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Fixing accountability: PM Modi asks 6 pointed questions to BJP MPs on Namo App

A day after pulling up BJP MPs for being less responsive on Namo App and generally not replying to messages, PM Modi has now assigned a survey for them to complete. These questions have been posted on the Namo App and the MPs have to fill up the survey by January 11, reports Zee News. With just over an year to go for the next general elections, the PM wants the BJP MPs to expedite development work in their respective constituencies so that expectation of the electorate can be met. The survey is meant to be a feedback for the work done so far and to make a blueprint for the path ahead.Also readBJP gets into huddle mode, discusses bypoll candidatesHere are the six questions the BJP MPs have to answer: 1) Which governmental scheme is having the maximum impact in your area?Also readBJP Going Micro2) How do you assess the central government’s schemes implemented in your area?3) Are you in constant touch with those who benefit from these schemes – either in person or through SMS or email?4) Have you created a mechanism for creating feedback and have you informed the party about it?5) Are all necessary information about government schemes available on the Narendra Modi app?6) Do you have any suggestions?The government has started several schemes and upgraded projects which were started earlier. PM Modi wants to ensure that the schemes are indeed getting traction on the ground and common people are gettiing benefit from them. Earlier in August this year, PM Modi had warned BJP MPs who remain absent during the Parliament sessions. He warned them of consequences if they didn’t mend their ways. On Friday, Modi had made it clear that he wants MPs to use the Namo App much more. According to Zee News report, after PM Modi’s instructions many BJP MPs were seen upgrading their Namo App on Saturday morning. BJP even provided tech support to those MPs.

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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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Separatists call for boycott of panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir

Separatists today appealed people to boycott the upcoming panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the central and state governments have been using such elections to hoodwink international community.Separatists Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik said boycott of these elections will deliver a message that Kashmiris want freedom from Indian occupation, and that they will accept nothing less than freedom and right to self determination.”India and its stooges repeatedly stage this election drama to hoodwink international community, and pro-India parties and their leaders try to lure people in the name of roads, unemployment and other sugar-coated things,” the separatists said in a joint statement under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL).”Soon (after) this election drama is over, these hypocrites, their masters in Delhi and media, declare this vote as a vote for India and use this farce to camouflage atrocities and human rights abuses in Kashmir,” they said.The separatists said any sort of election under this system — be it for “so-called assembly, Parliament, municipal committee or panchayat”– is meant only to “harm the interests of Kashmiris .”We appeal people of Kashmir to boycott panchayat election drama announced by the so-called rulers,” they said.The Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday said it would hold panchayat elections from Feburary 15 next year.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
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Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
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Centre tables Triple Talaq Bill in Lok Sabha; support Bill, but needs strengthing, says Congress

The Congress said it supports the triple talaq bill introduced in the Lok Sabha but wants it to be strengthened to safeguard the rights of divorced Muslim women so they live a life of dignity with adequate subsistence allowance.Earlier, the bill to make instant triple talaq illegal and void and awarding a jail term of up to three years to the husband, was introduced in the Lok Sabha amid protests by several opposition parties.Introducing the bill, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was a “historic day”.But before he introduced the legislation, several opposition parties opposed its introduction saying it was arbitrary in nature and a faulty proposal.Members from RJD, AIMIM, BJD, Indian Union Muslim League and AIADMK, who had given notice to oppose its introduction spoke against the measure. But members from the Congress and the Left, who were also opposing it from their benches, were not allowed to speak as they had not given notice. SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav was also seen opposing the bill.The TMC, which had opposed the draft bill earlier, was silent.Activists of ANHAD (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), offer sweets to each other as they celebrate the tabling of the Muslim women bill – ReutersWhile JPN Yadav of RJD questioned the proposed three-year jail term, AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi said Parliament lacks the legislative competence to pass the law as it violated fundamental rights.He said while the bill talks only about Muslim women being abandoned, the government should also worry about nearly 20 lakh women of various religions who are abandoned by their husbands, “including our bhabhi from Gujarat”.Muslim League’s E T Mohammed Bashir said the proposed law was violative of personal laws and was a politically motivated move.B Mahtab (BJD) said while he would not talk about the merits of the bill, its framing was “faulty and “flawed”. He said if the proposed law makes the practice of instant triple talaq illegal and void, how can a person be jailed for pronouncing ‘talaq-e-biddat’.A Anwar Raja of the AIADMK opposed the bill.Maulana Rabe Hasani Nadvi, President of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), General Secretary Wali Rahmani, Khalid Saifullaha Rahmani Assistant General Secretary, Fazlurrahman, Secretary and senior member Zafaryab Jjilani, AIMIM President Assaduddin Owaisi during a meeting on issue of Triple Talaq in Lucknow on Sunday – PTISoon after the introduction of the bill was approved, Prasad wondered whether Parliament can remain silent if the fundamental rights of women were being trampled upon.He said the legislation was not aimed against any religion but was framed to provide a sense of justice, security and honour to women.He said the law was required as even after the Supreme Court had struck down the practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ in August, it was continuing. He claimed that as recently as today, a woman in Rampur was given instant triple talaq by her husband for getting up late.Parliament has to decide whether the victims of triple talaq have fundamental rights or not, he said after some opposition members claimed it violated the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.”It is a historic day. We are making history today,” Prasad said.The proposed law would only be applicable on instant triple talaq or ‘talaq-e-biddat’ and give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself and minor children.The woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.Under the law, instant triple talaq in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp — would be bad or illegal and void.According to the proposed law which would be applicable to the entire country except in Jammu and Kashmir, giving instant talaq would attract a jail term of upto three years and a fine. It would be a cognisable, non-bailable offence.LAW WILL BE AN INTRUSION INTO PERSONAL LIVES: KURSHIDAlthough the Congress backed the bill and asked for a few changes, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid, a former union law minister, struck a discordant note, insisting the proposed law will be an “intrusion” into the personal lives of individuals and bring divorce, a civil issue, into the realm of criminal law.Among other things, the ‘Muslim women Protection of Rights on Marriage’ Bill provides for a 3-year jail term to those found guilty of pronouncing instant triple talaq to their wives.Congress’s communications department incharge Randeep Surjewala said Parliament must ensure the protection of rights of Muslim women and children under all circumstances.He said the Congress was the first political party to welcome the Supreme Court verdict banning triple talaq, and had hailed it as a decisive step towards women empowerment and victory for the rights of muslim women.”The Congress has always believed that the issue of instant triple talaq ‘Talaq-e-biddat’ is about gender justice and gender equity. The Congress will support any and every law abolishing instant triple talaq.”The present bill needs to be strengthened to safeguard the rights of women to a life of dignity with adequate subsistence allowance. Parliament must ensure protection of rights of Muslim women and children under all circumstances,” he said.Khurshid, however, said,”It is an instrusion into the personal lives of individuals. Taking criminal law into the family, you have to be careful. To make divorce in any form a criminal matter is unacceptable anywhere in the world.” Khurshid, also a Supreme Court lawyer, said divorce or consequences of divorce, are areas of civil law and not criminal law, which comes in only when there is violence.”Criminal law is kept out of family as far as possible, which is a general policy everywhere. Why are we bringing criminal law into something which is a non-existing factor? Triple talaq is no institution or institutional fact of life, the Supreme Court has made it very clear,” he said.Surjewala said Section 5 of the bill merely states that Muslim women are entitled to subsistence allowance without defining subsistence allowance and explaining the method of calculating it.It also does not clarify whether the maintenance awarded to a Muslim woman under Sections 3 and 4 of ‘The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986’ will be deducted from the proposed subsistence allowance or will it be in addition to that. He said there was no clarity on whether a divorced Muslim woman be entitled to one of the two.”Why should onus of proving instant triple talaq be on women? Like in every other law, the onus of proving the pronouncement of instant triple talaq would be on the victim.”Why can’t this law then envisage a presumption in favour of the woman, putting the onus of proof on the husband to establish that instant triple talaq was not pronounced by him,” he said.Surjewala said the bill should ensure payment of maintenance and/or subsistence allowance to women and children if the husband is in jail for 3 years, as evisaged under the proposed law.All Muslim women’s groups have asked an obvious question as to who will pay the maintenance and subsistence allowance once the husband is in jail, he said.The Congress leader also asked whether such a woman and her children would have the right to proceed against the estate–movable and immovable property of the husband, as the proposed law does not provide for it.”Where no such property exists or the property is owned by more than one stakeholder or is under mortgage/charge, does it mean that women and children would then have no maintenance?” he asked.Terming the bill as “very important” and “significant”, Congress spokesperson Sushmita Dev said her party will work with the government to bolster the rights of muslim women.She said the Congress party will stand by any progressive legislation that adds to empowerment of women. “But the bill needs to be watertight when it comes to the financial security and dignity of women,” she said.Dev also wondered whether under the proposed law the burden of proof that instant triple talaq has been granted be on women and whether they be able to prove the charge before a magistrate.This bill is silent on how to arrive at a maintenance allowance, she said.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
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“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
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No proposal to reconsider Air India privatisation, govt informs Lok Sabha

There is no proposal to reconsider the decision to privatise Air India, which has an outstanding debt of Rs 51,890 crore, the government informed Parliament today. To revive the loss-making national carrier, the government is working on the modalities for its strategic disinvestment.To a question in the Lok Sabha on whether the government proposes to reconsider its decision to sell out the debt- ridden Air India and its auxiliary companies, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha replied in the negative.The total outstanding loans of Air India as on September 30, 2017 stand at Rs 51,890 crore as per provisional figures cited by Sinha. Of this, aircraft loans account for Rs 18,364 crore and working capital loans are at Rs 33,526 crore.In 2016-17, the airline had a net loss of Rs 3,643 crore, while operating profit rose to Rs 215 crore, the provisional figures showed.Also readAir India’s domestic, global ops to be sold together, says Jayant SinhaThe government also informed Parliament that there had been a ban on direct recruitment in Air India for non- operational categories of employees and that the total number of regular employees of Air India as on November, 2017, is approximately 14,006 down from approximately 32,600 at the time of its merger in August 2007.On June 28 this year, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment of Air India and its five subsidiaries.Also readIndiGo, several other private airlines interested in buying Air India: Jayant SinhaAn Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, is working on the modalities.

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

Sonia Gandhi holidays in Goa as son Rahul leads Congress in protests against govt

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who earlier this month retired as the Congress President as her son Rahul took over, is vacationing in Goa and was seen riding a bicycle in the coastal city. A picture of the longest serving Congress President riding her bicycle and posing for photos with tourists was posted by actor Riteish Deshmukh.Some pictures of the Raebareli MP in Goa were also posted by news18.com. The report said that Sonia left for Goa on December 26 and is expected to be back in the first week of January.While Sonia is spending time in Goa, her son Rahul today led the party in celebrating Congress’ 133rd foundation day. He also participated in a protest by the Congress MPs in front of Gandhi statu inside Parliament premises over Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde’s comments on the Constitution.He took charge of the party from his mother on December 16. On December 15, a day before Rahul’s elevation, Sonia had said that “my role is to retire,” triggering speculation that she might quit active politics. The party, however, soon clarified that she was retiring from party, not politics.Her daughter Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra also announced that her mother would again contest from Raebareli Parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh.Also readCongress Foundation Day | Constitution under threat, it’s our duty to defend it, says Rahul GandhiSonia, 71, took charge of the Congress party in 1998 and and served at the post for 19 years.

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Live Updates | Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tables Triple Talaq Bill in Lok Sabha

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017, which seeks to criminalise the practice of triple talaq, has been tabled in the Parliament by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday.The draft Bill says, “any pronouncement of talaq by a person upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever, shall be void and illegal”.Here are the live updates from the Lok Sabha:12:51 IST Thursday, 28 December 2017: Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says the Bill is not against any religion:12:50 IST Thursday, 28 December 2017: BJD says the Triple Talaq Bill is flawed:12:49 IST Thursday, 28 December 2017: Protests against the Bill:12:44 IST Thursday, 28 December 2017: Law Minister moves Triple Talaq Bill in the Lok Sabha.

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Didn’t consult Muslim bodies before drafting triple talaq bill: PP Chaudhary

A day before the bill banning triple talaq is going to be tabled in Parliament, Minister of State for Law and Justice PP Chaudhary, admitted that Muslim groups were not consulted before drafting the bill.Chaudhary’s admission comes days after the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) opposed the bill. “The terms set out in the proposed bill not only encroach upon the constitutional guarantees granted to religious minorities, but are also against the very essence of the verdict delivered by the Supreme Court on August 22, 2017 in instant triple divorce matter,” AIMPLB spokesman Maulana Sajjad Nomani said after an emergency meeting on the issue in Lucknow earlier this week.Responding to a question in Parliament, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad admitted that so far 66 cases against instant triple talaq have been reported since the practice was struck down.According to the list of businesses, Prasad is set to introduce The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill in the Lok Sabha.The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017, that was drafted in record time since the Supreme Court struck it down by a 3:2 majority in August, has come under fire from the Opposition and various women’s rights groups.The law proposes to empower the victim to approach a magistrate seeking ‘subsistence allowance’ for herself and her minor children. An aggrieved woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.This law is a non-bailable, cognisable offence and applicable to the entire country except Jammu and Kashmir.The bill seeks to criminalise instant triple talaq by imposing a prison term of up to three years and fine on husbands who violate the law. The proposed law is only applicable to talaq-e-biddat’ or the instant triple talaq through any means — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp.In August, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had struck down the practice of instant triple talaq in a 3:2 judgment. While three of the judges declared the practice unconstitutional, two judges wanted the practice banned for six months till the government came up with a new legislation. The draft bill — penned by an interministerial committee was released in record time on December 1.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh headed the interministerial committee that prepared the draft. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and ministry of state P P Chaudhary were on the panel that helped draft the law. However, the women and child development ministry, which drafted the Centre’s affidavit in the matter along with interministerial consultations with the PMO, finance minister Arun Jaitley, home minister Rajnath Singh and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, said that they were not approached to be part of the committee.

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Centre allots Rs 4K cr for fast track courts

The Law Ministry has earmarked Rs 4,144 crore for setting up 1,800 Fast Track Courts (FTCs) for a period of five years (2015-2020) as endorsed by the 14th Finance Commission.Uttar Pradesh will receive a big share of the fund with Rs 488.08 crore for 212 FTCs, followed by Maharashtra and Daman and Diu who will get Rs 469.67 crore for 204 courts. Gujarat will get Rs 400.59 for 174 courts.Currently, there are only 722 FTCs handling 5,88,992 cases. Maharashtra tops the list with 97,942 cases pending in 100 courts, followed by Bihar who has 55,469 between 55 courts. Tamil Nadu has 50,641 cases pending in 69 courts.Responding to a question in Parliament, Minister of State for Law and Justice PP Chaudhary submitted that the 14th Finance Commission had endorsed the Centre’s proposal to strengthen the judicial system in states — which includes establishing 1,800 FTCs for a period of five years for crime cases involving senior citizens, women, children etc.Chaudhary also said that the Department of Justice has released Rs 1,561.15 crore for computerisation of district and subordinate courts in the country under eCourts Mission Mode Project Phase I (Rs 639.41) & Phase-II (Rs 921.7).Similarly, earlier this month, the Supreme Court accepted the Centre’s proposal to set up 12 fast track courts (FTC) to speed up trials in pending cases involving MPs and MLAs.Observing that the proposed scheme was “tentative” and at a “rudimentary stage”, a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha directed the states and the respective high courts to set up the special courts and get them functional by March 1.These 12 FTCs — combining several states in respect of which jurisdiction will be exercised by one special court, would adjudicate 1571 criminal cases pending against lawmakers.In an affidavit filed earlier this week, the Centre submitted that Rs 7.80 crore had been earmarked to set up the special courts, a move that was approved by the top court.Maha topsCurrently, there are only 722 FTCs handling 5,88,992 cases. Maharashtra tops the list with 97,942 cases pending in 100 courts, followed by Bihar who has 55,469.

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House uproar ends as govt, Congress truce up

“We disassociate from any comments made by any member during elections that may have hurt PM’s dignity, also we don’t want any such thing to be said in future,” Ghulam Nabi Azad said. ”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByManan Kumar <!–end of artlbotbor–>Thursday 28 December 2017 1:40 ISTMust readSurgical Strike 2.0: Indian Army planted IEDs to surprise Pak; toll could be higher Jaish-e-Mohammad’s ‘commander’ Noor Tantray killed in Pulwama wanted to join BJP in 2003 to eliminate top brass<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Parliament’s weeklong impasse over PM Narendra Modi’s remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh finally ended on Wednesday with Union Minister Arun Jaitley clarifying that the PM neither questioned nor meant to question Singh’s commitment to the nation.The Congress also softened its stand. It said the party has dissociated itself from Mani Shankar Aiyar’s “neech” remark against PM Modi.“We disassociate from any comments made by any member during elections that may have hurt PM’s dignity, also we don’t want any such thing to be said in future,” Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

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Parliament takes on Pak dirty tricks

Political leaders cutting across party lines in Parliament condemned Pakistan’s mistreatment of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family in Islamabad and demanded efforts to bring back the former Indian Naval officer who has been captured and sentenced to death on charges of espionage and terror. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said she will make a detailed statement on the issue in both Houses on Thursday. Jadhav, 47, was allowed to meet his mother Avanti and wife Chetana Jadhav across a glass screen on Monday. India has maintained he was kidnapped and implicated. India has said Pakistan had the mangal sutras, bangles and bindis of Jadhav’s mother and wife removed, disregarding cultural and religious sensibilities. The Pakistani press also harassed the two women. During Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, members of Congress, Shiv Sena, TMC and AIADMK protested against Pakistan. Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, demanded that Jadhav be brought back. The issue was initially raised by Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant who questioned the government silence. TMC leader Saugata Roy described Pakistan as “hypocritical”. AIADMK’s M Thambidurai said that asking a woman to remove her ‘mangal sutra’ is an insult to the country. Shiv Sena members raised slogans against Pakistan in the House.Outside Parliament, Congress leaders Veepara Moily and Salman Khurshid called it a diplomatic failure on the part of the government. “MEA should have ensured a protocol for the family,” Moily told reporters. He said that the issue should have been taken up with Pakistan before Jadhav’s kin went to Islamabad. Khurshid, a former External Affairs Minister, said the meeting between Jadhav and his family was distressing and disturbing. “We expected better from Pakistan, the situation is unfortunately very grave,” he said. Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy reacted sharply on Wednesday and said that India should go to war with Pakistan and split it into four parts. The Rajya Sabha MP said that “serious homework” for the war should begin “right now”. “The treatment given to the mother and the wife is akin to Draupadi’s vastraharan that resulted in Mahabharat,” he said.Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju also slammed the “very irresponsible” Pakistani media over the heckling of Jadhav’s mother and wife. “Pakistan media is very irresponsible, it is not responsible like the Indian media,” Rijiju told reporters outside Parliament, assuring action by the External Affairs Ministry.India has moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, on grounds that procedures were not followed under international law when Jadhav was convicted, a rare contest by the two nuclear-armed rivals at the top UN legal body whose rulings are binding, but occasionally flouted. In May, the world court put the sentence on hold till the case is conclusively heard.

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Blocked by Sushma Swaraj on Twitter for asking ‘tough questions’: Congress MP Bajwa

Sushma Swaraj has gained fame in the Twitterverse for always coming to help of Indians and foreigners stranded, who are in need of visa or any diplomatic assistance. Infact, External Affairs Minister’s Twitter diplomacy has earned her bipartisan praise and even applause from international quarters. However, there seems to be one politician who is unhappy with Sushma Swaraj’s Twitter habits. It is senior Congress leader from Punjab and currently Member of Parliament, Partap Singh Bajwa. On Wednesday, Partap Singh Bajwa from his verified handle posted a screenshot of being blocked on Twitter by External Affairs Minister. Bajwa claims that he was merely asking questions about the missing 39 Indians in Iraq. MEA so far has said that according to their last known information, the Indians are alive, but they haven’t been able to locate them. Bajwa claims that he was blocked merely for asking ‘tough questions’. Now, politicians in general and even Sushma Swaraj have resorted to blocking abusive trolls and sometimes people who constantly pester with similar rants. But this is probably the first time when a MP has been blocked by his colleague. Swaraj is currently followed by 10.8 million people. Probably in the torrent of replies she gets with every tweet, the fact that a MP was being blocked was overlooked.

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Modi’s Pak comment: How Vijay Goel’s meeting with Manmohan Singh broke ice between govt and opposition

It was a meeting between Union minister Vijay Goel and Manmohan Singh last week that initiated the process to break the government-opposition deadlock in the Rajya Sabha, a top government official said today.The proceedings of both the Houses of Parliament were disrupted for nearly two weeks over remarks by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Gujarat Assembly election campaign.He had criticised his predecessor Singh for attending a secret” dinner with senior Pakistan officials at former Union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence. According to the official, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Goel reached out to the former prime minister and showed him the copy of Modi’s speech and convinced him that no derogatory references were made to him.Also readParliament: PM Modi didn’t question Manmohan Singh’s commitment to India, says Jaitely; Congress replies with thanks”Singh then agreed to end the deadlock with a statement from the government,” the official claimed. Goel’s meeting with Singh was followed by a meeting of Leader of the Upper house Arun Jaitley and Goel with Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress leader Anand Sharma at Azad’s residence. The process culminated in a statement today by Jaitley, who said the prime minister has never questioned Singh’s integrity and commitment to the nation.However, ahead of Jaitley’s statement, there was a small disagreement between the two sides over its formulation that was resolved with the intervention of Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. Naidu suggested to the government to drop the contentious word and the government relented, they said.Reacting to Jaitley’s statement, Azad said the Congress does not approve of any remarks made against the prime minister, apparently in a reference to the “neech” remark made by Aiyar.

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Modi’s Pak comment: After Jaitley’s clarification, Govt and Oppn end stalemate in RS

The stalemate in Parliament over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh and others at a poll rally in Gujarat ended today, with the government saying the commitment of the former Prime Minister was not questioned.The proceedings of both Houses of Parliament were repeatedly disrupted over the past week on the issue, with the Opposition demanding an explanation from the Prime Minister over his “conspiracy with Pak” remarks and seeking an apology. In Rajya Sabha, Leader of the House Arun Jaitley said the Prime Minister did not question his predecessor’s commitment to India.When the Upper House reconvened at 2 PM after adjournment due to protests over union minister Ananthkumar Hegde’s controversial remarks on secularism and changing the Constitution, Jaitley said the Prime Minister in his statements or speeches “did not question the commitment to this nation either by Dr Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister, or Hamid Ansari, the former Vice President”. “Any such perception is completely erroneous. We hold these leaders in high esteem, as also their commitment to this nation,” Jaitley said.Also readParliament: PM Modi didn’t question Manmohan Singh’s commitment to India, says Jaitely; Congress replies with thanksHe said many statements had been made on all sides during the elections, and added that the government “does not want the stalemate as a result of this to continue”. Responding to his statement, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “I want to thank the Leader of the House that he issued a clarification on the issue which was causing the deadlock for the last one week.” Azad sought to assure the government on behalf of the Congress that the party dissociates itself from any statement made against the personality of the Prime Minister, apparently in reference to those made by its MP Mani Shankar Aiyar.”If during the elections (recent assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh), any member of our party gave such a statement that was against the stature of the Prime Minister, then our party dissociates itself from any such statement and we would not want any word to be said against the stature of the Prime Minister,” Azad said. The Congress had suspended Aiyar from its primary membership and slapped a show cause notice on him for calling Prime Minister Modi a “neech aadmi” or a lowly person.After the two statements, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu thanked all members of the House for their cooperation in resolving the stalemate. However, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal stood up to object, charging that the fate of the proceedings in the House could not be decided based on statements by only two people. To this, Naidu said, “We discussed it in the morning in the business advisory committee. Every member of the House is important. Let us not sidetrack the issue”.

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Ministerial panel’s report on Lokpal under examination: Govt

The government is still examining the recommendations of an inter-ministerial committee on the Lokpal act, two years after a parliamentary panel submitted its report on the proposed law, the Lok Sabha was informed today.The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 — that has provisions for establishment of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states to look into cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants — came into force with effect from January 16, 2014.However, an amendment bill was moved in the Lok Sabha in December 2014 to remove certain difficulties in the operationalisation of the Act, Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.The bill was referred to the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice for examination and report.”The said Committee has submitted its report in the Parliament on December 7, 2015. The recommendations of the said Committee were presented before an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) comprising seven Union ministers. The recommendation of the IMC are under consideration of the government,” Singh said.

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Cases of stone pelting in J&K reduced by nearly 1600 in one year: Govt

Incidents of stone-pelting in Jammu and Kashmir had come down significantly — from 2,808 in 2016 to 1,198 till November this year — Parliament was informed today.”The incidents of stone-pelting against security forces in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are reported to be 2,808 during the year 2016 and 1,198 till November this year,” Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said, replying to a written question in the Rajya Sabha.He said an adequate number of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) personnel were deployed in Jammu and Kashmir to assist the state government in maintaining public order.”It is not considered appropriate to disclose the level of deployment of the security forces,” Ahir said, replying to another question in this regard.

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Parliament: PM Modi didn’t question Manmohan Singh’s commitment to India, says Jaitely; Congress replies with thanks

Days after the bitter war of words between the Congress and the BJP during Gujarat Assembly Elections, it seems both parties have reached a truce in Parliament on Wednesday.Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while addressing the Rajya Sabha said that, ‘PM (Narendra Modi) in his speeches didn’t question, nor meant to question the commitment to this nation of either former PM Manmohan Singh or Former Vice President Hamid Ansari, any such perception is erroneous, we hold these leaders in high esteem, as well as their commitment to India.’Jaitley’s statement in the Upper House comes after the continuous demand by the Congress lawmakers for an apology by the Prime Minister for his ‘Pakistan meddling in Gujarat polls’ remarks in which he had named his predecessor Manmohan Singh also.In a quick reply, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, ‘Thank leader of the house for clarification on what has been issue of contention. I,on behalf of my party, say that we disassociate from any comments made by any member during elections that may have hurt PM’s dignity,also we don’t want any such thing to be said in future.’During an election rally on December 11, PM Modi had raised questions over a reported appeal by former director-general of the Pakistan Army Sardar Arshad Rafiq, that Congress leader Ahmed Patel be made Gujarat’s Chief Minister in case the Congress wins the elections.He had also said that, ‘There were media reports on Saturday about a three-hour closed-door meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house. It was attended by Pakistan’s high commissioner, Pakistan’s former foreign minister, India’s former vice president Hamid Ansari and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.’He had also linked the ‘secret meeting’ with now-suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s ‘neech’ remark.”The next day, Mani Shankar Aiyar said Modi was ‘neech’. This is a serious matter,” he said.The Congress was demanding PM’s apology on the issue during the Winter Session of Parliament.”Either the government should prove the claim or the Prime Minister must apologise… Nothing short of an apology will satisfy us,” Congress leader Anand Sharma had said prior to the beginning of the Winter Session.

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Congress to fight BJP with a positive campaign in Rajasthan, says Sachin Pilot

The Congress will launch an “affirmative and positive” campaign in Rajasthan to counter the “acrimonious” charge of the BJP and advocate a new model of governance while highlighting the failures of the state government, Member of Parliament Sachin Pilot has said.Buoyed by the results of recent by-elections to local bodies, where the Congress fared well, the party has decided to strengthen its base at the booth level and reach out to the masses through an aggressive mass contact programme to be launched soon, the Rajasthan Congress chief said.Unlike the BJP, the Congress campaign will not be reduced to their level of acrimonious campaign and will not be negative. We will instead launch an affirmative and positive campaign, where the failures of the Vasundhara Raje-led government will be highlighted, Pilot told PTI.The party has already launched its Mera booth, mera gaurav (My booth, my pride)” campaign and will soon unroll its mass contact programme across the state.He said the Congress did not seek to reach out to the people merely on the failures of the BJP, but would offer them a better alternative.We will present the people with the blueprint of a model of alternative governance which will be holistic and inclusive, will care for the young and old, create jobs and have a vision to take the state forward, he said.Pilot said the workers in the state were already geared up and ready to tackle the BJP now that Rahul Gandhi had taken over the leadership of the Congress and infused new energy into it.The Rajasthan government has nothing to show for the four years that the BJP has been in power in the state, he said, charging it with selling off assets to generate money.This, Pilot stressed, was poor fiscal management.He alleged that the state s assets, including buildings, schools, roadways, hospitals and other infrastructure, were being sold to a select few in the name of public-private partnerships.This is nothing but an example of poor fiscal management. Such a policy where precious assets of the state are given out to a select few at throw-away prices smacks of crony capitalism,” he said.Once voted back to power, the Congress would “review and reverse all such decisions taken arbitrarily” and re-acquire the state s assets, he added.Pilot said the Congress, which faced a historic defeat in 2013 when it could win only 21 of the 200 Assembly seats, had got its vigour back and in the just-concluded bypolls had won seven out of 14 urban local bodies.He said the vote share gap between the Congress and the BJP, which had widened to 25 per cent, had narrowed down to 1.5 per cent in the state Panchayat elections held last year.In the Panchayat polls, the Congress won 45.5 per cent of votes against the BJP s 47 per cent. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress was down to 31 per cent, compared to the BJP’s 56 per cent.The former Union minister said the Congress party would now aggressively take its campaign forward while highlighting the problems of the jobless, farmers and the common man.This, he said, would be done through public rallies and by underlining the Congress’s plans for the future.The Congress will “force” the BJP government in the state to announce farm loan waivers to help ease the burden of debt that farmers faced, he said.Pilot wondered why the government was dithering over loan waivers when it could bring in a law that allowed former chief ministers to select a house for their lifetime.”The people of the state did not vote the former chief ministers in so that they could have the power to have a house for life, he said.Asked about the Mera booth, mera gaurav scheme, he said every leader would be put in charge of a booth and would launch a mass contact programme to reach out to every voter in the state.There are a total of 51,000 booths in the state.Rajasthan goes to the polls in 2018, along with Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

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Tihar prisoner commits suicide

According to the police, the deceased pensioner, identified as Soniram, booked for a case of robbery, hung himself to end his life in jail number five. As other inmates raised alarm, authorities brought him down he was rushed to the jail hospital where he was declared brought dead. Police was then informed and the body was sent for a post-mortem examination. The victim's family was informed and inmates are being questioned to find out the motive behind the death.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Sunday 24 December 2017 4:06 ISTMust readGirls in Rohini Ashram force fed intoxicants: DCW chiefMetro’s technical audit is good news for Blue Line<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>An under trial prisoner at Tihar Jail allegedly committed suicide on Saturday by hanging himself. However, police have not found any suicide note and the motive behind suicide is being probed into.According to the police, the deceased pensioner, identified as Soniram, booked for a case of robbery, hung himself to end his life in jail number five. As other inmates raised alarm, authorities brought him down he was rushed to the jail hospital where he was declared brought dead. Police was then informed and the body was sent for a post-mortem examination. The victim’s family was informed and inmates are being questioned to find out the motive behind the death.

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Bill on triple talaq likely to be tabled in Lok Sabha today

A bill which seeks to criminalise instant triple talaq is likely to be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday. The bill has been listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha amid protest by Congress against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘conspiracy with Pakistan’ remarks. Congress protested in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, over PM Modi’s insinuations against Manmohan Singh of colluding with Pakistan, and staged a walkout after they were not given permission to speak.Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had, on December 15, said that the Cabinet approved a proposal to introduce the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, to make instant triple talaq void and illegal.’Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill’, prepared by an inter-ministerial group makes giving instant triple talaq “illegal and void”. It also provides for a jail term of three years for the husband in such cases, according to reports. It also makes a provision for alimony for the woman on whom instant triple talaq has been pronounced and grants her the custody of her children, say reports.Also readMuslim bodies not consulted on triple talaq bill: Govt tells Parliament The Supreme Court, in August, by a majority of 3:2, had ruled that the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims is “void”, “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.Once the law is made to make triple talaq an offence, the victims will have the option of approaching the police and the legal system for the redressal of their grievances and for action to be taken against the husband.Also readNCW chief welcomes cabinet’s approval of triple talaq bill(With inputs from ANI)

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2G scam verdict: Riding on 2G ‘scam’, Kejri came to power

The 2G scam played a crucial role in catapulting Delhi’s present chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to power in the capital.In 2011, Gandhian Anna Hazare and Kejriwal launched a massive campaign against corruption in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan with a focus on the case.Training guns on the then UPA-II government headed by Manmohan Singh and latching onto other instances of corruption which surfaced during the UPA rule, Anna and Kejriwal made a massive pitch for the Lokpal Act.While the ambitious law never materialized, the issue helped Kejriwal reap political benefits, causing an irreversible damage to the Congress.Singh’s government which was facing the heat from BJP in Parliament and outside after the 2G spectrum allocation scam case surfaced, since it involved ministers from their ally DMK. As a result, the Congress faced a huge discomfiture and a battering in public opinion as the Anna movement drew huge crowds and support from intellectuals, activists and youths.The movement was also bolstered from other side by yoga guru Ramdev.DENT IN THE SYSTEMWhile the movement faltered later, it dented Congress’s public image and was responsible for its failure in Delhi assembly elections in 2013, bringing an end to Cong’s 15-year rule.

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Sachin Tendulkar’s debut Rajya Sabha speech is silenced

Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar’s maiden speech in the Rajya Sabha ended without him uttering a single word on Thursday as the legendary batsman, once feared by bowlers across the world, kept standing, probably thinking how to deflect and tackle the uproar in the House.The legendary batsman was called by Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to initiate a short duration discussion on the right to play and the future of sports in India.As soon as Sachin rose to speak, the first time during his five-and-a-half-year tenure, Congress members stood up demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his insinuating remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh during an election rally in Gujarat.Naidu came to his help, first cajoling and persuading the members and then scolding them for their unruly behaviour.”The hon. member who has been awarded Bharat Ratna by the government, wants to make a submission on sports which is a very important activity for the country. Please follow the rules and let him speak,” Naidu said, beseeching members’ attention and assuring that he has agreed to sort out the issue by calling the leader of the house Arun Jaitley and leader of the opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad for a discussion.When the ruckus did not stop, Naidu warned, “Do not trivialise things. Don’t create trouble in the House, and don’t earn bad name… Names of people who are raising slogans would be published tomorrow.”Despite being egged on by Naidu and helped by Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Sachin, cracker of many tons amid hostile conditions and roaring crowds, kept standing bemused with a smile on his face.Failing to rein in Congress benches, Naidu finally drew curtains on the proceedings. Sachin was immediately surrounded by his fans who included Derek O’Brien and Jaya Bachchan, among others.Furious for not letting Sachin speak, Jaya later said, “He has earned name for India at the world stage, it is a matter of shame that he was not allowed to speak even when everyone knew it was on today’s agenda. Are only politicians allowed to speak?”O’Brien was upset for being denied an opportunity to bat, with Sachin being the opener.”I was padded up to bat at No. 5 in Rajya Sabha and speak on sports after Sachin was to open the innings. But the match was called off because of bad weather,” the quizzer said wittingly.Congress members, however, were unrelenting. “Why are you making a mockery of Parliament? Are false allegations on 2G and Manmohan Singh are more important or Sachin Tendulkar who never spoke in Parliament for the last five years? Does ‘Bharat Ratna’ give you the licence to speak in Parliament? All are equal in the House,” said Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury.

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2G scam verdict: CAG report triggered furore over 2G

A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on allocation of 2G licences pegging the presumptive loss to Rs 1.76 lakh crore in November 2010 triggered the political slugfest which led to the arrest of A Raja within three months in February in 2011.The CBI had registered an FIR in 2009 but did not name any accused. As the agency failed to take any action the CAG report opened the floodgates for the opposition to slam the UPA government.Petitions were filed in the Supreme Court that eventually began monitoring the investigations by CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.Regular status reports were filed by the investigating agencies in the apex that finally culminated in the charges being filed against then Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK leader Kanimozhi for being part of the conspiracy and receiving kickbacks.Parts of the CAG report were leaked before it was tabled in Parliament creating a furore. It finally became the basis on which criminal action was initiated as it gave a blow-by-blow account of how Raja bypassed procedures, ignored suggestions from Prime Minister Office (PMO), Ministries of Law and Finance.The report was taken by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament. There was no consensus and it was rejected by one vote by the committee.

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LK Advani ‘unhappy’ over Lok Sabha disruptions

BJP veteran L K Advani on Thursday seemed unhappy at the din created in the Lok Sabha due to protests by Congress members seeking an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his remarks against former premier Manmohan Singh during Gujarat election campaign.Advani was seen pointing towards Congress members, protesting in the Well during the Question Hour, while talking to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar.Kumar was also seen pointing at the Congress members while talking to Advani.During the 2016 Winter Session, Advani had expressed his dissatisfaction with the way Parliament was being disrupted, saying neither the Lok Sabha Speaker, nor the Parliamentary Affairs Minister was running the House.

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2G scam verdict: My name was dragged as part of election game, alleges Kanimozhi

DMK leader Kanimozhi after hearing the verdict said that she was glad and relieved. “I have always believed that I would see the light at the end of the tunnel. The past six years have been harrowing to say the least. To be falsely accused in a case for a notional loss of Rs 176 lakh crore to appease the opposition that was stalling Parliament is atrocious,” she said targeting the BJP and the AIADMK, who were the opposition parties at the Centre and the state respectively at the time.Kanimuzhi added that the sole aim of the opposition (AIADMK) was to malign her name, as elections were five months away. “I was dragged in so that the DMK is defeated in the election that is hardly five months away. I was charge sheeted with the sole aim to tag my name with a mind-boggling amount to ensure that Kalingar’s rule will not continue,” she alleged.The statement issued by Kanimozhi that was circulate on social mediaAlso read2G verdict: Allegations were never true says Chidambaram; government should file appeal tweets SubramanianEarlier in the day,a special CBI court on Thursday acquitted, who was the telecom minister in the first UPA government, along with DMK leader Kanimozhi and 17 others in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.The special court judge OP Saini pronounced his verdict as ‘not guilty’ for all accused due to lack of evidence.Also read2G spectrum verdict: All you must know about the caseThe case relates to alleged below-market-price sale of lucrative telecoms permits bundled with airwaves in 2008, which a federal auditor said may have cost the government as much as Rs 1.76 lakh crore in lost revenue. The scam came to light following a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India during the second term of the UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh.DMK working president MK Stalin has issued a statement after the 2G verdict. “The CBI court has given a historical verdict. The 2G case was filed in 2009. In the political history, the 2G case was foisted to defame and destroy DMK. It is a false case made up of goofed up figures. In such a case, the special court has acquitted all of them. We are very happy over the order. The court order proved that the DMK has not done anything wrong. I request the media to show the same enthusiasm of how it sensationalized the 2G scam when the case was filed. In the same way, you should take this news of acquittal to all the people,” he said. DMK’s RS Bharathi also hailed the CBI court’s verdict, saying that the case to begin with was a false case. “For the past 2 assembly elections, the case was used against us, now it has been proved to be wrong,” he added.

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Centre likely to table Triple Talaq Bill in Parliament today

The Centre is likely to introduce a bill on Triple Talaq in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had, on December 15, said that the Cabinet approved a proposal to introduce the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, to make instant triple talaq void and illegal.The Supreme Court, in August, by a majority of 3:2, had ruled that the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims is “void”, “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.Once the law is made to make triple talaq an offence, the victims will have the option of approaching the police and the legal system for the redressal of their grievances and for action to be taken against the husband.Meanwhile, activists working for the rights of Muslim women hope that the Bill will further help stem instances of instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat).Also readMuslim bodies not consulted on triple talaq bill: Govt tells Parliament In fact they say, since the Supreme Court’s August verdict declaring instant triple talaq illegal and unconstitutional, the instances of such talaq have gone down.Noorjahan Deewan, a social worker who works with Muslim women in the city said since the verdict, they have received three such complaints. “In two of them we managed to convince the husband that instant talaq was not valid and they agreed. Unfortunately, in the third case the religious leaders and others too got involved and said the divorce was valid,” said Deewan.Also readCabinet approves bill making instant triple talaq criminal actShe said overall the number of complaints about triple talaq have gone down considerably after SC verdict. There has been considerable awareness among Muslims about what is acceptable and not acceptable form of divorce.”It is not that it has stopped completely, but earlier we would receive so many cases but now they have gone down. Earlier, not many knew of the divorce but now many realise that instant triple talaq is no more valid,” she said.Also readQuestions on triple talaq in BHU examsZakia Soman, founder of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) and a co-petitioner in the triple talaq case in SC, said the bill once passed will definitely act as a deterrent. But she fears it may not be enough. “The SC verdict was welcome but it did not lay out a procedure for divorce. The bill is yet to be made public but we want it to be just and fair. The wife should also have a say in divorce, maintenance and efforts to reconcile,” said Soman.(With input from ANI)

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LS passes bill which redefines bamboo, allows for its felling

The Lok Sabha, on Wednesday, passed the Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which will omit bamboo from the definition of trees and allow felling of bamboo grown in non-forest areas and transported without permits.The amendment will replace the Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, that was promulgated on November 23. The easing of transit process will allow for smooth interstate movement of bamboo, the Centre had said.The Bill was passed following nearly two hours of discussion which saw Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan explain the need for the amendment to the British-era Indian Forest Act, 1927 and parry apprehensions on its potential misuse.The chief contentions against the amendment were voiced by MPs from Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Revolutionary Socialist Party’s NK Premachandran and TRS MP Konda Vishveshwar Reddy.The MPs asked why the central government had hastily promulgated an ordinance on the issue when Parliament was scheduled to convene in December.They also raised issues regarding safeguards to check pilferage of bamboo on forest land. “If bamboo has been taken outside the purview of trees, how will it continue to be forest produce. My apprehension is that this move will be misused on forest land,” Premachandran said.

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63% plunge in foreign funding of NGOs: Govt

Foreign funding of NGOs has plunged by 63 per cent as the Centre has been coming down heavily against erring organisations and putting several international donors under the lens for working against the country’s interests.In the year 2016-17, Rs 6,499 crore poured in from abroad in different organisations, this was a sharp dip from Rs 17,773 crore in 2015-16.In 2014-15, Indian NGOs received Rs 15,299 crore from foreign donors.The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has cancelled registration of 4,842 NGOs banning their foreign funding for not filing their annual returns under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010.The latest data on foreign funding of NGOs was given to Parliament on Wednesday.Soon after the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014 intelligence agencies were told to identify advocacy groups that were receiving funds from abroad and were against the interests of the nation. Several NGOs put in the category of impacting the economic stability of the country were put on the list.Intelligence agencies also listed several donors as suspicious and blacklisted them. As a result in 2015 FCRA registration of more than 8,500 organisations was cancelled. This was a big jump from 2014 when only 59 NGOs faced action while only four lost their registration in 2013.Indian NGOs received over Rs 60,000 crore between 2009-10 and 2011-12.As part of stringent measures to monitor the activities of foreign funded bodies the Home Ministry in September asked over 1,200 organisations to give details of their bank accounts that receive funds from international donors.In July the Home Ministry issued notices to 5922 organisations including top educational institutes like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and several other religious bodies for banning their foreign funding.”Once issues of money laundering, terror funding and derailing the country’s economic growth were raised there was a massive crackdown was planned which is continuing,” said a government official.Sources said many of the NGOs that faced the action were among the highest paid ones but did not file annual returns. Many of these were repeat offenders and failed to file their annual returns on foreign funding for four years between 2010-11 and 2014-15 despite constant reminders from the Home Ministry. All organisations are required to submit their annual return within nine months of the closure of the financial year.DIPPING NUMBERSIn 2016-17, Rs 6,499 crore poured in from abroad in different organisations, as opposed to Rs 17,773 crore in 2015-16. In 2014-15, Indian NGOs received Rs 15,299 crore.

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No plans to currently abolish articles 35A and 370: Govt tells Parliament

The government today said there was no proposal as of now for abolition of articles 35A and 370 which give special status to Jammu and Kashmir.The reply came in response to the question posed by Akali Dal MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa about the status of abolishing Article 35A and Article 370. “No proposal regarding abolition of Article 35A and Article 370 in respect of Jammu and Kashmir is at present under consideration of the government,” Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said replying to a written question.Abrogation of Article 370, that gives autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir, continues to be a part of the core ideology of the ruling BJP, but the party maintains that it does not have enough numbers in Parliament to do away with it. In case of Section 35A, a writ petition was filed in the Supreme Court by an NGO seeking its abrogation.Also readJ&K special status: SC defers verdict on constitutional validity of Article 35A by 3 monthsThe PIL said the Jammu and Kashmir government, under the guise of articles 35A and 370, were discriminating against non-residents who are debarred from buying properties, getting a government job or voting in the local elections. Article 35A was added to the Constitution by a presidential order in 1954 and it empowers the state legislature to define the state’s “permanent residents” and their special rights and privileges.While the Jammu and Kashmir government contested the petition saying the president had the power to incorporate a new provision in the Constitution by way of an order, the Centre had expressed its reservations.It filed a reply and requested the apex court to refer the matter to a larger bench as constitutional issues were involved in the case.The matter is currently sub-judice.

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Manmohan Singh-Pakistan remark: Nobody will apologise as incident did not happen in House, says Vice President Naidu

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, addressed the controversy surrounding the allegations made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against former PM Manmohan Singh of conspiring against Pakistan.“This is not the way. Nobody is going to give apology. Nothing happened in the House. The statement was not made here,” Naidu said in the upper House.The Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 2 pm after an uproar by the opposition in the house over the allegations that the Congress had conspired with Pakistan for the BJP to lose in Gujarat. PM Modi had made the allegations following a dinner party hosted by senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar that had ‘top Pakistani officials present.’ However, Singh listed those who attended the dinner hosted in honour of visiting former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. “None of them could be accused of any anti-national activities,” he said.Also readParliament attack anniversary: Modi, Manmohan Singh shake hands after row over ‘Pak meddling’ allegationsOn Monday, Congress continued its protests in the Parliament on Monday, disrupting proceedings in both Houses for the second day. The party had raised objection to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks that suggested former prime minister Manmohan Singh conspired with Pakistan to influence Gujarat elections.While Lok Sabha was adjourned within minutes on Monday, Rajya Sabha was first adjourned within 10 minutes after it assembled at 11 am. At 12 noon, when it reassembled, it was adjourned again as Congress continued with sloganeering and would not allow any legislative business to continue.Also readApologise to Manmohan Singh, Congress tells Narendra ModiCongress leader Anand Sharma demanded a clarification by Prime Minister on his remarks about Singh, a sitting member of Rajya Sabha.Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu insisted on taking up a question, but some Congress members did not allow him to continue. As the chaos continued, Naidu remarked, “I don’t want this kind of thing to be seen by the people,” and adjourned proceedings for the day as Congress members were seen walking into the Well.

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History books to teach about independence struggle that happened before 1857

Ministry of Human Resource Development has decided to teach students about the struggle against British rule that happened before the 1857 revolt— the Paika Rebellion, which occurred in 1817 in Odisha.A chapter on Paika Rebellion will be added in Class 8 books of National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT). Minister of State for HRD, Satyapal Singh shared this information in the Parliament in a written reply, calling it the beginning of rebellion against British rule.”Keeping in mind that Paika Rebellion was the beginning of a rebellion against the British, it has been decided that a chapter on it will be added in Class 8 History textbooks. It will be added in form of a case study which is related to the 1857 revolt,” Singh said in a written reply.”It was one of the first struggles off independence against the British rule, which started in 1817 and ended in 1825. It brought all communities together to fight against the British rule. However, later the 1857 revolt saw a much larger struggle. From the historical point of view, one can say that Pain Rebellion set examples which were later followed,” he added. The Paika Rebellion, also called the Paika Bidroha, was an armed rebellion against the British in 1817. The Paikas, which were the traditional landed militia of Odisha rose in rebellion and spread across the entire state.Changes in History books of NCERT has been a subject of discussion ever since the NDA government came to power in the year 2014. Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological concern RSS has been giving a number of suggestions to the government to be included or removed from the syllabus. However government has always maintained that the syllabus will only be updated as per the rules, following advice of education experts. Recently, government took an overall review of NCERT textbooks, correcting errors if any and updating the syllabus.

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Sachin Tendulkar visits adopted village

Former ace batsman and member of Rajya Sabha, Sachin Tendulkar sought speedier development in his adopted village of Donja in Osmanabad district during a visit to monitor development work.With a population of 2,800 people, Donja was adopted under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) and as per the scheme, Tendulkar gave Rs 4 crore from his MPLAD (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) funds for infrastructure development. The first village he adopted under the scheme was Puttumraju Kandriga in Andhra Pradesh. Donja was to have access to potable water through pipelines that would fetch it from water tanks.Besides that, a new school building, sewage system and concrete roads were part of the plan. InDiya Foundation, an organization associated with Tendulkar, has also undertaken a project to provide solar energy-based lighting solutions to the school, besides other public amenities. Donja was declared an ODF (Open Defecation Free) village in November 2016 after Tendulkar adopted it.After meeting the area’s collector, Tendulkar addressed the crowd, saying, “I am overwhelmed by your enthusiasm and spirit, and hope that all of us can work together towards development of the village. The initial challenges in implementing development work have been successfully overcome and I am sure that execution of work will pick up speed. We want to showcase Donja’s development as a casestudy for other villages across the country.” He also played cricket with some children from the local school.

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Rajya Sabha passes IIM Bill, granting more autonomy to institutes

The upper house of Parliament on Tuesday unanimously passed the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Autonomy Bill, that seeks to give power to grant degrees instead of diplomas to these institutions.The Bill that gives more autonomy to IIMs, declares the 20 IIMs as institutes of national importance. Under this Bill the autonomy envisaged to IIMs is greater than that of other higher education institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).The Bill says, the Board of Governors will be the executive body of each IIM, comprising up to 19 members. It will also nominate 17 board members including eminent persons, faculty members and alumni. The remaining two members will be nominees from the central and state governments, respectively. The Board will also appoint its own Chairperson.During the discussion on the bill in Rajya Sabha, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal supported the bill but questioned the lack of similar reforms in IITs and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). Congress leader Jairam Ramesh questioned how board of Directors will be appointed and asked the government to describe how they plan the transition between the current boards at IIMs and the Board of Governors as proposed in the new bill. He also asked what would be the criteria for appointment of these governors.As per the Bill, the Board of Governors will appoint the Director of each IIM. A search committee will recommend names for the post of the Director. The Director is eligible for variable pay, to be determined by the Board.The Academic Council of each IIM will determine the — academic content, criteria and process for admission to courses; and guidelines for the conduct of examinations.A coordination forum will be set up, which will include representation from the 20 IIMs. It will discuss matters of common interest to all IIMs.Currently, the central government has a role in the functioning of IIMs which includes the appointment of the Chairperson of their Boards, their Directors and pay to the Director.

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CBI spent 30 pc of budget in last 6 weeks of fiscal year: Parliament

The CBI spent about Rs 20 crore, nearly 30 per cent of its total budgetary allocation of Rs 66.77 crore, in the last six weeks of financial year 2016-17, a parliamentary panel has noted while pulling up the agency.In a report tabled in Parliament today, the department- related parliamentary standing committee on personnel, public grievances and pensions asked the agency to “streamline and scrupulously” monitor the pace of implementation of its schemes and expenditure to ensure their timely completion to avoid the allocation being reduced by the finance ministry.It noted that Rs 75 crore was allocated to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Budget Estimates of 2016-17 for all six planned schemes of the CBI which was reduced to Rs 73.21 crore at revised estimates (RE) stage and further reduced to Rs 66.77 crore in final grant of 2016-17.”Further, as per figures provided by the CBI only Rs 46.61 crore (about 63.66 per cent of the funds earmarked under plan scheme at RE stage) was utilised by February 14, 2017 and the rest of the amount was spent only in the last six weeks of the financial year,” it said.The government, in its response, said that 99.49 per cent of the final allocation to the agency had been spent under various schemes.”The CBI and various executing agencies engaged by it are responsible for meeting expenditure on the projects. To ensure timely implementation of various projects, Project Monitoring Committees have been constituted for various ongoing projects and address issues, if any, in implementation,” it said.The government also said implementation is also monitored in the Department of Personnel and Training on regular basis to help resolve issues, if any.The committee noted that the allocation for the CBI is reduced at revised estimates stage and the expenditure goes up steeply in the last leg of the financial year.”However, the reply does not entail any reason for this reduction. The committee wishes to know the reasons and difficulties, if any, being faced by the organisation and how this could be resolved,” it said.The panel said it has noticed that Project Monitoring Committees and further monitoring by the DoPT have not brought desired result.”The committee wishes that both the DoPT and the CBI ensure that this trend be checked in any case,” it said.

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40,000 Rohingya living illegally in India, Kiren Rijiju tells Lok Sabha

Around 40,000 Rohingya migrants were illegally living in India and none of them had been deported so far, Union minister Kiren Rijiju informed Parliament on Tuesday.In a written reply to a question, the Union minister of state for home affairs informed the Lok Sabha that the entry of illegal migrants was clandestine and surreptitious and thus, an accurate figure of how many of them were currently living in the country was not available.As per an estimate, the number of Rohingya migrants could be around 40,000, he said, adding that none of them had been deported so far.Rijiju said though India was not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol thereon, the country’s track record in dealing with or providing protection to refugees had internationally been acclaimed.He added that there was no legislation to deal with refugees and asylum-seekers in India.

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After Naidu’s intervention, Rajya Sabha stalemate over PM’s remarks against Manmohan likely to end

The stalemate over the “conspiracy with Pakistan” charge by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against his predecessor Manmohan Singh seemed to be ending today in the Rajya Sabha as the opposition and the ruling party decided to form a panel after agreeing to the Chair’s suggestion for an amicable solution.As the Congress insisted on Modi coming to the House to clarify the statement he made during poll campaign in Gujarat and its members raised slogans and sought an apology, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu urged the opposition and the government to talk and resolve the stalemate over the prime minister’s comments on his predecessor. Raising the issue, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the prime minister should come to the House and clarify on what he said, as his charges that his predecessor was “conspiring” with Pakistan was “a big issue.”Also readCongress to raise ‘Pakistan interference’ remark in ParliamentAzad said allegations are levelled during elections but some are not good for democracy, politics and the country. “Such allegations are deadly for those against whom they are made,” he said, adding that Manmohan Singh’s integrity and loyalty to the country has been questioned. “Is he the person who is conspiring against the Indian state? Is the former prime minister, former vice president not loyal to the country? These allegations are made by no less than the prime minister. “The prime minister of India should come to the House and explain his remarks and if the former prime minister and others are proved wrong, then action should be taken against them,” he told the House amid vociferous protests by Congress members who sought an apology from Modi.Naidu said he had held an “informal meeting” this morning “my suggestion was it is not good for the country to see that the House is not running properly. “I myself suggested, leaders of different parties were there. … To Parliamentary Affairs Minister to speak to Leader of House Arun Jaitley, the Leader of Opposition and other seniors also and then find a way out to end this impasse, which is in the interest of the country,” Naidu said. He also said that for democracy and parliamentary system to function, both sides should come to an understanding and move forward. “All things can be internally discussed and seen that the House functions properly and dignity of Parliament should be maintained,” he said.Agreeing to the suggestion, Azad said, “Let the meeting be held under chairmanship of Leader of the House with all leaders of other opposition parties.” He said it was not a question of Congress party, as other opposition party leaders are equally concerned. “It is a matter of privilege. It should also be to the satisfaction of Manmohan Singh,” he said. Jaitley said “we will try and explore a solution out of that. I will certainly have the privilege to invite leaders of all my colleagues including LoP and we will try and discuss and find solution for this. We will try and do it today” and suggested the formation of a committee for the purpose.Earlier, the chairman said Manmohan Singh had met him and expressed his concern, his feelings to him. “I have talked to him and have understood what he meant. I have also received a note of what exactly what he said and also what the prime minister was sad by others, calling of names,” he said, adding that the prime minister is the prime minister of the country and that has to be kept in mind by everybody. Deputy leader of Congress Anand Sharma said “We want the House to function and the dignity is also maintained. It is the PM’s responsibility.”

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Apologise to Manmohan Singh, Congress tells Narendra Modi

Congress continued its protests in the Parliament on Monday, disrupting proceedings in both Houses for the second day. The party had raised objection to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks that suggested former prime minister Manmohan Singh conspired with Pakistan to influence Gujarat elections.While Lok Sabha was adjourned within minutes on Monday, Rajya Sabha was first adjourned within 10 minutes after it assembled at 11 am. At 12 noon, when it reassembled, it was adjourned again as Congress continued with sloganeering and would not allow any legislative business to continue.Congress leader Anand Sharma demanded a clarification by Prime Minister on his remarks about Singh, a sitting member of Rajya Sabha.Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu insisted on taking up a question, but some Congress members did not allow him to continue. As the chaos continued, Naidu remarked, “I don’t want this kind of thing to be seen by the people,” and adjourned proceedings for the day as Congress members were seen walking into the Well.With both Houses adjourned, there was little activity as the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly election results reached finality.Earlier, soon after Rajya Sabha assembled for the day, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien adjourned proceedings till noon after Congress members stormed the Well demanding an explanation from Modi for his remarks made at an election rally.Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said it was not acceptable that every notice was being rejected.”Charges have been levelled against the former prime minister, who is a member of Rajya Sabha,” he said, demanding that a motion be allowed to get a sense of the House on the issue. “Let charges be proved,” he demanded.”The voice of the Opposition cannot be muzzled. The House has to function according to convention.”Azad demanded that Narendra Modi come to the House and explain his remarks. Sharma added that neither the Prime Minister, nor any minister was beyond questioning.

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Mamata Banerjee: BJP has suffered a moral defeat

‘I congratulate Gujarat voters for their very balanced verdict at this hour. It is a temporary and face-saving win, but it shows a moral defeat for BJP. Gujarat voted against atrocities, anxiety and injustice caused to the common people,” she tweeted.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByArshad Ali <!–end of artlbotbor–>Tuesday 19 December 2017 2:43 ISTMust read’FRDI Bill will take away people’s bank deposits’: Mamata writes to Jaitley for immediate withdrawalForget sharing your data with banks, in Goa you need to share Aadhaar for paid sex<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>After the Assembly election result for Gujarat was out on Monday, with BJP registering its sixth consecutive victory, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee congratulated the people of Gujarat for a ‘balanced verdict’ and at the same time termed it as a ‘temporary and face-saving victory.’<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>‘I congratulate Gujarat voters for their very balanced verdict at this hour. It is a temporary and face-saving win, but it shows a moral defeat for BJP. Gujarat voted against atrocities, anxiety and injustice caused to the common people,” she tweeted.

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Army closes ammunition deals worth Rs 11K crore

Filling up a critical gap in the ammunition stock, the Indian Army recently procured ammunition worth over Rs 11,000 crore in a bid to boost its capabilities.This is part of a roadmap that is being followed after the Army’s internal review revealed serious deficits.The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has also pointed out in its recent report on Army and Ordnance Factories that 40 per cent of the ammunition will not last beyond 10 days, and only 20 per cent can meet the authorised standards of 40 days.”There is adequate stock of ammunition with the Indian Army, and it is well equipped for meeting any operational requirements,” Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said in a written reply in the Parliament on Monday. He added that 19 contracts worth Rs 11,739 crore were finalised recently.Sources said most of the contracts are related to ammunition requirement.The ammunition for tanks and artillery for sustaining superior firepower is in the most critical state, sources say.Army assessments have revealed that immediate procurement of ammunition and spare parts for weapons and military systems worth Rs 40,000 crore is needed to meet the standards of ‘Minimum Acceptable Risk Level’ (MALR) to fight a 20-day intense war.”Getting the stock of ammunition to desired level is a continuous process, for which the requirements are identified every year and procurements are undertaken accordingly,” Bhambre said.The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has been falling short of its desired targets of meeting over 90 per cent of the requirements. The shortfalls ranged between 64 per cent and 95 per cent since 2013.Between 2009 and 2014, the Army placed orders worth Rs 25,000 crore for ammunition, but there was a shortfall of Rs 6,000 crore. In next phase between 2014 and 2019, the Army’s requirement was nearly double of the demand worth Rs 25,000 crore placed, but it had to be restricted due to incapacity of OFB to manufacture such high amount of ammunition.”Some of the measures taken to ensure adequate availability of ammunition include placing of a Five Year Roll On Indent on Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), finalization of Ammunition Road Map in respect of certain identified ammunition and procurements,” Bhambre added.In addition, financial power to ensure the availability and maintenance of minimum levels of critical ammunition has been delegated to the Army for emergency requirement and to enable them to maintain military preparedness at all times.SHORTFALL The Ordnance Factory Board has been falling short of its target of meeting the requirements. Between 2009 and 2014, the Army placed orders worth Rs 25,000 crore for ammunition, but there was a shortfall of Rs 6,000 crore.

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Congress to raise ‘Pakistan interference’ remark in Parliament

Congress sources said on Monday that they would raise ‘Pakistan-interference-in-Gujarat-polls’ remark in both houses of Parliament, as the Winter Session resumes after the weekend.During the last phase of electioneering in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, quoting media reports, on December 10, said former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Vice-President Hamid Ansari, former Army General Deepak Kapoor had secretly discussed Gujarat elections with ex-Pakistani diplomats at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence in Delhi.The allegation has sparked a political furore.Congress, since then, has been demanding an apology from the prime minister.Last week, on the first day of the session, senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad raised the issue in Rajya Sabha.

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Watch: PM Modi flashes victory sign as BJP gets unassailable lead in Gujarat

As the trends show BJP getting solid lead in Gujarat Assembly Elections results, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen jubilantly flashing victory sign outside Parliament.The stakes are high as the BJP looks for straight fifth victory in the Prime Minister’s home state.Though the initial trends showed a tough fight between the Congress and the BJP, the post-11 am leads show BJP topping the game.Top BJP leaders have already started reacting to the trends with many showing confidence in forming government both in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.”We will form government in both Himachal and Gujarat with clear majority,” Union Hom Minister Rajnath Singh said as election leads started trickling in.”The result is as per our expectations. BJP is leading in both the states. BJP will form a government with clear majority in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh,” the Home Minister added.The elections for 182-seat Assembly were held on December 9 and 14, after an acrimonious campaign, which was dominated by a face-off between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.In the 2012 elections, the BJP had won 115 seats while the Congress emerged victorious on 61 seats.The BJP has been in power in the state since 1995, winning consecutive elections in the home state of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.

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Scare as ‘drone’, flight nearly clash

The security agencies were thrown into a tizzy on Friday, when a drone-like unidentified flying object (UFO) and an Air India (AI) flight about to land at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) almost collided.Seconds later, another flight to Leh, which had taken off from another runway at IGIA, also spotted the flying object.The ATC then immediately alerted the Airport Operations Control Centre (AOCC), which roped in the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Delhi Police.The incident affected some departures and arrivals as a CISF search team of armed commandos was rushed to the spot to look for this flying object, which according to the two pilots was spotted not far from runway 27-9.The team, however, could not locate the UFO within the periphery of the airport.The incident sparked panic among the intelligence agencies as it was the first day of Parliament’s Winter Session and the airport was witnessing heavy VIP movement.According to sources at the airport, around 10 am, pilot of the AI 914 Dammam-Delhi flight, Sandeep Kumar, reported a “flight safety hazard”, saying that when he was about to land at runway 27 and was at a height of 2,100 ft, he saw a drone-like object flying “slightly right on the central approach path of the runway”.”The pilot immediately reported the matter to the Delhi ATC, which alerted the AOCC and the CISF and Delhi Police were roped in. The pilot also gave a hand-written complaint in this regard at the police station. Surprisingly, the object was observed by another pilot as well,” a senior officer said.Drone-like UFO sighting at the IGIA is is not something new but such incidents leave the security and intelligence sleuths rattled. In October this year, a Jet Airways Singapore-Delhi flight, while preparing to land on runway 29, reported a drone flying in the proximity, nearly 300-400 meters above the ground.Earlier, three such incidents were reported in 2016, while two were reported in 2015.UFO MENACE AT IGI AIRPORTOct 7, 2017 Jet Airways’ Singapore to Delhi flight reports a drone flying near the airport. Mar 31, 2016 UFO spotted over the apron area but disappears before security forces arrive. Mar 13, 2016 A balloon-like structure spotted close to an operational runway at Delhi airport.

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Leaders at NDA meet seek all India judicial service

Some leaders of the BJP-led NDA have pitched for an all India judicial service on the lines of the civil services and sought a discussion on the matter in Parliament.The issue, which involves the demand for reservation in the judiciary for Dalits and backward classes, was raised in the meeting of top NDA leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, on Friday, the first day of the Winter Session, highly-placed sources said.A senior BJP leader told PTI that the matter was raised in the meeting by some members, who sought a discussion on the issue in Parliament.They said there should be all India judicial service like the Indian Administrative Service or the Indian Police Service, he said on the condition of anonymity.The sources, however, declined to name the leaders who raised the issue at the meeting.A large section of politicians, especially those drawn from disadvantaged classes, has been vocal over the issue, citing minuscule presence of these communities, especially Dalits and STs, in the higher judiciary.The matter was in the limelight recently after President Ram Nath Kovind expressed his concern at a public event over “unacceptably low” presence of women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes in the higher judiciary.Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha had demanded recently that gates of higher judiciary be opened for women and disadvantaged classes, claiming that most high court and Supreme Court judges have come from 250-300 families.”Not only for Dalits and backward castes, the door is closed even for people from general castes. Members of over 250-300 families have been becoming judges in high courts and the Supreme Court since Independence. Doors are closed for all others. They must be opened,” he had said at a public meeting to mark the death anniversary of B R Ambedkar.Dalit members of Parliament have long been raising the issue and saying that an all India judicial service will pave the way for reservation for the traditionally deprived sections of society in higher judiciary.

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Udaipur: Peace & net get a chance to log in

Few groups had previously claimed that on Thursday, the demonstration was in support of the Rajsamand hate crime accused, Shambhulal while others held it to be against the anti social slogans. Even as the exact cause and those to be behind the notorious social media messages are still to be identified, police and administration have sought to levy ban on mobile internet and imposition of Section 144 to keep the situations under control. The prohibitory orders were though called off as city remains peaceful since Thursday evening clash. ”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByAvanindra Mishra <!–end of artlbotbor–>Sunday 17 December 2017 4:08 ISTMust readMeat prep, damage to temple during film shoot irk localsRadheshyam Garg is new RPSC chief<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Prohibitory orders and Internet restrictions were waived at Udaipur district on Saturday after three days of unrest and confusion. Communal tension had gripped the city following the incident of Rajsamand hate killing and demonstration of right wing organisations protesting anti- national slogans allegedly raised by at public gathering. The demonstration on Thursday had turned violent as the demonstrators clashed with police leaving several injured. Social media though has emerged as a major culprit in the incident. “Many of those protesting on Thursday were unaware of the exact cause of their protest. They had arrived following stray messages on social media calling for gathering at the city,” police superintendent Udaipur told DNA.Few groups had previously claimed that on Thursday, the demonstration was in support of the Rajsamand hate crime accused, Shambhulal while others held it to be against the anti social slogans. Even as the exact cause and those to be behind the notorious social media messages are still to be identified, police and administration have sought to levy ban on mobile internet and imposition of Section 144 to keep the situations under control. The prohibitory orders were though called off as city remains peaceful since Thursday evening clash.

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Madhya Pradesh cop points gun at Congress leader Kamal Nath; overpowered and suspended

A Madhya Pradesh policeman on Friday allegedly aimed his gun on senior Congress leader Kamal Nath at a Chhindwara airstrip.According to police officials, the policeman was immediately overpowered by the security personnel and has now been placed under suspension.Speaking to ANI, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Neeraj Soni said “One of the policemen deployed for security of (Congress MP) Kamal Nath ji suspiciously pointed the gun towards him at airport. We have suspended him and are investigating the matter,” he added.This incident came to light after Madhya Pradesh’s former Advocate General and Rajya Sabha member, Vivek Tankha took to Twitter and condemned the incident. “A Police man loads his rifle to fire at Kamal Nath ji in Chhindwara airstrip. Is this politics of hatred. Should be condemned in strongest terms.” (sic) Tankha tweeted.According to media source, the incident took place around 5:00 pm at a small airport in Chhindwara, which is about 320 km from state capital Bhopal.Nath represents Chhindwara in Loksabha and is presently the longest serving member of the Indian Parliament. He has been elected nine times from Chhindwara.

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Bomb scare at Khan Market, but nothing found after day-long search

A bomb threat sent Delhi Police and intelligence agencies into high alert on Friday. Early in the morning, an anonymous caller informed police that a bomb had been planted in the tony Khan Market and would soon blow up. The upscale market area also houses VIP residences.Police, fire-fighters, and a dog squad with a bomb disposal team surrounded the Market in no time and kept scanning the area until evening. However, no explosive was found.Since the Parliament is located within a radius of 2.5 km from the market, and bearing in mind that it was the first day of the Winter session, police presence was ensured until late. Chief Fire Officer Atul Garg of the Delhi Fire Services said, “After assuring the area was free of explosives, the parking space was opened.””A few shops also started functioning. Vigil, however, was maintained till around 4pm,” he added.Cleared of parked vehicles, Khan Market was fortified throughout the day with police vehicles, anti-terror Parakram vans and armed commandos.”The New Delhi District Control Room got a call through Police Control Room at 6.46 am today (Friday) saying ‘Khan Market mein bomb plant kar diya hai’ (A bomb has been planted at Khan Market), said Deputy Commissioner of Police BK Singh, “A probe revealed that the call originated from outside New Delhi district. Adequate measures were taken and all the concerned agencies were roped in without any delay.”He added that the police was verifying facts and following the steps required as per the standard drill to handle a threat call. “There is no need to panic,” he asserted.

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No need to beg… this is independent India: M Venkaiah Naidu

Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu presiding over his first full session as Chairman of the Rajya Sabha urged MPs to give up colonial terms like ‘I beg to’ while laying papers.”No need to beg… this is independent India,” he said.Presiding over the Upper House proceedings on the opening day of the Winter Session of Parliament, Naidu said, “Just say I raise to lay on the table” the listed papers.He made the observation after the ministers called to lay the listed papers on the table, began their sentences by saying “I beg to lay on the table the papers listed against my name in today’s revised list of business.”Naidu, however, was quick to clarify that this was only a suggestion and not an order.This was not only the change that Naidu suggested on the first day as the presiding officer of the House.He also stood up while reading out obituary references.His predecessors Hamid Ansari and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat used to read the obituary references while being seated. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan too stands while reading out obituary references.Naidu in August took over as the Vice-President of India in August — also the presiding officer of the Rajya Sabha.

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India is Afghanistan’s most reliable regional partner: Pentagon tells US Congress

India is Afghanistan’s “most reliable regional partner”, the Pentagon told the US Congress today as it welcomed additional economic, medical, and civic support from New Delhi to the war-torn country.”India is Afghanistan’s most reliable regional partner and the largest contributor of development assistance in the region,” said the Pentagon in its report to the Congress titled ‘Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan’.This assistance includes civil development projects such as the Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam and the Afghan parliament building, the report said.India provides significant training opportunities for Afghan officers and enlisted personnel and has frequently offered to increase its burden sharing for Afghanistan, it said, adding that approximately 130 Afghans travel to India each year to attend various military and commissioning programmes.India has also donated limited security assistance, most notably four Mi-35 aircraft, the Pentagon said.”The new South Asia policy highlighted our relationship with India and called on India to provide more assistance to the international efforts in Afghanistan. The United States welcomes additional Indian economic, medical, and civic support to Afghanistan,” the Pentagon said in its report.Also readWinter Session of Parliament begins, Congress seeks PM Modi’s apology over Pakistan remarkThis is the first report of the Pentagon to Congress after President Donald Trump announced his new Afghan and South Asia policy in August.”Our purpose in Afghanistan remains the same: to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a safe haven from which terrorist groups can plan and execute attacks on the United States, or our allies and citizens abroad. To accomplish this, we continue to support our Afghan partners and train, advise, and assist its military and government institutions,” it said.Under the new strategy, the US will continue to support the Afghan government and security forces in the fight against the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – Khorasan (ISIS-K), and other insurgents and terrorists, to strengthen the Afghan government and prevent reestablishment of terrorist safe havens in Afghanistan.”A major change from our previous strategy is the shift from a time-based approach to a conditions-based one. This shift underscores the US commitment to the continued development of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF), provided that our Afghan partners satisfy their obligations,” the Pentagon said.The new strategy does not mean a return to US-led combat operations, instead, the key to success lies in improving ANDSF capabilities and allow them to lead in the fight against the Taliban, it clarified.”We will continue to work by, with, and through the ANDSF to help them defeat their enemies and to ultimately arrive at a political settlement in Afghanistan,” said the Pentagon.

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Winter Session | Rather than demanding apology, Congress should say sorry for Pak meeting: NDA goes on counter-attack

The ruling NDA today decided to take a tough stand against the Opposition in Parliament after the Congress and other parties stalled the Rajya Sabha demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his remarks against former prime minister Manmohan Singh.At a meeting of top NDA leaders here, Modi asked the ruling alliance to strongly push the government’s legislative agenda in the Winter Session of Parliament, sources said. Talking to reporters after the meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said that instead of attacking the prime minister, the Congress should apologise for the meeting held between its leaders, including Manmohan Singh, and Pakistani officials without informing the government.His remarks indicating a counter-offensive by the NDA in Parliament came after the Rajya Sabha was adjourned till Monday following the opposition’s protests over Modi’s remarks at a Gujarat election rally in which the prime minister had accused Singh of colluding with Pakistan to influence the state polls. “Rather than demanding apology from Prime Minister, they (opposition) should apologise for what they have done…. Without informing the government their leaders met Pakistani officials,” Kumar said.Also readWinter session of Parliament: Amit Shah gets royal welcome from BJP MPs on first day in Rajya Sabha NDA sources said Modi referred to India’s progress on a host of issues, including its jump in the ease of doing business ratings and reform measures like the GST, to underline his government’s “able” handling of economy. A leader, who attended the meeting, said the prime minister also pointed out the government’s legislative agenda for the Winter Session and asked them to work together for pushing it in Parliament. The Prime Minister cited various important legislations listed in the session including a bill to to grant the constitutional status to National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC) and muslim women protection of rights on marriage bill, and asked the leaders to ensure their passage in the session.Also readWinter Session of Parliament begins, Congress seeks PM Modi’s apology over Pakistan remarkModi also asked them to ensure presence of ruling alliance members in both the Houses. Earlier speaking in the BJP’s parliamentary party executive meeting also, the prime minister stressed on maximum attendance of the MPs in both the houses, BJP MP Sharad Tripathi, who was present in the meeting, said.Modi also emphasised that people should be made aware of the rates of the consumer goods which have come down following the reduction in GST rates, Tripathi added. The prime minister also spoke about the law enacted by his government that raised the maternity leave to 26 weeks from 12 weeks. He noted that Ivanka Trump, daughter of US President Donald Trump, had praised the progressive law in her comments during her visit to India and said that even many developed countries do not have such a legislation.

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Rajasthan hacking: 80 people arrested in Udaipur for violating prohibitory orders

Tension still prevails in Udaipur and Rajsamand district in Rajasthan over a man brutally hacking and burning a migrant labour accusing him of ‘love jihad’. The video went viral on the internet and shocked everyone for the brazen nature and acceptance of the crime committed by Shambhulal Regar. According to reports, prohibitory orders are currently in place in both districts and mobile connection has currently been snapped to prevent rumours. However, defying prohibitory orders people came out in various parts of Udaipur on Thursday and tried to disrupt law and order situation. They were protesting arrest of the alleged criminal. This lead to altercation with local police amidst stone pelting. Police lath-charged and later arrested 80 individuals for violating prohibitory orders, reports NDTV. The situation in Rajsamand, where the crime occurred remains tense but calm. The police is keeping a strong tab on the social media to check hate groups trying to foment communal tension in these two districts. Several hate message equating the brutal crime to retribution for 2001 Parliament attack is allegedly doing the rounds. Also readRajasthan hacking: Rs 2.75 lakh deposited in Shambulal Regar’s wife’s account before being frozenPolice in Rajsamand district have frozen a bank account in which 516 donors had transferred Rs 2.75 lakh for fighting the court case of Shambhulal Regar’. Two local businessmen were also arrested for allegedly circulating images on social media of receipts acknowledging their donations to the account of Regar’s wife, police said.”Rs 2.75 lakh was deposited into Sita’s bank account, details of which were circulated on social media. 516 people from across the country deposited the money for fighting Regar’s case. Police have frozen the account,” IG (Udaipur Range) Anand Shrivastava said.Also readRajasthan hacking: Bengal Congress accuses Mamata Banerjee of trying to reap political dividend SHO, Bhim police station, Gyanendra Singh said two businessmen, Prakash Singh and Dinesh Singh, were arrested under relevant sections of the law for circulating receipts of donations on social media. The administration has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in Rajsamand after some right-wing groups announced to take out processions in support of Regar today.”All processions, rallies and protests have been banned and those who defy the rule of law will be dealt with accordingly,” Shrivastava said. Regar, 36, had hacked Mohammed Afrazul to death and burnt the body on December 6.Afrazul had migrated to Rajsamand from West Bengal for work. Regar had roped in his 14-year-old nephew to film the killing. After the barbaric act, Regar posted videos of the killing with inflammatory and communal comments to defend the act.With Agency inputs

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Union cabinet clears Triple Talaq bill, 3 years jail proposed for offenders

The Union Cabinet on Friday cleared the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 to criminalise the instant divorce practice. The bill is likely to be tabled in the current session of Parliament. Here is all you need to know about the triple talaq bill:1. Maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment and fine to men pronouncing ‘talaq-ebiddat’.2. The new proposed law will become a cognizable and non-bailable offence. 3. The bill says that triple talaq in any form either verbal or writing by any means like email, Whatsapp and SMS would be illegal and void.Also readMuslim organisation oppose single-step criminalisation of triple talaq4. The provision of maintenance and custody of minor child has been incorporated to ensure legal and financial protection in case husband forcibly throws the victim out of the house. It would empower women to approach magistrate seeking maintenance and custody of minor child.5. The bill is set to be tabled in the Parliament to be passed by both the houses to finally become a law.Also readTriple Talaq law: Govt mulls 3-year jail term for offenders 6. All states, except Jammu and Kashmir will be part of the law once it is passed in both houses of the Parliament. 7. The states that have supported the proposed bill are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Assam.8. Earlier, the five-judge Constitution Bench had struck down the practice of instant triple talaq in a 3:2 judgment. The top court had called the controversial practice of instant divorce as “arbitrary and unconstitutional”.

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Trinamool Congress’ core meet today: Panchayat polls, BJP on Mamata Banerjee’s agenda

After touring three districts, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would return to Kolkata on Friday and would chair a core committee meeting at Trinamool Congress headquarters off EM Bypass.Besides the administrative stock taking in the three districts she visited, Banerjee is likely to draw a roadmap ahead of the panchayat elections next year.Party sources said that the Cheif Minister had also got the feelers from the grassroot-level after the former party second-in-command Mukul Roy defected to BJP and would now plan her gambit.The last core committee meeting took place on October 27, which makes this the first one after former TMC MP Mukul Roy joined BJP on November 3.It would be attended by the cabinet ministers, MPs, MLAs and zila parishad sabhadipatis among others.The Winter Session of Parliament would begin on Friday as well and a condolence resolution would be adopted for the death of party MP Sultan Ahmed. Which is why at least one MP of both the Houses would skip the meeting and attend Parliament.Sources also said that after Mukul Roy’s defection, many Trinamool leaders are also mulling of switching over to BJP. How this probable attrition could be stopped, would also be discussed in the meeting.Banerjee would also stress on countering BJP on social media. Along with personal interaction, she would tell leaders right down to the grassroot-level to get in touch with the mass through Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp telling people how BJP was trying to polarise people here on the basis of religion.Leaders who are unable to cope with smartphone usage would be asked to upgrade their technical knowhow and get used to smartphones. She would cite her example of how, in spite of her busy schedule, she manages to upload her activities on social media.Banrejee would also stress on making benefits of social welfare schemes to as many people as possible so that the party is able to reap political benefits ahead of the panchayat polls.She is also expected to give out a stern warning against in-fighting within the party.

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Rajya Sabha: Amit Shah to be in the front row, 3 senior opposition leaders bid adieu

BJP president Amit Shah will join Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Arun Jaitley in the front row of the treasury benches, adding weight to the NDA’s voice in the Rajya Sabha.With M Venkaiah Naidu at the chairman’s seat in the upper house of Parliament, the front row position he occupied as a senior leader will now be taken up by Shah. The seating arrangements have been issued by the Rajya Sabha secretariat for new members. Shah will be in the front row, on the other side of the aisle from Prime Minister Modi and BJP’s leader of the house, Arun Jaitley.While Shah will add to the strength of the ruling party, the opposition side will be weakened with the absence of three leading and vocal occupants of its first row — rebel JD(U) member Sharad Yadav, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury and Mayawati of the BSP. With Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) joining the NDA, its members will move from the opposition to the treasury benches. Yadav was recently expelled from the party and disqualified by Rajya Sabha chairperson Naidu. JD(U) leader RCP Singh will now occupy what would have been Yadav’s seat as the party leader in the House.Also readWatch: Pained by falsehood and canards spread by PM Modi, says Manmohan; Amit Shah hits back The opposition voice will lose some of its strength with the absence of CPI(M) general secretary Yechury, whose tenure in the Rajya Sabha came to an end after his party decided not to give him a third term in Parliament. Yechury’s front seat now will be taken by fellow-comrade T K Rangarajan. The BSP will miss its chief Mayawati, who resigned from Parliament in a huff during its last session. The BSP supremo had in July quit the Rajya Sabha, complaining that her voice was being muzzled. After her resignation, her seat was occupied by her confidant, BSP leader Satish Mishra.

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Winter Session of Parliament: Govt convenes all-party meet tomorrow

The government has convened an all-party meeting tomorrow, ahead of the winter session of Parliament where the opposition is likely to raise the issue of a delay in calling the session.The parliamentary affairs ministry has sent out invites to the leaders of major political parties that have representatives in both Houses of Parliament for the meet.The winter session will be held from December 15 to January 5. There would be a total of 14 working days.Last year, the session began on 16 November and ended on 16 December, with 22 sittings.The opposition has claimed that the ruling BJP delayed the session fearing that it would raise various issues ahead of the Gujarat assembly polls government.The government has, however, maintained that there were precedents of session dates being changed in view of elections.Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan will also host a dinner for the leaders of all parties tomorrow.Two ordinances on insolvency code and amendment to the Forest Act have to be approved by Parliament in the winter session.

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Centre calls for all-party meet

The Centre has called for an all-party meeting on Thursday, a day ahead of the beginning of the Winter Session of the Parliament. The meet, called for by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, will be held at the Parliament Library in order to prepare a roadmap for the Session, which ends on January 5.Kumar had asked for the cooperation from across parties, specially from the Opposition, so that the session could carry on uninterrupted. The Centre has come under increasing attacks from the Opposition after the Winter Session of the Parliament was delayed because of the Gujarat polls.There are several significant bills that are up for this session. These include the bill on triple talaq and another on the constitutional status to the backward class commission.The Opposition, on the other hand, is convening its own members on the same day at the Parliament office of its senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. The Congress is likely to send senior members including Anand Sharma, Mallikarjun Kharge, apart from Azad to the meet.

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Young brains rule Day 1 of global meet

Fostering global partnerships to start new businesses for first-time entrepreneurs was the focus of the day-long ‘Youth Parliament’ that pulled up the curtains on the Global Partnership Summit in New Delhi on Monday.Participants from various countries shared their views on leadership and the importance of striking friendships in the environment of a global village to start a business.Avelo Roy from Kolkata shared his experience of becoming an entrepreneur at the age of 19 while he was pursuing a degree in engineering in the United States.”When you have no money, you have friends. So some of my friends and I reached out to people in college and had the brightest with us.”His idea of a start-up was that it is a temporary organisation designed to search for a reputable and a scalable business model.Dogma Makiura from Japan has already lived in six countries after studying in the UK. He said the youth could contribute to innovations in the global world. Having set up businesses in Africa and East Asia, and taught English in Delhi, he said “I believe in cross-border partnerships.”Young entrepreneurs attended the youth parliament — students and future leaders from countries like India, US and Japan, African countries and the Middle East.The Global Partnership Summit (GPS), a four-day international event, will provide a platform to government leaders, think-tanks, policy-makers, industry captains, business leaders from across the world to discuss an alternative development model.The initiative aimed at closer cooperation between India, US and Japan will be attended by over 3,000 delegates.This initiative aims at greater cooperation between India, Japan and the US.The GPS is chaired by Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party’s secretary-general Toshihiro Nikai and co-chaired by Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra.Among other speakers was Saurav Panda, a consultant with the World Bank who calls himself a behavioural change practitioner. He believes behavioural economics and political choices can have a greater impact on financial institutions but is often ignored.Other than entrepreneurship, the youth session also discussed the involvement of the young minds in development and the concept of one youth, one culture.Kishwa Ambigapathy, head of the Commonwealth Youth Council, concluded the session with a talk on the impact of youth on governance. “Young people are are seen as aggressive. Many say the young should be involved in governance. What they really mean is they should sit down and take down the minutes of the meeting rather than participate in discussion. This attitude must end,” he said.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | By not implementing OROP, Modi govt has betrayed our trust: Major Gen (retd) Satbir Singh

A group of war veterans today accused the Narendra Modi government of “betraying” their trust over the issue of the One Rank One Pension (OROP).They claimed that instead of agreeing to their demands for which the ex-servicemen had been agitating for long, the Centre was “insulting” them.The war veterans said the government was doing “injustice” by capping at Rs 10,000 per month the educational assistance it gives to children of martyrs or those disabled in action.”By not implementing OROP, the Modi government has betrayed our trust,” said Major General (retd) Satbir Singh, chairman of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement.During a press conference at the state Congress headquarters here, Singh maintained their movement was “apolitical” and they had requested the opposition party to raise their grievances in Parliament and also before the public.Also readGujarat elections 2017: PM Modi rakes up fishermen’s rights, OROPThe Modi government “insulted” ex-servicemen and their widows by arresting them and suppressing their protest using police, he alleged.”It has become a hallmark of the Modi government to suppress opposition voice. We would like to ask the BJP government at the Centre as to why it did not accept OROP in the form it was accepted by the then UPA government on February 17, 2014?” he asked.The UPA government had agreed to the definition of OROP which said that servicemen who worked for the same duration and retired on the same rank will be given equal pension, irrespective of their date of retirement, he said.”Why the Modi government did not accept OROP in the form accepted by the UPA government based on the theory of equality, thus denying benefits to ex-servicemen?” he asked.”The Modi government denied benefits of OROP to 40 per cent of the armed forces personnel and those who retired early, according to a notification issued on November 7, 2015,” the retired officer said.Also readWhy did Manmohan Singh not show courage to order surgical strikes post 26/11 attack: PM ModiHe raised questions over the Modi government putting the condition in the scheme that it will review pensions after five years when experts sought a review after two years.”Why is injustice being meted out to the children of martyrs by limiting their education expenses at Rs 10,000 per month?” Singh asked.He was referring to a Centre’s notification dated September 13, 2017, capping education expenses for the kids of martyrs or those disabled in action at Rs 10,000 a month.In November 2015, the Centre issued a notification, brining into force the long-pending OROP scheme, which it said, will benefit over 2.5 million veterans and war widows.However, the ex-servicemen had then rejected the notification, saying their main demands have not been accepted.In December 2015, the government appointed a committee to look into the anomalies, if any, arising out of the implementation of the scheme. The panel later submitted its report to the defence ministry.

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Gujarat elections 2017 | New finance regulation bill on the cards: Arun Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley threw light on a likely finance regulation bill at BJP’s media centre in Ahmedabad on Saturday. He said that the bill aimed at giving more strength to people’s deposits in financial institutions.Jaitley said, “For the past few days, a controversy has been raised by some people through social media that the standing committee of Parliament was mulling to form an act on economic health of a financial institution. I would like to make it clear that there was not any act or law in the nation which deals with it. Naturally, the government will consider, if any act or law is to be formed and what parliamentary committee suggests on that.””Financial institution’s economic health is the core of the act, that is being considered by the parliamentary standing committee. The depositors in banks and financial institutions have very limited protection in the conventional system that has been running for 70 years in this nation. There is an insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh only against the deposits of people, in whatever amount it is deposited. The government’s idea is to give strength to this protection and the existing situation in this context does not suffice the demand,” Jaitley added.When elections are going on in Gujarat, the issue had become a serious concern for the people as most people deposit their money and savings with the banking and financial sectors. The campaign on social media which has been running with the messages of adverse impact of the act, could have a great effect over the psyche of Gujarati voters, and the finance minister made this statement on this juncture.”The campaign is totally wrong. The government wishes to make protection covers to the deposit stronger and improvise them. The government will think about that and is committed to enhance the protection of the deposits of common people in financial institutions across the nation,” the finance minister added.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: PM Modi changing agenda after getting exposed on development, says Rahul Gandhi

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of changing the agenda of the Gujarat elections as he was getting exposed on one issue after another.At a rally in Harij in Patan district, Gandhi said Modi raised the issue of suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remark about him as the PM had got exposed on other issues like the Narmada water, other backward castes (OBC) and development in 22 years of the BJP rule in the state.”It is very interesting to see how the truth catches up with the people. Modiji started saying he will contest the election on the issue of Narmada water. It came to notice that the river water did not reach villages and went to the Tata Nano factory,” he claimed.”After 2-3 days he said he will contest election on the issue of OBCs. Even that did not work,” Gandhi added.Thereafter, Modi declared he will contest on the basis of 22 years of development. It, too, did not bear fruit.”After that Modiji says, ‘Mani Sankar Aiyar said a bad thing about me, so this will be my election issue’,” he remarked.Referring to a report, Gandhi denounced the Modi government for spending “Rs 3,700 crore in advertisements”.”As per a figure yesterday, the Modi government has spent Rs 3,700 crore in advertisements. So all the money (of this government) is going in building its image and to industrialists,” he said.”Our government will use that money for your health and education,” the Congress VP said.Referring to allegations about Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah’s company turnover and Rafale fighter jet deal, Gandhi said Modi did not raise the issue of corruption in the entire election campaign.”Modiji cannot escape from Rafale or Jay Shah issues, whatever he may say (in election rallies). Even if he does not talk about corruption in his 200 speeches, the PM cannot escape this. Gujarat has decided that the next goverment will not be of the industrialists, but will be of the poor, farmers, labourers, and small businessmen,” he said.”The truth has caught up with Modiji. The PM has only one thing left with him. He spoke yesterday and for 60-70 per cent of the time he talked about me. But this election is not about Modiji, Rahulji, Solanki, BJP or Congress, but about the future of the people of Gujarat,” he said.Gandhi said during canvassing he will focus on 22 years of the BJP rule in the state during which the ruling party “worked for 5-10 industrialists” and “snatched land from farmers to hand over to Tata Nano.” “The Congress allocated Rs 35,000 crore to MNREGA, while the BJP government gave Rs 33,000 crore to the Tata Nano factory. Water from the Narmada went to that factory. The factory gets electricity for 24 hours even when you get it only at night,” he alleged.Land from villages in Mundra was given to (Gautam) Adani at Re 1 per metre rate, which the latter sold back to the government for Rs 3,000 per metre, he alleged.”Last year, the NDA government waived Rs 1.30 lakh crore of loans of the 10 richest people. Farmers also ask for loan waiver, and (Union Finance Minister) Arun Jaitley and the prime minister say it is not their policy,” Gandhi said.He promised a complete loan waiver to farmers as soon as the Congress formed government in the state.”I promise that the Congress will get you the right price (for your produce) and will also let you know in advance how much you are going to get,” he said.Gandhi said a Congress government will also spend money on improving health care facilities and education in the state.Attacking the government on demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax, he alleged the winter session of Parliament was delayed because the PM did not want to answer questions on GST and noteban.

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Even Ajmal Kasab got chance, but in my case ‘Supreme Court’ gave order straightaway: Sharad Yadav after RS expulsion

Rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav today said he will challenge his disqualification from the Rajya Sabha in court and claimed that his opposition to JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar and the BJP resulted in the ouster.He suggested that he was denied a fair play, noting that the case of embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who “looted” public exchequer, was sent to the Ethics Committee pf Parliament but he was not allowed such an opportunity despite being a veteran parliamentarian who took up “people’s causes” in his career. At a press conference, Yadav disapproved of Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu’s comments defending his decision but said the institution of the Rajya Sabha was too important to him to attack Naidu.Even Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani terrorist hanged in India following his conviction in the Mumbai terror attack case, was allowed to exhaust all appeals available to him but in his case the “supreme court”, an apparent reference to Naidu, gave an order straightaway without referring the matter to a parliamentary committee, he said. Yadav, who was elected to the Lok Sabha seven times and the Rajya Sabha four times, said in a lighter vein that his “new freedom” will give him more time in uniting opposition parties against the BJP.Also readSharad Yadav’s disqualification from Rajya Sabha illegal, must be revoked: Arvind Kejriwal”I was not shocked that I have been disqualified… I was expecting the same outcome,” he said, suggesting that it was decided in advance. Noting that he had resigned three times in past as an MP on moral ground, Yadav said had he been interested in power, then he would have been part of the government now. The constitutional provisions invoked by the Rajya Sabha chairman to disqualify might not apply in his case, he said, noting that he would file an appeal against it in court.”My fight is for principles and democracy. I will fight it in all forums, including court,” he said. Yadav also accused the BJP of using religion to polarise voters in the Gujarat and claimed that the party will suffer defeat like it did in Bihar. The JD(U) had sought Yadav’s disqualification after he attended a RJD rally in Patna in August following his opposition to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to jettison his party’s alliance with the RJD and the Congress and join hands with the BJP.Also readSharad Yadav should seek Lalu Prasad Yadav’s help nowThe disqualification decision came within three months of the JD(U) moving a plea, inviting criticism from opposition leaders. Naidu, however, said yesterday that justice delayed was justice denied, asserting that such matters should be decided quickly.
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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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