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BJP MPs to Chidu: Stop discussions on Aadhaar in panel

In a controversial move, on Wednesday, several BJP members in the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs asked its chairman P Chidambaram to stop discussions on the subject of privacy and national security of Aadhaar.A united opposition strongly objected to the BJP’s move in the committee meeting on Wednesday, highly-placed sources said.”The Committee was strongly divided on the issue with BJP members on one side and all the opposition parties’ members on the other side. The opposition was unequivocal in its stand that the subject matter on Aadhaar cannot be set aside or withdrawn. The meeting ended without any headway,” the source said.A BJP member was of the opinion that the subject can also be taken up by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, but the opposition members refused the proposition.Before taking up the issue in the meeting, about five to six BJP MPs — all members of the standing committee — had written a letter to Chidambaram, asking him to recuse himself from the matter, since he represented Jairam Ramesh as a counsel, who has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court on Aadhaar, sources added.A committee member said, the committee already has had four meetings on the same subject matter of privacy and security of Aadhaar, but did not face any issues by the BJP.

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Fee hike: Govt conducts inquiry against private school

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An inquiry was being conducted by the Delhi government against a private school in south Delhi on the issue of a fee hike which was raised by more than 600 parents. The AAP government informed the Delhi High Court on Tuesday that after the inquiry is completed, a comprehensive report would be provided by its Directorate of Education (DoE) to the parents in six weeks.A bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Deepa Sharma disposed of the petition filed by the parents and granted them liberty to approach the court if they were aggrieved by the views of the DoE.The court was hearing the petition in which the parents have alleged that a school in Greater Kailash-II in South Delhi was charging tuition, development and incremental fees in excess of what was permitted in law and sought a take over of its management by the government.The counsel for the parents’ association claimed that the school was raising the fees every year without the approval or sanction of DoE or any authority. He said a communication was also made to the Prime Minister in this regard.Delhi Government Standing Counsel Ramesh Singh submitted that a full-fledged inqury has been ordered to be conducted by the regional director regarding the grievances raised by the parents and a report would be given to them.The petition, filed through advocate RB Arora, alleged that the school was charging for books and uniforms and taking Rs 1,500 to 1,700 every year for stationery but there was no improvement in the standard of education and infrastructure.The plea has sought an audit of the school’s accounts from 2011-12 till date and demanded the takeover of its management by the DoE. It had also sought a refund of excess fee along with interest.

Bridge security: Parl panel to summon Railways’ top officials

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indicating its seriousness towards the issue of railway bridge safety, a parliamentary panel has asked top railway officials to appear before it. This is the second time the railway officials have been summoned in the past fortnight.The parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways, headed by Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay, has called the representatives of the Ministry of Railways to hear them on issues ranging from safety measures in railway operations to maintenance of bridges of foot over bridges that fall under the purview of the Railways.The committee, which first met on October 12, took up the issue as the matter of railway bridge security raised concerns in wake of the incident in Mumbai where 23 people were killed in a stampede at Elphinstone Road railway station. A few days later, a portion of a foot over bridge at Charni Road station in the city left two people injured.The panel first took up the issue on November 6 in which top officials of railway board were grilled about the security measures being taken by the department about railway bridges and their current status across the country.As a number of queries raised by members could not be answered on sport, the panel has again summoned the railway officials before it on November 20.Top Railway Board officials will brief the panel about both the issues—the safety measures undertaken by the department with regard to railway operations and also the maintenance of railway bridges.The parliamentary panel had in its earlier meeting also expressed its concern over the spate of train derailment incidents in the past few months.

R&B chairman seeks explanation for approved ‘rejected’ work

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Road and Building committee chairman has sought an explanation from the Deputy Municipal Commissioner Mukesh Gadhavi, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), on Monday over why the precast wall work rejected by the R&B committee got introduced and approved in the standing committee.Meanwhile, the Road and Building committee chairman Jatin Patel had rejected the precast wall (fencing for protection of AMC’s open plots) work for North Zone that was approved in the standing committee after bypassing the R&B’s earlier order.”There are some open plots under Town Planning (TP) scheme number 1, 2, 70, 71, 75, 109 and 121, for which a proposal was put for precast wall for protection before my committee. We had rejected that and demanded brick and mortar walls,” Jatin Patel said.He added, “The engineering department of the north zone had introduced the work bypassing our committee, and proposed the matter in the standing committee as an urgent one in October. Interestingly, the work in the road committee was of Rs24 lakh for seven town planning schemes’ open plot, but when it was approved in the standing committee, it was of Rs84 lakh for five town planning schemes’ open plots.’He said he has written a letter to the deputy municipal commissioner seeking an explanation.

BMC plans to lure commercial encroachers with compensation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The demolition of encroachments in Mumbai has always been a challenging job for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). One of the main obstructions faced by the civic body is that owners of the encroached structures which are eligible for rehabilitation do not easily agree for the alternate accommodation provided by the BMC.The BMC’s estate department has now worked on a revised policy of rehabilitation of commercial structures by offering them compensation in the form of ready reckoner rate of that area. This, the civic body says, will expedite the demolition process.BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, “We do not have enough places for rehabilitation of the eligible commercial structures so we thought of compensating them which will definitely speed up the demolition drives. I have already sent the proposal to the standing committee”.The revised policy for the rehabilitation of commercial structures was prepared three months ago, however it has not yet been presented to the standing committee.”The BMC has enough space for residential rehabilitation but not for commercial. If money is offered instead of alternate accommodation, the shop owners will get encouraged to evict the place. We expect this policy to be sanctioned by the corporation soon to expedite the demolition of encroachments in Mumbai”, said a senior civic officer, requesting anonymity.”The ready reckoner rate is applicable to shops with a maximum area of 225 sq feet. If the area of the commercial structure is 250 or 300 sq feet big, rate will be paid for 225 sq feet area as that is the maximum area limit for alternate accommodation. The policy was made three to four months ago but is yet to be sanctioned by the standing committee. If the revised policy is implemented, the demolition drives will speed up,” said an official from the civic ward.Despite repeated attempts, BMC’s standing committee chairman Ramesh Korgankar (Shiv Sen) was unavailable for comment.MONETARY WINThe BMC’s estate department has worked on a revised policy that offers commercial structures compensation in the form of ready reckoner rate of the area. The revised policy was prepared three months ago, however it has not yet been presented to the standing committee.

Growing Chinese presence in Doklam raises concerns

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Members of various political parties, including Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, raised questions over reports of China maintaining a sizeable presence of its troops near the site of the Doklam standoff as a Parliamentary panel on Monday took up briefings from top officers of ministries of Defence, Home and External Affairs.The matter came up when the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, chaired by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, examined the issue of Sino-india relations, including Doklam, the border situation and co-operation in international organizations.The briefing was made by officials on the topic ‘Sino-India Boundary Disputes and Border Security including Doklam’.Officials who briefed the panel included Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra and Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba.A media report recently showed satellite images of Chinese troop build-up near standoff point on the Doklam plateau. Alluding to it, Rahul Gandhi, according to sources, asked the government officials about reports in media that China is augmenting its military presence in areas close to Doklam.Responding to it, the foreign secretary said the Chinese army is within its own territory and even Indian forces are present on the other side in good number.A source said some members also raised questions about growth possibility of trade between the two countries vis-a-vis road construction activitiesThe over two-and-half-month-long stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam had begun mid-June over the Chinese Army constructing a road close to the tri-junction.At the height of the controversy, the government had held two special briefings on the issue for Opposition members the same month during which both sides have batted for resolving the issue diplomatically.The panel, which had earlier also discussed the issue on October 18, has now decided to call experts for a briefing on the issue of Sino-India relations in the next meeting.Monday’s meeting was attended by only odd a dozen of the total 30 members in the panel, prompting a BJP MP to ask Tharoor questions about quorum for holding such a meeting.In the panel’s last meeting as well, Gandhi had asked a number of questions to the government regarding the Doklam issue.BJP had in past attacked Gandhi when he had met the Chinese Ambassador in Delhi in July during the peak of the Indo China row over Doklam. Gandhi had defended the move saying It was his job to be informed on critical issues.SINO-INDIAN RELATIONSThe matter came up in a meeting of Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs
The committee is chaired by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor
The meeting was held on the topic ‘Sino-India Boundary Dispute, including Doklam.
The panel has decided to call in experts for a briefing in the next meeting

Paucity of fund delays makeover of city’s rly bridges

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite completion of five years, the implementation of Kakodkar Committee report on railway safety including the strengthening and widening of foot over and rail over bridges is yet to gather steam. This apart, the railway ministry has to initiate visible action in a meaningful way on the recommendations on safety in particular made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways and scathing report by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India.The Kakodkar Committee in its report submitted in 2012 had classified some bridges situated in Mumbai and rest of country as distressed structures and those in vulnerable conditions. The committee had asked the railway ministry to complete their strengthening in a time bound manner. However, officer at the ministry of railway admitted that the expansion of existing bridges has yet to be completed due to paucity of funds.The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways in its report submitted in December last year observed that expenditure on safety cannot be compromised with at any time and should always be kept on a high priority. “The Committee however, finds that surprisingly the percentage of expenditure on safety has remained rather static, and is around 20%. The Committee wish to remind the railway ministry that a rail accident does not merely involve damage to rail infrastructure alone. There is a huge cost to society as well, society pays dearly through lost lives, lost livelihood, loss of productivity, disability, medical expenses, disruption of traffic, loss of the wagons.” Further, the Committee recommended that not only the railway ministry should optimally utilise the available funds for safety issues but take up the matter of higher allocations for safety at the highest level in the Ministry of Finance.

EDMC rolls back property tax hike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a major relief to commercial taxpayers, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) has finally rolled back the hike in property tax. The Corporation’s Standing Committee on Thursday unanimously approved the rollback in the hike, which was as much as 16 to 18 times for some categories of commercial and semi-commercial properties. The Corporation will this year allow a period of 45 days after the collection of taxes for 2017-18 financial years is announced, so that taxpayers can pay the dues on the previous rates itself.“The Standing Committee has passed the rollback in the hike. This will come as a relief to property owners. The issue had been pending for some time because of elections and delay in constitution of committees,” said Neema Bhagat, mayor, EDMC. The rollback aws proposed in a meeting last September itself. However, since municipal elections were due this year and there was a delay in the constitution of the Standing Committee post-elections, a decision on the issue was pending.No proposal can be cleared without the approval of the Standing Committee. The increase in taxes was proposed last year by the Third Municipal Valuation Committee, which had suggested a rejig in property categories.

Cabinet reshuffle: Here’s all you need to know about nine new ministers sworn-in

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four junior ministers — Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Dharmendra Pradhan, Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal were elavated to the cabinet rank and nine fresh faces inducted as Ministers of State in a major rejig of his team by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The new ministers of state sworn in by President Ram Nath Kovind at a ceremony in the Rashtrapati Bhavan include Virendra Kumar, Anant Kumar Hegde and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, former IAS officers Alphons Kannanthanam and R K Singh, former diplomat Hardeep Puri and ex-Mumbai police chief Satyapal Singh.Nine of the ministers, who are to join the cabinet include Shiv Pratap Shukla from UP, Ashwini Choubey and RK Singh from Bihar, Virendra Kumar from Madhya Pradesh, Ananthkumar Hegde from Karnataka, former IFS officer Hardeep Singh Puri, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat from Rajasthan, Satya Pal Singh, who was the former commissioner of the Mumbai police, and Kerala’s Alphons Kallnanthanan.Here’s a little bit about each of themShiv Pratap Shukla: Shukla is a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh. He is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development. Elected as a Member of the UP Legislative Assembly for four consecutive terms, he served as a Cabinet Minister in the Uttar Pradesh government for 8 years, and is known for his work in Rural Development, Education and Prison reform during his tenure.Ashwini Kumar Choubey: Choubey is a Lok Sabha MP from Bihar’s Buxar. Currently, he is a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Estimates and Standing Committee on Energy. Choubey has been elected for 5 consecutive terms to the Bihar Legislative Assembly. He has helped construct 11,000 toilets for Mahadalit families in the region.Dr Virendra Kumar: A Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh’s Tikamgah, Kumar is six-time member of the lower house. He is the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour, and has been Chairman of the Joint Committee on Office of Profit and a Member of National Social Security Board.Anantkumar Hegde: Hegde is a Lok Sabha MP from Uttara Kannada, Karnataka. He is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs and Human Resource Development. Having been elected as an MP for the first time at the young age of 28 years, Anantkumar Hedge is now a 5th term Lok Sabha MP. During his multiple stints in Parliament, he has been a member of multiple Parliamentary Standing Committees including the likes of Finance, Home Affairs, Human Resource Development, Commerce, Agriculture and External Affairs.Raj Kumar Singh: Singh is a Lok Sabha MP from Arrah, Bihar. He is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committees on Health and Family Welfare, Personnel, Pensions and Public Grievances and Law & Justice. A well-read man, Raj Kumar Singh studied English Literature at St. Stephens College, New Delhi, and got a Bachelors Degree in Law thereafter. He also went on to study at the RVB Delft University in Netherlands.Hardeep Singh Puri: A former IFS officer, Puri is the President and Chairman of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) think tank, and was the Vice President of International Peace Institute, New York.Gajendra Singh Shekhawat: A Lok Sabha MP from Jodhpur, Shekhawat is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and Chairperson of the Fellowship Committee. Known for his simple life style, he is one of the most followed political leaders on Quora globally.Satya Pal Singh: A Lok Sabha MP from Baghpat, UP, former Mumbai police commissioner Satya Pal Singh is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs and Chairperson of the Joint Committee on Offices of Profit.Alphons Kannanthanam: An IAS officer from Kerala cadre, Kannanthanam is a practicing advocate. He was also commissioner of Delhi Development Authority where cleared DDA areas of encroachment removing around 15,000 illegal buildings. This got him listed in Time Magazine’s list of 100 Young Global Leaders in 1994.

Cabinet reshuffle: All you need to know about ministers likely to be inducted

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nine of the ministers, who are to join the cabinet, as part of Prime Minister Naerendra Modi’s cabinet reshuffle, were named on Saturday night. These include Shiv Pratap Shukla from UP, Ashwini Choubey and RK Singh from Bihar, Virendra Kumar from Madhya Pradesh, Ananthkumar Hegde from Karnataka, former IFS officer Hardeep Singh Puri, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat from Rajasthan, Satya Pal Singh, who was the former commissioner of the Mumbai police, and Kerala’s Alphons KallnanthananHere’s a little bit about each of the named leadersShiv Pratap Shukla: Shukla is a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh. He is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development. Elected as a Member of the UP Legislative Assembly for four consecutive terms, he served as a Cabinet Minister in the Uttar Pradesh government for 8 years, and is known for his work in Rural Development, Education and Prison reform during his tenure.Ashwini Kumar Choubey: Choubey is a Lok Sabha MP from Bihar’s Buxar. Currently, he is a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Estimates and Standing Committee on Energy. Choubey has been elected for 5 consecutive terms to the Bihar Legislative Assembly. He has helped construct 11,000 toilets for Mahadalit families in the region.Dr Virendra Kumar: A Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh’s Tikamgah, Kumar is six-time member of the lower house. He is the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour, and has been Chairman of the Joint Committee on Office of Profit and a Member of National Social Security Board.Anantkumar Hegde: Hegde is a Lok Sabha MP from Uttara Kannada, Karnataka. He is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs and Human Resource Development. Having been elected as an MP for the first time at the young age of 28 years, Anantkumar Hedge is now a 5th term Lok Sabha MP. During his multiple stints in Parliament, he has been a member of multiple Parliamentary Standing Committees including the likes of Finance, Home Affairs, Human Resource Development, Commerce, Agriculture and External Affairs.Raj Kumar Singh: Singh is a Lok Sabha MP from Arrah, Bihar. He is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committees on Health and Family Welfare, Personnel, Pensions and Public Grievances and Law & Justice. A well-read man, Raj Kumar Singh studied English Literature at St. Stephens College, New Delhi, and got a Bachelors Degree in Law thereafter. He also went on to study at the RVB Delft University in Netherlands.Hardeep Singh Puri: A former IFS officer, Puri is the President and Chairman of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) think tank, and was the Vice President of International Peace Institute, New York.Gajendra Singh Shekhawat: A Lok Sabha MP from Jodhpur, Shekhawat is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and Chairperson of the Fellowship Committee. Known for his simple life style, he is one of the most followed political leaders on Quora globally.Satya Pal Singh: A Lok Sabha MP from Baghpat, UP, former Mumbai police commissioner Satya Pal Singh is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs and Chairperson of the Joint Committee on Offices of Profit.Alphons Kannanthanam: An IAS officer from Kerala cadre, Kannanthanam is a practicing advocate. He was also commissioner of Delhi Development Authority where cleared DDA areas of encroachment removing around 15,000 illegal buildings. This got him listed in Time Magazine’s list of 100 Young Global Leaders in 1994.

Hasan Ali Money Laundering: ED raids 4 places

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Enforcement Directorate (ED), on Thursday, raided four locations in Mumbai in connection with a money laundering investigation against Pune-based stud-farm owner Hasan Ali Khan. The agency had booked 62-year-old Khan and some of his associates under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) . The action against Ali and his associates comes after a lull of almost six-years when he was first booked by the agency in 2011. Ali was also arrested in March 2011 on charges of anti-money laundering charges. He came out on bail in August, 2015.Earlier this year, the CBI had registered a case against Hasan on charges of criminal conspiracy and corruption and interrogated him in a case of financial irregularity in Pune. “In an alleged collusion with the income tax officials, Khan had lowered the value of his illegal assets and wealth ” a CBI official said.Khan, who also deals in scrap material, owes a tax of Rs 1.65 thosand crore — a staggering debt that is the largest recovery amount case in Indian tax history.According to the 16th report of the Standing Committee of Finance presented before the Lok Sabha on July 31, Khan owes Rs 1,65,665 crore as tax arrears. This is more than three times owed by share market scamsters — Harshad Mehta, Ketan Parikh and BC Dalal — who together have tax arrears of Rs 40,986 crore. The four, whose cases are pending in different courts, together owe over Rs 2 lakh crore.Alarmed by the rapid rise in tax arrears, the committee observed, “Recovery on these cases by operation of income tax alone is not possible.” Besides, even assets of these scamsters do not tally with what they owe to the tax department.Khan’s tax liabilities amount to 25% of the total direct tax arrears of Rs 6.74 lakh crore.The IT department had raised a demand of Rs70,000 crore against the Hasan Ali group in 2007 on the basis of three transactions with the UBS bank. Khan, the son of an excise official, made headlines in December 2006 when the Mumbai IT investigation wing raided several Khan’s premises, including Kolkata, on suspicion of a huge money laundering racket.

Will not seek review of NALSA verdict: Vijay Sampla

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Minister of state for social justice and empowerment Vijay Sampla on Tuesday told the Parliament that the Centre will not seek a review of the NALSA judgement.”The Hon’ble Supreme Court in its judgment dated April 15, 2014, in WP(C) 400/2012(NLSA Vs.UOI) directed, inter-alia, the Centre and state governments to take steps to treat transgenders as socially and educationally backward classes of citizens and extend all kinds of reservation in cases of admission in educational institutions and for public appointments. The Central government is not seeking review of the said judgment,” said Sampla, in response to a query posted by Palakkad MP MB Rajesh.Rajesh had asked the Centre whether it has prepared a draft of a national policy on transgenders and asked for details if they had. He also wanted to know about measures taken up by the government to prevent abuse of transgenders and atrocities against them.In response, Sampla said that the Centre has drafted The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, in consultation with concerned stakeholders, and submitted it to the Lok Sabha Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment for examination.In its report, tabled on July 21, the Committee, headed by BJP MP Ramesh Bais slammed the Bill, saying that it has not adequately addressed the issues of homophobia against the LGBTIQ community, as the transgender community are still under the “risk of criminalisation under Section 377 of the IPC”.”The Bill does not refer to important civil rights like marriage and divorce, adoption, etc., which are critical to transgender persons’ lives and reality, wherein many are engaged in marriage-like relations, without any legal recognition from the state,” the report states.Still unequalLok Sabha Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment slammed the Bill, saying that it has not adequately addressed the issues of homophobia against the LGBTIQ community as the transgender community are still under the “risk of criminalisation under Section 377 of the IPC”.

Cong, DMK want Motor bill to be referred to Select Committee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress and the DMK today demanded in the Rajya Sabha that a bill aimed at bringing radical reforms in the transport sector be referred to a Select Committee of the House for proper scrutiny. The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2017, passed by the Lok Sabha last year, was listed in the legislative business for the Upper House during post-lunch session. However, it could not be taken up in the absence of Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari. The bill aims at bringing radical reforms in the transport sector like heavier fines for traffic rules violation, improve licensing system, protect the good samaritans and check bogus vehicle theft cases. Congress and DMK members insisted that the government should move a motion to refer the bill to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha. However, Deputy chairman P J Kurien said it could not be done in the absence of the minister concerned. Congress leader Anand Sharma said: “Not being taken up (the bill) today does not settle the matter.” The issue was discussed in the Business Advisory Committee last week, he said, adding many parties had raised concerns and reservation that the Standing Committee’s suggestions were not accepted fully. The Opposition had made it clear that it needs to be examined by a Select Committee, he said. “A decision should be taken by the House. It should not be kept in animated suspension. We need a ruling on this.” To which, Kurien said: “For moving a motion like that, the concerned minister should come and move the bill first. Then only a motion can be moved,” he said. He also said that even Parliamentary Affairs Minister cannot do on behalf of an absentee minister. Sharma said he does not want surprises and get “stumped” by the government as had happened in earlier occasion. “We don’t want that situation again.” Thiruchi Siva (DMK) also demanded that the bill be referred to a Select Panel. Meanwhile, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi assured the Opposition members that their concerns will be conveyed to the minister concerned.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Highlights of Parliamentary committee recommendations for Transgenders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice And Empowerment, headed by the Chairperson Ramesh Bais, in its report presented in the Lok Sabha has asked the Government to clearly define a transgender person. The Committee in its 43rd report has asked the Government to consider suitably incorporating the committee?s suggestions in “The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016” which will have a direct bearing on the welfare of transgender persons. Here are the highlights of the historic report of the Committee: Transgender: the background: – The eunuch has a recorded history of over 2,000 years, are ubiquitous in India, standing out in crowds throughout the length and breadth of the country. – The term ‘eunuch’ refers to only those people who wish to be treated as neither male nor female and embrace a lifestyle that is in conformity with their sexual divergence. – For most Indians today, eunuch are ‘diabolic creatures’, a source of eternal disgust and perennial fear. ?Hijra? ? The word used to abuse – They are looked upon as hapless and strange creatures, bereft of sexual potency. – This is evident from the way the word ‘hijra’ is used in the day-to-day conversations of people. It is often found being used to abuse people. – Even dictionaries in Hindi define hijra in derogatory terms. The very utterance of the word carries with it an obvious sense of denigration. In India they are a stigmatised, socially marginalised and economically impoverished people. Not intersex male or female – This group does not include those intersex people who pretend to lead their lives as either males or females and embrace a normal lifestyle. Status in West – Intersexual people are not visibly distinguishable in the West. Status in India – India and other South Asian countries are the only places where the tradition of eunuchs is prevalent today. – Eunuchs in the Indian subcontinent are found to dress and behave differently, in addition to living apart in bands and groups. Population of Eunuchs – The number of eunuchs in India is around 19 lakhs approximately, as of March 1, 2011, according to a survey carried out by Salvation Of Oppressed Eunuchs (SOOE). – However, as per Census of India 2011, the population of persons who has registered as ‘others’ as their gender (Neither male nor female) constitutes 4,87,803 only. Status in the society – Transgender community is one of the most marginalized communities in the country because they do not fit into the general categories of gender of male or female. – The transgender face problems ranging from social exclusion to discrimination, lack of education facilities, unemployment, lack of medical facilities and so on. – They face problems ranging from social exclusion to discrimination, lack of education facilities, unemployment, lack of medical facilities and so on. – The discrimination based on their class and gender makes the ‘Transgender’ community one of the most disempowered and deprived groups in Indian Society. What constitution says? – The Constitution of India under Article 14 guarantees to all persons equality before law, Clauses (1) and (2) of Article 15 and Clause (2) of Article 16, inter alia prohibit in express terms discrimination on the ground only of sex and sub-clause (a) of Clause (1) of Article 19 ensures freedom of speech and expression to all citizens, yet the discrimination and atrocities against the transgender persons continue to take place. Recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee – A transgender person should have the option to choose either ‘man’, ‘woman’ or ‘transgender’ as well as have the right to choose any of the options independent of surgery/hormones. – The Bill must recognize transgender persons’ right to marriage, partnership, divorce and adoption, as governed by their personal laws or other relevant legislation. – A definition of ‘discrimination’ should be included, in Chapter I of the Bill which must cover a range of violations that transgender persons face. – No child who is a transgender shall be separated from his or her parents or immediate family on the ground of being a transgender except on an order of a competent Court, in the interest of such child. – However, a Transgender Person, after becoming an adult may have his choice of residing anywhere. – Where any parent or a member of his immediate family is unable to take care of a transgender child or the child does not want to live with them, the competent court shall make every effort, if need be, by an order, to place such child with his or her extended family, or in the Community in a family setting or rehabilitation centre. – The District Magistrate shall issue a certificate of identity the gender of such person only as ‘transgender’. – The Bill is silent on granting reservations to transgender persons under the category of socially and educationally backward classes of citizens. – The Bill does not refer to important civil rights like marriage and divorce, adoption, etc, which are critical to transgender persons’ lives and reality, wherein many are engaged in marriage like relations, without any legal recognition from the State. – There should be separate HIV Sero-surveillance Centres since hijras/transgenders face several sexual health issues operated by Centre and State Governments. ( – There should be a provision to provide the transgender persons separate public toilets and other such facilities. – There should be counselling services provided to the transgender persons to cope up with trauma and violence on the model of Rape and Crisis Intervention Centres. – Helping for career guidance and online placement support should be established. – Definition of ‘persons with intersex variations’ should be given as “Persons who at birth show variations in their primary sexual characteristics, external genetalia, chromosomes, hormones from the normative standard of female or male body are referred to as persons with intersex variations”. – A provision providing penal action against abortions of intersex foetuses and forced surgical assignment of sex of intersex infants should be there in the Bill. – A provision for separate frisking zones of transgender persons at public places such as airport, Government and private office complex, etc. should be there. For this purpose, transgender persons should be appointed. – Transgender persons remain at risk of criminalization under Section 377. The Bill must at the very least recognize the rights of transgender persons to partnership and marriage. – The Bill must recognize transgender persons’ right to marriage, partnership, divorce and adoption, as governed by their personal laws or other relevant legislation. – A census for transgender persons is a separate exercise from the drafting of guidelines for self-registration. The Census can be proceeded with independently(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

No shame in being transgender, they should have option to choose gender: Parliamentary panel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice And Empowerment has recommended that a transgender should have the option to choose their gender independent of surgery or hormones.The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 defines a transgender as someone who is neither wholly female not wholly male, a combination of female or male or neither female nor male and whose sense of gender does not match with the gender assigned to the person at the time of birth.The committee felt that the proposed definition of transgender in the bill is in stark contrast to global developments, where transgenders have been granted the right to self determine and to seek benefits according to such identity.”More so, it not only violates the fundamental rights to equality, dignity, autonomy, but also freedom of transgender persons guaranteed under Article 14, 19 and 21 of the constitution,” the committee said.It further observed the definition of transgender was unscientific and primitive and based on biological attributes.It said the definition fails to recognise that many persons are born with ambiguous or typical sexual organs, whether external or internal, and identify themselves as male, female or transgender.The standing committee also recommended a change in Clause 2(c) in bill which defines “inclusive education” for transgenders.”Inclusive education means a system of education wherein transgender and gender non-conforming students along with other students learn together without the fear of bullying, singling out and other forms of harassment and the system of teaching and learning is suitably adapted to meet the learning needs of such students,” it said.The committee also recommended that a definition of ‘discrimination’ be included in chapter I of the Bill which must cover a range of violations that transgenders face.It also recommended that central and state governments and civil society should adopt measures for generating awareness regarding transgenders.The committee headed by Ramesh Bais, also stated that it would like to assure and remind all the members of the transgender community that “a historic shift is underway, you are not alone in your struggle for the end of violence and discrimination.”It is a shared struggle. Transgender is not an anomaly. It is a part of the spectrum of people’s realities. While there is no shame in being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex or even straight – there is a must shame and dishonour in being a homophobe, a transphobe and a bigot.”

SDMC mayor writes to LG, CM over identification of wards

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) Mayor Kamaljeet Sehrawat today wrote to Lt Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal regarding identification of municipal wards falling under it. In her letter to Baijal and Kejriwal, Sehrawat alleged the notification was pending with the AAP government and sought their intervention in the matter. “Consequently, various committees, such as, Standing Committee, Wards Committee and various other constitutional committees of SDMC are also pending. “Due to non-constitution of committees, the corporation is not able to carry out works, causing delay in various decisions of public interest,” she said in the letter. She said, “I shall be grateful if you could intervene in the matter and expedite notification in the best interest of public of Delhi.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Only 7% rise in transactions through cards post Demonetistion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Transactions through debit and credit cards rose by merely seven per cent post demonetisation, as against a surge of over 23 per cent in overall digital transactions, top government officials told a parliamentary panel. Officials from various ministries gave a presentation to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance on ‘Demonetisation and Transformation towards Digital Economy’. The digital transactions in all modes increased by 23 per cent to 27.5 million in May 2017 from 22.4 million in November 2016, according to the presentation, a copy of which is with(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Chidambaram ribs RBI for buying note counting machines after 8

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram today took a dig at the RBI for buying note- counting machines eight months after demonetisation and asked the federal bank if it had heard of “leasing” equipment. “RBI buying note counting machines 8 months after demonetisation! Has RBI not heard of ‘leasing’,” he tweeted. Chidambaram also poked fun at the NDA’s Mudra scheme, which the government claims has provided self-employment opportunities to over 7 crore people, especially the youth. “‘7.28 crore youth self-employed under MUDRA loan scheme’ — that is title of mythological serial beginning today. Scriptwriters may apply,” he posted on Twitter today. The former finance minister has been critical of the government’s demonetisation decision and has said it has hit the country’s economy and growth prospects. RBI Governor Urjit Patel, while appearing before a Parliamentary panel, is understood to have said the deposited banned notes were still being counted and therefore he was not in a position to give a figure on the scrapped currency that was back in the system. Appearing before the Standing Committee on Finance yesterday, Patel did not provide any “specific number” on the amount of money that had been deposited post-demonetisation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on November 8 banned 500-rupee and 1000-rupee currency notes.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Somaiya seeks addl Railway Claim Tribunal bench for Mumbai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP MP Kirit Somaiya today sought an additional bench of Railway Claim Tribunal (RCT) for the megapolis. The MP representing North East Mumbai put forth his demand before the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Railways, which is one a two-day visit here. “I have been pursuing this case (for an additional bench of RCT) since long and raised this issue with the Prime Minister’s Office,” he told reporters here. According to the MP, he apprised the Committee about the cases which are pending in the Mumbai RCT since the last six years. He claimed that in other RCT’s victims get compensation in maximum six months and in Mumbai’s RCT cases of 2011 are being heard. The MP also claimed that in Mumbai city, 30 causalities take place every day on railway tracks. “Considering this, setting up of additional RCT would definitely bring a great relief to the people,” he said. Somaiya said the Modi government has enhanced compensation amount being given to the rail accident victim. “Since 1993, the maximum amount of the compensation was Rs four lakh, but the Modi government amended the rules and enhanced the amount to Rs eight lakh in case of death or loss of hand and foot caused in train accident.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Chinese lawmakers stress solemnity of national anthem

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China’s lawmakers today deliberated a draft law on the national anthem, stipulating that it should be played during major diplomatic and sports events. Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), joined the deliberation. A draft was submitted to the NPC Standing Committee for the first reading at the start of its bi-monthly session, which runs until Tuesday. Legislating for the national anthem will be conducive to enhancing citizens’ patriotism and upholding national dignity, said Huang Qifan, vice chairman of the NPC Financial and Economic Affairs Committee. The national anthem should be played or sung at the opening sessions and closing sessions of the NPC and local people’s congresses at all levels, and that of national committee and local committees of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, constitutional oath ceremonies, as well as flag raising ceremonies, major celebrations, awards ceremonies, commemorations and national memorial day events held by governments at all levels. Important diplomatic activities, major sports activities and other proper events should also play the national anthem, the draft said. Zheng Gongcheng, a member of the NPC Standing Committee, said that opening and graduation ceremonies at schools should be added to the clause. The national anthem should be included in music textbooks for first-grade students at primary schools, according to the draft. Su Hui, another member of the committee, suggested that the song should be an important part of kindergarten education. According to the draft, those who maliciously modify the lyrics or play or sing the national anthem in a distorted or disrespectful way may face detention for up to 15 days. Sun Zhijun, a member of the committee, suggested that cases of gross violation shall be investigated for criminal responsibility, as the similar clause has been listed in the country’s national flag law and national emblem law.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

New app to end vector-borne diseases

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) Mayor Kamaljeet Sehrawat launched a new application called Vector Borne Disease Control (VBDC) to cover 16 vulnerable wards identified on the basis of substantial breeding data localities on Monday. The aim was to develop a micro plan to completely eradicate the challenge of mosquitoes resulting in diseases like dengue and chikungunya.Deputy Mayor Kailash Sankla, Standing Committee Member Bhupender Gupta, Leader of House Shikha Rai, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Matiala and Commissioner Dr Puneet Kr Goel were also present at the launching event.Mayor Kamaljeet Sehrawat said, “It is important to visit each and every house on or before 7th day (life cycle of mosquitoes) to identify breeding sites and its destruction.” She also suggested that Dengue Breeding Checkers (DBCs) should work on Saturdays and Sundays as they could be provided an off in one of the week days.

Par panel headed by Renuka Chowdhury likely to review clearance for GM mustard’s commercial cultivation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A parliamentary panel headed by Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury is likely to review the clearance given for the commercial cultivation of the genetically-modified mustard by the central biotech regulator GEAC.Last week, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), under the Environment Ministry, recommended the GM mustard for commercial cultivation. The final approval is yet to be given by Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave.The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests, headed by Chowdhury is likely to review the GM crops and their environmental impact, an official source said.The committee has deliberated upon this subject several times and is likely to meet this month to review the clearance given by the GEAC for GM mustard’s commercial cultivation, the source added.Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP), Delhi University South Campus, had submitted an application to the GEAC for the environmental release of GM mustard (brassica juncea) hybrid DMH-11.The environment ministry had received over 700 comments from various stakeholders, including farmers and researchers, on the Assessment of Food and Environmental Safety (AFES) report on GM mustard which it had earlier posted on the ministry website.The application was submitted in 2015 after which several rounds of meeting were held by the GEAC.The sub-committee also convened meetings with experts.The GEAC had also heard the views of various NGOs which are not in favour of giving an approval to GM crops. Among the opponents were organisations affiliated to the RSS.GM mustard is the second genetically modified food crop after Bt Brinjal that has obtained all required regulatory approvals and reached the Environment Minister’s table for clearance.Former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had refused clearance to Bt Brinjal and put an indefinite moratorium on the decision.

BJP files nomination for north mayor’s post, other parties stay away

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In what seems to be a mere formality for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has a clear majority in all three municipal corporations, its councillors filed nominations for the upcoming mayoral polls to the North Delhi Municipal Corporation on Thursday. Preety Aggarwal, 43, Councillor from Rohini-F ward, filed the nomination for the post of mayor.The polls are scheduled to be held on May 18. Aggarwal is expected to be elected unopposed as both the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress did not file their nominations for the post on the last day.Vijay Bhagat, who won from Swami Sharda Nand Colony, filed his nomination for the post of deputy mayor. BJP was the only party to file nomination for this coveted post as well.The BJP had a sweeping majority in all three corporations — south, north and east — winning 181 of the total 272 seats in the recent municipal elections. The AAP and Congress trailed behind with 48 and 30 seats, respectively.Aggarwal said her focus will be to work on the lines of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachhta Mission, and her litmus test as north Delhi mayor would be to deal with the outbreak of vector-borne diseases in the coming monsoon season.”I have started awareness campaigns in schools and outside religious establishments to connect to more women in this regard. I am already having daily meetings with safai karamcharis and domestic breeding checkers to clean drains and check for water stagnation. I will make sure that we are fully prepared for the season this time,” said Aggarwal, who has been the party’s Mahila Morcha member.She further said that her focus will be on the 3S — Swachhta (cleanliness), Shiksha (education), and Swasthya (health).Of the total seven nominations filed for six posts in the Standing Committee — the statutory and most powerful committee in the corporation responsible for policy making — five were from the BJP, and one each from the Congress and the AAP. Congress’Seema Tahira, corporator from Sitaram Bazar, and AAP’s Wazirabad councillor filed nominations for the Committee. BJP’s Tilakraj Kataria from Shalimar Bagh (south) filed nomination for the post of Chairman of the Standing Committee and Ramesh Kumar Valmiki from East Patel Nagar filed his nomination for the post of Vice-Chairman of the committee.For other member posts, BJP councillors Jai Prakash, Aadesh Kumar Gupta, and Jayendra Dabas filed their nominations.All three corporations are set to have women mayors. As per the Delhi Municipal Act, in the first year of the new corporation, the posts of mayor are reserved for women.The mayoral elections for south and east Corporations are scheduled for May 19 and 22, respectively.

BJP MLA posts selfie as houses are gutted behind him

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A BJP MLA in Rajasthan today drew intense flak after he posted a selfie on Facebook taken during a fire incident in which several houses were gutted in his contituency in Bharatpur district. Bachchu Singh, who represent Bayana assembly seat, later removed the controversial picture taken in front of houses that were engulfed in flames but claimed that he had posted it only to inform officials that he was on the site. “It was not a selfie,” he insisted, when asked if it was proper for him to have acted in such a way while he was surrounded by victims of the fire incident on Tuesday. After he was informed about the fire incident in Nagla Moroli Daang area of Bayana town, the MLA had rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation. He assured the victims of all necessary help. Standing in middle of the crowd, the MLA, however, took out his mobile phone for a “selfie”, eyewitnesses said. Though many present on spot were surprised by the MLA’s action, no one spoke at that time, they said. But after he posted the photograph on Facebook, objections came flooding. “This is not the time to take selfie, one user said while another added, “It would have been better if you had poured two buckets of water to douse the fire. The MLA initially tried to explain away but later removed the photograph. When(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Gaps in bill brought by UPA causing delay in Lokpal: MoS PMO

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union minister Jitendra Singh today said the Lokpal bill brought by the previous UPA government was drafted in a haste and had a number of gaps, which is causing delay in its implementation. His assertion assumes significance as the Supreme Court had recently observed that the proposed Lokpal is a “workable piece of legislation” and it was not justifiable to keep its operation pending. Dispelling suggestions from certain quarters that the Lokpal Bill has been delayed under the present government, Singh said, the matter of fact is that the bill brought by UPA-II “was drafted in a haste, which left a number of gaps”. For example, there was no clarity that in the absence of a recognised Leader of Opposition who would replace him as member of selection committee to choose chief and members of Lokpal, he said. Similarly, the tenure for the appointment of the jurist member in the selection committee was left undefined, said the Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office. In order to overcome these pitfalls, he said, the Lokpal amendment bill was brought in Parliament but on the advice of all the parties, including from the Opposition like Congress, it was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee, and hence the delay. “Now that the bill has been sent by the Standing Committee with its recommendations, the follow up will be done accordingly,” Singh said, addressing an event organised by Central Vigilance Commission. He said that “incorruptibility” is the ultimate remedy against corruption. “The final goal in the drive against corruption cannot be achieved simply by eradication of corruption but by achieving a state of mind which is incorruptible,” he said. In the last three years, Singh said, the approach of the Modi government has been two-fold — an approach towards zero corruption and adequate protection to officials who perform their duty with diligence and competence without indulging in any unethical or corrupt practices. Citing some examples, he said, beginning January 1, 2016, under the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the “courageous” decision to abolish the practice of holding interviews for selection to junior-level and non-gazetted posts was taken. “This single decision has gone a long way in checking nepotism and favouritism in appointments and has at the same time, also brought about considerable saving to the public exchequer,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

JICA drainage & sewerage projects in Cuttack to end in Sep’18

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Work on the drainage and sewerage projects of Cuttack city, undertaken by a Japanese governmental agency, going on for the last five years would be completed in September 2018. This was informed by a high-level team of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to a Standing Committee of Odisha Assembly on Tuesday. Following a public outcry during last monsoon, the agency had announced that the work in both the projects (drainage and sewerage) would be over by 2017. But, after the agency s latest status report, the people of Cuttack city, will have to endure the woes for two more rainy seasons. Due to the digging up of roads and drains under the project, snapping of electric cables and telephone cables are quite common besides inconveniencing pedestrians. The same House Committee, which had reviewed the progress of the Jica project last year, had expressed deep concern over the delay in the completion of the work. The project work have also damaged the underground drinking water pipes at many places thereby hampering the supply of potable water. The sewerage division of Jica on Tuesday informed the House Committee that of an estimated Rs 810.83 cr for the project, the agency till date has spent only Rs 395.72 cr, implying that over 50 per cent work will now have to be done in next 17 months, House Committee sources said. However, the drainage division said, that their work would be over by July 2018, they said. The Standing Committee comprising nine MLAs, including local legislator Pravat Biswal, also reviewed the progress of certain other ongoing projects in the district including a Railway overbridge and an underpass of the National Highway passing through the city.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Delhi govt lawyers fight in HC on who will represent deptt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two AAP government lawyers today fought over who would represent it in the Delhi High Court on a plea of the Delhi Assembly Secretary, for whom the Centre and state government are already contesting each other. Secretary Prasanna Kumar Suryadevara’s plea challenges the disciplinary proceedings initiated against him by the Prasar Bharati for not returning to his parent cadre – the All India Radio (AIR). Heated arguments between the two lawyers erupted after one of them claimed to represent the Services Department of the Delhi government and opposed the maintainability of the plea filed by Suryadevara. Senior Standing Counsel Rahul Mehra said it was his prerogative to allocate or mark matters and he had marked it to Additional Standing Counsel Peeyoosh Kalra. On the other hand, Additional Standing Counsel Naushad Ahmed Khan said the Law and Justice department had issued him the “brief transmission form” to represent the department in the matter. Justice V K Rao, however, did not make any observation regarding the conflict between the two lawyers of the Delhi government. The court, though, questioned the maintainability of Suryadevara’s plea challenging the disciplinary proceedings initiated against him by Prasar Bharati for not returning to his parent cadre. “Going by the prayers, jurisdiction appears to be the Central Administrative Tribunal,” it observed. But the lawyers for Suryadevara requested that the matter be transferred to the judge hearing Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel’s plea against the Secretary’s repatriation to AIR as ordered by the Lieutenant Governor. They said the other judge can then decide the jurisdiction and maintainability issues raised by Khan and the lawyer for AIR. Khan and the lawyer for AIR had contended that it was a service matter and the appropriate forum to hear it was the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). Suryadevara’s lawyers, on the other hand, argued that the Legislative Assembly had passed a resolution to retain him as the Secretary which has not been challenged. It was also argued on his behalf that to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Suryadevara, without challenging the resolution, was a breach of privilege of the legislature. In view of the submissions made by Suryadevara’s lawyers, Justice Rao forwarded the matter to the Acting Chief Justice to decide which bench of the high court would hear the instant petition. In his plea, Suryadevara has also challenged his relieving orders issued by AIR and the Delhi government last year and reiterated by the Lieutenant Governor in March this year. He has also sought quashing of the office memoranda issued by AIR to him for unauthorised absence from duty and for writing a news article — ‘Neither Office, Nor Profit’. Apart from that he has also sought the setting aside of the order by AIR appointing an inquiry authority to carry out the disciplinary proceedings. In his plea, he has also challenged the charge sheet issued by the inquiry authority and its other communications to him. The petition was filed by Suryadevara after a separate bench of the high court, hearing the Speaker’s plea against his repatriation, had said that Ram Niwas Goel cannot dispute the disciplinary proceedings. The court of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva had said that Suryadevara would have to in his own capacity challenge the disciplinary proceedings. The judge had also asked whether the Delhi Legislative Assembly will collapse without Suryadevara. The court had not approved of the application filed by Goel seeking stay of the ex-parte disciplinary proceedings going on against Suryadevara at AIR for not joining back there and for writing the article. Suryadevara, an officer belonging to Newsreader-cum- Translator (Telugu) cadre, was deputed to Delhi Assembly for a year after which the then LG Najeeb Jung had ordered relieving him. Goel, however, had refused to relieve the official, insisting since the Speaker also holds a constitutional office, the LG cannot repatriate the Assembly secretary without his concurrence. Suryadevara had earlier served in the office of the Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee for five years and that of Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari for over six years.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

RBI chief Urjit Patel to appear before parliamentary panel again

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel will again appear before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, as many MPs said they were not satisfied with his responses on demonetization at the previous meeting in January. The BJP members in the panel including Nishikant Dubey were not in favour of calling Patel, but were persuaded by former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who is also a member of the committee headed by Congress MP Veerapa Moily.Top sources and members of the committee said that Patel has been asked to appear again before it to brief the members about demonetization as the discussion on it is yet to be concluded. The committee had earlier decided to call RBI Governor and ministry officials again as the members could not complete their questions.Sources privy to development said the members in the panel are likely to ask Patel about how much money has returned to the system. The members will also inquire as to when bank operations will be normal.The MPs said the RBI Governor at the last meeting could not give figures of how much money returned to banks. The only new piece of information Patel provided is that Rs 9.2 trillion worth of currency was injected into the economy after the November 8 ban on high-value currency notes.

Paramilitary jawans get less sleep due to flawed duty systems

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noting that paramilitary jawans get “grossly insufficient” rest and sleep, a Parliamentary panel has expressed anguish over their “flawed” duty systems and recommended a gap of 8 to 10 hours between two shifts. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, headed by senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, said the Home Ministry’s submission that a jawan gets minimum of six hours uninterrupted sleep in every cycle of 24 hours is at variance with the facts observed and learnt by the Committee during its study visits. “The Committee is anguished to observe that the flawed system leaves grossly insufficient time for jawans to get decent rest and sleep,” the panel said in its report tabled in Parliament. The Committee said it was concerned to note that due to shortage of manpower, jawans are forced to perform 16-18 hours of duty in a day. “The BSF needs to revise its duty system so as to ensure at least one gap of 8 to 10 hours between two consecutive shifts. Moreover, a patrolling shift of 6 hours is unduly long and without adequate rest a jawan cannot be expected to remain alert throughout the shift,” it said. The report comes three months after a BSF jawan alleged poor quality food for personnel and corruption in the ration allotment system, triggering widespread outrage. The panel recommended that this duty system should be rationalised by creating six shifts of four hours each in a day with a gap of 8 to 10 hours between these two shifts of four hours each in a day with a gap of 8 hours of sleep plus two hours to attend his personal needs. The Committee also recommended that the Ministry should assess the amount of additional man power required to adopt this system and should have sufficient number of Reserve Battalions.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Par panel invites suggestions on surrogacy regulation bill

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A parliamentary panel examining a bill which seeks to ban commercial surrogacy has invited suggestions on the legislation from all stakeholders. The Rajya Sabha Chairman has also granted extension upto July 11 to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare for a report on the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016. The bill was introduced in in Lok Sabha in November last year. In January this year, the Rajya Sabha Chairman referred the legislation, as introduced in the Lok Sabha, to the Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare for examination and a report on it. The panel was supposed to submit its report on April 11. Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare is presently examining the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 and has decided to invite memoranda thereon, according to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat. The legislation proposes to regulate surrogacy in India, prohibit commercial surrogacy and allow ethical surrogacy to needy infertile Indian couples. According to the bill, surrogacy is a practice where a woman gives birth to a child for an intending couple and agrees to hand over the child to them after birth. Under this bill, homosexuals, single parents, and live in couples are also not entitled for surrogacy. Also couples who already have children will not be allowed to go for surrogacy, though they would be free to adopt a child under a separate law. The bill allows surrogacy only for legally married couples after five years of marriage and with a doctors certificate stating that they are medically unfit to reproduce. Women within the age group of 23 to 50 years and men between 26 to 55 years will be eligible to opt for surrogacy. To check commercial exploitation and middlemen, the surrogate mother can only be a close relative, like a sister or sister-in-law who is married and has at least one healthy biological child. A woman can be a surrogate only once in her lifetime.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Ram Jethmalani now offers to defend Delhi CM for free

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To have noted lawyer Ram Jethamalani defend you, and that too for free, is nothing short of being a godsend. And Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is likely to enjoy this largesse after the 93-year-old senior advocate declared on Tuesday, that he would waive off his fees if Kejriwal was unable to afford it. Kejriwal is currently fighting a defamation case against Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.. “Even now if the government doesn’t pay or he (Kejirwal) can’t pay, I will appear free. I will then treat him as one of my poor clients,” said Jethmalani. Controversy over the payment of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s legal fees quickly escalated overnight. On December 1, 2016, Jethmalani — who is defending the Delhi CM in the civil as well as the criminal defamation matter against Jaitley — addressed a letter to the CM’s secretary and sought settlement of dues amounting to Rs 3.4 crore.Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia then forwarded this letter to the Lieutenant Governor’s (LG) office to be cleared, inviting sharp criticism from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The saffron party then alleged that Kejriwal and the AAP government were using public money to pay his legal fees.Hitting out at the Delhi CM, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “It is you (Kejriwal) who made the (defamatory) statement, then why should people pay? It is you who should pay.” Javadekar added that the state’s ruling party was “trying to loot the people”.Concurring with Javadekar’s view, former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee said that if Kejriwal was fighting a legal battle he should pay in his personal capacity and not use public funds. “Ram Jethmalani appeared for Kejriwal. The criminal complaint is against Kejriwal, not against the government. It’s not part of the Chief Minister’s duty to indulge in defamatory articles. So here also, the Chief Minister is not supposed to, as part of his official duty, make defamatory statements. If he has made them, he has made them in his personal capacity.”In December 2015, Jaitley filed a criminal and civil defamation case against the Delhi CM and five others that included Deepak Bajpai, Ashutosh Bhardwaj, Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, and Sanjay Singh. The Finance Minister filed the case after the CM had alleged in a press conference that Jaitley — who headed the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) for 13 years — had profited from his alleged relationship with a firm called 21st Century Media Private Limited, a sports management firm.Since then, both parties have been ably defended by a battery of lawyers at the hearings in the trial court at Patiala House (criminal case) and the High Court (civil case). Apart from Jethmalani, Senior Advocate HS Phoolka also represented Kejriwal at one point during the proceedings. Jaitley has roped in Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra and Manik Dogra for his defence.While Javadekar claimed Jaitley has settled his fees from his personal account, several lawyers from the Kejriwal camp confessed that all the work done so far for Jaitley was pro bono in this matter. Reacting to this Javadekar said, “He is the Finance Minister of the country. But he is not misusing his office. This is a personal matter and he is dealing with it personally. That is the difference between an honest government and one that is just fooling the people.” In response to Javadekar’s charges, Jethmalani quipped, “This issue has come up because Jaitley is scared of my cross-examination.”Senior Standing Counsel for the Delhi government Rahul Mehra also questioned Jaitley’s motives for highlighting the matter of Kejriwal’s legal fees. “Why is Jaitley tom-tomming the issue? He sued Kejriwal because he was the CM. During his cross-examination on March 6-7, 2017, he (Jaitley) stated as much that had Kejriwal been an ordinary person, he would’ve ignored his comments. Hence, the CM is justified in using the government’s money to pay for the legal fees,” Mehra said. Rishikesh Kumar, the chief minister’s counsel also clarified that there was no conflict of interest in him representing Kejriwal. “I have been representing Kejriwal for the past five-six years. I did not think twice before taking up his case again,” he said. “Despite being an Additional Standing Counsel for Delhi, I can take on any client as long as I am pitted against the state,” Kumar said.Such statements have only ensured that this issue is far from over. On Tuesday, expressing his anger over the alleged misuse of taxpayer money, BJPs leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijendra Gupta said he would meet LG Anil Baijal on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

Motor Vehicle Bill 2016 approved by cabinet: Licences to be linked to Aadhaar, heavy penalties for traffic violations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Cabinet approved the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 that provides for linking of driving licence and vehicle registration with Adhaar-based platform and proposes heavy penalties for traffic violations.”We have proposed an amendment in the Motor Vehicle Act where people need to have Aadhaar number to apply for driving licence and need not to visit transport offices to get a learning driving licence as it all will be online,” Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari told reporters after the Cabinet meeting. “The Bill proposes Aadhaar-based verification for grant of online services including learner’s licence. This would ensure the integrity of the online services and also stop creation of duplicate licences,” he said.The move comes in wake of de-duplication of licences and registration of stolen vehicles. The government has decided to make an all-India register for driving licences and vehicles which would be available across the country.Gadkari said the Cabinet has approved various changes in the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016. These include 16 amendments and rejection of three suggestions made by the Parliament Standing Committee. The three major suggestions rejected by the government include registration of vehicles by only RTO and inspection of vehicles by RTO. Once the bill is approved vehicle dealers will be authorised to issue vehicle numbers and register them through an all-India electronic register. He said the government has also proposed compulsory vehicle recall, amendments like third party insurance, relief to good Samaritans, stricter punishment and fines to traffic rule violators, etc. The bill introduced in Parliament last year had proposed 89 clauses for amendment out of which only 57 were accepted by the Parliament Standing Committee on Transport, headed by Mukul Roy. With the Cabinet approval, now decks are cleared for the government to bring much-needed reforms in the transport and road sector, he said, adding the government may table the bill in Parliament next week. The important aspects of the bill are 100 per cent e-governance to be brought in transport sector, the minister said, adding identity verification using Aadhaar will be used, bad roads contractor to be liable for fine, drivers will included in third part Insurance and Claims would be time bond.The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 9, 2016 and was referred to Departmental Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, headed by Mukul Roy. The Motor Vehicle Act 1988 is a 30-year-old instrument which had not kept pace with the change of dynamics of road transport & information technology.The bill specifically targets traffic offenders with stringent penal provisions. The bill has identified priority areas for improving road safety. Stricter penalties are proposed for high risk offences such as drunken driving, dangerous driving, overloading, non-adherence to safety norms by drivers (such as use of seat belt, helmets).The bill provides for facilitating delivery of services to the citizens and transporters. The bill aims to provide for maximum governance with minimum government. This would help in reducing the harassment faced by the stakeholders in the RTO offices. A national data base of vehicles and driving licences would help in safety and security and avoid malpractices. The minister said it is a largely pro-people initiative and will reform the Motor Vehicle insurance sector. “It provides specific timelines for processing of insurance claims. A ten fold increase has been made in the amount of compensation awarded under a simplified process of claims disbursal wherein the family of an accident victim would get compensation of Rs 5 lakh as settlement within four months of the accident. Presently it takes at least four to five years for an award,” he said. In the accidental death cases arising from hit and run accidents, the bill proposes an increase of compensation to Rs 2 lakh, an eight fold increase over current.

Madras HC scoffs at queer acronyms in court orders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Flummoxed with queer abbreviations like ‘Acc, Pro & RE’ for words ‘accused, produced and remand extended,’ the Madras High Court has said the court orders and the abbreviations used in them must be clear to common people. “We find it difficult to understand,” remarked a bewildered bench of justices S Nagamuthu and M Sathyanarayanan after coming upon the abbreviations “Acc, Pro and RE” in a judicial order of a Special Judge of NIA court in Puducherry. “This practice of using unfamiliar abbreviations needs to be necessarily deprecated,” said the bench scoffing at the unique acronyms, even as Standing Counsel R Muthukumarasamy took pains to explain that they stood for expressions like “accused, produced and remand extended.” Orders passed by the courts should be understandable and legible to a common man and the petitioners, the court said. The bench made the remark while hearing a batch of Habeas Corpus pleas, which contended that between July 18, 2014 and September 12, 2014, six persons booked in an NIA case were in illegal custody and therefore they should be set free. The petitioners submitted that the Special Judge for NIA cases had not given any specific order of remand and had made only an endorsement on the arrest warrants for the accused with abbreviations like “acc, pro and RE” and hence the custody was illegal. Concurring with the petitioners’ submissions, the court noted that the special judge had not passed any order considering NIA’s plea, but only had made an endorsement in the warrant authorising detention in prison. “In our considered view, this is not in accordance with law,” and concurred with the petitioners’ counsel that the detainee’s custody for the said period was not under a legal remand. The bench further said a magistrate has to pass a judicial order remanding an accused to custody after hearing him or her. “Such an order should reflect application of the judicial mind of the magistrate.” Referring to the Supreme Court orders, the court, however, declined to declare the detention of the accused illegal. Though the detention for the said period was not under a valid order of remand, there was a valid remand order during the subsequent production of the accused, the court noted. “The detention as of now cannot be stated to be illegal and so they cannot be set at liberty,” it said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘Nuanced approach needed on Madhesi issue in talks with Nepal’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The External Affairs Ministry should be mindful of its perception in Nepal and should adopt a more nuanced approach while negotiating with the Nepalese government on the political question of Madhesi community, a parliamentary panel said today. In a report tabled in the Lok Sabha, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs also criticised the ministry for failing to develop a focused budgetary planning process to ensure proper allocation and spending of the funds. The committee also recommended to the government to take an expeditious decision to open up missions and posts in the 68 countries where India does not have permanent mission. The panel also slammed the ministry for reduction of budgetary allocation for 2016-17 at the revised estimate stage. It said till end of third quarter of the current fiscal, the MEA has been able to spend only Rs 8,950 crore leaving a massive amount of Rs 4,476 crore unspent. On India’s ties with Nepal, it said “India primarily suffers from a problem of perception in the country rather than that of projects. “The Committee would, therefore, desire that the ministry should negotiate the political question of Madhesis in a more nuanced manner so as to be more mindful of perceptions in the Nepal Valley.” It also said that India should strictly adhere to various timelines related to post-earthquake reconstruction work to ensure its completion on a mission mode.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Delhi traffic situation alarming, police failed: Panel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Parliamentary panel has described the traffic situation in the national capital as “alarming” and said the Delhi Police has “failed” to improve it. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has observed that a large number of vehicles get registered in Delhi everyday and the roundabouts at various crossroads, instead of traffic signals, caused congestion. “The committee feels that the Delhi traffic congestion has become quite alarming and the Delhi Police has failed to implement any significant measure to improve the situation,” the panel has said. In its report submitted to the Parliament, the panel headed by former home and finance minister P Chidambaram has taken note of the choked roads in Delhi which make evacuation of “protected persons” difficult during a traffic congestion. The committee has recommended that the Delhi Police needs to prepare a meticulous traffic management plan and allocate adequate funds to address the issue. “Urgent measures should be taken for managing the city traffic in a better way such as construction of more arterial roads and parking bays, declaring some roads as one-way, coming up with effective emergency evacuation measures for protected persons and stringent measures against traffic violators,” the panel has recommended.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

NDMC to replace 1.15 lakh old street lights with LEDs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>About 1.15 lakh old street lights in north Delhi are set to be replaced by LED lights with the standing committee of the area’s civic body clearing the proposal today. “About 55 per cent of the conventional and semi-high mast lights in north Delhi would be replaced with LED lights,” a senior civic official said. The Standing Committee of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation took the decision to replace these old lights at its meeting at the Civic Centre here. The official said of the total over 2 lakh street lights in areas under its jurisdiction, 45 per cent have already been replaced by energy-saving LED ones.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

DNA special: Home ministry, 17 states nix plan to make RPF federal railway police agency

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An ambitious plan by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to make the Railway Protection Force (RPF) a seamless federal railway police agency without state boundaries, and spare passengers the trouble of travelling from one state to another to fight a crime on railway premises, has come a cropper.Seventeen of the 25 states that have so far replied to the Cabinet Secretariat’s notice to states have said no to the plan. Union Home minister Rajnath Singh has also given his opinion and it is against turning the RPF into a federal police agency.At the moment, crimes related to rail passengers is under the jurisdiction of the railway police of the respective state. It creates a situation where a passenger travelling from say Mumbai to Delhi on the Rajdhani might be robbed in Gujarat, find out about the robbery in Rajasthan and file the case in Delhi when he alights from the train. The process gets cumbersome from here on and it involves transferring this FIR filed in Delhi — called a zero FIR — to the place where the robbery might have occurred, say Gujarat, leaving the passenger, a resident of Mumbai, having to travel to Gujarat several times as part of the case investigation as well as subsequent court hearings.To overcome this cross-country run of the hapless passenger, the railway ministry had recommended insertion of Section 12A to the RPF Act, 1957 to give RPF the ‘powers of officer-in-charge or station house officer (SHO)’.This would have given the RPF the right to file FIR in passenger-related crimes which at the moment is solely the preserve of the railway police under state governments.According to documents of the Standing Committee on Railways for 2016-17, the Ministry of Home Affairs has conveyed that the proposed amendments “will effectively lead to creation of a Federal Police Force, exclusion of the jurisdiction of the state police from the passenger area apart from creating jurisdictional confusion and conflicts”.The MHA further contended that, “Police (including Railway Police) is a State subject under Entry 2, List II of Schedule 7 of the Constitution. Therefore, empowering RPF with police powers may also disturb Constitutional scheme of distribution of powers and would run counter to the concept of Cooperative Federalism.” It goes on to add that “In view of above, Hon’ble Home Minister has concluded that Ministry of Home Affairs does not support the proposal contained in the draft Cabinet Note for amendment in the RPF Act, 1957.”RPF as federal rly police agency Against: Delhi, Madhya Prdesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Tripura, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland, Kerala, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, AssamFor: Mizoram, Karnataka, Sikkim, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry, RajasthanNo comment: Andaman and Nicobar

SDMC to transfer Purnima Sethi Hospital to Safdarjung Hospital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Facing “paucity of funds”, the SDMC has decided to transfer a 60-year-old municipal hospital in Kalkaji to Safdarjung Hospital, seeking a revamp of the health facility languishing with “incomplete redevelopment”. The move to hand over the 157-bed Purnima Sethi Multi-specialty Hospital to the Centre-run hospital comes ahead of the civic body elections likely to be held in April. Talks between the two sides to transfer the hospital on “perpetual lease” has been going on for some time, and the Standing Committee of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) today cleared the proposal. “The Safdarjung Hospital has agreed in-principle to take up this hospital and very soon an MoU will be signed to officially hand over the hospital,” a senior SDMC official told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Shiv Sena unhappy over delay in public display of penguins

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena leaders in the outgoing BMC House today expressed displeasure over the delay in putting seven Humboldt penguins, kept in a quarantine centre at the zoo here, for public display. They are pushing for their shifting to the enclosure prepared for them at the civic-run Byculla Zoo (Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan) ahead of the March 8 Mayoral poll. A group of Shiv Sena leaders in the outgoing House, including Standing Committee Chairman Yashodhar Phanse, today inspected the newly built enclosure. “When we visited here in December last year, senior BMC officials assured us the penguins will be shifted to the enclosure (from the quarantine area) in a month for public display. “But the delay in opening this world-class enclosure is very sad. We want it to be open as soon as possible,” Phanse told reporters in the zoo premises. Eight penguins, including five females, were procured from Coex Aquarium in Seoul on July 26 and brought to the zoo where they were put in a special quarantine centre. One of the later died. The enclosure, spread over 1,800 sq ft, consists of a water pool, accommodation area, air handling units and a chiller system to maintain temperatures between 12 to 14 degrees Celsius. When contacted, zoo director Sanjay Tripathi said a few reports were still “unsatisfactory” and they are looking to expedite the enclosure opening process in the next few days. “There are two important issues that we need to sort out before opening the enclosure. Ph (potential of hydrogen) value in the pool has been found to be a bit high. “Beside, we are yet to receive a report on the air quality inside the enclosure. Once we streamline these things, we will try to open it in the next 8-10 days,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sena fails to secure ABS Corporator’s support for Mayoral poll

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shiv Sena is understood to have failed in its efforts to secure the support of Akhil Bharatiya Sena (ABS) Corporator Geeta Gawli for the March 8 Mumbai Mayoral poll. The Uddhav Thackeray-led outfit, with 84 seats, emerged as the single largest party in the February 21 civic election but fell well short of the simple majority mark (114 in 227-member BMC) required to install its candidate as Mayor. Party sources said Gawli today met Sena Minister Eknath Shinde and Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai at Sena Bhavan but remained non-committal on supporting the party in the poll for the prestigious post. “The deal with Geeta Gawli fell through as she wanted chairmanship of Health Committee in the first year and five- year membership of the Standing Committee in exchange for her support,” a source in the Sena said. Meanwhile, the BJP, which won 80 seats, is also trying to woo the ABS Corporator, who is the daughter of gangster- turned-politician Arun Gawli. Sources in the BJP, which, too, is eyeing Mayor’s post, said Gawli is scheduled to meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Gawli, Desai and Shinde were not available for comments.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

North Delhi traders can get licences at doorstep now

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Traders in north Delhi can now get business licences issued or renewed at their doorstep as the area’s civic body today launched a scheme to facilitate the procedure. North Delhi Municipal Corporation launched the facility at the Civic Centre here. 50 licences were distributed to various traders who had applied earlier. “Now, traders can obtain licence at their doorstep. This would help in regularising small trading units, besides, fetching revenue for the corporation,” North Delhi Mayor Sanjeev Nayyar said, adding, a private agency has been hired for this purpose. “Online services to register or renew trade/health trade licence has been started at northdmctradehealthlicense.com as well,” he said. On the website, traders can apply for fresh or renewed licences, besides knowing the status of the application. “The (private) agency will organise special registration camps in market areas. The paperwork and related formalities, including receipt of fees, will take about 15 to 20 minutes. Once completed, the details about the status of application would be sent to their mobile phones,” Nayyar said. The traders now need not go to any zonal office or the NDMC headquarters for obtaining or renewing their trade licences, he said. “We are determined to eradicate inspector raj thoroughly and bring in transparency,” he said. Standing Committee Chairman Pravesh Wahi said the new or renewed licence will be sent to traders at their home, after 15 to 20 days of the registration. “Traders may also make payment through draft or electronically,” he added. Municipal elections are due in April and all three civic bodies are raining sops in a bid to woo voters.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

JK panel for ending ‘illegal possession’ of state guest houses

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A legislative council panel has asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to take measures for proper upkeep and retrieval of the assets of state guest houses across the country. An official spokesman said, the Departmental Related Standing Committee of Legislative Council reviewed the status of assets and facilities available at the government guest houses in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Amritsar. The panel, which met here under the chairmanship of MLC Bashir Ahmad Shah Veeri, called for retrieval of the properties from “illegal possession” of private parties. The Committee deliberated on various issues related to the functioning of the guest houses and sought details on measures initiated for retrieving the “occupied” properties. Legislators, Saif-ud-Din Bhat, Ramesh Arora, Qaisar Jamsheed Lone, Jugal Kishore Sharma, Sham Lal Bhagat and Sofi Yousuf were also present in the meeting and shared their viewpoints. The Committee impressed upon the Hospitality and Protocol Department to take all necessary steps for improvement and renovation of infrastructure, proper upkeep of facilities at the guest houses, the spokesman said. The Committee urged the Law Secretary to hire the services of senior and reputed lawyers to defend court cases related to these properties– worth crores of rupees. It also directed for a review of the lease case of the land at Mumbai with some private parties and apprise the committee on its status. Financial Commissioner, Planning and Development, B B Vyas briefed the Committee about the status of properties outside the state, besides presenting status of court cases at Amritsar, Chandigarh and Mumbai.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

DU row figures in Par panel meet, results in filing of FIR

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The row in the Delhi University reverberated at a meeting of a Parliamentary Standing Committee, which questioned Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, leading to registration of an FIR in the case. The Delhi University issue was vociferously raised by Opposition members at the meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, headed by senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, amid protests by ruling BJP members, who claimed that the issue cannot be discussed at the meeting. However, Chidambaram ruled that the committee can indeed discuss the issue as it may be raised even in both Houses of Parliament and allowed members to speak on it. The MPs asked Commissioner of Delhi Police what action has he taken on threat given to DU student Gurmehar Kaur, who is the daughter of a martyred army officer, sources said. The members also asked whether security has been provided to the girl, they said. The Commissioner of Police explained the MPs about the prevailing situation in the varsity and action taken so far for maintaining peace. Within an hour of his being quizzed, Patnaik conveyed to the MPs that an FIR has been registered against unknown persons in connection with Kaur’s complaint that she was receiving “rape threats” allegedly from ABVP members. However, the members told the Commissioner of Police that registration of FIR is not enough and security must be given to the 20-year girl. The MPs also told Patnaik that police should caught the real criminal, sources said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BMC Elections: Congress, BJP not to tango with Shiv Sena for now

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Saturday, all three stakeholders – Shiv Sena, BJP and Congress – held high-level internal meetings and then rushed to deny that they were talking to one another, signalling continuation of the stalemate in the hung Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.Despite intensive consultations and weighing of permutations and combinations, the three parties are unlikely to open their cards till March 8 when the Assembly elections in UP and Manipur get over.Mayoral election is slated for March 9.Denying all reports of support to Shiv Sena, Congress’s city chief Sanjay Nirupam said on Saturday, “Sena leaders have sent the feelers but there is no question of an alliance with Shiv Sena. Our ideologies are totally different, how can we even think of such a tie-up?”To prove his point, Nirupam announced that his party would field a “secular candidate” for mayor’s election after a tie-up with the Nationalist Congress Party and other like-minded groups. When pressed for clarification on the possibility pf Congress abstaining during mayoral election or fielding its own candidate, Nirupam refused to open his cards. He just said, “We are in the process of working out a post-poll alliance with the NCP in Mumbai and elsewhere in the state.”Former chief minister and Congress MLA Prithviraj Chavan, however, indicated there was still room for discussion. “Congress will take a decision on supporting Shiv Sena soon. However it will be taken by the high command directly or in consultation with them because it’s a serious issue,” he said.When told about Nirupam’s outright denial about the tie-up, Chavan said,”I can’t comment on views of others.”Clearly Congress leaders are not on the same page. Sources say a national leader close to Sonia Gandhi is keen on a tie-up.The Congress’ dilemma is understandable. Even a hint of coming closer to Sena, a party with a Hindutva agenda, may damage the party’s prospects in the ongoing UP Assembly elections. The stakes are high for the Congress in that state, where it has taken a political gamble by forging a pre-poll alliance with the Samajwadi Party.Sena too has denied reports of looking for Congress support. Sena leader Anil Parab told media that “No talks are being held with the Congress.”When asked if the Sena will never have an alliance with the BJP, he said, “The decision will be taken by the party leadership.”Analysts say fielding of a ‘secular candidate’ as proposed by the Congress will have no effect as such parties’ strength in the BMC is around 50. “Even if the Congress abstains and facilitates the election of Sena mayor, the Sena will still face obstacles in running the House on a day-to-day basis,” says an observer.The mayor alone can’t do much. Due to almost equal strength of BJP, it would be hard for the Sena to get its proposals cleared in the Standing and Improvement Committees. Moreover, being a ruling party in the state, the BJP can easily get support of a handful members of any party to make things difficult for Sena,” says another political analyst.These two factors are giving some respite to leaders of the BJP, which has decided not to show all its cards for a few days in the hopes of forcing the Sena make the first move towards a rapprochement.The Shiv Sena camp appeared to be the most active one. Party chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday met with his councillors, whose number has risen to 88 with four independents coming into the Sena fold. “They were told to work hard and fulfil the promises made by the party,” said a party leader.The BJP, though, appeared clueless on Saturday. Although the party had announced after the BMC result that the next mayor would be from BJP, they are still not sure how. “We have decided to focus on mayoral elections in other civic corporations. Besides, out of 25 zilla parishad, we had got majority in 6 and largest in other six. Our energies are now diverted to those civic bodies which we have won for the first time. Till the, dust in Mumbai will be cleared,’ said a senior BJP leader.When asked about party’s calculation to reach 114 and possibility of joining hands with Shiv Sena to get his mayor elected, BJP city chief Ashish Shelar said, “We are not doing any math. By the way, we never said anything about the number 114. Let me clarify, there is no talk with the Shiv Sena as of now.” Chief Minister also clarified BJP would never go with the Congress.Shiv Sena to go to Court for voter list fiasco:Shiv Sena to approach Court for voter list mess upTwo days after BMC results, the Shiv Sena has decided to approach Bombay High Court over the mess-up in the voter-list of Mumbai and Thane. Party has also launched a toll-free number and asked citizens to register their names if their names were missing in the voter lists on Tuesday polls.Party claims over 12 lakh names were missing from the list which affected its poll prospects. State election officials however claim only “400-500 names were missing that too because of change of wards.”On the polling day, the party leaders had accused that names were deleted deliberately by the officials at the behest of the BJP government.Outcome of several wards were decided by wafer thin margin. Shiv Sena has emerged as largest party winning 84 seats in the BMC, however, it is far ahead from the magic number 114 needed to get its mayor in the House of 227.

Sena accuses Maha CM of irregularities as ex-Nagpur mayor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a time when Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is building BJP’s campaign for civic polls on a transparency plank and his clean image, Shiv Sena today claimed he was indicted by a probe panel for “corruption” during his stint as Nagpur mayor in 2001. The BJP, however, has countered the charge, saying the Bombay High Court and even the Supreme Court had not found any substance in the matter and that the allegations were part of a “tacit understanding” between Shiv Sena and Congress. Addressing reporters here, Sena MLC Anil Parab claimed various contracts were awarded to specific contractors only by “circumventing” the Standing Committee of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) during Fadnavis’ Mayoral stint in 1997-2001. Parab said though the Chief Minister was urging voters to vote for the BJP in his name, there was a “massive corruption” during his tenure as the mayor. “The government-appointed Nand Lal committee had submitted its report on February 27, 2001. The report contains proofs of irregularities committed by then NMC mayor and current Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis,” Parab claimed. He claimed that when Fadnavis was the mayor, some members of the standing committee “negotiated with contractors directly”. “Contracts were awarded to select contractors without inviting tenders… Corruption took place during the tenures of four former mayors namely Rajiv Gholar, Kalpana Pandey, Vasundhara Masurkar and Devendra Fadnavis,” the Sena leader said. He said criminal cases were filed against 99 corporators and the four mayors after the probe. “During the scam period, no meeting of the standing committee was held for 15 months,” he said. In September 2001, the then Congress-NCP government had dissolved the NMC, then led by the BJP-Lok Manch coalition, and disqualified all the 119 corporators after the Nand Lal committee exposed the corruption. Sena’s attack came at a time when the campaigning for the civic polls, including the high-stake Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), is drawing to close. Ten municipal corporations, including BMC, are going to polls on February 21 and counting of votes is scheduled two days after. Sena and BJP, who are alliance partners in state and central governments, are contesting separately. During canvassing, Fadnavis has been claiming Sena decided to go solo as the BJP’s push for “transparent administration” was not acceptable to the Uddhav Thackeray-led party. However, Sena’s contention is that a disagreement over allocation of seats for BMC polls led to the break-up of alliance. Meanwhile, taking a dig at CM for his remarks that Sena has brought Mumbai at par with Patna, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the number of criminal incidents being reported in Fadnvais’ hometown Nagpur is more than in the Bihar capital. (MORE)(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

LS Speaker discusses with heads of Par Committees issue of

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>How much access should media have to members of a Parliamentary Committee? This was one of the issues discussed at a meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker with Chairpersons of Parliamentary Standing Committees and other department-related panels here today. The subject of access of media to Parliamentary Committee members was discussed against the backdrop of recent statements to reporters by Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman K V Thomas in which he had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi could be summoned before the Committee on demonetisation, sources said. On the matter, the Speaker said she would shortly specify the rules of procedure in this regard, the sources said. The meeting also discussed the issue related to the tenure and jurisdication of the commitees’ tours. The Speaker was of the view that the tours should be shorter than five days and the areas should be chosen as per the domain of a committee, the sources said. For instance, a committee on Rural Development should visit only rural areas and the one on Urban Development should visit only urban areas, the sources said. Another matter discussed was related to the tenure and scope of the work of interns associated with the Parliamentary Committees. It was felt that the tenure should be fixed as one year and their scope should be limited to research, without allowing them access to meetings of Parliamentary Committees, the sources said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Condemning the Budget Session which is set to begin today, the Congress on Tuesday asserted that the Centre had rushed this decision with the aim to curb the impact of demonetisation on the people. ?Despite the warning from the Election Commission that this budget should not be used for electioneering, they took an executive decision to write off interest rate for farmers while we all are trying to help the farmers,? Congress leader Tom Vadakkan told ANI. Stating that the rushed up Budget was a clear indication that demonetisation had miserably failed, Vadakkan further said the entire development showed how scared the government was. The Budget Session will start from Tuesday with President Pranab Mukherjee’s address to a joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Demonetisation and the GST Bill will be top priority legislations likely to be discussed during the budget session. The Economic Survey will also be presented on the first day of the session, while the general budget will be presented on Wednesday. The two Houses will have a month-long recess from February 10 to March 8 to enable the Standing Committees to consider the Demands for Grants of Ministries and Departments and prepare their reports. Meanwhile, agitated by the government’s demonetisation move and arrest of its party leaders in the alleged chit-fund scam, the Trinamool Congress has decided not to attend the first two days of the Budget Session of Parliament in a protest against the move, which was implemented without taking Parliament into confidence, and restrictions on withdrawal limits from bank accounts which are still in force.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Budget should reject proposals merely ‘luring’ people Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> With the Budget session of the Parliament scheduled to start from today, the Congress has firmly stated that any proposal made in the name to ?lure? the population should not be suggested in the Budget. ?The Election Commission (EC) along with the Supreme Court is suggesting that no new schemes should be introduced in the poll-bounded states. Also, proposals merely to lure people should not be taken into consideration,? Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told ANI. He further emphasised on the efforts by the Congress to ensure the Budget was presented once elections are over. ?There is a thing called morality. This implementation of Budget will affect the people but they (Centre) do not want to listen to anyone. In a democracy if you are not respecting other?s opinions then you are not following the democratic procedure,? Kharge said. The Budget Session will start from Tuesday with President Pranab Mukherjee’s address to a joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Demonetisation and the GST Bill will be top priority legislations likely to be discussed during the budget session. The Economic Survey will also be presented on the first day of the session, while the general budget will be presented on Wednesday. The two Houses will have a month-long recess from February 10 to March 8 to enable the Standing Committees to consider the Demands for Grants of Ministries and Departments and prepare their reports.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Govt. seeking political mileage by holding Budget session before financial year end NCP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> With several opposition parties, including the Congress, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the DMK and the JD (U), against the early presentation of Budget 2017-18, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Majeed Memon on Monday said the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is only seeking political mileage from this exercise. Memon told ANI that preponing the budget session was aimed at luring voters of the poll bond state of Uttar Pradesh. ?This budget has several peculiarities. First, is that this is the budget that will present the rail and general budget together instead of separately as has been the practice in the past. So, this is definitely going to be a complex budget. Number two is that this budget is being presented before the financial year ending. Third, this budget is being presented in the midst of campaigning and elections, as the largest state is going for polls. And four, is that this is a budget which is coming within the hundred days of demonetisation which has shaken the entire economy,? he said. ?So, all these questions make it very important and significant and I am sure that there will be a lot of noise in the parliament in analyzing this budget,? he added. Meanwhile, the government has convened an all-party meeting today ahead of the Budget Session of Parliament to seek opposition’s support for the smooth conduct of proceedings in both houses. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has also called a meeting of leaders of political parties in the House same evening. The Budget Session will start from Tuesday with President Pranab Mukherjee’s address to a joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Demonetisation and the GST Bill will be top priority legislations likely to be discussed during the budget session The Economic Survey will also be presented on the first day of the session, while the general budget will be presented on Wednesday. The two Houses will have a month-long recess from February 10 to March 8 to enable the Standing Committees to consider the Demands for Grants of Ministries and Departments and prepare their reports.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Demonetization: Manmohan rescues RBI Governor as panel grills him

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A former governor came to the rescue of the incumbent governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) here on Wednesday, who was facing a gruelling interrogation from MPs. The former governor was erstwhile prime minister Manmohan Singh. RBI Governor Urijit Patel was facing a gruelling interrogation by MPs while deposing before the 31-member Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, headed by Congress leader M Veerappa Moily.Patel was summoned by the panel to reply questions on the demonetization of high-value notes and its impact.Committee members of the Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC) pointedly asked whose decision was it to withdraw high-value notes, and also about RBI’s autonomy.The also asked about the money that came back to the government during demonetization and the total amount of new notes of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 that were sent to the banks. Incidentally, Singh, who had earlier described demonetization as a “monumental management failure,” also raised questions on the issue.The meeting was already in session when Patel arrived around 1.30 pm on Wednesday. Standing before the panel, he read a statement that lasted for 10 minutes, after which he questioned for nearly two hours. The meeting went on for four hours.The RBI Governor’s refusal to reply to a large number of questions drew the ire of Opposition MPs, who then asked him if he had compromised on the RBI’s autonomy and if he had briefed the government about the impact of demonetization.When the volley of questions failed to elicit a response, Singh stepped in, asking MPs to maintain decorum while dealing with the RBI Governor. Singh advised Patel not to reply to questions which were not in the agenda and could create problems for the bank. “Don’t answer questions that would exacerbate problems for the central bank, whose autonomy has been depleted,” the former PM was quoted as having told Patel.That was not all. Sources said Singh asked Patel to jettison a question asked by an MP from his own party. The MP sought to know if there would be “chaos” if the existing restrictions on cash withdrawals are removed. “You should not reply to that query,” the former PM counselled Patel.Many Congress MPs were upset with Singh for supporting Patel. Earlier, while deposing before the committee, Patel said that demonetization discussions between the central bank and the government had begun early last year.BJP members of the panel did not raise many questions. The RBI Governor was criticised for relinquishing RBI’s autonomy and blindly following the Union Government’s diktat.The RBI was also criticised for failing to carry out the necessary checks ahead of banning currency notes. There have also been demands to know how much of the Rs 15.44 lakh crore in banned notes has returned to banks.While refusing to quantify it, Patel is reported to have told the panel that Rs 9.2 lakh crore of new currency notes had been put into the system since November 8, – the day the PM announced demonetization. He said calculations were being done and could not give a timeline to the committee.Sources said Patel quoted the figure even as TMC MP Saugata Roy rejected the claim. “The RBI Governor was unable to tell us how much money has come back to the banks, nor was he able to tell us when the system will be normal. The RBI officials were defensive,” Roy said.Patel’s mention that demonetization started in January last year is an apparent contradiction of his earlier written response to the panel that the government “advised” the central bank to cancel high-denomination notes on November 7.On Friday, he will meet another committee headed by KV Thomas of the Congress, who had controversially announced that, if needed, he would summon Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well.This committee meeting would summon Patel again either during the Budget Session or after it as lots of questions from the members of this panel could not be answered for want of time.Incidentally, the government has supplied all answers to the written queries by members of the Standing Committee of Finance. At this meeting, the RBI Governor also did not reply to a question as to when the situation would return to normal. He did not specify when the restrictions on the withdrawals would be lifted, saying “sooner than later.”He, however, insisted that the RBI’s autonomy was not at all compromised while deciding and executing demonetization. He was quoted as asserting that “the Act that gives autonomy to the central bank had not been infringed.”On the question of demonetization, Patel had no hesitation in admitting the request had come legitimately from the Modi government. He was technically right as the government is empowered by the RBI Act to issue directions to the RBI under Section 7(1) while Section 24(2), which gives powers to demonetize specified bank notes, though only on the recommendation of the RBI’s central board. The Act says: “The central government may, from time to time, give such directions to the Bank as it may, after consultation with the Governor, consider necessary in the public interest.”

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