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Displeased with food packets being distributed, Prez Kovind stops speech midway

"What is happening in the economic world…I see the same picture at this conference also. I think some food packets are being distributed. Of course it is a must, but it has disturbed the system itself. "Therefore, I request the organisers, will you please keep the distribution of food packets in abeyance for a little while," Kovind said, even as the stunned police personnel and officials intervened to stop the distribution. The president then continued with his speech. ”

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–><!–end of breadcrumbx–>Displeased with food packets being distributed, Prez Kovind stops speech midway Ram Nath Kovind
Guntur: President Ram Nath Kovind, Andhra Pradesh Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and other ministers during the inauguration of Centenary Annual Conference of Indian Economic Association (IEA) at Guntur, in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday , PTI<!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Right_300x250_ATF –><!–bnr300–>Share

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Wednesday 27 December 2017 19:23 ISTMust readSurgical Strike 2.0: Indian Army planted IEDs to surprise Pak; toll could be higher Indian Army crosses LOC to retaliate, kills three Pak soldiers <!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>It is not often that he stops midway during a public speech, but that is what President Ram Nath Kovind did today to indicate his displeasure over the distribution of food packets among the delegates during his address at an Indian Economic Association conference here.Briefly interrupting his address to gently prod the organisers for the faux pas, the president asked them to stop distributing the packets till his speech was over. While addressing the centenary conference of the association, Kovind noticed that the food packets were being distributed among the participants. Two minutes into his speech, Kovind paused and looked at the audience as there was a sudden noise.The volunteers had started distributing the food packets among the delegates and mediapersons and a group of students had got up from their seats in their hurry to grab them.”What is happening in the economic world…I see the same picture at this conference also. I think some food packets are being distributed. Of course it is a must, but it has disturbed the system itself. “Therefore, I request the organisers, will you please keep the distribution of food packets in abeyance for a little while,” Kovind said, even as the stunned police personnel and officials intervened to stop the distribution. The president then continued with his speech.

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Jyotiraditya Scindia takes vow, says won’t wear garland until BJP govt in MP ousted

Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia on Tuesday announced that he has taken a vow that he will not wear a garland until the “anti-farmer” BJP government in Madhya Pradesh is dislodged. “The BJP government in the state is anti-farmer and it fired bullets at them (during an agitation in June this year). Therefore, I have taken a vow that I will not wear a garland till I ensure an ouster of this government from the state,” Scindia said, speaking at a rally at Meerkabad Panchayat in Mungaoli Assembly constituency.A by-election is due for the Mungaoli seat following the death of senior Congress MLA Mahendra Singh Kalukheda. Attacking Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Scindia said he claimed to be a priest who worships people, but these days he is putting his god behind the bars. Scindia also took a dig at Chouhan for promising anything, asking people to demand the moon from him.”I am sure he will promise to bring you the moon,” Scindia said, criticising Chouhan for visiting Mungaoli with an eye on the by-poll and making tall promises. Mungaoli is part of Scindia’s Lok Sabha constituency, Guna. The Congress leader also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for demonetisation which he said affected people, especially women, in a big way.

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Gujarat Election Results: Congress may have lost, but the outcome will bost morale, says Ashok Chavan

The Congress may have lost the Gujarat elections on Monday, but the final results will certainly boost the party’s morale, feels Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President Ashok Chavan. In Gujarat, in total 182 seats of assembly, BJP won 99 seats while Congress 80. Congress won mostly in the rural belt of Gujarat due to farmers’ unrest. “We are also facing the same situations in Maharashtra. Farmers are not getting the good rates to their crops — cotton, soya bean etc. Besides, the promised farm loan waiver has not been yet fulfilled,” said Chavan on Tuesday.He said that during the Congress regime, farmers were getting Rs 6,000- Rs 7,000 for per quintal of cotton against present Rs 4,000-4,500. “Farmers are working hard but not getting fair rates. On this same issue, BJP MP Nana Patole resigned. BJP has gone back on its given promises. They no more talk about the Ache Din now,” the former chief minister said.Also readHow BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal will impact Bengal political equationsIn Maharashtra, there are total 288 seats. Presently, the BJP has 120, Shiv Sena – 62 while the Congress and the NCP 42 and 40 respectively. “Last elections, the Congress and the NCP fought separately. Now, NCP president Sharad Pawar has also indicated possible alliance of Congress and NCP again. In the upcoming elections, we will put the united face that will help to get us majority in state assembly and improve our tally in parliament as well. Modi-Shah juggernaut which was slower down by Congress in Gujarat will be halted in Maharashtra permanently,” Chavan said.NCP leader Ajit Pawar also criticised BJP. “If BJP struggled to get the century in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its party president Amit Shah’s home state, they will not make much impact in Maharashtra. Here, Gujarat pride, Pakistan and fanning Hindu-Muslim issue will not work. We believe in issue-based politics,” said Pawar.Also readAssembly elections 2017| ‘Gujarat model’ has been shaken, verdict a warning for 2019, Shiv Sena tells BJPInterestingly, the Shiv Sena is unlikely to form an alliance with the BJP in the upcoming state and Lok Sabha elections. “Seat sharing between the Sena and BJP is major issue. No one will cut down their current seats numbers to accommodate each other. Therefore, they have no options but to contest separately. And that will surely go in favour of Congress and the NCP,” said political observer.

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Bombay HC rejects bail plea of driver in bus accident that killed 37 on Mumbai-Goa highway

The Bombay High Court has rejected the bail plea of the driver of a luxury bus that plunged into a river off the Mumbai-Goa highway four years ago, killing 37 passengers and injuring 15 others.The driver, Santaji Kirdat, was convicted on charges of rash driving, negligence, and culpable homicide not amounting to murder and given 10 years in jail by a trial court earlier this year.Kirdat had filed a plea in the HC challenging his conviction and demanding that his sentence be suspended and he be released on bail till the appeal was decided.Justice AM Badar, who heard the bail plea rejected it on Friday, observing that Kirdat had been speeding on a narrow stretch of a bridge at the time of the accident, and had knowingly put the lives of the passengers at risk.The incident occurred around 3 am on March 19, 2013. The luxury bus carrying 52 people, including Kirdat and a conductor, plunged into the Jagbudi river. 37 people including the conductor were killed in the accident.Also readHP bus accident: Rs 5 lakh, Rs 4 lakh for kin of victimsPolice in their probe found that the bus was coming from Mhapsa in Goa to Mumbai and Kirdat was speeding at the time of the incident.The tyre marks of the bus revealed that even though Kirdat had applied the brakes, he could not control the vehicle and it fell into the river after crashing through the barrier of the British era bridge over the river.Also readEight killed, 25 injured in West Bengal’s bus accidentThe police probe also found that the bridge was just 20 ft wide and several passengers had gone to the driver s cabin asking him to drive slowly.Kirdat denied the charges and claimed in court that he had had no knowledge or intention to cause the death of the passengers.Justice Badar however, rejected his argument saying, “Several passengers asked him (Kirdat) to slow down but he paid no heed to them. The road was only 20 feet wide. It cannot be inferred at this stage that the applicant/accused was not knowing condition of the road on the highway and he was not oblivious of the fact that the road/bridge is narrow.” “The time when the incident took place is also relevant.Any person of ordinary prudence would not dare to drive a passenger bus at such speed at a pe-dawn hour. Therefore, it cannot be said the applicant was not having knowledge of the act that he was committing by driving the bus at such high speed and risking the lives of so many people, ultimately causing their deaths,” Justice Badar said.

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Pune: BJP RS MP Sanjay Kakade predicts party’s loss in Gujarat

During Pune municipal elections earlier this year, he had predicted 92 seats for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and he was ready to quit politics if his prediction goes wrong. His party went on to win 98 seats in PMC and now the same MP of BJP Sanjay Kakade has predicted that his party will not win enough number of seats in Gujarat election.After the voting in Gujarat, most of the exit poll surveys have been predicting a victory for BJP but Kakade, the Rajya Sabha MP claimed that he has done his own survey in the state and according to the findings of his survey, performance of his own party will be dismal. Speaking to DNA, Kakade said, “I had sent a team of six people to Gujarat and they have covered mostly the rural part of the state. They have met farmers, labourers, waiters and drivers. According to their survey, the party is not getting enough number of seats to reach to majority. In fact, it is the Congress party who is likely to reach close to majority mark.”Also readEC orders repolling in 6 booths of second phase in Gujarat”The Patidar community has supported Congress, the Dalits are supporting Congress and Muslims have been traditionally voting Congress party. Therefore, nearly 70 percent of the population is with Congress party which is why I feel, Congress will win enough number of seats to reach close to majority,” he said.Kakade stated that he had made his own observations about the Gujarat election and a there was no mention of the topic of development by his party leaders in the last phase of the campaign. “During last few rallies, our leaders did not speak about the development. The rallies were mostly aimed at making emotional appeal to voters and targeting opposition,” Kakade said.Also readGujarat elections 2017: Stars point at close contest, with an edge to BJPHe also stated that BJP was in power for 22 years and there is a negativity against the party. “Since independence, only communists have regained the power in West Bengal for a longer period of time. Apart from that, there is not a single party which has got the power for more than 25 years. At present there is negativity against the party in Gujarat. In spite of that negativity, if BJP wins the election, it will be because of only and only Narendra Modi,” Kakade said.

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Ravi Shankar Prasad says he ‘denied permission’ to Facebook’s Free Basics

Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said he had denied permission to Facebook’s Free Basics platform when he was handling portfolio of the communications ministry.”Right to access of internet cannot be denied. Therefore, I said earlier when Facebook came to India with Free Basics when I examined it, (and) I was handling communications department then, I found it will be free only when you enter from my gate. India does not believe in one gate and I did not give them permission for that,” Prasad said while speaking at the Digital India Summit.He said it is for the USA to decide their stand on net neutrality but “Our stand from day one is very clear – right of non-discriminatory access to internet is not negotiable”.The sector regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), had issued a regulation in February 2016 on discriminatory pricing over internet access which led to ban of platforms like Free Basics and Airtel Zero.TRAI ruled against discriminatory pricing for different data platforms or content and said operators cannot enter into pacts with internet companies to subsidise access to some websites.As per ruling, the companies violating the rules will be fined Rs 50,000 per day for the duration of contravention, subject to a maximum of Rs 50 lakh.Facebook was offering free internet access to some websites that were available on its Free Basics platform.Following debate over net neutrality, Prasad as the telecom minister had set up a panel of officers from the Department of Telecom (DoT) to examine the matter and come up with recommendations.Prasad had then said the government would take a holistic view on net neutrality after the DoT panel and TRAI finalise their recommendations.The DoT panel too had recommended bar on platforms like Free Basics as it will act as gatekeeper to the internet.Last month, TRAI finalised its recommendations on net neutrality in which it prohibited internet service providers from making any discrimination in traffic while providing web access by either blocking or throttling some apps, websites and services or by offering fast lanes to others.”I believe internet is one of the finest creation of mankind and must be available for all. If internet is a global platform it must have link with local,” Prasad said.The DoT has to now take call on TRAI recommendations over net neutrality.He said the government is making efforts to make India a US $1 trillion digital economy in coming 5 years which include IT, IT enabled services, shared economy etc.The IT minister further said the government recently provided “duty shield” to electronic and mobile sectors to promote domestic manufacturing.Prasad said there were two companies that were making mobile phones in the country when he took over as IT and communications minister.”I am happy to announce today, India today is home to 108 mobile factories in the last three years,” he said.Prasad said the government has also decided to bear the charges on transactions up to Rs 2,000 made through debit cards, BHIM UPI or Aadhaar-enabled payment systems to promote digital transactions.

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FEMA violation case: ED summons Syed Ali Shah Geelani

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani to appear before it on December 18 for adjudication proceedings related to a foreign exchange violation case involving USD 10,000 “illegally” possessed by him in 2002.The foreign currency was seized during an Income Tax raid at his residence in Srinagar’s Hyderpora area in 2002.The central probe agency, early this year, issued a notice under various sections of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to the 87-year-old separatist leader based in Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir.Geelani, who heads the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference, has been asked to either appear in person or through his legal representative before the agency in Srinagar on December 18.The adjudication notice has asked him to “explain or produce documents or evidences, as may be useful for or relevant to the subject matter of enquiry”.The notice, issued by the Enforcement Assistant Director in Srinagar Deepak Chauhan, said if he failed to appear on the date, “adjudication proceedings shall proceed against the noticee (Geelani), exparte”.Geelani can be penalised up to three times the amount contravened under the FEMA after these proceedings end.The ED took up the case after taking cognisance of the Income Tax report and issued summons to Geelani to appear before it in Srinagar in March this year.The agency earlier said that Geelani’s counsel had submitted a written reply and “denied” the recovery of foreign currency from his residence and seizure.”Following further summons, his chartered accountant submitted the appeal documents confirming the recovery and seizure of foreign currency. However, he failed to furnish legitimate source for its acquisition and possession thus making himself liable for action under FEMA,” an ED statement earlier said.Under the FEMA, foreign exchange dealings are regulated in India and the acquisition and possession of foreign exchange by resident Indians are required to be conducted in accordance with the general or special permission.”Geelani did not have any such permission or bona fide explanation for acquisition and possession of the foreign currency.”Therefore, he has been asked to show cause to the adjudicating officer under FEMA within 30 days as to why the recovered currency should not be confiscated and penalty imposed on him,” the agency said.

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Ensure job growth, Pranab Mukherjee tells govt

Even as the Opposition continues to target the Narendra Modi-led dispensation over the state of the economy, former President Pranab Mukherjee called on the government to ensure a growth in jobs and stressed on the need for a balance between urban and rural job creation. He was speaking at the launch of an international economic convention on ‘Demonetisation: A Monetary Policy’ at RD National College in Bandra on Thursday.”Jobless growth cannot be the objective of a country like ours. Therefore, we must have job creation and there must be a balance between urban and rural employment,” noted Mukherjee.He added that the two areas that had seen substantial improvement included the current account deficit (CAD) position and fiscal deficit in terms of GDP. The inflation levels too were manageable and comfortable.Stressing on the need for quality and quantity in education, Mukherjee said it was necessary for students from IITs to be engaged in basic research. He also expressed concerns over the high NPAs in the banking system.”70 years of independence and 67 years of a Republic hugely provide us an opportunity to reflect on where we began and where we are today,” said Mukherjee, who demitted office earlier this year, adding that though the progress made by India could not be compared with the ASEAN economies, we could be satisfied keeping in view India’s peculiar position.”In the last quarter, the GDP growth rate which has been declared by the CSO has improved particularly in the context of five continuous quarters, the GDP was going down and there is an upward feel,” said Mukherjee.
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To equal UPA’s average, economy has to grow at 10.6% in fifth year: Manmohan Singh

Continuing his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Dr Manmohan Singh on Thursday once again criticised the demonetization move and alleged that the former has “betrayed” the trust of Gujaratis.While addressing a press conference in Gujarat’s Rajkot, the former prime minister said, “The people of Rajkot and Gujarat trusted the Prime Minister and believed in the policy of demonetization in the hope that their sacrifice would benefit India. Their faith and hopes have been shattered. Modiji has betrayed the trust that Gujaratis had reposed in him?. “99% of the demonetized currency came back to the banks. It is clear that a lot of black money got converted to white and corruption continues to flourish. One immediate impact of demonetisation has been on job sector. Therefore, demonetisation was an uninformed attack and a disastrous decision for our economy”, added Manmohan Singh.He continued, “I invoke memories of more than 100 people who lost their lives while standing in queues as a result of demonetisation. I say with immense pain and a sense of deep responsibility that November 8 was a black day for our economy and democracy.” Manmohan Singh further averred that people should demand the release of documents related to demonetization. “We must demand the government to release all the documents related to demonetisation in public domain for scrutiny?, he said.Also readRahul is Congress’ darling, will carry forward great traditions of party: Manmohan SinghManmohan Singh further criticised the lowering GDP, saying, “To equal the UPA’s ten year average, the economy will have to grow at 10.6% in the fifth year, I would be happy if it were to happen but I frankly do not think it will”.
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I am busy with elections, Prakash Mehta tells Lokayukta

Maharashtra housing minister and senior BJP leader Prakash Mehta has excused himself from attending Lokayukta hearing on Wednesday in connection with alleged land scam saying he was busy in Gujarat elections and subsequently in the winter session of state assembly.Mehta had demanded the four week period to attend the next hearing. However, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said that the Housing Minister was running from the inquiry. “It shows that Mehta wants to escape from the actions against him. We hope there will be fair probe against Mehta,” Malik said.Mehta was accused of giving permission for the slum redevelopment project (SRA) at Tardeo despite negative remark by senior housing department bureaucrat. Opposition had alleged that minister violated the rule book to give a windfall gain of Rs 500 crore to the developer. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had ordered Lokayukta inquiry into the issue.Lokayukta had called housing minister for hearing on December 6. However, Mehta conveyed to the Lokayukta that he would not be able to attend any hearing for next four weeks.”The housing minister told Lokayukta that he was busy in campaigning of his party BJP in Gujarat elections. Besides, there will be winter session of state assembly. Therefore, the minister sought four weeks’ time to attend next hearing,” said sources from Lokayukta office.The Lokayukta had sent letter to the minister seeking clarification over objections raised by Opposition leaders.In the meanwhile, sources close to Mehta claimed he was trying to ensure his response to Lokayukta was properly framed since this was a quasi-judicial authority.
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Govt to launch ‘Study in India’ to attract foreign students

The central government, in a bid to attract more foreign students to India, is going to launch a year-long project called ‘Study in India’. The project is aimed at taking the number of foreign students coming to India to over one lakh by 2020.According to official records, 35,000-40,000 foreign students come to India every year on an average. In order to increase this number, EdCIL — an autonomous body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), which is responsible for keeping the record of foreign students — is working on ‘Study in India’. The HRD Ministry will support the organisation financially to implement the idea.”We have submitted a detailed plan to the Ministry on what we plan to do to increase the number of foreign students, and the Ministry is fully supporting the plan. The idea is to promote Indian universities in foreign countries by doing roadshows, using social media, and through public interactions to inform students about good education institutions in India, and what we can offer them,” an EdCIL official said.”We have made a list of countries that we want to target under the plan — places where we think students will be interested in coming to India, specially in SAARC countries,” the official added.Out of the total number of international students across the globe, only 0.6 per cent come to India. Officials in the Ministry feel that apart from security concerns about coming to India, lack of information about Indian institutions available abroad is also one of the primary reasons for this number.As per the latest report of Association of Indian Universities, students from 208 countries came to study in India in the year 2014-15. The majority of them were from Asia, followed by African countries, and only 1.61 per cent came from European countries.”There are so many schemes that the government runs for international students including relaxation in terms of the minimum eligibility for admission, but many are not aware about it. Therefore the plan of promoting institutions abroad would work well for us,” said a senior official in HRD Ministry.AIMING HIGHAccording to data, 35,000-40,000 foreign students come to India every year. The central govt is aiming at increasing this number to one lakh by 2020.
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‘Snubbing HC order’, Vasundhara Raje government all set to bring regional, urban planning act

How to circumvent a court order? No one knows it better than the lawmakers. Therefore, it was not surprising when Vasundhara Raje government decided to bring in a new law – Rajasthan Regional and Urban Planning Act.There were apprehensions and rightly so that the government was bringing this law to facilitate illegal constructions and encroachments in the election year.Several provisions in the proposed law are aimed at circumventing the high court order, which makes zonal plan for regularisation. The high court order had come after a petition was filed by Gulab Kothari.However, going against the letter and spirit of the high court order, the state government has proposed zonal development plans within the master plans of various cities. Keeping this in mind, the government is implementing the state level act.The UDH and the Law department have arrived at consensus regarding draft of the new bill. Soon, it will be introduced through an ordinance. All master plans would be notified under this act, subsequently zonal development plans will be prepared as part of the master plans.However, the experts believe that the whole exercise was to evade the court’s restrictions. With this act, the government can create regional plan and master plan of an urban area. However, it would depend on how the court views this new act even though the government considers it a master stroke. Regularisation ProvisionsUnified development control regulations proposed For uniformity the government will issue control regulations for all cities The regulations will have parameters for any kind of activity Commercial/institutional activity will be decided according to road width Previous master plans will deemed to be notified under this act Government regulations will be implemented under master plans Zonal and land use plans to be prepared under master plans Commercial/institutional activities to be sanctioned in zonal plan under control regulations Proposaed lawExisting master plan to be adjusted while preparing regional plan Existing Zonal and sector plan to be merged while preparing master plan formation of an advisory committee Only current land use will be planned but not the future land use Plan will be according to development control regulations. The government can review them anytime This responsibility can be given to town planning department or any agency If the government wishes previous master plan can be cancelled for a new master plan
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BJP have forgotten the Hindu religion, says Kapil Sibal

A day after controversy over Rahul Gandhi’s Somnath Temple visit, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Thursday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not a real Hindu.The retort comes after the ruling BJP questioned Rahul Gandhi’s faith following his visit to Somnath Temple.“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not a real Hindu. These people (BJP) have forgotten the Hindu religion and adopted ‘Hindutva’ instead,” the Congress leader said.The former Union Law Minister said the political discourse in the election campaigning in poll-bound Gujarat was deliberately being brought down by the BJP, as they lack issues to debate on.“In Gujarat, BJP is not talking about demonetisation or GST. Therefore, it is evident that the politics has deteriorated. It seems that the development related concerns have lost somewhere in the Gujarat Assembly elections,” Sibal said.Also readRahul’s media coordinator wrote his name in non-Hindu registry: Somnath Temple TrustSibal’s remark came after a row erupted over Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the temple in Gujarat, wherein his name was allegedly listed as a non-Hindu visitor in the visitor-book.The controversy started when party’s media coordinator Manoj Tyagi allegedly entered names of Rahul Gandhi and Congress MP Ahmed Patel in the special register for non-Hindus visiting the temple.Soon, the BJP leaders began questioning Congress scion’s faith. Later in the day, the Congress also issued clarification on Twitter saying, ‘There is only one visitor’s book at Somnath Temple that was signed by Congress VP Rahul Gandhi. Any other image being circulated is fabricated. Desperate times call for desperate measures?’
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Govt plans to protect kids from sex abuse

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the wake of growing incidents of sexual abuse against children in schools, the Union HRD Ministry has started work on a preventive strategy.It is part of an action plan discussed at a high-level meeting of various stakeholders, including officials from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Officials are in talks with NGOs and groups that work on children’s issues to work on the strategy.Officials plan to counsel children beyond the good touch, bad touch lessons. “Most schools already have counsellors, but children are not comfortable sharing their problems with them. Therefore we are also going to increase the role of parent-teacher associations,” said a senior official.Among the major initiatives discussed earlier by the high-level committee are establishing POCSO booths in each school equipped with the Childline helpline number (1098). A child can lodge complaints of any deviant sexual activity or any form of sexual harassment.CHILDREN’S SAFETYOfficials plan to counsel children beyond the good touch, bad touch lessons
Establishing POCSO booths in each school

CM Fadnavis, Sharad Pawar to meet tonight to discuss fate of co-generation plants in Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on late Thursday evening will meet the former Union Minister Sharad Pawar and representatives from the sugar industry to discuss the fate of bagasse based co-generation projects and the electricity sold to the state-run Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MahaVitaran). The cooperative and private sugar mills have already set up a collective generation capacity of 2,000 MW and most of which is being purchased by MahaVitaran through a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA).However, MahaVitaran, which is currently passing through a deep financial crisis largely due to mounting arrears from the agriculture consumers which are Rs 19,000 crore, has indicated that it would be difficult to continue power purchase from these plants and also from those in the pipeline citing high power purchase cost which ranges between Rs 6.10 and Rs 6.50 per unit. MahaVitaran has argued that the power is currently available in the open market and on exchanges at Rs 2.50 per unit to Rs 3.75 per unit and continuation of power procurement by bagasse-based cogeneration plants won’t be cost effective.A spokesperson for the state power minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said the minister had already chaired a meeting on Tuesday with the representatives of the sugar industry and also officials of the energy department, MahaVitaran, and Maharashtra Energy Development Agency. ‘’The government in its renewable energy policy has estimated bagasse-based cogeneration capacity at 2,000 MW which includes both the power used by the sugar mills for their consumption and also sold to the MahaVitaran. However, sugar mills have taken objection to it saying that the power consumed from these plants cannot be calculated to estimate total installed capacity. Besides, sugar mills want that another 300 MW of capacity which is being set up some 16 sugar mills needs to be tied up by MahaVitaran. Therefore, a committee was set up to look into these issues and it was later decided that the final decision in this regard will be taken at the level of Chief Minister.’’ He informed that today’s meeting convened by CM will take into account the present situation.On its part, senior leader from the cooperative sugar industry, who will be present at today’s meeting, said the sugar mills have set up these plants under the government’s policy to promote renewable energy in the state and therefore they don’t want the government not to tweak its own policy especially when large investment is being done. The sugar mills have been provided a slew of incentives for installation of these plants.”The per megawatt cost is estimated at Rs 3.50 to 4 crore for bagasse-based cogeneration plant in which high capacity boilers are installed for efficient operations. These plants are generation capacity ranging between 3 MW and 18 MW. Sugar mills are of the view that the MahaVitaran needs to continue the power procurement from such plants and the government can lend help to MahaVitaran,’’ he said.

Laws seeking to centralize powers must be reworked: VP Venkaiah Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Outdated laws and regulations that seek to centralise powers and functions rather than decentralise them must be reworked, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said on Wednesday, pitching for a “bottom-up approach” to governance.”Laws will have to be amended if they come in the way of effective functioning of municipal bodies and lead to delays in execution of projects,” Naidu said, after inaugurating the golden jubilee celebrations of Kochi Municipal Corporation here.Naidu, who served as the Union Urban Development Minister before being elected as the Vice President, said he had “a fairly good idea” of the problems faced by municipal corporations and urban local bodies, their administrators and elected representatives.Rapid urbanisation, burgeoning urban population, unplanned and haphazard growth of urban areas, inability of the civic bodies to cope with increasing demand in services, lack of adequate financial resources and functional powers are the major problems faced by corporations and other urban civic bodies, he noted.”Firstly, outdated laws and regulations which seek to centralise powers and functions rather than decentralise them must be reworked,” he said.”The top-down approach must be replaced by bottom-up approach for finding effective governance at the local level… Times have changed and so have people’s expectations,” Naidu added.Stating that availability of funds might not pose a problem under various programmes, including the ‘Smart Cities’ initiative, launched by the Centre, the Vice President said the timely execution of the projects must be accorded the highest priority.Emphasising the need for providing more legislative powers to municipal bodies and the mayors empowered with greater administrative functions to enable effective governance, he said that since mayors and corporators are elected by the people, they would be directly answerable to the voters.”Therefore, greater accountability has to be infused in the functioning of the corporations and elected representatives,” Naidu said.However, they also need to be empowered with three Fs – funds, functions and functionaries, he said.”In case, each local body is governed by a different Act, the situation must be remedied by clubbing varied Acts and bringing out a single, umbrella Act for ensuring uniformity in functioning and governance,” the Vice President said.

Meghalaya village stays Asia’s cleanest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For artists making nature a theme for their art, this tiny village of 500 souls nestled amongst lush green forests in a remote corner in south of Meghalaya, along the Indo-Bangladesh border, is a perfect destination.Situated in the East Khasi Hill district, the village is famous for its cleanliness and of late has become an attraction point for central and various state government officials to learn tricks to make Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ (Clean India Mission) successful.Functional toilets in every household, no stray animals on the streets, paved pathways, solar-lit streets and bamboo dustbins at every corner, the village, nick-named as God’s Own Garden, is consistently working to retain its prestigious tag of the cleanest village of Asia; conferred on it in 2003. No traces of fallen and dry leaves can be seen as they go straight into a dustbin. Not only are plastic bags banned, but smoking is also prohibited in this village. The rules are strictly followed and the defaulters are heavily charged.The story began some 29 years ago when a primary school teacher, Rishot Khongthohrem, concerned at the successive epidemics that had consumed lives of many children in 1988, proposed to launch a cleanliness drive. “There were sceptics in the village executive committee who dismissed the idea as impractical. But Rishot insisted and proposed a comprehensive plan,” said member of the village committee, Lamphrang, also a retired teacher.The village headman, Banjop Thiaw, teaches government officials and scores of voluntary organisations, which can be touted as pf the secrets behind the successful accomplishment of a swachh mission in the village.Sitting cozy outside his tidy home, villager Enes Khonglamet recalls how after the village committee had launched the cleanliness drive in 1988, within two years the streets and houses had become spic-and-span. The first order came to put animals in enclosures, whether domesticated or stray. Then every household was told to construct toilets alongwith septic tanks and then were asked to attend to kitchen waste. All 97 houses in the village have septic and compost pits dug in the adjoining garden.”It is mandatory for every household to segregate organic waste from plastics etc. The organic waste is placed in the compost pit that converts it into manure, which is later used in the fields. The inorganic waste is collected in a large bamboo waste box, which is transported to Shillong once a month, and is handed over to a recycling plant,” says Lamphrang.One of the farmers Khonglamet recalls that there was lot of opposition, as poor villagers had to use their meagre resources to build all these things. But looking back, he recalls with sparkles in his eyes that cleanliness has brought fortunes and pots of money to the village.”It is become a big tourist attraction now. During the peak season, 2,000-odd tourists visit the village on a daily basis,” he said. Khonglamet hopes that his son who is studying commerce in Shillong will return to set up a tourist related business here.”We charge every vehicle Rs 50 for entering the village. Therefore, we are self-sufficient to repair and attend to maintenance of pathways. There are 22 guest houses in the village that have 100 per cent occupancy between May and September. Also there are seven eateries which serve village organic food. The village is connected to nearby Rawa village through a unique Living Root Bridges which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hanging on a river, the bridges are made by connecting the aerial roots of seven massive rubber trees with each other.Asked if the experiment of Mawlynnong has been replicated elsewhere, Lamprang tells DNA, “Meghalaya government had tried to convince other villages and had even offered incentives. Other village heads had attempted the cleanliness drive to lure tourists and raise income of their village, but you know sanitation is not about money, but changing the habit of people. We succeeded changing the social habits of people. No amount of force, but only cajoling and their own understanding can bring changes in habits. As you know, old habits die hard.”

Time for Ashok Parnami to attend to his home turf

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With just one year left for the assembly election, state BJP president Ashok Parnami is now keen to put his house in order. Of late, he is paying more attention to his constituency, Adarsh Nagar.Apart from attending people’s problems and trying to resolve them, Parnami has started ‘chai pe charcha’.From the beginning, Adarsh Nagar has been a tough constituency for the candidates particularly for the BJP, as it has a sizeable number of minority voters. After delimitation, the Congress was convinced of winning this seat.Considering it an easy seat, Congress stalwart Mahir Azad put his foot down to contest from here. However, it turned out to be a huge miscalculation by Azad who had won from Jhunjhunu in the past.The BJP fielded Parnami who was contesting his maiden assembly election. Parnami belongs to Punjabi community and was mayor of Jaipur yet no one had thought that he would win. The betting market gave him no ‘bhav’. His party leaders were even less confident.However, Parnami contrary to popular belief, turned out to be a giant killer. Not just that, he retained the seat in the next assembly election in 2013 but this also raised his political stock as he was chosen to head the party. But, since then he has been unable to give proper time to his constituency, which has been the key factor in his victories. Therefore, Parnami is now taking no chances and testing himself on the tasks he had assigned to other MLAs. Ashok Parnami is active in Jaipur politics for the last 25 years. It wasn’t an easy journey from a ward councillor to the MLA. He got MLA’s ticket on the basis of his splendid work as the mayor and now as a state president he is playing a successful political innings. He has established his identity in the state politics as chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s charioteer.ON a Day, PARnami …Visits slums, backward areasFocuses on door to door networkCovers one colony or mohalla in a dayTries to resolve problems on the spotTakes feedback through discussion on a cuppaPrepares list of core problems to resolve themMotivates BJP workersActive on social media

When you see condom ad while sitting with your family: Twitter reacts to ‘awkward’ Kejriwal-Khattar picture

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Wednesday, after what felt like ages of endless tweeting, Arvind Kejriwal finally met his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar, while Punjab CM Captain Amarinder stayed away.Even though Kejriwal is a man who like Khattar also hails from Haryana, the two were amazingly awkward during their meeting. A photo of Khattar holding an AC remote while Kejriwal sat on the far end of the sofa went viral on social media.After a long football-match length session, a joint statement was issued where the two promised to put in sustained efforts to check pollution and ensure that 2018 wouldn’t see a repeat of the hell-hole that Delhi-NCR became in 2017.Here’s how Twitter reacted to the awkward meeting, which some described as a PTA meet, while another said felt like an adult scene coming on the TV while one is watching a film with family. A joint statement was issued after the meeting, in which their environment ministers and other top officials also participated.”We the chief ministers of Delhi and Haryana are happy to have had a very fruitful meeting at Chandigarh today. We recognised our deep and shared concern over the recent episode of heavy smog in our National Capital Region. We agreed upon the need for action on many measures aimed at preventing its re-occurrence in the winter of 2018,” according to the statement.It said that during the discussions, the two sides agreed that “serious health risks to which such episodes of smog expose one and all require concrete and quick action on a number of fronts.””In today’s meeting we covered crop residue burning and vehicular pollution issues. We resolve to put in sustained efforts in pursuance of the jointly identified action points in the coming days, weeks and months.”We look forward to covering other sources of air and water pollution in our future discussions.” The two chief ministers also briefly met the media later after their meeting.Kejriwal said that states may be separated by territorial boundaries, but nobody has control over air and joint efforts need to be put in by all stakeholders to check pollution.”Therefore, it is very important that the country’s top political executive, both of states and the Centre, everyone will have to collectively find a solution to this problem,” he said.”I believe today’s meeting is just a beginning. It is an indication that to deal with this problem, we are ready to take whatever steps are required to be taken. We had a discussion on crop burning, on vehicular pollution, as also on bypasses which are being built, we had a discussion on how we can introduce CNG vehicles.”They gave us suggestions that there are some stretches, like for example Delhi-Gurgaon has only one road stretch and if the Dwarka bypass can be expedited, likewise Badarpur- Ashram stretch…,” Kejriwal said touching upon steps that can be taken to decongest traffic and bring down pollution levels caused by vehicles.He also said “I believe that message should go out that at the top level whatever steps are needed to be taken we are ready to take those steps. This is an indication to governments of both the states that strict steps should be taken to curb pollution.”Khattar said there is really genuine concern about smog, which has engulfed northern states, especially in NCR.”It has been happening for the last two years. This problem is not related to only one state but it is a common concern. We are taking steps in our respective states whether it is stubble burning or vehicular pollution,” he said.He said his government has decided to give subsidy to farmers and government procurement agencies on the purchase of 8-9 implements in order to tackle stubble burning problem.”This year, the number of incidents of stubble burning has dropped in Haryana. Satellite pictures show that we have controlled it to a large extent in Haryana,” he said.He said Delhi is the capital of India and “we will collectively try to ensure smog does not envelop Delhi”.Kejriwal had earlier said that Khattar had invited him to Chandigarh today for the meeting as he could not meet him in Delhi because he was very busy.The Delhi chief minister had sought a meeting with his counterparts from Haryana and Punjab to find a solution to stubble burning in neighbouring states, a major source of high pollution levels in Delhi.The practice of burning of crop residue by farmers of Punjab and Haryana has been blamed for the toxic smog enveloping the region every winter.Kejriwal recently said the Centre, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi governments should keep political differences aside and come together to find a permanent solution to stubble burning.Yesterday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh again ruled out a meeting with Kejriwal, asking him not to “politicise” the serious matter. With inputs from PTI

Delhi-NCR smog: Kejriwal and Khattar finally meet, resolve to put in ‘sustained efforts’ to check pollution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar today resolved to put in “sustained efforts” to check pollution and discussed measures to ensure smog does not envelop the national capital in the winter of 2018.Kejriwal held a nearly 90-minute meeting at Khattar’s residence here and it primarily centred around air pollution and stubble burning that is a major contributory factor to smog, which has engulfed the national capital and parts of Haryana and Punjab over the past nearly two weeks.A joint statement was issued after the meeting, in which their environment ministers and other top officials also participated.”We the chief ministers of Delhi and Haryana are happy to have had a very fruitful meeting at Chandigarh today. We recognised our deep and shared concern over the recent episode of heavy smog in our National Capital Region. We agreed upon the need for action on many measures aimed at preventing its re-occurrence in the winter of 2018,” according to the statement.It said that during the discussions, the two sides agreed that “serious health risks to which such episodes of smog expose one and all require concrete and quick action on a number of fronts.””In today’s meeting we covered crop residue burning and vehicular pollution issues. We resolve to put in sustained efforts in pursuance of the jointly identified action points in the coming days, weeks and months.”We look forward to covering other sources of air and water pollution in our future discussions.” The two chief ministers also briefly met the media later after their meeting.Kejriwal said that states may be separated by territorial boundaries, but nobody has control over air and joint efforts need to be put in by all stakeholders to check pollution.”Therefore, it is very important that the country’s top political executive, both of states and the Centre, everyone will have to collectively find a solution to this problem,” he said.”I believe today’s meeting is just a beginning. It is an indication that to deal with this problem, we are ready to take whatever steps are required to be taken. We had a discussion on crop burning, on vehicular pollution, as also on bypasses which are being built, we had a discussion on how we can introduce CNG vehicles.”They gave us suggestions that there are some stretches, like for example Delhi-Gurgaon has only one road stretch and if the Dwarka bypass can be expedited, likewise Badarpur- Ashram stretch…,” Kejriwal said touching upon steps that can be taken to decongest traffic and bring down pollution levels caused by vehicles.He also said “I believe that message should go out that at the top level whatever steps are needed to be taken we are ready to take those steps. This is an indication to governments of both the states that strict steps should be taken to curb pollution.”Khattar said there is really genuine concern about smog, which has engulfed northern states, especially in NCR.”It has been happening for the last two years. This problem is not related to only one state but it is a common concern. We are taking steps in our respective states whether it is stubble burning or vehicular pollution,” he said.He said his government has decided to give subsidy to farmers and government procurement agencies on the purchase of 8-9 implements in order to tackle stubble burning problem.”This year, the number of incidents of stubble burning has dropped in Haryana. Satellite pictures show that we have controlled it to a large extent in Haryana,” he said.He said Delhi is the capital of India and “we will collectively try to ensure smog does not envelop Delhi”.Kejriwal had earlier said that Khattar had invited him to Chandigarh today for the meeting as he could not meet him in Delhi because he was very busy.The Delhi chief minister had sought a meeting with his counterparts from Haryana and Punjab to find a solution to stubble burning in neighbouring states, a major source of high pollution levels in Delhi.The practice of burning of crop residue by farmers of Punjab and Haryana has been blamed for the toxic smog enveloping the region every winter.Kejriwal recently said the Centre, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi governments should keep political differences aside and come together to find a permanent solution to stubble burning.Yesterday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh again ruled out a meeting with Kejriwal, asking him not to “politicise” the serious matter.

No politics in Modi calling on Karunanidhi, says MK Stalin

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK working president MK Stalin on Wednesday clarified that there was no politics involved in Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting his father and party chief M Karunanidhi as it was only a courtesy call.Leading a demonstration against the Modi’s demonetization move on its first anniversary in Madurai, Stalin said that some wanted to create confusion over Modi calling on Karunanidhi who is recovering from illness but it would not succeed.Modi’s unscheduled visit to Karunanidhi’s Gopalapuram residence on November 6 when he arrived here to attend a couple of private function set off speculation of a political realignment ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.Stalin said that he had clarified on Monday itself that Modi had met Karunanidhi as the DMK president was a senior Dravidian leader and that he was taking rest after recovering from old age illness.”When the reporters asked me whether the meeting had any political importance, I told them clearly that Modi did not come for politics, we are also not ready to use him anytime for politics,” he explained to put to rest all the speculation of the political realignment. He noted that Modi was here to attend private events and expressed his wish to meet “our leader”. He said that he returned early from Sharjah in Dubai when he was informed about the PM’s visit.DMK leader said that Modi invited the 93-year-old Karunanidhi to stay at his Delhi residence. “He (Modi) said they won’t allow you (Karunanidhi) to take rest here as there would be a stream of visitors. He also invited (Karunanidhi) to come to his Delhi residence for treatment,” Stalin said.”Therefore this is humanitarian, and beyond politics,” he said.Stalin said his party announced deferring the ‘Black -Day’ protests in eight districts including Chennai only because of rains.

Hospitals witness spurt in e-payments

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A year after demonetization, which especially affected the health industry, various hospitals have confirmed that there has been an exponential rise in E-payments, leading to more transparency. Some private hospitals even said that nearly 95 per cent of the patients were making E-payments.The impact was mostly felt in hospitals located in Tier 2 and 3 cities, as these areas have low digital penetration and residents largely rely on cash to avail health treatments.”We witnessed a 20 per cent decline in patients paying in cash. The healthcare industry has been marred by financial, demographic, and regulatory limitations. Therefore, it is highly vulnerable to such policies. Immediately after the move, medical care across the country got affected, with many medical facilities and pharmacies not accepting old currency. It also sensitised people to the fact that bills could be paid online and health insurance was important,” said Dr Dharminder Nagar, Medical Director, Paras Healthcare.Echoing the sentiment, Kamal Solanki, CEO of Venkateshwar Hospital in Dwarka, said: “As many as 80 per cent of Indians do not possess health insurance. So, when demonetization happened, the healthcare industry faced an initial crisis due to cash crunch. But many private and government hospitals did not stop accepting cash.””Initially, there was a strain on medical tourism as well as hospitals did not want to accept old currency from off-shore clients. But with digitisation, patients would have a better track record of their medical profile,” he added.

Cash bribes dry up, gold coins light up lives

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After demonetization, the flow of kickbacks has dried up in Mantralaya and bribes are now being paid in gold coins and biscuits.According to Manatralaya workers, earlier, before meeting ministers and secretaries, contractors and developers happily greased their palms with amounts between Rs 500 to Rs 1,000. “Now, the situation is very bad.Contractors say they are hardly making any money, and demonetization and goods and service tax (GST) devastated businesses. As a result, there is a loss of business and even a cash crunch. Therefore, we are not even given any goodwill sum. We are getting a monthly salary between Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000. This sole amount is not enough to live life and meet expenses in a costly city like Mumbai . The daily Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 goodwill money helped us run. This sum was paid to initiate the file movements from one table to another table and prioritising meetings with secretaries and ministers,” said a Mantrayala staff.Another government employee said that demonetization had not curbed he corruption completely. “We have been deprived of cash but our sahebs are paid in gold coins and biscuits. During the Congress -NCP regime, there was a liveness in government. The huge numbers of people used to turn to Mantrayal for their work. Now, except cabinet meeting day, we hardly see people here. Mantralaya is such a big and swanky building but some times, its haunts us,” he said on condition of anonymity.Senior government officials said that in the BJP-run government, the functioning of this government is quite different than the previous government. “In Congress NCP government, most of the decisions are taken by individual ministers based on their discretion, but in the BJP government, most of the things are already finalised at the top level and the files only come to ministers for formal approvals and signatures,” he said.

‘What is the effect of Paracetamol?’: SC grills doctor-turned-law student on his knowledge of medicine

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A doctor-turned-law student who has sought audio-video recording of court proceedings of ‘cases of public importance’ and ‘legally educative cases’ was today grilled by the Supreme Court over his knowledge of medicine.The apex court which appreciated the drafting of petition by the doctor-turned-law student said several pleas were being filed regarding audio-video recording of the cases and it would entertain the matters.A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud refused to entertain the petition filed by Dr Subhash Vijayran, who is now a second year law student at the Campus Law Centre in Delhi University, and asked him to withdraw the plea.Chief Justice Dipak Misra, when he learnt that Vijayran who was appearing in-person was a doctor, asked him questions about medicine.”What is the effect of Paracetamol tablet on the body? How does it react,” the CJI asked the petitioner.Replying to the question, Vijayran said it lowered the temperature of the body by reacting to the liver and mitochondria.This prompted the CJI to ask further questions including how does the body react to kidney transplant and what are the effects of antibiotics on the body.Justice Misra said research has been conducted about neural reaction on the human body which undergoes kidney transplant and asked Vijayran to go through these research papers.In his plea, Vijayran has sought directions from the apex court to make available to law students the audio-video recordings and complete case files claiming it would be a big step in providing them with holistic and practical knowledge of law and bridging the gap between theory and practice.”It is aptly said that law colleges in India produce law graduates and not lawyers. It takes years for a law graduate to become a lawyer. To become a good lawyer, apart from hard work, it is equally important to work under the guidance of an able and learned senior. This is a real challenge for me,” Vijayran said in his plea.He also urged the court to take the aid of modern technology to perpetually preserve its proceedings and make them ‘open courts’ in word and spirit as has been the practice in western countries like USA and United Kingdom.”Drafting skills are very important for any lawyer. If the entire case file is available on the website, I shall, apart from reading the case documents and gaining knowledge therefrom, also develop good drafting skills. By granting my prayer of having entire case file in PDF format available online, this Court will help in sculpturing an excellent draftsman out of me. Therefore, my prayers should be granted,” he said.He also said that because of lack of space and other practical difficulties, hardly a hundred people at the most can be physically present in any court room at a given time.

Don’t have a magic wand, but my efforts should be judged with sincerity: J&K special interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Centre’s special representative for Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma says he does not have a magic wand, but wants to be judged by his actions when he starts the process of talks in the Valley on Monday.”I do not have a magic wand but my efforts have to be judged with sincerity and not through the prism of the past,” Sharma, 61, said.The former Intelligence Bureau director added that no one should jump to conclusions before the process of talks with various stakeholders in Kashmir began.”I would like to be judged by my actions,” he told PTI from Delhi.Describing his work as a “serious effort”, he added that “one should refrain from fishing in the desert”.”I am going there tomorrow to be with my people and understand their pain and suffering and find a suitable remedy to their problems,” Sharma said.Responding to criticisms which have appeared in sections of the media, he said in due course he would also meet intellectuals for their advice in achieving “this difficult national task”.Sharma, who is originally from Bihar and was a Kerala- cadre IPS officer of the 1979 batch, held the country’s top- most post for a police officer from 2014 to 2016.He said Kashmir was his “second home” as his professional journey in the premier intelligence unit began here in 1992.”Nothing has changed since I was there for the first time. Kashmiriyat, which means compassion and brotherhood, has not changed even an iota. Therefore, I am hopeful that I will be at least able to contribute towards a new Kashmir, a peaceful Valley where prosperity will be the order of the day,” he said.Last month, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, while announcing that Sharma would be the interlocutor for Kashmir, had referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech from the Red Fort this year.Modi had said on August 15, “Na gaali se, na goli se, parivartan hoga gale lagaane se (Only by embracing the people, and not with abuses or bullets, can there be a change in Kashmir).”Asked about the course of action he would follow, Sharma said, “I do not have a magic wand to change the situation overnight. But having said that, I will like to emphasise during my proposed meetings beginning tomorrow, my every effort will be to work towards ensuring permanent peace in the state.”The special representative will meet political leaders, traders and other delegations tomorrow, according to a list drawn up by the state government.However, he made it clear he had his own list of people whom he would meet as well.To a question about a statement made by the Joint Resistance Front comprising separatist groups including moderate and hardline factions of the Hurriyat and JKLF that they would not meet him, Sharma said the government’s effort should not be seen through the “prism of the past”.”It is purely their choice whether they want to be a partner in peace or on the opposite side of the fence where destruction has been topping the agenda. My suggestion to everyone is that they should not see this effort of the government through the prism of the past.” he said.Efforts had previously been made by successive central governments too, he said.”I have no idea what happened to them and, therefore, I would not like to comment. I can only talk about this initiative which has been done with a serious thought process and months of hard work by many,” he said.

NCP backs Chidambaram after PM Modi slams Congress over ‘Azaadi’ remark

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has now jumped into the war of words between Congress and BJP over “Kashmir’s Azaadi” remark made by senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram. NCP claimed that Chidambaram’s statement doesn’t insult soldiers and there is a need to address the demands made by the people of Kashmir. NCP accused BJP of portraying Chidambaram’s statement in the wrong light and scuttling the real issue raised by him.NCP on Monday came out in support of Chidambaram, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a scathing attack on the latter for his “Kashmir” remark.Speaking to ANI, NCP leader Tariq Anwar said, “PM Modi is trying to represent P. Chidambaram’s statement in wrong light.”Echoing almost the same viewpoint, another senior NCP leader Majeed Memon said that he doesn’t think that the statement is an insult to the soldiers. “Well I don’t think that it is an insult to brave soldiers, nobody is undermining the efforts of our soldiers who are constantly defending our country. We always salute them, appreciate their efforts,” he said.”This is not a dispute between Congress and BJP; Kashmir has been a contiguous issue for more than past half-century. This has been going from government to government. Therefore this is nothing new that the local people need freedom. What the local people of Kashmir want is the question and unfortunately, that has not been determined for all these years. We are trying to impose upon them,” he added.On Sunday afternoon, while addressing a gathering in Bengaluru, Prime Minister Modi lashed out at the Congress; he also said Chidambaram’s remarks were reflective of party’s view on the army.”Why are Congress leaders lending their voice to those who want ‘Azaadi’ in Kashmir? This is an insult to our brave soldiers,” he said.This reaction from the Prime Minister comes a day after P. Chidambaram said, when people of Jammu and Kashmir ask for ‘azadi’ , they seek greater autonomy.(with ANI inputs)

BJP’s sole agenda is to expand using govt machinery: Sanjay Raut

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CM Fadnavis has said that Shiv Sena should decide whether or not to continue the alliance with BJP. What is your take?It is the statement by Fadnavis in his capacity as the Chief Minister and not as the BJP leader. I must tell you here that BJP was solely responsible for lack of pre-poll alliance with Shiv Sena in the 2014 assembly polls. Sena should not be blamed for the same. There was Modi wave and BJP broke alliance for few seats.BJP should know that Shiv Sena continued alliance for 25 years especially when no party was ready to ally with BJP. Sena could have ditched BJP then but we did not take a call in this regard in the larger interest.Despite in power, Sena keeps attacking the BJP and the government in general. Why are you sticking in?It is amply clear that BJP’s agenda is to expand party through excessive use of government network. In our view, the agenda should be to run the government to resolve grievances of the people and spur the growth.Clashes take place when BJP continues to use government machinery for party’s growth and not to address issues. Shiv Sena never brought politics in the cabinet. During the 1995-99 Shiv Sena-BJP rule, our party gave every opportunity for BJP to grow and never attempted to scuttle them.Fadnavis and BJP in general, have asked Sena not to play a double game.We are sitting in the government to take a stand on issues of common man. There is inflation, there is rise in unemployment, agriculture is in a sorry state and farmers’ suicides are only going up. Are we not supposed to take up these issues? Loan waiver was demanded by both BJP and Sena before elections. It is surprising that the CM now states there will be anarchy after loan waiver is announced.Besides, the much debated Mumbai Nagpur super express was never part of poll announcement but taken up thereafter. Therefore, Shiv Sena stood with the villagers who were demanding due compensation for the land to be acquired for the project.When we raise these issues BJP faces embarrassment. If opposition is quiet on these issues, Sena cannot remain silent. Our sole objective is giving justice to the common man.Is Shiv Sena threatened by BJP’s expansionist move. Will Modi wave come to BJP’s rescue again?Efforts were made in the past by Congress and Communist parties to finish Shiv Sena but they never succeeded. Instead, Shiv Sena grew thereafter.I have already told you there was Modi wave in 2014 but it has faded now.Is Shiv Sena ready to go solo in the coming elections?I must recall that Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray in his speech on January 26 had clearly said that party will chart its growth plan alone. Thereafter, Sena did not strike alliance with BJP in various elections held in the state.

GST: State allows contractors to escalate contract bill by 5%

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the additional burden of Goods and Service Tax (GST) and the fluctuation in fuel prices, Maharashtra government has decided to permit contractors to submit escalated bills with variation of 5%, so that contractors will not face any major financial losses.The civil and road contractors in Mahrashtra had refused to undertake new contracts and continue with the ongoing work because of the extra burden of GST and fluctuating prices of diesel and petrol.State’s public works department (PWD) on Monday issued the notification permitting contractors to submit the fresh bills with the variation of 5%. “We had asked our all district chief engineers to call the meeting with the representatives of contractors and assistant/joint commissioner of GST and decided the settlement procedure on claim on account burden due to GST. The chief engineer as the professional of head of the respective district has to carry out this work effectively. If some issues prop up regarding implementation of contract work agreement, they have to consult with the government immediately,” said official from PWD on condition of anonymity.“We received several complaints from contractors that due to the GST and flue prices, the prices of bitumen, concrete, steel and cement has been increased drastically that additional cost has to be paid to them. However, the contract work amount that can be either paid or recovered if work amount goes down. The price adjustment in tender will be separately attached to tender documents,” stated in the circular.“As per the government norms, price escalation cannot be done if the work period is for only one year. Therefore, we have decided to change the work complete limit more than year so that the contractors can avail the benefit of change in rule. Nevertheless, the contractors who have undertaken the potholes repairing work cannot push their work limit more than year. They have to complete the work as per the agreement only,” said senior official from the PWD.IN THE PASTThe civil and road contractors in Mahrashtra had refused to undertake new contracts and continue with the ongoing work because of the extra burden of GST and fluctuating prices of diesel and petrol.

Assam: BJP MP compares Nehru-Gandhi with garbage, Congress demands his arrest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Assam has stoked a controversy by allegedly comparing Mahatma Gandhi and India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru with garbage.Addressing a public rally at Sonari in Sivsagar district, the Lok Sabha member Kamakhya Prasad Tasa said that the Congress has pushed the Nehru-Gandhi garbage into the minds of people over the years and there is now no space for any other theory, reported IANS.The Congress has lodged an FIR in a Guwahati police station and demanded the MP’s arrest.The report also said that Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal was seated on the podium where Tasa was speaking.”The MP … described Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi as garbage. Therefore, we seek his immediate arrest and prosecution under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC),” read the FIR.Assam Congress leader Ripun Bora said that Tasa’s remark was an unpardonable offence and demanded his immediate arrest.

Owaisi mocks ‘supreme commander’ PM Modi for wearing camouflage while interacting with jawans

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi today celebrated Diwali with troops posted along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Gurez Sector and lauded the soldiers for their penance and sacrifice saying he considers them his family. In an unannounced visit, Modi arrived at Gurez this morning to celebrate Diwali with the army and BSF soldiers posted along the LoC, officials said.He spent two hours with the soldiers in Gurez valley, which is shouting distance of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and has witnessed many gunfights with infiltrating militants in the past 27 years.Reacting to PM Modi meeting jawans, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi wrote: “Finally “Supreme Commander “dons what he always wanted to.”This is the fourth successive Diwali that the prime minister has celebrated with jawans on the border. Chief of the Army Staff Gen B S Rawat and other senior army officers were present on the occasion. Modi offered sweets and exchanged greetings with the jawans, the officials said. Addressing the jawans, he said like everyone else, he too wishes to spend Diwali with his family. Therefore, he had come among the jawans of the armed forces, whom he considers to be his “family”, he said. Modi said he gets new energy when he spends time among the jawans and soldiers of the armed forces and appreciated their penance and sacrifice, amid harsh conditions. The prime minister said that he had been told that the jawans present at the gathering regularly practice yoga. He said that this would definitely enhance their abilities, and give them a sense of calm. He said jawans, who leave the armed forces after completing their duty tenure, can become excellent yoga trainers subsequently. The prime minister spoke of the new resolve that each Indian citizen must make for 2022, the 75th anniversary of independence. He also encouraged the jawans to innovate, so that their routine tasks and duties become easier and safer and mentioned how best innovations are now being recognised and awarded at the Army Day, Navy Day, and Air Force Day. Modi said the Centre is committed to the welfare and the betterment of the Armed Forces, in every way possible.In this regard, he mentioned the implementation of One Rank, One Pension, which had been pending for decades. Protecting the motherland, far from your loved ones, displaying the highest traditions of sacrifice, all soldiers at the nation’s borders, are symbols of bravery and dedication, Modi said. “I have an opportunity to spend the festival of Diwali with you.The presence of brave soldiers at the border, on this festive occasion, lights the lamp of hope, and generates new energy among crores of Indians,” the prime minister wrote in the visitors’ book. “To accomplish the dream of ‘New India’, this is a golden opportunity for all of us to work together. The Army too is a part of it,” he added.With inputs from PTI

PM Modi celebrates Diwali with soldiers in J&K’s Gurez, calls them his ‘family’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday celebrated Diwali in the Gurez valley along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir with the troops posted in the forward area.The Prime Minister spent nearly two hours with the troops and offered sweets and exchanged greetings with them. Addressing jawans, the PM said he too wishes to spend Diwali with his family. Therefore, he had come among jawans, whom he considers his family.The PM also said that jawans who leave Armed Forces after completing their duty tenure, can become excellent yoga trainers subsequently.”If we all take a resolution and work on it, then 125 crore Indians will bring India ahead by 125 crore steps by 2022, 75th year of Independence,” the PM said. Army chief General Bipin Rawat, Northern Command chief Lt General Devraj Anbu and Chinar Corps Commander Lt Gen J S Sandhu were also in Gurez accompanying the prime minister, an Army official said.Modi had spent Diwali with the people of Kashmir in 2014 in the aftermath of the devastating floods in the Valley.(With Agency Inputs)

What to do on Diwali evening? No cracker of an idea

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>How do you explain to a kid that she/he won’t be able to get even a sparkler this Diwali while the cousin living outside the ‘sanitised’ area of NCR can burst crackers to heart’s content?As a parent, you would have justified in your mind the Supreme Court’s ruling banning the sale of firecrackers in NCR by conjuring up images of a smoke-enveloped Delhi, people wearing face-masks, an old man breaking into asthmatic coughs. But tell that to a child who till last year was firing rockets into the sky aiming at Mars (with the firm belief that at least a couple would reach), and she/he will stare at you, bewildered. “Is Diwali cancelled?” would be the obvious question.No, Diwali has not been “cancelled,” but it has been told to shut up. The ground for that is not solid – it’s actually air. Delhi virtually choked last year under the twin forces of crop-stubble burning in neighbouring states and the normal celebration of Diwali. Hence, the legal ban on the sale of firecrackers in the National Capital Region. One respects the honourable court’s decision for its vision and toughness, but one also asks – what will we do then on Diwali night?Lights up, diyas arranged, decorations done, new clothes adorned, mithai consumed, gifts exchanged, plastic smiles smiled – all done by 7 pm. Now what? You can’t possibly repeat the cycle, so what do you do? Single malt? Yes, perhaps… considering its repeat value. But what’ll the all-dressed-up-but-nothing-to-burst seven-year-old do? The ubiquitous iPad comes out from somewhere, a bean bag emerges, a fizzy cold drink is popped open, and hey… ‘Happy Diwali’ is over.This could have been Happy Anyday.Couldn’t at least Diwali day been spared from the ban on the sale of firecrackers? A few hours in the evening designated for a bit of mindless fun? I am sure these were debated by the honourable judges, but then we, the people of NCR, are notorious for not following strictures and timelines. Who’ll go and stop the family living in house no. XX in Geeta Colony from bursting ‘chocolate bombs’ at 11 pm? A potent argument, considering that we revel in disobedience.There have been repeated strictures on fireworks during Diwali – from courts, from law-enforcement agencies and from Mother Nature herself. But we flouted them again and again. This time the doctor (read court) has decided to opt for surgery. Therefore, we are in no position to complain – we have brought it upon ourselves.Now go and tell that to the kids…(The author is Editor-in-Chief of DNA and father of a 7-year-old boy)

Home-bound: Rly stn, bus stands bustling

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Diwali is upon us and railway stations and bus stands are witnessing milling crowd as commuters are heading homewards for celebration. Therefore enormous rush is witnessed in spite of the best efforts made by the Rajasthan Roadways and Railways to ensure smooth movement. The ones who have not made reservation in time are struggling to go back home.To address the issue, Rajasthan Roadways has decided to run extra trips during the festival across the state to accommodate the waiting passengers.While the private bus operators are minting money by charging more than the normal rate from the people who are desperate to go home.Railways too has added extra coaches on trains running on many routes. In the latest addition, the coaches have been added in Udaipur New Jalpaigudi weekly train. With this increase, passengers boarding or deboarding the train at Chittorgarh, Ajmer, Jaipur, Delhi, Lucknow, Gorakpur, Chapra, Katihar and other stations will get additional 64 births in third AC category.A large number of people travel form Jaipur to Bihar and UP and this increase in coach will be beneficial for them. Similarly, temporary addition in the number of coaches in Delhi Sarai Bikaner Express has also been made. One coach of third AC has been added. This will help passengers travelling to and from Gurgaon, Rewari, Luharu, Churu, Ratangarh and other stations. One coach of third AC has also been included in Ajmer Chandigarh Garib Rath express.

ACB court allows renewal of former minister’s passport

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A former minister in the state government, Kripa Shankar Singh, was allowed to renew his passport by the special Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) court last week.The court held that the accused was a minister once upon a time and there is no chance that he will escape from the law. So, there is no reason why his passport should not be renewed.The court rejected the plea made by the prosecution when it stated that the passport authority is not impleaded and also the matter is a serious one. Singh, who was facing charges for disproportionate assets, had filed an application seeking for renewal of his passport as he wanted to travel to Dubai.The court in its orders held, “No doubt, the prosecution opposed the application that the offence is a serious one, but, again there is nothing on record to say that the accused may not return back. The accused was once a minister in the Government of Maharashtra and has permanent residency as well as property in India. Therefore, his fleeing away from justice does not appear to be probable one. Hence, in my view, the application needs to be allowed so as to issue a no-objection certificate for renewal of his passport.”Singh in his application held that his passport is expiring in January 2018. The application reads, “As per rules and regulations and circular of the authority if any person wants to travel abroad then his passport should be valid for the next six months from the date of his travel. Singh wants to travel to Dubai from October 18, 2017, to October 28, 2017. As such, his passport would not be in force for next six months from the date of his travel. Furthermore, as per the rules and regulations, policy, and circular, if any criminal case is pending then the passport cannot be renewed unless a permission is received from the court, thus seeking for NOC.”A charge sheet was filed against Kripa Shankar Singh, his wife Maltidevi, his son Narendra Mohan Singh, his daughter-in-law Ankita Singh and his son-in-law Vijay Singh for money laundering.THE CASESingh, who was facing charges in DA case, had filed an application seeking for renewal of his passport as he wanted to travel to Dubai.
Despite prosecution opposing, the court held that there is no reason to not allow the renewal of his passport.

DD scores self-goal with Free Dish

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The commercialisation of Doordarshan (DD) Direct service, run by Prasar Bharati, which entails lending transponders of its high power satellite to private players, has come a cropper. Touted as a profitable venture that would attract revenues, the scheme has in fact cost the central and state exchequer a hefty amount of Rs 4,785.6 crore in just two years. It has also indirectly helped private channels to avoid taxes.The DD Direct (now also called DD Free Dish) was primarily started as a free platform in the year 2002 to deliver Doordarshan channels to viewers spread across vast hinterlands of India where the reach of terrestrial transmitters was limited.What began as a noble initiative was soon lost in sight as DD Direct began commercialisation of its services by auctioning the slots to private channels. The capacity of the platform was increased to 80 channels by adding more transponders. The commercialisation was projected by Doordarshan as a profitable venture, as the auction prices increased to about Rs 4.3 crore per channel by the beginning of year 2017 and later were fixed at Rs 8 crore after there was a hue and cry about cartelisation.However, an analysis of the real facts reveals that in reality Doordarshan had caused itself a great harm by promoting private channels which moved the entire viewership base to these channels, in effect causing loss of hundreds of crores to Doordarshan by virtue of fall in its ratings and consequently advertising revenues. These facts came to light only after the BARC started rural ratings in 2016-17.Documents available with the DNA suggest that while private channels after paying a paltry amount of Rs 4 to Rs 6 crore per annum to get hooked to the transponder garnered advertisement revenue to the tune of Rs 2,500 crores per annum, the advertisement revenue of DD nose-dived from Rs 1,301 crore in 2014-15 to a paltry Rs 475.7 crore in 2016-17. The model dictates that private channels do not have to share advertising revenue with the operating platform. But what is more intriguing is that after offering them the platform, viewership of DD has also shifted to these private channels, leaving the public broadcaster in out the lurch.To decipher the DD revenue model further, out of Rs 475.7 crore, government ads contributed Rs 318.06. Thus the actual revenue garnered comes to just Rs 157.59 crore, taking the loss in advertising revenue to a whopping Rs 826 crore. In 2015-16, Prasar Bharati also received grants worth Rs 2,734 crore from the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry, which was raised to Rs 3,108 crore in 2016-17. TV Audience Measurement BARC data also reveals that the top rated 15 channels on DD Free Dish platform had gross rating point (GRP) of 50 to 80 while DD Channels rated between 0 and 3.Audited figures also show equally quantifiable losses arising due to license fees for DTH and taxes. The free channels available on DD Free Dish platform have led to migration of customers from Licensed DTH platforms to DD Direct. As per data available and also quantified by TRAI, a total minimum of 30 million customers had become inactive on Pay DTH platforms as on December 2016 and moved to free DTH. While the Pay DTH platforms are subject to license fees at 10% (now reduced to 8%) and other taxes ranging between 20-40%, the private players hooked to DD Direct are spared from paying despite netting huge revenues. As per estimates, losses amounted to Rs 1,941.5 crores in 2015-16 and Rs 2,844.1 crores in 2016-17. Therefore, DD Direct has also indirectly helped private channels avoid taxes which they would have paid, if they were hooked to normal DTH platforms.Industry watchers say, while those deciding to commercialise DD Direct might had good motives, but they soon lost sight by auctioning the slots to private channels and keeping the platform Free-To-Air (FTA). “The commercialisation by auctions has garnered DD Direct meagre revenues (as compared to loss in advertising), but it has had the effect of pushing private TV channels upfront to tens of millions of viewers relegating the interest of Prasar Bharti and Doordarshan to the background and losses which are now running at Rs 3,000 crores per annum and viewership of DD reduced to near zero,” a DD official told DNA on the condition of anonymity.All DTH platforms in India operate under a DTH License as per the DTH Licensing Policy which was enacted in 2001 after the prohibition on the reception and distribution of television signal in Ku Band was withdrawn by the government. Being a government-owned platform, the DD Direct operates without any license, which was appropriate so far as it was carrying Doordarshan channels (a public service platform). Industry players say that after full commercialisation of DD-Direct, there is no justification for the platform to operate without any license. “When it no longer behaved as public service provider, the policy amounted to disturbing the level playing field hitting the revenues of those paying taxes and operating fairly,” said a private TV operator. Interestingly, DD Direct carries just 24 DD channels as against 56 private channels, who are essentially being funded by pubic money – enabling them to avoid license fees and the GST.Doordarshan holds an e-auction once every couple of months to award vacant channel slots on DD Free Dish to private broadcasters. At present, the platform carries 80 channels, including private entertainment channels like Star Utsav, Sony Pal, Zee Anmol, Rishtey and news channels like Aaj Tak, ABP News and News 24. Recently the I&B Ministry decided to review the channel slot auction process of state broadcaster Doordarshan’s free-to-air direct-to-home (DTH) platform DD Free Dish. The last e-auction took place in July, in which Doordarshan had earned Rs 85.10 crore and awarded 11 channel slots to private broadcasters.”Doordarshan had caused itself a great harm by promoting private channels which moved the entire viewership base to these channels, in effect causing loss of hundreds of crores to Doordarshan by virtue of fall in its ratings and consequently advertising revenues,” a source in DD said.

Early challenge for FTII chairman Anupam Kher as trouble brews between students and admin

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It looks like actor Anupam Kher, the new chairman of the Film and television institute of India (FTII) will be greeted with a fresh controversy when he will be visiting the FTII in coming days. A group of students from second year have decided to boycott an academic project called ‘dialogue exercise’ citing that the fact that the administration reduced the number of days for the exercise from three days to two while the administration also remained firm on its stand that it will not give more than two days to complete the exercise.The controversy erupted on Wednesday when the administration of FTII issued notices to five students of second year to vacate hostels for boycotting the dialogue exercise. Following the notices, the delegation of FTII Students Association held a meeting with the administration on Thursday morning after which the administration decided to revoke the notices and allowed the concerned students to stay in the hostels. However, the standoff between student body and the administration over the issue of dialogue exercise has continued.As a part of the curriculum, the second-year students from direction, cinematography, sound design, editing and art direction have to shoot a short film. However, the protesting students have decided to boycott the exercise stating earlier, the students would get three days where they could shoot the film working eight hours a day, however with changed norms, the administration has reduced the days of shooting from three days to two days but they have increased the working hours from eight hours a day to twelve hours a day.”It is not feasible to work for 12 hours shift for two days and forcing the light men, carpenters and other workers to work for longer stretch. Therefore, we are demanding that the administration should give an additional day and make the working shift of eight hours which was the earlier norm,” Robin Joy, president of the association told DNA.The student body and the administration have been holding meetings on the same issue from last couple of months but there has been no headway.Justifying the norms of reducing the dialogue exercise to two days, the administration has stated that the purpose of reducing the exercise to two days is to complete the semester in time and to avoid backlog.However, amidst the standoff, the administration held a meeting with students’ body to give some suggestions to break the deadlock. Amit Tyagi, dean (films) said, “Before the start of the shooting for dialogue exercise, the students take one day for making arrangements for lighting. During the meeting, we suggested them that they can start shooting from that day also as they do not require entire day to make arrangements of lights. However, they did not accept the suggestion.”Administration has made it clear that if the students do not start shooting for dialogue exercise in next few days, they will not be able to do it again.Meanwhile the association has written an open letter to Anupam Kher to raise certain issues related to the institute.FTII students’ association, the students body had raised question mark over Kher’s appointment stating that there is an issue of conflict of interest as the veteran actor runs his own acting institute in Mumbai.Following the announcement of the actor’s appointment, the association held a general body meeting at the campus on Wednesday night and based on the issues discussed during the meeting, the open letter has been drafted.Robin Joy, president of FTII students’ association told DNA, “Through this open letter, we are asking some questions to Kher and we wish to hear a reply from him.”In the letter, the association has raised various issues including their objection over introduction of short-term courses, issues related to open day and foundation day celebrated by the administration.Claiming that the short-term courses are being run to generate funds, the association in the letter mentioned that the premier film institute of the country started ideally to impart learning different aspects of film making but now the institute is being turned into an institute which runs short-term crash courses for generation of funds.”We sincerely believe that the short-term courses which are being run cannot impart knowledge on film making in such a short duration. The government institute that exists to provide education to the students from all section should be driven by the agenda of funds generation which currently seems to be the aim of the institute,” the letter mentions.

Mid-term relief for farmers of 4 dists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For the first time, the government has decided to give mid-term claims to the farmers insured under the Prime Minister Crop Insurance scheme. The agriculture department has given its approval for the claim. The relief will now be given to the farmers of Jalore, Sirohi, Barmer and Pali.Notably, recently these four districts of the state were affected with excessive rainfall and the farmers had to bear huge losses during the rains between July 22 to July 30. They were facing hardships and were in need of relief . Therefore, it has been decided that the farmers will be extended mid-term relief.It is learned that chief minister Vasundhara Raje had directed agriculture minister Prabhulal Saini regarding this and subsequently, the entire exercise was undertaken and approval of Rs105 crore and 42 lakh as claim was given by the department of agriculture.Giving the information, Saini said that the crops which suffered more than 50% of damage are being given 25% amount of premium and the rest of the amount will be paid after crop cutting.As per the estimate, in these four districts crops in more than 14 lakh hectares of area was affected due to excessive rainfall. Earlier, the three insurance companies had issued about Rs10 lakh and 62 thousand policies in these four districts.Now as per the directions, farmers of Barmer will get mid term claim of Rs60 crore and 20 lakhs, Sirohi farmers will get claim of Rs31 crore and 38 lakhs while the farmers of Pali and Jalore will get mid-term claim of Rs42 crore.

Metro fare hike violates law: AAP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for putting on hold the proposed hike in the Metro fares till the accounts of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) are audited, the state government on Monday said the hike will be a clear violation of the law laid by the corporation itself.According to a statement released by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, it will be the second hike in a year, which violates Section 37 of the Delhi Metro Railway (Operation and Maintenance) Act, 2002.”Section 37 of the Act, 2002, states that the recommendations made by the Fare Fixation Committee shall be a binding on the Metro railway administration. Therefore, the DMRC needs to answer how the committee’s recommendation that ‘there shall be a gap of one year between two fare hikes’, has been violated by the Metro. On what basis is the second hike being defended by its officials?” the government asked.”It is clear that after the first fare hike in May this year, Metro fares cannot be hiked for the second time within five months, according to the law,” it added.The government further said that it had never interfered in the functioning of the DMRC and rather provided all kind of support for its operations. “But the government cannot remain a mute spectator at a time when the interests of commuters are being overlooked,” the statement read.Earlier on Sunday, a war of words was triggered between the Delhi government and the Centre after Union Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the Metro will soon turn into Delhi Transport Corporation buses, if there was no hike in the fare.The development came after the DMRC had on Saturday said that the hike in Metro fare is necessary to provide world-class service to passengers. Afterwards, Kejriwal had written to the Centre, seeking its intervention in the matter.MATTER TO LIGHTThe development came after the DMRC had on Saturday said that the hike in Metro fare is necessary to provide world-class service to passengers. Afterwards, Kejriwal had written to the Centre, seeking its intervention in the matter

RSS’ mega-marches part of regional expansion plan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a major show of strength, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) swayamsevaks, on the occasion of Dussehra, carried out the customary path sanchalan at 80 different locations in Greater Mumbai. Another 40 such path sanchalans are planned for Monday.The RSS also paid homage to the 23 Mumbaikars, who died on Saturday in the stampede at Elphinstone Road station. They later marched with the traditional band and participants youths to octogenarian participated in today’s path sanchalan.RSS media coordinator Pramod Bapat told DNA, “Path Sanchalan on Dussehra is an annual feature. Till last year, it used to take place only at 20 locations in Greater Mumbai. However, this year, it will be at 120 locations — both Sunday and Monday. With increasing numbers joining our ranks since we launched the app, RSS Jodo, and there has been great momentum. Therefore, the attendance of swayamsevaks at today’s path sanchalan has also increased manifold.” He said efforts are being stepped up to appeal to the citizens to join RSS in its nation building work.However, Saturday’s path sanchalan is being considered as a curtain raiser for Hindu Chetna Sangam, being organised on January 7 next year. It will be a mobilisation of RSS swayamsevaks along with people from Mumbai, Konkan and Goa region. Bapat said the idea is to demonstrate the sajjan shakti (strength of good people). “The objective is to mobilize the swayamsevaks and also members of public and update them about RSS activities being held across the country. Senior RSS leaders will address on the occasion. Besides, an exhibition about RSS since its inception will be organised for the occasion,” he added.Another RSS leader said the Hindu Chetna Sangam is an inspiration from the 2016 RSS gathering the called the Shiv Shakti Sangam. On an average, about 1,000 people are likely to attend gathering at each taluka.

‘Will kill all opposing Gurmeet Ram Rahim’: Dera Sacha Sauda’s Qurbani wing issues threat letter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Qurbani wing of Dera Sacha Sauda has reportedly issued a threat letter to kill all those speaking against its chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim.Ram Rahim has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after conviction in two rape cases. The sentence was passed in a special courtroom set up inside the Sunaria jail.A threat has been issued to journalists, Haryana police officers and former Dera followers who have spoken against Ram Rahim, reported Haryana-Punjab Kesari. ALSO READ Caught Honeypreet nude with Gurmeet Ram Rahim; fear for my life: Ex-husband Vishwas GuptaThe letter said that around 200 youths are ready to sacrifice their life for Ram Rahim, but they feel that they won’t achieve anything by killing themselves. Therefore, they will look for family members of those maligning the image of Gurmeet Ram Rahim and will kill them.The letter was sent to several media offices in Chandigarh through a registered post.Meanwhile, police have also intensified a search for Honeypreet Insan, who has been on the run.Earlier, during a sanitisation operation, the Haryana Police found illegal explosives factory, a tunnel connecting to Sadhvis residence inside the premises of Dera Sacha Sauda, in Sirsa. ALSO READ Gurmeet Ram Rahim case: SIT suspects over 600 skeletons to be buried inside Dera headquarters During the trial for the quantum of sentencing, a special court at Rohtak prison had compared Ram Rahim Singh as a wild beast.The court has fined him Rs 15 lakh in each of the two cases, of which Rs 14 lakh each would go to the two victims who were part of his sect and were coerced into having sex with him.The defence counsel sought leniency from the court arguing that Ram Rahim was active in social work and had health issues.

Onion prices in Nashik correct again after fall

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prices of onion, which plummeted in the week after the Income-Tax raids on the traders in Nashik, have started correcting again. In the wholesale market on Monday, onion was sold at the rate of Rs 1,800-Rs 2,000 per quintal as against the Rs 1,000-Rs 1,200 just a few days ago.According to the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), Lasalgaon, the onion prices are rising steeply. “We are receiving 600-800 tractors and truck loads of onion daily. The supply is steady, but the waste percentage in the old onion stock is quite high. Besides, it will take a month for the arrival of fresh onion. Therefore, the prices of onion is likely to go up, but not through the roof, in the coming days,”said Nanasaheb Patil, chairman of APMC, Lasalgaon.Explaining that Lasalgaon is Asia’s largest onion market, Patil said, “In Nashik district, there are 14 APMCs. The daily supply in all these APMCs is around 14 lakh quintal, almost 35 percent of the total supply for India.”Ashok Walunj, onion trader at APMC, Vashi also confirmed the rise in prices. “There is 10 percent rise in onion rates. The prices are likely go up in the next week by another 20-30 percent. The supply of the old stock has been drying up, while new arrival has been delayed. In the next week, the prices in the wholesale market will be Rs 2,500-Rs 3,000 per quintal,” Walunj said.He added that the customers shouldn’t panic over the price rise. “This is the only period where the farmers benefit from onion price rise. Once this season is over, the prices remains the stable.” Walunj added.

Noida Authority files Rs 650-crore claim against builder

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Noida Authority on Tuesday filed a claim of Rs 650 crore with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), against the Amrapalli Silicon City in Sector 76.”The Amrapali group is a Rs 3,000-crore defaulter with the Noida Authority. There is Rs 650 crore remaining in dues against the Amrapali Silicon City project,” Manmohan Mishra, Financial Controller of the Noida Authority, said.Also, the Noida Authority and the homebuyers are set to challenge the NCLT order of initiating insolvency proceedings against the fund-starved builder in the Supreme Court (SC). The bank had initiated the process for an outstanding amount of Rs 56 crore.The move triggered panic among homebuyers as according to them, their investment will not be protected under the bankruptcy code, because the NCLT gives preference to financial creditors (banks) before buyers.The NCLT had admitted an insolvency petition against the project on September 5, 2017. The petition was filed by Bank of Baroda (BoB) at the principal bench of NCLT in Delhi.”We will take all necessary legal steps to safeguard our rights. We are contemplating to file a plea in the SC through residents’ association,” Pratimesh Mehra, member of the Amrapali Silicon City Social Welfare Association said.The Silicon City project is spread over 176,758 square metres of area and has nearly 5,000 flats, which were to be completed by 2013-end. But the builder is yet to complete civil work on seven towers. Meanwhile, civil work on 21 towers has been completed and nearly 1,000 buyers have moved into unfinished flats.”We do not have a community centre, green area, and other facilities. All basic amenities are missing. The builder has not even constructed a boundary wall. Now, we have to fight a long legal battle,” buyer Rahul Singhal said.According to a senior government official, the first priority is to ensure the interests of homebuyers. ” We will take legal steps that ensure that homebuyers’ investment is protected. At the same time, we will also make efforts to recover our dues from the Amrapali Group,” he said.The Amrapali Group representatives, meanwhile, assured the buyers that their investment was safe. According to the company’s office bearers, the group had obtained Rs55 crore loan from banks for the project.”The homebuyers should not worry because the group has adequate assets to revive the project. We have 48,000 square metres housing land in the Silicon City project, which is worth Rs600 crore. Therefore, we will be able to deal with the situation,” an Amrapali Group official said.

IT dept searches premises of onion traders in Lasalgaon?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Teams of Income Tax department today carried out searches at 25 premises of seven major onion traders in Nashik’s Lasalgaon, one of the biggest onion markets in the country.According to IT department officials, the premises of onion traders are being surveyed based on the information that some of the onion traders are involved in hoarding of onions to raise​ the prices of onions artificially. The searches are being carried​ by​ teams of 120 IT officials.A senior IT official from Pune region said, “There was a tip​-​off that some of the onion traders from Lasalgaon in Nashik ​are ​trying to creating artificial scarcity of onions in the market by way of hoarding. Once the artificial scarcity is created, commodity prices will rise in future. Based on that tip​-​off, the searches are being carried out.”According to officials, the searches and surveys will continue for next two to three days. “According to the information, some of the these traders are purchasing onion from farmers as the prices of onion are low and they are falling down further. Therefore, the searches are being carried out at 25 premises of seven onion traders including houses, offices and warehouses of these traders in Nashik district,” the official added.

DNA Impact: Support pours in for Pune cook after scientist files police complaint against her

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after the controversy over an Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) scientist filing a complaint against her cook for concealing her caste to get the job, several organisations came out in support of the cook. Akhil Bharatiyya Brahman Mahasangh has also urged the scientist to withdraw the case to maintain social harmony.Controversy erupted on Thursday when Medha Khole, a senior scientist at IMD’s Pune office, lodged a cheating complaint against 60-year-old Nirmala Yadav claiming that inspite of being a non-Brahmin, Yadav concealed her caste to get a job at Khole’s place when Khole wanted a Brahmin cook to prepare meals on religious occasions.Several organisations in Pune came out in support of Yadav. Sambhaji Brigade even met joint commissioner of police Ravindra Kadam and demanded police action against Khole.Santosh Shinde, district president of Sambhajji Brigade told DNA, “It is not just an individual case; it has created a strong social impact. The case has been filed by a person who holds key position at a government office. The case shows her casteist mentality. Therefore, we have demanded police to register complaint against Khole to sent strong message in the society.”Even the members of some right wing organisations including Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Raje Shivray Pratishthan visited Yadav’s residence on Sinhgad road and extended their support to the elderly woman.Following the complaint, Khole has received flak on social media for being casteist.Sampat Charwad, convener of Bajrang Dal in Pune said, “We met Yadav to give a message that we do not support casteism. Filing a case against a poor elderly woman on the basis of caste discrimination is absolutely wrong. Khole should tender an apology and she she should immediately withdraw the case.”Even Akhil Bhartiya Brahman Mahasangh has urged Khole to withdraw case. Vishwajeet Deshpande, state executive president of Mahasangh said, “It is personal choice of any person regarding whom to deploy at his or her place for any work. However, the reaction by Khole was extreme. She should not have filed a complaint. We are urging her to withdraw complaint.”

Antibiotic-fed chickens a big threat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A new study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) shows that rampant misuse of antibiotics in poultry farms and unsafe disposal of poultry waste in fields can give rise to drug-resistance in humans.Samples of litter and soil were collected from 12 poultry farms in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab. Upto 217 isolates of three bacteria – E. Coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Staphylococcus lentus – were extracted from the samples. These bacteria samples were tested for resistance to 16 antibiotics.The study found that 100 per cent of E. coli, 92 per cent of Klebsiella pneumoniae and 78 per cent of Staphylococcus lentus isolated from the poultry environment were multi-drug resistant.About 40 per cent of E. coli and 30 per cent of Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates were resistant to at least 10 out of 13 antibiotics. Also, both E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae had very high resistance to antibiotics of critical importance to humans such as penicillins, fluoroquinolones, third and fourth generation cephalosporins and carbapenems, used as last-resort antibiotics in hospitals.“In humans, E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae cause infections which are becoming difficult to treat due to high antibiotic resistance. Disturbingly, we found very high resistance in E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates from the poultry environment. In some isolates, all antibiotics that we tested were ineffective. If these bacteria infect a human, then hardly any medicine will work as cure,” said Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General, CSE.Antibiotic misuse is common in the poultry sector, Bhushan said. “What makes the situation worse is that the sector is also plagued by poor waste management. Therefore, we first wanted to understand the extent of antibiotic-resistance in the poultry environment, and then establish if the resistant bacteria was moving out of the poultry farms into the environment through waste disposal,” he added.Amit Khurana, senior programme manager, food safety and toxins team, CSE, explains, “Dumping poultry waste on fields can lead to bacteria seeping into groundwater and food, and infect agricultural workers and animals, becoming a public health threat.”AT A GLANCEAntibiotic-laced poultry litter that reaches fields can enter the food chain and lead to antibiotic resistance in humans and other animals

NDTV entitled to tax deduction on news software export: Delhi HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court on Thursday upheld the findings of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) that NDTV Ltd was entitled for income tax deductions on television news software produced and exported by it outside the country.A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Pratibha M Singh dismissed the Income Tax department’s appeal against the ITAT July 2004 decision, which had held that NDTV Ltd was entitled to the deduction under Section 80HHE of the Act.”The assessee (NDTV) has in the present case discharged its onus of showing that the television programmes produced by it answers the description of computer software under clause (b) to the explanation to Section 80HHE of the Act.”Therefore, the ultimate conclusion reached by the ITAT calls for no interference. For all the aforementioned reasons, the question framed by the court by the order dated August 17 2005 is answered in the affirmative, that is, in favour of NDTV and against the Revenue (department),” the bench said.During the hearing of the appeal, the high court had framed a question for examination as to whether the television news software produced and exported by NDTV abroad was customised electronic data and thereby eligible for deduction under Section 80 HHE of the Act.Section 80HHE of the Income Tax Act provides for deduction in respect of profits earned from export of computer software etc if the firm brings convertable foreign exchange into the country within a period of six months from the end of the previous year.The income tax department had moved the court challenging the ITAT order on the ground that there was an error in the findings.The revenue department had submitted that the matter be remanded back to the ITAT for a fresh adjudication on merits.On other hand, NDTV counsel senior advocate M S Syali and advocate Mayank Naghad had opposed the request for remand of the proceedings.Agreeing with the NDTV’s contention, the bench observed “considerable time having elapsed, remanding the matter to the ITAT for that purpose would only delay the matter further”.The matter concerned NDTV’s claim under section 80HHE seeking deduction from taxability of revenue from export of News Programme to Star TV for the assessment year 1999-00.

Rain forecast turns accurate, Sharad Pawar sends sugar to IMD office as promised

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Few would have thought that former union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar would take his own sarcastic comment so seriously. After making a sarcastic comment on the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) stating if their prediction about rain would come true, he would distribute sugar from Baramati to IMD officials. When the prediction came true, Pawar sent a sack full of sugar at IMD’s Pune office on Wednesday.Parts of western Maharashtra, Vidarbha and even parts of Marathwada which is a drought-prone area, have witnessed good amount of rain over the past few days. IMD had predicted about the rain in these parts, however, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo seemed to have very little trust on IMD’s prediction.On Wednesday afternoon, Pawar actually kept his word as NCP workers entered the IMD office in Pune with sack fully of sugar brought from Baramati. Ankush Kakade, NCP’s spokesperson said, “Pawar had said that if IMD prediction comes true, he would give sugar to IMD in happiness of getting good rain in Maharashtra. Therefore, we had brought sugar to IMD office and we distributed it among the IMD officials.”When DNA contacted AK Shrivastava, he also confirmed saying, “IMD is using state of art technique to forecast the weather. However, analytical forecast can not be hundred percent accurate anywhere in the world. Most of the time our forecast come true but sometimes it fails. Now it is up to people to comment on IM

Triple talaq verdict: Religion pitted against constitutional rights in such cases, says Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When issues like ‘triple talaq’ come to the forefront, the discourse often takes the form of pitting religion against constitutional rights, the Supreme Court said today.Justice Kurian Joseph, who penned a separate majority judgement, said the process of harmonising different interests was within the powers of the legislature and this power has to be exercised within the constitutional parameters without curbing religious freedom guaranteed under the Constitution.”However, it is not for the courts to direct for any legislation,” he said in his 26-page judgement.”When issues of such nature come to the forefront, the discourse often takes the form of pitting religion against other constitutional rights. I believe that reconciliation between the same is possible, but the process of harmonising different interests is within the powers of the legislature,” he said.Justice Joseph also noted in his verdict that to freely profess, practice and propagate religion of one’s choice is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution.He, however, disagreed with the views of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice A Abdul Nazeer that the practice of ‘triple talaq’ has to be considered integral to the religious denomination and it was part of their personal law.”Merely because a practice has continued for long, that by itself cannot make it valid if it has been expressly declared to be impermissible. The whole purpose of the 1937 (Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application) Act was to declare Shariat as the rule of decision and to discontinue anti- Shariat practices with respect to subjects enumerated in section 2 which include talaq,” he said.”Therefore, in any case, after the introduction of the 1937 Act, no practice against the tenets of Quran is permissible,” Justice Joseph said.He also said, “I also have serious doubts as to whether, even under Article 142, the exercise of a Fundamental Right, can be injuncted.”In a historic verdict, the apex court today brought the curtains down on the 1,400 year old practice of ‘triple talaq’ among Muslims.A five-judge constitution bench, by a majority of 3:2 in which Chief Justice J S Khehar was in minority, said the practice of “‘talaq-e-biddat’ ? triple talaq is set aside”.The two separate judgements, written for majority by Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman, did not concur with the CJI and Justice Nazeer that ‘triple talaq’ was a part of religious practice and the government should step and come out with a law.

I want my husband to spend maximum time with our children: Lt Col Purohit’s wife

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Within ​m​oments of the news of Supreme court granting bail to Malegaon blast accused Lt Col Prasad Purohit spread, media representatives ​thronged ​Purohit’s bungalow on Law college road in Pune but the bungalow remained as quiet as it was in last nine years. “My children have sacrificed father’s love for nine years and therefore, once he comes home, I want him to spend maximum time with our children,” Aparna Purohit, wife of Lt Col Purohit told DNA from Delhi.Aparna travel ​l​ed to Delhi for the hearing on Purohit’s bail plea in the Supreme Court and after court’s order, she will be traveling​ to Mumbai to go to Taloja jail to receive her husband once he comes out of jail after nine years.”The order was uploaded in the afternoon. After complying with​ the terms and conditions mentioned in the order, he will be coming out of jail. I will be personally going to Mumbai to receive him as I can not wait to see him out of jail,” Aparna said.According to Aparna, even after nine years, Purohit remained confident of coming of jail one day. “He is as confident as he was before going into the jail. Being an army officer, he is mentally very strong and his attitude has given strength to other family members also,” she said.Purhoit’s father has a sprawling bungalow named ‘Susrmuti’ in upmarket area of Law college where Purohit family has been staying over the years. The usually quiet area ​saw ​lot of buzz with media persons​ flocking to ​Purohit’s bungalow since Monday morning. The Purohit family members who were present at the house preferred to stay away from media​ glare​ and later decided to move ​out ​of the house to go to ​ an ​undisclosed location.Meanwhile, Aparna told DNA that there will be some special reception for Purohit once he comes back home. “It will be a special day. We have waited for this day for nine years. More than anybody else in the family, my two children have sacrificed father’s love over these years. Therefore, I want to see my husband and my children spending maximum time with each other when he comes home,” Aparna said.According to Aparna, the entire family stayed together in these nine years to help each other. She said, “In these nine years, entire family has functioned as one unit. Even our friends have supported us all these years. Our entire family has full faith in judiciary and I am confident that the final judgment will be in our favor.”

Politicos who disrespect National Song should be denied voting rights: Shiv Sena

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Shiv Sena on Monday said that each and every elected representative should be denied of the voting rights if they refuse to stand up when the National Song, Vande Mataram, is played in the House.”The context of Vande Mataram that is existing in the country is unfortunate. After these many years, there are people who deny singing the National Song. The voting rights of all those elective representatives, who do not stand up when Vande Mataram is played, should be seized and they should be disqualified,” Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut told ANI.He added that just as there is a law for cow protection, in a similar way there has to be a law made for this also.”I am not targeting all Muslims here. These people not following the patriotic nature of this nation are enticing the Muslims to go against the country. Therefore, we demand to ban such representatives from contesting elections,” Raut asserted.Earlier on August 19, two All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) corporators were suspended, after they remained seated when ‘Vande Mataram’ was sung at the start of the day’s proceedings in the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation.In no time, the ruling Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporators rushed to the well of the house and protested against the AIMIM MLCs.As a result, there were slanging and fisticuffs between the ruling and the Opposition corporators, with breaking fans and damaging furniture and creating a whole ruckus in the assembly.The Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance corporators also raised slogans of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.AMC Mayor Bhagwandas Ghadamode adjourned the proceedings twice and announced the suspension of the two AIMIM corporators for a day, before adjourning the house for the day.

DNA Special: Vehicular terrorism keeping city cops on toes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With a strength of just 80,000 personnel, responsible for monitoring over 90 lakh vehicles plying in Delhi, besides their other duties, the Delhi Police have become concerned about “vehicular terrorism”. Senior officers said that since it is not humanly possible to monitor every vehicle, special drives are being undertaken to keep second-hand car dealers, unauthorised parking stands, and sale-purchase of vehicles on the police radar.Police also fear that small-level gangs of auto-lifters might be made use of by terror modules to procure vehicles. Therefore, a close watch is being kept on such gangs, second-hand car dealers, and unauthorised parking areas.”A crackdown has been initiated on a number of such places to ensure that no such act is taking place on the premises. Apart from this, secluded and unauthorised parking areas are on the police radar. These parking lots can be used by gangs of auto-lifters to hide stolen vehicles, which can then be sold off to suspicious groups, damaging the security system in the Capital,” the office said.”Keeping this vulnerability in mind, a crackdown on parking areas was conducted. As many as 550 parking areas were checked thoroughly across Delhi ahead of Independence Day, along with verification of hundreds of second-hand car dealers and cyber cafes,” the officer added.A number of terrorism incidents in which vehicles were used extensively have come to the fore recently, with the latest such attack taking place in Barcelona on Thursday. The dreaded terrorist outfit ISIS has claimed responsibility for a number of such attacks in France, London, Sweden, and now Spain. This has led to the security agencies across the world taking stringent measures regarding safety.After the Barcelona attack, security in the city was drastically stepped up. While anti-terror Parakram vans were strategically deployed in the city, at airports, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has increased patrolling and Quick response Teams (QRTs) and plainclothesmen have been deployed at several places.Terror on wheelsJune, 2017: One man died and eight were injured after a vehicle was driven into a crowd of pedestrians in north London.April: A truck crashed into an upscale departmental store in central Stockholm, killing two people.March: A man drove a car into pedestrians on the pavement along the south side of Westminster Bridge, injuring more than 50 people, four of them fatally.January: A truck rammed into a group of uniformed Israel Defense Forces soldiers in Jerusalem, killing four and injuring 15.July, 2016: A cargo truck was deliberately driven into a crowd in Nice of France, killing 86 people.AnalysisThe recent incidents in which terrorists used vehicles to wreak havoc have made it necessary for authorities to take immediate measures to mitigate the threat. Delhi police’s crackdown on unauthorised parking lots is a welcome step in that direction.

Violence in the name of faith not acceptable: PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asserted that violence in the name of faith is “not acceptable” and described casteism and communalism as “poison” for the country. The comments assume significance in the backdrop of incidents of lynchings by cow vigilantes. “Violence in the name of faith is not acceptable in the country,” Modi said in his Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort. Pitching for harmony and peace, he said “Bharat Jodo” (connect India) should be the slogan like “Bharat chhodo” (Quit India) was during the freedom struggle. Describing casteism and communalism as “poison” in the society, Modi said such problems cannot benefit the country in any way. Underlining that India is the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Buddha, he said the culture of the country is to take everyone along on the path of development. “Therefore, violence cannot be emphasised in the name of faith,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

PETA wants NGT to amend manja ban oder

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Brooding over the fact that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had not specified the kind of manja that it imposed ban upon, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India on Thursday has appealed to the Supreme Court seeking an amendment of the order and that the glass-coated cotton sharp-string be banned too.According to the animal welfare organisation, their idea is to bring in more clarity in the July 11 NGT-order in which the tribunal had imposed a nationwide ban on the use of synthetic and nylon manja.While several animal rights activists welcomed the ban order, many expressed concerns over the fact that there was a lack of clarity on the glass-coasted manja.”The glass-coated manja has caused injuries and deaths of humans and birds. Therefore, it must be banned for public safety and wildlife protection,” said PETA Lead-Public Policy Nikunj Sharma, adding that the prohibition on the use of synthetic and nylon manja is a life-saving step but human and animal casualties will continue to occur until all dangerous manja are banned.It was in 2014, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change issued an advisory to all states and union territories asking them to address threat from manja, and in 2013, the Animal Welfare Board of India wrote to all states and union territories urging them to ban it.PETA’s complaints1. Lack in clarity over the kind of manja to be banned2. The glass-coated manja has also caused injuries and deaths of humans and birds. Therefore, it should also be banned

HC raps Centre, Delhi govt for not helping HIV+ man

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court today rapped the Centre and the AAP government in Delhi for not offering any financial help to a man, whose service was terminated by a private city hospital after he tested HIV positive. A bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli observed that the central and the state governments could not shrug off their responsibilities towards a man, who lost his job after testing HIV positive. The court said the authorities concerned should also ensure proper treatment for the man in a government hospital in the national capital. “The money you will be paying (towards the treatment) is not coming out of your (both the governments’) pockets. Therefore, you will have to take his responsibility,” it said and asked the counsel for the authorities, “Is he not entitled to a compensation?” The court was hearing an appeal of a 26-year-old father of two kids, who has challenged the termination of his service as laboratory assistant by the hospital after he tested HIV positive, following accidental needle pricks at work. The man, who did not want to disclose his identity, filed the appeal under the name “Pxxx” and said he was thrown out of his job over a year ago. Taking note of his plea, the bench observed that though the appellant had not sought any compensation, some monetary help could still be offered to him as he had narrated everything in his appeal and disclosed his ordeal. It asked the Centre, the Delhi government, his previous employer and the other authorities concerned to file an affidavit, indicating whether the man was suffering from the disease before he joined the hospital or subsequently. The court fixed November 27 for the next hearing. The Centre, however, questioned the maintainability of the appeal. In his appeal, the man, through his counsel Ashok Aggarwal, has challenged the November 2016 order of a single judge, who had held that since he was employed through a contractor, he could not claim that the termination of his service was a violation of his fundamental rights. The man, in his plea, had said he suffered three-four needles pricks while working at a laboratory and had informed the hospital management about contracting the disease at work. However, he was never administered Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), which is a requirement in such cases, as per the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) guidelines, his counsel submitted in the court. The lawyer alleged that the hospital did not provide PEP or free medical assistance to its contractual employees. “The appellant had told his superiors about the needle pricks, but they told him not to worry,” the plea added. Last year, the appellant underwent an HIV test and was shocked to find the result positive. “I could not believe the reports. I got a sample tested from a private laboratory as also from the AIIMS. I was HIV positive,” he said. The counsel contended that soon after getting the reports, the appellant learnt that he had lost his job. His contractor also did not help. After battling depression for a while, he decided to take the matter to the court. “My family believes I am suffering from blood cancer. I cannot tell them the truth. I felt like committing suicide at one point. I keep thinking what was my fault,” the appellant said in his plea.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

DNA EXCLUSIVE | Opposition should have done homework before levelling charges: Subhash Desai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Veteran Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Industries minister Subhash Desai, who recently completed 75 years, is under attack from the opposition for the de-notification of land in Nashik district for the benefit of developers close to Shiv Sena. In an interview with Sanjay Jog, he denies charges and explains his department’s stand.With Opposition pressing for housing minister Prakash Mehta’s resignation in connection with the alleged floor space index scam, you have been criticised for flouting rules to denotify 400 acres of land to benefit private developers. What is your take?Had leader of opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde done his homework well before leveling charges against me, he would not have made these allegations. Munde was referring to 270 hectare of land at Igatpuri in Nashik district. During the Congress-NCP government rule, a majority of the 270 hectare of land at Igatpuri was already denotified. According to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), the remaining land was not developable as it was scattered.Besides, farmers and people in the neighbourhood opposed the acquisition and they did not even allow the MIDC to conduct the measurement of land. After considering all these facts, MIDC suggested that the remaining land also be de-notified as implementation of industrial area was not be a workable proposition. Therefore it was de-notified without considering anyone in mind.I will reply at length to the allegations made against me on the floor of the state council as I have every right to do so.Opposition claimed the land in Igatpuri was not only denotified but transferred to the developers close to Shiv Sena. What is the reality?There is no truth in this. The land after denotification will go back to the farmers who will be free to do what they want.Are you being a soft target chosen by the Opposition? Is it also due to an ongoing tiff between BJP and Shiv Sena?I do not care whether I have been targeted with an ulterior motive or if they have any political issue. I have to deliver results and continue working at what I have been assigned. I am not deterred by such allegations.As far as Shiv Sena and BJP are concerned, they are two different parties. There are differences but when it comes to development, we are together. Ministers from both parties have to strive for better performance. The message from Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray is do your job honestly and perfectly. We have to strictly abide by that.How much land has been denotified during the present regime?MIDC has denotified land in Kolhapur, Nanded, Latur, Pune and several other districts after representation from the public and farming community. Those lands were in the possession of MIDC but remained unused. Therefore it was prudent to return them to the farmers.MIDC also took over several plots from the investors as they remained idle for years together. What is the present status?When I took over, many people complained that MIDC refuses to give land when several plots were lying vacant or unused. It was unfair. MIDC served notice to those investors who were allotted lands and started their acquisition. More than 2,000 such plots have so far been acquired and presently, they are in MIDC’s possession. These lands will be distributed to the investors who will quickly set up their factories which will spur growth and create more jobs.As per MIDC policy, where there is heavy demand and plots are less, there the allotment will be done through a tendering process. However, where the land is abundant with less demand, MIDC will allot directly.

Court summons cricketer Munaf Patel in cheque bounce case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cricketer Munaf Patel was today summoned as an accused by a Delhi court in a cheque bounce case. Metropolitan Magistrate Snigdha Sarvaria passed the direction on a complaint filed by Delhi resident Sunil Kumar Aggarwal, seeking presence of seven accused, including Patel and a firm, before it on November 1. Aggarwal filed the complaint under the provisions of the Negotiable Instruments Act against Nivas Promoters Pvt Ltd alleging that it had issued him a cheque of Rs 25.50 lakh last month but it got dishonoured. Patel is one of the directors of the firm. The complainant claimed that a legal notice was sent to the accused, but they failed to make the payment. “There is sufficient material on record to summon all the accused persons. Therefore, a prima facie case punishable under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act is made out against them. This court, therefore, takes cognizance of offence,” the court said while summoning the cricketer and others in the case.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

47 per cent rise in train theft cases in 2014-16: Govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The number of thefts on trains went up by 47 per cent from 2014 to 2016, the Lok Sabha was told today. A total of 17,925 cases of travellers’ belongings being stolen were registered in 2016. In 2015, the number of such cases was 16,180 while in 2014, the number stood at 12,161, the Minister of State for the Railways, Rajen Gohain, said in a written reply to a question in Parliament. The number of thefts had increased by more than 10 per cent from 2015 to 2016. “Except a marginal increase in the cases of theft of passengers’ belongings, incidents of robbery, dacoity and drugging decreased in the year 2016 as compared to the year 2015,” the minister said. The number of cases of robbery in trains in 2016 was 531 as compared to 805 in 2015. Dacoity cases went down to 40 in 2016 from 57 the year before and the number of passengers who were drugged from 346 in 2015 to 262 in 2016. “As per the present scheme of things, policing on railways is a state subject. Therefore, prevention of crime, registration of cases, their investigation and maintenance of law and order in railway premises as well as on running trains are the statutory responsibility of the state governments, which they discharge through the government railway police, district police,” Gohain said. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) supplements the efforts of the Government Railway Police (GRP) in providing better protection and security of passengers and passenger areas, he said. The minister also listed security measures taken by the Railways for passenger safety. He said around 2,500 trains on an average were escorted by the RPF daily in addition to 2,200 trains escorted by the GRP of the different states every day. “Surveillance is kept through CCTV cameras, provided at about 344 stations over the Indian Railways, to ensure safety and security of passengers. Security helpline 182 is made operational over the Indian Railways for security related assistance to passengers,” Gohain said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Oppn in RS demands expunction of Jaitley’s remarks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Heated exchanges between the opposition and treasury benches in the Rajya Sabha led to the adjournment of proceedings thrice today, after Leader of the House Arun Jaitley said adjournment notices were being “grossly misused” for publicity and the opposition demanding expunction of these remarks. Heated arguments followed soon after Deputy Chairman P J Kurien permitted Anand Sharma (Congress) to raise his point under rule 267. Sharma said the NDA government was making efforts to slight Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and even Indira Gandhi. As the Chair disallowed Sharma’s notice, Jaitley said in every case, “we find that these are not issues under the motion of Rule 267 and therefore it is a practise which is being grossly abused. Therefore, the Chair must also be guided by a principle that you can’t have the Zero Hour for the benefit of TV cameras. That is what something which is happening today. … This has all been enacted”. Jaitley suggested that the remarks made by Sharma should be expunged. He also said if any member wanted to raise the issue of Samjhauta train blast case, it should be allowed. The Finance Minister said that some other members have given notice in the Zero Hour and the Chair must protect their rights. He also insisted that references to those who have held high constitutional positions cannot be raised in the House. Sharma, however, said he had not referred to any high dignity. To this, Jaitley said “we know the spirit of what you are saying.” Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government is trying to insult leaders like Gandhi and Nehru who fought for India’s independence. “The centenary of those people are being observed who had no connection with the freedom struggle. They are doing ‘pick and choose’.” Kurien said all notices under rule 267 were being rejected but it was for the Chair to decide whether a member has to be heard. Congress members then entered the Well raising slogans, forcing a brief adjournment of the House till noon. When the House reassembled for Question Hour, the opposition members demanded expunction of Jaitley’s remarks that adjournment notices were being “misused” for publicity, by raising strong objections. As the opposition members remained adamant over their demand for removal of Jaitley’s remarks from the records, Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the House for ten minutes. The House was again adjourned for ten minutes as leaders of several parties discussed the impasse over the issue in the Chairman’s chamber. Ansari later said the records will be examined but no conclusion can be arrived at till this is done. “Let the Chair do its own work.” Azad said he respected the Leader of the House, who normally uses measured language and has never used words which hurt anyone. “But to say that opposition leaders raise issues for TV channels is not acceptable. We raise issues of the have-nots, that include Dalits, oppressed, downtrodden and the poor and not for the television, which only covers the government,” Azad said. His colleague, Sharma said these words cannot be part of the proceedings. “The entire opposition is being castigated. We cannot allow this sweeping condemnation of the entire opposition.” Earlier, BJP member Subramanian Swamy said he should be allowed to raise a point of order regarding the Samjhauta train blast case.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

OGWs give J&K security forces sleepless nights

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Forget terrorists, it is the army of overground workers (OGWs) that is giving sleepless nights to the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.For every terrorist active in Kashmir, there are nine OGWs lined up by their mentors. According to 2016 Crime Gazette of J&K Police, there are 1,839 OGWs operating in the state, whereas there are only 216 armed terrorists active.Considered to be the backbone of militancy, OGWs are people who are working clandestinely to provide logistics, carry out reconnaissance of the targets, arrange hideouts, help in recruitment. manage finances, and act as guides for the armed terrorists in the state.”OGWs are sustaining militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. Terrorists are foot soldiers who act on the advice and orders of their mentors and OGWs. If OGWs withdraw their support, terrorists will be sitting ducks. Therefore OGWs have been line up in such a manner that they help and guide the terrorists to our disadvantage,” said a senior police officer.The border area of Handwara has the highest number of OGWs at 360. Jammu, Samba, Leh, and Kargil are terrorist and OGW-free districts. Doda, Ramban, Reasi, Udhampur, and Poonch are terrorist-free, but there are 125, 75, 174, 21, and 120 OGWs active, respectively.All the 10 districts of the Valley are militancy infested with both terrorists and OGWs working in tandem. Three districts of north Kashmir have the highest number of OGWs to provide support to the terrorists.In fact, north Kashmir is the transit camp for the infiltrators who are distributed to different areas after they sneak in. It is the OGWs who play a vital role in their distribution and in providing logistic support for their sustenance.”We are taking action whenever it is being brought to our notice. OGWs sustain terrorists. Superintendents of police have instructions to identify them and take action,” Dr SP Vaid, Director General of Police, J&K, said.In the last 27 years, about 25,000 youth, including those who had gone to Pakistan to train in arms, have either surrendered or left militancy.Data released by Ministry of Home Affairs reveals that over 40,961 people have been killed in different parts of J&K from 1990 to March 31, 2017.

DNA EXCLUSIVE | GST impact: Maharashtra may revise incentives plan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government plans to revise the Package Scheme of Incentives (PSI) offered to attract investments in the state for industrial development, and to promote employment generation.This is necessitated due to the launch of the Goods & Services Tax (GST), as beneficiaries from various sectors, including automobile, steel, cement, textiles and mirco, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) may lose the permissible quantum of refund towards Value Added Tax (VAT) and central sales tax (CST) under the VAT regime. The state industries department has already launched an extensive review of the GST impact on various sectors. The department will then introduce a revised PSI. The present PSI, brought into effect in 2013, is applicable till March 2018.An industries department official, on the condition of anonymity, said under the proposed revised PSI, industrial units will get interest and power tariff subsidies apart from the exemption in stamp duty, octroi duty and electricity duty. These benefits are generally granted as subsidies based on the quantum of payment of VAT and CST by companies to the state government according to their manufacturing activities over a specified time period. The state’s annual outgo towards refund paid to auto, cement, steel and other units is of the order of Rs 3,000 crore.”Presently, industrial units get a VAT refund on 20 per cent of local sales (within Maharashtra) and a 2 per cent refund of CST on nearly 80 per cent of inter-state sales (outside the state). The CST is also paid to the state government (being the originating state) as it is calculated towards the incentive.However, with the shift to the GST regime, the benefits will now be restricted to 20 per cent of local sales, with the units standing to lose out on a refund for 80 per cent of sales outside the state,” said the official. He added that various sectors made a strong case for the protection of their benefits during the GST regime, and called for an increase in its tenure beyond March 2018.The officer said the textile sector has brought to the state government’s notice that it would have to bear an additional burden following a 5 per cent GST on cotton. Therefore, it has pleaded for a protection of benefits under the GST regime. Further, the small units, which are not entitled to benefits based on gross taxes paid, but on net taxes paid, have hinted that they would be hit badly.KPMG, a leading auditing firm, in its recent analysis on the GST impact on PSI said the picture changes dramatically. There will be a two-fold impact on the quantum of incentives, therefore, inter-state sales will not contribute to the incentives under GST, and the effective tax rate could also be lower.

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