These projects are cumulatively worth over Rs 30,000 crore.He also reviewed the progress in implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY). He said that funds accruing to the District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) should be utilized to strategically focus upon and eliminate major development issues or deficits that these districts currently face. He said this should be done in a focused way, so as to achieve the greatest possible, tangible results by 2022, which marks 75 years of independence.

Three Al-Qaeda terror suspects arrested in kolkata sent to police custody till Dec 5

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The three suspected Al-Qaeda linkmen arrested on Tuesday by Special Task Force (STF) officials of Kolkata Police have been sent to police custody till December 5.Sources said that they had put up at different places across the country such as Bihar, Telangana, Karnataka and Jharkhand but they had been most active from Hyderabad where they had spent the maximum time.Interrogation so far had revealed that the two Bangladeshi citizens had been part of a plan to kill a blogger belonging to Mokto Mona, an internet community for freethinkers, atheists, and rationalists.It was found out that Samsad Mia alias Tushar Biswas was the head of the explosives section of banned Bangladeshi group Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), which was earlier responsible for the murder of several bloggers in Bangladesh and has direct links with Al-Qaeda. After entering India illegally, they had been touring the country where they worked as masons and other daily labourers which they would use as a smokescreen and in the backdrop would network and meet people in connection to their plans and would work on computer hardware as well.STF has informed Central Intelligence Bureau about the developments and Bangladesh officials will also be contacted and updated on the latest findings. Police are also looking into the possibility of presence of others of the group in Kolkata or rest of Bengal.A team of STF, if need be, would also visit places where they had been allegedly staying, to corroborate the information the duo had given out to police.On Wednesday, Deputy Commissioner, STF, Murlidhar Sharma at a press conference said that the three – Samsad Mia (26) alias Tushar Biswas, Riazul Islam (25) alias Riaz alias Suman and Manotosh Dey (46) – had been arrested from Kolkata Railway Station in north Kolkata. Of them Samsad and Riazul were Bangladeshi citizens and Dey was an arms dealer hailing from Basirhat in North 24 Parganas.

Medical bill tabled in Karnataka, provision for jailing doctors for negligence dropped

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A watered down version of the controversial medical bill designed to regulate private health care was introduced in the Karnataka Assembly today, dropping a provision for sending doctors to jail for negligence.The bill scraps several other provisions which were considered ‘draconian” by doctors in private hospitals and nursing homes, protesting which they had struck work last week crippling health services. The changes were made after the government and the striking doctors had reached an amicable settlement that led to the withdrawal of the indefinite strike on November 17. ‘The Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill, 2017’, tabled by Health Minister Ramesh Kumar, aims at making necessary amendments to the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act, 2007 (Karnataka Act 21 of 2007).The bill removes imprisonment provisions in case of violation of certain sections of the Act. Earlier,the bill had proposed six months to three years jail term and hefty penalty for medical negligence on the part of doctors.It also provides for emergency treatment as per the need without insisting on payment of advance from patient or representative of the patient in specified cases and enhancing certain monetary penalties leviable under certain sections.According to the statement of objects and reasons of the bill, it was considered necessary to amend the 2007 Act to reconstitute the registration and grievances redressal authority and enhance transparency in display of rates by private medical establishments. The bill also empowers the state government to fix uniform package rates for treatment and procedures under health assurance schemes of the government, specify the patients charter and private medical establishment’s charter.It provides for levy of monetary penalty in case of non compliance of the patients charter or private medical establishments charter. The bill was first tabled in the assembly on June 13 and later sent to the joint select committee following opposition by doctors and medical professionals.The bill also stated that complaints pertaining to negligence,non-adherence to standard protocols for treatments, procedures and prescription audit shall be referred to the Karnataka Medical Council for inquiry.It also mentions about forming an expert committee to recommend classification of the private medical establishment and recommend minimum standards of infrastructure, staffing pattern and staff qualification, as also standard protocols for treatments and procedures and prescription audit. The doctors had called off the strike after meeting Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and an interim order by the Karnataka High Court directing the agitating doctors to restore forthwith their medical services.

Karnataka stands with Deepika Padukone, Khattar should take action against those threatening her: Siddaramaiah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today asked his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar to take “stringent action” against those threatening actress Deepika Padukone who is being targeted by fringe groups for her lead role in “Padmavati”.Coming out in support of the actress, the state government said security would be provided to the actress whenever she is in Bengaluru and her family, who hail from Karnataka, in the wake of threats issued to her by several outfits which allege the period film distorted history and hurt sentiments of their community.Deepika is the daughter of badminton icon Prakash Padukone, who lives in Bengaluru.Other crew members, including director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Deepika’s co-star Ranveer Singh, are also facing threats by fringe outfits who claim the film wrongly portrayed the legendary 13th century queen of Chittor Padmavati who is revered by them.”Padmavati” stars Deepika Padukone in the titular role.Shahid Kapoor essays the role of Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh plays Alauddin Khilji.Siddaramaiah’s reaction came following a reported threat by the Haryana BJP media cell in charge, Suraj Pal Amu announcing a bounty of Rs 10 crore on the actress.The reported threat came after a fringe group Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha (ABKM) announced a reward of Rs one crore for those “burning Padukone alive.” Retweeting Karnataka energy minister D K Shivakumar’s tweet, Siddaramaiah commented, “I condemn the culture of intolerance & hate perpetuated by @BJP4India. Karnataka stands with @deepikapadukone.””She is a globally renowned artist from our state. I call upon the CM of Haryana @mlkhattar to take strict action against those holding out threats against her,” he said.Shivakumar tweeted, “It is condemnable that a BJP office bearer is placing a bounty of Rs 10 crore on @deepikapadukone, who is from our state & the daughter of one of India’s most respected sportsman.””Is this BJP’s culture & the way they show respect towards women? Immediate action should be taken.” He said he will write to the chief minister to offer protection to Padukone.He demanded that the BJP apologise and make sure that intimidation doesn’t happen. The minister appealed to all Indians, especially women and artistes, to speak for upholding freedom granted by the Constitution.Karnataka Home minister Ramalinga Reddy told PTI the state will provide security to the actress and her family in the wake of the threats.”Whenever Deepika is here in Karnataka, we will ensure that she gets adequate security. We will also provide security cover to her family staying here,” Reddy said.The makers of ‘Padmavati’ have denied the charge that it distorts history and deferred its release from the slated December 1.They have said the film was a cinematic masterpiece capturing “Rajput valour, dignity and tradition in all its glory.”

Swine flu sees spike in Maharashtra, again

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a year of lying low, the dreaded swine flu virus is back with 744 deaths and 6,113 cases being recorded so far this year.Swine flu is caused by the H1N1 virus. Its symptoms include fever, cough, body ache, loose motions and generalised weakness.A senior official with the state directorate of health services noted that the spurt in swine flu cases this year was because of changes in the weather and the intensity of the virus. “A variation in the minimum and maximum temperature can cause a rise in swine flu cases,” he said, adding that occurrence of H1N1 cases was seen largely in the February to April and July to September periods.The first swine flu death in India, that of a 14-year-old girl — was recorded in Pune in 2009. According to the state public health department’s statistics, the year 2010 saw 6,118 positive cases and 669 fatalities, followed by just 42 positive cases and six deaths in 2011. The year 2012 saw 1,560 cases and 135 fatalities, and in 2013, though the number of patients testing positive for the virus fell to 643, deaths rose marginally to 149, and in 2014, just 43 deaths and 115 cases were reported.However, it was in 2015 that the highest number of swine flu positive cases and deaths were recorded at 8,553 and 905 respectively. The next year, it fell to a much lower 82 cases and 26 deaths.A health department official said that as on Friday, the number of patients testing positive for swine flu stood at 6,113, while mortalities were 744. The deaths recorded in November were six, and in the fatalities recorded so far, 32 patients are from other states like Madhya Pradesh (24), Karnataka (five), Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat (one each).The highest number of H1N1 deaths have been recorded in Nashik (77), followed by Nagpur (61), Pune rural (56), Ahmednagar (53), Pune city and Kolhapur (49 each). Mumbai accounts for 20 deaths.”Public awareness is rising. Government and private doctors have been trained to handle swine flu cases. Patients showing symptoms of swine flu are put on Oseltamivir tablets even before their test results are received,” the doctor stated.”A feature of influenza is that when there is an outburst in society, it reaches many individuals and creates a kind of herd immunity… leading to a declining trend of this particular strain. But this natural immunity is short-lived and lasts for just around eight to 12 months. After this wanes, there is a new outbreak and peak,” noted Dr Pradeep Awate, state surveillance officer.The state government has also decided to vaccinate high-risk groups like doctors, health workers, people with hypertension, diabetes, compromised immunity and pregnant women in the second and third trimester. So far, 37,408 individuals have been inoculated.It has also established the Maharashtra Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Technical Committee under former Maharashtra director general, health services (DGHS), Dr Subhash Salunkhe.

Vijay Rupani accuses Rahul of lying

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief minister Vijay Rupani on Friday accused Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi of lying and quoting false figures to attack the state government. He also came down heavily on Gandhi for his incessant criticism of demonetisation and GST.”During his Gujarat visits in the past month, Rahul has been resorting to lies. He is quoting different figures but no one knows what the basis is,” Rupani told the media.The CM said that Rahul Gandhi had pegged the number of unemployed persons in Gujarat at 30 lakh in his speeches.”We do not know where he got the figure from. As of September 2017, the number of unemployed youths registered with employment exchanges in the state was 5.75 lakh, and not 30 lakh,” he said.He also said that for every 1,000 residents, the number of jobless in Gujarat stood at just 9, as against 125 in Kerala, 106 in Himachal Pradesh, 27 in Punjab and 15 in Karnataka.Rupani said that Gujarat had consistently topped in creating job pools among all states over the years.Dismissing Gandhi’s claim that 13,000 schools had closed down in the state, he said that the number had in fact gone up by 17,000 since 2000.Rupani also came down heavily on the Congress leader for saying that Narmada water was being supplied to industries, saying only 2 per cent of the water goes to industries, while 98 per cent is supplied for drinking and irrigation purposes.The BJP leader further attacked Gandhi for his criticism on the note ban, saying that people support the fight against black money. He pointed out that BJP had won the gram panchayat elections in Gujarat, and Assembly elections in many states, which were held soon after demonetisation.Rupani also slammed Gandhi for his description of GST as Gabbar Singh Tax, saying finance ministers of all Congress ruled states were part of the decisions taken by the GST Council.”None of its FMs opposed any decision in 90 meetings of the Council, but Congress is now claiming credit for lowering the tax rates,” he said, adding that it was not right to link the move to Gujarat polls.

Bengaluru doctors end indefinite strike after Karnataka High Court’s order

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Doctors protesting the proposed amendments to an act aimed at making them accountable for medical negligence on Friday ended their indefinite strike, which had crippled health services in private hospitals and nursing homes, after an agreement with the government.The decision to call off the strike was taken at a meeting between Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and representatives of doctors, who had intensified the stir yesterday, declaring it to be indefinite.The Karnataka High Court also passed an interim order directing the agitating private doctors to restore forthwith their medical services.A Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice H G Ramesh and Justice P S Dinesh Kumar observed that basic medical services are a right to life for every citizen and disobeying its order will amount to violation of court order.The doctors were up in arms against the amendments to the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (KPME) Act, 2007, which among others propose six months to three years jail term and hefty penalty for medical negligence on the part of doctors.Addressing a joint press conference in the presence of Siddaramaiah and state Health Minister Ramesh Kumar at Belagavi, the Indian Medical Association’s Karnataka chapter president H N Ravindra said the government had addressed the concerns of the doctors on contentious issues before tabling the amendments.”We had detailed discussions on touchy issues. Finally, there is a happy ending to the doctors” strike. We are grateful to the chief minister and health minister. We announce calling off our strike,” Ravindra, who was on an indefinite hunger strike for the past three days at Belagavi, said.He also owned responsibility for the deaths that happened due to the doctors’ strike and sought pardon from the people.Ravindra said the fear among the doctors was for real.He, however, did not elaborate on the settlement the doctors and government arrived at.Siddaramaiah said the government would make changes in the draft bill as was decided in the meeting and the same will be tabled in the Assembly on Monday.Ramesh Kumar said the amendment was planned as the KPME Act had not yielded the desired result.”People used to come to us with complaints against the private hospitals and nursing homes. As a responsible and pro-people government, we had to respond to it. In this context we thought of introducing the amendment,” he said.Sudarshan Balal, who attended the meeting as part of the IMA delegation, said the government has agreed to remove the clause of imprisonment and hefty penalty from the bill.Stating that a common man’s interest had been kept in mind, Siddaramaiah said “I’m making it very clear, there were some doubts and fear that doctors had regarding the bill.That has been cleared. Complete justice will be done to common man.”Asked about reported deaths due to the doctor’s strike, Siddaramaiah questioned whether there was any proof that they died because of the strike.”If there is any such cases we will look into and examine it,” he said.Doctors affiliated to five medical bodies had announced the shutdown of out-patient departments (OPD) services till the government dropped its move.A section of doctors had withdrawn the strike on Thursday.Health services in private hospitals and nursing homes were hit twice in the last two weeks by the strikes of doctors who alleged that the proposed changes, which among others provide for jail term for medical negligence, were “draconian” in nature.

Private doctors in Karnataka call off strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Private doctors in Karnataka withdrew their strike hours after the High Court urged them to call off their indefinite strike, reports ANI. However, the protests will continue in Belagavi. Division bench comprising acting Chief Justice HG Ramesh and Justice PS Dinesh Kumar observed that the the doctors should call off their protest as the government has an “open mind on the issue”, and asked them to participate in the talks convened by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. The doctors are opposing the amendments to the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (KPME) Act, 2007, which among others propose six months to three years jail term and hefty penalty for medical negligence on the part of doctors.The proposed amendments are based on recommendations of former Supreme Court judge Vikramajit Sen. The bench said there was no strong case for the doctors to protest as the KPME amendment bill has not yet been tabled in the Assembly, and adjourned further hearing on the PIL petitions on the matter for tomorrow. The petitions complained about severe hardship being caused to the public due to the strike. Health services in the state were hit as doctors across the state have shut down clinics and outpatient services in private hospitals against the proposed bill, which is likely to be tabled in the Assembly during the ongoing winter session. With PTI inputs

Bengaluru docs to go on indefinite stir from Thursday; outpatient services to take a hit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Outpatient services in private hospitals and nursing homes in the capital city of Karnataka are likely to be hit from Thursday, as doctors announce an indefinite stir against proposed amendments to an Act which make hospitals accountable for medical negligence.Doctors are opposing the amendments to the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act, 2007, which among others propose six months to three years of jail term and hefty penalty for medical negligence.The proposed amendments are based on recommendations of former Supreme Court judge Vikramajit Sen.Upping their ante, the doctors affiliated to five medical bodies in the city today announced the shutdown of out-patient services till the government drooped its move, which they alleged was “detrimental” to medical profession.”There are 22,000 doctors in Bengaluru, who will close outpatient services from tomorrow. However, emergency services, selective surgeries, dialysis and deliveries will be carried out,” Private Hospitals And Nursing HomesAssociation (PHANA) president C Jayanna said.Jayanna said the five associations including the Indian Medical Association (IMA), PHANA and others held an emergency meeting today where they decided to intensify the stir indefinitely.He charged that the state government was implementing the Sen committee report selectively.The report, if implemented in toto, will make government hospitals equally accountable, he said.”This Act, if passed, will wreck havoc. We briefed the government and health minister, but no one heeded to our plea,” Jayanna told reporters here.A doctors delegation had yesterday met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at Belagavi, where the legislature session is on.Siddaramaiah had appealed to the doctors to call off their stir, saying the government’s intention to bring the amendments was not to trouble them.Jayanna also rejected the charge that the doctors were holding the state to ransom.PHANA secretary R Raveendra alleged that state Health Minister Ramesh Kumar was adamant on passing the proposed amendments.Health services had been hit in Karnataka twice earlier this month as private hospitals and nursing homes failed to function following protests against the proposed amendments.At Belagavi, over 10,000 private practice doctors had assembled near Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, and staged a protest yesterday.

P Chidambaram gets relief in Madras HC, IT order quashed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a relief to P Chidambaram, the Madras High Court quashed an order of the Income Tax department seeking payment of tax by the former finance minister and his family on income from a coffee estate owned by them for 2008-09 financial year after re-assessing it. Justice T S Sivagnanam yesterday quashed March 31, 2016 demand notice and the consequential December 30 reassessment order issued by the assistant commissioner of Income Tax, Chennai, seeking payment of about Rs 6 lakh from Chidambaram and others.He was allowing petitions by Chidambaram and his family members challenging the notice and the re-assessment order. The matter relates to the petitioners claiming exemption of entire income from sale of coffee and pepper from their estate in Coorg in Karnataka in 2008-09 as agricultural income under section 10(1) of the Income Tax Act, which was allowed then. The I-T department had issued the demand notice saying there was reason to believe that income chargeable to tax had escaped assessment.Challenging this, the petitioners alleged that the I-T department’s action in reopening the assessment and reassessing the income for 2008-09 six years later was illegal and arbitrary and made only with an intention to defame them. Besides Chidambaram, the senior Congress leader’s son Karti, daughter-in-law Srinidhi and wife Nalini are the other petitioners.They submitted that income from the sale would attract tax only if they were involved in curing coffee. But they only sold raw coffee seeds and proceeds of sale of which was an agricultural income exempted under the I-T act.They further claimed there were several hundreds of coffee growers whose income had been exempted from tax on this ground. The reassessment order was issued without disposing of their objections to the reopening of assessment and without passing a speaking order, the petitioners contended adding this was in violation of the law laid down by the Supreme Court. Justice Sivagnanam, in his order, said as stated in a Supreme Court verdict the obligation on the part of the assessee does not extend beyond fully and truly disclosing all primary facts and it was for the assessing officer to take an inference on facts and law based on such disclosure.The respondent’s submission that the reassessment was made since his predecessor did not come to a proper inference on the facts disclosed (on agricultural income) was no ground to reopen the matter, he said adding it only reflected a change of opinion. Further, there was no allegation against the petitioners that they had not disclosed fully and truly all material facts necessary for assessment for that year, the judge said. “The impugned proceedings, namely, the notice for reopening and the consequential assessment orders are held to be illegal, unsustainable and a clear case of change of opinion and the impugned proceedings are quashed,” he ordered.

Tipu Jayanti: With 70,000 security men on roads, Karnataka celebrates anniversary of ‘Tiger of Mysore’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bringing the state under a thick security blanket, “Tipu Jayanti” celebrations were held amid protests across Karnataka on Friday to mark the birth anniversary of the controversial 18th-century ruler of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom, Tipu Sultan.With a sharply divided opinion over Tipu’s legacy and rising political temperature, opposition BJP, several Hindu organisations and individuals opposed the Karnataka government celebrating Tipu Jayanti through statewide protests.As over 54,000 police personnel and platoons of the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP), bolstered by the Rapid Action Force (RAF), kept a hawk-eyed vigil, functions were held at the district headquarters, where in-charge ministers and others hailed the legacy of Tipu.There were reports of stones being hurled at a state transport bus and over 100 people, including local BJP MLA Appachu Ranjan, being detained in Kodagu district, where widespread protests and violence had marred the Tipu Jayanti celebrations two years ago, when a local VHP leader died and several others, including policemen, were injured.Kodagu district observed a shutdown in response to a bandh called by the BJP and certain Hindutva outfits.Prohibitory orders are in place in the district till on Saturday morning.Tipu was a ruler of the erstwhile kingdom of Mysore and considered an implacable enemy of the British East India Company.He was killed in May, 1799 while defending his fort at Srirangapatna against the British forces.But, Tipu Sultan is a sensitive issue in Kodagu district as Kodavas (Coorgis), a martial race, believe that thousands of their men and women were seized and held captive during his occupation and subjected to torture, death and forcible conversion to Islam.Kodagu-based writer of historical books C P Beliappa had called the erstwhile ruler of Mysore a “treacherous tyrant”.However, the scale of such suppression is disputed by several historians, who see Tipu as a secular and modern ruler who took on the might of the British.With a sharp polarisation over Tipu Jayanti celebrations, the Karnataka government had made massive security arrangements across the state, deploying over 54,000 police personnel, 20,000 home guards and 212 platoons of the KSRP.The state security personnel were bolstered by the deployment of 15 platoons of the RAF across the state.In Bengaluru alone, 11,000 policemen were deployed, officials said.Prohibitory orders have also been clamped at certain places in Belagavi and Chitradurga districts.In Mangaluru, BJP district minority morcha president Franklin Monteiro, who tried to break the security cordon and barge into the premises where the celebrations were organised, was placed under arrest.Tipu is seen in a negative light in the coastal Dakshina Kannada district, where the Christians believe he had unleashed atrocities and forced conversion to Islam on their community.Even as BJP MLAs and MPs stayed away from the event, with some even writing to the respective district administrations not to mention their names in the invitations for it, party MLA from Vijayanagara constituency in Ballari district Anand Singh joined the celebrations.Recently, Union minister Anantkumar Hegde had kicked up a row after he requested the Karnataka government not to include his name in the list of invitees for the Tipu Jayanti event.Tipu Jayanti has become so controversial that recent remarks made by President Ram Nath Kovind during his address to a joint session of the Karnataka legislature on the then Mysore ruler had sparked a war of words between the ruling Congress and opposition BJP in the state.The president had hailed Tipu, saying he died a heroic death fighting the British.The BJP sees Tipu as a “religious bigot” and a “brutal killer”, while some Kannada outfits call him anti-Kannada, citing that he had promoted Persian at the cost of the local language.However, the scale of such suppression is disputed by several historians, who see Tipu as a secular and modern ruler who took on the might of the British.With a sharp polarisation over Tipu Jayanti celebrations, the Karnataka government had made massive security arrangements across the state, deploying over 54,000 police personnel, 20,000 home guards and 212 platoons of the KSRP.The state security personnel were bolstered by the deployment of 15 platoons of the RAF across the state.In Bengaluru alone, 11,000 policemen were deployed, officials said.Prohibitory orders have also been clamped at certain places in Belagavi and Chitradurga districts.In Mangaluru, BJP district minority morcha president Franklin Monteiro, who tried to break the security cordon and barge into the premises where the celebrations were organised, was placed under arrest.Tipu is seen in a negative light in the coastal Dakshina Kannada district, where the Christians believe he had unleashed atrocities and forced conversion to Islam on their community.Even as BJP MLAs and MPs stayed away from the event, with some even writing to the respective district administrations not to mention their names in the invitations for it, party MLA from Vijayanagara constituency in Ballari district Anand Singh joined the celebrations.Recently, Union minister Anantkumar Hegde had kicked up a row after he requested the Karnataka government not to include his name in the list of invitees for the Tipu Jayanti event.Tipu Jayanti has become so controversial that recent remarks made by President Ram Nath Kovind during his address to a joint session of the Karnataka legislature on the then Mysore ruler had sparked a war of words between the ruling Congress and opposition BJP in the state.The president had hailed Tipu, saying he died a heroic death fighting the British.The BJP sees Tipu as a “religious bigot” and a “brutal killer”, while some Kannada outfits call him anti-Kannada, citing that he had promoted Persian at the cost of the local language.

Bharat Ratna for Field Marshal Cariappa; Army chief puts ball in government’s court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After pitching for Bharat Ratna for late Field Marshal KM Cariappa, independent India’s first Army chief, Army Chief Bipin Rawat has left it to the Narendra Modi government to decide whether to confer the military hero with the highest civilian honour in the country. “Final decision will be taken by the government. Whatever is decided will be acceptable,” he said on Friday replying to queries on his view that Field Marshal Cariappa should be given the Bharat Ratna. Also speaking about the situation in Kashmir, Rawat said stone pelting incidents have come down. On November 4, Rawat had said that time has come that Field Marshal Cariappa be honoured with the highest civilian honour posthumously. He had said if others can get why not him as he is as deserving while speaking in Kodagu district in Karnataka where he had gone to unveil statuses of Field Marshal Cariappa former Army Chief late General K S Thimayya. The two military heroes have been an inspiration to many in the region. Sachin Tendulkar was the last recipient of Bharat Ratna in 2013 when government included sportspersons for the first time.

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

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

Prez clears nine bills, including Guj CRPC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to nine bill from eight states including the Code of Criminal Procedure (Gujarat Amendment) Bill 2017, which allows undertrial prisoners to appear in the court through video conference instead.The amendment is aimed at enhancing security of prisoners and minimum deployment of police personnel while producing prisoners in courts.Two bills from Karnataka – Minimum Wages (Karnataka Amendment) Bill 2017 and the Karnataka Maritime Board Bill 2015 – are among the state legislation that have been cleared by the President.While the Karnataka wages bill seeks to provide for better wages to labourers from 23 industries, the maritime board bill proposes to set up an authority that will come up with ideas to initiate development projects at ports.The Industrial Disputes (West Bengal Amendment) Bill, 2016, the Industrial Disputes (Jharkhand Amendment) Bill 2016 and the Industrial Dispute (Kerala Amendment) Bill 2016 were also given assent by the president, officials said.The purpose of the three bills are to frame rules for the settlement of disputes between the management of industrial establishments and workmen, widen the set of employees covered by the laws and establish a grievance redressal committee in all industrial entities.Haryana’s Shri Krishna AYUSH University Kurukshetra Bill 2016 that will facilitate establishment of an AYUSH university at Kurukshetra in Haryana has also been cleared. .The president has also given his assent to the Dentist (Andhra Pradesh Amendment) Bill 2017 and the Indian Stamp (Madhya Pradesh Amendment) Bill, 2016, the official said.GUJARAT BILL AIMS AT CUTTING COSTThe amendment to Gujarat Code of Criminal Procedure is aimed at enhancing security of prisoners and minimum deployment of police personnel while producing prisoners in courts. It allows undertrials to appear in the court through video conference

AICTE shuts 1,400 ‘bad standard’ tech courses

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

Tipu Jayanti row: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah calls Amit Shah ‘ignorant tourist’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday hit back at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah for targeting Tipu Jayanti celebrations in the state, saying it was a desperate attempt to communalise the atmosphere.”We celebrate birthdays of 26 leaders and builders of #NavaKarnataka. @AmitShah in a desperate attempt to communalize, picks on Tipu Jayanthi,” Siddaramaiah wrote on Twitter.In another preceding tweet, he also called out Shah’s ignorance about the state, for miscalling Karnataka Rajyotsava as Karnataka Mahotsav.”Election is coming! It brings tourists like @AmitShah who display ignorance about our state & call #KannadaRajyotsava as ‘Karnatak Mahotsav’,” Siddaramaiah tweeted.Amit Shah, while addressing a rally in Bengaluru on Thursday had slammed the Karnataka government for showing enthusiasm on the birth anniversary of 18th century Mysore ruler and claimed it to be ‘votebank’ politics.”Karnataka Mahotsav was supposed to be grand but the state government was not enthusiastic about it, instead they are about Tipu Jayanti. This shows vote bank politics which will not benefit the people of Karnataka,” the BJP chief had said. BJP chief Amit Shah on Thursday launched a scathing attack on the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka, accusing it of having broken “all records” in corruption. Kickstarting the BJP state unit’s “Nava Karnataka Nirmana Parivarthana Yatra” at a rally here, he claimed that a survey had found that the state government was the “most corrupt” in the country.Shah described state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa, who is spearheading the yatra, as the prospective chief minister and claimed that the ‘yatra” would lead to the ouster of the Siddaramaiah government. Shah alleged that the funds released by the central government to the state were not reaching the people they were intended to benefit.The BJP chief also slammed the state government for celebrating the birth anniversary of 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan as “Tipu Jayanti” on November 10 and claimed that it was “votebank politics”.”The government is more interested in celebrating November 10 as Tipu Jayanti rather than celebrating Kannada Rajyotsava (state formation day which fell yesterday) with grandeur,” he claimed. The BJP has been opposing the event as it sees Tipu Sultan as a “religious bigot” and a “brutal killer”.The 75-day yatra, launched at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre grounds off Tumakuru road, is aimed at “exposing” the alleged misdeeds of the Congress government.Assembly elections are due in Karnataka early next year in which the BJP is hoping to capture power, unseating the government-led by Siddaramaiah. Making history, the BJP had installed its first-ever government in the South in 2008 before losing power to the Congress.(With agency inputs)

PM Modi wishes five states on their foundation day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday wished fives states, including Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala and Karnataka, on their foundation day.”On the occasion of state’s foundation day, best wishes to the residents of Madhya Pradesh, who have made a significant contribution in the development of the country,” the Prime Minister said in a series of tweets.Greeting the residents of Chhattisgarh, he wished that the state may touch new heights of development.”Many congratulations to the people of Haryana on the foundation day, who are following the path of development and Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan,” he said”My good wishes are with the people of Karnataka on the Kannada Rajyotsava. We are proud of the rich culture of Karnataka,” he said wishing people of Karnataka on Kannada Rajyotsava.Prime Minister Modi also extended his greetings to the people of Kerala on its foundation day and said, “Best wishes to all Malayalis. I pray for peace, progress and prosperity in the years to come.”

With 50% vacancy, RTOs face personnel shortage

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Figure this. There are 1,000 new applications for driving license and around the same number of new vehicles registered at the four Regional Transport Office of Tardeo, Andheri, Wadala and Borivli each day.There are thousands of auto and taxis which come to get their fitness done. But the burden is on only 50 per cent of the government employees working at these RTOs due to a 50 per cent vacancy across grades at all the RTOs.With an unprecedented growth in the vehicle population in the last 10-15 years, the number of vehicles has increased from 10.30 lakh vehicles in 2000-01 to 16 lakh vehicles in 2007-08. Until March 2017, the number of vehicles had gone up twice and now stands at over 30 lakh vehicles in the city. Across the state, these numbers are huge.This has resulted in a substantial increase in the workload of the motor vehicle department. This has been raised by the BC Khatua Committee which studied various aspects of public transport. They highlighted the disparity in sanctioned strength and vacancies that need to be filled, which, when collated across the four RTOs, shows a 50 per cent vacancy.”In the course of time, the Transport department has helped generate a substantial share of the state’s revenue. Many states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, which have a lesser vehicle population, reportedly have a higher number of offices and officers than that of Maharashtra,” states the Khatua report.According to figures, the total vacancies across various groups and departments is 3,637 posts. Of this, most requirements are at the assistant inspector level in charge of checking vehicles, testing drivers, inspecting vehicles involved in accidents, going on field to catch motorists breaching laws and giving licences at the RTOs. At least 77 per cent of the total sanctioned strength of 1,302 posts are empty.The unions have been complaining the lack of manpower has seen little detection of illegal operations of taxi and autos plying in the city. The report has mentioned that even commuters complain against the non-use of meters, overcharging and misconduct of drivers; which barely gets addressed as there are not enough men to do the job at the RTOs.The Transport department officials agree that basic infrastructure like software, computers and other hardwar provided at RTOs is inadequate. The Khatua Committee has now recommended the government to fill up these vacancies within a year.

Taj Mahal, Tipu Sultan row: Why are you wasting our time, Prakash Raj’s blunt question to politicians

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Award winning actor Prakash Raj is in news again. Taking on the politicians over Taj Mahal and Tipu Sultan controversies, the talented actor and social activist has asked them ‘why are you POLITICIANS WASTING OUR TIME (sic)’.Days after questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence in journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder case, Prakash Raj took to Twitter again and said instead of focussing on relevant issues such as farmers plight, lack of jobs, the leaders are busy in politics and winning elections.Without naming any party or leader, Raj made a sharp comment on those ‘creating hatred’ over issues for which the current generation is not at all responsible.The comments come when two major figures of Indian history are embroiled in controversies.While Taj Mahal was termed as blot on history by BJP lawmaker Sangeet Som, Karnataka is witnessing battle over Tipu Sultan.The 18th century ruler has been dragged in a controversy over his birth anniversary celebrations on November 10.While the ruling Congress wants to celebrate it as mark of respect for ‘Tiger of Mysore’, the BJP says the the ‘tyrant’ had hanged allegedly hundreds of Tamil Brahmins in his capital Srirangapatnam for spying on him. Tipu Sultan is also accused of destroying Kodagu and Mangaluru.Not just latest controversies over Indian history, Prakash Raj had also made a comments on issues such as Mersel row and censorship.In a veiled attack over the Mersel row, the actor said that since many think that film fraternity has ‘zero per cent IQ’, do people want an entrance exams to see who is eligible to make films.

Prabhulal Saini wants more time on waiver issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Agriculture minister Prabhulal Saini has informed that committee constituted by the government to look into the matter of loan waiver of farmers has studied various states in which the loan waiver was given. The reply and supplementary questions that followed took about 29 minutes during question hour.On Thursday, replying to a question asked by Nand Kishore Maharia in the Assembly, independent MLA from Fatehpur, Saini said that 11-member high power committee had visited states like UP, Maharashtra, Punjab and Karnataka.He said that the study revealed that every state has executed loan waiver in different manner. In UP it was done in haste and as a result, minuscule loans like Rs10, Rs100, Rs500, Rs1000 were waived off.He added that as soon as the report is submitted, a decision will be taken according to the orders of the chief minister.Mahraia also grilled Saini on the purchase of certain crops on MSP. Saini informed that state government had requested central government on 14/10/2014, 22/04/2015 and then on 04/07/2017 to include mehandi, chaula, guar, corriander, garlic, isabgol, guarpatha, arandi etc in the purview of MSP.

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.

Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan died glorious death fighting British, says President Kovind

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amidst the raging debate on Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan’s legacy, President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday hailed his role in fighting the British and development of Mysore rockets in warfare. President Kovind said 18th Century ruler of Mysore died a glorious death while fighting the British and termed him a hero. Known as the ‘Tiger of Mysore’, Tipu Sultan ruled the Mysore kingdom from 1782-1799 succeeding his father Haider Ali.President said Tipu Sultan was a pioneer in the development of Mysore rockets and this technology was later adopted by the Europeans. President was addressing a joint session of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council on Wednesday. Majority of the legislators broke into loud applause when President spoke of the contributions of former Mysore and Karnataka rulers, soldiers, politicians and scientists in the growth of the state and the country. The President’s statements on Tipu Sultan become significant as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Anantkumar Hegde who happens to be Union Minister too, had called Tipu a “brutal Killer”, wretched fanatic and mass rapist. Hedge made the statements ahead of the STate’s Tipu Jayanti Celebrations to mark the erstwhile ruler’s birth anniversary on November 10.Since 2015, Congress has been celebrating Tipu’s birth anniversary in the state. The BJP opposes the celebrations as they consider Tipu “anti-Hindu and anti-Kannada”.

Here’s how BJP is looking to counter Congress’ effort for OBC consolidation in Gujarat and Karnataka

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Congress hoping for OBC consolidation in its favour in Gujarat and Karnataka, the BJP is likely to play up the opposition party’s decision to stall the Modi government’s OBC commission bill in Parliament to counter it in the two poll-bound states.A day after the Congress received a boost with the decision of Gujarat OBC leader Alpesh Thakore to join the party, BJP sources sought to play down its impact, saying Thakore is an untested electoral player. Thakore had also met BJP chief Amit Shah some time ago before he made his announcement yesterday after meeting Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. “Unlike the Congress, we have a string of well-entrenched community leaders across Gujarat. We could not have conceded so much to an outsider as the Congress, which has been out of power for over 22 years and has seen desertion by its top leaders,” a BJP leader said, noting that its pre-eminent leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also hails from an OBC caste.A key pro-OBC plank of the saffron party in the western state will be a bill that the central government had brought in Parliament in the Monsoon Session, seeking to give constitutional status to the OBC commission, putting it at par with the SC and ST commissions. The BJP will also highlight the Centre’s decision to raise the creamy layer cap for OBC families to Rs eight lakh from Rs six lakh, and then to form a commission to look into sub-categorisation of other backward classes (OBC) quota.While raising of the creamy layer cap will mostly help the relatively well-off among the OBC castes, the proposed sub-categorisation of quota is aimed at helping economically and socially weaker OBC castes, a social group being wooed aggressively by the BJP under Modi and Shah with considerable success so far. The constitutional amendment bill, however, could not be passed as the Congress stalled it in the Rajya Sabha, following its passage in the Lok Sabha.Top state BJP leaders besides Shah have addressed OBC meets in Gujarat. The sources said the BJP would rely on a similar plank in Karnataka where Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who himself hails from a backward caste (Kuruba), of the Congress is relying on a coalition of OBCs, Dalits and minorities to win a second term. Gujarat Assembly polls are slated for December, while Karnataka is likely to face it early next year.

BJP accuses Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah and Power Minister Shivakumar of being involved in ‘Rs 447 cr scam’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP on Saturday accused Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Power Minister D K Shivakumar of being involved in a “mega scam” of about Rs 447 crore relating to the state-owned Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL), a charge the Congress refuted as “baseless”.State BJP president B S Yeddyurappa told reporters in Bengaluru that KPCL paid a penalty of Rs 447 crore to the Centre for re-allotment of a coal block despite it having no such liability, following the coal scam verdict of the Supreme Court in August, 2014.”We charge both of them with receiving kickbacks for making this payment,” he said and demanded a CBI probe.Rejecting the charge, the state power minister said in New Delhi, “Yeddyurappa is misleading the public…This will boomerang (on the party). We are ready for any kind of probe and even a public debate on the issue.””The decision to pay the penalty to the central government was taken in the interest of the state and not for personal gain,” he told reporters in the national capital.The amount was paid to ensure reallocation of the Baranj coal block in Maharashtra for the smooth supply of coal to power units in the state, he added.Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee working president Dinesh Gundu Rao too rubbished the BJP’s charge, saying the party should stop making such allegations to “score political points” in the run-up to the Assembly polls slated for next year.The opposition BJP, citing documents, alleged that Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar as chairman and director of KPCL respectively had “failed miserably in their duties to protect KPCL and allowed loot of taxpayers’ money of Rs 447 crore”.Yeddyurappa, a former chief minister, demanded that the matter be handed over to the CBI for investigating the role of the chief minister and all those involved in the alleged scam.The BJP said KPCL and Kolkata-based Eastern Mineral and Trading Agency (EMTA) formed Karnataka EMTA Coal Mines Ltd (KECML) with 24 per cent and 76 per cent stake respectively in 2002, and when the central government allotted six coal mines to KPCL in 2003, it in turn executed the lease in favour of KECML.In the wake of the coal scam, the Supreme Court cancelled all coal mining licences, including those of KECML, and levied penalties, the senior BJP leader said.Maintaining that KPCL did not object to or counter the claims made by KECML, Yeddyurappa said, “KPCL woke up just 48 hours before the deadline of December 31, 2014. It wrote to KECML on December 30 saying it (KECML) was liable to pay the entire amount and directed it to make the total payment.””Shockingly, within 24 hours of writing the letter, on December 31, KPCL paid Rs 110 crore towards penalty and claimed it was 24 per cent of the amount, despite no demand having been made on KPCL to make the payment,” he said.”Most shockingly on March 16, 2017, KPCL made the balance payment of Rs 337 crore, despite a contempt plea that is pending in the Supreme Court, and related matters before the high court,” he added.On February 2, 2015, the central government had filed a contempt petition in the Supreme Court against KECML over non- payment of the penalty.Defending the payment made by KPCL, Dinesh Gundu Rao of the Congress told reporters in Bengaluru that KPCL paid the money to the coal controller under protest and also filed affidavits in the Supreme Court and the High Court that the payment was being made without prejudice to KPCL’s rights to recover the money from EMTA.”Since the matter is sub-judice, BJP should stop making any allegations,” Rao said.The fresh salvo by the BJP against the chief minister, comes days after it accused Siddaramaiah of “illegally denotifying” land resulting in a loss of Rs 300 crore to the public exchequer, and filed a complaint with the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB).Rejecting allegations of denotification, Siddaramaiah called it an attempt to tarnish his image ahead of the assembly elections early next year.Karnataka Power Minister Shivakumar is under the lens of the income-tax department, and around 80 premises linked to him have been raided over the last one month. “I will respond at an appropriate time. Let the investigation be completed,” he said when asked about the raids.

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