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Connectivity drags down Digital India in rural areas

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has completely failed to even kick off the Digital India programme and will be unable to do so till March, 2019, as there is no mobile or internet connectivity in many rural parts of the country.Digital India, a flagship programme of the government of India with a vision to transform the country into a digitally empowered society, is one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet projects.The ministry cannot start the programme as it doesn’t have basic infrastructure or platform in place. It is dependent on the Department of Telecommunication and its initiative Bharat Net, a high-speed digital highway connecting all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats of the country. Bharat Net, expected to be the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity project using optical fibre, is estimated to be completed by March, 2019.For instance, e-Panchayat project, one of the Mission Mode Projects under the Digital India Programme, is yet to be properly started.Under the project, core common software applications had been developed to address various aspects of Panchayat functioning, including budgeting, planning, accounting, monitoring, social audit, and delivery of citizen services.But all this is of no use as “there is no network connectivity in major rural areas of the country.” A ministry note stated: “The ministry would take effective and expeditious steps to increase the connectivity coverage so that the e-Panchayat is enabled in every village.”For strengthening of Panchayats and gram sabhas, the ministry needs to reach out to multiple and diverse groups, especially the rural populace, and media and publicity play a very important and crucial role in creating awareness. Due to zero internet or mobile connectivity, however, they are unable to do anything.The ministry has prepared various audio-visual programmes, documentaries, and mobile applications, but all these serve no purpose till there is no connectivity. “The elected representatives are not aware of their rights and privileges. This has become a major hurdle in effective delivery of citizen services,” the note stated.Furthermore, the ministry has also been unable to start a scheme to provide ATM services in Panchayat bhawans. To kick it off, an inter-ministerial committee has already been constituted. But again, the connectivity problem remains. Another problem is the lack of basic infrastructure. Of the 2.5 lakh gram Panchayats, nearly 46,000 do not have their own building.

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CM Mehbooba Mufti urges voters to not shun panchayat polls

Days after separatists linked the recently announced Panchayat polls with the Kashmir issue to enforce a voter boycott, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday again called on the people to vote in large numbers to strengthen the grassroots democracy in the restive state.”The government is committed to empowering the grassroots level institutions. The proposed elections to the Panchayats and later to be followed by the urban local bodies polls are a major step in this direction and will fully empower the basic democratic institutions,” Mehbooba said.Seeking larger participation of the people in the Panchayat elections scheduled to be held from February 15, Mehbooba said her government had made a commitment on the floor of the House in June 2016 that the elections to the rural and urban local bodies would be held at the earliest.She added that the State’s Election Authority would formally set the process into motion after the Rural Development Department issues the requisite notification in accordance with the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act.Mehbooba’s statement comes two days after Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL)of separatists called upon the people to boycott the Panchayat polls and claimed that India is using the election to negate Kashmiris demand for “self-determination and freedom”.JRL is an amalgam of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani, Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
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“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
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Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
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Gujarat elections 2017: Decoding BJP’s disappointing performance in rural areas

Rural and agrarian distress was reflected in the results of legislative assembly in Gujarat on Monday as voters punished the ruling BJP, giving its rival Congress more than 50 percent of seats in rural and semi-urban areas of the state. This is in clear contrast with the voting pattern in the cities, where voters continued to repose their faith in the BJP. Congress’ performance was the most impressive in Saurashtra region where it swept districts of Amreli, Morbi, Gir Somnath and Surendranagar.The results show that the Patidar agitation also affected BJP’s vote share in Saurashtra than other parts of the state.Rural areas didn’t get swayed by emotional issues and stuck to real issues.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Congress’ bitter-sweet defeat is story of missed opportunity In the 182-member legislative assembly of Gujarat, as many as 134 seats come from rural and semi-urban seats. Congress won 71 of them, followed by the BJP’s 57 while two went to Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), one to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and three to independents, one of which is Congress-backed Scheduled Caste (SC) leader Jignesh Mevani. Chhotubhai Vasava-led BTP had entered into a poll pact with the Congress.Also readGujarat Election Results: No matter who wins, when will a villager reap benefits of development?Dinesh Shukla, former Professor of Political Science said the results were a reflection of the results of District Panchayats and Taluka Panchayats almost two years ago. He also attributed the result to the hard work done by Rahul Gandhi and three young men of Gujarat, namely Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: How GST tweak saved the day for BJP“Rahul Gandhi’s emergence as a credible political leader is a welcome aspect of Gujarat elections. His down to earth nature has impressed the masses. Congress’ gains is the result of effort put in by him, Hardik, Alpesh and Jignesh,” said Shukla. He said that the rural distress coupled with lack of efforts by the government to resolve the problems made farmers vote against the BJP. Sagar Rabari, secretary of Khedut Samaj – Gujarat attributed the anti-establishment voting in rural areas to the persistent neglect of agriculture and farmers during the BJP rule, particularly after 2001. “The key problems of farmers are low prices of their produce. Most often farmers do not even recover the input costs. They get electricity only at night, do not get adequate water for irrigation. They are at a constant mercy of market forces, they are vulnerable and the government is not able to protect them. They obviously voted against BJP,” said Rabari.He complimented rural voters, who are relatively less educated compared to their urban peers but voted on the basis of real issues, while urban voters ‘blindly supported BJP’. He also said that while Patidar agitation was effective in Saurashtra, it was less effective in other parts of the state.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: BJP released manifesto after we raised questions about it, says Rahul Gandhi

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Friday claimed that BJP was forced to release its manifesto after Congress put pressure on it. Rahul said in Anand, ” We raised questions about Manifesto & BJP hastily prepared it behind closed doors. Congress asked for it so Arun Jaitley released it.” He said that not releasing the manifesto so far showed BJP’s arrogance. Rahul claimed that BJP thinks “they’re going to govern here for 100 years”, hence had no intention on publishing its manifesto. On Friday, Union Finance Minister released BJP’s vision document for Gujarat and said that the main focus is that the growth process shouldn’t be hampered. But before that Rahul Gandhi went hammer and tongs demanding why BJP is yet to release its manifesto. “The campaign in half of Gujarat has already ended. Polling will be held shortly. But the BJP has not announced its manifesto yet. The BJP has not told you what it will do for you in the next five years,” Gandhi said. “Modi-ji used to say that the BJP will rule in Gujarat for the next hundred years. But he is not saying a single word about the future of Gujarat at his rallies. “Instead, Modi-ji talks about Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and so many global issues. This election is not about Modi or (Rahul) Gandhi…It’s about THE people of Gujarat,” he said.Also readGujarat Election 2017: BJP releases its manifesto; attacks Congress for making ‘false promises'”The BJP is ruling here for the last 22 years. Now you have an opportunity to elect a government which would focus on you. People want to know what the BJP or Congress would do for them. While the BJP has not declared its manifesto, we held extensive dialogue with THE people and prepared our manifesto accordingly,” Rahul Gandhi said in a meeting before BJP’s manifesto was released. Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | A storm is brewing as Congress will win the elections, says Rahul GandhiAll key demands of tribal communities, such as implementation of Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, filling up vacant posts reserved for STs, scholarships for tribal students and better compensation for land acquisition, have been included in the Congress manifesto, Gandhi said. Voting for 89 seats of Saurashtra and south Gujarat will be held tomorrow, while that for 93 seats of north and central Gujarat, including Chhota Udepur, wILL he held on December 14. Campaigning for the first phase ended yesterday.With PTI inputs

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UP goes for local body polls, voters complain of rigging

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Complaints of ‘rigged EVMs’ marred voting at several booths in Kanpur and Meerut districts, as they went to polls along with 24 other districts in the first phase for urban local bodies’ elections in Uttar Pradesh.For the first time in the history of local body polls, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are being used for voting in 16 Nagar Nigams. However, ballot papers are still being used in the polling for Nagar Palika Parishad and Nagar Panchayats.In Kanpur alone, the returning officer changed as many as 77 alleged rigged EVMs to resume polling after violent protests by Opposition parties. The Samajwadi Party, Congress and the BSP charged the ruling BJP was using rigged EVMs to win polls.In both Kanpur and Meerut, many people complained that when they pressed the EVM button, their votes went either to the BJP or NOTA. “I had pressed the button to vote for the BSP, but EVM flashed that the vote was for BJP,” said Ramesh Kumar at Macharia in Kanpur.The incident led to widespread protests outside the polling station and police had to use mild force to disperse the agitated demonstrators. Similar complaints wer reported from Harsh Nagar, Tiwaripur, Mani Ram Bagia and few other booths in Kanpur.On complaints of voters, the presiding officer Shiv Ram also checked the EVM and said that he found the complaints “genuine”. He then stopped the polling and informed the returning officer Surendra Singh.Within half-an-hour, about 77 EVMs were changed at different booths in Kanpur. The State Election Commission, however, denied allegations of rigged EVMs.State Industries Minister Satish Mahana rubbished the allegations. “Such wild allegations were leveled during 2017 Assembly polls also. The Election Commission had conducted an inquiry but nothing was found,” he claimed.State Election Commissioner SK Agarwal assured to hold inquiry if any one comes with proof.ISSUES POP UPIn both Kanpur and Meerut, many people complained that when they pressed the EVM button, their votes went either to the BJP or NOTA.
On complaints of voters, the presiding officer Shiv Ram also checked the EVM and said that he found the complaints “genuine

Rajasthan makes big strides in clean India campaign

However, five districts are still lagging including Udaipur, Barmer, Karauli, Pratapgarh, Rajsamand and Tonk <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Panchayats in 13 districts in the state have become open defecation free (ODF) under ‘Clean India Campaign’ (Swachh Bharat Abhiyan). Panchayats in 14 more districts will achieve ODF target by the end of this year. Against the target of 82.41 families without toilets, 69.91 have constructed toilets, which means 85% families now have toilets in their homes. As for panchayats, 69% have become ODF. If counted in numbers, 6821 out of 9891 gram panchayats are ODF. However, five districts are still lagging including Udaipur, Barmer, Karauli, Pratapgarh, Rajsamand and Tonk.Cabinet minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat, Krishnendra Kaur ‘Deepa’, Kiran Maheshwari, Surendra Goyal, Dr Jaswant Yadav and Dhan Singh Rawat are the six ministers in charge of these six districts that have fallen short of ODF target.In Udaipur, more than one lakh toilets still need to be constructed. Minister of State for Panchayati Raj, Dhan Singh Rawat is in charge here. Rajsamand, Tonk and Pratapgarh are behind the target by more than 50,000 toilets. Rajpal Singh Shekhawat, Krishnendra Kaur ‘Deepa’, Kiran Maheshwari are in charge of these three districts, respectively.

13 IAS officers shifted in Haryana

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Haryana government today issued transfer and posting orders for 13 IAS officers, including nine additional chief secretaries (ACS) and three principal secretaries, a spokesman said. Navraj Sandhu, ACS of Development and Panchayats Department, has been posted as ACS, Co-operation Department, while Dheera Khandelwal has been posted as ACS, Environment Department, relieving Krishna Kumar Khandelwal of the charge, he said here. Sudeep Singh Dhillon, ACS, Transport Department, has been posted as ACS, Women and Child Development Department. Prashant Kumar Mahapatra has been appointed as ACS, Public Health Engineering Department, relieving Sanjeev Kaushal of the charge, the spokesman said. Mahapatra also has the charge of the Animal Husbandry and Dairying Department, relieving Rajni Sekhri Sibal, he said. S K Gulati, ACS, Forests and Wild Life Department, has been posted as ACS, Fisheries Department, and Siddhi Nath Roy has been posted as Principal Secretary, Forests and Wild Life Department, the spokesman said. Krishna Kumar Khandelwal, ACS, Sports and Youth Affairs, Environment and Swaran Jayanti Celebrations departments and Principal Executive Officer, Haryana Swaran Jayanti Celebrations, has been given additional charge of the School Education Department, he said. Pranab Kishore Das is ACS, Power Department, and relieves Anurag Rastogi of the charge, the spokesman said. Sibal, ACS, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Department, and chairperson-cum-managing director, Haryana Minerals Ltd, New Delhi, has been posted as ACS, Science and Technology Department, he said. Roop Ram Jowel, ACS, Social Justice and Empowerment Department, has been posted as ACS, Transport Department, the spokesman said. Anurag Rastogi, Principal Secretary, Power and Irrigation Departments has been given additional charge of the Development and Panchayats vice Navraj Sandhu, he said. Ashok Khemka, Principal Secretary, Science and Technology Department, has been posted as Principal Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment, the spokesman said. V Umashankar, Additional Chief Executive Officer, Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority, and Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Gurugram, would assist the District Administration, Sirsa, with immediate effect, in addition to his present duties, till further orders, he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

UP local body polls in November: state govt tells HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Local body elections will take place in Uttar Pradesh in November this year, the Allahabad High Court was today informed by the state government. The government submitted before a division bench comprising Chief Justice D B Bhosle and Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta that the notification for the polls was likely to be issued on October 25. The submissions were made in an affidavit filed in response to a petition of Ram Lakhan Yadav, who had challenged the state government’s order dated July 15, 2017 whereby administrators were appointed in all local bodies in view of the completion of their five-year terms. Earlier, the government had planned to hold the local body elections in June but the same had to be deferred in view of pending work with regard to preparation of voters’ list and the process of delimitation. The petitioner had contended that according to Article 83 (2) of the Constitution, a government could function for six months after the lapse of its tenure and hence mayors and chairpersons of Nagar Palika Parishads and Nagar Panchayats be allowed to function in their previous capacity until a new local body is elected. The court refused to interfere with the state government’s appointment of administrators in local bodies, but directed the state election commission to ensure that polls are held in November and all necessary preparations are complete by October.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Will implement farm debt waiver scheme soon : Amarinder

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today assured farmers that his government will soon implement the promised farm-debt waiver scheme in about a months time and appealed to them to not consider suicide or any other extreme step to escape their loan burden. Speaking at the Independence Day celebrations here after unfurling the national flag, the chief minister also announced the launch of a recruitment campaign for the government sector to fill all critical vacant posts. ‘Rozgar Melas’ (Job Fairs) would be held across the state to implement the poll promise of providing employment, he said. Singh, who earlier took the guard of honour and enjoyed an enthralling display of Gatka by school children, vowed to make Punjab a peaceful, healthy and prosperous state – “free from drugs and debt”. He also announced a Rs 2,500 crore annual repair programme for all link roads. The programme will be launched shortly with the laying and repair of 22,870 kilometers of such roads in the state, he said. Each household in the state will have a toilet before December 31, Singh announced adding that Rs 2,100 crore had been set aside to ensure complete facelift of schools besides providing the requisite infrastructure, while another Rs 806 crore had been allocated for upgradation of health infrastructure. Pointing out that his government has announced the waiving of crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh for small farmers, besides extending debt relief up to Rs 2 lakh provided to marginal farmers having total debt of over Rs 2 lakh each, the chief minister appealed to them not to commit suicide or take any other extreme step to escape their debt burdens. The debt waiver scheme will be implemented in about a month’s time and the government will ensure that the loans of the farmers are paid, without necessitating any payment from them, he said. Singh’s statement assumes significance as there are reports that distressed farmers in several parts of state have ended their lives because of debt burden. The chief minister reiterated his resolve to maintain law and order in the state at all costs, saying his government was committed to zero tolerance to unlawful activities, drugs and armed gangs. There has been a perceptible decline in crime in the state in the past five months, he added. Referring to the war on drugs, Singh said that a Special Task Force (STF) formed for this purpose has been given a free hand, leading to the registration of as many as 6,018 cases under the NDPS Act so far. A total of 6,933 people, including some police officials who were abetting such activities, had been arrested, and more than 97 kg heroin had been recovered, besides other banned substances, he added. Besides, supplies of Schedule-H drugs/ prescription drugs, which were misused in the state to produce synthetic drugs, had gone down by 50 percent in the last three months, he said. Singh said his government was committed to providing justice to the innocent people booked in false cases under the previous regime and the judicial commission set up to probe all such cases would soon submit its report. A similar commission set up to investigate cases of sacrilege was also working to identify the culprits, whom his government would soon bring to book, he added. To boosting industrialisation in Punjab, the chief minister said, his government had frozen electricity tariff at Rs 5 per unit for new and existing industries and anew industrial policy on the anvil would further promote ease of doing business in the state. He listed out steps taken to promote real estate, including reduction of stamp duty on registration of urban properties from nine per cent to six per cent. Referring to his government’s ‘Guardians of Governance’ scheme, Singh said that this voluntarily force of ex- servicemen would ensure the honest and sincere implementation of all government schemes and programmes to ensure that benefits of these schemes reach the deserving people. He said that 1,000 ‘Guardians of Governance’ would be recruited in about a month’s time. Describing the steps being taken for women empowerment in the state, the chief minister said reservation for women in Urban Local Bodies and Panchayats had been enhanced to 50 percent, besides other initiatives for the welfare of girls and women. The Chief Minister said pension under the social security scheme in the state would be increased to Rs 1,000 next year from the existing Rs 750. Several MLAs, Chief Secretary Karn Avtar Singh, DGP Suresh Arora, ADGP Border-cum-STF Chief Harpreet Singh Sidhu and other officials were among those present.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJD MLA courts controversy as supporters carry him

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today courted controversy when his supporters carried him on their arms to cross a waterlogged area in Malkangiri district. TV visuals today showed BJD MLA Manas Madkami from Malkangiri district being carried by his supporters to cross a water-logged stretch during his visit to Motu area in the district. Two supporters of the MLA extended their arms and a Madkami crossed the ankle-deep water patch. The supporters said that they did this to save the MLA s expensive shoes from getting wet. Madkami, however, said that it was his supporters love and affection. They feel elated when lifting and crossing the water body, the MLA said adding that he had not forced or paid anybody for crossing the water body. The MLA had visited four panchayats of Motu area in the district to take stock of welfare projects.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Issue of funds for Zila Parishad, Panchayat Samitis raised

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today said the state has raised the issue of releasing funds to Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samitis with the Centre several times. The chief minister was speaking after inaugurating a newly-constructed Zilla Parishad Bhawan at Keylong. “The three-tier Panchayati Raj system was the backbone of the democratic set up and several times the state government has raised the issue with centre for releasing funds to Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samitis also,” he said. Singh claimed that as per the recommendations of the NITI Ayog, the funds for development were being released to the Panchayats and not to Zilla Parishads and the Panchayat Samitis. These are being provided funds by the state government from its own resources, he said. Singh also inspected the HRTC bus stand and assured creating basic facilities like waiting room and staff quarters for the employees. The chief minister also announced to open a Government Degree College at Kaza and community centre at Kibber, and build the Bailey bridge and channelise the Shweta Nallah at Losar. At a public gathering at Kaza, he said a Desert Development Programme was launched in 1977-78 to take up the forestation drive and increase the green cover. Singh said that the forest department would be now given the task of planting more trees and the government would make a separate budgetary provision for the same. “A ‘Green Spiti’ mission would be started,” he said, adding that he wants to see Spiti adorned in green cover in times to come. Issuing directions he said that within one year all the electricity towers should be installed so that the power can be transmitted from Pooh. The chief minister said that 750 labourers in the Spiti valley had been employed full time for 12 months.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Uddhav demands rethink of Maha move on election of sarpanchs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray today expressed his disapproval over the Maharashtra government’s recent decision to elect sarpanchs directly from amongst electorate, saying that going by this logic a demand for the election of state chief minister in a similar way can be raised by people. The state Cabinet, that met under the chairmanship of the chief minister on July 3, decided to amend the respective clauses of Maharashtra Gram Panchayat Act of 1958 to facilitate election of sarpanchs (Grampanchayat heads) directly from amongst the people of the village. The move is apparently aimed at expanding the BJP’s footprint at the grassroot level, months after the saffron party reaped a huge political dividend by allowing election of municipal council chiefs directly from amongst the electorate. The BJP is hoping to repeat its performance of the municipal council polls in the election to 8,000 Gram Panchayats, likely to be held later this year. “If sarpanchs are elected directly from amongst the electorate, people will ask why chief ministers cannot be elected in a similar way. If members of gram sabha and sarpanchs are of different political parties, then the development of village may get affected,” Thackeray said while addressing reporters here. He said the Cabinet should rethink this decision. “This decision should not have been taken in a hurry. Implications of such a decision and its pros and cons should have been studied first,” the Sena chief said. The BJP, which earlier had a negligible presence in municipalities across the state, improved its tally of municipal chiefs to 56 last year after it allowed their direct election from the members of public. The government is expected to issue an ordinance soon on its decision to allow direct election of sarpanchs. It is likely to bring an amendment bill in the monsoon session of the state legislature scheduled to begin on July 25, an official from the Chief Minister’s Office had said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

SYL issue would be resolved through dialogue: Punjab CM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today expressed hope that the contentious SYL issue would be resolved through dialogue and said the Union Home Minister has assured him that the Centre was pursuing the matter. He said this during a press conference here when told that Haryana’s main opposition party INLD has threatened to stop vehicles entering the state from Punjab on July 10 over the Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue. “Our objective is not to disturb the process, we want it to happen, we want Haryana to get water, we want everyone to get water, but it was important to first ascertain the quantum of water available in the state,” he said. Singh said he had earlier also suggested that the two states should sit and discuss the SYL issue threadbare in order to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution. But, Haryana outrightly rejected the idea, he added. Meanwhile, Singh said his government was also set to formally ban truck unions and announce the new transport policy tomorrow. “We cannot allow cartelisation. There was too much interference by these unions and as a result we were pushing away industry,” he said. He also said the cabinet will meet tomorrow to stamp its approval on the establishment of a Rs 100 crore Road Safety Fund. To a question on the recent sand mining auctions, the chief minister said the government’s efforts to eliminate the mafia had led to shortage of the commodity, causing an increase in its price, but the situation would ease in the coming months. The government had, through a single auction, raised a revenue of Rs 280 crore, which was expected to rise to Rs 500-600 crore per annum once all auctions are completed, he said, adding the progressive e-auction mining policy would generate an additional revenue of Rs 4000-5000 crore, which was earlier being pocketed by the mafia. He claimed the governance reforms undertaken by his regime would go a long way in cleaning up the system of corruption and mafia rule. In this context, he cited his government’s decision to bring the chief minister, along with all ministers and bureaucrats, in the ambit of the Lokpal Bill, as also the move to give judicial powers to Panchayats to settle petty matters without these heading towards the courts. He further said the Governance Ethics and Reforms Commission set up by his government for comprehensive systematic reforms in the state would scrutinise all transactions above Rs 50 crore. Cash transfers to the bank accounts of genuine beneficiaries and special courts to settle matters concerning NRIs, serving soldiers, drug peddlers etc would further help in improving governance, he added. To a question on the delay in setting up of NRI courts, the chief minister said establishment of a court required a minimum of 500 cases but since there were not enough such cases to be dealt with, his government was merging the same with ex-servicemen’s court. On the cable TV issue, Singh said, “There is no cable policy, you want to put up a cable tomorrow, you can put it. We are clear in our manifesto that there is going to be no censorship of any sort.” “The more channels come the better it is as more competition will be there,” he added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sena representatives to give month’s salary for loan waiver

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shiv Sena today announced that party representatives at various levels would donate one month’s salary towards the farm loan waiver. This will apply to its ministers, MLAs, MPs, corporators, members of Zilla Parishads, Panchayat Samitis and Gram Panchayats. Sena has 18 MPs and 63 MLAs in Maharashtra. Party chief Uddhav Thackeray himself would contribute Rs 10 lakh, Sena leader and senior state minister Diwakar Raote said. Sena had supported farmers’ protest for loan waiver and now wants to contribute in giving relief to farmers through these donations, he said. “Uddhav-ji has already spent Rs 4.5 crore, earned from his photography, for farmers through various activities like giving help in drought-affected regions or water conservation work. He will now himself contribute Rs 10 lakh,” said Raote. The BJP-led state government — of which Sena is a part — recently announced a loan waiver for farmers. Earlier in the day, the state government issued a notification appealing its employees to contribute a day’s salary to provide financial assistance to families of farmers in the `suicide-prone’ regions of the state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

May amend Panchayat Raj Act to ensure stability: Goa minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after various panchayat bodies in Goa elected their sarpanchs, state minister Mauvin Godinho today said the government may amend Panchayat Raj Act to stop frequent “toppling games” that take place in these bodies. “I don’t like musical chairs as far as Panchayats are concerned. We have seen how sarpanchas are changed within six months’ time. I can understand a half-term given to any member, I can understand changing of sarpanch in two years but the music chair game in every six months will not be permitted as we want stability, which is an important tool for development,” the panchayat raj minister said. The election for the post of sarpanch was held in 174 panchyata bodies yesterday. “If necessary, the government will bring an amendment in Panchayat Raj Act wherein once a sarpanch is elected his tenure will not be less than one year. However, whether the tenure should be one or two years; it will be decided after taking all stake-holders into confidence,” he said, adding that such a change in legislation is required to bring in stability in these bodies. He said Panchayat bodies should hold fairs to create awareness about government schemes and reach out to people.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

45K to attend Int’l Yoga Day at SMS Stadium tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the occasion of International Yoga Day, state level program will be organised at SMS stadium in the capital where around 45,000 participants will perform yoga. The state health minister Kalicharan Saraf said that government has a target of around 50 lakh people’s participation throughout the state. Health minister also visited SMS stadium on Monday evening and took stocks of preparations.The third International Yoga Day will be observed on June 21. Sharing preparation and information of the program, the health minister said that yogabhyas programs will be organised at all 33 district headquarters, 295 Panchayat Samiti and 9,884 Gram Panchayats along with state-level program at the capital. For the purpose, dedicated yoga trainers are already appointed and the list of nodal officers, yoga trainer up to the district, block and gram panchayat level has been uploaded on the website of Ayurveda department. The health minister said that the intention behind the program is to encourage people for good health through yoga.The central government has sent the protocol and yoga practice will be performed on the occasion only between 7 AM to 8 AM. There are 21 kinds of Asan included in the protocol out of which 5 are meant to be performed while standing and 8 Asans will be performed in sitting position. Apart of these, there will be a separate practice of Kapalbhati, Pranayam and Meditation. The Sankalp (resolution) and Shanti Path (recitation for peace) is the last part of the protocol by which participants will end it.

Financial limit of dev works by panchayats in Hry increased

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Haryana government has decided to increase the limit of development works to be executed by gram panchayats from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh. “The limit of development works to be executed by gram panchayats would be increased from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh,” a spokesman of the Development and Panchayats departments said here today. He said that necessary amendments in the relevant rules were being made in this regard. The Haryana government had also issued comprehensive consolidated guidelines for the execution of development works by gram panchayats in the State. As per these guidelines, funds released under the Central Finance Commission (CFC), State Finance Commission (SFC) and surcharge on VAT (SOV) as per their share specified as a grant from the government would be credited directly to the accounts of the Gram Panchayats through RTGS. The grant-in-aid received under SFC and SOV would be credited to the accounts of three tiers of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), namely Gram Panchayats, Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishads with the share as 75 per cent, 15 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, or as may be prescribed by the government from time to time,” he added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Governor releases Maha State Election Commission booklet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao today lauded the Maharashtra State Election Commission for successfully conducting elections to various Municipal Corporations, Municipal Councils, Zilla Parishads, Panchayat Samitis and Gram Panchayats in the state. He congratulated the Commission for undertaking various initiatives aimed at increasing the participation of young voters that resulted in increasing the overall voting percentage in the recent elections, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said. The Governor released the booklet ‘Major Initiatives’ brought out by the State Election Commission on this occasion, he said. J S Saharia, State Election Commissioner briefed the Governor about various initiatives taken by the Commission such as voter registration, registration of political parties and voter awareness.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

"Members should play active role in strengthening panchayats"

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das today said that representatives of the panchayat bodies needed to play an active role to strengthen all the panchayats of the state. “Poor people need not to make rounds in block headquarters as their problems would be solved by panchayat secretariat,” Das said at a conference of panchayat sevak and village chief of Kolhan division here. To make the efforts effective, measures were being taken to link panchayat secretariats with Information Technology and many panchayats have already been provided with Internet facility, he said. Das asked the panchayats officials to ensure that bona fide beneficiaries get benefits of government schemes. He said that the government would grant fund to encourage panchayat volunteers to conduct survey of incomplete toilets in the state. The chief minister said that the government has set a target to distribute stove and gas cylinder under Ujjwala Scheme to 23 lakh families by 2019. He said 30 per cent of royalty being received from the mining areas would be spent for the development of villages in and around it. No home would be deprived of pipeline water supply by 2020, he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

PM Modi says women doesn’t have to change name on passport after marriage

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced that women don?t have to change their names on their passports after marriage anymore. ?Women don’t have to submit marriage/divorce certificate for passport. It will be their discretion to use father/mother’s name in passport,? Prime Minister Modi said this while addressing the commemoration of golden jubilee of Indian Merchant Chamber?s ladies wing, thorough video conferencing. The Prime Minister also lauded the contribution of women of the nation towards the development of the country and said they have potential and are getting better day by day. ?The contribution of women is remarkable. Women of our country have the potential and they strive hard for success in their field. ,? he added. He said that the government has initiated a number of measures to empower the women as they want them to shine. ?Over 70 percent people who have got loans under Mudra Yojana are women. Women contribute the most in the dairy and animal husbandry sector. When women have money, they feel empowered,? he said. He also endorsed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government?s various initiatives to empower women and promote Gender equality and said, ?We have recently passed the Maternity Bill. Number of leaves has been more than doubled from 12 to 26 weeks and has also done away with the provision that sought marriage details of woman for issuing passport.? He said that from Panchayats to Parliament, women are leading from the front, adding that even Mahatma Gandhi advocated women empowerment. ?At the time when he returned to India, Bapu met Ganga Baa who gifted him the ‘Charkha’, which led Mahatma Gandhi to think more seriously on the issue of women empowerment,? he said. The Ladies? Wing of the IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a premier business and professional women?s organisation. It has more than 2,200 members, consisting of entrepreneurs, managers, professionals and women from leading business houses.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Guj Assembly panel recommends separate crematoriums for Dalits

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Scheduled Castes Welfare Committee of Gujarat Assembly today suggested that the state Government should build separate crematoriums for Dalits in those villages where the community is still facing problems. The Assembly panel, which serves as the watchdog of welfare schemes being run by various government departments for SCs in Gujarat, also recommended reservation system for the recruitment in self financed colleges in Gujarat. These suggestions were made in two of the committee’s reports tabled today on the floor of the House. In it’s scrutiny report on the welfare schemes for SCs run by the state Panchayats, Rural Housing and Rural Development department, The Assembly panel said Dalits are facing problems in conducting last rites of their family members in those villages where there are separate crematoriums for various castes. Giving a solution, the Assembly panel recommended that government should utilise the central grant to build separate crematoriums for Dalits in those villages where the community is still facing problems for using that facility. In another scrutiny report on state Education Department, the committee sought to know if the government implements reservation system for the recruitments conducted in self finance colleges in line with the reservation in place for granted colleges. In it’s reply to the committee, the department said the Constitution does not provide for the provision of reservation in private sector, and that is why no grant is given to self financed colleges. On this, the panel recommended that just like grant-in-aid colleges, the government should also implement reservation in recruitments in self financed colleges. The committee, having nine members from both ruling BJP and opposition Congress, is headed by BJP MLA Bhanuben Babaria.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Das asks OC to crack murder case in a week or face suspension

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das today issued directions that the Officer In-charge of Dhansar police station in Dhanbad district will be suspended if he failed to crack a murder case within a week. Issuing the direction to Dhanbad Superintendent of Police at a Jan Samvad meeting here, Das asked the SP to monitor the case personally. The case was related to a murder of one Ashish six months ago, according to an official release here. The Chief Minister’s direction came on the complaint of the mother of the deceased. In another complaint at the Jan Samvad meeting on corruption charges against Mukhias (village heads) of different Panchayats, Das directed his secretary to ensure FIRs were lodged in all such cases and directed to dismiss all such Mukhias who were found guilty of corruption charges, the release said. Das said most of the schemes in rural areas were implemented through the Panchayats and Mukhias, and if they were engaged in corruption how would the government implement its development and welfare programmes, the release quoting the Chief Minister, said. Das asked the authorities concerned to take stringent action in all such cases of corruption.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

NC delegations meets JK Guv, pitches for delimitation comm

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A National Conference delegation today met Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra and demanded the constitution of a Delimitation Commission to reorganise Panchayats and Wards in the state. Vehemently opposing the ongoing “arbitrary” delimitation of Panchayats ahead of panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir, they said, the Commission should be headed by a retired high court judge and reorganisation of panchayats and wards be done in a time bound, fair and transparent manner. “NC vehemently opposes the ongoing arbitrary delimitation of panchayats ahead of panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir. We reiterated NC’s demand for constitution of an empowered Delimitation Commission, headed by a retired high court judge, to reorganise panchayats and wards in Jammu and Kashmir in a time-bound, fair and transparent manner,” NC General Secretary Ali Mohammed Sagar said. “The process was presently being carried out by lower rung officials and it is sham and mockery of democracy,” Sagar, who led the delegation, told the Governor at Raj Bhavan while presenting a memorandum. The process, initiated by the state government through its Department of Rural Development and Panchayats, they alleged will be over within seven days “according to a circular, issued by the Government”. It is being carried out in the most arbitrary manner and not in consonance with the laid down norms and procedures of the Panchayati Raj Act, the memorandum said. “The hush hush manner in which the delimitation is being carried out through lower rung officials sans the sincerity of the government, speaks volumes about political consideration behind the move,” it alleged. The government is delimiting the panchayats and wards as per political convenience and suitability of the PDP-BJP dispensation, it said. The new panchayats and wards are reportedly being carved out taking 2011 census as referral point, notwithstanding the fact that the voter lists of 2017 stand notified. “We demand that 2017 base datum to be made the referral point which is also the spirit of the State’s Panchayati Raj Act,” the NC delegation said and demanded that the on-going delimitation process to be stopped forthwith. Soliciting the Governor’s intervention, they said the present dispensation has been demonstrating an anarchical approach towards various vexed political issues which was hugely discernible during the passage of Amendment to the J&K Panchayati Raj Act which sealed the prospect of direct election of Sarpanchs.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP accuses BJD of tacit understanding with Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hitting out at the BJD ahead of the Panchayat elections in Odisha, the BJP today accused the ruling party of forging a “tacit understanding” with Congress and sought explanation for multiple issues which show “inefficiency and corruption”. “The performance of BJD government is disappointing because of inefficiency, callousness, incompetence and inertia. It has failed in all spheres,” BJP General Secretary and Odisha in-charge Arun Singh told reporters here. Seeking explanation from the BJD government on a host of issues, Singh claimed 3.26 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act in Odisha were yet to get ration cards. BJD must answer as to why so many beneficiaries have been deprived of ration cards as Odisha receives ration for 3.26 crore people, he said. Charging the state government with failing to ensure proper procurement of paddy, the BJP leader said the farmers were forced to resort to distress sale as they were unable to get remunerative prices for their produce. Despite making tall promises, the government failed to provide pucca houses to the poor during its 17 years of rule, while only two per cent of the population get piped water. As the government failed to supply safe drinking water, water borne diseases have hit people in many parts of the state and the government has to explain, he said. Stating that health services in Odisha was in doldrums, Singh said hospitals were not only devoid of proper infrastructure and sufficient medicine stock, there was also shortage of adequate number of doctors and para-medical staff. The state government must also answer as to why it has failed to provide jobs to unemployed youths, he said adding a large number of youths were migrating outside the state in search of jobs and the maximum exodus was from Ganjam, which happens to be the Chief Minister’s home district. Hitting out at the ruling BJD over corruption, the BJP leader claimed while irregularities were rampant in Panchayats, many people involved in the multi-crore chit fund scams have been left scot free due to inaction. Moreover, there appears to be some tacit understanding between the ruling BJD and Congress, whose image has been dented over the issue of corruption, he added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

J-K govt to hold Panchayat polls in March: Haq

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held in March this year, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Abdul Haq said today. The Minister, during his visit to Samba here, said the government is committed to empower Panchayats with more powers to ensure that these vital units are optimally utilised for development. He said preparations for holding Panchayat elections in March are on. Haq said the prime concern of the government is to strengthen the democracy at grassroots level through electoral process. He said the Panchayats and Gram Sabhas act like mini-Parliaments in rural areas and people of these areas are responsible for development works to be taken up in their respective villages.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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