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GST: 5 undue profiteering cases reported

There have been 5 complaints in Rajasthan against undue profiteering under GST. A four-member committee which was set up by the ministry of finance after GST was implemented to receive the complaints of undue profiteering by any entity under the GST regime has got these complaints.These complaints from the state are part of 70 complaints which have been received by this committee across the country. The highest number of complaints has been received in Haryana with 45 number of complaints while Rajasthan along with Andhra Pradesh is on number two in the list with 5-5 complaints each.These complaints are now being examined by the state level screening committee. Interestingly, these complaints were received from only 11 states and the total number of complaints was 70. Rajasthan is one of these states in the list which includes apart from Rajasthan, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh, states like Jharkhand, Maharashtra, National capital territory of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Kerala, Chattisgarh, and Tamilnadu.While most of these states are considered more industrialize than Rajasthan, they all had complaints number less than Rajasthan.Notably, section 171 of GST deals with rules related to anti-profiteering and a committee and the national anti-profiteering authority may determine the methodology and procedure for determination as to whether the reduction in rate of tax on the supply of goods or services or the benefit of input tax credit has been passed on by the registered person to the recipient by way of commensurate reduction in prices.The authority while examining the case may also order to reduce the price.The complaints are currently being examined by the state level screening committee.Screening panelThe screening committee may examine if the supplier has contravened the provisions of section 171, forward the application with its recommendations to the Standing Committee for further action. The authority may also order to reduce the price.

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Magazine hailing Hizbul’s Burhan Wani on sale at Jor Mela

A magazine featuring slain terrorist Burhan Wani of the Hizbul Mujahideen on its cover was on sale at the ‘Jor Mela’ here following which Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the police would look into the matter if there was any anti-national activity.On a visit here, the chief minister was confronted by media about sale of the controversial magazine.If there is any anti-national activity, police will look into it, Singh said.An article on global terror group, the Islamic State or ISIS and a picture of Jagtar Singh Hawara, convicted in chief minister Beant Singh assassination case, also featured in the 42-page magazine.The ‘Jor Mela’, which began on December 25 and ends on December 27, is held every year to commemorate the martyrdom of Sahibzada Baba Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Baba Fateh Singh, the young sons of the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh

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Bihar CM Nitish Kumar receives praise for grand hosting of Shukrana Samaroh

Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal with her husband and former Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today met Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and praised him for the “grand arrangements” for Shukrana Samaroh of 350th Prakash Parv of Guru Gobind Singh.The couple, who met the CM at his official residence 1, Anney Marg, were here to take part in the “Shukrana” (thanksgiving) function of 350th Prakash Parv (birth anniversary) of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru.Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union minister for Food Processing Industries and former Dy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal hailed Kumar for the “grand arrangements” for Shukrana Samaroh (thanksgiving), an official release said.Also readAssembly elections 2017 results​: Nitish Kumar congratulates PM Modi, Amit Shah on Gujarat, Himachal victoryKumar welcomed them with a bouquet and presented them with a memento and “Angvastra”, it added.They presented a “Saropa” to Kumar, the release said.”This (Patna) is the birth place of 10th Sikh Guru Guru Gobind Singh jee Maharaj. Its a matter of pride for the people of Bihar. It is our duty and privilege to do whatever we can do to celebrate the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh jee Maharaj,” Kumar said on the occasion.The state government had organised inaugural programme of the Prakash Parv on a grand scale in January this year to mark the 350th birth anniversary of the 10th Sikh guru and now the state govenrment has organised “Shukrana Samaroh” (thanksgiving or closing ceremony) of the anniversary function which is a 351st Prakash Parv also, Kumar said.Sukhir Badal’s father and former Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal while sharing dias with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kumar at the inaugural function of 350th Prakash Parva in Patna in January this year had appreciated Kumar’s hosting of the great sikh religious event in a well organised manner.Prominent among those who were present during today’s meeting included- Delhi’s Rajauri Garden MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa, Bihar Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, former Bihar Chief Secretary G S Kang, CM’s Principal Secretary Chanchal Kumar and others.

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Jammu and Kashmir: Army bids farewell to soldiers slain in cross-border firing

The Army on Sunday bid farewell to four soldiers who were killed in Saturday’s ceasefire violation in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir.General Officer Commanding of White Knight Corps Lt Gen Saranjeet Singh laid wreaths at a military send-off in Jammu which was attended by senior Army officers, police officers and other ranks, a defence spokesperson said.Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, Speaker of legislative Assembly Kavinder Gupta and some other ministers of the state also attended the ceremony and paid tributes to the slain soldiers, he said.Lt Gen Saranjeet Singh said the soldiers’ sacrifice would motivate the future generations.”The nation will remain forever indebted for the supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty of our heroes,” he said.Also read4 soldiers killed in Keri sector: Army says no mutilation of bodiesA separate ceremony was held in Udhampur where GOC-in-C northern command Lt Gen D Anbu laid the wreaths, the spokesman said.Major Moharkar Prafulla Ambadas (32) of Maharashtra, Lance Naik Gurmail Singh (34) and Lance Naik Kuldeep Singh (30) of Punjab, and Sepoy Pargat Singh (30) of Haryana were killed in a cross-border firing by Pakistani troops along the LoC in Keri sector.

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Scurry within AAP leaders for Rajya Sabha seats

The race has started within the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to get Rajya Sabha seats a day after the Election Commission (EC) announced polls on January 16 to fill up vacancies. Three top leaders — Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Kumar Vishwas — who are waiting for four years for a Rajya Sabha seat have started lobbying.But CM Kejriwal wants to give the seats to a Muslim, a woman and a representative of the trading community. Sources in the party has hinted that two of them are Imran Pratapgadi, who campaigned for the party in Punjab and hails from Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi-based businessman Sushil Gupta. Sources, however, rejected speculations on Swati Maliwal being rewarded with a Rajya Sabha seat.Even though chances are less, all the three leaders are doing their best to garner support fore themselves.In case of Vishwas, his relationship with Kejriwal deteriorated after he called him an autocrat. “I am a human being. I also have ambitions. My supporters also feel that I should go the the Rajya Sabha where I will be an articulate voice against the BJP and the Congress. I founded the Aam Aadmi Party with Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia. Yet I have never even had the tea of Delhi Secretariat,” he had said.For Sanjay Singh, Kejriwal has stood by him through eups and downs. He maintains a healthy relationship with both Congress and BJP leaders. During the President’s Rule in Delhi in 2014, Sanjay Singh played a crucial role in bringing back the party from the verge of collapse. In Punjab Assembly polls this year, Sanjay Singh was made the state-in-charge but with the loss of Punjab, chances of him getting the seat is almost impossible.When it comes to journalist-turned-politician Ashutosh, who was behind making Kejriwal a national leader from an RTI activist , chances are low too. Ashutosh joined when AAP went to fight the Parliamentary polls in 2014 against two veterans — Congress Kapil Sibal and BJP Harsh Vardhan.Earlier, the party approached former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan to be its candidate, but he is believed to have declined the offer.The AAP has 66 members in the 70-member Delhi Assembly and its victory on all three seats looks certain.

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Chandigarh stalking case: Punjab and Haryana High Court defers Vikas Barala’s bail plea till Jan 11

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday deferred to January 11 its hearing on the bail plea of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala’s son Vikas Barala, who had been booked for stalking and attempting to abduct a woman.The single bench of Justice Lisa Gill also directed the cellular operator to provide to the trial court, on January 4, the call details between the complainant, 29-year-old Varnika Kundu and her IAS father VS Kundu, as sought by Barala’s counsel.The high court also directed the trial court to complete the cross-examination of Varnika Kundu before January 11 when the bail plea will be considered, said Barala’s counsel Vinod Ghai.Barala’s counsel had sought a regular bail from the court, submitting his client has been behind the bars for nearly four months and should be granted bail.Barala had moved the high court last month after a local court denied him bail for the fourth time.Charges have been framed against Vikas Barala and his friend Ashish Kumar in connection with the stalking of Varnika Kundu.The woman had accused Vikas Barala (23) and his friend Kumar (27) of stalking and attempting to abduct her.The two men were arrested on the intervening night of August 4-5 following the woman’s complaint, but were released on bail as they were booked under bailable sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Motor Vehicles Act.They were arrested again on August 9 after they joined the investigation and were charged with attempted abduction under sections 365 and 511 of the IPC.

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No life insurance for leopard rescuers

The leopard rescue team from Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) has been effectively managing increasing human-animal conflict situations including rescuing leopards that enter human-dominated habitat. However, the team faces one of the biggest challenges —absence of insurance despite several assurances by the Forest department.Case in point is the recent incident when a leopard had to be rescued in the Sher-e-Punjab area in Andheri east. The Thane rescue team was the first to reach the site. The leopard was tranquilised by the leopard rescue team from SGNP, which was on its way back from Chalisgaon where it had helped capture a leopard suspected of killing seven people.Both the leopard rescue teams have eight to ten members. Most of these members work on a contract basis called forest labourers (van majoor). While the forest officers are covered under the Government Insurance Scheme (GIS) the contract labourers who earn less than Rs 10,000 a month as wages have no insurance nor any benefits in case of an injury or death during rescue operations.”We do not let our work suffer and rush for any leopard rescue. We ensure that neither any human nor the leopard is harmed during a conflict situation. It feels sad that even the forest department doesn’t think about the work we do and the risk we take. Despite several assurances we are still awaiting the insurance scheme promised to us, which could help us or our families in case of an eventuality,” said a member from the rescue team who is on a contract basis.According to Pawan Sharma, honorary wildlife warden of Thane, a dialogue with a few insurance companies and agents was initiated five months back, and they were ready to provide insurance cover.

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Will take up at highest level in Pak govt reports of forceful conversion of Sikhs, assures Sushma Swaraj

India will take up at the highest level in the Pakistan government reports of Sikhs being forced to convert to Islam by a government official in Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today.Her reaction came after leading Pakistan daily The Express Tribune published a news story about the Sikh community raising serious concerns after being forced to convert to Islam by the government official in Hangu district of K-P.”We will take this up at the highest level with the Government of Pakistan,” Swaraj tweeted while tagging the Indian High Commission in the report. According to the news report, the community has lodged a complaint with Deputy Commissioner Hangu Shahid Mehmood, claiming that Assistant Commissioner Tehsil Tall Yaqoob Khan was allegedly forcing Sikhs to convert to Islam.Replying to a separate tweet regarding a man in Punjab trying to get body of his son, who was reportedly shot dead in Manila, Swaraj said the government was seized of the case. “Indian Embassy in Manila is pursuing this with the Police. The mortal remains will be sent from Manila on 21st December,” she tweeted.Also readPakistan Army’s first Sikh officer gets married; top officials say respect rights of religious minoritiesShe was replying to a tweet, “No bigger pain for an old man than the news of the death of his son but his pain intensifies when he is unable to see even his dead body. Requesting Sushma Swaraj Ji to help family of Harpreet Singh (shot dead in Manila) from village Wander Jatana to bring youth’s body back to Punjab.”

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It was organised booth capturing: Sukhbir Singh Badal fumes after Congress sweeps Punjab civic polls

On Sunday, after the Congress won a thumping victory in the Punjab civic polls, SAD’s Sukhbhir Singh Badal alleged booth capturing and hit out at the EC and state government. He said: “It was organised booth capturing. We told EC that they are not letting our candidates file nominations. 20% candidates weren’t able to file nominations, some nominations were rejected & some candidates were arrested but state EC did nothing.” He added: “Our candidates & polling agents were thrown out of booths, media persons were beaten & booth was captured at every place. For the 1st time, state EC & govt became one & captured EVMs. We are going to High Court against this criminal conspiracy.”Also readYou can’t get a better result: Captain Amarinder ecstatic after Congress sweeps Punjab civic pollsOn the other hand, Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh was ecstatic after Congress’ impressive performance in Punjab Civic Polls. He said: “Election results have been very good, we are very pleased. You can’t get a better result than this. Out of three corporations, we have swept polls and won all of them.”He added: “In Patiala, out of 60 seats, 56 results are declared, won those 56. Similarly, in Jalandhar, out of 80, 77 are declared and 63 we have won. In Amritsar, out of 85, 61 have been declared, 45 we have won.”He also tweeted: Congress won 66 wards in Jalandhar Municipal Corporation, BJP 8, SAD 4, Independent 2. Congress also bagged 56 out of 60 in Patiala and four results awaited. Congress clinched 69 out of 85 wards, BJP 6, SAD 6, Independent 4 in Amritsar Municipal Corporation Election.“This is the first victory that Rahul Gandhi has tasted as Congress President, third victory in our Captain’s turban,” Navjot Singh Sidhu said.

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Hot wheels: Cops crack carjacking case, two held

Delhi police have arrested two notorious carjackers who allegedly committed crimes in a unique manner.The duo is said to have used mobile phone signal jammer devices while committing the thefts in Vasant Village, police said. According to the police, the accused have been identified as Subodh Yadav, 37, and his associate Vipan Kumar, 42, who would steal the vehicles and then dispose of them after tampering with the engine and chassis number of the vehicle. The accused were arrested following a tip-off.”We had received information that they would be coming to Vasant Village to meet and finalise a deal for a stolen luxury car. A trap was laid out at 4.30 pm,” said Romil Baniya, Deputy Commissioner of Police, South District.The team swung into action and on sensing the police presence both of them tried to escape with the car but were apprehended.”The accused were thoroughly searched and sophisticated tools for reading and replicating ignition, lock system and bypassing Engine Control Module (ECM) settings and mobile phone signal jammers were recovered,” Baniya added.During interrogation, the accused revealed that they had developed a vast network of engine and chassis numbers punchers operating from Punjab and UP. The members of this syndicate purchased all the damaged vehicles from the insurance company and punched the engine and chassis numbers of total loss vehicle to stolen vehicle and sell the stolen vehicles to second-hand car buyers.”The modus operandi was unique as they used an advanced security software read-and-replicate machine to disable ignition and security system and bypass the ECM of the vehicle, and transferred this data to their programming machine.””Using this data, the accused prepared duplicate keys to steal the cars. They further used A mobile phone signal jammer device while committing theft or dealing in stolen cars to dodge decoy customers as well as police. This device was to act as a cloak for the electronic surveillance of these criminals,” Baniya added.

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Sonia Gandhi’s retirement | Congress clarifies, says she has not retired from politics

A day before son Rahul Gandhi assumes charge as Congress president, mother Sonia Gandhi on Friday announced retirement from politics.’My job is to retire,’ the 71-year-old reportedly told media persons on the Day 1 of the Winter Session of Parliament.Even as the news reports announced Sonia Gandhi’s retirement, the Congress has put out a clarification.In a tweet, party spokesperson and Randeep Surjewala said that “Sonia Gandhi has retired as President of Indian National Congress and not from politics.”“Her blessings, wisdom and innate commitment to Congress ideology shall always be our guiding light,” he said.Also readFrom a reluctant politician to Congress president: Timeline of Rahul Gandhi’s political journeyThe longest-serving Congress president, Sonia Gandhi held the post for 19 years.The announcement, however, won’t affect her role as the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party.Till 2019, she will remain the Chairperson of the CPC and carry out her duty.After that, she is likely to take up the role of party mentor.From a quiet daughter-in-law to a brilliant politicians, Sonia Gandhi has carved a niche for herself.The move comes just days after Rahul Gandhi was elected as the Congress president on December 11.But, while expectations are high, Rahul Gandhi will need to fill the shoes of his mother.Rahul Gandhi’s era begins at a time when the Congress has lost most of its political power. The Congress has been losing state after state since the 2014 Lok Sabha election with the exception of Punjab.Rahul Gandhi’s elevation would come just two days ahead of the counting of votes for the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly poll.A sure-footed Rahul Gandhi powered a spirited campaign for the Congress in Gujarat, and a win in the election, which many analysts say could be dead heat between the two parties, would come as a massive boost for him.

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NGC gears up: Solar energy of ‘Thar’ to illuminate Gujarat & Punjab

Solar energy of the sandy areas of Jodhpur and Bikaner divisions will illuminate many villages of Punjab and Gujarat. National Grid Corporation has geared up and accelerated the work of laying the main line of 8000 KV for green energy corridor i.e. electronics corridor for solar energy production. It has also set a target to complete this work by August 2018. At present, the production of Jodhpur and Bikaner was not fully utilised at the local level. Now it is preparing to connect Moga of Punjab and Banaskantha of Gujarat.According to the plan, these corridors will link Jodhpur, Bikaner, Ajmer, Chittorgarh, Nagaur, etc, districts to Moga of Punjab and Banaskantha of Gujarat. Four substations have already been prepared for this. When it will be ready, the solar energy that will be created in Jodhpur and Bikaner, which produces the highest solar energy, will start illuminating entire northern India. It is worth mentioning that in the case of energy, 740 kV Bhakra power is the largest power line in the state whereas this is going to be 8 thousand kV line.Alok Dubey, Deputy General Manager, National Power Grid Corporation said that the project aims to be completed by August 2018. After this, investors in the Green Energy Corridor are expected to plant power plants from the state.The main line will be started from Banaskantha of Gujarat, which will reach Chittorgarh, Ajmer, Nagaur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Hanumangarh in Rajasthan and Moga of Punjab. Five GSS at Banaskantha, Jodhpur, Ajmer, Bikaner, and Moga are being made for this. GSS of Badla Solar Plant in Phalodi area of ​​Jodhpur district and GSS will be set up at the place of mines in Jamsar of Bikaner. At present, GSS of Jodhpur and Bikaner are producing the highest solar energy but 3 percent of it goes in power theft. After a corridor, this problem will not happen and people will get the full power here.THE MASTER PLANAccording to the plan, these corridors will link Jodhpur, Bikaner, Ajmer, Chittorgarh, Nagaur, etc, districts to Moga of Punjab and Banaskantha of Gujarat. Four substations have already been prepared for this. When it will be ready, the solar energy that will be created in Jodhpur and Bikaner, which produces the highest solar energy, will start illuminating. The main line will be started from Banaskantha, which will reach Chittorgarh, Ajmer, Nagaur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Hanumangarh in Rajasthan and Moga of Punjab. Five GSS at Banaskantha, Jodhpur, Ajmer, Bikaner, and Moga are being made for this.

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Pre-school anxious after leopard entry

The Junior Crafting Playschool where leopard entered on Sunday remains close for two days that is Monday and Tuesday. According to the pre-school and day care centre, the school is kept close to sanitize the area for the safety of the small children. On the other hand the suggestions came from the parents to cover the rooftop of the playschool, but the playschool officials refused to do it explaining that BMC wont allow them to do that.On Sunday a leopard entered the playschool named Junior Crafting a junior and senior kindergarten as well as a day care centre area in Andheri located in Sher-E-Punjab society, Andheri east. Thankfully there were no children because of the day being Sunday. It was easy for the forest department to catch the animal because of CCTV cameras being around the school and inside as well.Ruchi Sabharwal, one of the owner of Junior Crafting Playschool, said, “The school is kept close for two days because the forest officials requested us to sanitize it as the animal moved around and inside the school. The school is sanitized in the morning as well as we will do pesticide and keep the school closed.

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Karnataka: Protest in Kumta turns violent over death of activist Paresh Mesta

According to reports, law and order situation in Karnataka’s Kumta in Uttara Kannada district turned violent over death of activist Paresh Mesta. According to a Deccan Herald report, enraged crowd torched police cars and set IGP’s car on fire. The car driver was also injured in the process. Currently, there is high police cover in Kumta and 25 people have been arrested in connection with the incident. However, not only Kumta other places in Karnataka have also reported unrest in the last few days after news of Mesta’s death. According to NewsMinute, tension prevailed in Honnovar after the body was found in a lake on last Friday night. Mesta’s family has alleged that there was foul play and it’s unlikely that he drowned in the lake. BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje has alleged that it’s a ‘brutal murder’ and the state government is trying to cover it up. Several top leaders including Union Minister Ananth Kumar was part of Mesta’s funeral procession, the report says. According to BJP MP Karandlaje, police were mute spectators when a hostile mob attacked Mesta near a temple on Wednesday. Also readMan held for supplying weapons to carry out attacks on RSS leaders in PunjabThe trigger was a street fight between an autorickshaw driver and motorbike rider, which soon took a communal colour. There was stone pelting too and shops were attacked. Reports suggest that Mesta was missing after trying to evade stone pelting. His body was found from Shettikere Lake a couple of days later.

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Mumbai: Leopard spotted at preschool in Andheri east

The morning walkers at Sher-E-Punjab Gurudwara in Andheri east were amazed to see a leopard roaming on the wall of the gurudwara. A leopard was spotted by a local boy on the wall around 7 am on Sunday morning.While the forest officers are yet to reach the spot, police officials, fire brigade depart and few forest officers have started installing nets surrounding the preschool where the leopard is spotted.According to activist, the officials are able to spot the leopard with the help of live feed of cctv cameras installed inside the preschool. Sunish subramaniam, environment activist, said, “The owner of the preschool is helping the officials since she can see the live feed on her mobile. He jumped from the back gate inside the nursery compound.””We got the call around 7.23 am after which we rushed to the spot. The forest officers team have left from Nashik and will be reaching in few hours.” said a police official from MIDC police station.

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6 lakh cases pending for decade or more in high courts: Data

Nearly six lakh cases are pending for a decade or more in various high courts and the Bombay High Court leads the tally with over one lakh litigations, according to latest figures collected by a monitoring system which seeks to identify and reduce pendency.A total of 40.15 lakh cases were pending in the 24 high courts of the country at the end of 2016 and the cases which are 10 years old or more constitute 19.45 per cent of the total pendency.According to data available on the national judicial data grid, as on December 7, as many as 5,97,650 cases were pending disposal in 20 high courts for a decade or more.Also readIn 94.6% cases of rape, accused known to victim, says NCRBThough there are 24 high courts, data of some of the courts, including the Allahabad High Court, was not available.The Bombay High Court leads the list with 1,29,063 pending cases. These include 96,596 civil, 12846 criminal cases and 19,621 writs.A writ petition is a court petition for extraordinary review, asking a court to intervene in a lower court’s decision.Also readDelay no reason for relief in child sex abuse cases: CourtThe Punjab and Haryana High Court is second in the list of pending cases which are over 10 years old. A total of 99,625 cases, including 64,967 civil, 13,324 criminal and 21,334 writs are awaiting disposal there.The Calcutta High Court faces a pendency of 74,315 cases awaiting disposal for the past years or more.According to the data, these include 40,529 civil, 14,898 criminal cases and 1,888 writs.Pending cases in the high courts were pegged at 41.52 lakh at the end of 2014.In December, 2015, the pendency went down to 38.70 lakh.But at the end of 2016, the cases went up to 40.15 lakh, but were less than the pendency in 2014.Also readNCRB data reveals surge in human trafficking cases

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Punjab can fund education of children of soldiers killed in action if Centre can’t: Amarinder Singh

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today said his government was willing to pay for educational expenses of the children of those killed or disabled in the line of duty.Speaking at a panel discussion at the Military Literature Festival here, the chief minister said the Congress would do everything in its power for defence veterans if it came to power at the Centre.Amarinder had on December 1 written to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking reversal of the ministry’s decision to cap educational expenses paid to children of personnel killed or disabled in the line of duty.”It is the government’s responsibility to ensure the welfare of the soldiers and veterans, as well as their families,” the chief minister said.Terming the decision “immoral” and “unprincipled”, Singh said it would impact around 32,000 students in various institutions while saving the central government a mere Rs 3 crore per annum. He called for an immediate review and revocation of the decision.”If the Centre can’t pay such a meagre amount for the education of the soldiers’ and martyrs’ children, the Punjab government is ready to do it,” he said, adding that he had conveyed the same to the Defence Minister but she was yet to respond.”It is important to look after the interests of the defence personnel and their families in order to keep their morale high,” he added.

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Won’t ban ‘Padmavati’, but history should be presented in correct perspective: Amarinder Singh

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said today that Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film ‘Padmavati’, which is mired in a major controversy, would not be barred from screening in his state.But at the same time, it is the responsibility of the producers of ‘Padmavati’ to ensure that history is projected in the correct perspective, Singh said.Anything can be shown in Punjab as long as it does not hurt religious sentiments, he said adding that the Punjab government favoured a level playing field for all organisations.”While different historical perspectives can be there, any attempt to completely falsify historical facts cannot be tolerated,” he added.This, he said, becomes even more necessary in the current age when children acquire knowledge through the audio-visual medium rather than by reading alone.Also readTommy Singh in ‘Udta Punjab’ to Alauddin Khilji in ‘Padmavati’: When reel life spills onto real life of actorsTerming the threats by fringe groups against the makers of ‘Padmavati’ as wrong, Singh said the concerned state government should have acted against those issuing such statements.”Such people should have been locked up,” he said. It’s a free country, with free business opportunity for all, Singh said.Also readGoa to ban Padmavati? CM Manohar Parrikar says can’t afford law and order problem in the tourist seasonSpeaking at an event here, he said his government did not believe in media censorship and was totally against it.Asking journalists to discharge their duties fearlessly, with utmost sincerity and without bias, he said his government would immediately clear the formalities for any media organisation wishing to operate in the state.Also readPadmavati row: People feel Padmini has been denigrated in Bhansali’s film, says Nitish Kumar “We want competition to grow so people get news as they should be getting it,” he said, according to an official release.Citing the progress made in the media over the years, the chief minister said its role and importance had grown manifold and it was their responsibility to ensure that information and news is disseminated to the people in a fair manner.Underlining the need for the media to present the government’s case in the right perspective, Singh expressed the hope that they would understand and appreciate Punjab’s problems and paint a correct picture for their readers and audiences.Singh also spoke about the challenges faced by the media as a result of the emergence of the social media.’Padmavati’ has been mired in a major controversy with allegations that history is distorted in the Bhansali flick.Many groups have been protesting amid rumours that there was a romantic dream sequence between Rajput queen Padmini and Allauddin Khilji. However, Bhansali said in an appeal that there was no dream sequence and it was all a rumour.Historians are divided on whether Padmini actually existed. She finds mention in the 16th century epic poem “Padmavat”.

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Punjab shocker: Viral video of owner shooting dead pet dog goes viral; cops register case

In a shocking incident, a dog was tied up and shot dead at point blank range by its owner and his ex-armyman friend in Punjab’s Barnala.According to news agency ANI, the duo recorded the act and later uploaded the incident on social media.A case has been registered against the two individuals, who are currently absconding.Last year, there was nationwide outrage after a viral video of two students throwing a dog off a terrace did the rounds. The suspects Ashish Paul, who recorded the video, and Gautam Sudharshan who filmed themselves throwing a dog off the terrace in Chennai, were identified an First Information Report (FIR) registered The dog, who was named Bhadra, was found with fractures and has been completely healed, however, she will have to live with a permanent limp as her right hind leg has been damaged beyond repair.More recently, a video of a man continuously beating his pet has gone viral. The video which is doing rounds on the Internet has evoked a massive reaction on social media, with people demanding action on the man. The man in the video is seen teaching the dog how to write alphabets. When the dog refuses to pay attention, he slaps the animal to draw his attention to work again. The man in the video is seen repeating the action thrice. Another person filming the act is heard giggling and enjoying the fun game.

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London mayor Sadiq Khan says UK must apologise for India massacre

The London mayor calls for an apology over one of the bloodiest massacres in British history.

Terror behind brs till death

After seven years, a local court has sentenced life imprisonment to eight members of Pakistan based terror organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), including three Pakistanis on Wednesday. Additional district judge Pawan Garg also imposed total fine of Rs 94 lakh including Rs 11 lakh each on six convicts while the remaining two were fined Rs13 lakh each.Pakistani terrorists Asgar Ali, Mohammed Iqbal and Shakar Ullah along with locals Babu Nisha Chand Ali, Hafiz Abdul Majid, Kabil Khan, Pawan Puri and Arun Jain were found guilty under section 13, 18, 18B and 20 of Anti lawful activity act. Their life sentence will run until their death. The court expressed apprehension that these terrorists were planning to harm Bala Saheb Thakre and Pravin Togadia to create disturbance in the country.The court took serious note of Lashkar’s chief commander Walid Khan’s long conversation with Pakistani terrorists lodged in Indian jails. The court expressed surprise that Asgar Ali had a phone during the court appearance. Judge Pawan Garg has sent copies of the order to DG Jails of Punjab and Rajasthan as well as principal home secretary for action against the Jail superintendents of Jodhpur, Bikaner, Nabha and Patiala.Judge Pawan Garg also commented on Hafiz Abdul Majid when his lawyer said that he has good knowledge of Quran and Hadees. “No religion or religious book preaches killing of innocent people. Quran is a holy book, after reading and acting on its teaching even a fool will not think of getting involved in terrorist activities,” he remarked.Immediately, after the verdict was pronounced, Arun Jain began shouting and said that the verdict was wrong and there was no proof against him. The convicts refused to leave the court till they were provided a copy of the order which was promptly provided. Later, the police took all of them to the jail. Their lawyers have said that the verdict will be challenged in the High Court.
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Minorities Commission forms committee over demands of minority status to Hindus in 8 states

The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on Wednesday formed a three-member Committee to study the matter regarding demands seeking minority status to Hindus in eight states where their population is less than 50%. On Sunday, the commission had sought the the Law Commission’s opinion on the issue.Last month, a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court stating that Hindus in these eight states have been denied their basic rights. The petition filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, a lawyer and a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), sought minority status for Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Lakshdweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.”According to the 2011 Census, Hindus are in monitory in eight states — Lakshadweep (2.5 %), Mizoram (2.75 %), Nagaland (8.75 %), Meghalaya (11.53 %), J&K (28.44 %), Arunachal Pradesh (29 %), Manipur (31.39 %), and Punjab (38.40 %). “But, their minority rights are being siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily to the majority population because neither the Central nor the state governments have notified Hindus as a minority under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act,” the petition stated.As per a 1993 notification by the Centre, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Parsis were granted minority status in India, and Jains were added to the list in 2014.The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has called for the abolition of the minority status in the country altogether. “The Supreme Court has observed in a case pertaining to the status of Jains as minority that minoritism must be done away with. In India, we must have equal rights according to our Constitutional status as citizens. We warn the Minority Commission that nothing like this must happen, or we shall campaign for the commission to be scrapped. The Congress is trying to divide the Indian society once more,” VHP’s international joint general secretary Surendra Jain said last month. With agency inputs
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Did police pick gun before lathi? 25 instances of police firing in Raj

It might sound surprising, however, as per the latest data of National Crime Record Bureau there are more number of occasions when firing was resorted to by the police in Rajasthan over lathi charge, in the year 2016. The state with 25 instances of police firing was at number three across the country while there were only 2 instances in which lathi charge was reported. Also, in both the instances of lathi charge, it was only the policemen to have received injuries.However, Rajasthan police were not the only one to do so, state police of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab and Odisha also reported more instances of police firing than lathi charge. Also in exception to states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and UP, it was mostly the policemen that received injuries in lathi-charge. Against 4,702 policemen reported to be injured during Lathi Charge across 29 states, there were 735 civilians injured, however, it claimed 34 civilian lives and only one police men had died in these.Sources at police department explain the contradiction on the fact that not all instances where police use ‘mild force’ to disburse crowd or containing violent mob get registered as ‘Lathi Charge’. However, this exercise might have helped to keep the record of local police station clean but raises doubts on the sanctity of the data at large.POLICE CLEARS AIRGiving the explanation, sources at police department said that not all instances where police use ‘mild force’ to disburse crowd or containing violent mob get registered as ‘Lathi Charge’.
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NIA team probing RSS leader’s murder attacked in Ghaziabad

A mob fired and attacked a joint team of National Investigating Agency (NIA) and Uttar Pradesh police officials leading to a constable being injured while they were conducting a raid in connection with the murder of Ludhiana RSS leader Ravinder Gosain. The raids were being carried out at Pilakhuwa Dehat on the outskirts of Ghaziabad. Police have also arrested a person said to be involved in the firing incident.While investigating the murder case of Gosain, names of several arms supplier, who had supplied the firearms to the accused in Punjab, had cropped up. A team of NIA officials, along with the help of the UP police, conducted a raid in the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday and apprehended the suspected arms dealers from Meerut. On developing further information, the officers raided the residence of another suspect Malook in Pilakhuwa Dehat, Ghaziabad on Sunday morning.The NIA, in a statement issued, said that a large crowd of men and women tried to obstruct them while they were conducting a raid.”Some people in the mob also began firing followed by stone-pelting. The mob also caused multiple roadblocks to obstruct the officials in the discharge of their duties. In self-defence, the UP Police as well as the NIA officers fired in the air,” read the statement.Constable Tahjib Khan of the Uttar Pradesh Police got injured in his leg and the police vehicle was also vandalised by the mob. It appears that the mob tried to shield the suspect, Malook, who is wanted in connection with the supply of arms and ammunition used in the killing of Ravinder Gosain in Punjab.After questioning several persons, a person identified as Nazim was arrested in connection with the firing incident.On November 30, the NIA registered the case to probe the killing of Gosain under various sections of the IPC and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Gosain, the ‘Mukhya Shikshak’ of the Mohan shakha of the RSS, was shot dead outside his residence in Ludhiana’s Gagandeep Colony on the morning of October 17, by two unidentified assailants riding a motorbike.The Punjab Police, which was earlier probing the case, arrested two people — Ramandeep Singh and Hardeep Singh — a few days after the incident. “It has also come to light that a conspiracy to destabilise Punjab has been hatched by Sikh extremist elements and others located in various parts of the world, including the United Kingdom, France, Italy, United Arab Emirates and Pakistan,” the NIA spokesman had said.He added that investigation conducted so far revealed channelling of funds from foreign countries for the execution of these incidents. The conspiracy also included an element of ideological brainwashing and incitement of the accused on religious grounds by their mentors settled abroadFOREIGN FUNDSNIA spokesman said that investigation conducted so far revealed channelling of funds from foreign countries for the execution of these incidents.
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Where tourists come to recall Longewala battle

In 1971, the Indian army abrogated Pakistan army which entered in Longewala border and this war was written in the Indian history as one of the greatest victories of Indian army. The Longewala War Memorial near the border established by the Indian Army as part of tribute to the martyred soldiers, has now become a centre of attraction for the tourists. The moment of valor and courage of Indian military officers and soldiers becomes fresh after seeing the demolished tanks of Pakistan. Tourists coming to this place feel proud of the victory of the Indian Army after seeing all the evidence, including the demolished tanks and jeeps of the Pak army.In the midnight between December 4 and 5, 1971, 23rd battalion of the Punjab Regiment had dusted the Pak army, which infiltrated in Longewala village, fifteen km from the border with Jaisalmer.It is worth mentioning that Major Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri, honoured with Mahavir Chakra, is the hero of the Battle of Longewala. Under his leadership the soldiers showed such bravery and courage that more than 179 Pakistani soldiers were killed and hundreds were injured. Not only this, the cannons of the Indian Army and the Hunter of the Air Force destroyed 37 Pakistani tanks.The army has prepared this war site to restore the moments of heroism and courage. People come here to give tribute to the legends of Longewala .The idols of those soldiers are placed there, whose supreme sacrifice led to victory in the Battle of Longewala. The Longewala war has been displayed in this war memorial. Chandpuri, acts of bunkers, destroying Pakistani vehicles and tanks, Indian Army celebrating victory, the place where they danced, RCL guns and arms are placed on display.It is because of this historic battle that Longewala War Memorial Museum and Longewala War Memorial in Jaisalmer both are included amongst the world’s tourist spots. Jaisalmer’s Longewala Museum is in Asia’s top twenty museums and one of the five major museums in India as per the rating of Trip Adviser and is attracting large number of tourists.
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Jat leader threatens protest if Haryana govt does not agree to demands

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jat leader Yashpal Malik has threatened to hold a protest if the Haryana government did not agree to their demands.”If Haryana government does not agree to our demands then we will hold a protest and many will come to Delhi on tractors and trolleys for the protest,” the Jat leader said in Rohtak on Sunday. However, Union minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said that there is a chance that they will get a reservation and also get through the judicial scrutiny. “When Gujjars and Yadavs can get reservation then why can’t we,” the minister added.In September, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had upheld the constitutional validity of the Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Act 2016, that provides for 10% to six communities, including Jats.A violent Jat agitation had crippled the state in February, which resulted in the death of many people and widespread damage to property. It was brought under control only after the army staged a flag march. In March 2016, the Haryana Assembly passed the Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Act 2016, carving out a new BC (C) category which included the communities of Jat, Jat Sikh, Muslim-Jat, Bishnoi, Ror and Tyagi. The act made provisions for reservations to these six communities.

Hafiz Saeed’s release shows Pakistan’s attempt to mainstream proscribed terrorists, says outraged India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a sharp reaction to the release of Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed after a 10-month-long house arrest, India on Thursday said the development confirms once again the lack of seriousness on the part of Pakistan government and shows its attempt to mainstream proscribed terrorists. “His release confirms once again the lack of seriousness on the part of Pakistan government. It also appears to be an attempt by Pakistani system to mainstream proscribed terrorists,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said today. “It is evident that Pakistan has not changed its policy of shielding and supporting non state actors, and its true face is visible for all to see,” he added. Kumar said that not only India but the entire International community is outraged that a self confessed and a UN proscribed terrorist is being allowed to walk free and continue with his evil agenda.India’s reaction came a day after a Judicial Review Board of Pakistan’s Punjab province ordered the release of amaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief, who has been under house arrest since January. The United States has also expressed its displeasure over the potential release of Hafiz Saeed, a terrorist leader designated by both the United Nations and the US. Saeed carries a bounty of USD 10 million announced by the US for his role in terror activities.”The government is ordered to release JuD chief Hafiz Saeed if he is not wanted in any other case,” the board said in its order on Wednesday.The government of Pakistan’s Punjab province had asked for a three-month extension to Saeed’s detention but the request was turned down by the board.Last month, the board had allowed a 30-day extension to the detention of Saeed which will expire next week.Saeed and his four aides – Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain – were detained on January 31, by the Punjab government for 90 days under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and the Fourth Schedule of Anti- Terrorism Act 1997.Saeed’s four aides were set free in the last week of October.Lashkar-e-Toiba, an outfit founded by Hafiz Seed, is believed to be responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack, in which 166 people were killed.

Cong wants minority status for Hindus

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a development that might disrupt the Majority versus Minority debate in India, Congress leader in Maharashtra, Shehzad Poonawalla, has demanded that the governments in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir grant minority status to Hindus in their respective states.In a scathing response to Poonawalla’s statement, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) called for the abolition of the minority status in the country altogether. The VHP accused the Congress of trying to divide Hindus and the Indian society.In a sharp reaction, VHP’s international joint general secretary Surendra Jain said: “The Supreme Court has observed in a case pertaining to the status of Jains as minority that minoritism must be done away with. In India, we must have equal rights according to our Constitutional status as citizens. We warn the Minority Commission that nothing like this must happen, or we shall campaign for the commission to be scrapped. The Congress is trying to divide the Indian society once more,” Jain said.

Pakistan’s Punjab Chief Minister invites Amarinder Singh to fight smog

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan’s Punjab province Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has invited his Indian counterpart Amarinder Singh to strike a “regional cooperation agreement” to tackle smog and pollution that has affected people on both sides of the border.In a letter written to Singh, Shehbaz said the people of both Pakistani and Indian Punjabs have been facing the problem of smog during the months of October and November.”It goes without saying that the smog has an adverse impact on health, especially on the old and the children; on agriculture in the form of delayed sowing of wheat and damage to potato and other crops and causes traffic accidents,” said Shehbaz in the letter dated November 19.Shehbaz, 66, the younger brother of ousted Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif, explained some of the causes of smog, including rice stubble burning.He also noted that the problem now affects Lahore, New Delhi and regions beyond the two cities in both countries.”I would like to invite you for entering into a regional cooperation arrangement to tackle the issue of smog as well as environmental pollution. Let us join hands for securing a prosperous future for the people of our two provinces,” Shehbaz said, amidst the chill in India-Pakistan ties after a series of terror attacks launched from Pakistani soil.”You will agree with me that is essentially scientific and economic and cannot be tackled through other means,” he said in the letter – a copy of which was posted on the official Twitter account of the Government of Punjab, Pakistan. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Singh were tagged in the tweet.Shehbaz said it is in the interest of people from both Punjabs that a collective effort be made towards identifying technologies and business methods that may eliminate the need to burn rice-stubble and help control smog formation.In reply, Singh’s media advisor Raveen Thukral tweeted “@Capt_amarinder is extremely concerned about the issue and is actively pursuing it with the Indian government. He expects early resolution of the matter. He is, however, yet to receive the letter from @CM Shehbaz @GovtOfPunjab and will reply to it at suitable time.”Recently, Kejriwal and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had confabulations to tackle the problem of smog.Many cities in both sides of Punjab have been blanketed by thick smog in recent weeks, with pollution affecting normal life. Many flights have been cancelled or delayed in Lahore. A number of serious road accidents in Pakistan have been blamed on poor visibility due to smog.Smog, also known as ground-level ozone, is a thick yellowish black fog which suspends in the air.

Delhi: Shootout at Dwarka, five men arrested; arms recovered

Updated: Nov 21, 2017, 03:27 PM IST, ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five people were been arrested on Tuesday in a shootout between some miscreants and local and Punjab police (Mohali Team) here.The incident took place after the police team conducted a joint raid at Gudia Properties at Dwarka More to arrest the wanted criminals.A huge cache of arms and ammunition, which include 11 illegal arms and one pistol, and more than 100 cartridges have been recovered.No injuries have been reported yet.

Honour Killing: 19-yr-old girl axed to death by stepbrother in Pak’s Punjab

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 19-year-old girl was axed to death allegedly by her stepbrother in the name of honour in Pakistan’s Punjab province, a police official said on Monday. The incident took place at Christian Wala in Sahiwal district, some 230-km from Lahore.According to Station House Officer Rana Tahir, accused Irfan suspected his stepsister Saira had relations with a man of her locality.Tahir said Irfan on Sunday attacked Saira with an axe while she was asleep and critically injured her.She was taken to the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital Sahiwal where she succumbed to her wounds.The official said none of the family members reported the matter to the police as they were alerted by a neighbour.”When the family was bringing Saira’s body back to village in an ambulance we intercepted it. Seeing police, Irfan escaped from the ambulance while we took body to the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital for postmortem,” Tahir said, adding that raids were made to arrest the suspect.He said the other family members were not considering it “murder” as Saira had disgraced the family honour.”We have taken mother of the girl in custody as she was also present when Irfan axed Saira,” he said.Killing of women relatives in the name of honour is a menace still prevalent in many parts of Pakistan. More than 1,000 women are killed every year by their relatives on the pretext of defending what is seen as family honour.

Attacks continue: RSS leader killed in Uttar Pradesh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After Kerala and Punjab, yet another Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) leader was killed in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh.The body of an RSS leader Sunil Garg, who was actively campaigning for BJP candidates in Meerut, was found in a sack near a gutter. A resident of Devinagar, Garg had left his house in the evening after campaigning for the BJP candidate in Surajkund ward. When he did not return until late, his wife Rashmi and family members lodged a police complaint.During search operation late Sunday night, police recovered a body from a gutter in Mangal Pandey Nagar near Medical College. The body was wrapped in a sack. Several injury marks from a sharp-edged weapon were found on the body. Family members identified the body as that missing Sunil Garg. The RSS leader was into the iron trade.The SP City Maan Singh said that the police have recovered his mobile from the parking of the medical college. “It appears that the killers attacked him with sharp-edged weapons and after killing him packed his body in a sack and threw it in a gutter near the medical college,” said the SP.“A case has been registered and we have formed a team to investigate the case. We have also sought CCTV footage from the medical authorities to check if anyone was accompanying Garg. The police is also taking statements from the family members to if he was having any trade-related enmity with anyone,” said the SP City.Agitated over the murder of the RSS leader, local BJP leaders and traders have demanded a high-level probe and immediate arrest of killers. On November 16, a BJP leader Shiv Kumar, close to Union minister Dr Mahesh Sharma, was shot dead in broad day light in Greater Noida along with his personal security guard, driver and girl student when assailants sprayed bullets on his vehicle.Earlier, an RSS leader Rajesh Mishra was shot dead by mobile-borne assailants at his shop in Ghazipur district on October 21. Attacks on RSS-BJP leaders in Uttar Pradesh came close to killings of several RSS leaders in Kerala and Punjab.

‘They should have constructed new college for new name,’ Sheila Dikshit slams Centre for renaming Dyal Singh College

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Congress leader and former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Sunday said that decision to rename Dyal Singh College (Evening) as ‘Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya’ was not a commendable move.The administrative department of Delhi University’s Dyal Singh College on Saturday decided to rename its evening college as ‘Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya’.Dikshit told ANI that the Centre should have constructed a new college instead of renaming an old college.”The Dyal Singh college is in Delhi since ages and its name is its identity. If they had to give a new name then they should have constructed a new college and then named it. That would have benefitted the students also. What message is the government trying to give by renaming the college, I have no idea,” she said.She added: “Vande Mataram is a national song and respected by all but naming a college after it is not a rational decision. The Government should take decision which is hailed by everyone.”A notification to rename the college was issued on Friday and accepted after it was decided to turn Dyal Singh (evening) college into a full-fledged day college.Speaking on the decision, the principal of the college, Pawan Sharma, told ANI, “The name inspired millions during freedom struggle. It’ll also inspire students. There mustn’t be controversy on it. People opposing it haven’t understood it well. We’ll not reconsider it. It’s final.”Meanwhile, the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) had come out strongly against the move stating that, “The governing body has renamed the evening college in a hasty manner to distract the students from actual questions of education governance.””They are also disgracing the legacy of Punjab’s first freedom fighter-Sardar Dyal Singh Manjithia,” the NSUI said.

Delhi smog: Emergency anti-pollution measures lifted

A court-mandated panel says air quality has improved from “severe” to “very poor”.

Had a fruitful meeting with Haryana CM: Arvind Kejriwal after meeting Khattar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar in Chandigarh to discuss the issue of stubble burning that had resulted in high levels of smog in the national capital.“We had a very positive discussion, we will take all steps possible to tackle the situation,” said Kejriwal after the meeting, according to a Hindustan Times report.Kejriwal last week had sought a meeting with counterparts from Haryana and Punjab to discuss ways to manage the worsening air pollution in Delhi and the neighbouring states.However, Amarinder Singh had said that it is not a matter for inter-state discussion and that won’t help and it requires central govt intervention, at the earliest.”Share your concern over stubble burning and pollution, Centre alone can solve the problem given its national implications. The situation is serious but Punjab helpless as problem is widespread & state has no money to compensate farmers for stubble management,” Amarinder Singh replied to Kejriwal in a series of tweets.
ALSO READ Futile exercise: Why any meeting between Kejriwal and Khattar won’t clear the smogAir quality in Delhi-NCR has been at the season’s worst for the past week as a combined effect of smoke from stubble burning and moisture turned the region into a ‘gas chamber’ leaving people gasping.

Punjab CM refuses to meet Arvind Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In another blow to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh has turned down the former’s offer to meet and discuss ways to bring down the pollution level in their respective states. Kejriwal had earlier expressed his interest in meeting Singh on Wednesday in Chandigarh when he was having a meeting with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.Turning down his offer, the Punjab CM’s media adviser Raveen Thukral on Tuesday tweeted “Stop politicising the #pollution issue, you know any meeting between us would be useless, and in any case now that the apex court is also seized of the matter, let us leave it to them and the central govt to find long-term solutions.”Earlier, Arvind Kejriwal had blamed the burning of crop stubble by farmers in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana as the major cause of the spiking pollution in Delhi.”Sir, I am coming to Chandigarh on Wed to meet Haryana CM. Would be grateful if u cud spare sometime to meet me. It is in collective interest,” the Delhi chief minister had tweeted to Amarinder Singh, who had last week called Mr Kejriwal a “peculiar person with views on everything but no understanding.”The social media exchanges began between the ministers after the national capital’s air turned ‘severe’ and the city became unlivable.During the entire fiasco, Amarinder Singh had asserted that Delhi’s pollution crisis has been cause by “mismanaged transportation and unplanned industrial development.” Instead of focusing all his attention on resolving these issues, he said, “Kejriwal wants to waste time with holding useless discussions.”

Punjab AAP rakes up river water dispute, demands royalties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Raking up the raging river water dispute, Punjab’s unit of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has demanded that the Punjab government should levy royalties on river water being supplied to Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan.The state is locked in a dispute with neighbouring Haryana for construction of 214-km Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, whose construction was suspended in 1990. While the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Haryana for construction of the canal, Punjab has rued that it will end up facing serious ecological crisis due to depletion of ground water.Leading a sit-in protest outside the Punjab Secretariat, Leader of Opposition, Sukhpal Khaira and other MLAs, including Vice-President Aman Arora, demanded that the government should put into effect the resolution passed in the Punjab Assembly and seek royalties from the neighboring states.“As a riparian state, we urge Punjab government to levy royalties on neighbouring Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi which are being provided water from Satluj river for decades,” said Leader of Opposition, Sukhpal Singh Khaira. The AAP MLAs contended that the government can send the bills to the Delhi government to begin with, where CM Arvind Kejriwal is likely to agree.However, the demands were dismissed by cabinet minister Tript Rajinder Bajwa. “If we seek royalties from other states, then we will also have to pay royalty to Himachal Pradesh, which is actually providing river water to Punjab. The water is coming from HP. A decision cannot be taken like this,” said Bajwa, highlighting that such problems needed a long-term solution.

Punjab gangster confesses to murdering Hindu Sangharsh Sena leader on FB; says it was revenge

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after Punjab Police busted a terror-module behind the recent targeted killing in the state, a Punjab-based gangster wrote on Facebook that murder of Hindu Sangharsh Sena leader, Vipin Sharma be not be linked to religion, as it was a ‘revenge killing’.In a Facebook post, the gangster named Saraj Sandhu wrote that murder of Sharma who was shot dead by two persons in Amritsar in broad daylight on October 30 was committed by him. “He (Sharma) paid for his sins, as he was involved in the murder of a friend’s father. Anyone who has doubts can check the police investigation records exposing his involvement,” he wrote.He further highlighted that the murder should not be linked to any religion, as it was committed to avenge his friends’ father murder. “We not spare anyone who does wrong to our friends. The murder should not be linked to any religion,” he wrote.Vipin Sharma, President of Amritsar unit of Hindu Sangharsh Sena was shot dead by two unidentified youth when he had gone to the market on his motorcycle on October 30. The incident captured on a CCTV camera showed two men opening fire at unarmed Sharma. The face of one of the accused was visible in the footage, which bore resemblance to gangster Saraj Sandhu.Punjab Police had recently busted a terror module funded by ISI, which had allegedly confessed to the recent targeted killings, including murder of two RSS leaders and Pastor of a Church in Ludhiana. Five incidents of targeted killings took place between April 2016 and February 2017, while two took place in July and October 2017.“We have got certain leads about him (Sandhu) who was narrowed down after the CCTV footage and he would be arrested soon. We are yet to verify if the posts on the social networking site were made by him or someone else uploaded it,” said a senior Punjab Police official.It is not the first time that gangsters in Punjab have confessed to the killings on social media and glorified them with impunity. Out of the 52 gangsters operating in Punjab according to police, a number of them are active on social networking sites.

Delhi pollution level goes up again, Gurugram schools to be closed on Monday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a brief let-up, the pollution levels skyrocketed in Delhi on Sunday with the air quality becoming hazardous, which environmental agencies consider unfit for inhalation even by healthy people.As the NCR-region continues to be under worse smog condition, the Gurgaon district administration on Sunday directed that government and private schools would be closed on Monday in view of the persistent smog and pollution situation in the NCR, an official said.”Due to smog and pollution in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), including Gurgaon, we have decided to close all private and government schools on November 13,” District Magistrate Vinay Pratap Singh said.Schools in the district were closed on Friday and Saturday. The order has been extended till Monday, the official said.”Smog can be dangerous for children and students. We have suggested residents to wear best quality mask to combat air pollution,” he said. The pollution monitoring authorities said there may be some respite from Monday evening as surface winds will gain momentum.SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research) said there is possibility of rains in the evening of November 14.However, experts say rain brings temporary relief, but also leads to accumulation of particulates due to high levels of moisture.The hourly graph of the Central Control Room for Air Quality Management, which had briefly fallen below emergency levels on Saturday, recorded PM2.5 and PM10 concentration at 478 and 713 microgrammes per cubic metre by afternoon.The corresponding 24-hour safe standards are 60 and 100. Visibility came down below 100 metres at many places.The air quality index of the CPCB had a score of 460, as against Saturday’s 403. The most dominant pollutants were PM 2.5 and CO, according to the CPCB air bulletin.People complained of burning sensation in their eyes and heaviness in breathing, reflecting the severity of the pollution.The PM2.5 reading of the Centre-run SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research) was also above 400, which is in the severe category as well.If the prevailing levels of PM2.5 and PM10 persist for another 24 hours, the odd-even scheme is supposed to be implemented, according to the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) being enforced by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority.The NGT on Saturday said that the odd-even scheme should be implemented “without any default” as and when PM (particulate matter) 10 level goes above 500 microgrammes per cubic metre and PM2.5 level crosses the limit of 300 microgrammes per cubic metre during a span of 48 hours.CPCB and SAFAR scientists maintained that the fresh spike in pollution was triggered mainly due to drop in inversion layer (the layer beyond which pollutants cannot disperse into the upper layer of the atmosphere), which in turn happened due to sharp drop in minimum and maximum temperatures.The CPCB’s air lab chief Dipankar Saha said the haze was basically a mixture of dust and moisture. Formation of a thick cloud cover also resulted in the spike in moisture and drop in both minimum and maximum temperatures, he said.”The wind flow from North Western side of Delhi (through Punjab & Haryana) is likely to continue till today. The wind will start flowing towards towards Punjab and Haryana from tomorrow under the influence of a western disturbance approaching Delhi.”Under the above scenario, atmospheric circulation over Delhi will become favourable for substantial reduction of air pollutants from November 13,” Saha said.Meanwhile, the Delhi BJP accused the AAP government of being in an “indecisive state” over the pollution crisis in the city and demanded Lt Governor Anil Baijal to call an all- party meeting.Manoj Tiwari, the president of Delhi BJP, said that air pollution levels in the city are 4-7 times higher than the normal posing serious health hazard to the people.”Despite this, the visionless Arvind Kejriwal government continues to be in a indecisive state,” he alleged.With schools set to open and heavy public activity likely tomorrow after the weekend break, the Kejriwal government seems to be “lost” as it never formulated a strategy to fight such a climatic emergency, he said.He requested the LG to call an all-party meeting to discuss the preparations to fight pollution and remedial measures, Tiwari also demanded 24×7 free chest units at all the government and private hospitals in Delhi.

Over 2,300 Indian Sikh pilgrims leave from Pakistan via special trains to return to homeland

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 2,300 Sikh pilgrims on Saturday left for India from Pakistan by special trains after attending the 549th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev at his birthplace in Nankana Sahib in the Punjab province.Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Siddiqul Farooq gave the pilgrims a warm send off at the Lahore railways station, an official said.”As many as 2,361 Indian Sikhs on Saturday returned to their homeland. Evacuee Trust Property Board chairman Saddiqul Farooq gave them warm send off at the Lahore railways station,” ETPB spokesman Amir Hashmi told PTI.He said the pilgrims were brought to the railways station in high security.During their 10-day stay in Pakistan, the pilgrims visited Gurdwara Janamesthan Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Panja Sahib Hasan Absal and Gurdwara Kartar Sahib Narowal.”We are establishing Baba Guru Nanak University in Nankana Sahib and Sikhs from all over the world are ready to fund it,” Farooq said, adding that the founder of the Sikh religion gave the message of peace.He said the board had also set up an online charity system for donation.Sardar Gurmeet Singh, a group leader of the pilgrims, said the Sikh devotees always bring

Governments lack political will, says EPCA chief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) was notified last year and measures were rolled out. However, there is no improvement in the situation this year. What is causing this mess?The EPCA has tried its best to bring about change and has urged all the states and agencies to follow the measures. However, it is the administration which has to go on the ground and get things done. All the state governments were on board and had agreed to the plan which we had submitted. Most pollutants are from crop stubble burning, besides industrial and vehicular emissions in neighbouring states. The State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) are the weakest links. These Boards get politicised and hence the implementation on the ground is majorly affected. Also, there is a lack of political will and initiative on part of all governments. While there is an improvement in conditions, and awareness has been created, we have a long way to go.What concrete steps can be taken to curb crop stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana?We have been telling the Centre and the state governments to provide alternatives to farmers, as the window between kharif and rabi crops is too small. The Centre must look at subsidising the tools such as happy-seeders and give them to farmers. Further, the state governments must organise farmers in groups and provide them these tools on a community basis. Alternatives are available and crop residue can be turned into an economic good. Besides, agencies which convert paddy straw into electricity must be welcomed. The Punjab government asked the Centre for Rs 10,000 crore to incentivise farmers, which is not a feasible thing to do. They must look at doable alternatives.Can reducing the number of private vehicles on roads be a solution?Vehicular pollution contributes to over 20 per cent in the overall air pollution. It is a big number. I have been saying this for years and one of our objectives is to discourage private transport on roads. In 2010, the number of buses should have been 11,000. What is it now? Who is to blame for it? We have always supported robust public transport, which will cut down on emissions as well as congestion. We went to Anand Vihar — a pollution hotspot — with a team and have suggested a plan for reducing smoke and dust in the area. The place did not have urinals and its redevelopment has been pending for years. After our team worked on it, Anand Vihar looks better. However, the government did not take an initiative to follow up on it.

How to make air poisonous!

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Tuesday when the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi clocked 468 in the most severe category — anything above 100 is considered unhealthy — a state of public health emergency was declared by the Indian Medical Association (IMA). With a steady rise in Delhi’s pollution levels over the years, the contributing factors making the air dangerous have also increased. Vehicular and industrial emissions remain at the core of this dire situation.Rapid urbanisation has fuelled the spreading of dust and burning of waste, releasing particulate matters — fine particles — which cause heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer, and respiratory illnesses.However, before the Supreme Court (SC) and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) took cognizance of the new sources of pollution, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) had raised an alarm about the slide in the gains from the switch to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuel for commercial vehicles.Beginning April 2003, the EPCA submitted reports to the SC and the state governments. The top court-appointed body documented and emphasised that while the SC’s orders “stabilised run away pollution”, pollution levels were rising, and that “there cannot be a let-up in the city’s effort”.The second-generation reforms, as elaborated by the EPCA, comprised a multi-pronged approach that included new mass-emission standards, in-use standards for two-wheelers and cars, tighter pollution under control (PUC) norms, bringing parity between diesel and petrol prices, by-passing of goods traffic, integrated public transport system to reduce vehicular congestion, gas-based fuel in power plants and prohibition on pet coke and furnace oils.With the exception of leapfrogging to the Bharat Stage-VI emissions technology, ban on the polluting pet coke and furnace oils and an environment compensation charge on trucks, a large part of the second-generation of reforms remain stuck on the ground. The EPCA member and Centre for Science and Environment director general Sunita Narain said that while the SC has given significant orders on discontinuing registration of Bharat Stage-III vehicles, three or four big objectives are yet to be achieved. “We have been asking for restraints on vehicles through public transport and parking policy… but nobody is moving on it and Delhi has fewer buses than before,” said Narain.The EPCA is also doing a fresh survey of commercial traffic at Delhi checkposts to improve the enforcement of turning away traffic from entering the city. Narain added that the management of dust, garbage, and waste burning are governance issues that require boots on the ground. “The EPCA cannot do it, the government needs to do it, there is a need for political will.”In 2014, in its report on ‘priority measures to reduce air pollution and protect public health’, the EPCA once again detailed before the SC the continuing slide in the fight against the crisis.It highlighted that particulate matter (PM) 10 levels had reduced by 16 per cent between 2002 and 2007, a period when the CNG transition kicked in and plateaued. Then, particulate levels increased “dramatically” by 75 per cent.’Between 2002 and 2012, vehicle numbers shot up by 97 per cent, contributing enormously to the pollution load, the report said.To put things into perspective, between 1998 and 2017, Delhi’s motor vehicle population rose from 32.10 lakh in 1998 to 1.05 crore in May 2017. In Delhi alone, the urban cover rose from 62.35 per cent in 2001 to 75.09 per cent in 2011, according to official data.With the SC order that green cess be levied on diesel cars, its sale has shown a dip to some extent, as per industry data. But now, stubble burning has become one of the biggest external factors contributing to Delhi’s toxic air.Across Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, over 20 million tonnes of paddy straw is burnt between October and mid-November, releasing plumes of smoke that travel over to Delhi-NCR with winds. While the NCR states had banned stubble burning through notifications, the NGT too passed a judgment in 2015, detailing measures to prevent the practice.The implementation, though, has failed to a great extent. Nearly two years since its order, the NGT pulled up Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on Thursday for having failed to curb the practice of crop stubble burning, and sought detailed reports from the states. The Punjab government, though, has submitted to the green court that compared to 2016, there have been 29,000 fewer instances of stubble burning.According to senior advocate MC Mehta, “The government had no clear policy to battle pollution, neither in the past nor now. It is the SC that has played a major role in the public interest and come to our rescue. Not just metros, but towns are also suffering and that is the next big challenge.”Contributing factorsDelhi’s motor vehicle population rose from 32.10 lakh in 1998 to 1.05 crore in May 2017.Vehicular pollution contributes to over 20 per cent of the overall air pollution. Across Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, over 20 million tonnes of paddy straw is burnt between October and mid-November, releasing plumes of smoke that travel over to Delhi-NCR with winds.

In Arvind Kejriwal vs Amarinder Singh over stubble burning, guess who just replied from Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid the tussle going on between the Delhi and Punjab government over the stubble burning issue, the Pakistan government has now a suggestion for Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to tackle the air pollution issue.Backing Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s stance on stubble burning as the major cause of air pollution, the Punjab Government of Pakistan said Singh should put a ban on the practice.”We have imposed a ban on stubble burning in Punjab (Pakistan) & hope Captain Amarinder Singh takes similar measures. Environmental hazards threaten our people and habitat. Let us act fast to counter it,” the tweet said.The Pakistan government’s tweet came in a reply to Kejriwal’s tweet where he urged Singh for an ’emergency’ interstate meet and blamed crop burning in Punjab for the major cause of smog in the national capital and to find a solution to the issue.Kejriwal on Thursday have blamed stubble burning for the main cause of smog in the Delhi-NCR region and said solution can be found if politics are kept aside and everyone join hands to solve the issue.”Until state governments don’t find economically viable solutions to crop burning it will not stop. If everyone…central government, UP, Punjab and Haryana government come together and put aside politics a solution can be found,” Kejriwal said.Meanwhile, Punjab CM has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking compensation for farmers to check the dangerous trend of stubble burning.The pollution emergency in Delhi-NCR have forced the AAP government to bring back the car-rationing scheme odd-even.The third phase of the odd-even scheme will come into force from November 13 to November 17.In a bid to encourage the use of public transport at the mayhem of dangerous smog, the Delhi government have made the use of public services free of cost.”To encourage use of public transport during Odd- Even, Delhi govt to allow free travel for commuters in all DTC and Cluster buses from 13-17 November,” Delhi Transport Minister Ashok Gahlot said on Twitter.The air quality in Delhi continues to be in ‘severe’ condition under a blanket of thick haze, as pollution levels have breached permissible standards by multiple times.The Indian Medical Association (IMA) had already declared it a ‘public health emergency’ and have urged the government to ban outdoor activities.

Are China made electric buses for BEST acceptable to Shiv Sena now?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Just a couple of months after Shivsena’s Punjab unit chief called for a ban on Chinese products in the country, Aditya Thackeray, Chief of Yuva Sena will preside over handing event of pure-electric buses to BEST on Friday afternoon which happens to have been made by a Chinese company.Interestingly, the bus manufactured by Hyderabad-based Goldstone group is being made in association with China’s BYD Auto Industry Company Ltd which is the largest maker of pure-electric vehicles in the world. The company walked away with two contracts recently outbidding major Indian players including Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors. Goldstone will be supplying 25 fully built electric buses to Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) and 6 buses to Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking (BEST) in Maharashtra’s state capital Mumbai. The electric buses or EV which it is casually called is fast gaining traction as a mode of public transport in the major metropolis of the world as it not only controls air pollution but is also silent on ears.According to political observers, it is very common for the political parties to raise demand for ban whenever it suits them and then revoke it at other times. The demand for the ban on Chinese products erupts every time whenever the tension between the two neighbours rises.Talking to reporters in the first week of August during the Doklam border issue, Sena’s Punjab state vice president Inderjit Karwal had urged the central government to ban the sale of Chinese products in the Indian markets. He claimed that the public was already “wary of buying” China-made products and the central government should initiate measures to ban them to hit China’s economy. “On one hand, China is provoking Pakistan to foment trouble in India, while on the other hand, it was vetoing in the UN in the matter of declaring Masood Azhar a global terrorist” Karwal was reported as saying.

Rs 2,000 note boosts currency garland biz

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the country debates demonetisation a year on, the city’s currency garland business is happily on track.If shopkeepers at the city’s oldest market, Lokhand Bazaar in Manek Chowk, are to be believed, the new currency offers scope for better choice, thanks to the Rs 2,000 note!Interestingly, most of the shopkeepers though happy to talk about the business, did not want to discuss ‘demonetisation’ and sought to remain anonymous.Sandeep Patwa, a shopkeeper in the business of decorative garlands, said wedding costs will continue to go up and so will the demand for currency note garlands, “People will spend on weddings and it will be more ostentatious than that of the previous generation.”He said the smaller the currency note, the more is the labour cost. “In fact the cost of the currency note is directly proportional to the number of weddings happening. The more the weddings, the less the cost of a currency note,” said Patwa.Another shopkeeper in Madhupura market near Kalupur said often the customers are from Rajasthan, UP and Punjab. “Gujaratis don’t get such garlands much. They pay us the value of the garland plus making charge,” he said.”Rs 100 is the most commonly demanded but if the garland provides scope for accommodating other currencies, they will demand that too,” he added. “We need new notes for such garlands otherwise they will not hold together. We usually staple them.””We even make garlands of Rs 10. If someone is poor, and makes a garland worth Rs 1000, the smaller denomination notes will give the impression that there was too much money on display,” said another shopkeeper.A wedding planner said the currency garlands were not the norm for Gujarati weddings.”I have seen that the new generation stays away from such displays of wealth but it is the old generation that wants to continue it mostly in the name of tradition. It is not a common phenomenon in Gujarati weddings at least,” said Mitesh Mehta of Wedding Yatra.

NTPC disaster to hit PM scheme

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The industrial disaster at Unit 6 of the National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) Unchahar Thermal Power Plant, which left more than 36 dead and over 100 injured, may lead to a major setback for the Prime Minister’s Saubhagya Scheme (Pradhanmatri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Bijli Yojana) in at least eight states, including Uttar Pradesh.The new 500 MW Unit 6 of NTPC’s Unchahar unit was energised in record time with the aim of providing electricity to about 2.5-crore households in Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Punjab under the Saubhagya Scheme.Meanwhile, even though it was yet to reach its installed generation capacity, the Union Power Ministry had already allocated the 500 MW among these eight states, reserving 75 MW to meet any emergency situation. As the home state, Uttar Pradesh got the biggest piece of the pie with 173 MW out of 500 MW allocated to it.Following the disaster though, a general manager at the NTPC, on condition of anonymity, told DNA that it will take more than a year to re-energize the unit. “The entire machinery at Unit 6, including the boiler, is damaged beyond repair. The job to re-energize Unit 6 is nothing less than setting up a new 500 MW unit,” he said.Further, he admitted that Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and the PM’s ambitious Saubhagya Scheme under electrification program may suffer a setback in the eight states that were allocated power from the Unit 6 of Unchahar Thermal Power Plant. Moreover, it will increase the demand and supply gap in all these states.Uttar Pradesh will be the worst-affected. In August, the state government closed eight old and redundant units in different power stations and to make matters worse, chief minister Yogi Adityanath had set a target to electrify all villages in the states by 2018.Though Union Power Minister RK Singh has already assured Adityanath that more power will be made available to the state to achieve its target, sources claimed that the state power department is yet to come out with a blue-print to balance the demand-supply gap to keep the CM’s promises.Other beneficiariesRajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir were the other biggest beneficiaries with 74 MW and 55 MW respectively, followed by Haryana with 37 MW, Uttarakhand with 30 MW, Delhi with 27 MW, Himachal Pradesh with 22 MW and Punjab with 4 MW.

Delhi reintroduces car rationing to curb pollution

Pollution levels are 30 times the World Health Organization limit in some areas of India’s capital.

‘Delhi is choking sir’: Kejriwal asks for meeting to find solution, Punjab CM says not a matter for inter-state discussion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday sought a meeting with his counterparts in Punjab and Haryana to discuss ways to tackle the alarming air pollution levels in Delhi.Kejriwal said the governments in the neighbouring states had failed to provide farmers with viable alternatives to stubble burning, a process that leads to air pollution in Delhi.However, replying to Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that he shares the concern over stubble burning and pollution but it is not a matter for inter-state discussion.”Share your concern over stubble burning and pollution, Centre alone can solve the problem given its national implications. Situation is serious but Punjab helpless as problem is widespread & state has no money to compensate farmers for stubble management,” Amarinder Singh replied to Kejriwal in a series of Tweet. ALSO READ Delhi air can kill many, warns top AIIMS doctor The Delhi Chief Minister said that he agrees that Centre should take a lead but requested Punjab Chief Minister to grant him time to discuss. “If together we can present a plan to centre… Delhi is choking sir,” he said.Stating that it would be best if they met, Kejriwal added, “Could u kindly share estimated funds required? Both of us together can urge center. It will help people of both states.”However, Amarinder Singh said that it is not a matter for inter-state discussion and that won’t help. “It requires central govt intervention, at the earliest,” he added. ALSO READ Delhi govt vs Centre: Aid and advice of CM are not ‘words in vacuum’, says Supreme Court Meanwhile, in view of increasing air pollution, Delhi is gearing up for yet another round of odd-even rule, as Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Wednesday directed the Transport Department to start preparing for the same.Baijal also directed Municipal Corporations, DDA and SDMs to strictly enforce a prohibition on open burning.In addition, Delhi Metro parking rates will be increased four times the prevalence rates from tomorrow onwards, in a bid to discourage use of private vehicles.The Delhi government has already announced that all schools in the national capital will remain closed till Sunday because of the toxic air.It also issued a health advisory for high-risk people, including children, the elderly, pregnant women and those suffering from asthma and heart ailments, asking them to avoid, among other things, early morning and evening walks.The Indian Medical Association said the capital was witnessing a “public health emergency” and appealed to the government to stop outdoor sports and other such activities in schools to protect the health of children. ALSO READ Delhi air pollution: All you need to know

Indian convict in Oz hit-and-run case will face extradition: Delhi High Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition which challenged the extradition awarded to a man who had killed a student and injured another in an inebriated state in 2008 in Australia.Justice Ashutosh Kumar said there is “no good reason” to interfere in the case when an inquiry against the man was already afoot.The proceedings to extradite Puneet was initiated by the Indian government in 2010 on the request placed by Australia after he had fled the country in 2009 on a friend’s passport after committing the crime and being held guilty for rash driving.The accused had challenged the extradition proceedings before a magisterial court, stating there was no extradition treaty between India and Australia, when the latter had made the request to extradite him.Dismissing the plea, the court said there was a 1971 notification which made the provisions of the Extradition Act of 1962 applicable to the Commonwealth of Australia and therefore, there was an extradition arrangement with that nation since then.The court also said that the arrangement was replaced by the extradition treaty entered between the two countries in 2011.Puneet was charged by the Victoria Police for causing the death of 19-year-old Dean Hofstee and seriously injuring 20-year-old Clancy Coker in a road accident that happened in 2008. The victims were students from Queensland.Police had said that the alcohol levels in his blood showed he was inebriated at the time of the accident. Under Australian law the offence committed by him entails a punishment of upto 20 years imprisonment.Puneet, who had gone to Australia to study hospitality, was arrested on November 29, 2013 from Punjab after a four-year long manhunt.

Delhi smog: Arvind Kejriwal seeks time for meeting, but Amarinder Singh says Punjab is ‘helpless’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as Delhi’s smog situation continues for the second day, Cheif Minister Arvind Kejriwal is reaching ouit to the national capital’s neighbours to find a solution for the problem.In a series of tweets, Kejriwal sought time with neighbouring Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to discuss the issue.However, Singh clearly said that “it is not a matter for inter-state discussion, that won’t help.”Seeking Centre’s intervention, both the Chief Ministers said that the Narendra Modi government must take a lead.The discussion on Twitter seemed to show that there is not much of consensus as to what the state governments must do on their own to tackle the issue.The air quality in Delhi is not just a localised phenomenon. According to the forecast of the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences’ System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research, the “sudden” intrusion of pollutant-laden smoke from neighbouring Punjab and Haryana from the night of November 6 led to the spike as the high quantity of moisture in the city’s air trapped the particulates.The stubble-burning has been a contentious issue among the states. “Every year, Punjab rice farms collectively burn about 7 to 8 million metric tons of leftover plant debris in October and November,” a NASA report said recently.In Delhi, while Kejriwal and his ministers are maintaining that the situation is being monitored and a requisite steps would be taken on time, the ground reality is the the people of Delhi-NCR are suffering.The air quality index of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) showed a score of 487 on a scale of 500, indicating ‘severe’ levels of pollution. The level can affect even healthy people and “seriously impact” those with existing diseases.

Dense smog continues to engulf Delhi; all schools to remain closed till Sunday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dense smog continued to engulf the national capital for the second day on Wednesday, leaving people gasping for breath.As a choking blanket of smog enveloped the national capital, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia declared closure of all schools till Sunday.”Air quality in Delhi is worsening, have directed all schools to remain closed till Sunday,” Sisodia said in a tweet. The Indian Medical Association had appealed to the government to stop outdoor sports and other such activities in schools to protect the health of children.On Tuesday, among a series of sweeping measures, parking fees were hiked four-fold.Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has sought a meeting with his counterparts in Punjab and Haryana to discuss measures to bring down the alarming pollution levels.”Am writing letters to CMs of Punjab and Haryana requesting them for a meeting to find solution to crop burning,” Kejriwal tweeted.The Delhi government had also issued a health advisory for high risk people, including children, the elderly, pregnant women and those suffering from asthma and heart ailments.The EPCA has directed the municipal bodies in the region to immediately enhance parking fees by four times and instructed the Delhi Metro to lower fares during off-peak hours for at least 10 days, introduce more coaches and ensure frequent services. (With agency inputs)

Pollution: Arvind Kejriwal seeks meeting with CMs of Haryana and Punjab

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today sought a meeting with his counterparts in Punjab and Haryana to discuss measures to bring down the alarming pollution levels.Delhi’s air quality was at the season’s worst yesterday as a combined effect of smoke from stubble burning and moisture turned the city into a “gas chamber” leaving people gasping and prompting authorities to announce closure of primary schools and a four-fold hike in parking fees among a series of sweeping measures.Even today the city was enveloped with a thick blanket of haze which hung low over the city leading to a drop in visibility.”Am writing letters to CMs of Punjab and Haryana requesting them for a meeting to find solns to crop burning,” Kejriwal tweeted.The Indian Medical Association said the capital was witnessing a “public health emergency” and has appealed to the government to stop outdoor sports and other such activities in schools to protect the health of children.The Delhi government also issued a health advisory for high risk people, including children, the elderly, pregnant women and those suffering from asthma and heart ailments.The National Green Tribunal took the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana to task, seeking to know why steps to prevent steps were not taken despite knowing well in advance that such a situation was likely to arise.

Delhi pollution: With these options and government aid, stubble burning could be thing of the past

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after pollution levels in the national capital skyrocketed to alarmingly high levels, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has directed the Delhi government to impose all conditions under the severe category of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).In a press release that was shared by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the EPCA said that the GRAP is an emergency plan, which cannot be a long-term substitute to curb the city’s air pollution.The smog in the city has been caused by several conditions. These include the pollutants that come from Punjab that is the result of stubble burning, and the others from eastern Uttar Pradesh that come through moisture in the air. The pollutants collide at higher altitudes and this, minus ground wind level, has resulted in the smog-like situation in the national capital.
ALSO READ Punjab, Haryana pay dearly for farm firesOn Tuesday, the Indian Medical Association declared a public health emergency and requested the state government to shut schools and advised people from venturing out.
ALSO READ Stubble not the only villain: Delhi High CourtGoing by the readings of SAFAR-India, the level of PM2.5 in Lodhi Road as on 2:53 pm was 569 units. It is followed by Mathura Road (550) and Delhi University (536). As per national standards, the permissible range for PM2.5 is 60. It is 25, according to the international standards.However, Avinash Kubal, the director of Maharashtra Nature Park in Mumbai, says that it isn’t a Delhi problem alone. “The pollution levels in several north Indian cities rise during this period due to these factors. Most of these cities have dry climate and the humidity – one of the major reasons behind the smog – is due to the irrigation canal network in our country. This clubbed with stubble burning adds to the pollution levels,” he said.THE BHATINDA MODELWhile most farmers in Punjab and Haryana have been actively involved in stubble burning, a Financial Express report said that the Bhatinda district administration has been using MGNREGA to drive construction of compost pits in farm land and encourage farmers to use the crop stubble as raw material for composting.But why do farmers burn crop? Kubal explains that the stubble has high phosphorus levels, and while farmers are not aware of this, phosphorus in the soil ensures more flowering and as a result, more fruits. “Ideally, the government should not ban stubble burning but look at alternatives and subsidise the farmer,” Kubal adds.What are the alternatives? Like the Bhatinda model, composting is definitely one option. Other alternatives are using the stubble – an organic material – as one of the raw ingredients in paper manufacture. “One can even chaff the stubble i.e. cut it into smaller pieces and mix it with cattle feed to feed bovines,” Kubal said, adding that burning has impacted the community through increased medical bills and cancelled flights. “However, imposing a blanket ban on stubble burning isn’t the answer,” he maintained.In his book ‘Socioeconomic and Environment Implications of Agricultural Residue Burning’, Parmod Kumar of the Institute for Social and Economic Change says continuous burning is not a sustainable agricultural practice.The book suggests several alternatives including using rice residue as fodder for animals, use of crop residue in bio thermal power plants, use of rice residue as bedding material for cattle, use of crop residue for mushroom cultivation, use of rice residue in paper production, use of rice residue for making bio gas, incorporation of paddy straw in soil, production of bio-oil from straw and other agricultural wastes, and agricultural residues for power generation.And while writing this piece, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that he was writing to the governments of Punjab and Haryana to find alternatives to stubble burning.SMOG ATTACK 2.0As the memories of 2016’s pollution crisis — worst in two decades — were revived on Tuesday, there is no relief anytime soon. Delhi and adjoining areas are expected to witness a moderate to dense smog cover on Wednesday and Thursday as well. According to a forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the condition is expected to remain “severe” for the next two days.The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution and Control Authority (EPCA) directed Delhi and NCR states to implement emergency measures to tackle the crisis.These include a fourfold increase in parking fee with immediate effect to discourage car use, scaling up of public transport to cut private vehicle emissions, lowering of Metro fare for off-peak rides to decongest roads, a Rs 50,000 fine per day per site on construction agencies for dust spread. Road-rationing scheme Odd-Even may also return if the situation further worsens.

Ryan student murder case: Class XI boy arrested, to be produced before Juvenile Justice Board

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a fresh twist in a Pradyuman murder case, a Class XI student of the Gurgaon’s Ryan International School has been arrested by police.A class 2 student, Pradhuman Thakur, was found dead in a school toilet with his throat slit on September 8, following which the schoolbus conductor was arrested.The student will be produced before Juvenile Justice Board in afternoon, which will take a call whether to treat him as a major or minor under amended JJ Act (2016).The teenager reportedly had been seen carrying a knife in school.The post-mortem report of Pradyuman had cited “shock and hemorrhage” as the cause of death.The CBI has taken over the probe after receiving a notification from the Centre. The case had been registered at the Bhondsi police station in Gurugram under the IPC section related to murder, and relevant sections of the Arms Act, the POCSO Act and the Juvenile Justice Act.The Punjab and Haryana High court has granted bail to Ryan school founders in the case till December 5, with conditions.The High Court, however, has imposed stringent conditions along with the bail.

EPCA tells states to impose fines, hike parking fees

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Tuesday, Delhi’s skies resembled a vast plume of dust as smoke emitted from farm fires across Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, and moisture-laden winds enveloped the city in a thick layer of smog. The air quality of the Capital breached the ‘severe’ category, making it hazardous and unhealthy for even those without any respiratory ailments.The situation saw the Supreme Court-empowered Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) go into a huddle. The members have now directed Delhi and other NCR states to immediately roll out measures from the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). Apart from Delhi, authorities across Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan were also issued these directions.Chief among the directions were an increase in public transport services, including Delhi Metro, addition of more coaches in Metro, and a reduction in fares during off-peak hours, as long as the air quality was in the ‘severe’ category.To control the rampant dust pollution, the EPCA has directed all state pollution control boards to immediately impose fines on all road construction agencies found wanting in dust control. While discussing the quantum of fines, officials from CPCB and EPCA chief Bhure Lal said that using provisions of the Construction and Demolition Rules, a penalty of up to Rs 5 lakh can be imposed.”The EPCA is directing for a fine of Rs,50,000 to be imposed as penalty, per day, for inadequate road dust control,” EPCA member Sunita Narain said during the meeting.Meteorological conditions played a significant role in worsening Delhi-NCR air-quality, Central Pollution Control Board Member Secretary A.Sudhakar informed EPCA on Tuesday.”It is in the severe category primarily due to weather conditions. The Western Disturbance-influenced winds are bringing pollutants from Punjab and winds from eastern side are bringing in moisture,” A Sudhakar said.

Punjab, Haryana pay dearly for farm fires

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the Capital reels under high levels of air pollution, the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana, which are struggling with stubble burning, also remained enveloped in a thick blanket of smog for the third consecutive day.With as many as 30,000 incidents of stubble burning reported through satellite mapping across the state till now, Punjab is suffering from deteriorating levels of air quality, with a mean Air Quality Index (AQI) at 284. Ludhiana also recorded very poor air quality, with AQ Index at 313, compelling the administration to issue an advisory to people.The Punjab Pollution Control Board stated that the situation was aggravated due to static weather conditions.”Stubble burning is not the only reason as there has been a sudden dip in temperature and the wind speed is less. There has been a 30 per cent decline in stubble burning this year, along with lesser burning of firecrackers,” said Kahan Singh Pannu, Chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board.With paddy harvesting still on across the two states, advisories urging people to avoid unnecessary exposure to the toxic air.RECORDSHaryana has recorded as many as 5,011 cases of stubble burning, with Karnal leading with 310 incients, followed by Kurukshetra which recorded 184 such incidents.
As many as 22 FIRs have been registered against farmers and a fine of Rs 12.02 lakh has been collected, so far

Delhi becoming a gas chamber; need an alternative to crop burning: Arvind Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday responded to the spike in pollution levels in the city, saying that there needed to be a solution to crop burning in adjoining states.”Delhi has become a gas chamber. Every year, this happens during this time. We have to find a solution to crop burning in adjoining states,” Kejriwal tweeted.The Delhi Chief Minister also shared letters the Aam Aadmi Party government had written to the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to curb burning of agricultural residue to control air pollution in the National Capital region.Kejriwal also said that he would ask Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who also serves as Delhi Education Minister, to ask schools to remain shut until the air quality improves.Earlier, the pollution level in the national capital remained critical on Tuesday morning. Due to smog-like condition on Tuesday the visibility early in the morning remained low, causing problems in movement of traffic.According to reports, the visibility dropped to 200 metres at 8:30 am.The average air quality index (AQI) also hit 396 (very poor) at 8am, which further peaked by 9.30am to 403 indicating severe pollution level. AQI in East Delhi’s Dilshad Garden was 420, whereas it was 319 in Anand Vihar.The pollution was recorded highest in Punjabi Bagh with AQI 999 and 852 in R.K. Puram. The air quality in Dwarka and NCR also hovered between 400-420.AQI level from 0-50 is considered “good”, 51-100 is “satisfactory” 101-200 is “moderate”, 201-300 is “poor”, 301-400 is “very poor”, and 401 and above is “severe”.Meanwhile, more than 20 flights are delayed due to runway closure and smog at Indira Gandhi International Airport.Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Tuesday declared public health emergency in Delhi, due to high pollution level. The IMA has suggested closing down of schools and urged people not to venture out.In view of the alarming levels of air pollution in Delhi, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Monday wrote to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia requesting to cancel the upcoming Airtel Delhi Half Marathon scheduled for November 19.In light of the sudden dip, measures under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) such as a four times hike in parking fees may be rolled out by the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority, reports PTI.If the situation deteriorates further and persists for at least 48 hours, the task force under the GRAP will mull shutting schools and enforce the odd-even car rationing scheme.The last time air had turned ‘severe’ was on October 20, a day after Diwali festivities, when firecrackers were set off.Since then, the pollution monitors have been recording ‘very poor’ air quality, which is comparatively better than ‘severe’ but alarming according to global standards.A ‘very poor’ AQI comes with the warning that people may develop respiratory illness on prolonged exposure while exposure to ‘severe’ air affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing respiratory or cardiovascular diseases.The CPCB has said high moisture level in the air has trapped emission from local sources and hanging low over the city in the absence of wind.”Total calm conditions, marked by the complete absence of wind has led to the situation. The moisture has trapped emissions from ground level sources,” Dipankar Saha, CPCB’s air lab chief, said.According to private weather forecasting agency Skymet, wind from neighbouring Punjab and Haryana, where paddy stubble burning is in full swing, has started entering the city during the afternoon hours.The CPCB also recorded ‘severe’ air quality in the neighbouring Noida and Ghaziabad.The real-time pollution monitors displayed the alarmingly high concentration of PM2.5 and PM10, which are ultrafine particulates having the ability to enter the respiratory system and subsequently the bloodstream of humans and animals, causing harm.The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday directed the state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi-NCR to send in a report on the preventive steps they have taken to curb the worsening air quality in the national capital.An NGT bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, the chairperson of the tribunal, pulled the state governments for their poor preparedness in tackling the situation. “The ambient air quality is so bad that the children are not able to breathe properly. Why did you not spray water using helicopters as per our directions,” Justice Swatanter Kumar asked.

Sensing tweak in GST rates, Cong attacks Modi govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aiming to preempt possible announcement of big relief measures during GST Council’s meeting in Guwahati on November 10, the Congress on Monday launched an offensive against the Modi government.We will ask the government to give relief to the manufacturing sector, especially textiles besides seeking reduction in tax slabs in various sectors like construction, hospitality etc. said the Finance Ministers of Congress ruled states.Congress is expecting that Modi government would use the GST Council route to announce sops for certain sectors that can have bearing on poll bound Gujarat. The BJP is having a tough time in Gujarat on account of GST that arguably has bogged down manufacturing and trading.Coming together in New Delhi, the Finance Ministers slammed the tardy and flawed roll out of the GST claiming that it has been a lost opportunity in terms of job creation and bad implementation has caused severe suffering to the small scale and medium industries.The ruling BJP was arrogant before the launch of GST but had recently mellowed down when it had to face a ground swell of opposition and tough election in Gujarat, they said.”There was arrogance when the GST council started discussing the tax rates but things have changed now. The government is more receptive to our suggestions,” Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal said.”There is no political expediency, we just want the betterment of the system and are willing to help the government. The situation would not have been this bad had the government listened to our suggestions that we raised time and again in various GST council meetings and implemented them,” he said.Besides Badal, the Congress lined up two other state ministers, Krishna Gowda from Karnataka and Kamalakaran of Puducherry to put the blame on Modi government on tardy and flawed GST implementation ahead of the GST Council meeting at Guwahati.Gowda said lately he noticed a change in the government’s attitude.”Earlier we were told not a line would be changed but now they are listening to us and they have made some changes in the tax rates recently. It is good that state polls are here,” said Gowda.”We are not here merely to pick holes in GST but we also want resolution of the issues that we are raising,” he said.The Congress, however, said it will not give the government a blank cheque over the radical tax reform.”The faulty implementation has pushed the country towards a blind alley. GST was done in hurry without preparedness. As a result trade has been disrupted and jobs have been lost,” said Badal.Describing upper slab of 28 percent GST as the highest in the world, Badal said traders were bogged down by as many as 1032 returns they needed to file in a year. Further, there are around 3.5 crore invoices on the GST Network that can’t be matched.”We will take up these issues strongly in the council as there is a sense of urgency,” said Badal.”The government claimed that GST would boost the GDP by 2 percent but in five months what we see is a reverse,” Gowda said adding, “if the government claimed sole ownership of GST at its midnight launch, it should share the blame as well.”The Congress state ministers pointed out that a declining tax collection over the past three months from Rs 56 lakh to Rs 40 lakh per month besides Rs 8000 cr as compensation to states showed the GST was suffering from several operational bottlenecks.‘TRADERS HIT’Describing upper slab of 28% GST as the highest in the world, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal said traders were bogged down by as many as 1,032 returns they needed to file in a year.

SC stays Punjab HC order on bail for rape accused

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over six weeks after the Punjab and Haryana High Court granted bail to three alleged rapists and blackmailers after observing that it would be a “travesty if these young minds are confined to jail for an inordinate long period, which would deprive them of their education” and also patronising and shaming the victim, the Supreme Court on Monday stayed the order of the High Court. The top court also issued a notice on the rape survivor’s petition challenging the order.The HC order, passed by the bench of Justices Mahesh Grover and Raj Shekhar Attri, had attracted a fair amount of criticism for the reasoning given by the court while granting relief to the three accused, who were students of the Jindal Global Law School, the same University where the victim studied. The trio had blackmailed and gangraped the victim for about two years.In its order, the HC had said the bail was intended to “balance concerns of the victim, demands of society and law and the element of reformatory and rehabilitative justice”. It had suspended their sentence on the condition they would not leave the country, abstain from contacting the victim and also undergo psychiatric counselling “until they are free of voyeuristic tendencies”.

Cash has its own cost, India moving towards digital transactions: Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of the first anniversary of demonetisation, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today that excessive cash in the economy has “its own cost” and India is gradually moving towards digital transactions.Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 8 last year the scrapping of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes as part of the government’s efforts to fight black money and corruption.Following that, the Centre has been pushing for digital payments and transactions through the banking channel so as to promote a ‘less-cash’ economy.Jaitley said some people have problem in accepting the fact that transactions through the digital mode and banking instruments are going to witness a rapid growth as compared to cash dealings.At the inauguration of the new building of Punjab National Bank (PNB) head office here, Jaitley said: “Excessive dependence on cash has its own cost.”It is not just cost but there is a curse of cash. It has impact on both society and economy.”He said there is a clear change taking place as to how India and Indians are spending money and the change is only in one direction.It will not happen abruptly but the movement towards a less-cash economy is very clear, he said, adding that it will lead to more deposits with banks, increasing their lending ability at affordable rates.Banking is the life line of the economy and it will gain further importance in the coming days, he said.A healthy banking system will help support growth of the economy, he added.Jaitley also launched two products of the PNB — Rupay Credit Card and e-Rupaya.Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla asked banks to focus on rural India and work towards improving customer experience.He also said that managements of banks should focus on welfare of their employees.

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