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MSBTE told simplify process of duplicate mark sheets

The state Right to Services Commission (RTSC) has asked Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education (MSBTE) to simplify the duplicate mark sheet procuring process and make it “user friendly”. The directives were given when an applicant, who was told that his duplicate mark sheet was delivered “by post”, did not receive it for nearly five months.Prathamesh Sorte, an applicant seeking a duplicate mark sheet, had applied to MSBTE. His application was made online on June 28, 2017. When he did not get any information, he filed the first and then subsequently a second appeal. Since no decision was given, a third appeal was filed with the RTSC.While Sorte received the duplicate mark sheet before the hearing of his third appeal, the commission was informed during the hearing that he made four applications to get a copy of it.As per the information provided by MSBTE officials, the commission was informed that the applicant was told that he would get the mark sheet “by post”. However, “by post” means it is sent to a designated officer of the technical education and not to the home of the applicant, as assumed by many applicants.”The applicants assume that they would get their mark sheet at home when they read that it would be sent by post. What they have to do is go and collect the mark sheet from the place where the board sends it to. This tends to create confusion among many. Hence, we have asked for improvement in the format. We have also asked that the system of getting mark sheets be made more user-friendly,” said Swadheen Kshatriya, Chief of RTSC.Kshatriya passed the order on December 11, 2017 and directed Secretary, MSBTE to do all that is necessary.DNA could not reach Secretary of MSBTE.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
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Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

No New Year celebrations for people in Assam as they wait for first draft of NRC with bated breath

At the stroke of midnight today, the Assam government will release the first draft of the much-awaited National Register of Citizens (NRC) with names of 2.24 crore bona fide Indian citizens.Of the 3.28 crore people who had applied for inclusion in the registry, 2.24 crore have found a place in the first draft following verification of their documents. The rest will be considered in the next two drafts, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal told mediapersons yesterday.”As per hon’ble Supreme Court’s order, there will be two more drafts of the NRC and the names of all genuine citizen claimants whose names do not feature in the first publication will be included in it after verification of the pending documents,” Sonowal said.Also read’Indian citizens excluded in draft NRC will get enough chance to prove credentials’ Dispelling apprehensions over security, Sonowal said no untoward situation is expected to arise as the district administrations have been conducting public meetings and campaigns to explain to the people the updation procedures.The chief minister also said the media have an important role to play in disseminating correct information to the public.Also readAASU demands error free NRC, says ‘no Bangladeshi coming to Assam after 1971 will be allowed to stay'”Social media will be monitored closely for misinformation on the NRC draft and strict action will be taken against those attempting to create trouble,” he said.Asked about a tentative date for release of the final draft, Sonowal said, “The Assam government is conducting the NRC updation process with the state government machinery, the district deputy commissioners’ offices mobilised for it on the orders of the Supreme Court… The complete draft will be published after verification of all documents of those who had applied for inclusion.”The state coordinator for NRC, Prateek Hajela, asserted that “genuine” Indian citizens need not panic if their names have not appeared in the first draft as verification process is yet to be completed.”If the name of any genuine Indian citizen does not appear in the first draft, it means the verification process of that person is yet to be completed,” Hajela said, adding there will be scope for making claims after the final draft is published.Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, during his visit to the state, had also said there will be an opportunity for claims and objections after the release of the third draft.”Those who do not find their names in the first draft need not worry as there will be opportunities for subsequent investigation and document verification,” Gauba had said after reviewing the NRC updation process in Assam.The office of the State Coordinator for NRC has made elaborate arrangements for people to check their names in the first draft at NRC sewa kendras across the state from 8 am on January 1. They can also check for information online and through SMS services.Assam, which faced influx from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, first prepared in 1951.According to the Assam government’s official website, “The NRC is a register containing names of Indian citizens.The only time that a National Register of Citizens (NRC) was prepared was in 1951 when after conduct of the Census of 1951.”It was prepared by recording particulars of all the persons enumerated during that Census, the website said.The issue of updating the NRC of 1951 was first raised by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) more than three decades ago. The students’ body had submitted a memorandum to the Centre on January 18, 1980, two months after launching the anti-illegal foreigners Assam Movement.On November 17, 1999, at an official-level tripartite meeting to review the implementation of the Assam Accord, a decision was taken that the NRC would be updated and the Centre sanctioned Rs 20 lakh for the purpose and released Rs 5 lakh of it to start the exercise.The final decision to update the NRC was taken on May 5, 2005 when the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired a meeting to review the implementation of the accord.Thereafter, the government created a directorate for updating the NRC and the process of computerisation of the voters’ list up to 1971 and the NRC of 1951 began.A pilot project that was launched in two revenue circles of Barpeta and Chaygaon was suspended after a violent protest by a few organisations. The state government then formed a group of ministers (GoM) to hold talks with different organisations to draft modalities for updating the NRC.The updation process finally gained momentum after the Supreme Court started monitoring its progress and set December 31 midnight as the date for publication of the first draft of the NRC.

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

Top 10 quotes from Rajinikanth’s speech to launch new political party

In an announcement that could dramatically alter political alignments in Tamil Nadu, superstar Rajinikanth today announced his political debut and said he will launch his own party which will contest all 234 constituencies in the next assembly polls in the state.The announcement ends two decades of speculation over the entry of the actor, who enjoys cult status in Tamil cinema, in the political arena.His fans called it Tamil Nadu’s New Year’s GiftAlso readTamil Nadu: Rajinikanth to float political party, says, will contest next assembly polls”December 31 will be marked as the New Year for Tamil Nadu. A new era and a new ray of hope have started. Thalaivar is going to bring accountability, transparency and good governance,” a fan told ANI.Here are 10 important points from Rajinikanth’s speech that confirmed he would soon be joining politics.1. I am not scared of entering politics, I am afraid of the media. Whatever I say will become a debate issue.2. I am surely coming to politics. In the next Assembly election, I will launch a political party and contest from all the 234 seats3. I don’t want cadres. I want saviours who will not work for their own benefit but question wrongdoings. I will be a representative who will watch over this4. I could have taken power in 1996. But I did not have political ambition at 45, so will I have it when I am 68?5. Politics has become very tainted. Democracy has become battered. The political climate in TN has made us hang our heads in shame. If I don’t act now, I will feel guilty that I didn’t act. I want to change the entire political system. We need politics devoid of caste and religion. We need ‘spiritual’ politics.Also read’Welcome! I congratulate my brother Rajinikanth on his political entry’, says Kamal Haasan6. Earlier Kings would loot the country and the people invaded by them. Now in the name of democracy, politicians who are coming to power started looting their own people. It is time for a change.7. This is politics, not cinema. We need to bring others onboard if we want to change. We have to prepare for the democratic challenge with discipline and decorum.8. I will start a political party before State Assembly Elections. Till then, I request fans not to speak about politics, speak ill of any political party.9. If we are not able to fulfil the promises, we will resign from the government in three years time10. Truth, hard work and progress is our motto. My principle is to think good, speak good, do good, and good things will happen.(With agencies inputs)

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

Bad loans in Gujarat fall by Rs 4,023 cr

In what could be a major turnaround, bad loans in Gujarat have dropped by Rs4,023 crore in three months. This is a mix of recovery of loans, writing of loans and transferring them to Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs), according to bankers. Industry players say that if the share of recovery of loans is significant, then it is a welcome change in the economy.According the State-Level Bankers Committee (SLBC) report for the July-September quarter of the fiscal 2017-18, gross Non-Performing Assets (NPA), or bad loans, in Gujarat stand at Rs 31,318.7 crore, a reduction of Rs 4,022.92 crore over NPA of Rs 35,341.62 crore in April-June quarter. Total bank advances in the state stand at Rs 4,89,833 crore, compared to Rs 4,77,480 crore. While advances rose by about 2.6 per cent in three months, NPAs dipped by 12.5 per cent. Bad loans now constitute 6.39 per cent of the total advances in the state, compared to 7.4 per cent in the previous quarter.Vikramaditya Singh Khichi, Field General Manager of Dena Bank, told media persons that this is a net result of recovery of loans as well as loan write-offs as well as transferring loans to ARCs. Dena Bank is a leading bank in Gujarat.It is unprecedented in the recent history of Gujarat that bad loans dropped by such a big margin.Between April-June and July-September quarters of the fiscal 2016-17, bad loans dropped marginally by Rs 457.54 crore from Rs 29,734.12 crore to Rs 29,276.58 crore. Overall, the trend has been on the upswing, with NPA rising dangerously by 74 per cet in the previous eight quarters and by 19 per cent in a year.If bad loans have been genuinely recovered, that is a major improvement in the economy. The development reflects the health of Gujarat’s economic landscape. However, NPAs also fall if they are transferred to ARC or other similar mechanisms being under taken,” said Jaimin Vasa, vice-president of the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry.Bankers say that national banking regulator the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has put many banks on its watch list for their asset quality. “The move has resulted in many banks suspending their expansion operations as well as other operations and focused on recovery of loans. This has resulted in improvement in the recovery of loans,” said an official of a Public Sector Bank in Gujarat.Despite the fall in bad loans, the present level represents a danger signal as the percentage NPA is still above 5 per cent, which is a threshold of danger. For at least nine consecutive quarters now the NPA is over 5 per cent mark.

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

No. of juveniles nabbed rose by 6.7% in ’16

The increase in the number of juveniles apprehended in 2016 compared to the year before has come as a cause for concern for the authorities. The Minister of State for Women and Child Development is pushing for various measures be taken to bring into the mainstream these children in conflict with law. In 2016, there was a 6.73 per cent rise in the apprehension rate of juveniles compared to 2015, the year which saw a dip in arrests of juveniles from 2014.The Minister of State for Women and Child Development Virendra Kumar, in reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, said a total of 1,33,784 cases of juveniles apprehended were reported during 2014-2016. The minister further stated that as per National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), the new cases of juveniles apprehended during 2014, 2015 and 2016 are 48,228, 41,385, 44,171 respectively.It shows a mixed trend with a decline of 14 per cent in 2015 from 2014 and an increase of 6.73 per cent in 2016 over 2015.The minister also stated that the new Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 includes special provisions to address heinous offences committed by teenagers above the age of 16.

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

Rahul Gandhi to step up Maha efforts for party revival

In a bid to start planning for the crucial 2019 Assembly polls where 48 Lok Sabha seats and 288 assembly seats are up for grabs, newly-anointed Congress president Rahul Gandhi will soon convene a meeting with Maharashtra leaders and fast track the revival of the party organisation and increase its tally. To that end, Rahul has sent a missive to the state leaders that he will soon carry out his own ‘internal assessment’ to determine the party’s strengths and weaknesses and later take a call on striking a pre-poll alliance or seat adjustment with NCP and like-minded parties.Rahul’s initiative assumes importance in light of the fact that in the 2012 general elections, the party had been routed in the state and bagged just two LS seats in Nanded and Hingoli. It also managed only 42 seats in the state Assembly. In the subsequent local and civic body polls, Congress again failed to take on the mighty BJP effectively.Former minister Balasaheb Thorat, who headed the Congress party’s steering committee for Gujarat election, told DNA, “The state unit is quite serious about regaining power in Maharashtra and quite open to ally with NCP and other like-minded parties. However, state leaders are of the view that the Congress party should neither play second-fiddle to NCP nor should it blindly agree for a pre-poll alliance. Therefore, the state party unit expects to soon meet Congress president and work out the future course of action.”As far as NCP is concerned, state spokesman Nawab Malik said his party hopes the Congress will take a lead to form a broader anti-BJP alliance in the state. “Congress should not underestimate the presence of NCP and other parties in masses, and seriously consider this factor while forging an alliance,” he noted.

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

Declare my area as Silence Zone: Sumaira Abdulali

Anti-noise pollution activist Sumaira Abdulali has written to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Chief seeking that the Nargis Dutt Road in Bandra West, where she resides, be declared as a Silence Zone and a No-Honking Zone. This has come after the BMC failed to take any concrete steps to begin re-notifying silence zones in the city, four months after the Maharashtra State Government de-notified all the existing silence zones of Mumbai.Explaining her stand she said that under the existing Noise Pollution and Motor Vehicles Rules, citizens can apply to have their residential or mixed areas be declared as Silence Zones/No-Honking Zones.”I have recommended this road as its a residential area and the people living in various buildings here including me are getting affected by the high decibel levels and hence I have decided to take a lead. I have also made it clear that this should be done after proper consultation with the residents living here,” stated Abdulali. She has been urging citizens to make similar applications to the BMC for a declaration of their areas as Silence Zones/No Honking Zones and that authorities should realise that citizens need their silence zones back.As per State Government’s interpretation of the Noise Rules amended on August 10, 2017, silence zones earlier identified and declared by the BMC were no longer in operation as they had not been specifically notified by the State Government. “In the period from August 2017 till date, silence zones have remained unprotected and there is not even clarity about whether loudspeakers can be used or needs to be removed and in all there is lot of confusion, which has been causing great hardship to residents of Mumbai and making them vulnerable to health issues caused due to noise pollution,” shared Abdulali.Several other anti noise pollution activists also alleged that they have no clue about steps being taken by BMC doing about notifying silence and no honking zones in the city as the civic body seems to have completely forgotten about this issue.The silence zone rules were first implemented in September 2, 2003 after Bombay High Court ordered the police to verify and certify before granting any loudspeaker permissions in a Silence Zone as defined under the Noise Rules.Infact on July 18, 2005, the Supreme Court of India ordered other noise sources such as honking to be added to the prohibitions in Silence Zones. In February 2009, the Court ordered the Government to identify and put up Silence Zone boards within one week after which the Ward offices of the BMC identified more than 1200 Silence Zones in Mumbai and put up boards on site with the help of citizen groups.

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

J&K: Tassaduq Mufti joins sister Mehbooba’s cabinet, gets tourism portfolio

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today allotted the key tourism portfolio to her younger brother Tassaduq Mufti who along with another PDP legislator Javaid Mustafa Mir was inducted into the state cabinet.According to an order issued by the chief minister, Tassaduq Mufti was allotted the tourism ministry, a portfolio earlier with Mehbooba Mufti.Mir was given the portfolios of disaster management, relief and rehabilitation, and reconstruction and floriculture, the order said.In addition, the state’s Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs minister Abdul Rehman Veeri was given additional portfolio of Hajj and Auqaf, while Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Social Welfare, Health and Medical Education Asiea Naqash was given the additional charge of power development, industries and commerce.Minister of State for Forest, Environment, Animal Sheep Husbandry, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Mir Zahoor Ahmad was given additional charge of public health engineering, irrigation and flood control.Also readMufti Tassaduq to be PDP candidate for Anantnag LS seatOn December 22, Minister of State Haj and Aquaf (Independent Charge), Power Development Department, Public Health Engineering, Irrigation and Flood Control and Industries and commerce Syed Farooq Andrabi resigned as a prelude to the inclusion of Tassaduq Mufti into the cabinet.

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

28 Air India pilots skipped alcohol test in 2017, govt informs Parliament

Twenty eight pilots and nine cabin crew of Air India skipped the mandatory alcohol test this year, the Centre informed parliament today.As part of the safety regulations of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), all pilots and cabin crew must undergo the breath analyser (BA) test, before and after flights.”As on 21.12.2017, 28 pilots and 9 cabin crew have skipped the BA test,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said in response to a question in Lok Sabha.He said the license of these pilots and cabin crew were suspended for three months.Any crew member, who tests positive in the pre-flight medical check or refuses to take a breath analyser test, is taken off flying duty for at least four weeks, and the airline is required to initiate disciplinary proceedings, according to civil aviation rules.Air India was also involved in a controversy earlier this year when the DGCA warned that more than 500 of its pilots and crew could be grounded for skipping the alcohol test.Then Air India CMD Rajiv Bansal had written to the DGCA, requesting it to take a lenient view as he said that the airline management had misinterpreted the rules and had taken corrective measures.

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

Union Minister Anant Hegde apologises for ‘change Constitution’ remark in Parliament, says it is ‘supreme for me’

In an effort to end the logjam in Parliament, Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde on Thursday apologised in the Lok Sabha for his ‘change Constitution’ remark.The apology comes days after the Minister of State for Skill Development had said at an event in Karnataka that he respects the Constitution but “it will be changed in the days to come”.The remark sparked a political controversy with the Congress demanding Hegde’s resignation.’If anyone was hurt by my statements I tender an apology,’ Hegde said in the Lok Sabha after Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge objected to his clarification.Ahead of the Winter Session proceedings, Hegde also said that the ‘Constitution is supreme to me.’Talking to the reporters outside Parliament, Hegde said, “I deeply respect the Constitution, the Parliament & Baba Saheb Ambedkar. The Constitution is supreme for me, there can be no question on it, as a citizen I can never go against it.”Hegde, a five-time Lok Sabha member from Uttara Kannada, is no stranger to controversies. A case was registered against him for allegedly using derogatory language against Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at Kittur in Belagavi district.He had been slapped with cases for his “hate speeches”, including one where he allegedly equated Islam with terrorism.

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School fees: State welcomes HC ruling, asks schools to comply

Day 1 of the new government in Gujarat turned out to be a celebration as the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday upheld the state government’s law to regulate school fees. Rejecting around 40 petitions opposing it, a division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi upheld the Gujarat Self Financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act, 2017. The Bill was introduced by the BJP government early this year.Welcoming the judgment, senior minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said, “This is a historic judgment. We will implement the judgment with immediate effect. We are happy that the court has also not entertained any kind of stay in this order.””Under the leadership of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, the state government was firm to implement the Bill since the beginning. Now that the judgment has come, we will not let schools charge a heavy fee as per their wish,” Chudasama said.Through this judgment, middle-class families and students will benefit a lot. Schools who were pressurising parents for higher fees will be in docks and parents will get respite from all sorts of pressure, he added.After the Act was passed in April, the state government had formed zone-wise fee regulation committees (FRC) and had started the process. As per the judgment, schools that did not approach the FRC will have to approach the FRC with a proposal in three weeks from the date of the judgment.As per a statement released from the state government, 1,101 schools did not increase any fee for the 2016-17 academic year in Ahmedabad zone. Of the 12,402 schools that had filed affidavits, order for 9,453 schools has been passed. Nearly 2,987 schools had approached high court out of which 584 are primary and 2,403 are secondary and higher secondary schools. Those schools whose hearing has been over, order will be pronounced soon.Nearly 80 schools reduced more than Rs 10k fee:As result of the Act, 77 schools including 74 from Ahmedabad and 3 from Rajkot reduced more than Rs 10,000 in their fee. Speaking about the same, senior minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said, “37,60,112 students will be benefitted. I am grateful to the schools that reduced their fees after this Act. Due to good intent of many schools, they had reduced their fees sometime back.”KEY FACTSOrder on schools approached FRC soon Schools will have to give refund, if any, in 15 days If disobeyed, 1% inte-rest will be levied every day

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Controversy around vaccine gets muckier

The controversy surrounding vaccination for preventing cervical cancer, one of the most deadly cancers to afflict women in India, refuses to die.A week ago, Prime Minister’s office shot a letter to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to examine the safety and efficacy of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine for preventing Cervical Cancer. On the other hand, Delhi state government around the same time has announced a roll-out of free HPV vaccine jabs for school girls.After receiving a complaint from Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) based organisation Swadeshi Jagran Manch wrote to the PMO objecting the introduction of HPV vaccine in India, MoHFW’s office of Deputy Commissioner (Immunization) has been asked to look into the complaint.In the meanwhile, East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) has started a drive to vaccinate up to 5,000 girls between 11 to 13 years with the controversial HPV vaccine. “We will identify school girls who are eligible to take this vaccine, link the vaccination to their Aadhaar card, train teachers to seek parents consent , arrange transport to take the girls to Delhi State Cancer Institute and get them vaccinated,” said Dr Sharda Jain, Chairperson, Delhi Gynaecology Forum.When questioned about controversies around it’s safety and efficacy, Jain retorted, “It is absolutely safe to administer HPV vaccine to girls.”Ashwani Mahajan, co-convenor of SJM said, “While health is a state subject, the state government should also keep in mind the safety of it’s population while administering a vaccine.”The letter forwarded by PMO office to MoHFW stated, “It has been alleged that HPV vaccine has highest rate of adverse effect among all vaccines in use as per World Health Organisation.”

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Political storm over Mehbooba Mufti government’s gag order

A major political storm has hit the Mehbooba Mufti-led Jammu and Kashmir government after it ordered a social media gag for its employees.General Administration Department (GAD) of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday issued a notification circular restricting the government employees from posting ‘inflammatory, extraneous messages’ on the social media.The notification was issued after Governor NN Vohra amended the Jammu and Kashmir Government Employees Conduct Rules, 1971 affer sub-rule(3) of rule 13.Under the new order, no government employee shall engage in any “criminal, dishonest, immoral or notoriously disgraceful conduct on social media which may be prejudicial to the government”.”They shall also not use their personal social media accounts for any political activity or endorse the posts or tweets or blogs of any political figure, and also shall not use their accounts in a manner that could reasonably be construed to imply that the Government endorses or sanctions their personal activities in any matter whatsoever. They shall also not post inflammatory, extraneous messages in an online community with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on topic discussion,” said the GAD notification.This move has sparked a major political controversy with employees, opposition and separatists calling it a ‘dictatorial’ approach of the state government to silence the people.The main opposition party National Conference has asked the government not to label entire employees community as ‘terrorists’.”The diktat, in the form of an amendment to the J&K Government Employees Conduct Rules 1971, aims to defame and vilify lakhs of government employees as either terrorists or anti-social elements who are apparently unable to differentiate between right and wrong in conducting themselves on a day-to-day basis”, said Junaid Azim Mattu, National Conference State SpokespersonLambasting the government, the Congress has asked the government to withdraw the notification saying it is as an attack on the fundamental rights of the people.Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) chairman Abdul Qayoom Wani said imposing restrictions on the employees over the use of social media exposes the dictatorial and regressive mindset of the present government.Separatists too have jumped on to the bandwagon to lampoon the government’s social media gag.”Ordering gags and threatening punishment to State employees for expressing their opinion on social media completely exposes the aversion to truth or its disclosure by the occupational regime and its unscrupulous local agents!” tweeted Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference.

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Central govt in no hurry to push through Women’s Reservation Bill

Despite overwhelming numbers in the Lok Sabha, there seems to be no urgency by the Centre to seek passage of 108th Constitutional Amendment Bill or the Women Reservation legislation to reserve 33% seats in elected bodies for fairer sex.On Wednesday, Minister of State for Law and Justice, PP Chaudhary, ducked a question in Lok Sabha, saying the government was awaiting a consensus among all political parties to seek passage of this Bill. The proposed legislation was passed by the Upper House seven years ago. Since then it awaits the nod of the Lower House, where the ruling BJP and its allies have an overwhelming majority. The number of MPs from the SP, RJD, BSP, who had been opposing the Bill, has trickled down.The minister told the House that the government endeavoured “to provide for reservation of one-third seats for women in the House of the People and the State Legislative Assemblies”. However, he conveniently passed the buck and placed the onus of passing the Bill on consensus among all parties.Being a Constitution Amendment, it requires a special treatment for its passage — that is a majority of the total membership of the House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the House present during the time of voting. A total of 63 women are MPs against 471 men. And women account for 21.6 per cent in the Cabinet — of the 37 members, only eight women hold various portfolios in the Lok Sabha, which means women representatives are at a mere 11.80 per cent.

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Making Std XI exams tougher will not help

Educationists have slammed state education department’s efforts to make Class XI exams tougher for students to prepare them for national-level competitive entrance exams like JEE and NEET. The opposition comes in the wake of the state board’s recent decision to change the paper pattern for Class XI to make the exams tougher. DNA had earlier reported about the state’s decision to conduct the Maharashtra State Common Entrance Test (MHT-CET) for engineering and medical courses on a par with the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) starting 2018. Following this, the state board started a preparation portal for competitive exams. And finally, the board changed the paper pattern for Class XI. Some changes included making it compulsory for students to solve all questions without being given options, not following syllabus weightage, and so on. Anil Deshmukh, general secretary of the Maharashtra Junior College Teachers Federation, said the move is causing more harm than good. “The new paper pattern has no logic. It does not follow basic things like sticking to chapter weightage. So a large number of students are failing in Class XI. If this continues, students would appear privately and stop coming to colleges,” he said. Subhash Joshi of Science Parivar, a coaching institute, said, “The government has to understand not all students sit for entrance exams. Also, any such revision requires a revision in syllabus too.”

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New TDR policy to way to more high rises in Island city

There will be more high-rises in South Mumbai as developers are now permitted to use the transferable development rights (TDR) in Island city that will make redevelopment projects viable there.According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) circular, developers had sought clarifications over the use of TDR from the state. “State government informed that the developers/promoters can use TDR in Island city up to 0.67 TDR against road set back, heritage, slum TDR,” a senior BMC official said.As per the circular, TDR has been given in proportion of returning land for widening road width. In cases of redevelopment, if the developer proposes to keep 9 metre and above, and less than 12.20 metre of road width, then the permissible TDR is 0.17 in the city and 0.50 TDR in suburban district. If road width is 12.20 metre and above and less than 18.30 metre, then allowed TDR is 0.37 here and 0.70 in suburbs. The cap is 0.67 TDR is in the Island city and 1.00 in Suburb if the road width is proposed 30 metre and above.Milind Samel, senior architect said the new TDR policy is a win-win for both developers and residents. “In Mumbai, there are more than 16,000 old buildings that urgently need to be redeveloped. With the additional TDR, more developers will take up projects. Now, undertaking redevelopment project in Island city will be more feasible for developers,” Samel said.Boman Irani, CMD at Rustomjee Group welcomed the state government decision. He said that the government should provide maximum incentives so that the redevelopment of the old and dilapidated buildings can takes place. “In South Mumbai, the sizes of plots are quite small so that the developers do not offer bigger size of houses to existing tenants/residences. And that became the deadlock for the redevelopment. Now, with the higher TDR, uploading in Island city will able to put the more floors in buildings,” Irani said.

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

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

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Yet to receive proposal to fill up judges’ vacancies in SC: Govt tells Parliament

There are six vacancies of judges in the Supreme Court, while nine high courts are working without regular chief justices, but the government has not received any proposal from the apex court collegium to fill up the slots, the Rajya Sabha has been informed.Union Minister of State for Law PP Chaudhary, in a written reply, has informed the Upper House of Parliament that the “government has not received any proposal for filling up of the six vacancies of judges in the Supreme Court and for appointment of chief justices in the nine high courts, which are functioning with acting chief justices”. The approved strength of the Supreme Court is 31, including the Chief Justice of India (CJI).The high courts of Andhra Pradesh/Telangana, Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Karnataka and Manipur are working without regular chief justices. As per the procedure for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts, the apex court collegium recommends the names of candidates to the government which, in turn, either accepts the proposal or returns it for reconsideration. The collegium comprises the CJI and four seniormost judges of the apex court.

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UP govt sends letter to Gorakhpur DM to withdraw 1995 case against Yogi Adityanath, 10 others

The Yogi Adityanath government on December 21 ordered the withdrawal of a 1995 case in which the chief minister, along with Shiv Pratap Shukla (now Minister of State for Finance at the Centre), Sheetal Pandey (BJP MLA from Sahajanwa) and 10others were booked for violating prohibitory orders.On December 20, the state government sent a letter to the District Magistrate, Gorakhpur, directing that an application be filed to withdraw the case before the court. The government order stated that based on a letter received from the District Magistrate on October 27 and after scrutinising facts of the case, it had been decided to withdraw the case. The letter mentioned the names of Yogi Adityanath, Shiv Pratap Shukla, Sheetal Pandey and ten others.The Chief Secretary Rajive Kumar has issued directions that all District Magistrates of the state withdraw cases under Sections 144 of the IPC 107 and 109 of the CrPC. The Chief Secretary has asked DMs to prepare a list of such cases in their respective districts and file appeals in designated courts in the light of the state government order.Besides Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, cases against Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, UPCC Chief Raj Babbar, Leader of Opposition Ram Gobind Chaudharay and several BJP, SP, BSP and Congress MPs, MLAs, leaders and workers would be dropped.A home department spokesperson said that the State government will also file an appeal in the Allahabad High Court requesting directions to the lower courts for withdrawal of cases against politicians in the light of Amendment into the Act.It is, however, a different matter that crime graph in UP is on the rise even after police tightening noose around hardcore criminals. It was due to this reason, the state government had introduced UPCOCA (UP Control of Organized Crime Act) which was passed by the UP Assembly but requires assent from the Upper House.During debate on UPCOCA, the Chief Minister had announced that his government has initiated a process to withdraw as many as 20,000 cases against politicians across party lines. He had stated that the move was aimed at reducing the pendency of cases in lower courts.“These cases were usually petty cases registered by the police against political leaders and workers for staging a dharna and holding demonstrations. They go on in lower courts for years and need to be closed,” he had stated in UP Assembly.The opposition has welcomed the state government’s decision. “We welcome the step but along with politicians, the state government should also withdraw cases against innocent people,” suggested Rajendra Chief Chowdhary Spokesperson, Samajwadi Party.The former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had also withdrawn about 1800 cases against party leaders and workers during his tenure.

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

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

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Uproar in Rajya Sabha over minister Ananth Kumar Hegde’s remarks to change the Constitution

A united Opposition today disrupted proceedings in the Rajya Sabha protesting against controversial comments reportedly made by Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde on changing the Constitution and secularism.Congress, SP and BSP members trooped into the Well of the House shouting slogans seeking removal of Hegde and forcing Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to adjourn the proceedings till 1200 hours.The trouble started during the laying of the official papers on the table of the House as opposition members shouted “shame, shame” when Hegde, who is Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, rose to lay the papers listed against his name.Also readCongress seeks PM Modi’s reply on Ananth Kumar Hegde’s remarksLeader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad sought a clarification from the Minister as he could leave the House soon after laying papers.True to this, Hegde sat in the House for a while listening to opposition protests against his controversial statement that the BJP would change the Constitution by excluding Secularism from the preamble. Soon thereafter, he left the House.Also readSecular remark: Ex-panchayat member announces Rs 1 crore bounty for Ananth Kumar Hegde Azad asked if a minister does not believe in the Constitution, does he has a right to remain as a minister.”Minister who has no faith in the Constitution has no right to be a minister. He has no right to be a Member of Parliament,” he said.Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) said secularism is inscribed in the preamble of the Constitution and asked if a minister is allowed to denounce the same preamble in public.Naresh Agarwal (SP) said the Constitution is the Ramayana and Gita of democracy and any minister who abuses it and its founder Baba Saheb Ambedkar should be removed.At this, Naidu interjected to ask members not to bring Babasaheb Ambedkar into the controversy.But the opposition members remained unrelenting and trooped into the well raising slogans.Naidu asked members not to raise slogans and ordered that nothing they were saying would go on record.He then allowed Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment and Republican Party of India founder Ramdas Athawale to speak.Athawale praised the Prime Minister for honouring the memory of Ambedkar with a fitting memorial and said it was Congress which had insulted Ambedkar.”Don’t create a ruckus. You are going to be defeated in general elections in 2019 and 2024,” Athawale told the opposition.Subramanian Swamy (BJP) claimed Ambedkar did not include the word secularism in the Constitution.Naidu tried to restore order but all his efforts went in vain. “How much should I tolerate. This is not acceptable. This is not done,” he said as slogan shouting continued unabated.As opposition members continued their noisy protest and demanded a discussion on the issue, Naidu said no discussion can take place without a proper notice.He then adjourned the proceedings till 1200 hours.

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Was upset over absence of Civil Surgeon: Hansraj Ahir issues clarification after shooting doctors remark

Union Minister Hansraj Ahir, who stoked a controversy with his remarks on doctors, today said his statement was specifically aimed at the Civil Surgeon who skipped the government hospital function and “misinterpreted” by media.Miffed over the absence of senior doctors at a function in his Lok Sabha constituency Chandrapur yesterday, the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs had said that “these people should join Naxals” and “we will then shoot you with bullets”. Ahir was speaking at the inauguration of a generic medicine counter at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandrapur, in eastern Maharashtra. The district civil surgeon, Uday Nawade, and dean of the medical college, S S More, were not present at the event.Speaking in Marathi, Ahir had said, “What do the Naxals want? They don’t want democracy. I handle the home ministry, so I know it. These people (referring to the senior doctors) don’t want democracy.” “So they should join Naxals. Why do you stay here? Go there, then we will shoot you with bullets. Why do you give tablets (pills) here? How justified is it to remain absent when I am coming to the hospital,” Ahir had said. Ahir today told PTI that he was “upset” over the absence of the Civil Surgeon at the event, for which many dignitaries like the mayor, the deputy mayor and prominent doctors were present.”The civil surgeon, the one who should have led from the front, was absent, which was disgraceful,” Ahir said. He said his comment was aimed particularly at the Civil Surgeon’s “irresponsible behaviour” and not at other government officials or doctors, as is being “misinterpreted” by media. “Naxals don’t want democracy, I know this as I am in the Home Ministry and if you also do not believe in democracy better go and join Naxals if you are not interested in giving tablets then we shall give you ‘goli’ (pills). This was my statement which has been misinterpreted and quoted out of contest,” he said.According to Ahir, the absence of the Civil Surgeon, as an organiser of the programme, was “nothing less than an insult to democracy” and his intention was to “discipline” him by giving some pills which the civil hospital was supposed to take up for distribution to patients.

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Will Rajinikanth enter politics? Thalaiva to make announcement on December 31st

Amid speculations over his entry into politics, superstar Rajinikanth on Tuesday said that that he would make the announcement on the issue on December 31.The 67-year-old, while speaking on the Day 1 of the ‘Fan Fest’, said that he was not saying that he would announce his political entry on December 31st, but his decision on politics.Rajinikanth’s comments came after National Award winning actor Kamal Haasan announced last month about his decision to enter politics and float his own party after touring the state. Haasan took to Twitter to blast the ruling AIADMK government after the demise of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa last year.Addressing his fans, Thalaiva said that the media seems to be more interested in his political entry than the people, he said that he was in the politics since 1996, referring to his support to DMK-Tamil Maanila Congress to unseat AIADMK government led by the then chief minister J Jayalalithaa in the state polls.”I know the pros and cons of the politics. That’s why I am hesitating. Otherwise I would have been already in it,” he said.Recalling his statement that ‘let us see when the war comes,’ he asked did war means election? “If it is war, you have to win it. To emerge victorious in the war, one not only require courage but also strategy. I will tell my decision on politics on December 31,” he said.During his meeting with fans in May earlier this year, the actor triggered speculation on his political entry with his “the system is rotten in Tamil Nadu” comment. “We have good leaders but the system is rotten. This system needs to be changed and a change has to be brought in the minds of people, then only will the country flourish. Let us all work together to bring about a change,” he had said.On the criticism that he is an outsider and not a Tamilian, Rajinikanth had said: “I lived in Karnataka for 23 years and Tamil Nadu for 43 years. Although I came as a Marathi from Karnataka, you people nurtured me, made me true Tamilian. I am a pure Tamil. My forefathers were from Krishnagiri district.” He added that if some in Tamil Nadu were to ask him to leave the state, he would rather go to the Himalayas than settle down in any other state.Following the death of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa and ailing DMK chief M Karunanidhi, there is more pressure from his fans to take a political plunge considering the political vacuum.Tamil Nadu has a history of film personalities succeeding in politics. The film script writer – DMK founder CN Annadurai and his successor M Karunanidhi – went to become chief ministers while matinee idols – AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran, popularly known as MGR, and his successor J Jayalalithaa – also occupied the CM chair.

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Yogi Adityanath announces Metro for Agra, Kanpur

Addressing his first public meeting on Monday, right after the inauguration of the Magenta Line of Metro in Noida, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath announced new Metro projects for Agra and Kanpur in the state.During the inauguration, Adityanath said: “I thank the PM for giving UP the offering of this new Metro line. We are going to bring Metro to Kanpur and Agra. The inauguration of the Magenta Line will prove to be a milestone towards realising the dream of development for Noida and Greater Noida. The PM has given a new meaning to politics of this nation. He is always telling us one thing: We have to move ahead on the path of development. We should ensure no citizen is unhappy. There is no question of discriminating against anyone.”He further said that the work to set up an airport at Jewar has also been expedited, which will be a boom for the people and will bring development to the district.”We have been planning two major expressways in the state. It is an achievement to have the Prime Minister in the state. He has given a new direction to politics and till even a single individual remains unhappy, we should make efforts to solve his problems,” Adityanath said during the meeting.Attacking the previous governments in the state, Adityanath claimed that under their rule, Noida, Greater Noida, and Yamuna Expressway region were only meant to make money. “My government is taking public welfare projects on a priority basis. As per Modi’s directions, we are working on the principle of participation of all and development for all (sabka saath, sabka vikas),” Adityanath said.Referring to the issue of real estate developers leaving projects unfinished, much to the agony of homebuyers, the UP chief minister said that builders have promised to handover 80,000 apartments to consumers in the next six months.Aditynath further said that in the nine months of his rule, he has been taking decisions without any partisan attitude or self interest. “All decisions are in public interest,” he added.The UP CM referred to agriculture in the state and claimed that sugarcane farmers’ dues were being paid on time while the power supply, too, had improved. Adityanath further said that his government was tough on criminals as well.REALITY ISSUEReferring to the issue of real estate developers leaving projects unfinished, much to the agony of homebuyers, the UP chief minister said that builders have promised to handover 80,000 apartments to consumers in the next six months.

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Vasundhara Raje government draws flak from ABVP

BJP government at Rajasthan was upheld as a major ‘challenge’ for student organisation, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) as a proposal in this regard was floated at the state level conclave of the former at Jaipur.Associated with BJP’s ideological parent RSS, the ABVP is often considered as a student wing of the party. However, the proposal said at length of the widening gap between the two organisations at the state. A copy of the proposal has been received by DNA.The proposal on “Emerging Challenges In Rajasthan” presented by ‘prant mantri’ of Chittorgarh, Jitendra Singh held the state government anti-farmer, anti-tribal and even accused it of communal ‘appeasement’. It further went to call the government a failure on fronts of curbing corruption and implementation of sanitation campaign.“We have placed the proposal on basis of issues reported by workers and suggestions and amendments at it have been requested from participants at the conclave. After due deliberation the proposal will be decided upon tomorrow” said Rajesh Yadav, president Jaipur prant. It is also not for the first time that differences between ABVP and BJP government at state have come in open. The student organisation few months back had also entered a conflict regarding police action on their demonstration. However, such blatant criticism of the BJP government has been most unexpected from ABVP as BJP and the student organisation share RSS ideology.The proposal to be presented at the 53rd state conclave of ABVP has arrived as much an embarrassment of BJP. It also is further a concern for the party as the student organisation openly expresses its resentment with less than a year left for assembly elections at the state. These ABVP cadres join the youth wing of BJP the to garner support of young voters for the party. Deviation of ABVP is thus not much a welcome development for the party.ConflictThe student organisation few months back had also entered a conflict regarding police action on their demonstration. However, such blatant criticism of the BJP has been most unexpected from ABVP as BJP and the student organisation share RSS ideology. It is also not for the first time that differences between ABVP and BJP government at state have come in open.

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After 2 year delay, Panchyat polls in J&K in Feb

Ending the long wait and suspense, Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to hold the panchayat elections from February 15, in the strife-torn state.The decision to hold the panchayat polls after a gap of two years was made in the cabinet meeting chaired by J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti a few days ago.Mehbooba, on Monday, drove to Raj Bhavan to inform Governor NN Vohra about the dates for the panchayat elections. “During their half hour meeting, the Chief Minister informed the Governor about several important matters with regard to which the Cabinet had taken decisions a few days ago. She also informed about her Government’s decision to commence the panchayat polls from February 15, 2018,” said an official spokesman.The Governor, the official spokesman said, reiterated his concern about the vital importance of ensuring prompt redressal of public grievances and for the entire administrative system to function in a truly transparent and accountable manner, to promote public welfare.Seen as one of the biggest achievements of the Omar Abdullah government, the panchayat elections were last held in 2011, after a 33 year hiatus in Jammu and Kashmir.More than 80 per cent people had defied the terrorists and cast their votes in the panchayat elections in 2011. More than 33,000 panchayat representatives were elected in the 2011 polls.The panchayat elections were due last year, but due to the post-Burhan Wani killing unrest, they got postponed indefinitely.Last month, Vohra had set the ball rolling for holding the elections in the winter of 2017-18.Since the Assembly was not in session, Vohra had promulgated the ordinance, so that no time is lost in commencing preparations for the conduct of the pending elections.Considering the time-frame for the forthcoming elections, the Governor issued the J&K Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, to empower the State Chief Electoral Officer to determine and delimit Halqa (block) panchayats and conduct panchayat polls.

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Join Naxalites so we can shoot you, MoS Hansraj Ahir tells docs on leave

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir on Monday was so inflamed with the absence of a civil surgeon at an inauguration ceremony in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district on Christmas Day that he suggested that absentee doctors should turn into Naxalites so they can be shot dead since they clearly didn’t have any regard for democratically elected leaders.Ahir made the statement while inaugurating the Amrut Dindayal medical store on the birthday of former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee. “I am a minister chosen by democracy. Despite knowing that I am coming to Chandrapur, what’s the point of going on leave?If there is no faith in democracy, join Naxalism. We will pump bullets into them.” Chandrapur is a Naxal-affected area in western Maharashtra.When DNA contacted the minister, he justified his comment saying that the doctor was the organiser of the event and should have been present. “Have you ever heard of the organiser being absent at his own function? So I said what I did. What’s so controversial about it?” he said, refusing to withdraw his remark.Ahir said government medical officers should behave decorously with elected representatives. “They cannot get away with everything. If they are government servants, they have to believe in democracy and work accordingly,” he said.The Opposition condemned Ahir’s statement. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said the BJP minister spoke of democracy with a dictatorial mindset. “The minister should be booked under section 506 of IPC. Immediate action should be taken against him,” Malik said. The section pertains to to criminal intimidation.Congress MLA Vijay Wadettiwar said the remark from a union minister was “very unfortunate”. “We strongly condemn it. If any doctor is going on leave on a public holiday, what is the big deal? Doctors are entitled to a family life. The minister should withdraw his statement and apologise to the medical fraternity which tirelessly works for the people.”Dr Jayesh Lele, president of the Indian Medical Association, stated that ministers can make any statement and get away.

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Join Naxals, will shoot you: Union Minister Hansraj Ahir to doctors skipping hospital event

Miffed over senior doctors remaining absent from a function he was attending at a government hospital in Maharashtra, Union Minister Hansraj Ahir today said “these people” should join the Naxals if they don’t believe in democracy, and the government will then shoot them down.The Minister of State for Home Affairs was speaking at the inauguration of a 24×7 store for generic medicines at a government-run hospital in eastern Maharashtra’s Chandrapur, which he represents in the Lok Sabha.”The mayor came, the deputy mayor came but what stopped the doctors from coming for the event?” an angry Ahir asked, noting the absence of senior doctors at the event.Also readHansraj Ahir: No one can stop India from wresting back PoK”What do the Naxals want? They don’t want democracy… So these people (the absent doctors) don’t want democracy, then they should join the Naxals. Why are you here? Then (once you join the Naxals) we will pump you with bullets, why you are dispensing pills here?” Ahir said, punning on the Marathi word ‘goli’ — which means both a pill and a bullet.Ahir wondered if it was appropriate for doctors to go on leave when a “democratically-elected” minister was on a visit.Also readVarun Gandhi pitches for ‘providing shelter to Rohingya refugees,’ gets slammed by MoS Hansraj AhirChandrapur is one of the four districts in Maharashtra which have been identified by the central government as affected by Left-Wing Extremism.

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

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

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Haryana CM ML Khattar launches six more e-services on Vajpayee’s birthday

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today launched six more e-services, thus bringing as many as 100 citizen-centric services pertaining to 12 departments of the state on a single platform.The e-services were launched on the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which was celebrated by the Haryana government as ‘Good Governance Day’.”The state government has initiated e-Initiative to end corruption. This will not only save time and money, but will also provide instant services,” Khattar said during the launch of e-services here.The web-based platform will play host to 380 services pertaining to 30 departments of the state government by April 14 next year.Besides, 2,500 tablets have been provided to Patwaris (land revenue officials) across the state to enable them to digitally verify certificates, and launch Swachhata Map Application for 35 cities. It would be initiated in 80 cities of the state by January 26, 2018.The Chief Minister dedicated SARAL Portal under e- governance to the people of the state.SARAL (Simple, All inclusive, Real Time, Action Oriented, Long lasting) is a service delivery platform where citizens can track and avail themselves of more than 100 services on a single platform.Earlier, Khattar had launched the ‘CM e-Dashboard’ to monitor key parameters of various departments and ensure effective delivery of services.”With 2,500 Patwaris getting tablets, this is for the first time in the state that ground level work would be done electronically,” Khattar said.The chief minister said Swachhata Map App would be linked with Swachhata App of the Central government with additional services.Khattar directed the officers to initiate the process of linking villages with the app to facilitate them to provide information about cleanliness in their area.He also launched Deputy Commissioners (DCs) e-Dashboard (Darpan), which, he said, would not only offer analytical view of the ongoing schemes throughout the country but also provide unique survey of the national level schemes.For hotel industry, a digital register has been launched for the first time for visitors in the state. Under this, real-time data of visitors would be shared with the police and manual verification would no longer be required, an official release said.The Chief Minister also launched NOC application of the forest department which has been developed with the help of ISRO and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).The app has been integrated with Geographic Information System (GIS) which would grant automatic approval for Forest NOC and clarification to business entities or companies based on forest boundaries.”We are launching a pilot in Hisar and Bhiwani to give auto approval to any area which is more than 1.5 km away from forest area,” Khattar said.A Mobile Video Conference Platform was also launched which would enable the chief minister or any other official to get connected with 30 officers through video-conference, anywhere, anytime.Urban Local Bodies Minister Kavita Jain was also present at the launch ceremony.

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Home Ministry gives one-month deadline to NGOs to open account in any designated bank

The home ministry has directed all NGOs, business entities and individuals who receive funds from abroad to open accounts in any of the 32 designated banks, including one foreign, within a month for higher level of transparency. It also asked them to ensure that such funds are not utilised for activities detrimental to the national interestThe directive to the NGOs, companies and individuals to open foreign contribution accounts in banks, which are integrated with the central government’s Public Financial Management System (PFMS), came for providing a higher level of transparency and hassle-free reporting compliance, according to the ministry order, accessed by the PTI.The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010 provides for the regulation of acceptance of the foreign funds or foreign hospitality by certain individuals, associations, organisations and companies “to ensure that such contributions or hospitality is not being utilised for the activities detrimental to the national interest”, it said.Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred under the FCRA, 2010, the central government hereby directs all persons who are either registered or who have sought prior permission under the FCRA 2010 to open their bank accounts as mandated in one or more banks in the list of the 32 banks, the order said.This exercise shall be completed expeditiously within one month (by 21-01-2018) with intimation of the details of the bank accounts to the ministry under a prescribed form, it said. The central government has already decided that all banks where the FCRA registered persons and organisations have opened their foreign contribution accounts would be integrated with the PFMS for providing a higher level of “transparency and hassle-free” reporting compliance.While some banks have already integrated their systems with the PFMS for compliance of the central government’s order, many banks have still not completed the integration of their systems with the PFMS despite repeated letters, directions and meetings, the home ministry said.The 32 designated banks where individuals, NGOs and other entities can open their accounts are: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, ICICI Bank, The Cosmos Co-Operative Bank, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, South Indian Bank, IDBI Bank, Central Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank Ltd, The Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd, HDFC Bank, UCO Bank, IndusInd Bank, City Union Bank and Syndicate Bank.Allahabad Bank, The Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Punjab National Bank, Allahabad UP Gramin Bank, DCB Bank, Manipur State Co-op Bank, Vijaya Bank, Bombay Mercantile Co-operative Bank, Yes Bank, Oriental Bank Of commerce, Dena Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Canara Bank, Andhra Bank and Axis Bank are the others.The PFMS, which functions under the Controller General of Accounts in the Ministry of Finance, provides a financial management platform for all plan schemes, a database of all recipient agencies, integration with core banking solution of banks handling plan funds, integration with state treasuries and efficient and effective tracking of fund flow to the lowest level of implementation for plan scheme of the government.It also provides information across all plan schemes/ implementation agencies in the country on fund utilisation leading to better monitoring, review and decision support system to enhance public accountability in the implementation of plan schemes.Introduction of the PFMS resulted in effectiveness and economy in public finance management through better cash management for government transparency in public expenditure and real-time information on resource availability and utilisation across schemes. It also resulted in improved programme administration and management, reduction of float in the system, direct payment to beneficiaries and greater transparency and accountability in the use of public funds.Early this year, the home ministry had asked around 9,000 NGOs and other entities to open their accounts in banks having core banking facilities and furnish details for real-time access to security agencies in case of any discrepancy.The Narendra Modi-led government tightened the rules for NGOs and took action against all such entities for violation of various provisions of the FCRA 2010 which include non- filing of annual returns as mandated in the law.Last week, Union minister of state for Home Kiren Rijiju told Parliament that the registrations of 18,868 NGOs were cancelled between 2011 and 2017 for violating laws. Following the action, foreign funding to Indian NGOs has also come down drastically—from Rs17,773 crore in 2015-16 to Rs6,499 crore in 2016-17.Rijiju had said the quantum of foreign funding received by NGOs in India in the last three years were: Rs15,299 crore in 2014-15, Rs17,773 crore in 2015-16 and Rs6,499 crore in 2016-17. Currently, around 10,000 FCRA-registered NGOs are operating in the country.

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Ahead of poll, BJP alleges MNREGA scam in Tripura

Months ahead of assembly polls in left-dominated Tripura, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has accused the Manik Sarkar government of presiding over a massive scam in the MGNREGA Scheme running into “hundreds of crores” even as a complaint has been lodged with the Rural Development Ministry at the Centre with “all the proof”.The complainant has also threatened to sue the Central Ministry and the secretary “if ministry fails to investigate and punish the culprits”.However, the BJP refused to reveal the name of the complainant for security reasons, but DNA has accessed the complaint. The name, the party said, would be divulged once the time was “ripe”.As per the complaint lodged with the Rural Development Ministry, the scam allegedly was the doing of the state government in collusion with the local administration, BDOs and DCs. BJP alleged that the local officials had to tow the line of the state government for the fear of their lives.”In Tripura, the detailed ‘Social Audit Report’ made by government-appointed ‘Block Resource Persons’ has found that there is rampant corruption in implementation of MG-NREGA schemes. On all major indices, the implementation had flaws,” the complaint said.Citing a survey by Block Resource Persons in Tripura, the complainant has also alleged that “no job cards were issued; no Gram-Sabha resolutions were passed and register not maintained; work provided without demands, only on the basis of verbal political orders; in many cases work has been completed but payment not made; in many cases payment is still not made to suppliers of material; no signboards were displayed at the sites of work with details of work and project; in almost all cases payment was made without technical assistant approval.””With this complaint, I am requesting you to start a high level inquiry of the MG-NREGA in Tripura on the basis of the findings of ‘Social Audit report’ made by ‘Block Resource Persons’ because there is embezzlement of hundreds of crore rupees in the entire state of Tripura and the guilty must be punished to recover misused funds,” the complaint said.”The scam has been going on in the state from 1996 violating the general financial rules of the Government of India. Since they have such iron grip on local administrations no one can question them. We had complained to the EC in 2013 elections. EC had probed the matter and found merit in our complaint. They forwarded the report to the Centre, but the Congress did nothing. It also refused a CBI inquiry. In such an instance in Odisha, SC had observed that pertaining to MNREGA, the Centre can conduct an independent investigation without permission from the State. Then we went to high court. The court has found there were serious irregularities and corruption in MNREGA. HC told the state to conduct an audit. Now the government is dillydallying with the findings of the audit,” Ashok Sinha, Tripura BJP’s spokesperson told DNA.

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FDA suspends 12 blood banks in state

The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) department has suspended the licenses of 12 blood banks in the state. During the inspection, a few blood banks also received show cause notices.While the NACO rule makes it mandatory to collect blood and its components in the presence of a Blood Transfusion Officer (BTO), many blood banks in the state do not have a BTO working in all shifts.FDA Joint Commissioner AT Khadtare said, “The suspension of licenses is mainly due to the lack of BTO officers in those blood banks. While only one Mumbai blood bank got a suspension, most of the suspended blood banks are from Pune. The inspection started in March.” A private blood bank from Vile Parle got license suspension notice.As per the rule of State Blood Transfusion Council, in 24×7 blood banks, every shift requires one BTO and one extra for camps.In July, a Right To Information (RTI) application was filed to know which blood banks have less number of BTO staff. The RTI reply stated that 34 private blood banks in the city which collect more than 2,000 units of blood had less number of BTO.RTI activist, Chetan Kothari, said, “Last year, the FDA had issued show cause notices to government-run blood banks for violation of SBTC rule. They should keep an eye on private blood banks too for violation of rules.”

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AASU demands error free NRC, says ‘no Bangladeshi coming to Assam after 1971 will be allowed to stay’

Demanding an error free National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state, the All Assam Student Union (AASU) on Sunday said that no Bangladeshis coming to Assam after 1971 will be allowed to stay in the state.AASU chief adviser Dr Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya talking to reporters here said no Bangladeshis either Hindu or Muslim coming to Assam after 1971 will be allowed to stay in the state.On the Citizenship Amendment Bill, Bhattacharya said, “We strongly oppose the special bill that the Central government is framing for the interest of settlement of Hindus from Bangladesh in the state. It will never be acceptable to the people of Assam.”Urging the government to deal with the ongoing NRC updation process sincerely, Bhattacharya said, “a section of people have been doing politics on it and trying to include the names of illegal foreigners in the NRC”.The first draft of the NRC, being updated in Assam on the directions of the Supreme Court, will be published on December 31 midnight.The AASU leader also added that the government should protect the land falling under the Tribal Belt Blocks.The AASU leader was accompanied by All Assam Tea Students Association (AATSA) leader Krisna Kamal Tanti, Gorkha Student’s Union general secretary Sanjib Chetry.

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Ashok Chavan may get second term as MPCC chief

The Bombay High Court’s rejection of the Governor’s prosecution order in the Adarsh scam has brightened Ashok Chavan’s chances of getting yet another term as the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) supremo.The state unit has already completed the election process, authorising the party high command to decide Chavan’s fate. However, insiders in the party admit that the court order has come as a major slap on the BJP’s face which will have to rework its strategy to target Chavan.This apart, Chavan was instrumental in organising protests against the BJP-led government in November and December in six revenue divisions, where he travelled extensively. By and large, the party leaders say Chavan had brought factions together to take on the BJP on issues such as farmers plight, lapses in the implementation of crop loan waiver, deteriorating law and order and finances.Subsequently, the state Congress unit and the state Nationalist Congress Party jointly took out a march and organised a rally at Nagpur on the second day of the winter session on December 12 hinting at an alliance in the run-up to the next Assembly elections slated for 2019.Further, Chavan’s stock soared after Congress won 73 of 81 seats in the Nanded Municipal Corporation, where BJP had made it a prestige issue and cornered him in his home town.MPCC spokesman Ratnakar Mahajan told DNA,” Clearly, Chavan will now strive for the responsibility bestowed upon him with renewed vigour as the Bombay high court has set aside the Governor’s sanction to act against him in the Adarsh case. The party’s high command is expected to continue with him as the state unit president for another term.”Newly-anointed All India Congress Committee president Rahul Gandhi is soon expected to take a call in this regard.Already, the party high command has given a green signal to Chavan to organise a mass contact programme in all 288 Assembly constituencies across the state in January. Chavan had already begun preparations for the same.The party MPs, legislators, party office bearers will address public rallies, hold protest marches and reach out to voters at the booth level in a bid to further strengthen the party’s organisation to take on the BJP.Congress had won 42 Assembly seats and bagged only two seats in the 2014 elections. Thereafter, the party has been struggling to regain its stronghold and come second in successive elections held for civic and local bodies in the state.Past protestsAshok Chavan was instrumental in organising protests against the BJP-led government in November and December in six revenue divisions that he travelled.

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Chhattisgarh: Raman Singh survives no-confidence vote, Congress motion defeated after 19-hour debate

The Raman Singh-led BJP government comfortably survived a no-confidence motion moved by Opposition Congress in the Chhattisgarh Assembly by 10 votes after a record 19-hour-long debate on it.As many as 48 members voted against the motion while 38 polled in its favour. In the 90-member House, BJP has 49 members, Congress 39, BSP one and an independent.The Congress had moved the motion on Wednesday, the second day of the winter session, expressing no confidence in the four-year-old BJP government.The voting took place around 7 AM today after the conclusion of the debate on the motion that had begun at noon yesterday.In his reply on the motion in the Assembly, which lasted for over an hour, Chief Minister Singh termed as “poor” the Opposition’s charges and said the party has raked up the “same old issues” even this time.As the motion was put to vote by Speaker Gaurishankar Agrawal, Leader of Opposition T S Singhdeo demanded division, following which the Speaker announced voting in reference to the motion.In his reply, the chief minister said his government has been continuously working for the development of the state.”Proper development can be witnessed not only in the capital, but also in all the 27 districts, including Bijapur, Dantewda and Sukma,” he said.Several initiatives were taken to transform Chhattisgarh into a digital state, he claimed.Under the Bharat Net Yojana, the Centre recently sanctioned Rs 1,624 crore to Chhattisgarh as a part of which a network of optical fibre will be laid across the state, Singh said.”The project will ensure internet connectivity in every panchayat, right from Balrampur to Bijapur and Raigarh to Rajnandgaon,” he added.The chief minister said that under the Bastar Net project, the state government has been laying?optical fibre network to the tune of 800 km in Bastar division to enhance internet connectivity.Moreover, under the SKY (Suchna Kranti Yojna) scheme, a target has been set to distribute?45-50 lakh smartphones to people?in the state in the next eight months free of cost and more than 1,500 mobile towers will be set up in different parts of the state to enhance telecommunication connectivity, he added.In an apparent reference to the Congress over the recent case of alleged?circulation of a “sex CD” allegedly involving a state minister, Singh said he was pained to see the use of digital technology in “hatching a political conspiracy”.”We are encouraging digital kranti (revolution) by distributing smartphones?in order to take Chhattisgarh into a digital age. On the other hand, a political conspiracy was openly hatched using the digital technology to destabilise a government. Killing anybody is easy, but it causes life-time pain if someone’s character is assassinated,” he said.”Do we stoop to such a level in greed of power? I think doing such kind of politics is bad. I am disappointed to see the standard of politics declining to such a level,” the chief minister added.Singh also listed the achievements under various schemes of his government.Countering the Opposition’s charges over the Agusta Westland and Panama Papers issues, he said the Agusta matter is in the Supreme Court and they should wait for the verdict to come. “If the Opposition members have some facts on these issues, they should submit it to the investigative agencies,” he added.”It is the confidence of the people in our government that we came to power for the third consecutive time. They (Congress) have been?sitting?in the opposition for the last 15 years and they also have to sit there for the next 15 years,” he said.He also dubbed as “poor” the Congress’ ‘charge-sheet’, which was part of the no-confidence motion and said old issues have just been copy-pasted into it.Earlier, while speaking in favour of the motion, Singhdeo said the state government has cheated the people by not fulfilling the promises made to them.The Opposition party had brought 168-points ‘charge- sheet’ in the House as a part of its no-confidence motion moved against the government.”The condition of the state is miserable. The state government has failed on multiple fronts. The roads lack quality, farmers are reeling under crises, there are no jobs under MNREGA, journalists are being attacked and chit fund companies duped the people to the tune of crores of rupees,” Singhdeo alleged.”No major agro-based industry was established in the state in the last 14 years, which can ensure a better price to the farmers against their products,” he said.Hitting out at the government for hiring “experts” under?Chief Minister Good Governance Fellowship programme, he sought to know why there was a need to appoint such fellows on hefty salaries, when there are administrative officials.He also attacked the BJP government over the Agusta Westland helicopter deal (2007), Panama Papers issue, among others. “People have lost confidence in the government after the alleged scams were unearthed,” he said.Singhdeo also took on the ruling BJP over a number of issues related to forest, health and mining.After the discussion and voting on the no-trust motion, the speaker transacted other business of the House and adjourned the assembly sine die.The BJP government recently completed the fourth year of its third consecutive term in office in the state, where assembly polls are due by 2018-end.

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Air India launches direct Amritsar-Nanded flight

Air India launched a direct flight between Amritsar and Sikh pilgrimage destination of Nanded in Maharashtra on Saturday.It will deploy an A-320 neo aircraft on Amritsar-Nanded route twice a week on Saturdays and Sundays, according to Air India.Air India will also launch a direct flight between Amritsar and Mumbai.Fight AI815 departed from Amritsar at 10.55 am to reach Nanded at 1.10 pm, while the return flight AI816 departed from Nanded at 1.50pm to arrive in Amristar at 4.30 pm, the airline said in a statement.The inaugural flight was flagged off from Amritsar by Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Vijay Sampla, CMD Air India Pradeep Singh Kharola and other dignitaries.

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BJP begins preparations for mission Northeast; Rijiju, Sarma appointed election incharge of Nagaland, Tripura

Officially beginning its preparation for Assembly polls in Northeastern states, the BJP on Saturday appointed Union Minister Kiren Rijiju and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma were on Saturday as election in-charge of Nagaland and Tripura. Announcing the appointment of Rijiju and Sarma, BJP General Secretary Arun Singh said in a statement: “BJP National President Amit Shah has appointed Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State of Home Affairs as Election Incharge of forthcoming Nagaland State Assembly Elections and Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, Minister of Finance and Health in Assam Government as Election Incharge of Tripura state.”Sarma, who started his political career as a Congress leader, switched side ahead of last year’s Assam elections. He is the convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), an alliance of regional parties. Rijiju is a heavyweight from Arunachal Pradesh and the two leaders have been instrumental in the BJP’s rise in the Northeast. Assembly elections in Tripura and Nagaland are slated for early next year. Last elections in both states were held in February 2013.While Tripura has been under the Left rule for the last 24 years, Nagaland Peoples Front has been in power in Nagaland since 2003. Along with Tripura and Nagaland, polls will also be held for Meghalaya and Mizoram next year. Launching BJP’s poll campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last week inaugurated crucial connectivity and power projects in Mizoram and Meghalaya.

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Maharashtra government to provide compensation to cotton farmers for crop damage

Maharashtra government will provide compensation of Rs. 30,800 and Rs. 37,500 per hectare for cotton growers whose crop was damaged by the attack of pest Pink Bollworm, Minister for Agriculture Pandurang Fundkar announced today. The compensation for farmers on irrigated land would be more than the same for non-irrigated land, he said. Speaking in the Maharashtra Assembly, Fundkar said that cotton growers would be provided bonus of Rs. 200 per quintal. Maximum limit for which bonus can be availed would be 50 quintals, he said. Cotton growers in the state have incurred huge losses due to crop damage this year after the crop was attacked by pink bollworm pest. There is 41 lakh hectares of field on which cotton is cultivated and according to farmers’ organisations, almost 50% of crop is damaged. State government sources said that 25% of the crop is damaged due to pest attack. Fundkar informed the state assembly that the government has decided to provide compensation for farmers who incurred losses due to Ockhi cyclone after their vegetables and horticulture produce was damaged. Also readOpposition takes on Maharashtra govt over cotton prices, to raise farmers issues in Winter sessionHe said that for horticulture produce, compensation would be paid upto Rs 43 thousand depending upon insurance cover and for vegetable produce the compensation upto Rs. 13,500 would be paid depending upon crop insurance cover for the respective farmer. The rice producing farmers would also be provided with compensation in the range of Rs 6,800 to Rs. 23,250 depending upon whether the farmer is from irrigated or non-irrigated areas. Bonus for paddy or rice would be paid at a rate of Rs. 50 per quintal with maximum limit of fifty quintals for availing bonus.

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Vasundhara Raje govt approves 1% reservation for Gurjars, 4 other communities in Rajasthan

Five castes including Gurjars will get one per cent reservation within the 50 per cent legal limit in Rajasthan, a senior minister said here today.The state government took the decision on Thursday to provide reservation to the Gujjar/Gurjar, Banjara/Baldia/ Labana, Gadia-Lohar/Gadalia, Raika/Rebari and Gadaria communities.”The decision was taken to give one per cent reservation to Gurjars and other castes under the most backward category,” said state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Rathore.A notification will be issued after the governor’s approval, he said.The present overall reservation percentage in the state stands at 49 per cent.The five castes were included in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) list in 1994. After the state cabinet’s decision they can now seek benefits in educational institutions and job opportunities.The Rajasthan Assembly in October this year passed a bill to raise OBC reservation from 21 to 26 per cent to provide five per cent quota to Gurjars and other castes.However, the high court stayed the bill as it would have increased the reservation to 54 per cent.Later, the Supreme Court also directed the state government not to exceed the 50 per cent reservation limit.The government has taken the step in the wake of widespread agitation by the Gurjar community, demanding reservation under the backward class category.

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Central min blames power plants for coal shortage in country

Ministry of coal has blamed the power plants for the shortage of coal across the country which happened recently. Notably, apart from other states, Rajasthan power plants also suffered a scarcity of coal which resulted in power cuts across the state during October month.In a reply in Lok Sabha , the ministry replying to question of scarcity of coal in the country, stated that primarily due to failure on the part of the power houses in maintaining stock of coal , as per central electricity authority (CEA) guidelines, during the lean power generation period and unexpected spurt in the demand of thermal power arising out of drop in power generation from other sources, like nuclear, hydro and wind energy during the 2nd quarter of 2017-18 there was a drop in the stock position with the thermal power plants.The ministry also added that abnormally heavy monsoon in mine areas affected production loading at mines and transportation of coal. With increased coal dispatch from coal India limited sources and continuous monitoring, the situation of coal stock improved at the powerhouses.The coal ministry has also informed that the despatch during the period April to December 2017, grew by about 9% as compared to despatch during the same period of 2016-17.This increased coal supply has been mainly responsible for the 4.7% increase in coal-based power generation. Notably, due to coal crisis in the state, electricity department had resorted to power cut of 2 hours in district headquarters, municipality areas and 3 hours in rural areas in October.There was power cut for two hours in district headquarters and municipality. The coal shortage had lead to a deficit of 3,000 MW of power per day in the state. This had created a serious imbalance in demand and supply of power which had forced electricity companies to resort to load shedding.

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SDRF conducts safeguard drill in city school

Imagine a situation when a child is studying in a school and suddenly an earthquake hits the area bringing a building to collapse. The injuries in such a situation could be tremendous, however with the right knowledge on how to safeguard oneself at such times, an ill result could be averted. Based on scientific studies on such topics, the State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) organised a demonstration in a city-based school on Wednesday.In the demonstration, school students from a private school in Subhash Chowk area were shown a power point presentation on various disasters and how to respond to such a situation in order to stay unhurt followed by a live demonstration.“The PPT consists of information regarding general disasters like earthquakes, fire incidents, building collapse and aquatic disaster. It informs the students on how to respond to such situations, for example, one should get under a table if an earthquake hits an area or how to tackle a situation when a building collapses” said B L Soni, Additional Director General, SDRF. Interestingly, the drive is not a first of its kind rather has been going on across the state for the past one year. “We started this drive from January this year. We have eight companies of SDRF in Rajasthan and every fortnight, the companies approach one school where the drill is conducted. Owing to various holidays and examination schedules, thus far the two companies in Jaipur have completed the demonstration in thirty schools” the ADG informed.The official further added, “Basically it is undertaken so that the teachers, school administration and most importantly the children know not to panic in situations rather to respond to safeguard themselves. Every drill is around an hour long with fifteen minutes of PPT presentation followed by questions from students and staff after which demonstrations are done for disasters.”

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‘Policing’ on cloud

Technology is fast becoming a major tool to bring transparency in the working of several government departments. There have been several instances wherein the police have been accused of not being transparent while investigating a case, but now with the help of technology they are ensuring that their credibility is not doubted. In order to bring in more transparency, the state Crime Investigation Department (CID)- crime branch, has started a new initiative, one which not only strengthens the police’s conduct and transparency but will also put those people giving statements under scanner.For the past three months, the CID – CB has taken to video recording of statements of witnesses, accused and parties regarding different cases. In just three months since its inception, the CID officers have recorded a whopping 685 statements related to various cases being investigated by the branch.Highly placed officials said, “There have been instances wherein the investigating officers have been accused of tampering with statements of people. We record the statements under section 161 CrPC, but in court, a person can turn them down and claim that the cops tampered with it, thus affecting not only the case but even police’s credibility.”To uphold the state police’s integrity, the CID started video recording of cases. “We came up with the idea and took it ahead. Now all the cases being investigated in the CID are covered in this fashion. We provided smart phones to our officers and taught them how to record the statements on video. The video is so recorded that not just the person giving statements is seen but even the IO so that there is no allegation put on us later that a person gave a certain statement under pressure” said Pankaj Kumar Singh, Additional Director General – Crime.But what happens of the video after the statements are recorded? “As a person finishes his/her statements, immediately the video gets uploaded on the cloud. The service is provided by DoIT who provide security and other facilities for our data as well. No tampering of such a video is possible either at our end or at the other person’s end. Thus it is secure. Moreover, there is an additional feature. As soon as the video is uploaded to cloud, the concerned Superintendent (SP) and the Inspector General (IG) receive a text message which contains details of the case for which the video is uploaded and the name of person whose statements have been recorded amongst other details” the ASG informed.No statement changingAnd what happens when the case goes for trial? “When we file a chargesheet, we will mention that statements are available in video also. If any person changes statements in court, we can anytime produce those videos before the court to corroborate with our reports thus proving that the person was lying in court and not the police. Electronically recorded statements are admissible in court,” Pankaj Kumar Singh said.Contemplating to use it state-wideInterestingly, the department hopes that the newly adopted method would be implemented across the state. “We are studying the development and hoping this would be adopted in investigations in police station level, but we don’t see that happening before December. It will be taken slowly as first only a certain area of the state and certain crimes for example women related crimes would be covered. Then we would move to SC/ST crimes and so on,” an officials said.

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India inks pact to develop Rakhine

In a significant development, India on Wednesday inked a pact with Myanmar to develop its troubled Rakhine province to facilitate return and rehabilitation of Rohingya Muslim population, who were forced to migrate following large-scale violence against the community.Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, currently in Myanmar’s capital Nay Pyi Taw signed the agreement with Deputy Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Soe Aung. Rakhine state is key to India’s Act East initiative. The trilateral highway and the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transport project, which forms the bedrock for promoting India’s connectivity with Myanmar and beyond into the Asean region, passes through Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine.”This is intended to help the government of Myanmar achieve its objective of restoration of normalcy in Rakhine State and enable the return of displaced persons,” the external affairs ministry said. Under this MoU, India proposes to take up, among others, a project to build prefabricated housing in Rakhine State so as to meet the immediate needs of the returning people. During the visit, Jaishankar called on State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Union MoS Counsellor’s Office U Kyaw Tint Swe and Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr Win Myat Aye. Jaishankar’s visit is of importance after more than 650,000 Rohingyas fled to neighbouring Bangladesh and India’s initial hesitation to take any stand on the issue.

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Not one Rohingya deported yet

There are nearly 40,000 Rohingyas in India, according to home ministry estimates, but not a single illegal immigrant flagged as a terror threat has yet been deported. The ministry had asked for states to identify Rohingyas with terror links and deport them to Myanmar, but no such links have been reported as yet.On the other hand, in the last three years, 330 Pakistanis and 1,700 Bangladeshis have been sent back to their country for illegal entry into India.In August, the Home Minstry wrote to state governments urging them to identify illegal Rohingyas and deport them. “Detection and deportation of such illegal immigrants from Rakhine state, also known as Rohingyas, is a continuous process. Therefore, it is essential to identify them and keep a watch on their activities for preventing any untoward incident that can take place,”the home ministry communication to states said.Government sources also say that keeping in mind certain strategic reasons, the Rohingyas need to be deported. The government has been under attack for its decision to deport Rohingyas and even UN human Rights Chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein condemned India’s move. However, the government has defended its action and Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju has in the past called it “calibrated design” to “tarnish” India’s image.”As per an estimate, more than 40,000 illegal Rohingya immigrants are presently staying in India mostly in the States of Jammu & Kashmir, Telangana, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan,” the Home Ministry said in a reply stated in Parliament on Wednesday.Ministry says‘Since entry of such illegal immigrants without valid travel documents is clandestine and surreptitious, it is not possible to have accurate data of such illegal Rohingya immigrants living in parts of country’

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Post Doklam stand-off, next round of India-China border talks from Friday

India and China will hold the next round of border talks here on Friday, the first after the 73-day-long military standoff between the two countries in Doklam in summer months.Issuing a brief statement today, the external affairs ministry said at the invitation of Ajit Doval, the National Security Adviser and the Special Representative on the boundary question, Yang Jiechi, State Councillor and China’s Special Representative on the issue will visit India on December 22 to hold the 20th SR-level meeting. Ahead of the talks, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing that this SR meeting is not only a high-level channel for the border issue discussion but also the platform for strategic communication.”In 2017, China-India relations have maintained a good momentum generally but the Doklam incident posed a major test for the two countries. We should learn lessons from this incident to avoid any further conflict of this kind in the future,” Hua said. Chinese and Indian troops were locked in the border standoff from June 16 when Indian soldiers stopped Chinese personnel from building a key road close to India’s ‘chicken’s neck’ corridor. On August 28, India announced the “disengagement” between the soldiers of the two countries. The road was being built by China in an area also claimed by Bhutan.

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India, Myanmar ink pact for restoration of normalcy, development in Rakhine State

India and Myanmar on Wednesday inked an agreement on restoration of normalcy and development of the Rakhine State, from where thousands of Rohingya Muslims recently fled following incidents of violence against the community.Signed between Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Myanmar Deputy Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Soe Aung in Myanmar’s capital Nay Pyi Taw, this is the first government to government pact inked by Myanmar with a cooperation partner focused on socio-economic development and livelihood initiatives in the Rakhine State.Jaishankar is on an official visit to Myanmar.”This is intended to help the government of Myanmar achieve its objective of restoration of normalcy in Rakhine State and enable the return of displaced persons,” the external affairs ministry said.Under this MoU, India proposes to take up, among others, a project to build prefabricated housing in Rakhine State so as to meet the immediate needs of the returning people, it said.During the visit, Jaishankar called on State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Union Minister in State Counsellor’s Office U Kyaw Tint Swe and Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr Win Myat Aye.”All matters relating to bilateral cooperation, including follow up on decisions taken during recent visit of the prime minister to Myanmar, as well as matters pertaining to Rakhine State were discussed during these meetings,” the ministry said in a statement.The foreign secretary earlier also called on Commander in Chief of the Myanmar Defence Services, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and discussed all matters relating to security, bilateral cooperation as well as the situation in the northern Rakhine State.According to the UN estimates, since August more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh after incidents of violence and oppression in the Rakhine State.In addition to the Rakhine State project proposals, a number of ongoing friendship projects were reviewed, the ministry said.Issues regarding the functioning and maintenance of Sittwe port and the road from Paletwa-Zorinpui were also reviewed, it said.Other key projects such as the Rhi-Tiddim road project, the Trilateral Highway road from Kalewa to Yargyi, the project to build 69 bridges on the Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa road, the Yamethin Police Training Centre and hospital projects, were also discussed.

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

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

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Uttar Pradesh government tables UPCOCA to curb crime; opposition cries foul

The Yogi Adityanath government on Wednesday tabled the Uttar Pradesh Control of Organized Crime Act (UPCOCA) in the Assembly amidst protest from opposition parties.After getting a nod from the cabinet, Chief Minister Yogi Aditanath said that the new act would help the state government in controlling organised crime in Uttar Pradesh. He urged opposition parties to help government get the Bill passed from both Houses of the State Legislature.With opposition members vehemently opposing UPCOCA, Samawadi Party announced that they will not allow this Bill to pass.Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav alleged that the BJP government introduced UPCOCA to settle scores with its political opponents. “Provisions of the new Act will be used to target political leaders. There are several laws to control crime effectively, there is no need to bring in another law to curb crime,” stated Akhilesh.BSP Supremo Mayawati has also opposed UPCOCA. “It will used against dalits, backwards and minorities. Anyone protesting against the BJP government will slapped with UPCOCA,” apprehended Mayawati. It is, however, another matter that she was the first to bring in UPCOCA when during her regime but had to drop after Samajwadi Party refused to support it.The new Bill was drafted on the lines of MCOCA. The new Bill recommends stringent action against organized crime including mafia gangs, illegal mining, land grabbing, kidnapping for ransom, supari killings etc.The Bill allows phone recordings as evidences and an accused can be kept under police custody for six months for interrogation. The period for filing chage sheet has also been doubled up to 180 days. Properties of accused would be attached and those earned through illegal means would be confiscated. It provides punishment of three years to capital punishment and a find of Rs 5 lakh to 25 lakh.A committee has been formed to review cases before slapping provisions of UPCOCA to check its misuse. Special Courts would be established to expedite speedy trials of accused.

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Full-time DG in eight weeks: Gujarat high court tells state

The Gujarat high court has ordered the state government to appoint a Director General of Police (DGP) by following the regular procedure within eight weeks of time. The order comes after a public interest litigation sought directions to the state government to appoint a regular DGP instead of running the police department with an in-charge DGP. The state had cited assembly elections as a reason for the step. Former IPS officer Rahul Sharma had moved the petition challenging the state government’s decision to continue to appoint in-charge DGP. While passing the order, first division bench of chief justice R Subhash Reddy and Vipul Pancholi on Monday has concluded, “As per the Supreme Court order in Prakash Singh Vs Union of India, and even the Bombay Police Act and the Gujarat Act, the state government is bound to appoint DGP on regular basis. So, there is no reason for the state government for not filling the post with regular DGP. Though the state government has claimed that as the elections are going on it can take any steps, but it is the state government’s obligation to appoint regular appointment. The state government should initiate the process of the selection of the regular DGP and appoint within eight weeks of this order.”The petitioner’s advocate IH Syed had submitted that since 2016 there has been no regular DGP and the state police department is run by the in-charge officer, which is affecting its operations. And though there are rules for appointing regular DGPs, the state is not discharging its duty by doing so.Petitioner’s contention was that in-charge DGP can be influenced by the ruling party, as his/her tenure in office is at the mercy of the ruling party.GOVT’S EXCUSEThe state showed its helplessness in the name of the election notification It claimed that the entire force was busy with the elections It said it couldn’t take any decision of transfer or appointment without the EC’s permission

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Transformers pose a new threat

Despite the fatal Shahpura accident, electricity transformers continue to infest threat to public safety, mostly due to un-certified equipments. Those using such transformers are government electricity distribution companies as well.Notably, the government had earlier this year made it mandatory for distribution transformers to be ISI certified, however, no such compulsion rests on current transformers.Experts consider these uncertified transformers as threat to public safety. “Current transformers should be ISI marked. A sub standard current transformer can blast easily if the voltage goes higher than what can be handled. Anyone standing nearby will be brutally burnt due to the blast. Moreover, the sub standard product can also burn the meter if it is overloaded,” said Harish Jain, owner, Roshan Marketing, distributor of transformers from last 34 years.However, Bureau of Indian Standards believes that LT Current Transformers s are not hazardous enough to be made mandatory for ISI marking.“Current transformers are not very hazardous as compared to the distribution transformers. The actual load of electricity supply is on distribution transformers. I have not come across any CT blast. There is an ISI mark for the same but is not compulsory,” said RB Srivastava, deputy director, Jaipur BIS.It is to be noted that Rajasthan State Electricity Board had issued a notification in 1997, which has not been updated since then, which “advised”acceptance of ISI marked CTs only for private consumption. “Nobody even remembers this notification and it is completely violated when CTs are purchased from the market,” Jain explained.Furthermore, even the latest tender released by Discom does not mention anything about certification of the product for government use.“If there is a standard created by BIS for any product, that is automatically made mandatory for application on all tenders,” said Naveen Arora, technical director, Jaipur Discom.The certificationBIS certification was mandated for distribution transformers in January 2017. Transformers set up by Discom across the state were mostly set up before the date, hence are un-certified and are of sub standard quality. Rajasthan Discoms have no plans of replacing the transformers even after experiencing several blasts and loss of life in past few months.

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Rajasthan adopting BJP’s Gujarat win formula

The state BJP is not only adopting Gujrat’s “Development Model” but also its “Organization model.” Due to the organizational structure of the party, BJP is winning consecutively in Gujarat. Now, the same organizational pattern is being readied in Rajasthan.In order to win the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly by elections and general elections, the state BJP has started preparing “Panna Pramukh” in Rajasthan on the lines of Gujarat.Firstly, “Panna Pramukh“ is being made in the constituencies which are heading for bypolls. After the by-elections, “Panna Pramukh” will be made across the state.Following the historic victory in Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the BJP has adopted Gujarat’s organizational model for organizational expansion and strengthening nationwide.In this connection, work was done to eliminate ward unit and build booth committee. The concept of booth committee has been in vogue in Gujarat for years. Booth committees have been formed in Rajasthan in the last three years. Following this, an important concept emerged as “Panna Pramukh”. The BJP’s national president Amit Shah appointed an in-charge (Panna Pramukh) for every page of the voting list in Gujarat. So that the BJP worker can reach every voter and the responsibility of the party worker is fixed. Due to this “Panna Pramukh” concept, the BJP has won Gujarat for the sixth consecutive time. In Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections, the concept of the “Panna Pramukh” was also adopted and the result is there for everyone to witnessRajasthan, whoch goes to poes in 2018 December is fast pulling up its socks and has also adopted this pattern.According to BJP officials, the first booth committee has now been formed at all the 49,000 polling booths across the state. After completion of this work, project “Panna Pramukh” has been initiated.Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha constituencies and in the Mandalgarh assembly constituency bypolls is knocking. As a result, the party has swiftly swung into action and initiated the Panna project here. State General Secretary (organization) Chandra Shekhar himself is monitoring the work.” There are 600 to 12000 voters (approx) in a polling booth. A “Panna Pramukh” will be fixed for a page of the voter list. There are about 60 voters on one page. A BJP worker will be in charge of each page consisting 60 voters.49,000 boothsFirstly, “Panna Pramukh“ is being made in the constituencies which are heading for bypolls. 1st booth panel has now been formed at all the 49k polling booths.

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DNA EXCLUSIVE: Keep environment in mind while developing tourism, says Jai Ram Thakur

For BJP leader Jai Ram Thakur, who is front-runner in the race of CM candidates in Himachal Pradesh, the top most priority would be to develop the state but by keeping environmental issues in mind in this sensitive hilly state.Having been elected for record fifth time from Seraj in Mandi district, Thakur comes from a humble background of Thunag village which is about 65 kms from Mandi town. It has taken him three-and-a-half decade of hard work to reach where he is.Having been state president and cabinet minister in Prem Kumar Dhumal’s last cabinet, Thakur is known as a grass-root worker and representative of dominant Rajput community of the state, Thakur spoke to DNA exclusively on issues which he feels are of greater importance for the coming government. Excerpts:Himachal has seen CMs in the past from either upper hilly area or from lower Kangra belt, but never from Mandi?That’s because Congress dominated this second biggest constituency for decades. Be it Virbhadra Singh or Pandit Sukh Ram, they were representing this constituency for decades. Now that has been changed with BJP workers hard work. Look at the situation now, BJP has got 14 out of the total 17 seats from Mandi district.What will be your focus areas for development in the state?The geography of the state is such that Himachal can’t become an industrial hub. Rather, the state has lot of scope for tourism and there are whole lot of central government schemes which can be used to benefit our population here. Everyone should realise that our PM Narendra Modi ji has an emotional bonding with this state. He has spent prime years of his life here as party pracharak.But the state is facing issues related to environment in tourism industry. National Green Tribunal (NGT) has also ordered closure of many hotels?NGT ruling is certainly a cause of worry for our hotel industry. But we should not forget that we are also culprits in ignoring environmental issues for so long. It’s time when all concerned parties have to seriously chalk out plans regarding these sensitive issues related to our environment and health. We can’t go on like this for ever. We need to first regulate ourselves and then spread this message of clean environment across everyone coming to visit our state.What is immediate priority for you, if chosen by high command?Whatever the party decide, I as a humble worker will follow. I would like to thank all the people of the state who for voted for our party. I can assure you from my side that whosoever will be given responsibility to rule Himachal, the first priority would be to improve the law and order situation, which has deteriorated under Congress rule.

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318 killed in Kashmir in 2017: govt in Parliament

There have been 318 killings in Jammu and Kashmir this year as frequent encounters took place to deal with the increasing cycle of violence.Security forces got success in killing 203 terrorists — the highest in the last four years. The number of civilians killed in terror-related violence in the same period was also the highest, the government informed Parliament on Tuesday.Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha that 203 terrorists were killed in the state this year till December 10, as compared to 150 in calendar year 2016, 108 in 2015, and 110 in 2014.Talking about the number of civilians killed, Ahir said that 37 of them were killed till December 10 this year, 15 were killed in calendar year 2016, 17 in 2015, and 28 in 2014.Terror-related incidents also peaked at 335 as compared to 322 in 2016, 208 in 2015, and 222 in 2014.Replying to a question on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Ahir said necessary directions were issued from time to time after reviewing the security situation of the state.According to the data provided by the minister, 75 security personnel were killed in Jammu and Kashmir till December 10 this year, 82 were killed in 2016, 39 in 2015, and 47 in 2014.”In order to prevent the activities of terrorists, numerous steps have been taken, including strengthening of the operational grid with an enhanced human intelligence and use of technical intelligence grid,” he added.Replying to another question, Ahir said the trend of violence in the states affected by Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) declined since 2014.”In the current year (till November 30), LWE violence has decreased by 17.4 per cent, from 984 (incidents) to 813, as compared to the corresponding period in 2016,” he said.Replying to another question about the situation in the north-east, Ahir said the overall security situation in the region had registered a substantial improvement in 2016, in terms of reduction in the numbers of violent incidents and security forces’ casualties.”In 2017, there has been a further improvement in the security situation in the region as the number of insurgency incidents has come down to 276 in the first 11 months of the year,” he said.

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Drug users can dance all night while alcohol consumers cannot, says Manohar Parrikar

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday urged the need to control rave parties in the state and bring down the use of drugs as those who use drugs can dance all night while the alcohol users can only dance for two to three hours.”Without drugs, you can’t dance until morning. With alcohol you can dance at the most two to three hours,” Parrikar said in the assembly while responding to a ‘calling attention’ moved on the crackdown of drug mafia in Goa. The calling attention was moved by Congress MLA Pratapsingh Rane.Parrikar also said that next year will be an anti-drug year and the state government will rigorously work to bring down the sale of drugs in the state. “Let us consider 2018 as anti-drug and anti-accident mission for Goa. We will make sure that we will deport those foreigners, who are overstaying in the state,” he said.Responding to the suggestions made by the Congress legislators, Parrikar said the total number of cases of sale of narcotics booked this year has increased by 2.6 times as compared to the annual average.To avoid the number of foreigners who overstay, the chief minister said from January onwards, a detention centre would be started in Mapusa.”The construction of the centre is completed. We will put the foreigners involved in such activity in the detenion centre and later deported,” he added.He claimed that many foreigners come down to Goa and burn their travel documents.”We cannot keep them in jail and hence will keep them in a detention centre,” he said.The chief minister also said that the state government will take on board experts with the knowledge about drugs, so that the state police know about the new kind of narcotics introduced in the market, which needs to be tracked.He also said that the state government is planning to launch an online portal, where people can file complaints about drugs and their name would be kept confidential.”The state government is also trying to set up or make active de-addiction centres,” he said.Parrikar said the number of officers in Anti Narcotic Cell (ANC) of Goa Police should be increased as currently the number os small.”We need to strengthen the ANC. The current strength of the cell is 30, which needs to be increased to 100,” he said.Responding to the statements made by the Congress legislators during the discussion today, Parrikar said, “while I appreciate why members have said that the impact of it is not as deep as you think.” The chief minister said that supply of drugs in the educational institutes is not a new thing.”The supply of drugs is not new to institutions, where there is high student percentage. I have seen drugs in 1973 in my college days at IIT,” he said.(With inputs from PTI)

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75 security personnel and 203 terrorists killed in J&K in 2017: Govt

As many as 318 people, including 203 terrorists and 75 security personnel, were killed in terror-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir this year, the Lok Sabha was informed today.In the North-East, 97 people, including 51 insurgents and 12 security personnel, were killed in insurgency-related incidents, Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said during Question Hour. Up to December 14 this year, 337 terror incidents were reported in Jammu and Kashmir in which 40 civilians, 75 security personnel and 203 terrorists were killed and 321 persons injured. Ninety-one terrorists were also arrested.Referring to incidents in the areas affected by left wing extremism, Ahir said up to November 30 this year, 813 incidents took place leading to the death of 170 civilians, 75 security personnel and 111 left wing extremists. One hundred and forty five people were also injured. He said 1712 left wing extremists were also arrested.Also readJammu and Kashmir | 2 terrorists gunned down, encounter still on in ShopianWhile there have been two attacks each in 2014 and 2015 on defence establishments, six attacks took place in 2016. This year upto December 10, one defence establishment came under attack.

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Cyclone Ockhi | PM Modi holds meeting with officials in Lakshadweep

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today chaired a high-level meeting at Kavaratti in Lakshadweep to review the situation arising due to Cyclone Ockhi which left a trail of destruction in the Union Territory.PM Modi, who reached the island this morning, was received by top officials of the Lakshadweep administration and public representatives, including Lakshadweep MP Muhammed Faizal.”PM @narendramodi reviewed the situation arising due to #CycloneOckhi at a high-level meeting in Lakshadweep,” a tweet by the Prime Minister’s Office said.Earlier today, youngsters of Lakshadweep extended a warm welcome to the prime minister, it tweeted said.Besides, PM Modi will visit the cyclone-battered areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala today.During his visit to the southern states, PM Modi will visit coastal Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram where he will meet officials and public representatives as well as the cyclone victims, including the fishermen, and farmers’ delegations.Parts of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep were severely affected by the cyclone late last month and early this month.The prime minister has constantly been monitoring the situation arising out of the natural calamity in the southern parts of the country.A PMO statement had yesterday said the Centre released the second instalment from the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) for Kerala and Tamil Nadu to supplement the efforts of these states in dealing with the situation.”During financial year 2017-18, the amounts of the central share of the SDRF to the governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu were Rs 153 crore and Rs 561 crore respectively,” it had said.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Pro-incumbency has helped us win Gujarat, says Jitendra Singh

Hailing the sixth successive victory of the BJP in Gujarat, Union Minister and top party leader, Jitendra Singh, said that the party has introduced the concept of “pro-incumbency” which has helped them win comfortably even after being in power in the state for 22 years.Amid victory celebrations at the party headquarters, Singh said that it is the BJP which has changed the definition of politics by introducing “pro-incumbency” as a factor. “Till this time, only anti-incumbency was known as a factor for winning or losing an election. But the BJP rule in Gujarat has established pro-incumbency as a major factor in winning peoples’ mandate,” said Singh, minister of state (MoS) in PMO.Hitting at its rival Congress, Singh said, in the history of Indian democracy, winning the state elections after 22 years of rule with a comfortable margin means that people, in particular the youth, have rejected the politics of caste, which the Congress party had been trying to base their campaign on.“The youth, which constitutes almost 40 per cent of the population, has forgotten the old baggage of caste. The Congress tried to make it a caste election, which did not work. We won on performance and delivery and not by visiting 28 temples like the Congress president,” said Singh. The Congress retained its traditional vote in pockets. However, its “negative” strategy of “intimidating” the Patidar community, failed on the ground, he said.

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No shortage of funds, states are not cooperative: Supreme Court on solid waste management

Observing that solid waste management was a huge problem, the Supreme Court (SC) pulled up states that were not cooperating with the effort to manage solid waste despite having sufficient funds for it.”It is clear that there is absolutely no shortage of funds, but there is only absence of any initiative or lack of any willingness to take any positive steps for solid waste management,” a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta observed on December 12.The top court, two years ago, took cognisance of a report wherein Laxmi Chandra Rout and his wife Babita committed suicide after their son Avinash died due to dengue.According to an affidavit submitted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the Swachh Bharat Mission has a total outlay of Rs 36,829 crore, out of which Rs 7,424 crore have been made available by the Central Government.The court’s observation came on the heels of a submission made by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Atmaram Nadkarni that only 15 states and Union Territories responded to a communication sent in January earlier this year by the MoEF regarding the status of constitution of a State Level Advisory Body (SLAB). Nadkarni further submitted that some of the states had not even held a single SLAB meeting.Reacting to this submission, the SC bench directed the MoEF to inform all states to set up SLAB within two weeks and submit a response with the steps taken by the committee thereafter.”We direct the MOEF to follow up on the matter with state governments in terms of our order, and make it clear to state governments that in case they do not provide full, correct, and accurate information to the MOEF, they are likely to be burdened with very heavy costs. The state governments should keep in mind the fact that availability of funds is not a problem under Swachh Bharat Mission, and also keep in mind that solid waste management is a huge problem being faced by the country at this stage.”Pointing out that Rule 22 of the Solid Waste Management Rules, lays down specific timelines to tackle the problem, the court said: “Clearly, no positive steps appear to have been taken to adhere to these time lines.”The court then directed Delhi to form a definite action plan to combat solid waste management which could then be replicated in other parts of the country.

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Gujarat elections 2017: One rebel leader eats words, other remains defiant

After BJP’s victory in Gujarat assembly election, the party’s MP Sanjay Kakade, who had predicted BJP’s loss on Monday stated that he is happy that prediction has gone wrong. Giving credit of Gujarat victory solely to the prime minister Narendra Modi,” Kakade said, adding, “Modi is real hero and I am zero.”Kakade had predicted dismal performance of BJP in Gujarat elections. He had claimed that his team had carried out a survey in Gujarat and as per the outcome of the survey, the BJP would get enough number of seats to form government in the state.However, after the results were out on Monday, Kakade stated that he is happy for party’s win and gave credit to Modi. “There was an anti-incumbency factor in the state and I had said that in spite of negativity against the party in the state, if it still wins, the will be only because of Modi.”Meanwhile, Nana Patole, the MP who rebelled and quit the party said, “The BJP has miserably failed to achieve 150 plus target set by Amit Shah. This despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing over 34 poll rallies and the party pulling in chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, Union cabinet ministers and ministers from the state governments. The BJP’s performance has been a reality check for the party.”

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