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Centre working on data protection law, better connectivity

In the wake of continuous cyber threats, the government is working on a law for data protection, Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad informed Rajya Sabha on Friday.He stressed on the need for cyber security and clarified that there was no proposal to make internet availability a fundamental right. However, he said that the government is committed to providing easy access of internet to all.Responding to queries, he said a committee headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice BN Srikrishna has been set up in this regard.”We are in the process of framing a data protection law. The paper has been circulated and field hearing is going on and very soon, we will come up with a data protection law,” he said.”We are alive to cyber security and our Prime Minister has said publicly that cyber war is a bloodless law,” he added.The minister said the government is working towards 100 per cent internet connectivity and encouraging competition in the sector to ensure better services.He said that in 2011, there was a plan to connect every village in the country to internet and optical cable fibre laying, but it did not go anywhere. However, since NDA government came to power, 2.53 lakh kms of optical cable fibre has been laid.

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Triple Talaq Bill to be tabled in Parliament today

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017, which seeks to criminalise the practice of triple talaq, is expected to be tabled in the Parliament by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday.The draft Bill says, “any pronouncement of talaq by a person upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever, shall be void and illegal”.There is also a provision of imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years and fine for violators. The draft Bill also envisages entitling divorcee Muslim women for maintenance.Also readDidn’t consult Muslim bodies before drafting triple talaq bill: PP ChaudharyIt also has a provision for the divorcee Muslim women to have the custody of their minor children. The offences under the purview of this bill will be cognizable and non-bailable.The Bill shall extend to the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir.Also readUttar Pradesh: Man gives Triple Talaq to wife for waking up late Meanwhile, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), which is against the tabling of the Bill, requested the Central Government to withdraw and withhold the triple talaq bill.”The AIMPLB urges the Central Government to not table the Bill in the Parliament,” said AIMPLB’s Sajjad Nomani after attending an emergency meeting organised by the Board in Lucknow.Also readGrowing cases of triple talaq questions Muslim Board opposition to BillThe AIMPLB spokesperson further accused the Centre of not following the laid procedure in drafting the Bill.”No procedure was followed in drafting this bill; neither was any stakeholder consulted,” said Nomani.AIMPLB even claimed that the Bill was against women and children, and if implemented, it would destroy many families.Earlier in August, in a historic judgment the Supreme Court had ruled that the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims is “void”, “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.

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

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

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Uttar Pradesh: Man gives Triple Talaq to wife for waking up late

While triple talaq bill is scheduled to be tabled in the Parliament on Thursday, a woman in Uttar Pradesh today woke up to find her husband uttering the three dreaded words.Gul Afshan, a resident of Azimnagar in Rampur district, said that her husband Qasim thrashed her and divorced her by uttering talaq thrice because she woke up late in the morning. The wife alleged that later, Qasim escaped from the house after locking her up inside. The police had to break in. Narrating her six-month-old abusive marriage, she said that he used to beat her from the very beginning.The police said that they can’t do anything as the woman has not filed a complaint against her husband as of now. “The woman has not filed an FIR as yet. We will take action against him once the complaint is lodged,” said Sanjay Yadav, Azimanagar SHO. The incident comes to light just ahead of the introduction of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill.Also readMuslim Women Bill that criminilises triple talaq to be introduced in ParliamentThe bill, which seeks to criminalise the practice of triple talaq, will be tabled in the Lok Sabha by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday. While the Supreme Court and Centre have called for the scrapping of the triple talaq, terming it “illegal and unconstitutional”, some Muslim women are still facing the brunt of this age-old practice. Earlier, the Supreme Court declared the practice of instant divorce as void and unconstitutional and termed it as arbitrary and violative of the right to equality of Muslim women.

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Cabinet approves bill making instant triple talaq criminal act

The Union Cabinet on Friday approved the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, outlawing instant triple talaq by making it a cognisable and non-bailable offence, which will now attract a jail term of three years.The Bill was prepared by an inter-ministerial committee comprising of chairperson home minister Rajnath Singh, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, finance minister Arun Jaitley, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and minister of state in the law ministry PP Chaudhary.The Supreme Court had in August, declared the practice of instant triple talaq as unconstitutional. In a five member-bench, while three judges termed the practice illegal and unconstitutional, two judges wanted to ban the practice for a period of six months till the time the government came up with a new legislation.AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi said that the government should explain how the law proposes to enforce imprisonment and provide maintenance at the same time. In a letter of protest, Owaisi said, “It is regrettable that a constitutional value as important as gender justice is being used to merely further cynical political goals.”

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Cabinet approves landmark bill to set up National Medical Commission to replace Medical Council of India

On Friday, the Cabinet approved a landmark bill – the National Medical Commission, Bill 2017 – which will replace the Medical Council 1956 Act. Earlier, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said cabinet approved a bill to set up the National Medical Commission. The bill will seek to replace the Medical Council of India and will seek reforms in the field of medical education, move towards outcome-based regulation of medical education, create accountable and transparent procedures for maintaining standards in medical education and create a forward-looking approach towards ensuring sufficient health workforce in India.Sources told DNA that provisions in the ball will end heavy regulatory control over medical education institutions and help facilitate a shift towards outcome-based monitoring. It’s also expected to introduce a national degree examination, the first time such a provision with be added in higher education, similar to NEET and common counselling for undergrads.The bill also seeks to regulate up undergrad and postgrad seats which will ensure that at least 40% seats are reserved for meritorious students irrespective of their financial status.The draft bill provides for the constitution of four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate education, assessment and accreditation of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the National Medical Commission, a senior government functionary said.According to the draft bill, the commission will have government nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the Cabinet Secretary.There will five elected and 12 ex-officio members in the commission.The draft bill also proposes a common entrance exam and licentiate exam which all medical graduates will have to clear to get practicing licences, the official said.As per the provisions of the draft bill, no permission would be needed to add new seats or to start postgraduate courses.The deterrence for non-compliance with maintenance of standards is in terms of monetary penalty.The draft bill is aimed at bringing reforms in the medical education sector which has been under scrutiny for corruption and unethical practices, the official said. With inputs from PTI

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PM Modi, Kapil Sibal take digs at each other over Ayodhya case

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi trained guns on the Congress after party leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal sought deferment of the hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi case till after the 2019 general elections while pleading in the court, the lawyer hit back, asking the PM to check his facts.Earlier an alleged official of the Sunni Waqf Board — a petitioner in the case — had distanced itself from the stand taken by the senior lawyer. But other litigants — All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Babri Masjid Action Committee, and Ayodhya resident late Hashim Ansari’s son Iqbal Ansari — endorsed Sibal’s stand, saying that the plea of deferment was made after due consultations. Sibal blamed the PM and media for wrongly stating him as the counsel of the Sunni Waqf Board, as he was representing late Hashim Ansari — the first litigant in the case.Sibal sought to duck the attack mounted by Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, and other BJP leaders after one Haji Mehboob — claiming to be a member of the Sunni Waqf Board — said Sibal was never authorised to seek deferment of the hearing in SC.Late on Wednesday evening, even the Sunni Waqf Board’s advocate Shakil Ahmed said Mehboob was neither a member of the Sunni Waqf Board nor does he represent the Board in any capacity.PM was quick to congratulate Mehboob and the Waqf Board for exposing the Congress design through Sibal even before the Board sought to clarify that Mehboob had no locus standi in the organisation.Haji exposedHaji Mehboob — claiming to be a member of Sunni Waqf Board — said Sibal was not authorised to seek deferment of hearing. The Board later clarified that Mehboob was not associated with it.
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Trai net neutrality recommendations today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the net neutrality issue in the US gains momentum with telecom regulator Federal Communications Commission (FCC) taking back the 2015 net neutrality rules, Indian telecom regulator TRAI said that it will issue recommendations on the matter on Tuesday.Speaking at an open house to discuss in-flight connectivity, TRAI chairman RS Sharma said, “We will issue recommendations on net neutrality tomorrow.” Sharma was however, quick to add that the developments in the US will not affect India.The net neutrality recommendations will try to resolve issues surrounding the over-the-top (OTT) players and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calls, said Sharma. OTT services such as WhatsApp, Skype and Viber, etc., have been under attack from telecom operators who want them to come under the ambit of regularisation as they have eaten into their profits. Internet service providers have, however, opposed this demand.As per the principle of net neutrality, no platform should offer discriminatory services. This means that any service, which is found on a particular platform for a certain price, should not be available for free in another.India has been in the midst of the net neutrality debate in 2015, with protests from pro-neutrality supporters ensuring that discriminatory services such as Facebook’s Internet.org, Free Basics and Airtel Zero were not allowed to continue in India. Campaigners from across the country collected millions of signatures to pledge their support for net neutrality. IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had, at that point of time, pledged his support for a non-discriminatory internet.Last week, while speaking at the Global Conference on Cybersecurity, Prasad reiterated his view. He said that the right to access to the internet was “non-negotiable”, and that no single body will have any monopoly over internet services.Pro equalityIndia has been in the midst of this debate with protests from pro-neutrality supporters ensuring that discriminatory services were not allowed to continue in the country

Bar and bench need to work together to bring down number of pending cases: CJI Misra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra today said pending cases cannot be a “roaring tiger” before the judiciary and held that the backlog problem will be tackled if the bar and the bench worked together.The CJI asked the bar body and the lawyers to assure him that they would not seek unnecessary adjournments in cases, stressing that it was a way to resolve the backlog problem. “Let us promise each other that we shall collectively march ahead to reduce pendency. Pendency cannot be a roaring tiger before us. We will be able to tackle it if we work together,” the CJI said while speaking at a function here organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association to celebrate Constitution Day.The people, he said, must pledge to defend the dream and vision of the Constitution. “We cannot permit … anyone and I mean anyone who harbours the notion of denigrating the dignity of the institution at his whims and fancy,” he said. Speaking on the issue of pending cases, he said rotational benches of the high courts across the country were functioning on Saturdays and were taking up criminal appeals which were around 10 years old. “I must tell you in last one and a half months, all the high courts combined have disposed of around 1100 appeals and the credit goes to the judges and the members of the bar. In the Supreme Court in last two months, we have brought down pendecy by more than 3,200 cases,” he said.
ALSO READ Over 4,000 cases still pending in each subordinate court: SC weighs in on overworked lower courtsHe said that advocates on record (AoRs) of the apex court should get the privilege to mention a matter for urgent hearing and stressed that the lawyers should come prepared even if they seek early hearing. “I have told my colleagues (judges) to come prepared even if the case is listed for early hearing. If the case can be disposed of, we will sit and dispose it of,” he said. Addressing the gathering, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government had made 106 appointment in the higher judiciary this year.”In the subordinate judiciary, there are about 5,000 vacancies. The Centre has no role in it. Appointments are done by the high courts or public service commissions. We have written to the CJI,” he said. Prasad also said fresh talents should join the subordinate judiciary. “It is time to induce new blood, new talent in the subordinate judiciary,” he said, adding, “We need to collectively work together”.Attorney General KK Venugopal lamented the delay in justice delivery and said certain cases may take eight years to pass the trial court and the same in high courts and the apex court. “A total of 24 years. Only rich persons can file a case,” he said, adding that there was a need for increasing the number of judges. “We have only 18 judges for a million people. This is the root cause of delay in justice. The total number of judges needs to be increased,” he said. Since the government was party to 70 per cent cases, its early disposal would also benefit the government, he said.

Right to Net is not negotiable: Ravi Shankar Prasad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian government will ensure that every citizen has a right to access the Internet but is also determined to keep radical elements and terrorists from abusing social media platforms to perpetuate hate and terror, Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Thursday.”Without going into the larger nuisance of net neutrality, in India, we have taken a new position that the right of access is important and is not negotiable,” he said at the Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS) here attended by delegates from 131 countries.Prasad said that the government has turned down social networking giant Facebook’s Free Basics programme because it offered access to select Internet services.”When I was handling the communications department, my friend Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met me a number of times with the idea of Free Basics… Free Basics is that everything will be free if you enter through my (Facebook’s) gate… India is a democracy, we don’t believe in one gate,” he said.The minister said that the government will not allow any company to restrict citizens’ entry to the worldwide web. “We believe in multiple gates. Therefore, this gate locking for India will not be accepted and I did not allow it. This stems from our commitment that the Internet must be accessible to all.””Being a democratic country, India upholds privacy and is governed by the rule of law and constitution. But privacy cannot prohibit innovation,” he said.Prasad’s comments come amidst a debate over net neutrality in India. Telecom regulator TRAI is yet to announce its recommendations on this issue and a consultation process is still on. It has, however, banned Bharti Airtel’s Airtel Zero and Facebook’s Free Basics that would have offered free access to some sites available on their platforms.The minister said, “Most importantly, privacy cannot be the shield of the corrupt, terrorist and the extremists. Radical elements and terrorists are abusing social media platforms to perpetuate hate and terror but India is determined to address the misuse of cyber space and thwart them.”However, there is a need to strike a balance in data availability, data utility, data innovation, data anonymity and data privacy, he said.”Our view is — any digital initiative should bring digital inclusion, bridging the digital divide, and most importantly, it should be powered by tech which should be affordable, developmental and inclusive. That is where our (the government’s) responsibility also becomes very important. Abusing this platform for child pornography is again a serious issue,” he said.”What is the digital profile of India? 1.30 billion people, 1.21 billion mobile phones, 1.18 billion Aadhaar numbers — a digitally verifiable identity, completely safe and secure law.”He also talked about broadband project BharatNet and said, “We are laying down optical fibre in 2.5 lakh panchayats. One lakh has been covered. A big model of inclusion is common services centres.”India has been advocating for a multi-stake holder approach for Internet governance so that not only the governments but also other stake holders become an active participant in managing one of the greatest innovations of mankind, the minister said.

Cabinet okays salary hike for SC/HC judges

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Union Cabinet has approved revised salaries, gratuity, allowances and pension for the Judges — sitting and retired — of Supreme Court and High Courts, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday.Prasad said two bills — Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1958 and High Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1954 — which govern the salaries of Chief Justice of India (CJI), SC judges, Chief Justices, and all HC judges, would be introduced in the upcoming Parliament session – beginning December 15, to affect the pay hike.According to the proposal, CJI will now get Rs 2.80 lakh per month in addition to perks, whereas the top court judges and chief justices of high courts will get Rs 2.50 lakh per month. HC judges will now get Rs 2.25 lakh per month.Currently there are 25 judges in the top court and 682 judges in 24 HC courts across the country. Approximately 2500 retired Judges will also benefit on account of revision of pension/gratuity etc. Arrears on account of revised salaries, gratuity, pension and family pension w.e.f 01.01.2016 will be paid as one time lump sum payment.Once the hike is effected, the salary of judges will be at par with those of bureaucrats following the implementation of the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission.

Law Min, CJI push for better access to justice for undertrials

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad championed for Section 436-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to become a movement in a bid to increase access to justice for undertrial prisoners.Section 436A of the CrPC states that all undertrials must be released if they have served “one-half of the maximum period of imprisonment specified for that offence under that law”.Prasad was speaking on the occasion of Legal Service Day at Pravasi Bhavan where paralegal volunteers were felicitated for their hard work.”436A must become a movement. This is imminently doable,” he said. Undertrial prisoners are not getting the help they need. Some of them are not even aware of their rights, he added.Recalling an anecdote where a common man — tea estate worker Anwar ul-Haq — was awarded the Padmashree, Prasad said, “We must build an architecture where common men should be awarded for their good deeds.””Can we pick up a genuinely good paralegal volunteer and recommend him for a Padmashree?” he questioned.Touching upon the issue of pending cases in the judiciary and the inordinate delay for justice, Prasad said all cases that are more than 10-year old must be expedited. Nyaya Mitra Scheme will help facilitate all individuals involved in a case, he added.Espousing the cause for pro bono lawyering, Prasad said serious consideration would be given to those who genuinely worked on cases pro bono and made a difference in the justice delivery system.Echoing his sentence, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra added that paralegal volunteers cannot practice law, but are perceivers of law. “They are the first point of contact for those who require assistance, he said.The CJI further opined that these volunteers, who provide a service, must be adequately compensated. Volunteers not only need incentives, but also sustenance.Speaking before judges from High Courts across the country, the CJI also advised them to give precedence to appeals that are more than 10-year old and constitute special benches on Saturday to dispose them.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad defends Rajasthan bill to protect judges, officers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday defended a Rajasthan government bill to protect judges, magistrates, and public servants from being investigated without its prior sanction, saying the move seeks to stop motivated complaints and let honest officers work.”What I have gathered is that the idea is that there should not be any motivated complaint. Officers were feeling harassed in discharging their duties,” he told a press conference at the BJP headquarters. Prasad said he had returned from an overseas trip last night and had not studied the legislation in detail, and added that the state government had cited its reasons for introducing the bill.He referred to a study offered by the state’s BJP government, which said over 73% of such cases were false.Amid an uproar from the opposition Congress, Rajasthan Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria today tabled the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2017, which seeks to replace the September 7 ordinance, in the Assembly.The Rajasthan government promulgated the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, that seeks to protect serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in the state from being investigated for on- duty action, without its prior sanction.It also bars the media from reporting on such accusations till the sanction to proceed with the probe is given by the government. In the press conference in which he attacked the Congress over a host of issues involving the Gujarat Assembly polls, Prasad also defended the appointments of BJP workers and leaders by the government in various positions, saying there was no harm if they had credentials for the job.During the UPA government, everything was reserved for ‘damaad’, a reference to Congress Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, and workers were ignored, he alleged.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar resigns from post citing ‘personal reasons’

Updated: Oct 20, 2017, 02:22 PM IST, ANI

Ranjit Kumar was appointed as Solicitor General, the country’s second highest law officer, in June 2014 after the Modi government came to power. His second term as solicitor general was renewed recently. The office of Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad received his resignation letter on Friday. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar resigned from his post on Friday. Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed this to ANI.As per reports, Kumar resigned due to some personal reasons.Kumar’s resignation comes months after Mukul Rohatgi resigned from the post of Attorney General of India.Kumar was appointed as the Solicitor General of India in June 2014. He had replaced senior advocate Mohan Parasaran.Before taking over as Solicitor General, Kumar served as counsel for the Gujarat government as well as amicus curiae in several cases in the Supreme Court.

Chidambaram slams Election Commission for not announcing Gujarat poll schedule

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday criticised the Election Commission saying that by not announcing the Gujarat poll schedule, it has “authorised” Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the dates at his last rally, after all “freebies” for the state were doled out.The former finance and home minister also claimed the Election Commission will be “recalled” from its “extended holiday” after the Gujarat government has announced all “concessions and freebies”.”EC has authorised PM to announce date of Gujarat elections at his last rally (and kindly keep EC informed),” he tweeted.The EC had just said the polling in the western state would be held before December 18.The Congress had alleged that the government put “pressure” on the poll panel to “delay” the announcement of Gujarat assembly poll schedule to enable the prime minister to act as a “false santa claus” and offer sops, use “jumlas” (rhetoric) during his October 16 visit to his home state.The model code of conduct would have come into immediate effect in Gujarat had the poll schedule been announced along with Himachal Pradesh, the party had said.Hitting back at the Congress for targeting the EC, BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said allegations levelled against the constitutional body were without any basis.”It is absolutely absurd. It’s like questioning the prudence of the EC. The Congress is perhaps speaking out of its own experience where interference in the functioning of constitutional bodies used to be a thing in their rule. Such is not the case since 2014,” he had said.”Let me also add, this tells that they are jittery about BJP s prospects in the state,” Prasad had said.

Sinha’s been hitting ‘below the belt’: Ravi Shankar Prasad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union minister for IT and Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad held former finance minister Yashwant Sinha’s comment on Indian economy ‘a below the belt talk’. Prasad was addressing a press conference on Friday at Gujarat BJP’s headquarter Shri Kamalam near Gandhinagar.Prasad said, “With utter grief I have to say that what Sinha is saying is below the belt. I condemn his comments against economic policies of the government. Why is he doing this when the party has give him so much? Except for the designations like the president, PM and party’s national president, Sinha was appointed on all important posts. His comments are unfortunate.”On the other side, he also condemned the Congress for the adverse campaign against BJP’s developmental agenda. Speaking on the issue, Prasad said, “Congress has been making fun of BJP’s development but I would say that they do not have any other business besides making fun of others after the people in entire nation made fun on them during polls in different regions. We also know how to respond to them in their language but we do not want to stoop to that level and we are focused on developmental issues only.”Prasad said that people in the IT sector were laid off due to some internal disturbance in the companies but there had been overall growth in the sector. He also said that the central government had been given loans under different schemes and projects to people who wished to establish their own venture and those succeeded too.NO LAY-OFFSPrasad, who holds the law and justice portfolio, was in Gandhinagar to participate in BJP’s Gujarat Gaurav Yatra.
When his attention was drawn to reports on layoffs by IT companies, Prasad said he does not agree with that assessment.

Govt planning to link driving licence with Aadhaar: RS Prasad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In another move to make India digital, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday asserted that the Government is planning to link the driving licence with the Aadhaar card. Addressing the gathering at the Digital Haryana Summit 2017, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the Aadhaar is a digital, not a physical identity and a digital identity confirms the physical identity. “We are planning to link the Driving Licence with the Aadhaar. I have had a word with Nitin Gadkari regarding this,’ he said. He also said that the decision to link the PAN card with the Aadhaar was taken to stop money laundering.Promoting the concept of digital governance, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the digital governance is ‘good governance’ and that it ensures fast delivery as well as the welfare of the poor people.’Digital governance is honest, transparent and efficient governance,’ Ravi Shankar Prasad said. ‘Digital India must lead to digital intrusion; it must lead to a digital society,’ he added, while appreciating the Indian IT industry.He further said that the technology must be made available at affordable costs for people.

Comply or suffer consequences, Centre’s ‘gentle reminder’ to firms on data privacy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a very tough stance on data privacy, the Centre on Tuesday warned the companies to comply of face consequences.”Some things are completely private, should not come in public. Today, I would like to gently remind, all the companies dealing with data, that if any data of an individual is released by name you will suffer consequence unless there is specific consent of person whose data you are seeking to make public,” Union Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said while launching a nation-wide hackathon on Tuesday.He said the government is committed to make best use of big data in establishing rule of precision governance.”While doing so every care would be taken to ensure that strict privacy rights of individuals are protected. However, unauthorised use of data would be dealt with iron-hand to ensure that nothing comes in the way of making data-analytics a national movement,” he said.The government has launched open data platform in 2012 for public use. Later, it issued an open licence for people.The minister said the government has opened up many data sets for developing innovating solutions but the data has anonymity.”Please don’t confuse. Government data is anonymous. It does have an identity. If data is anonymous. It is free from all the constraints. It should be available for innovation,” Prasad said.He said the Supreme Court in its recent judgment has given elaborate consideration the way India is innovating, embarked on digital empowerment with financial inclusion.The minister said that the apex court has said that right to privacy is not absolute.”If an individual data which is private is disclosed without his consent surely consequences will follow and should follow. I want to assure that strict privacy rights of an individual must be protected. We in the government will ensure that it is protected,” Prasad said.He said the government will be very tough in any unauthorised use of data in the interest of India’s citizen for their right of privacy but in the garb of privacy it should not be hyped that innovation, initiative, entrepreneurship development is restrained.”We have to find middle path. On middle path, I have always said that data availability, data utility, data anonymity, data privacy — on these four principle if we proceed then surely India will emerge as a very important place as a democracy ruled by law, as a beacon for the world as to how India has set up a robust regime which set out benchmark for data utilisation maturity,” Prasad said.Ministry of Electronics and IT Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney said that the open data platform is a huge opportunity for the country and a brilliant foundation in place to have so much of data already being made available.”However, there is big gap between data being available and data being utilised. I believe, there are not only gaps, but we have serious opportunities available. A lot of intellectual effort needs to go into creating that value,” Sawhney said.

Was Gauri Lankesh helping naxals surrender with state govt’s consent, asks Ravi shankar Prasad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday condemned the killing of Karnataka journalist Gauri Lankesh and hit-out at Congress Vice president Rahul Gandhi for his statement.Lankesh (55), known for her anti-establishment voice with acrid anti-right wing views, was shot dead from a close range by unknown assailants at her residence here on Tuesday.Speaking to media, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “We ask Karnataka Chief Minister was she (Gauri Lankesh) helping Naxals surrender with government’s consent and if so why was she not given security.”Stating that there should be no politics over Lankesh’s murder, Prasad said, “We condemn all prejudice and malafide comments that are being made on the regrettable and unfortunate killing of Lankesh.”Lashing out at the Congress leader, the minister said, “Even before the I of investigation could start, Rahul Gandhi publicly alleged that RSS and right wing ideology is responsible. Would like to ask Karnataka Chief Minister in light of the comment should we expect fair probe by SIT? Does the CM agree with the comment?” ALSO READ Gauri Lankesh murder: Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare’s families say it’s a warning sign that democracy is in dangerIn his comments, Rahul had said anybody who spoke against the ideology of the BJP and RSS was “pressured, beaten, attacked and even killed”.”Condemning every murder correct but why my liberal friends maintained silence after killings of BJP-RSS workers in Kerala and Karnataka,” the minister asked.Meanwhile, Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy has announced Rs 10 lakh reward for any clue related to Lankesh’s killing.Lankesh, a writer, publisher and an editor, had returned home in her car. As she was opening the gate of the vehicle, the motorcycle-borne assailants sprayed bullets on her with two hitting her in the chest and one on the forehead. ALSO READ Don’t politicise my sister’s murder, says Gauri Lankesh’s brother Indrajit LankeshA Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been constituted under Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) B K Singh to investigate the killing. A case had been registered at the Rajarajeshwari Nagar police station under section 302 of the IPC (punishment for murder) and section 25 of the Arms Act.The police also asked the public to share information regarding the case by dialling 9480800202 and or by sending e-mails to [email protected]

Centre adopting double standard on right to privacy matter Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A day after Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad claimed that the Centre backed privacy as fundamental right; the Congress party on Friday alleged Narendra Modi government was adopting double standard on the issue of right to privacy. The Supreme Court of Thursday ruled that Right to Privacy was a fundamental right. Speaking to ANI, Congress leader Kapil Sibbal said that it was unfortunate that the Law Minister had said something which is completely contrary to what was argued in the apex court by their representative Attorney General of India. ?The Attorney General said that there was no need to elevate right to privacy to the fundamental right. The judgment of the Supreme Court also reflects this fact that he opposed the elevation of the right to privacy as a fundamental right. In fact, they said that this is an elitist right,? Sibbal added. Congress leader KTS Tulsi also slammed the Centre for contradictory stance and said the central government was never in favour of making privacy a fundamental right. ?It was not Centre?s stand to make privacy a fundamental right. They wanted to peep into privacy of public. They wanted to overpower their privacy,? he told ANI. Earlier on Thursday, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad pitched the Supreme Court’s verdict that privacy is a fundamental right as a reaffirmation of the government’s position. He also brushed aside allegations that the government was opposed to privacy being made a fundamental right. His statement came after the nine-judge Constitution bench of the apex court overruled the judgements in M.P. Sharma (1962) and Kharak Singh (1954) cases and gave the verdict that privacy was a fundamental right of a citizen.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Right to Privacy ‘part of right to liberty’, but subject to reasonable restrictions- Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Centre on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Right to Privacy asserting that its a part of the Right to Liberty, but is also “subject to reasonable restrictions.” Addressing a press conference, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The government welcomes this judgement. The government has been consistently of the view particularly which refers to Aadhar. The Right to Privacy should be a fundamental right and it should be subject to the reasonable restrictions.” In a scathing attack on the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Prasad said that Aadhar back then had no protection of law. “The Aadhar during the UPA regime had no protection of law. How could the government collect data or insist upon biometrics without any legislative sanction? We made the Aadhar law and provided a legal framework for protection of its data,” Prasad said. The Union Law Minister further averred that the essence of Supreme Court judgement is a wider affirmation of the observation made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Rajya Sabha. “The Aadhar system operates on the principle of Minimum Information, Maximum Use. The Aadhar has shown its utility in a very short span of time. It is completely safe and secure,” he added. Earlier in the day, the nine-judge Constitution bench of the apex court overruled the M.P. Sharma (1962) and Kharak Singh (1954) judgement and gave the verdict that privacy was a fundamental right of a citizen. A five-judge constitutional bench is to decide whether the Aadhar violates the Right to Privacy or not. On July 26, the Centre had told the apex court that there is a fundamental right to privacy, which is a ‘wholly qualified right’ too, and in special circumstances, the government can interfere in a matter that comes under a wholly qualified right. An absolute right cannot be reduced or amended.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maneka Gandhi wants rehab centres away from cops

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Those battling drug addiction in Jammu and Kashmir may have found an ally in Union Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi. In the last meeting of the group of ministers deliberating over the draft cabinet note of the National Drug Demand Reduction Policy, Gandhi said that people in the Valley addicted to drugs are averse to the idea of going to rehab because most addiction centres are attached to police stations. In a previous meeting, Gandhi had batted for the legalisation of marijuana.The minister’s view was that since these centres are attached to police stations, addicted individuals view going to rehab as a taboo of sorts. She asked union minister of social justice and empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot to look into the matter.A study conducted by United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNIDCP) in 2008 revealed that over 70,000 people in J&K were addicted to drugs, including over 70% of its student community. The study also showed that over 4,000 of the addicts were women.It was also learnt that in the same meeting, union law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that, if needed, his ministry will look at ways of helping drug addiction online.The meeting, supposed to be attended by over eight Cabinet ministers, however, saw the attendance of only a handful. The group of ministers is chaired by home minister Rajnath Singh and includes finance minister Arun Jaitley, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, health minister JP Nadda, apart from Maneka Gandhi and Thaawarchand Gehlot. However, those present included Rajnath Singh, Gandhi, Gehlot and Prasad.

Being lawyer and politician not easy: Minister Prasad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that while straddling the worlds of law and politics is not easy, he ensures that Parliament remains his prime concern. The minister said he focuses on three Ps Parliament, party and profession. But Parliament comes first, he said at a book launch here yesterday. “The lawyer who is in politics has to be in the business of multitasking. Law is demanding and so is public life,” Prasad said. The book “Courting Politics”, written by lawyer Shweta Bansal and published by Eastern Book Company, documents the lives of nine lawyer-politicians — Ravi Shankar Prasad, Arun Jaitley, Ram Jethmalani, Shanti Bhushan, P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, Muzaffar Hussain Baig and Abhishek Manu Singhvi. The launch was followed by a panel discussion where the speakers, mostly lawyers-turned-politicians, raised issues of law and politics. Former law minister Kapil Sibal said law and society did not move at the same pace since law remained “static” while society moved forward. “There is a conflict between law and politics. Law essentially supports status quo and politics destroys it. At any given point, the law is static and society has moved forward,” he said. He added, “Most of us protect the status quo even when we are in Parliament, not realising that we have to respond to the court of the people on what they want.” During the discussion panelists also presented their views on the role of courts in dealing with issues such as triple talaq. While Prasad said triple talaq was not related to religion and concerned gender equity, Sibal disagreed with him. “Gender justice can’t be limited to one community,” Sibal said. Prasad said, “The issues of triple talaq relates to gender justice, gender equity and gender dignity”.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

2019 Lok Sabha polls: BJP chief Amit Shah chalks out plan for ‘Mission 350+’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sounding the bugle for the next general election, BJP chief Amit Shah on Thursday chaired a meeting of party leaders here to chalk out a strategy for “Mission 2019” and on ways to bag more than 350 seats.As part of the strategy, Shah asked leaders to focus on the 150 seats which the party lost in the 2014 election, sources in the BJP said.These seats were in various states including West Bengal, Odisha, Karnataka and in the north east.The meeting was attended by 31 party leaders including Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ananth Kumar and J P Nadda. Party office bearers Ram Lal, Anil Jain and Bhupender Yadav were also present at the meet.Power-point presentations were also shown at the meeting, elaborating on the party’s plans for the elections.Shah told the leaders the party was eyeing a two-third majority, or more than 350 seats in the next general elections.The BJP president, who has been visiting states as part of a 110-day country-wide tour to expand the party’s base and win new states, believes that the BJP should also remain in power at the Centre.After 30 years, a single party crossed the halfway mark when the BJP won 282 seats in the 2014 elections. It bagged 10 more than the required number for a majority in the 543-member House.Shah was the party in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP won an unprecedented 71 out of 80 seats in the last general poll.

Be proud of who you are: CJI Khehar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indians should be proud of their faith and ethnicity, Chief Justice of India (CJI) JS Khehar said speaking on the occasion of the country’s 70th Independence Day celebrations on the lawns of the Supreme Court.“Whether it is Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Muslims or Jains, everybody should be proud of his own religion to be an Indian. Everybody should be proud of his own ethnicity. Proud of being an Indian and that is what the Constitution is all about,” he said.“After being a citizen, you are neither inferior nor superior to anyone. You are no less or more than anyone else,” Khehar said after he revealed that he was born in Kenya.“The Chief Justice of India was not a citizen of this country to start with, but when he became the citizen of this country, he was equal to everybody else and had equal opportunities. This is what citizenship or independence is. The freedom to all to achieve their hopes, ambitions, desires,” Khehar said.The CJI added that the country has a Dalit leader who spent his childhood in a mud hut, a Vice-President who is an agriculturist and a Prime Minister who was once a tea vendor.Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was also present at the event, suggested that the country’s greatest achievement was its secular fabric.“I hold a very firm view that India is not secular because the Constitution says so. The word ‘secularism’ was added to the Preamble only during Emergency. India is secular because India’s heritage is secular. That flows from the great Rig Veda. Truth is one, wise men interpret it in different manners,” he said.

Regional languages in mobiles from October 1

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mobile phone manufacturers will have to make regional languages available in handsets from October 1 this year. As per a government order, all the mobile handsets sold in the country must have the facility of texting in English, Hindi and at least one additional Indian official language, which will be decided by the phone manufacturer or supplier.The information was provided by the Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad at the Lok Sabha in reply to a question posed by Kottayam MP Jose K Mani. Mani wanted to know details of the government order, dated October 26, 2016, and whether it was extended. He also questioned the Centre on whether there was a dearth of laboratories certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards for the testing the software.In the government’s reply, Prasad said that the order was scheduled to come into effect from July 2017. “However, mobile handset manufacturers sought extension in date of implementation of said order on account of non-availability of BIS-recognised labs for testing the mobile phone handsets as per IS 16333 (Part 3): 2016, absence of BIS guidelines for implementation of the aforesaid standard and Notification of Mark etc,” said Prasad, adding that the government extended the deadline to October 2017.NEED TO KNOWUnion Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said that there are only five laboratories in the country that are BIS-certified while fifteen more have applied to BIS for a recognition certificate.

BJP-JD(U) have come together, it must reflect in allocation of funds: Nitish Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday urged the Centre to allocate funds “liberally” to strengthen the subordinate judiciary in the state in order to provide speedy justice to the litigants.”We (BJP and JDU) have come together. It must also reflect (in the allocation of funds). Bihar is a big state with 38 districts and 101 sub-divisions and you (Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad) are saying Rs 50-60-70 crore will be given to it to strengthen the subordinate judiciary…. It will not serve the purpose,” he said at a function here. Stating that Bihar’s budget, which was around Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 26,000 crore in 2005-06, had now increased to over Rs 1.40 lakh crore, Kumar said, “If you (Centre) want to give to the state, allocate funds liberally…I am talking about the funds for strengthening the subordinate judiciary.” He added that his government had already sanctioned Rs 169 crore for the expansion project of the Patna High Court.The chief minister was addressing a function to launch the ‘Tele Law: Mainstreaming Legal Aid Through Common Service Centre’ scheme. As per the scheme, which was launched in the state today, a common villager can have access to legal aid services with the help of the para-legal volunteers at the Common Service Centre (CSC), which would be equipped with computers and Internet facility. Prasad, who spoke before Nitish, expressed happiness that the scheme was being launched after the BJP and the JDU joined hands in the state.”Bihar has been given Rs 50 crore in 2016-17 for strengthening the subordinate judiciary. I will increase it to Rs 60-70 crore the next time, provided a utilisation certificate is furnished by the authority concerned,” he said. This was the first big function in the state capital after the formation of the JD(U)-BJP-led NDA government in Bihar, where an Union minister and the chief minister shared the dais.

BJP chastises Cong. for shifting its 38 MLAs out of Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday came down heavily upon the Congress over its decision to shift 38 MLAs out of Gujarat and questioned their motive of bearing the expenses while the people in the state are reeling under floods. “Today, when people are surrounded by floods due to a natural calamity, the Congress has switched off all MLAs phone so that no one can contact them. They have been taken to Bengaluru, given all facilities, and on the other hand, the people are in distress,? BJP?s Gujarat in-charge Bhupendra Yadav told ANI. In the backdrop of Gujarat Congress MLAs quitting and joining the BJP, as many as 44 of the grand old party MLAs left for Bengaluru late last night to ensure they don’t succumb to police and political pressure to join the saffron party. Speaking to the reporters, Congress MLA Shailesh Parmar said, “To ensure that BJP is not successful in its mission, 44 of us Congress MLAs are leaving from Gujarat for Bengaluru. To hide their failure, the saffron party is trying to make sure our MLAs resign by offering money and through police pressure.” Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi had accused the BJP in the state of horse-trading ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for August 8. Following this, Union Minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad laughed off the accusation and said the Congress has become a sinking ship and is not able to hold their own house together. The developments came after at least six Congress MLAs in Gujarat resigned from the party to join the BJP.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Ravi Shankar Prasad laughs off Congress’ horse-trading accusation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In the wake of Gujarat Congress MLAs quitting and joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday laughed off the Congress’ accusation that the saffron party was indulging in horse-trading ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for August 8. Prasad said the Congress has become a sinking ship and is not able to hold their own house together. ?The Congress has become a sinking ship and the senior leaders, who did not get respect, are now openly saying that they don?t want to continue with them. This is the hard fact. The sinking ship is not able to hold itself together,? Ravi Shankar Prasad told ANI. He said the Congress has been making baseless allegation against the BJP and further called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi to come up and clarify why their party is crumbling down like a deck of cards. ?They have to explain this. The allegations are laughable. They are making it in utter desperation,? he said. Earlier in the day, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, in a press conference, “Crores of rupees have been spent in horse-trading in Gujarat by the BJP. One Congress Gujarat MLA Punabhai Gamit has said he was offered Rs. 10 crore by the BJP to join hands with them.” The comments came after at least six Congress MLAs in Gujarat resigned from the party to join the BJP. Two Congress MLAs – Maan Singh Chouhan and Sana Bhai Choudhari – offered their resignations. Three Congress MLAs – P.I. Patel, Balwantsinh Rajput and Tejashree Patel – had also quit the party and joined the BJP. Rajput is a relative of former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela, who quit the Congress last week, while P.I. Patel was the Congress legislator from Vijapur.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Terrorists on the run due to Modi govt’s policies: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP today criticised Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi over his allegations against the Modi government on its Kashmir policy, saying these are “absolutely incorrect and utterly irresponsible” and terrorists are on the run due to its tough measures. Hitting out at Gandhi, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said many problems of Jammu and Kashmir are the legacy of the Congress and its role in creating complications in the state is “too well known”. The Congress leader had earlier in the day said Kashmir is “burning” due to the government’s policies. Reacting to it, Prasad told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

You will have enough occasions to do politics: BJP to Rahul

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP today asked Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to “rise to the occasion” and not do politics over the Amarnath terror strike after he attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the “grave and unacceptable security lapse”. “You (Rahul Gandhi) will have enough occasions to do politics but please rise to the occasion today. You represent a party which has a long tradition. “I will wish him to look into the pages of history of his own party and how there have been unanimity on these occasions,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. He said the Modi government’s resolve is firm and the terrorists responsible for the attack will be brought to book. “Today is the occasion when the country needs to speak in one voice,” he said, adding that the entire nation is “rising in revolt” against the attack. In a series of tweets following last night’s attack, Gandhi had said, “This is a grave and unacceptable security lapse. The PM needs to accept responsibility and never allow it to happen again… India will never be intimidated by these terrorist cowards.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

When Ravi Shankar Prasad shared a hilarious Aadhaar-PAN linking joke

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central government ministers have used social media and particularly Twitter very effectively to disseminate information about various schemes. Often Twitter users try to troll them by passing snarky comments or pictures etc. But rather than losing their cool, the Union Ministers have often shown a great sense of humour in the past to take on the trollers. Sushma Swaraj once gave a hilarious reply to a person who wanted to be rescued from Mars. Now, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has followed suit. He has shared a picture of a joke which is viral on social media about how Aadhaar and PAN can be linked. Government’s decision that Aadhaar and PAN card has to be linked has led to severe objections and heartburn from several quarters, with many activists questioning about the intrusive nature of the decision. According to them, Aadhaar is a giant surveillance mechanism and this is only another step towards it. Many common folks are worried about the exact procedure to join Aadhar and PAN card. But as usual, many in social media have found the funny side to it and are making hilarious memes.On Sunday, Ravi Shankar Prasad decided to join the banter. The Income Tax Department has introduced a one-page form for taxpayers to manually apply for linking their Aadhaar with Permanent Account Number (PAN), apart from the available online and SMS facilities.How to actually link your Aadhaar and PAN Card? An individual will have to mention both PAN and Aadhaar numbers, the spelling of the names mentioned on them and give a signed declaration that the Aadhaar number provided in the application form has “not been provided” by them for the purpose of linking it with “any other PAN”.They will also have to undertake a declaration stating they have “not been allotted any other PAN than the one mentioned” on the form. “I understand that complete security and confidentiality shall be ensured for my personal identity data provided for the purpose of Aadhaar-based authentication,” the taxpayer will state as part of the declaration.”The form is just another procedure, via the paper medium, to link the Aadhaar with the PAN database, as required from July 1. The SMS and online modes are also available,” a tax department official said. The department has also formally notified, under a CBDT notification of June 29, the procedure and format for “intimating Aadhaar number to the I-T Department by PAN holder and quoting the same in PAN applications”.Taxpayers can link their Aadhaar-PAN using a mobile-based SMS service (formatted message to be sent to 567678 or 56161), by logging on to the website of PAN service providers like NSDL and UTIITSL, by personally visiting a PAN service centre or over the e-filing website of the tax department. Similarly, the department has specified in detail the procedure for quoting of Aadhaar in new PAN application and for changes or correction in PAN data.The department has also specified to the PAN and e-filing service providers that they “shall ensure that the identity of information of Aadhaar holder, demographic as well as biometric, is only used for submission to the central identities data repository of the UIDAI for Aadhaar authentication purpose”.”Any deviation will be treated as non-compliance to security and confidentiality clause or similar clause of their respective agreements/contracts and may lead to applicable penalty as per their respective agreements/contracts,” the department notification said.The I-T department has made it clear that taxpayers without Aadhaar number or its enrolment ID will not be able to e-file their income tax return (ITR) f even as it has said that in “no case” any PAN will be invalidated.The Supreme Court had last month upheld the validity of an Income Tax Act provision (section 139AA) making Aadhaar mandatory for allotment of PAN cards and ITR filing, but had put a partial stay on its implementation till a Constitution bench addressed the issue of right to privacy.The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the policy- making body for the I-T department, had said on June 10 that the apex court’s order had only given a “partial relief” to those who do not have an Aadhaar or an Aadhaar enrolment ID, and the taxman, hence, “will not cancel” the PAN of such individuals.Aadhaar has also been made mandatory for applying for PAN with effect from July 1.The department, as per latest data, has linked over 2.62 crore Aadhaar numbers with its PAN database. While Aadhaar is issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to a resident of India, PAN is a ten-digit alphanumeric number alloted by the I-T department to a person, firm or entity. There are over 25 crore PAN numbers allotted, while Aadhaar has been alloted to about 115 crore people. With PTI inputs

Strict action against cow vigilantes, says Union Law Minister Prasad

Thu, 15 Jun 2017-09:20pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Strict action will be taken against those who indulge in violence in the name of cow vigilantism, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today.The government will take a call on various issues related to the recent notification banning the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter keeping in mind all views, the minister told reporters. “We should never forget that cow protection is part of our directive principles. We cannot control anyone’s food habits. It is also a reality that a major part of the population reveres the cow. The government will take a decision keeping in mind all views,” the minister said.Responding to a question on cow vigilantism, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself warned against violence. “Strict action will be taken against those who violate the law,” he said.

Decision on next attorney general at appropriate time: Prasad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government will take a decision on appointing a new attorney general at an “appropriate time”, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today. Incumbent Mukul Rohatgi recently conveyed to the government that he would like to be relieved from the post he has held for three years. “We have taken note of request of the AG not to continue due to personal reasons. We respect that. Rohatgi has been a very distinguished AG. He has served with great distinction,” the minister told reporters here. “The government will take a decision at an appropriate time” on who would be its next top law officer, he said. Rohatgi, who has said he wants to return to private practice, was appointed attorney general immediately after the BJP came to power in May 2014. He has argued in many contentious matters like the challenge to the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act on appointment of judges for the higher judiciary. Recently, he assisted the apex court in the ‘triple talaq’ matter in which judgement is reserved. Early this month, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet extended his tenure until further orders. Rohatgi had also represented the Gujarat government in the Supreme Court in the 2002 Gujarat riots and fake encounter death cases, including the Best Bakery and Zahira Sheikh matters.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Prasad mocks at Vijayan on CMs’ meet on cattle issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today advised Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to “find better causes for a federal unity”, rather than organising a meeting of chief ministers to discuss the Centre’s ban on sale of cattle at animal markets for slaughter. The senior BJP leader rejected allegations that the NDA government brought the notification to impose restrictions on the eating habits of the people. “It is entirely his (Vijayan’s) call. I can only gently remind him that he can find better causes for a federal unity,” he said in response to a query about the Kerala chief minister’s move. Vijayan has written to his counterparts in other states, appealing them to stand together in opposing the “anti- federal” move of the Centre. Raking up the issue of “political violence” in Kerala, Prasad said, “When he (Vijayan) calls for a federal unity, he and his party must also allow our workers to work freely in the state. “It is good if he is talking about freedom. But, the BJP-RSS cadres are being attacked in Kerala. How does it gel with the state’s great open culture?,” he wondered, adding that the southern state was always “open to new ideas”. Reminding Vijayan that Kerala was the first state in the country to elect a Communist government led by EMS Namboodiripad, Prasad said if that reflected the openness of Kerala and its people, then they should also be given the “liberty to experiment” with the BJP. “Whether the party gets acceptance or not is a call of the people,” he added. The Union Law Minister said protection of cow was a “fundamental obligation” of the people of the country and the Centre’s notification only said that the cattle markets would not be a place for purchasing the animals for slaughter. “It does not say that you can not purchase cattle from a farm. The recognised cattle markets shall not be used for the purpose (slaughtering). There is no restriction as far as eating habits are concerned. I do not buy the logic that slaughtering can be done only by purchasing the cattle from the markets,” he said. Prasad added that conventionally, cattle markets were used for the exchange of bull or oxen for cultivation. “That has been the norm,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

I-T summons Lalu’s daughter and husband in benami land case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income Tax Department has issued summonses to RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s MP daughter Misa Bharti and her husband in connection with its probe in Rs 1,000 crore alleged benami land deals and a tax evasion case. The development followed the arrest of chartered acountant Rajesh Kumar Agrawal by the Enforcement Directorate on May 22. Agrawal is alleged to have aided in llegal transactions involving Lalu’s kin. Officials said the department has asked Bharti, a Rajya Sabha member, and her husband Shailesh Kumar to appear before the investigating officer (IO) here in the first week of June. The department had on May 16 searched multiple premises of about two dozen entities connected to this case and seized documents and computer hardware. They said the summonses to Bharti and Kumar are part of the investigation and their statements will be recorded. The couple are alleged to have links with a firm– Ms Mishail Packers and Printers Private Limited– which is suspected to have entered into benami deals for purchase of a farm house in Delhi’s Bijwasan area. Certain other property deals are also under the scanner of the taxman, they said. I-T department officials had said they will apply provisions of the newly enacted Benami Transactions Act, 1988, which became operational from November 1 last year, in this case. The law provides for a maximum punishment of seven years in jail and a fine. The action under this new law will be over and above the legal proceedings under the Income Tax Act, 1961, which relates to charges of domestic tax evasion. Tax department officials had said Lalu’s kin held some of the properties under their scanner in a ‘benami’ way. Benami properties are those in which the real beneficiary is not the one in whose name the property has been purchased. The RJD chief, however, sought to put up a brave face after the raids, saying he was “not scared at all” and will continue to fight against “fascist forces”. “BJP mein himmat nahi hai ki Lalu ki awaz ko daba sake… Lalu ki awaz dabayenge to desh bhar me karoron Lalu khare ho jayenge… Main gidarbhabhki se nahi darne wala hoon (BJP does not have the courage to stifle my voice… If it tries to silence one Lalu, crores of Lalu will come forward. I am not scared of empty threats),” he had said in a series of tweets after the search operation. The BJP had also accused Prasad, Bharti and his two sons Tejashwi and Tej Pratap, both Bihar government ministers, of being involved in corrupt land deals worth over Rs 1,000 crore, and asked the central government to probe one such transaction in Delhi. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had alleged that these transactions were a case of “quid pro quo”, suggesting that money was paid in return for favour, as they dated back to the period when Lalu was the railway minister, and dared Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to take action against him. Lalu’s RJD is a constituent of Bihar’s ruling coalition led by Kumar. Lalu’s official residence was the address of the owners of the firms allegedly floated by his family members, Ravi Shankar Prasad had said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Ravi Shankar Prasad questions Nitish Kumar’s silence on BJP-RJD clash

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Branding the clash between the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers outside BJP office in Patna as ?shameful?, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday called for serious action by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar into the matter. ?The attack by the RJD workers and supporters in BJP office in Patna is shameful, it is reprehensible and I condemn it. Nitish Kumar must take action. he must owe it to the country that he is running a government in which daily issue of corruption comes of illegal datafication and accusation of property,? Prasad told ANI. ?This kind of gherao is clearly not acceptable. Nitish Kumar is surviving because of the support of Lalu Prasad,? he added. A day after the Income-Tax department conducted raids in Delhi NCR in connection with alleged benami lands deals involving RJD chief Lalu Prasad, his party workers today clashed with members of the BJP in Patna. The raids came days after the Supreme Court order of May 8 restored the charge of criminal conspiracy against the RJD leader in all four fodder scam cases against him in which he would now stand trial. Reacting to the searches, RJD chief Prasad posted on his official Twitter account that he was ?not scared at all? and will continue to fight against ?fascist forces?. ?BJP mein himmat nahin hai ki Lalu ki awaz ko daba sake? Lalu ki awaz dabayenge to desh bhar me karoron Lalu khade ho jayenge?(BJP does not have the courage to stifle my voice? If it tries to silence one Lalu, crores of Lalus will rise across the country),? he wrote in a series of tweets.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Lalu, kin involve in corrupt land deals of Rs 1,000 crore: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP today accused RJD chief Lalu Prasad, his MP-daughter Misa Bharti and his two sons, both Bihar government ministers, of being involved in corrupt land deals worth over Rs 1,000 crore, and asked the central government to probe one such transaction in Delhi. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged that these transactions were a case of “quid pro quo” as they date back to the period when Lalu Prasad was the railway minister, and dared Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to take action against him. Lalu’s RJD is a constituent of Bihar’s ruling coalition led by Kumar. His sons Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav are ministers in the government. Lalu’s official residence was the address of the owners of the firms allegedly floated by his family members, he said. Addressing a press conference here, Prasad urged the Election Commission to act against Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharti, saying she did not disclose the details of these assets in her Rajya Sabha election affidavit. It is a serious case of “misrepresentation” and has very grave implications, he said. Several suspect land deals took place in Bihar, he said, wondering if Kumar would invoke a special law enacted by his government in which assets acquired through illicit money are confiscated in this instance. “The politics of Lalu Prasad has become politics of loot. Land worth crores of rupees was grabbed for a pittance,” he said. This was “Vadra model of development”, he said, referring to dubious land deals allegedly involving Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra. One such land deal involving Lalu Prasad and his family members is in Bijwasan in Delhi, he said. “We expect the central government to take appropriate action,” he added. All the companies owned by Lalu Prasad’s family members for the purpose of these land transactions had no employees, no business activities and no turnover, Prasad claimed. Bihar’s biggest shopping mall spread over 7.5 lakh square feet is coming up in Patna as part of such dubious transactions, he said. Taking a dig at opposition parties over their efforts to unite, the law minister asked if their proposed alliance is meant to be a cover for corruption and if “rank corruption will be covered in the name of secularism”. He said JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury should respond to these charges against Prasad and his family members.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Gandhis should cooperate with IT probe in Herald case: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP today welcomed the Delhi High Court’s refusal to stay income tax proceedings against a company involving Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and said the case had serious ethical and moral dimensions. It would be in the Gandhis’ interest if they cooperated with income tax authorities’ in the probe, senior BJP leader and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. The company, Young Indian Pvt Ltd, had approached the Delhi High Court seeking a direction to stay the IT proceedings and quashing of re-assessment notices issued against it with regard to the National Herald misappropriation of assets case. Referring to the allegations against the Gandhis, Prasad said National Herald, a Congress-run newspaper, had become a sort of “family concern”, something which had never happened during Jawaharlal Nehru’s time. “Their (Gandhis) lawyer says they will move the Supreme Court. They can do as they wish but they must remember that this involves a serious ethical and moral issue. There is an important question of propriety. Democracy runs on public morality,” he said at a press conference. The BJP leader also took a swipe at opposition parties’ efforts to unite and accused them of brushing corruption issues involving key leaders, including RJD chief Lalu Prasad, under the carpet. They had learnt no lessons from their electoral defeats. People have faith in the Narendra Modi government because they believe it is running honestly and with probity, he said. According to IT records, 83.3 per cent of Young Indian was held by Sonia and Rahul, 15.5 per cent by Congress leader Motilal Vora and the remaining 1.2 per cent by Oscar Fernandes.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP organizes protest rallies on Naxalbari family issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP today held protests in many parts of West Bengal accusing the Trinamool Congress of “kidnapping and forcing” the Naxalbari tribal couple, who had hosted BJP president Amit Shah during his visit last week. The activists of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and the BJP organized protest rallies and meetings in Kolkata, Naxalbari, Siliguri and districts of of north and south 24 Parganas. They accused the TMC of “kidnapping” the Mahali couple who had served lunch to the BJP chief during his visit to the area in north Bengal on April 25 last. The BJP also alleged that the couple was “forced” to join the TMC, a charge which was, however, rejected by the duo–Raju Mahali and his wife Geeta. “The kidnapping of the Mahali family and forcing them to join the TMC only shows that the TMC is afraid about the growth of BJP and that is why they are behaving in such a way. Such kind of heinous act is a reflection of a dirty, vindictive mentality, which TMC represents,” BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, while addressing a protest rally here. A war of words has started between the BJP and TMC on the issue with Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad calling it a “textbook case of revenge politics” which drew sharp reactions from the TMC which asked Prasad “to maintain dignity of the office he holds”. Meanwhile BJP women’s wing leader Locket Chatterjee today visited a house in Chetla area of Bhawanipore in Kolkata, where Amit Shah had gone during his ‘Booth Chalo Abhiyan’ in Kolkata last week. “I am here to meet the family members as we are concerned about their security. If TMC can carry out such a heinous act in north Bengal, then they can repeat it in Bhawanipore, Kolkata. But TMC should remember one thing- you can force someone to join your party, but you can’t force someone to vote for you,” Chatterjee said. Seeking to expand his party base in West Bengal, Shah had visited a slum in Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Bhawanipur Assembly constituency last week.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘Constitution gives us sanctity’: Asaduddin Owaisi slams Ravi Shankar Prasad for his comment on Muslims

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi has termed as ‘unfortunate’ the statement of Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who stated that the centre have given Muslims ‘proper sanctity’.The AIMIM leader said it’s not Ravi Shankar Prasad who has given Muslims proper sanctity but our Constitution. Owaisi told ANI, “We gave them sanctity’ Who are ‘We’? It is the Constitution that has given rights, our rights are protected under that.”Asserting that the Constitution is supreme, Owaisi said that Ravi Shankar’s work is to implement those constitutional rights. “In a democracy like India, we have got full freedom to choose our leaders. Ravi Shankar needs to understand that the Constitution is supreme,’ he added. Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on Saturday said that it is the government responsibility to take care of all citizens irrespective of the faiths they practiced. SP’s Azam Khan told ANI, “Ideology and the Constitution are two different things. Those who are stick to the BJP ideology vote for them, those who are anti-BJP, vote for the opposition, but, it is the government’s responsibility to extend their support to each and every individual.’ Azam Khan said, “Who all have not voted for BJP, our government is not ready to take them as Hindu, then why would they take Muslims as Muslims.”Meanwhile, Congress leader Salman Khrushid said: “I see no reason why someone should feel that a particular segment of society is unable to vote for them.”Khurshid added that he is unable to understand the statement ‘that even though they don’t vote us, we give them sanctity’. ‘We should see who does not vote for us and find why, and see if it can be addressed. Don’t know from where has ‘sanctity’ come in,’ Khurshid added.Resonating similar views, Congress leader Ashok Choudhary stated that speaking wrong about anyone’s caste and culture is not a correct statement.‘To identify a person from his or her caste is wrong; we all have our own identity. Being in the government and speaking wrong about anyone’s caste and culture is not a correct statement. With these statements, peoples’ mind will get diverted,’ Choudhary told ANI.Meanwhile BJP RS MP Subramanian Swamy told ANI, “He is correct and that is the correct constitutional procedure because once the election has taken place and you have got a mandate, then we are government of hundred percent people, that includes Muslims. So after that, we don’t see who all have voted and who haven’t. So what Ravi Shankar Prasad is saying is correct.”On Friday, Ravi Shankar Prasad addressing a Hero Mindmine Summit said, “We have got thirteen chief ministers of our own. Have we witnessed any Muslim gentleman working in the industry or service’ We don’t get Muslim votes. I acknowledged very clearly, but have we given them proper sanctity or not’”Prasad on Friday said Muslims do not vote for the BJP, but the government has given them “proper sanctity”. “We have got 13 chief ministers of our own. We are ruling the country. Have we victimised any Muslim gentleman working in the industry or service? Have we dismissed them? We don’t get Muslim votes. I acknowledge very clearly, but have we given them proper sanctity or not?” Prasad asked at the Mindmine Summit here.He was responding to a question related to development having an impact on culture and diversity. “We salute diversity and culture of India. There are two ways of looking at it. Let me be very frank today. There has been campaign against us for a very long time, but today we are here because of blessings of people of India,” Prasad said.In recent Assembly elections, the BJP scored an impressive win in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The party also formed government in Goa and Manipur. Its main rival Congress was able to get a clear majority in Punjab only. As IT minister, Prasad said, he has visited many Muslim-dominated villages where many Muslim youth are running Common Service Centres which help people avail of government services through Internet.The minister cited the example of Prime Minister Narendra Modi short-listing a Muslim tea garden labourer in Jalpaiguri, Karimul Haque, for his exemplary work Prasad said Haque has converted his motorcycle into an ambulance, rushes whosoever falls sick to hospital and in the process, has saved nearly 2,000 lives. “We never saw religion of Haque or whether he voted for us or not. If there are certain uncalled for voices, the Prime Minister addresses the concerns, the CMs (chief ministers) address concerns. Yogi (Adityanath) is a popular leader.You are seeing his instances of good governance and inclusive development,” Prasad said.The minister said he has issues with those in the Left and journalists spreading “hatred” against Modi.”We have a problem with some of our friends. Mostly, the Leftist friends and journalists who entertain a pathological hatred against Narendra Modi. Good luck to them,” Prasad quipped.According to Prasad, the Left is “left out” all over the world and had been defeated in India.”They are left out in Bengal, are surviving in Kerala and Tripura, but the Left has got a very good campus in Delhi, which is the JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and I always say the Left also needs some consolation prize. So, JNU is their consolation prize, we don’t mind that,” Prasad said.India is in the third phase of political evolution where people are looking for “politics of aspirational reality with good governance”.”People of India know they can unseat any political party howsoever popular any political leader howsoever popular. This realisation brings about a different kind of humility. You better learn to perform and trust people. Otherwise, they will show you the door and they have been showing the door,” Prasad pointed out.He is of the view that the politics of ‘want’ relating to breads and of ‘identity’ based on caste, community, religion and region is over now.

Muslims should get everything which falls under their right- Swamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>; Commenting on Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s statement that Muslims do not vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), despite the government giving them ‘proper sanctity’, party leader Subramanian Swamy termed it correct. Swamy told ANI, “He is correct and that is the correct constitutional procedure because once the election has taken place and you have got a mandate, then we are government of hundred percent people, that includes Muslims. So after that, we don’t see who all have voted and who haven’t. So what Ravi Shankar Prasad is saying is correct.” On Friday, Ravi Shankar Prasad addressing a Mindmine Summit said, “We have got thirteen chief ministers of our own. Have we witnessed any Muslim gentleman working in the industry or service? We don’t get Muslim votes. I acknowledged very clearly, but have we given them proper sanctity or not?” Taking on the Left and elements in the media attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prasad extended them his best wishes. “We have a problem with some of our friends. Mostly, the Leftist friends and journalists who entertain a pathological hatred of Narendra Modi. Good luck to them,” Prasad quipped. The Union Minister went ahead to state that Left is “left out” all over the world and has also faced defeat in India. “They are left out in Bengal, are surviving in Kerala and Tripura, but the Left has got a very good campus in Delhi, which is the JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and I always say the Left also needs some consolation prize. So, JNU is their consolation prize, we don’t mind that,” Prasad said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Khurshid takes on Prasad on Muslims ‘proper sanctity’ comment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Commenting on Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad?s statement that Muslims do not vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), despite the government giving them ‘proper sanctity’, Congress leader Salman Khurshid on Saturday said he saw no reason why someone should feel that a particular segment of society is unable to vote for them. ?I see no reason why someone should feel that a particular segment of society is unable to vote for them,? Khurshid told ANI. Khurshid added that he is unable to understand the statement ?that even though they don?t vote us, we give them sanctity?. ?We should see who does not vote for us and find why, and see if it can be addressed. Don’t know from where has ‘sanctity’ come in,? Khurshid added. Resonating similar views, Congress leader Ashok Choudhary stated that speaking wrong about anyone?s caste and culture is not a correct statement. ?To identify a person from his or her caste is wrong; we all have our own identity. Being in the government and speaking wrong about anyone?s caste and culture is not a correct statement. With these statements, peoples? mind will get diverted,? Choudhary told ANI. On Friday, Ravi Shankar Prasad addressing a Mindmine Summit said, ?We have got thirteen chief ministers of our own. Have we witnessed any Muslim gentleman working in the industry or service? We don’t get Muslim votes. I acknowledged very clearly, but have we given them proper sanctity or not?” Taking on the Left and elements in the media attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prasad extended them his best wishes. “We have a problem with some of our friends. Mostly, the Leftist friends and journalists who entertain a pathological hatred of Narendra Modi. Good luck to them,” Prasad quipped. The Union Minister went ahead to state that Left is “left out” all over the world and has also faced defeat in India. “They are left out in Bengal, are surviving in Kerala and Tripura, but the Left has got a very good campus in Delhi, which is the JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and I always say the Left also needs some consolation prize. So, JNU is their consolation prize, we don’t mind that,” Prasad said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Centre firmly behind victims of triple talaq: Prasad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre was firmly behind the victims of triple talaq, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said here today. He added that while India respected freedom of religion and faith, “discriminatory” practices could not be held an integral part of it and protected. Prasad cited the practice of untouchability to assert that religious practices needed to be in accordance with the Constitutional values and emphasised that “gender justice, gender equality and gender dignity” were at the core of the government’s priority. “Can, in a secular country like India, a big chunk of women be forced to live in a state of vulnerability,” he asked. Prasad said the government was firmly behind the victims of triple talaq. “Now, talaq is being given on WhatsApp…is this vulnerability permissible in our Constitution,” he asked. The BJP leader pointed out that many countries, including Iran, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, had abolished the practice. “These are Islamic countries and they have regulated triple talaq, which has not been found to be violative of Sharia law (personal law),” he said. The Law Minister was responding to a series of questions on triple talaq and the Centre’s stand on the issue in the Supreme Court.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Don’t be complacent, BJP yet to reach peak: Shah to partymen

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP president Amit Shah today cautioned party leaders against complacency, saying it is yet to reach the peak as he rolled out plans for its expansion in states where it has been traditionally weak. In his inaugural address at the BJP’s two-day national executive here, he also asserted that the party’s “golden era” would arrive when it rules across the country, from panchayats to Parliament. Laying down his ambitious growth plan for the party in south and eastern India, Shah rejected the contention that the saffron surge had reached its peak with its domination of central and west India and maiden wins in states like Assam and Manipur. Top party leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were in attendance as he asked the organisation to resolve for victory in the next round of assembly elections due in Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka, noting that a similar resolve was made last year during the national executive meeting in Allahabad for five state elections, including in UP. 13 chief ministers of the party, the most BJP has ever had, were also in the audience. Shah said he will spend 95 days touring the country to meet party leaders and workers and asked senior leaders and union ministers to give 15 days to strengthen the organisation while speaking about its growth prospects in states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Odisha. “The BJP is yet to reach its peak. Its golden era will arrive when it rules from panchayat to assemblies across the country and Parliament,” he said. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad briefed reporters on his speech in a closed-door meeting of the party leaders. He, however, steered clear of recent controversial issues like killing of a man in BJP-ruled Rajasthan by cow vigilantes and deepening impasse in Kashmir, where his party is in power in partnership with PDP. Prasad suggested that a reference to Kashmir may be made during the national executive. The party’s gold era, he said, will coincide with India’s golden era and it will emerge as a great nation in the world. The BJP’s massive wins in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have changed the experts’ definition of big victories, usually associated with two-thirds majority, as it won more than 75 per cent of seats as people have embraced “our politics of performance” and rejected opposition parties’ politics of brazen appeasement, rank family promotion and casteism, Shah said. The BJP has also disproved the claims that it can defeat the Congress but not strong regional parties by routing the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samajwadi Party in UT, he said. Shah said when the BJP won 71 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP in 2014, it was said that it was a “sudden” development but by sweeping the state in the assembly polls the party has proved that people have embraced it “decisively and whole- heartedly”. Its win in the state polls was due to the Modi government’s pro-poor and welfare policies, Shah said, reaffirming that the prime minister was the most popular leader since Independence. Hitting out at the Left government in Kerala over the killing of the BJP and RSS workers allegedly by communist cadres, he said his party will continue to oppose it peacefully and ensure that the ‘lotus blooms’ there as well as Tripura, another Left-ruled state. The BJP national president said he would spend three days in Kerala as part of the organisational expansion drive. The Modi government, he said, has done more work in three years than other governments had done in two-three terms as he hailed its policies.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Aadhaar not to be linked with National Intelligence Grid: Ravi Shankar Prasad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aadhaar number is not going to be linked with the national intelligence grid (NATGRID), the government clarified in the parliament on Monday. “Let me assure the house that Aadhaar’s linking with NATGRID is not there,”said Ravi Shankar Prasad, adding that the government even refused to handover the biometric details even when it was approached by the CBI. Natgrid, a programme of real-time networking of 21 databases with enforcement agencies to cross-link information and flag tripwires to predict or point out unlawful or terrorist activities, was envisaged and rolled out by former home minister P Chidambaram during the UPA government’s second tenure.Prasad was trying to allay fears of opposition parties on privacy during a discussion on Aadhaar – its implementation and implications – in the Rajya Sabha. Stating emphatically that Section 29 of the Aadhaar Act has all the required safeguards, Prasad added, “According to Section 29 (1) of Aadhaar Act, even I cannot disclose my biometrics to anyone. And, in a case of breach of privacy, even the officers of the UIDAI have no escape. I want to dispel all misconceptions (about Aadhaar). Aadhar is robust, safe, secure and totally accountable.” Speaking about the government’s efforts to have a robust system to safeguard privacy, Prasad informed the house that the government was so strict that it has so far blacklisted 34,000 operators on this very count. In a powerful defence of linking Aadhaar with government’s schemes to stop pilferage, Prasad said, “Even the UN report has applauded the initiative for saving $1 billion saving in the LPG and World Bank’s chief economist Paul Romer has praised it as the most sophisticated system that should be replicated by others.” Countering Jairam Ramesh of Congress, Prasad said that unless the Supreme Court stays the law, the Aadhaar Act will hold the field.Earlier, initiating the debate, Rajeev Chandrashekar, an independent MP, expressed concern over fake Aadhaar cards, data integrity and privacy issues and exclusion of subsidies by making it mandatory. On fake Aadhaar cards, Chandrashekar said the government had inherited “100 crore unverified database” created prior to bringing the law in 2016. Not ready to buy the government’s arguments, Derek O’Brien of TMC brought the case of a website leaking the demographic data of 5 lakh minors. Prasad, however, agreed to Tapan Sen’s (CPI) suggestion of revising the biometrics of the elderly and manual labourers as the biometric details of their fingerprints did not match and resulted in their exclusion from welfare schemes.

Govt to help judiciary to reduce pendency of cases: PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi today assured Chief Justice J S Khehar that his government will make all efforts to back his resolve to reduce burden on the judiciary and pendency of cases. “I assure the chief justice that government will back his ‘sankalp’ (resolve) to bring down the burden on the judiciary and reduce pendency of cases,” he said in his address at the sesquicentennial celebrations marking 150 years of the Allahabad High Court. Noting that he felt that there was an element of “pain” in the speech of Justice Khehar, Modi said the government had done away with 1200 old laws to find a way out of the maze of the statues and also help the judiciary in modernising the system. He asked the people working on startups to bring about innovations to strengthen the judicial system. The Prime Minister lauded the steps being taken by the chief justice to make use of technology in simplifying the working in the courts and bring about qualitative change. Modi also said video conferencing should be used for deposition made in courts by those facing trial, the witnesses and officials to prevent wastage of time and money. He appealed to the judiciary, the government and the people to make 2022, the 75th year of Independence, a target year to take the country to greater heights. Earlier addressing the gathering, Justice Khehar raise the issue of pendency of cases in courts including the Supreme Court and said he was taking steps to reduce the burden on the judiciary. He asked the judges to consider sitting in courts for five days during vacation to clear at least 10 cases each day and bring down the pendency. “This way thousands of small matters like matrimonial disputes and mediation cases can be settled and arrears of cases brought down” he said and referred to a system of court management under which pendency of cases in Malaysia had been brought down to one-fifth. He said he proposes to have three constitution benches during this summer vacation to help reduce the arrears in the apex court. On the issue of simplification of procedure, Justice Khehar said he is making efforts to make the system paperless in the Supreme Court in a month or so. The gathering was attended by UP and West Bengal governors Ram Naik and K N Tripathi, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adtiyanath, Allahabad High Court CJI Dilip B Bhosale and members from the legal fraternity.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Is there any privacy left? Sakshi Dhoni slams I&B Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad over Aadhaar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the debate on Aadhaar has been alive on Twitter, with many claiming that it would be the death knell for privacy, the process of signing up for the ID turned out to be a process in breach of privacy for Mahendra Singh Dhoni. This led to a Twitter spat between Information and Broadcast Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Dhoni’s wife Sakshi Singh Rawat.Earlier in the day, RS Prasad tweeted: “VLE of @CSCegov_ delivers #Aadhaar service to @msdhoni. Legendary cricketer’s #Digital hook (shot).” However, this seemed to anger Sakshi who claimed that MS Dhoni’s personal information was leaked.She wrote: “@rsprasad @CSCegov_ is there any privacy left ??? Information of adhaar card including application is made public property!#disappointed”When RS Prasad asked whether his tweet divulged any personal information, Sakshi said that Dhoni’s Aadhar form was leaked by CSC’s twitter handle. She wrote: “Sir personal information filled in form is leaked.”Reacting to Sakshi’s allegations, an embarrassed Ravi Shankar Prasad promised to take serious action. He wrote: “Thanks for bringing this to my notice. Sharing personal information is illegal. Serious action will be taken against this.”Interestingly, earlier on Monday, the Aadhaar was the subject of debate in Rajya Sabha where CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury slammed the government for making the Aadhaar card mandatory, saying that the Unique Identification scheme is leading to a surveillance state in the country. “I don’t have an Aadhaar card, if you want to make it compulsory, bring a bill. You have a government that doesn’t have the courage to come forward and say ‘I’m abolishing this Constitution,’” Yechury said during a debate over the Finance Bill.Yechury further stated that there were lakhs of complaints against the scheme and it should be removed soon. “There are lakhs of complaints against the scheme, and much like the Matrix, an Aadhaar number can just vanish and you won’t be a citizen anymore,” said Yechury. “Why is the Modi government so keen on building a secret surveillance architecture, devoid of all constitutional safeguards” he asked. Yechury also expressed doubts over how secure the Aadhar data is and which private company can have access to it.Later, Yechury urged that all non-tax matters must be removed from The Finance Bill. “This House must return this bill to Lok Sabha with serious concern asking for amendments. This is a financial bully, not a bill,: said Yechury. Earlier in the day, speaking in the Rajya Sabha, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal tore into the government for allegedly violating the Supreme Court orders over the use of Aadhaar card. With inputs from ANI

Centre for minimising fresh litigation

Prasad also asked all ministries and states to submit quarterly compliance reports on reducing pendency by withdrawing, settling, or disposing of cases. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to reduce pendency and curtail litigation by the government, Union Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has written to all Union ministers and state chief ministers to launch ‘special arrears clearance drives’ to withdraw frivolous cases and minimise fresh litigation. The Centre has passed the directive after realising that its departments are litigants in nearly half (46 per cent) of the 3.14 crore litigations pending in different courts in the country.Prasad has asked all ministries to identify “frivolous and vexatious matters”, separate them from matters with merit, and take quick steps to either withdraw or dispose of them speedily”. “The government must cease to be a compulsive litigant and executive power should be made use of to reduce the grievances of future litigants,” Prasad has stated in the letter he wrote last week.Prasad also asked all ministries and states to submit quarterly compliance reports on reducing pendency by withdrawing, settling, or disposing of cases.

NHRC should focus on terror victims as well: ICJ member

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NHRC needs to focus on victims of terrorism as well while considering human rights violations and a lot needs to be done in this area, International Court of Justice (ICJ) member Dalveer Bhandari today said. Addressing a meeting of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and state rights commissions (SHRCs) here, he also pitched for holding a meeting of the chief ministers and the heads of SHRCs for ensuring better functioning. “A lot has been done by the NHRC and a lot more needs to be done. There are problems of human trafficking and homeless people sleeping in the streets. Then there is the acute water and air pollution. “NHRC also needs to focus on victims of terrorism, another area where a lot, lot needs to be done,” justice Bhandari said. At the NHRC foundation day event last year, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had also urged the body to look at cross-border terrorism victims through the prism of human rights, and examine these cases by going beyond the conventional perspective of violations. “This is one area where we will certainly step in. I will speak to the panel members on this subject definitely, as it (terrorism) is growing day in and day out,” NHRC Chairperson Justice (retd) H L Dattu, told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Take decision on undertrials: Centre to HCs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing concern over the increasing number of undertrial prisoners in jails across the country, the government has urged the high courts to take suo motu action for their release after they complete half of their likely term.Section 436A of the CrPC provides that if an undertrial has completed half of the likely term he is likely to get for the crime he has allegedly committed, then he or she can be granted bail with or without surety. It is not applicable on offence for which the punishment of death has been specified as one of the punishments under the law.In a recent letter to chief justices of the 24 high courts, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that they should advise the district judiciary to review all such cases and take suo motu action for their release. “I shall also be grateful if the high court ensures that the undertrial review committee mechanism, for periodic monitoring of undertrial releases, continues to effectively deliver its mandate, so that the basic human rights of the undertrials are not undermined,” he wrote.In September 2014, the Supreme Court had said that states should release all such undertrials who come under the ambit of Section 436A of the CrPC. According to National Crime Records Bureau estimates, 67% of the people in jails are undertrials — those not yet convicted of any crime.At 82.4 per cent, Bihar had the highest proportion of undertrials, followed by Jammu and Kashmir at 81.5, Odisha at 78.8, Jharkhand at 77.1 and Delhi at 76.7.Successive Union Law Ministers and Union Home Ministers have been regularly writing to high courts and state governments to review the status of undertrials.

Triple talaq: EC should take action against BJP, says AIMWPLB

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stating that the BJP was using the triple talaq issue for its “political interests”, All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board today said the Election Commission should take action against the saffron party. “BJP has included the triple talaq issue in its manifesto though it is under consideration of the Supreme Court and on February 5, senior minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked the opposition parties to clarify their views on it,” AIMWPLB President Shaista Amber said. “They are themselves a party in the case in the apex court which will take up the matter on February 14… using this issue as a political tool is wrong and EC needs to issue notice to BJP and Ravi Shankar Prasad for it,” she said. Senior BJP leader Prasad had on February 5 said that the Centre is committed to ending the “evil social practice” of triple talaq and had asked the Samajwadi Party, Congress and BSP to make their stand clear on the contentious issue. He had said the Centre might take appropriate steps to ban triple talaq after the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls as the tradition “denies” respect to women. The state goes to polls in seven phases starting February 11.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

CPI attacks Prasad over triple talaq, questions timing of his

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CPI today hit out at Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad accusing him of raising the issue of triple talaq “in view” of crucial Uttar Pradesh polls and sought to know as to what action the Election Commission will take in the matter. “It is a very serious matter because he is the Law Minister of the country. He has been raising this issue at this point of time…timing of this is important, this is being done in view of the forthcoming UP elections,” CPI Rajya Sabha member D Raja said. “(Now) it is for the EC to take note…am asking what the EC is going to do?” he asked. Senior BJP leader Prasad had yesterday said the Centre is committed to ending the “evil social practice” of triple talaq and had asked the Samajwadi Party, Congress and BSP to make their stand clear on the contentious issue. He had said the Centre might take appropriate steps to ban triple talaq after the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls as the tradition “denies” respect to women. The state goes to polls in seven phases starting February 11.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Centre to redraft bill on global child custody disputes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Months after the Centre junked its proposed law to resolve child custody disputes involving NRI parents it has now decided to redraft the legislation. At a national consultation held today, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi spoke about developing “a model legislation” to deal with the issue. “A large number of women married to Indians abroad are compelled to return to India with their children when they undergo violence in their marriages. “The problems being faced by the parents must be addressed and an effective mechanism for the same must be created. A model legislation to safeguard not only the interests of the child but also of the parents, especially women must also be developed,” she said in an official statement. At the meeting it was decided that Judicial Academy Chandigarh along with NRI Commission of Punjab will “examine legal issues” involved in international child custody disputes, said an official statement of the ministry. The exercise will be completed in four months. “It was decided that further deliberations should be done and the legislation should be redrafted. The existing draft law doesn’t have any teeth. Many judges present felt that there were defects in it,” said chairperson, NRI Commission of Punjab, Rakesh Kumar Garg who attended the meet. The ministry had prepared ‘Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Bill, 2016’ to deal with the issue and to facilitate accession to Hague Convention but it later abandoned the exercise and cited that it was against the interest of women. Signing the Hague treaty would have meant that the government will have to send back women, who have escaped bad marriages abroad and brought their children along with them to India, back to the country of the father’s residence. A report suggesting amendments to WCD’s proposed law was also submitted by Law Commission to Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in October last year. It had recommended a jail term of one year where a parent “wrongfully removes or retains a child either himself or through other person from the custody of another parent”.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Oppn targets govt over demonetisation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Targeting government over issues like demonetisation and Kashmir handling, Opposition today said it has been a “failure” on all fronts particularly in tackling black money, terrorism and fake currency, even as the ruling side contended that “metamorphosis of India is happening now”. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said in the Rajya Sabha that the goverment has imposed an “undeclared emergency” in the country and any criticism is being suppressed. Participating in a debate on Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, Azad said: “2016 has been a year of depression, recession, regression and suppression.” Members of other opposition parties like Samajwadi Party and Trinamool Congress also attacked the government over demonetisation, state of the economy and other aspects of governance. From the ruling side, Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad said during the previous Congress rule, the country had seen widespread corruption and the economy had been left in a dire condition. Hitting out at the government, Azad focussed his hour-long speech mainly on demonetisation, handling of Kashmir affairs and surgical strikes. “…We all talk about demonetisation or notebandi. …The President has appreciated demonetisation. …But the government has been a failure on all fronts — black money, terrorism and fake currency,” the Congress leader said. Azad talked about the problems people faced after demonetisation was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 last year and said the government does not even have “remorse” for coming out with such a policy which affected all. Maintaining that demonetistion had no impact on black money or fake currency, he said it was an “ill conceived” move as 135 circulars were issued to implement a single policy. “This may find a place in the Guiness Book of World Records.” (MORE)(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

PM Modi says demonetization will improve lives of poor; bats for transparency in political funding

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Playing the pro-poor card, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said they are the focus of his government and projected demonetisation as a long-term tool to fight black money and corruption to improve their lives.Serving the poor is serving the god, he said in his concluding address at the 2-day BJP National Executive meeting in which he invoked a Sanskrit shloka to say that he does not covet power, heaven or second life but longs to end the people’s sufferings.Modi again pitched for electoral reforms and sought a consensus among political parties, asserting that BJP will play a lead role in making political funding transparent as demonetisation and digital economy have ushered in a more transparent era.”BJP will be at the forefront of pushing transparency in political funding. People have a right to know where our funds are coming from,” he said.With opposition parties levelling corruption charges at BJP leadership following the note ban, he asked party leaders to welcome criticism but they should remain unfazed by accusations even as he underlined his humble origins and had lived poverty.Referring to coming assembly elections in five states, including the crucial Uttar Pradesh polls, Modi expressed confidence that the party will win there.He referred to the impressive Lucknow rally he had addressed a few days ago and his interactions with workers in his constituency Varanasi to make the point.The prime minister asked worked to focus effectively on booths, saying the more they work there the more fruits the party will harvest.”The situation is in our favour in the elections,” he said.It was the poor and his government to empower them which was the central theme of his 50-minute long speech.”The poor of our poor country have accepted this historic decision (demonetisation). They have accepted that it is an effective step to end social ills including corruption.”Accepting the hardships which came with the decision, they have welcome this historic step toward a great change,” Modi said, adding that the country has seen society’s strength in the last two months.Some people were concerned about improvement in their life style but priority of our government was to change the quality of the life of the poor, Modi said.Briefing the reporters, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Prime Minister asserted that the poor and poverty are not a tool for winning elections BJP and that it does not look at them through vote-bank glasses.Modi cited a string of government’s measures, including Jan Dhan accounts, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Swachh Bharat, and said the poor have inner strength to overcome poverty and his government has been working to empower them.Sources said he also asked party leaders to not seek poll tickets for their kin, saying organisation will take care of the exercise. Exhorting workers to win over the poor, Modi said BJP is blessed with lakhs of selfless functionaries connected to the ground and said they are not swayed by wind but are capable of changing its direction.Apparently responding to criticism that cash did not have a big share of black money, he said it was the source of all forms, like benami assets and gold, of black money.He invoked the party’s ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay, whose birth centenary is being celebrated by the government and the organisation, and said his government’s works are in line with his ‘garib kalyan’ agenda.Ravi Shankar Prasad said BJP will hold its next National Executive meeting on April 15-16.The Union Minister also said he felt few addresses at the national executive meetings have been as impressive as the Modi’s today and that many leaders shared his feelings.The party Good Governance department headed by Vinay Sahasrabuddhe gave a comparative presentation on state governments to claim that BJP-run states were more efficient.Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan gave a presentation on his government’s efforts to double farmers’ income while Union Minister Piyush Goyal spoke about digital economy.On concerns that the trading community, a traditional BJP vote bank, has been hit hard by demonetisation, party leadership said the exercise has also succeeded in attracting new voters, sources said. Noting that minorities suffer the most from illiteracy, Modi said his government’s welfare schemes touch all sections of society, especially the poor.He also sought to make a distinction between digital India and demonetisation, saying the former has been going on for a long period of time.

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