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‘Indian citizens excluded in draft NRC will get enough chance to prove credentials’

All Indian nationals, whose names were excluded in the first draft of the National Register of Citizens, will get adequate opportunities to prove their credentials, a top Union Home Ministry official said today.The NRC is a list of the state’s citizens and as Assam anxiously awaits the publication of its part draft tonight, the official said people belonging to any creed, ethnicity or language were being treated equally and justice would be done to everyone with equal opportunities.”No one should have any notion that anyone or any particular community could be discriminated against. Everyone is treated equally and all Indian nationals will get adequate opportunities to prove their credentials in case their names are excluded in the first list,” the official said, requesting anonymity.Also readAASU demands error free NRC, says ‘no Bangladeshi coming to Assam after 1971 will be allowed to stay’After the publication of the first draft, second and third drafts will be published by the authorities before releasing the final list, said the official, who is in regular touch with the Assam government officials, who is monitoring the situation closely.”There is no need for panic. Genuine Indian citizens will not be deprived of their rights,” the official said.Army troops are on standby while a massive number of 45,000 security personnel were being deployed across Assam ahead of the publication of the first draft of the NRC.The Counter Insurgency (CI) grid, involving the Army, police, paramilitary and intelligence agencies, has been regularly reviewing the situation and directing all possible action to ensure peace.There have been intelligence inputs about possible tension in some parts of the state where names of doubtful citizens could be excluded in the draft list, another official said.Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba spent two days in the state last week, reviewing preparations for the publication of the part draft of the NRC and security arrangements, as ensuring peace in the state is a top priority for the Centre and the state government.Also readIndian citizenship: SC says claims of left out persons to be included in subsequent NRC for AssamAssam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday also sought to dispel apprehensions and said “genuine” Indians missing from the citizenship register would get enough opportunities to incorporate their names.The exercise to update the NRC is being carried out in Assam following a decision in 2005 after a series of meetings between the central and state governments and the influential All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) in an attempt to document the bona fide Indian citizens living the state.Assam, which faced influx from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, first prepared in 1951.The current exercise, started in 2005 under the then Congress regime, got a major push only after the BJP came to power in the state with illegal immigration from Bangladesh as a poll plank.The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the entire process, had ordered that the first draft of the NRC be published by December 31 after completing the scrutiny of over two crore claims along with that of around 38 lakh people whose documents were suspect.Of the 3.28 crore applications submitted, there was confusion over the inclusion of 29 lakh people who had submitted certificates issued by ‘gram panchayats’ as proof of identity, after a Gauhati High Court order in February had deemed ‘panchayat’ certificates invalid, the official said.Also readRelease draft NRC by Dec 31: SCThe Supreme Court set aside the high court order and upheld the validity of the certificates as identity proof if they were followed up with proper verification.The apex court also asked authorities to stick to the original deadline for the publication of the draft NRC and include names of those whose claims were verified.When the NRC was first prepared in Assam way back in 1951, the state had 80 lakh citizens then.The process of identification of illegal immigrants in Assam has been debated and become a contentious issue in the state’s politics.A six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by the AASU in 1979.It culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985 in the presence of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
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Declare missing fishermen as dead: Fr Churchill

Representatives of fishermen in Kanyakumari and families of missing fishermen have urged the Central team, deputed by the Union Home Ministry to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Ockhi, to declare 237 missing fishermen as ‘dead’ if they fail to return by December 31. This will enable the fishermen’s families to claim compensation and relief. After their hopes of seeing the breadwinners during Christmas were dashed, the families are now conducting Holy Mass in memory of the missing fishermen as there was no information on them since the devastating cyclone hit on November 30.Of the 237 missing fishermen feared dead, 170 are from eight fishing villages of Kanyakumari, while 67 are from other districts and states. “Most of these fishermen could have been rescued if the Indian Coast Guard and Navy commenced the rescue operation immediately after the cyclone passed the district on November 30. But our distress call was ignored,” alleges Fr Churchill, general secretary of South Asian Fishermen Fraternity, who submitted a memorandum to the centre’s team on Thursday.“There is a very remote chance of survival of the missing fishermen. Hence they should be declared dead on December 31 as it will enable the families to get the compensation of Rs 20 lakh and a government job,” he said. He demanded that the Central team take steps to declare Kanyakumari district as a disaster-affected district.State Relief Commissioner K Satyagopal said the government hoping that some more fishermen would return to the shore before New Year.

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

The Lok Sabha passed a Bill that proposes to make instant triple talaq a non-bailable offence with a three-year jail term for guilty husbands, a move that was hailed as “historic” by the Narendra Modi government. The Opposition Congress also welcomed the passage and called it the first step towards protection of Muslim women’s rights. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, was passed after an intense debate. The House rejected amendments proposed by AMIM, Congress and BJD. The Bill will now be sent to the Rajya Sabha for passage before it is forwarded to the President for his assent. The Bill is likely to sail through the Rajya Sabha, given the Congress’ stated support to the proposed law. Turn to P4In August, the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional the controversial Islamic practice that allows Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering the word talaq thrice. But instances of instant triple talaq have continued. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who introduced the Bill, called it a “historic” move that would ensure gender justice for Muslim women. He said Parliament cannot remain silent when the fundamental rights of women were being trampled upon. He said the Bill was “not about any religion or community.”“Even today such an incident took place in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh,” he said adding, the husband divorced his wife simply because she overslept. The Bill would empower women to seek remedial measures for herself and her children, said Prasad. Under the law, instant triple talaq in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp — would be illegal.Trying to score political points, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters that his was the first political party to welcome the Apex Court’s decision. “We welcome the move. It is a firm step towards protection of women’s rights,” he said. However, members of RJD, AIMIM, BJD, AIADMK and Indian Union Muslim League opposed the Bill, calling it a faulty and arbitrary in nature. AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi termed the Bill “bad in law” and said its introduction would further alienate the minority. NCP leader Supriya Sule supported the Bill, with riders. She asked for removal of the three-year prison term provision. She suggested remedial action in the form of counselling. Muslim League’s ET Mohammed Bashir said the proposed law violated personal laws and was a politically motivated move by the BJP government. BJD’s B Mahtab said that he would not delve into the merits of the Bill and called the framing ‘faulty and flawed’.The government has said the Bill “empowers” Indian Muslim women by giving them a larger say in dissolving marriages, custody of minor children and the right to seek maintenance from their estranged husbands. Once the law is in place, victims will have the option of approaching the police and the legal system.

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

Live Updates | Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tables Triple Talaq Bill in Lok Sabha

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017, which seeks to criminalise the practice of triple talaq, has been tabled in the Parliament by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday.The draft Bill says, “any pronouncement of talaq by a person upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever, shall be void and illegal”.Here are the live updates from the Lok Sabha:12:51 IST Thursday, 28 December 2017: Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says the Bill is not against any religion:12:50 IST Thursday, 28 December 2017: BJD says the Triple Talaq Bill is flawed:12:49 IST Thursday, 28 December 2017: Protests against the Bill:12:44 IST Thursday, 28 December 2017: Law Minister moves Triple Talaq Bill in the Lok Sabha.

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

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

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

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

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Jairam Thakur to take oath as Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister today; PM Modi to attend grand ceremony

BJP leader Jairam Thakur is all set to take oath as the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah, former deputy Prime Minister LK Advani and several Union ministers and chief ministers are expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Jai Ram Thakur at the historic Ridge Maidan in Shimla at 11 AM.Governor Aacharya Devvrat will administer the oath of office and secrecy to Thakur. Along with Thakur, a few MLA will reportedly swear-in as Cabinet Ministers today. The five-time BJP MLA from Seraj constituency of the hilly state was elected to lead the state after the party’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal failed to register a win from his constituency.The BJP have ousted the Congress from power in Himachal Pradesh by winning 44 out of the 68 seats in the recently held Assembly polls.Along with many senior leaders and workers of BJP state unit, thousands of people are expected to witness the swearing-in ceremony.Also readHimachal Elections: After PK Dhumal’s loss, Jairam Thakur summoned to Delhi; likely to be CMFor the first time in the history of the state, Prime Minister will attend an oath taking ceremony.Massive security and other arrangements have been made ahead of the grand function. Besides seating arrangements, eight to ten LED screens have been installed outside the venue. SPG will look after the security arrangements.Also readHimachal CM designate Jai Ram Thakur lists out priorities Union Health Minister JP Nadda, Former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Incharge for Party Affairs Mangal Pandey have reviewed the arrangements in Ridge Maidan.

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BJP and RSS ‘unmasked’ by Hegde’s comments: Congress

The Congress today attacked the BJP over Union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde’s remarks about changing the Constitution, saying they were a “direct assault” on the composite identity of the nation and the party will oppose any such attempt with all its might.Congress spokesperson Gaurav Gogoi said that the BJP and the RSS were “unmasked” by Hegde’s remarks and alleged that “abusing the oath of office and denigrating the Constitution and its values have become a distinctive feature of Modi government”. Hegde, while speaking at an event in Karnataka, had said he respects the Constitution but “it will be changed in the days to come”. Condemning Hegde’s comments, Gogoi asked if the prime minister would break his silence on Hegde’s remarks as the minister had openly spoken about changing the Constitution.Hegde’s remarks are a “direct assault” on the composite, diverse and secular identity of the nation, Gogoi said. He alleged that the BJP-RSS school of thought is ingrained in “bigotry, hate, divisiveness and prejudices, that envision a monolithic culture”. Gogoi told reporters here that Hegde’s remarks were diametrically opposite to the liberal and inclusive traditions of India and the progressive thoughts of Babasaheb Ambedkar and the makers of modern India. “The Congress strongly condemns and deprecates such regressive remarks which are against the idea and ideals of India. We shall fight this challenge in Parliament and in the court of people,” he said.Gogoi alleged that all such statements have a common link and agenda and were meant to propagate and practice sectarian ideology of the BJP and the RSS.Also readConstitution will be ‘changed in the days to come’: Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde He claimed that the RSS and the BJP’s sole agenda was to change and modify the basic nature and structure of the Constitution and “impose their hate filled, bigoted and prejudiced ideology” on India and its people.”Recent statements by Union ministers in the Modi government thoroughly vindicates those malicious and sinister attempts,” Gogoi alleged. “Their remarks have not only denigrated and demolished the values, principles and the soul of the Constitution but has also exposed their ‘false love’ for Babasaheb Ambedkar which they keep propagating to win votes,” he said. The Congress leader, with another spokesperson Khushboo Sundar by his side, said the Constitution rests on pillars of equality, liberty, fraternity, brotherhood and secularism. Socialistic values are the Magna Carta of India’s Constitution, he said.”Any maleficence attempt to modify this by the BJP- RSS will be fought by the Congress Party with all its might,” he said. Gogoi claimed that Hegde, like other BJP leaders, was suffering from the “foot in the mouth” disease. The Congress spokesperson also highlighted that another Union minister Hans Raj Ahir had made a statement equating senior doctors in a government hospital with Naxals. This, he said, was an outright insult to the medical profession and those who save lives. “It again goes against the spirit of the Constitution and its ideals,” Gogoi said.The Congress leader claimed that in the past as well the BJP and its leaders, including the prime minister, have “systematically insulted” professionals and communities. Gogoi also highlighted that Bachubhai Khapad was sworn-in as a minister of state in Gujarat despite having three criminal cases against him, including under the Arms Act. “Will Shri Modi take cognisance of this fact and drop him from the Gujarat Government’s Cabinet? Is it not yet again an instance, where the BJP is violating the ‘oath of office’ and denigrating Constitution?,” he asked.

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

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

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Speak up Delhi: Autorickshaw finance mafia – a menace staring at govt’s face

Last week Delhi Government suspended licenses of two automobile dealers— Bagga Link Services Limited and JS Automobiles— after complaints filed by social workers and Presidents of Autorickshaw Unions for charging extra money from the customers. The government, in a show cause notice, asked the two dealers to reply with the reason for the extra charge else their licenses will be cancelled.An autorickshaw which should cost close to Rs 1,80,000 on road is sold for Rs 5,50,000 in the market. There are several extra charges on top which include logistic charges, annual maintenance charges etc. An extra handling charge was also added along with the GST since August, about which most of the drivers did not know.In petitions filed by Narendra Giri, President of the Pragatisheel Auto Union, and social workers from different NGOs, in the High Court, the discrepancies and the stronghold of auto finance mafia were highlighted which led to the temporary suspension of the two market leaders in autorickshaw dealing.“Supreme Court had passed 1,00,000 auto rickshaws in 2011, out which 55,000 were already on the road, 35,000 more were issued between 2011 and 2014. The last 10,000 got delayed and then were eyed by finance mafias. Those who bought had to pay hefty amounts as procuring ‘Letters of Intent’ to secure an auto unit became a difficult task. But most importantly, buyers had to pay additional charges with GST etc, thus in-total, the Autorickshaws have become very expensive,” said Giri.Even though the license was suspended for a short while, the Union members now look for stronger steps by the government. They are demanding cancellation of these dealer’s license and formation of a committee which looks into these permit procurements.EXPERT SPEAKThese dealers had been charging logistic charges of Rs10,000 which was not required, but nobody ever highlighted/questioned. Out NGO challenged this in the High Court. In 2010, I also filed a PIL against Auto finance mafia in High Court, which raised two main points of Permit trading i.e., auto rickshaw black marketing, and true ownership of Autorickshaws i.e. where drivers are driving autos granted on other’s names. The PIL was first dismissed in HC on technical grounds, then moved to Supreme Court which then sent to back to High Court, we are still awaiting a response on this Rakesh Aggarwal, Secretary, Nyaya Bhoomi, a registered NGO working for the welfare of societyIn complaint letters written to the Prime Minister’s and Lieutenant Governor’s office, we highlighted the extra costs that we have to pay for getting an autorickshaw. I requested them to take strong actions against these dealers who are charging optional AMC (auto maintenance charges) to everyone, handling charges etc since GST came. We have also raised a complaint against Rajesh Kumar Meena, MLO, Transport, who had a partnership with these dealers and earned money out of poor drivers’ pockets. I hope this suspension is not just the only step taken against these dealers and their licenses are cancelled tooYashpal Arora, General Secretary, Azad Hind Auto/Taxi Chalak UnionVOICES“I have been driving an autorickshaw since last seven years, I bought this second hand rickshaw for Rs 2 lakhs, whereas a new one should come much lower than this. It was easy then but, now, it has become very difficult to procure a new one”— Vipin Kumar, autorickshaw driver“A new autorickshaw costed me Rs 5 Lakhs, I had to sell my land in the village for this. But now the earning is not much as people generally do not pay by the meter and ask us to reduce the rates.”— Faizan Ahmed, autorickshaw driver“Recently a social worker told me that I can get a new rickshaw for Rs 1,80,000, but I paid three times of this price in August. How could nobody ever knew this? I hope they take away the licenses of the dealers who have been ripping poor drivers.”— Bikram Singh, autorickshaw driver “It was so difficult to get a permit for the autorickshaw and the ‘Letter of Intent’, as the mafia members already take so many permits on different names. The ones who need them the most always have to run around and pay more than needed.”— Sandeep Verma, autorickshaw driver “I had to sell my father’s land in Uttar Pradesh to buy myself an auto. Now they tell me that it was not required after running around for months first to sell the land and then to get the permit. Those people should be punished harsher than just seven days suspension”— Rakesh Kumar, autorickshaw driver

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Advantage JP Nadda? BJP meets today to decide Himachal Chief Minister

Prem Kumar Dhumal on Saturday night ruled himself out from the race for the post of Himachal Pradesh chief minister, a day before a meeting of BJP MLAs to elect their leader. Five-term MLA Jairam Thakur and Union minister J P Nadda are the frontrunners for the chief minister’s office.A lack of consensus among the newly elected MLAs had resulted in the two central observers — Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Singh Tomar — returning to Delhi from Shimla on Friday to hold fresh consultation with the central leadership.Although Thakur was seen a frontrunner for the job till recently, Nadda may emerge as the most acceptable candidate in this changed scenario, a BJP source said.”There is speculation in media that I am in race for the post of the chief minister. I had made it clear on the day of the result that I am not in any race,” Dhumal said.The statement of Mr Dhumal, a former chief minister who was the party’s candidate for the job again but suffered a shock defeat in the polls, that he was not in contention has come following a nudge from the BJP leadership, sources said.Supporters of Dhumal and Thakur had raised slogans as central observers met state leaders on Thursday. A meeting of BJP MLAs has been convened on Sunday and they would be addressed by the central observers, the party’s state unit chief Satpal Singh Satti said today in Shimla.The two-member team of central observers, which was in the state on December 21 and 22, had taken feedback from members of the state BJP’s core committee, MPs and some MLAs.The leadership issue cropped up following the shocking defeat of Dhumal. He who was defeated from Sujanpur by Rajinder Rana of the Congress.Satti, who himself lost from Una, said that in spite of “unexpected results” in some constituencies the performance of the party was spectacular. The party ousted the Congress from power by winning 44 of the 68 seats in fray.

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After acquittal in 2G scam, A Raja, Kanimozhi meet DMK chief Karunanidhi

Two days after their acquittal in the 2G scam case, former Union minister A Raja and DMK Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi on Saturday arrived here to a rousing welcome by party workers.Led by DMK Working President M K Stalin, a host of party leaders, including Duraimurugan and former Union minister TR Baalu, welcomed them at the airport.Stalin and others presented shawls to the duo.Cadres showered flowers, burst firecrackers and played traditional music. They also performed folk dances like ‘Karagattam’ and ‘Kavadi’.Raja and Kanimozhi visited party patriarch M Karunanidhi at his residence here and took his blessings.Upon their arrival at the Gopalpuram residence of the nonagenarian leader, Raja touched the top leader’s feet as a mark of respect and presented a shawl.The former Union minister told Karunanidhi “I have been acquitted in the 2G Spectrum case” and shook his hand.Kanimozhi took the blessings of her father and party chief and reportedly told him that she and the party stood vindicated in the case.Karunanidhi smiled and later waved at the party cadres.Since October last year, the nonagenarian leader has been inactive in politics due to ill health.The party workers erupted in cheers when the wheelchair- bound leader waved at them, which is not an everyday gesture nowadays in view of his health.Raja, Kanimozhi and 15 others accused were on Thursday acquitted in the politically-sensitive 2G spectrum allocation scam cases by a special court in Delhi, which held that the prosecution “miserably failed” to prove the charges.

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Congress-RJD tie up, an alliance of corruption, says JP Nadda

Hours after a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ranchi pronounced former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad guilty in a fodder scam case, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that its alliance with the Congress party is an “alliance of corruption”.”The alliance between Congress and Lalu Yadav’s party is an alliance of corruption, connivance and cheating the people of India, it is clear from the verdict of the court,” said Union Minister JP Nadda on the fodder scam verdict.The Union Minister further slammed Lalu Prasad for not accepting the verdict on the infamous fodder scam.”Lalu Prasad Yadav is even now politicising the issue instead of accepting the verdict, just to deviate his corruption he is leveling allegations of conspiracy on BJP”, added JP Nadda.Moreover, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey welcomed the verdict that has been pronounced by the Court.”We welcome the verdict that has been pronounced by the court in the fodder scam case. We want that the people of Bihar should be given their money back that was looted from them,” said Choubey.Besides Lalu, fourteen others have also been found guilty, while seven accused have been acquitted, including former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra.The court is scheduled to pronounce the quantum of sentence on January 3, 2018 for the 15 guilty including Lalu Prasad.Lalu has been convicted in the case relating to embezzling of more than Rs. 89 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994.Apart from Lalu, Mishra and 20 others accused were present in the court of special CBI judge Shivpal Singh.The fodder scam involved the embezzlement of about Rs. 900 crore from the Bihar exchequer.

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Fodder scam verdict: Convicted Lalu Yadav says BJP playing ‘dirty game’ against opponents

Former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, who was Saturday convicted in a fodder scam case along with 14 others, remained defiant and said the “truth will win” in the end. While 15 people including Lalu were convicted by CBI judge Shivpal Singh, six including another former CM Jagannath Mishra were acquitted. The judge pronounced the verdict in a packed courtroom in the case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994.A charge sheet was filed against 38 persons on October 27, 1997. Eleven of them died and three turned approvers while two other accused confessed and were convicted in 2006-07, a CBI official said. Also readTimeline of fodder scam case which rocked Lalu Prasad Yadav’s political careerLalu Prasad, the chief of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), and other convicts were taken into custody immediately after the pronouncement of the verdict. He was later taken to Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi. Soon after his conviction, Lalu, in a series of tweets, attacked the “feudal forces” and accused the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) of playing a “dirty game” to ruin public perception of opponents. “Truth can be made to appear as a lie, as ambiguous or a half lie by concerted onslaught of bias driven propaganda. But blurred layer of bias and hatred will still be removed, come what may! In end Truth will win,” Lalu said in a tweet. In another tweet in Hindi, Lalu said, “The sly BJP plays a dirty game of ruining public perception of opponents to hide its jumlebaazi and to get votes.””A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. ….But still prevails…In the end though,” the former Union Minister said. “Powerful people and powerful classes always managed to divide society into ruling and the ruled classes. And whenever anyone from the lower hierarchy challenged this unjust order, they would be deliberately punished,” he added. “Had people like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Baba Saheb Ambedkar failed in their efforts, history would have treated them as villains. They still are villains for the biased, racist and caste-ist minds. No one should expect any different treatment,” he further said. BJP reacted sharply to Lalu’s attack and said the RJD chief was “leveling allegations of conspiracy” on the saffron party instead of accepting the verdict. “Lalu Prasad Yadav is even now politicizing the issue instead of accepting the verdict, just to deviate he is leveling allegations of conspiracy on BJP,” Union Minister JP Nadda said. Watch: Lalu Prasad Yadav convicted in fodder scamLalu has already been convicted in another fodder scam- Chaibasa treasury case – in which he is out on bail. His conviction cost him his Lok Sabha seat as he was disqualified from contesting elections.The fodder scam involved the embezzlement of about Rs 900 crore from the Bihar exchequer and has rocked the state and national politics for years.(With inputs from agencies)

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Retired govt servants to help docs in reducing patient load

With an aim to meet the acute shortage of doctors in various state government hospitals, the Delhi government has decided to engage retired government services for the various posts in the hospital. The move is aimed at bringing down the existing burden from the hospital.A letter by department of health family welfare has directed all medical superintendents to designate a nodal officer in their respective hospitals for receiving the applications for the post.”These officers will help in handling the posts in medical/paramedical/nursing and other administrative posts. The vacant posts will be identified by the medical institutions and thereafter these will be filled by the officers,” said a senior official from the health department.The latest CAG report had also highlighted the problem of shortage of doctors and paramedical staff in the government-run institutes. “There was limited availability of medicines and equipments in 17 states, while 428 equipment (ultrasound, X-ray, ECG, cardiac monitors, auto-analyser, incinerator, OT equipment, blood storage unit etc.) costing Rs30.39 crore were lying idle/unutilised due to non-availability of doctors and trained manpower to operate the equipment, lack of adequate space for their installation. In 13 states at least 67 Public Health Centres were functioning without any doctor,” the CAG report pointed out.At Maulana Azad Medical College, 80 per cent seats for pre-clinical posts in post-graduation courses are vacant. However, the resident doctors are not too happy with the decision.”If they will hire the retired officers, what will happen to the young doctors who are looking for a job,” said Dr Vivek Chouksey, president, Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA).”The government needs to have a recruitment policy that ensures all courses get adequate applicants who graduate as doctors in various departments,” says Dean Dr Siddharth Ramji.India has seven doctors for every 10,000 people, half the global average, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Data from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) shows the country needs more than 50,000 critical care specialists, but has just 8,350.The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is responsible for the recruitment of regular doctors at hospitals run by both the Delhi government as well as the Centre. Hospitals themselves hire ad-hoc and contractual doctors. Experts say the UPSC’s recruitment process is tedious. From advertisements about vacancies to final interviews, the commission spends years to hire a doctor, they say.

India inks pact to develop Rakhine

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

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Violence breaks out at BHU after student union leader arrested

Clashes broke out between police and protesters after students of Baneras Hindu University (BHU) staged a protest on Wednesday.Slogans were raised after student union leader Ashutosh was arrested on charges of obstructing an IIT-BHU programme. During the clashes, a bus was torched.Currently, the situation is tense, but has been brough under control, it has been reported.In September this year, violence erupted after protesting students wanted to meet the V-C at his residence. University officials claimed that students started throwing stones that pushed the situation out of control. Students, however, denied the charge.The CM was in Varanasi on Friday and Saturday when students were protesting against the molestation of a hosteller reported on Thursday. The district administration had to change the route of Modi’s cavalcade due to the protests. The crackdown came within hours of the PM ending his two-day visit to his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi.BHU is a central university under the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), and is listed as an institute of national importance. There was no immediate reaction from the ministry.

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Ganga cleaning funds lying unspent, says CAG

The Centre’s flagship Namami Gange project has been marred by poor financial management and implementation woes in the past three years, a performance audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has revealed. The CAG’s audit, that covered 87 projects worth Rs7,992.34 crore, found that only eight to 63 per cent of the funds were spent between 2014-15 and 2016-17 in comparison with the revised estimate.Out of Rs6,705 crore earmarked during 2015-16 and 2016-17, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), the project’s nodal implementing authority, could spend only Rs 1,665.41 crore. This was less than a quarter of the expected year-wise release of funds. “Thus, financial targets set under the Namami Gange Programme were not achieved,” the CAG report said.The report also said that the project was lagging on the rural sanitation front. Except Uttarakhand, the other four states -Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -could not achieve the target of construction of 100 per cent individual household latrines as of 31 March 2017.The national auditor said that multilateral implementation and poor planning were some of the chief reasons for funds lying unutilised with the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), which is the nodal implementing authority for cleaning the national river. As a result of poor planning and missing of deadlines, large quantities of untreated sewage continues to pollute Ganga across towns and cities along the main stem of the river.”We found that NMCG prepared its budget without any annual action plan. Further, the budget files at NMCG did not contain the details of planned activities and their estimated cost. Thus, NMCG did not follow the prescribed procedure for preparation of budget,” the CAG’s audit report said.As per the target dates, award for the work of all the sewage treatment plants (STP) was to be completed by September 2016, the CAG noted. The NMCG though, is yet to finalise and approve detailed project reports (DPRs) for projects totalling 1,397 MLD capacity as of August 2017. NMCG also informed CAG that there was a sewage treatment capacity gap of 2,109 million litres per day in 106 towns along in the five basin states along Ganga.During its audit of the human resources, the CAG found that except 16 government employees, contractual employees occupied all positions in NMCG and the organization was short on manpower. There was a 44 per cent shortfall and despite an approval from the Union Cabinet, the sanctioned strength has not been increased from 58 to 111.Namami Gange has been a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and of his two Lok Sabha constituencies is Varanasi, which is situated on the banks of the Ganga.MANPOWER CRUNCHDuring its audit of the human resources, the CAG found that except 16 government employees, contractual employees occupied all positions in NMCG was short on manpower.

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JP Nadda questions govt for not implementing Clinical Establishment Act

Union Health Minister JP Nadda on Tuesday questioned the Delhi government for not implementing the Clinical Establishment Act that tightens the noose over the functioning of private hospitals, clinics and path labs.”Why Delhi government has so far not implemented the act? I have also written a letter to all the state CMs to enforce the act in their respective states. The states should adopt the act at the earliest. The model act is extremely important in dealing with the clinical establishment in the city,” said Nadda.The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, has been enacted by the Centre to provide for registration and regulation of all clinical establishments in the country with a view to prescribe minimum standards of facilities and services provided by them.”We have also asked them to alter the act, if needed but should not leave the area unattended,” the minister added.The Delhi government is already considering to implement the act. A letter has been sent to Delhi Health Secretary with the suggestions regarding the act. However, the decision is yet to come out.”The plan has been sent to the health secretary. We will have a meeting with all the stakeholders to finalise it,” said Dr Kirti Bhushan, Director General of Health Services (DGHS), Delhi government.At present, the state government regulates the nursing homes and private hospitals under the Nursing Home Cell. The cell was established in the department to register private nursing homes and hospitals as per the Delhi Nursing Home. Inspections are carried out to see that the nursing homes maintain the standards and norms as per the rules in the said Act. Efforts are made to prevent the functioning of the nursing homes providing inferior quality service and suggesting appropriate action against the unregistered nursing homes.The act is already implemented in four states, including Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Sikkim, and all Union Territories except the NCT of Delhi since March 1, 2012.The act is applicable to all types (both therapeutic and diagnostic types) of clinical establishments from the public and private sectors, belonging to all recognised systems of medicine, including single-doctor clinics. The only exception is clinical establishments run by the Armed Forces.

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Western Railway set to run city’s first air-conditioned train

In all likelihood, the Western Railways (WR) will run the much-awaited air-conditioned (AC) local train from December 25, as promised by Union Railway minister Piyush Goyal. On December 19, the WR received permission from the Railway Board to run the 12-car AC local between Churchgate and Dahanu Road.”The dates have not come from the Railway Board, but we are ready to run on any day,” said AK Gupta, General Manager, Western Railway.The Railway Board, in a letter submitted to the WR, have set out a few directives that need to be followed while operating the AC local trains, which are expected to run at maximum speed of 100kmph. Sources said that as the coaches are different from a regular Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) or local trains, the Board has asked the WR to ensure that height of platforms from rail level should not exceed 900mm, Provide CCTVs in every coach of the AC train within a year, install fire alarms, smoke detection system and at least two fire extinguishers in each coach”Technicians have been asked to educate the commuters, apart from standing inside the coaches; to open the doors at the time of emergency,” said a WR official.

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40,000 Rohingya living illegally in India, Kiren Rijiju tells Lok Sabha

Around 40,000 Rohingya migrants were illegally living in India and none of them had been deported so far, Union minister Kiren Rijiju informed Parliament on Tuesday.In a written reply to a question, the Union minister of state for home affairs informed the Lok Sabha that the entry of illegal migrants was clandestine and surreptitious and thus, an accurate figure of how many of them were currently living in the country was not available.As per an estimate, the number of Rohingya migrants could be around 40,000, he said, adding that none of them had been deported so far.Rijiju said though India was not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol thereon, the country’s track record in dealing with or providing protection to refugees had internationally been acclaimed.He added that there was no legislation to deal with refugees and asylum-seekers in India.

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

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

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Development is the mantra of today’s polity, people are with Modiji: Prakash Javadekar

Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday said that the development is the mantra of today’s polity as the BJP headed for a victory in Gujarat and was set to retain power and also stayed on course to oust the Congress in Himachal Pradesh.Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped out of his car, greeted the media with a ‘namastey’ and flashed a victory sign, while entering the Parliament.Also readWatch: PM Modi flashes victory sign as BJP gets unassailable lead in GujaratWith poll trends favouring the BJP in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the results were an approval of the Modi government’s policies.Asked if the results were an approval of the Modi government’s policies, the former party president said, “Of course. It is an approval of the government.” Seeking a sixth straight term, the BJP was ahead in 100 seats while the opposition Congress is leading in 70 seats, the Election Commission (EC) trends available for 175 of the 182 seats at stake showed.The BJP has been in power in the state since 1995, winning consecutive elections in the home state of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP was ahead in 42 seats while the ruling Congress is leading in 22.

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Less populated villages to have ‘smooth’ infra

Ensuring basic amenity of roads in even least populated rural areas, the chief minister Vasundhara Raje has made a big announcement. Now, villages across the state where the population is 250 or more will all be connected with roads to Panchayat headquarters.Raje made the announcement during a ‘CM Jan Samvad program’ held in a public school on Sunday. The poor infra in less populated areas drew her attention when some rural folks raised the issue during the program. She promptly asked the senior officials to shoot a letter to the Central government to connect left out small villages with roads to the Panchayat headquarters.“A list of revenue villages where the population is 250 or more but left out from connectivity under ‘Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna’ since 2001 will be prepared so these could have roads. The list will be sent to Union ministry of rural development for roadworks,” said Raje directing PWD engineers to draft list of roads which need repairing and send a proposal for the same.Local issues which were pending for a long time were addressed by Raje on the spot during the program. She instructed officials to earmark forest land for sheltering stray bulls to avoid damage of crops, to probe into alleged irregularity in saplings distribution to farmers and to video graph repairing of drinking water pipelines which were reported broken and unrepaired keeping the rural people thirsty.Once again Raje expressed dissatisfaction over the functioning of administration at grass root level and she asked the officials to be concerned towards complaints of the commoners. “Officials need to understand grievances of the people and dispose them off with full seriousness. How will you feel facing such problems after the retirement from the service? So, you should show complete sincerity to their problem and issues,” Raje said.Meanwhile, Raje has made a big announcement to provide adequate water supply to Fatehpur Shekhawati area. She has instructed officials of LSG (local self-governance) to draft a detailed project report of Rs125 crores to lay drinking water lines and sewerage lines in the area.WHAT’S MOREMeanwhile, Raje has made a big announcement to provide adequate water supply to Fatehpur Shekhawati area. She has instructed to draft a detailed project report of Rs125 crore.

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Gujarat elections 2017: BJP, Congress undecided on CM face

While several exit polls are predicting a clear victory for BJP in the Gujarat Assembly elections, not many are betting on who will be the next CM. There are many who believe that there may be a change of guard even if the BJP comes back to power. The race is also wide open in case the Congress pulls off a surprise win.Rupani was a surprise pick as CM after Anandiben Patel’s abrupt resignation last year. Rupani has done fairly well, and his tenure has largely been controversy-free, but in spite of the party showing faith in him, it is not certain that he will be leading the government once the results are announced.”If BJP wins more than 150 seats, it would mean that Patel community has strongly supported the party. In such a situation, the party is likely to install a Patel leader as the CM. This would tip the scale in favour of someone like (deputy CM) Nitin Patel or Bhikhubhai Dalsania, another non-controversial leader,” said a BJP leader requesting anonymity.Some others see Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya, who too is a Patel, as one of the contenders.CM Vijay Rupani’s comments in an exclusive interview with DNA before the elections that he would be happy with the role assigned to him also sparked off speculations. “I never expected any position. I have been saying since the day I was appointed CM that I am here to play a 20-20 match. Our high command will take a call on the issue,” Rupani had said.However, what could work in Rupani’s favour is that he remains grounded, and his tenure has been free of controversies.”Our national president Amit Shah has repeatedly said that Vijay Rupani will be CM and Nitin Patel deputy CM. The BJP has absolute clarity on this,” BJP’s Gujarat in-charge Bhupender Yadav, said.In case the Congress wins, a host of party leaders would be in the race for the CM’s post.Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki is seen as a contender for the post even though he did not contest in the elections. The fact that he had served as Union minister in the UPA government, and comes from a political family, hands him the advantage.Senior Congress leader and son of former CM Chimanbhai Patel, Siddharth Patel, who contested from Dabhoi seat, is also seen as a potential candidate for the top post. He is a Patidar, and if Congress wins, it would be to a great extent to support from the Patidar community.Two-term MLA Paresh Dhanani, who too belongs to the Patidar community, and one of the vocal critics of BJP government, could be a pick for CM if the party wins.Senior MLA Shaktisinh Gohil, who had served as minister in an earlier Congress government in the state, too seen by many as a potential chief ministerial candidate. He is the Congress’s national spokesperson, and had served as leader of opposition.

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What is govt doing? Rajnath Singh targets Cong over deaths of Gauri Lankesh and Paresh Mesta

Speaking at the Parivartan Rally in Bengaluru, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh targeted the Karnataka government over the alleged murders of Paresh Mehta and Gauri Lankesh.He said: “Paresh Mesta was recently killed. What this govt is doing in these murder cases’ Gauri Lankesh was killed. I want to assure Karnataka public that when our govt is formed, we will probe her death from all angles, culprits will be punished. We won’t save anyone.”With the assembly elections in Karnataka on the agenda for 2018, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday appealed to the natives to support the formation of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government under the leadership of B.S. Yeddyurappa.Also readWhen Rajnath Singh met the Maulvi saab who caned him as a kid and got emotionalRajnath while praising the former chief minister said, ‘We want to empower Karnataka, and this will be possible when, in two to three months, a BJP government will be formed here. The BJP will contest in the upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka under B. S. Yeddyurappa Ji’s leadership.’ Also readRSS pays tribute to slain journalist Gauri LankeshAccusing the Congress Party and its leadership in the state of indulging in corruption, Rajnath alleged that the grand old party is indulging in ‘divide and rule’ in the state and causing communal disharmony by involving caste and other related factors. He further claimed that scams such as that related to the construction of a steel flyover are being ignited by the Congress. ‘Congress government here wants to divide Karnataka community to rule. I received information that even though there is no regulation in the constitution, Muslim community here was befooled with reservation which was later out ruled by the Court,’ he said. Also readParesh Mesta death: BJP urges Karnataka Guv to intervene, Siddaramaiah says ‘unfortunate’ incident being politicisedRajnath added, ‘The government here created such an issue over Tipu Sultan. I do not want to dive deep into history, but I have to ask: Why is there no celebration for Kempegowda, Kittur Rani Chennamma or Sir M. Visvesvaraya’ Why only Tipu Sultan?” Congratulating the newly-elected president of the party, Rahul Gandhi, Rajnath further accused the Congress of igniting disorder and turmoil in several states, including Kashmir. ‘I want to congratulate him (Rahul Gandhi) but also ask- did the fire of communalism, terrorism and axalism in India erupt due to BJP’s policies’ Did fire erupt in Kashmir due to BJP’s policies? If someone formed governments by setting fire, it is Congress. BJP is trying to douse the flame,’ claimed Rajnath.Lauding the initiatives across various fronts taken under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rajnath claimed that India is no longer considered weak, and is now a superpower that nobody can questions. ‘If not for the BJP and Prime Minister Modi, the Doklam issue would not have been resolved. China too has understood that diplomatic ties have to be maintained. On the Indo-Pakistan border, our forces are strongly retaliating against attacks, as was seen during the surgical strike last year. We will not fire first, but if someone fires at us, we will not sit back,’ claimed Rajnath. Highlighting the economic reforms undertaken in the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, Rajnath opined that steps such as demonetisation have led to an intense crackdown on benami properties, shell companies and black money. Further, steps like financial inclusion and strengthening of agriculture have been praised by international agencies such as Moody and others too, he said. At the rally, Rajnath was accompanied by Yeddyurappa and other party leaders. On a related note, Karnataka will go to polls in April next year. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders on Tuesday took out a ‘Raj Bhavan Chalo’ march from Gandhi Statue to submit a memorandum to Governor Vajubhai Vala seeking direction to the Karnataka Government for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe in youth activist Paresh Mesta death case. The march was led by MP Shobha Karandlaje. They later reached the Governor’s house and urged him to intervene in this incident. The body of the missing activist Paresh Mesta, a resident of Thulisinagar in Honnovar was found in a lake behind Shani temple on Friday. He was missing from last Wednesday. There has been significant tension in parts of Uttar Kannada post his death. Mesta’s family has alleged that there was foul play and it’s unlikely that he drowned in the lake. However police have ruled out any foul play, according to reports. Doctors who have performed autopsy on the body say they didn’t find any evidence of assault or mutilation, according to multiple reports. ​BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje has alleged that it’s a ‘brutal murder’ and the state government is trying to cover it up. Several top leaders including Union Minister Ananth Kumar was part of Mesta’s funeral procession, the report says. According to BJP MP Karandlaje, police were mute spectators when a hostile mob attacked Mesta near a temple on Wednesday. The trigger was a street fight between an autorickshaw driver and motorbike rider, which soon took a communal colour. There was stone pelting too and shops were attacked. Reports suggest that Mesta was missing after trying to evade stone pelting. His body was found from Shettikere Lake a couple of days later. Gauri Lankesh edited the anti-establishment Gauri Lankesh Patrike. Her killing was very similar to the earlier killings of the rationalists and activists Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar, and MM Kalburgi who were equally critical of the right wing.The journalist’s family has made a plea not to give a political colour to her killing. They had said the investigators should look into all possible aspects of the case, as reports had emerged about a possible Naxal hand in the crime, besides the suspected involvement of right-wing extremists.With inputs from ANI

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BJP to contest Karnataka Assembly elections under Yeddyurappa’s leadership: Rajnath Singh

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will contest the upcoming Assembly elections in Karnataka under the “leadership” of former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, Union Minister Rajnath Singh announced today. Speaking at the BJP’s Parivartan Yatra in Bengaluru, the Union Home Minister said, “BJP to fight upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka under BS Yeddyurappa ji’s leadership.”Rajnath Singh was accompanied by BJP’s Karnataka unit chief Yeddyurappa, Union Ministers Ananth Kumar and Sadananda Gowda.Also readParesh Mesta death: BJP urges Karnataka Guv to intervene, Siddaramaiah says ‘unfortunate’ incident being politicisedThe elections for the 225-member house will be held in mid 2018 as the term of the Assembly expires in May.Earlier, BJP President Amit Shah had announced that Yeddyurappa would be the party’s chief ministerial face in the Assembly polls.Also readI am contesting assembly polls to prevent BJP coming to power: SiddaramaiahHe will face incumbent Siddaramaiah who has announced that this will be his last election. The Congress has announced Siddaramaiah would be the party’s face during the 2018 Assembly polls, and is yet to decide on the Chief Ministerial candidate.Yeddyurappa, 74, is an influential Lingayat leader, who had led the saffron party to its maiden victory in the southern state in 2008. He was forced to resign following charges of corruption against him. Also readKarnataka: Protest in Kumta turns violent over death of activist Paresh Mesta He floated his own outfit in 2011 which performed poorly in the 2013 Assembly polls but managed to wean away a substantial chunk of the BJP votes, leading to a rout of the saffron party. He returned to the BJP fold ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

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Is sexual violence due to moral curbs, asks Madras High Court

Madras High Court has asked the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government to explore the possibility of providing gadgets to women to prevent sexual violence which is on the rise even after stringent laws were brought in after the Nirbhaya incident.Seeking urgent measures to stop crime against women and girls, Justice N Kirubakaran has raised several queries to be answered by the Union and the state governments as well as the National Commission for Women (NCW).”Sexual assault is a violation of privacy, dignity, and honour causing a permanent scar and continuous agony in the mind of the victim,” Justice Kirubakaran said while dismissing a bail plea of a duo accused in the rape-and-murder of a 60-year-old woman.He involved the Centre and NCW in the case and directed them to file response to his queries. He has asked whether the spurt in sexual violence against women is a result of a fall in sex ratio or due to ‘sex starvation’ among Indian men in view of various cultural and moral curbs. He has also asked whether alcoholism has any role to play in this.Noting that sexual assaults on women continued unabated despite stringent laws brought in after the December 16 Delhi gangrape incident, he said the offences have to be analysed and examined from psychological and sociological angles. The judge sought the response of the governments on his queries by January 10, 2018.He also asked if the rise in sex crimes was due to easy accessibility of pornographic content through internet.The judge said culprits in sexual violence could neither be termed as ‘human beings’ nor as ‘animals’ as even animals were noble in their own way.SEEKING ANSWERSMadras HC asked the Centre, state, and NCW to cite reasons behind rise in crime against women. Response to be submitted by January 10, 2018.

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BJP will register comprehensive victories in Gujarat and Himachal: RS Prasad

Union Minister and senior BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad today asserted that the party will register comprehensive victories in the Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.The law and justice, electronics and IT minister said voters have full faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during whose tenure the country has witnessed “all-round growth”.”The people of Gujarat have not forgotten the economic progress and the excellent law and order that prevailed while Modi was the chief minister. The BJP is all set to retain power in the state with a comfortable majority,” he told reporters here.The minister also expressed confidence that the BJP will “win a thumping majority in Himachal Pradesh and dislodge the Congress from power”.Counting of votes in both the states will begin on December 18.Prasad arrived here on his way to Rohtas district, where he is scheduled to address a four-day training camp for the party’s state-level office bearers that began yesterday.”The country has witnessed all-round growth and new benchmarks of progress have been set under Modi’s leadership,” he said.There has been effective action against terrorists and the PM’s diplomacy has been a huge success, placing India among the strong nations of the world, he added.

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‘Absurd’ to suggest Delhiites bought expensive cars after Metro fare hike, says Union minister Hardeep Puri

Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri today dubbed as “absurd” the suggestions that Delhiites shifted to other modes of transport like cab services or started buying expensive cars due to the recent metro fare hike.The comments come in the backdrop of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal having written a letter to Puri, seeking a review of the hike and reiterating his offer to partially bear the cost of the proposed “claw back”.”Desire to create false narrative on #MetroFare taking an amusing turn. It s being suggested those who weren t able to afford India s cheapest metro can actually afford to buy & run expensive cars or use cabs. You don t have to be an economist to see absurdity of this argument,” the Union minister said on Twitter.Hitting out at the AAP-led Delhi government, the housing and urban affairs minister said if the metro had become an “expensive luxury liner”, the city government should increase the number of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses.He also claimed that there was a 35 per cent dip in the DTC ridership.”If #Metro is an expensive luxury liner then #DTC should immediately buy more buses to make up for shortfall of 7000 buses & drastic 35% drop in ridership. Who s responsible for this? Surely Delhi citizens deserve both – an efficient & reliable DTC & much better arguments!,” Puri said in another tweet.In response to Kejriwal’s letter, the Union minister had said neither the Centre nor the Delhi government has powers to rollback the fares fixed by the fixation committee headed by a retired judge, and claimed that metro ridership on three different days in October this year were higher than the last year.However, an RTI query, revealed last month that the Delhi Metro lost over three lakh commuters a day after the steep fare hike came into effect on October 10.Puri had said that the dip in ridership could not be linked to the fare hike, which, the metro said, was necessary for maintaining “efficiency”.The metro fare hike has led to a rise of around Rs 10 for nearly every distance slab. The decision had come barely five months after the previous hike of up to 100 per cent.

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Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist found dead in Jammu and Kashmir

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Saturday 16 December 2017 15:58 ISTMust readMinor set ablaze by neighbours for opposing molestation in UP’s MainpuriAaditya Thackeray sets deadline for quitting alliance<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>One Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist, a Pakistani national, was found dead in Tral Eidgah in South Kashmir on Saturday.<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>Also readJammu and Kashmir | 3 terrorists gunned down in Handwara encounter, ‘raining whole night,’ tweets DGPThe terrorist was killed after a landmine went off where he was hiding.More details are awaited.

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Rapists of minors should be hanged within 6 months: Swati Maliwal

Lamenting the “delay” in carrying out sentence of December 16 gang-rape and murder incident, Delhi Commission for Women Chief Swati Maliwal claimed the long winding legal process allowed the criminals to feel they can get away with such henious crimes.She urged the prime minister to bring in a legislation wherein at least those convicted of raping minors are given death penalty within six months.Nirbhaya, a para-medical student, was brutally gang-raped on the intervening night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. The incident took place while she was returning with a friend after watching a movie.She died 13 days after the incident at a hospital in Singapore.Of the six men arrested in the case, one of the accused Ram Singh hanged himself in prison in March 2013, while another man, who was a juvenile at the time of the crime, was convicted in August. Last year, he was released from the correction home after serve the maximum sentence of three years in a reform home.The other four — Akshay, Vinay Sharma, Pawan and Mukesh — were found guilty and sentenced to death by the Delhi High Court in September 2013. The Supreme Court also upheld the high court’s decision.”It’s the fifth death anniversary of Nirbhaya incident and the fact is that nothing has changed in this country.Everyday girls and women are being brutally raped in this country,” she said.Maliwal also highlighted the need for having fast-track courts in the city so that rapists are punished forthwith.Also, there is a need to upgrade the delivery mechanism of the forensic department as well as the accountability of the police, she said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”The system has made the criminals confident enough to believe that they can get away with any crime perpetrated against a woman or a child.”It is very unfortunate that even Nirbhaya herself has not got justice in this country. Nirbhaya’s mother is still running from pillar to post in order to ensure that her beloved daughter can get justice,” Maliwal said.The DCW chief said that at least in case of rape of minor girls, there should be a law in this country in which such rapists should be punished and given death penalty within six months.She also made an appeal to the prime minister to constitute a high-level committee on women’s safety in Delhi, having the Union home minister, the lieutenant governor, the chief minister, the police commissioner and the DCW representatives as its members, to take effective decisions on issues of women’s safety.Drawing the prime minister’s attention to the Nirbhaya fund, which has remained unutilised till date, Maliwal urged him to devolve the fund immediately to the states failing which the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ programme will lose its relevance.

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Union Minister asks Kejriwal to step up work under Clean India

The Centre has raised with the Delhi government the issue of “under-utilisation” of funds under Swachh Bharat Mission and asked it to step up expenditure under the scheme to improve services, sources said.Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has recently written to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, stating that Rs 104.75 crore were released by the ministry in 2015 against the allocation of Rs 349.75 crore, the sources said.”Out of this, a sum of Rs 32.52 crore only has been spent so far and the balance is lying unutilised. Urgent efforts appear to be called for to step up the incurring of expenditure and delivery of services to the Delhi’s citizen for promoting Swachh Bharat,” the sources said, quoting the letter.Delhi has revised its target of Individual Household Latrines (IHHL) to 435 against the mission target of 1,25,398 as community toilets were considered more feasible, they said.But, the target for community toilets was increased only by 370 which should have been enhanced by 20,800 to provide toilet facilities to all individuals who do not have space to get toilets constructed in their houses, they added.In case of public toilets, only 328 have been constructed or under construction against the mission target of 9,156, Puri was quoted to have said in the letter.”Lack of community/public toilets forces the public to defecate and urinate in open with consequences leading to unhygienic conditions and health issues for the city,” they said, quoting the letter.Puri, according to sources, requested the chief minister to adopt a strategy and comprehensive action plan for the mission and implement it on a “war footing”.They said the Union minister, noting that the status of implementation of the cleanliness mission in Delhi is a matter of concern, said efforts were required to ensure that all agencies like municipal corporations, DUSIB, PWD and DJB were performing their duties effectively and efficiently to meet meet the objective of Swachh Bharat Mission.The mission aims to achieve clean and open defecation free (ODF) by October 2, 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.Puri also noted in the letter that Delhi was yet to implement the Solid Waste Management rules in “right earnest” that results in high quantity of waste going to land fill sites for dumping.

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PM Modi inaugurates hydropower project in Mizoram, says northeast development is a top govt agenda

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Mizoram on Saturday, the first time since assuming power as prime minister in 2014. The purpose of the visit was to complete the 60 Mega-Watt Tuirial Hydropower Project.”It is the first large hydropower project in Mizoram. It will boost the socio-economic development of the State,” the PM said at a gathering.Hailing the first NDA government for its work in the northeast, PM Modi added, “During the tenure of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee significant work was done for the development of the Northeast. We have taken forward this vision and are devoting resources for the progress of the Northeast. There have been over 150 Ministerial visits. Our initiative – the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) at your doorstep has added impetus to the development of the Northeast. It has enabled us to understand the aspirations of the Northeast even better,” the PM added.Adding that the project would provide eco-tourism and proper drinking water to the people of the state, PM Modi added that the vision of New India can be realized only if fruits of development reach all. Government plans to focus on around 115 districts which are relatively backward when evaluated on various indicators. This will benefit backward districts of North Eastern States including Mizoram. “Besides electricity the reservoir water will also open new avenues for navigation. This will provide connectivity to remote villages. The huge reservoir, spread over an area of 45 square kilometres can also be used for development of fisheries,” he said.”It is said that the lack of connectivity is one of the biggest hurdles in the path of development of the North Eastern Region. My Government wants to do ‘Transformation by Transportation’ through investment in infrastructure to change the face of the North Eastern Region,” he added.Also readCentre considering over 60 proposals for Northeast-based start-upsThe prime minister also spoke on his other plans to develop the northeast region. “We are committed to bring all the State Capitals of North East Region on the Rail map. The Government of India is executing 15 New Rail Line projects of 1385 kilometers length, at a cost of over Rs.47,000 crore,” PM Modi said, adding the Union Government has been proactively following the ‘Act East Policy’. “As a gate-way to South East Asia, Mizoram stands to gain immensely from this. It can emerge as a key transit point for trade with Myanmar and Bangladesh,” he said.PM Modi also spoke of the bamboo trade that have plagued some farmers. The Bamboo which is the livelihood for lakhs of people of North East, has been under a very restrictive regulatory regime. Because of this, you cannot transport or sell the Bamboo produced in your own field without the permit. Our Government with an aim to reduce this pain, has changed the regulatory regime and now there will be no requirement of any permit or permission for producing, transporting and selling Bamboo and its products produced by farmers in their own fields,” the PM said.

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Ambitious Rs 6.5K cr Parwan agri project initiated by Raj-Centre

Accusing Congress government for delaying ambitious Parwan irrigation project, chief minister, Vasundhara Raje has claimed that her government worked with sincerity on the project and laid its foundation, finally. She was addressing a gathering in Baran district where she along with Union road surface and water minister, Nitin Gadkari laid foundation stones and inaugurated development works worth Rs8,487 crore, including Rs 6,490 crore of Parwan alone.“Congress has done politics in 50 years of its rule but we implemented it. When it gets completed, it will become lifeline of Baran, Jhalawar and Kota districts. The dam capacity of this project is 490 million cubic metre. After completion, 317million cubic metres of water will be available for irrigation. Along with irrigation, this project will also provide 50 million cubic metres of water to quench thirst of 1,821 villages of Baran, Jhalawar and Kota districts. The thermal power generation of 2,970 MW will be achieved with 79 million cubic metre of the project,” Raje spoke here at a rally.The project is set to be a boon for three districts of Hadoti region- Baran, Jhalawar and Kota- where over 2 lakh hectare will get sufficient water. By laying foundation the government fulfilled a major promise which may impact the assembly polls too. Albeit, it is also a truth that the government took four years in finalizing detailed project report (DPR) and issuing work tenders. In the event which is part of government celebration of 4 years anniversary, the CM also presented report card on major irrigation works done. She noted that her government spent Rs5,633 crore on various irrigation projects including Indira Gandhi canal to provide water to 50,000 hectare land. “Dholpur lift project is also one of the major project which we took up. This project was not realised in 5o years but we are making it,” said Raje.

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Haryana NOC for IG canal repair: Nitin Gadkari

Injecting a boosting dose in Rajasthan’s infrastructure and irrigation works, the Union minister for road transport and water resources, Nitin Gadkari laid foundation stone of ambitious Parwan Irrigation water project. He also announced the completion of Jaipur’s Ring Road project in record deadline of one year and commence civil works on Greenfield Express highway between Jaipur and Delhi, soon.“Whatever commitments I make, I fulfill,” said Gadkari as a chief guest addressing a function in Baran which was presided by the chief minister, Vasundhara Raje. Fetching water from Yamuna River to Rajasthan, restoration of Indira Gandhi Canal and uses of ethanol as a fuel for farmers were also proclaimed by the minister from the stage.He emphasised that he is working on schemes contentiously to supply water to the desert state and increase earnings of the farmers.“At the time of the partition, six rivers were divided between India and Pakistan equally. However, three rivers which India had, flow into Pakistan. I have directed my officials to draft a plan to turn their water to our states. In continuance of this, water from Yamuna will be brought to Rajasthan. Also we are working to bring Narmada river water here,” said Gadkari adding that in future land of farmers will not be acquired for canal projects and underground pipeline will be laid to supply water for irrigation.“Rajasthan will soon get NOC (no objection certificate) from Haryana Government to repair IG canal. I had dialogue with CM Manohar Lal Khattar,” spoke Gadkari, laying stress that he is working on schemes contentiously to supply water to the desert state and increase earnings of the farmers.Gadkari, who also got portfolio of water resources in latest cabinet reshuffle, also unfolded his plan to increase earning of farmers with his pet project of alternate cheaper fuel. “I am working for a plan in which ethanol could be used as a fuel by the farmers. This fuel is much cheaper than petrol and diesel. I will table the scheme next week in the parliament. Rajasthan needs to make a policy in this context too.”Green highway express project envisaged to connect Delhi and Jaipur is in limboand land required for it is still pending. Gadkari referred this and promised that land acquisition for the project will commence next month and soon it will be a reality. “And also, Jaipur ring road project will be completed in one year,” Gadkari promised to the gathering assembled at Baran.

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Karnataka High Court strikes down 85% pictorial warning rule for tobacco products

The Karnataka High Court on Friday struck down the 2014 amendment rules that mandated pictorial health warnings to cover 85 per cent of tobacco product packaging space, holding that they violated Constitutional norms.However, the court made it clear that the 40 per cent pictorial health warning rule, which existed prior to the amendment rules, would remain in force.A division bench comprising Justices B S Patil and B V Nagarathna passed the order on a batch of petitions filed by various tobacco manufacturing companies and others from across the country, challenging the 85 per cent pictorial warning rule notified by the Union Health Ministry.The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014 (COTPA) came into effect from April 1 last year.In May last year, the Supreme Court had transferred all petitions against the 85 per cent rule filed in various high courts to the Karnataka High Court and asked it to hear and dispose of them.Passing its orders, the high court bench held that the Union Health Ministry does not have any jurisdictional power to make such rules.The court said even if the health ministry enjoyed power to make such rules, they violated constitutional norms as it was an “unreasonable restriction” on the right to do business.From the perspective of tobacco growers, such a rule violated the Right To Equality under Article 14 of the Constitution because there was no connection between the images and the warnings, the bench observed.The petitioners, the Tobacco Institute of India and others, had challenged enforcement of the COTPA which required printing of pictorial health warnings covering 85 per cent of tobacco product packages.The petitioners argued the rules were impractical and would boost smuggling of imported cigarettes.The tobacco industry had said there was no evidence to show smoking causes the diseases depicted in the “extremely gruesome and unreasonable” pictures.The bench observed that the rules cannot be made to scare people but to issue notifications.The industry also said the global average size for graphic health warnings (GHWs) was only about 30 per cent of the principal display area.Moreover, the top three cigarette consuming countries– the US, China and Japan which together account for 51 per cent of global cigarette consumption–have only text based warnings and not adopted GHWs.

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

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

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No term like ‘martyr’ or ‘shaheed’ in our lexicon, say Defence and Home Ministry

There is no term as “martyr” or “shaheed” in the Army or the police and instead a soldier or a policeman killed in action is called a “battle casualty” or “operations casualty” respectively, the ministries of defence and home have submitted before the Central Information Commission.The issue surfaced after an RTI applicant approached the Union home ministry seeking to know the meaning and detailed definition of word “shaheed” (martyr) according to the law and the Constitution. He also asked about the legal provisions to ensure restriction on its misuse and punishment for violation. The application was transferred to different officials of the home and defence ministries but when the applicant could not get a satisfactory response, he approached the CIC, the highest appellate body in matters relating to the Right to Information Act.The respondents from the ministries of defence and the home affairs were present and heard, Information Commissioner Yashovardhan Azad said. “The respondent from the Ministry of Defence stated that word ‘shaheed’ or ‘martyr’ is not used by the MoD. Instead the one used is ‘battle casualty’. The respondent from the Ministry of Home Affairs stated that in the MHA the word used is ‘operations casualty’,” Azad said.Also readFacing heat for limiting education aid to martyrs’ kids, MoD doubles gallantry award moneyQuoting the submissions, he noted that the decision to declare cases of ‘battle casualty’ and ‘ops’ were taken after a report of a court of inquiry in both the matters.”After hearing the respondents and the perusal of the record, the commission finds that the averments made by both the respondents have duly explained the correct usage of the terms and directs the respondents to send a revised reply to the appellant accordingly,” he said.

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Union cabinet clears Triple Talaq bill, 3 years jail proposed for offenders

The Union Cabinet on Friday cleared the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 to criminalise the instant divorce practice. The bill is likely to be tabled in the current session of Parliament. Here is all you need to know about the triple talaq bill:1. Maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment and fine to men pronouncing ‘talaq-ebiddat’.2. The new proposed law will become a cognizable and non-bailable offence. 3. The bill says that triple talaq in any form either verbal or writing by any means like email, Whatsapp and SMS would be illegal and void.Also readMuslim organisation oppose single-step criminalisation of triple talaq4. The provision of maintenance and custody of minor child has been incorporated to ensure legal and financial protection in case husband forcibly throws the victim out of the house. It would empower women to approach magistrate seeking maintenance and custody of minor child.5. The bill is set to be tabled in the Parliament to be passed by both the houses to finally become a law.Also readTriple Talaq law: Govt mulls 3-year jail term for offenders 6. All states, except Jammu and Kashmir will be part of the law once it is passed in both houses of the Parliament. 7. The states that have supported the proposed bill are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Assam.8. Earlier, the five-judge Constitution Bench had struck down the practice of instant triple talaq in a 3:2 judgment. The top court had called the controversial practice of instant divorce as “arbitrary and unconstitutional”.

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Maneka Gandhi tells Bollywood to enforce law against sexual harassment

Many filmmakers have received letters from the Union minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi this week about the law on sexual harassment at work. Gandhi’s office said that the letters were to ensure that production houses provide a secure environment for the women working there.Filmmakers and producers who received the letter include Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Ekta Kapoor, Mahesh Bhatt, Shahrukh Khan, Sooraj Barjatya, Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar, Anil Ambani, Aamir Khan, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Ashutosh Gowarikar, Pritish Nandy, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Subhash Ghai.Gandhi said that the letter intends to inform them about the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition Redressal) Act 2013, so that they can implement it immediately.”The aim of this law is to ensure that no woman is sexually harassed at her workplace,” the letter said. “This is to be followed in letter and spirit by all organisations in the country and I expect you to personally lead these efforts with sincerity and commitment, in accordance with all the applicable laws.”Any institution that comes under the purview of the Act is ethically and legally accountable to provide a safe, secure and inclusive work environment for the safety of not only their direct employees, but all outsourced and temporary staff as well.”Gandhi’s letter comes days after the Finance Minister ceded to her long-standing demand to amend the Companies Act, 2013 to ensure that it is mandatory for all companies and institutions that come under the Act to constitute an internal complaints committee to report sexual harassment at the workplace.Last month, the ministry had launched a complaint portal — SHe-Box — for government employees to lodge sexual harassment complaints online.

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Arunachal Pradesh copies Pakistan civil services paper

In all matters Arunachal Pradesh, worries pertaining to intrusion of any kind emanate from the neighbouring China. An intrusion of a different kind, however, has been reported from our other contentious neighbour, Pakistan.In the recently concluded civil services exam, conducted by the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC), several questions were lifted from a forum for aspirants of the Pakistan civil services examination.Aspirants in Arunachal Pradesh alleged that majority of the questions were lifted from the site ‘www.cssforum.com.pk’. To add to their woes, in the public administration question paper, 50 questions were a repeat of the Union Public Services Exam’s (UPSC) 2008 question paper. Also, stickers for the form numbers were manually written and papers were handed out unsealed in some cases.Nearly 90 per cent of the sociology questions were lifted from an article on the Mandal Commission judgment, written by Shelly Shan in the early 1990s, listed on the website ‘www.sociologydiscussion.com’. Besides, there were so many spelling mistakes and errors in the veterinary sciences paper that the Arunachal Veterinary Doctors’ Unemployed Association was prompted to write a letter to APPSC secretary Madhu K Garg.”The papers were peppered with hundreds of errors — letters were missing, words were misspelled, and several papers had questions that were outside the syllabus prescribed on the APPSC website,” aspirant Bengia Taja said.She added that students have now informally come together to protest against the slip-ups.”This is a complete disregard to the hard work that so many of us put in year after year. The BJP government has always spoken against Pakistan. Why is it quiet on this matter now?” asked Taja.”Pakistan is not a part of our syllabus. In our syllabus of public administration, we study about the US, USSR, UK, and France,” he added.The state’s ruling People’s Party is in alliance with the BJP currently.Dr Nani Bath, professor at the political science department of the Rajiv Gandhi University at Rono Hills, a few kilometres away from state capital Itanagar, said the mistakes in this year’s question papers had not happened for the first time. “This has happened earlier as well. To make light of the fates of so many hard-working aspirants is nothing short of criminal. The state officials must take responsibility,” he said. Prof Bath added that the state has now constituted a committee and has set a deadline for the APPSC to conduct the preliminary exams again within the next three months.Meanwhile, calls and messages to the secretary went unanswered.In 2015, the APPSC’s papers for the preliminary exams were leaked, leading to the dismissal of four employees. The fiasco came barely a month after the leak of an Assam Public Service Commission paper, in exchange for cash, which led to the ouster of 25 officials, including chairperson Rakesh Kumar Paul.Lifted & copiedAspirants alleged that majority of the questions were lifted from the site ‘www.cssforum.com.pk’. Additionally, 50 questions were a repeat of the UPSC 2008 question paper

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Didn’t instruct Jethmalini to use bad word against Jaitley: Kejriwal tells Delhi HC

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has denied before the Delhi High Court that he filed a false affidavit claiming he had not instructed his counsel to use derogatory words against Union Minister Arun Jaitley.Kejriwal’s response came in pursuance to the August 23 notice issued to him by Justice Manmohan on Jaitley’s plea seeking action against the chief minister for making a false statement during his cross-examination in a defamation suit against him and five other AAP leaders. Jaitley, who has filed a Rs 10 crore defamation suit against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders, had moved a fresh application alleging that the chief minister had falsely denied that he had instructed his then senior lawyer to make derogatory comments. This was opposed by his former counsel Ram Jethmalani two days later. The high court listed the matter for hearing on April 26.In his response filed through advocate Anupam Shrivastav, Kejriwal has denied that he has committed any perjury or made any false statement supported by an affidavit under oath. “It is denied that the Senior Advocate representing the Defendant 1 (Kejriwal) on instructions had used abusive, offensive and per se defamatory words against the applicant/ plaintiff (Jaitley). “On the contrary the Defendant No.1 had at no time instructed his counsels to use abusive, offensive or defamatory language against the applicant,” he said.Also readArvind Kejriwal’s denial of instruction to Jethmalani ‘belated’ and ‘afterthought’: Arun JaitleyThe chief minister also submitted that the Bar Council Rules and the Advocates Act 1961 prohibits a senior advocate from taking instructions in any case directly from a client. “Therefore no utterances of a senior advocate can be attributed to the instructions of the client unless they are received through the Advocate on Record (Instructing Counsel),” he said. Kejriwal said the union minister’s application was “completely baseless” and was filed with the sole motive of “attempting to overawe the judicial process” sought its dismissal with costs.”It is denied that untrue averments have been made in the pleadings which would amount to committing perjury,” he said. The high court had on August 23 sought Kejriwal’s response on the plea seeking that a criminal complaint be lodged against him for allegedly filing a false affidavit that he did not instruct his counsel to use derogatory words against Jaitley. During the cross examination on May 17, Kejriwal’s then counsel Jethmalani had used offensive words against Jaitley.Jethmalani had categorically stated in court that he had received specific instruction from Kejriwal to use derogatory words against Jaitley. The application had stated that in an interview to the media on July 26, Jethmalani reiterated his earlier statement that he had instructions from Kejriwal to use the words. In his application, Jaitley had said that on July 28, Jethmalani had written a letter to Kejriwal. He copied it to the union minister stating he had not received a reply from the chief minister on his July 20 letter.According to the application, in the July 20 letter to Kejriwal, Jethmalani had said “ask your (Kejriwal) conscience how many times you used the word…” Seeking strict action against Kejriwal for allegedly stating false facts, Jaitley’s counsel had said, “a blatant, false and dishonest statement under oath by such a high functionary must attract severe and stringent punishment.” “Committing perjury before this court by making false averments in pleadings is squarely covered under provisions of section 340 of CrPC and the defendant (Kejriwal) deserves to be punished in accordance with law,” it had said.The high court had on July 26 asked Kejriwal not to put “scandalous” questions to Jaitley during the cross-examination in the defamation suit filed by the Union minister against the chief minister and five others — Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai. The first Rs 10 crore defamation suit was filed by Jaitley against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders in 2015.The second Rs 10 crore defamation suit was filed on May 22 this year only against the chief minister.Jaitley, who denied all the allegations of corruption levelled by the AAP leaders in December 2015, had claimed that they had made “false and defamatory” statements in the case involving the DDCA, thereby harming his reputation. The cross-examination of Jaitley by Jethmalani on May 17 led to heated exchanges between them. Kejriwal had on July 24 told the high court that there was no instruction from him to Jethmalani to use objectionable remarks against Jaitley.

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Employees union goes on strike

Eleven office bearers of Akhil Rajasthan Rajya Karmchari Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti, which is protesting for 7 points of demands, sat on fast for 48 hours at Jaipur district collectorate office on Monday. The Samiti has gave a call for pen down and tool down due to which works will come to halt in the government offices on Tuesday. The Samiti said that its eleven leaders, of various unions, went on fast in a protest against the government for not meeting their seven points demands. Other union leaders have also staged a similar fast in rest district headquarters of the state.Those who quit food in a protest in Jaipur include convener of the Samiti Aayu Dan Singh Kaviya, co-coordinator of Samiti Gajendra Singh Rathore, Secretariat union president Abhimanyu Sharma, Rajasthan Teacher Union (RESLA) General Secretary Sumer Khatana, Acting President of Rajasthan State Employees Union Rajesh Pareek, Water Works Employees Union president Ishwar Chandra Sharma.Rathore and Kaviya, who are leading the agitation, in a joint statement came heavily on the state government alleging it of ignoring demands of the employees. They clarified that the government’s pessimistic approach to the employees will not be allowed and the Samiti will protest continuously until the demands are met.Their primary demands include the cash benefits of arrears under 7tyh pay commission report regulation from January 2016, while the government has announced it from January 2017, fixing entry level of pay matrix of the state employees on the line of Center and implementation of an old pension scheme for the employees recruited post-2004. The Samiti has threatened a mass stir if their 7 points demands are not met till December 13.

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Maharashtra CM Fadnavis speaks to Yashwant Sinha, urges him to call off stir

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday spoke to former Union Finance Minister and veteran BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and appealed him to withdraw his agitation.Sinha, who was detained and released by Akola police on Monday, is camping at the police ground there against the state government’s apathy towards farmers in Vidarbha region.ÇM has chosen to step in especially when Sinha is adamant and he is receiving support from various political parties and farmers’ organisations.Also readMaharashtra: Opposition extends support to Yashwant Sinha’s protest in AkolaSinha is leading a protest by Cotton and Soyabean farmers to press for compensation for the crops damaged by pests, purchase of all farm produce at an MSP of Rs 50,000 per acre for cotton farmers affected by the pink bollworm disease. Further, the government should immediately address issues with regard to farm insurance and relief to drought-affected villages.Fadnavis has assured to sympathetically look into the demands. He also deputed the Minister of State for Home Ranjit Patil to mediate. Patil has asked the Akola police not to use force against agitating Sinha and farmers.So far Sinha has not made up his mind to call off agitation as he is busy interacting with the farmers who have gathered in large numbers at the venue.Also readMaharashtra BJP downplays Yashwant Sinha’s stir to highlight farmers’ plightSinha has also received support from various quarters including the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, former Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra’s former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Ashok Chavan, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana MP Raju Shetti and Bharatiya Republican Party leader Prakash Ambedkar.Besides, former minister Arun Shourie, BJP MPs Shatrughna Sinhah and Varun Gandhi have also extended their support to Sinha.Also readYashwant Sinha to visit Gujarat on invitation of Congress-backed NGO
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Mumbai gets a path-breaking weekly ‘Zee Marathi Disha’

Stating that ‘Zee Marathi Disha’, the new Marathi weekly newspaper from the Zee Media stable, will usher in a new path for bringing positivity in society, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday added that this initiative will rekindle enlightenment in all spheres of life.The chief minister unveiled the first copy of ‘Zee Marathi Disha’ at a glittering event in Mumbai on Tuesday. Mumbai city mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, former Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Union minister of state for social justice Ramdas Athavale and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray graced the occasion, along with Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra and ‘Zee Marathi Disha’ editor-in-chief Vijay Kuvalekar.Congratulating the Zee Group for starting a weekly newspaper that caters to the needs of all sections of society, Fadnavis said, “One may be surprised that a group like Zee, which is well-entrenched in electronic media, is turning towards print. But then, Subhashji is known for his innovative spirit. I am sure that like Sukh Warta on Zee 24 Taas, Disha, too, will provide much needed positivity to the society at large.”Recounting his decades-old friendship with Subhash Chandra, Shinde said confidence was a hallmark of his life. “He faced many a calamities, but marched ahead with conviction and instilled confidence in generations with his endevours. He has been instrumental in nurturing generations with his contribution,” he said.Raj Thackeray lauded the launch of a weekly newspaper at a time when social media was on the rise and said despite the advent of WhatsApp and Facebook, there was “no enjoyment like reading a newspaper.”Union minister Athavale, in his inimitable style, begun his address with a poem and said that the politicians on stage were all together for the cause of Maharashtra, despite their political differences. “Our parties may be different, but our language is Marathi,” he said.Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar said ‘Zee Marathi Disha’ will lay down a new direction in journalism – ranging from sports to education. He expressed hope that the publication would add to the intellectual richness of Maharashtrians.
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Have directed Internet firms to shut down Blue Whale game: Centre to HC

The Delhi High Court was on Monday informed by the Centre that it has directed internet majors, including Google, Facebook and Yahoo, to shut down in India the ‘Blue Whale’ challenge game which is linked to the deaths of several children worldwide.The central government counsel told a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar that it has also issued an advisory in this regard.The submission was made during the hearing of a petition seeking immediate directions to restrain internet firms from uploading any material pertaining to the challenge game, citing cases of suicide by children in India and abroad.The court dismissed as withdrawn the petition after petitioner advocate Gurmeet Singh said his grievances have been addressed.The bench was apprised of the Supreme Court’s order directing the Chief Secretaries of all states to issue directions to make school children aware of the dangers posed by virtual dare games like Blue Whale Challenge, saying they must be made aware of the “beauty of life”.The apex court had asked the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development to issue a circular to make school-going children aware of the perils of such dangerous games.The Centre’s counsel informed the high court that it has issued directions to internet majors – Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo to ensure that all links of ‘Blue Whale’ and of similar games are immediately removed from their platforms.The sudden popularity of the lethal online game, in which the final task requires the player to commit suicide, had forced the government to issue directions to the internet firms to remove its links.Yahoo India had said, in its response, that its internal policies and terms of services, already explicitly direct the users and prohibit uploading of any content that is unlawful, harmful, especially any act that could harm a minor.Google India, which is a party in the case, had earlier told the bench that it was not a necessary party and Google Inc should be impleaded.Facebook India had also raised a similar plea in its application seeking its deletion from the array of parties, saying that services for users outside USA and Canada was provided by Facebook Ireland.The Blue Whale Challenge is reportedly a suicide game in which the player is given certain tasks to complete over a period of 50 days and the final task leads him or her to commit suicide. The player is also asked to share photos after finishing each challenge.More than six children across India in the age group of 12-19 years have taken their lives allegedly while playing this game within a span of two weeks, reports have said.Deaths of teenagers have also been reported from other countries including Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Argentina, Bulgaria, Chile and Italy, the PIL had said.
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Azam Khan redux: UP Police launches search operation to recover BJP MLA’s missing buffaloes

It seems some things don’t change in Uttar Pradesh irrespective of which party is in power. In an incident similar to past when UP Police searched desperately for SP leader Azam Khan’s lost buffaloes, now police in Sitapur district have launched a search operation to trace buffaloes of a BJP MLA. The police is looking for a pair of buffaloes missing from the farmhouse of of a BJP MLA Suresh Rahi, son of former Congress Union Minister Ram Lal Rahi.A complaint was lodged by the caretaker of BJP MLA’s farmhouse that a buffalo and her calf was stolen by someone on Saturday night. The farm-house is situated about 90 kms from Lucknow near Sitapur district jail. Suresh Rahi is BJP MLA from Hargaon Assembly constituency in the district and his father Ram Lal Rahi was a former Congress Union minister in the PVNarsimha Rao government.Since the complaint was from the BJP MLA’s caretaker, the police swung into action promptly and lodged an FIR against unidentified miscreants at Sitapur Police Kotwali. Two teams were formed and several places in adjoining areas were raided in search of the BJP MLA’s buffaloes.Also readUP: After Azam Khan’s buffaloes, police called in to locate Ram Shanker Katheria’s missing dog“Like in other such cases, we have registered a theft case and formed teams to recover the cattle,” said Yogendra Singh, the Circe Officer (CO). The Sitapur Police is under tremendous pressure from the BJP MLA Suresh Rahi to recover his buffaloes at the earliest.Earlier, in a similar case, Rampur Police had launched a massive search operation when senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s buffaloes went missing. Under tremendous pressure from Azam Khan, the police search operation went till stolen cattle were recovered and handed it back to the former minister. The issue had made national headlines and then Akhilesh government had drawn flak for allowing police to search of Azam’s buffaloes instead of nabbing criminals to check ever-rising crime incidents in the state. To ridicule the police action, a Congress leader from Rampur had written a letter to then Governor requesting him to direct the police to locate his stolen rooster. Also readMan claims he stole Azam Khan’s buffaloes, police claim they caught culprits months agoSince then there have been several instances where police have launched investigation to locate missing animals belonging to influential people. A senior police officer in Kanpur district had pressed the entire police station to look-out for his missing German Shepherd.
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RBI fixed reference rate for US$ at Rs 64.43 and Euro at Rs 76.48

On the global front, the US dollar dropped sharply to reports that Michael Flynn, Donald Trump s former national security adviser who was charged earlier on Friday with lying to the FBI, was prepared to testify that the president directed him to make contact with Russian officials.The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against six major currencies, was a tad higher at 92.81 against 92.79 previously.Elsewhere, the common currency Euro staged a good run against the US dollar on the back of stronger-than-expected Eurozone data and the improvement in risk appetite.British Pound, however, slipped from a two-month high against the dollar, getting only a temporary boost from better-than-expected UK manufacturing data, as investors fretted about Britain reaching a deal with the European Union over the Irish border.In cross-currency trade, the rupee remained sluggish against the British pound and settled at 86.65 per pound from 86.13.The local currency, however, recovered against the Euro to finish at 76.33 as compared to 76.73 and also rebounded against the Japanese Yen to close at 57.39 per 100 yens from 58.03 last weekend.In the forward market, a premium for dollar showed a mixed trend owing to lack of market-moving factors.The benchmark six-month forward dollar premium payable for April moved down to 114-116 paise from 117-119 paise, while the far-forward contract maturing in October 2018 held steady at 256-258 paise last Friday.
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Manmohan Singh criticising demonetization to show allegiance to the family: Dharmendra Pradhan

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said that former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s rebuke of demonetisation has risen out of the latter’s compulsion to show allegiance to the Gandhi family.’This is Manmohan Singh’s helplessness. Just to show allegiance to that family, he has to say wrong things. GDP figures have just come out and all his questions have been answered,’ Pradhan told ANI today.Earlier in the day, the former prime minister termed November 8 ‘the day when ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1000 was implemented- as a ‘black day’ for the economy and democracy of the country.’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 the 8th of November was a black day for our economy and democracy,’ Singh said at a press conference in Surat.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government demonetised notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 on November 8, in a bid to curb the hoarding of black money in the country.Also read’Don’t want pity’: Manmohan Singh refuses to ‘compete’ with PM Modi over humble backgroundThe masses however were hard hit by the move, which suffered severe cash crunch and had to stand in long queues outside banks and ATMs, to withdraw money.The impact of demonetisation on curbing corruption remains a bone of contention.
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Andhra Pradesh: State assembly unanimously passes bill recommending 5% reservation for Kapu community

The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly on Saturday unanimously passed a Bill to provide 5% reservation in education and employment sectors for the Kapu community in the state.The state assembly had introduced the bill on Saturday morning.The state cabinet had given a nod in this regard yesterday based on the report submitted by the Manjunath Commission.The bill facilitates providing them 5% reservation in BC F Category.The state cabinet has decided to include the Balija, Ontari and Telaga communities in the Backward Castes (BCs) and provide them 5% reservation in education, employment and welfare schemes.However, political reservation will not be provided to the mentioned communities.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Congress deceiving people over issue of reservation, says CM RupaniThree of the four members BC commission headed by Justice KL Manjunatha gave their report to the chief minister yesterday.While M Purnachandra Rao, S Satyanarayana and V Subrahmanyam gave their reports in favour of the Kapus, Manjunath did not give his report. They were said to be unanimously favoured giving 4-5 per cent reservation to the Kapus.Also readShort-term political solutions to job reservation can damage fabric of the country: Raghuram RajanThe Bill will now be sent to the governor, after which it will be sent to the Union Home Ministry.Andhra Pradesh has 29% reservation for Backward Castes (BCs), 15 percent for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and 6 per cent for the Scheduled Tribes (STs).
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Hotel scam: Lalu Prasad’s wife and ex-Bihar CM Rabri Devi likely to appear before Enforcement Directorate today

Former Bihar Chief Minister and wife of RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav Rabri Devi has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to appear before the sleuths at their Patna office on Saturday for questioning in the alleged land for railways hotel scam case.Rabri, who has skipped multiple summons to appear before the ED officials in New Delhi, had challenged the investigating agencies to come to Patna, if they wanted to question her. She had said she would not appear before them in Delhi, however many notices they sent, and they would have to come to Patna for interrogating her.She had alleged that the Centre was using the government machinery to “implicate her family.”The ED had sent the last summon to Rabri on November 24. Sources said Rabri will be quizzed by a two member team from Delhi, assisted by local ED officials. This will be Rabri’s first interrogation by the ED and the officials are likely to record her statement. She was recently quizzed by the Income-Tax officials over other Benami property allegations.Rabri is a co-accused in the scam, which pertains to allocation of maintenance of railways hotel in Ranchi and Puri in exchange of gratification during Lalu’s tenure as the Union railways minister in 2004. Lalu, his son and former Bihar deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, former Union minister Premchand Gupta and his wife Sarla Gupta, are also accused in the case. The ED had registered a case against them under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in July this year.The ED has already questioned Tejashwi in this case.
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Doctors day out: Rajasthan medics protest, treat patients in tents

Even with most doctors feeling the heat over the High court order and recent transfers, some “rebels” left their offices to set up tents outside to treat the needy.In a prolonged confrontation with the health department, the in-service government doctors were out to muster public support ahead of a warning to the government. The doctors at many districts avoided going to hospitals and carried out their duties underneath trees, camps and even benches under the open sun. This was a common sight at many public health centers, community health centers and district hospitals.”We have issued the government a notice of 72 hours to act upon the consensus reached after the recent stir, the government’s adamant attitude is forcing us towards another movement,” said Dr Nasreen Bharti, patron of an in-service doctors association in Rajasthan.The doctors though have decided to keep health services uninterrupted, however, put the onus on state government for keeping up the truce. “We are committed to treat the patients, however, if forced to further intensify the agitation, it will be due to inconsideration of the state government,” said Dr Durga Shankar Saini, general secretary of All Rajasthan In Service Doctors Union.Health minister Kalicharan Saraf, meanwhile, claimed that efforts were in process for implementation of the doctors’ demand agreed upon at the consensus with state government. Jaipur, did not see much of a stir.Around 10,000 doctors employed at state health department went on mass leave in the first week of November. The stir severely impacted public health services across the state and ended after seven days following a consensus between the doctors and health minister Kalicharan Saraf. However, as many of the doctors to have led the agitation got transferred, the doctors are back on agitation path.
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I did not intend to blame or shame the victim: Kirron Kher

BJP MP and Bollywood actress Kirron Kher’s unsolicited advice to a 21-year old gangrape victim has stirred a controversy. Kher, who represents Chandigarh in the Lok Sabha, on Wednesday had said that the victim should have been more cautious, applied common sense and not boarded the auto-rickshaw in which three men were already sitting. On Thursday she sought to clarify her statement, saying it was “only in the context of certain precautions” that women should take and that it was “not intended to blame the victim or shaming her”.”I want to tell this girl and all other girls that if you see three men sitting in an auto, you should not board it. I am saying this to protect the girls. We all have to be alert about such things. I am saddened by what has happened with the woman,” she had said.On Thursday she, however, cried foul blaming Congress for politicising her statement. “It is very unfortunate that in our country, every statement is politicised. I am a woman and a mother, and I have always spoken up for women’s rights whether inside Parliament or outside. I think giving a political colour to this is very unfortunate. I am only looking after the security of girls in the city,” she said.”I just said that the world is a bad place. We all, especially women, have to take precautions,” Kher said. “If the Congress wants to make an issue out of it, I cannot help,” she said.Congress leader Pawan Kumar Bansal had criticised Kher, saying: “I am amazed how she gave such a statement…it seems like a light take on a serious matter. Instead, she should say how she is going to make Chandigarh a safer place for women.”She also said that Chandigarh Police would provide transportation facility if women were unable to find a public transport. “You can dial 100. The police will then send a PCR to pick you up and drop you to your residence. So I think you should avail this facility. We also have smartphones with which we can click a picture of the number plate of the auto or of the drivers. We have to learn how to look after ourselves,” she said.The victim was allegedly gang raped by three men on November 17 evening after she hired the shared auto-rickshaw to go back to her paying guest accommodation in Mohali town, adjoining Chandigarh. The police has got the CCTV footage of the auto-rickshaw and its driver from a gas station in Sector 42 where the vehicle had stopped to get a CNG refuel. The Union Territory police so far has arrested the three men after over a week after the incident. The accused arrested included auto-rickshaw driver Mohammed Irfan, Garib and Poppu. Onr of accused Irfan had tried to commit suicide in police custody by stabbing himself with a glass that he broke in the lockup.The victim, who hails from Dehradun in Uttarakhand, had boarded the shared auto-rickshaw after attending her stenography class in Sector 37 here. The victim told the police that the driver took the vehicle to the gas station for refuelling and then turned towards Sector 52. He stopped the auto near a wild growth along the road and said that it had broken down. When the woman got out of the vehicle to take another one, the three men pulled her into nearby bushes and took turns to rape her.
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Yashwant Sinha’s ‘celebration’ tweet on GDP numbers targets Modi govt

Former Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Thursday refused to second the Centre’s joy over the improved the GDP estimates in the second quarter.Data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) on Thursday showed India’s GDP growth recovering to 6.3 per cent in the second quarter from a three-year low of 5.7 percent in first quarter.Sinha, who in the past has also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) economic policies, took to Twitter to train his guns at the government.Also readIndian economy back on track, GDP expands 6.3% in July-Sep quarter: Who said what“Agri production has declined sharply, manufacturing has fallen, construction is down yet wait to see how we go gaga over this figure of growth,” Sinha tweeted.He further said India’s GDP needs to grow at 8 per cent to 10 per cent to create jobs for the youth.Also readAhead of Gujarat polls, GDP brings cheers for PM Narendra Modi, grows at 6.3% in Q2“India must grow at 8% to 10% to create the jobs we need for our youth. But let us celebrate 6.3% as a great achievement of our government. All our problems now stand resolved,” he said sarcastically in the second tweet.Sinha’s scathing attack on the government came after Union Finance Minster Arun Jaitley hoped that the GDP will further improve in the coming quarters.“Demonetisation and GST’s (Goods and Services Tax) impact is behind us. The economy now seems to have weathered the transitional challenges experienced earlier in the year and hopefully in coming quarters, we can look for an upwards trajectory,” Jaitley said.He further added that ‘encouragingly, the rate of growth of gross fixed capital formation has also increased from 1.6 per cent in the first quarter to 4.7 percent in the second quarter. Real private consumption growth has broadly held steady at 6.5 percent”.Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia also said the GDP number may go up when it is finally revised.Sinha’s sour relations with his party led Union Government are not new.On September 28, Sinha described the implementation of the GST from July 1 as the second major blow to the Indian economy after demonetisation.
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Indian economy back on track, GDP expands 6.3% in July-Sep quarter: Who said what

Bouncing back from a three-year low, Indian economy has reversed a five-quarter slide in GDP growth to expand by 6.3 % in July-September quarter. According to data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the GDP for Q2 stood at Rs 31.66 lakh crore, registering a growth of 6.3%, up from 5.7% reported during the first quarter of 2017-18. Chief Statistician T C A Anant hinted that the GDP numbers could be revised upwards as businesses uncertain of the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime may have accounted for lesser taxes. While the government was upbeat with the positive growth which came just ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls, Opposition leaders said this was too early to arrive at a conclusion and government should wait longer to beat its chest. Here is how people across the country have reacted to the GDP numbers: Also readImpact of demonetization and GST behind us: Arun Jaitley on Q2 GDP figuresArun Jaitley, Union Finance MinisterGovernment’s reforms to push economic growth are working can be seen from that manufacturing has shown robust growth of 7% in Q2 and services at 7.1%. Gross fixed capital formation has increased from 1.6% in Q1 to 4.7% in Q2.Also readAhead of Gujarat polls, GDP brings cheers for PM Narendra Modi, grows at 6.3% in Q2Amit Shah, BJP PresidentToday’s GDP numbers reiterate the #IndiaUnstoppable story under PM Narendra Modi. The strong rebound in growth is a reflection of solid economic management by the Modi Government. The reforms by Modi Govt is leading to faster growth as well as creating a strong and stable economy with increased formalisation and increased opportunities for the poor and middle class.Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for RailwaysTransformational reforms under PM Narendra Modi ji bearing fruit through faster growth and prosperity for all. Quarterly GDP growth accelerates to 6.3% vs 5.7% in the previous quarter.P Chidambaram, Congress leader and former Union MinisterHappy that the July-Sep quarter has registered a growth rate of 6.3%. This a PAUSE in the declining trend of the last five quarters. But we cannot say now whether this will mark an upward trend in the growth rate. We should wait for the growth rates over the next 3-4 quarters before we can reach a definite conclusion. 6.3% is far below the PROMISE of the Modi government and far below the POTENTIAL of a well-managed Indian economy.Randeep S Surjewala, Congress spokespersonImprovement of GDP numbers is an encouraging sign, but it is just a ‘Temporary Pause’ from the ‘Downward Trend’. India’s Economic Stress continues; #GDP far below at 6.3% compared to 7.5% of Q2 of last year! -A close scrutiny reveals the Real Picture. No amount of ‘Spinning’,‘Sugar Coating’ and ‘Bloating on figures; will alter the Ground Reality that has hit us hard! Agriculture Sector Growth is Abysmal & Core Sector Growth is Stagnant & Manufacturing Down – What is the Modi Government celebrating.Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal CMGDP figures out. Again no growth. No jobs.Effects of note ban scam & unplanned GST continue to damage economy. Only talking. No performance. Last year Q2 GDP growth was 7.5% and this year it is 6.3%. This Govt only bhashan, no action.Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CIIThe rebound in GDP growth to 6.3% is noteworthy and a great confidence booster. The revival of the #GDP growth print reinforces the perception that economy is on a robust recovery phase and the short-term disruptions caused by demonetisation and GST are behind us. CII believes that eco performance wd be better in the 2nd half as companies move to execute projects on the back of improved demand.
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Hizbul chief Salahuddin’s son injured in scuffle with security guards in Tihar jail

Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin’s son, who is lodged in Tihar jail in connection with terror-funding cases, was among the 18 prisoners injured in a scuffle with security guards, officials said today.All the 18 prisoners, including Syed Shahid Yusuf, were injured when the personnel of the Tamil Nadu special force intervened after one of their physically handicapped officers was assaulted by three inmates at Tihar central jail number 1 on the intervening night of November 21-22 during checking.These facts were conveyed by Tihar jail authorities to the Union Home Ministry in a report submitted yesterday, a ministry official said.Also readHizbul chief Syed Salahuddin’s son Shahid Yousuf suspended from J&K government jobThe injured prisoners are being examined by a three- member team of doctors from the AIIMS here.A fact-finding team, headed by a district judge rank officer, has been constituted to investigate the entire incident.Also readTerror funding case: Hizbul chief Syed Salahuddin’s son Shahid Yusuf arrested by NIAThe commandant of the Tamil Nadu special force battalion deployed in Tihar jail has also been asked to conduct a separate detailed probe into the incident and take appropriate action against anyone found negligent, the official said.Giving details of the incident, the official quoting the Tihar jail report said, three prisoners, including a Kashmiri, were found to be having unauthorised materials and when Tamil Nadu special force sub inspector Muthu Pandee tried to remove them, the inmates resisted and assaulted him.Also readMehbooba Mufti writes to Home Secy after attack on Hizbul chief’s son in TiharAs the officer, who is physically handicapped, was alleged beaten up by the three inmates, other policemen intervened in which the 18 prisoners, including Yusuf were injured.After the incident, the team of Tamil Nadu special force was removed from the active jail duties.The jail authorities have deposited the relevant evidence, including CCTV footage, to the probe teams, the official said.All employees of the Tihar have been sensitised and asked to ensure that inherent dignity of the prisoners, while carrying out searches, are protected, the official said.On Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had telephoned Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba to enquire about the Tihar incident.Mehbooba spoke to Gauba about social media reports on the alleged assault of Kashmiri prisoners in Tihar jail and urged him to ensure their safety.”A prison is considered to be the safest place but the alleged incidents that have come to light put a question mark on it,” she said in a statement.
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Arunachal teachers force 88 girl students to undress as punishment for writing ‘vulgar words’ against head teacher

Students of a girls’ school in Arunachal Pradesh were allegedly forced to undress by three teachers as a punishment for writing vulgar words against the head teacher.Eighty-eight students of class VI and VII of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Tani Happa (New Sagalee) in Papum Pare district were subjected to the humiliating treatment on November 23, police said.The matter, however, came to light on November 27 after the victims approached the All Sagalee Students Union (ASSU), who then filed an FIR with the local police.According to the complaint, two assistant teachers and a junior teacher forced 88 students to undress before other students following the recovery of a piece of paper containing vulgar words about the head teacher and a girl student.Papum Pare Superintendent of Police Tumme Amo today confirmed the filing of the FIR by ASSU. He said the case has been forwarded to the women police station here.”The officer in-charge of the (women) police station said the victims and their parents along with the teachers will be interrogated before registering a case,” Amo said.A team of All Papum Pare District Students Union (APPDSU) had met the students and teachers yesterday, and found that an unidentified student had used vulgar words in a piece of paper mentioning the name of the head teacher and a girl student, a release by APPDSU said.The teachers demanded an explanation from all the 88 students of classes VI and VII, who were later made to undress before the other students as punishment, it said.”The school authorities did not speak to the parents of the students before punishing them,” APPDSU president Nabam Tado said.The Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) has condemned the incident and said such “heinous act” by the teachers might affect the students.”Tempering with a child’s dignity is against the law as well as the constitution,” it said in a statement.”To discipline a student is an attitude, character, responsibility and commitment of a teacher. Undressing a student is definitely not a corrective measure…Imposing such punishment is total violation of child rights, and more likely it may accelerate the risk of child abuse,” the party added.
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Congress’ student wing to demand reduction in GST for educational institutes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nationalist Student Congress (NSC), student wing of the NCP, will soon submit a memorandum to the Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley to reduce the GST on higher educations and its auxiliary services.Many higher educational institutions boast sprawling campuses, some of which host residential students as well. These institutions are likely to incur additional heavy expenditures on some of the services, like security, housekeeping, or catering, as these services will be charged 18% GST. In such a scenario, in all probability, these institutions will pass this tax burden on to the students, thus making higher education more expensive.The NSC students’ wing will be launching an agitation to demand a reduction in the steep GST on students’ hostel facilities including services, like security, housekeeping, or catering, which has made higher education more expensive.“The students are required to pay more for laundry, food in the hostel mess, medicines, stationery, and other services and products that they buy on the campus. ”All such services attract a levy of 18 per cent,” said Amol Matele, President of the Nationalist Student Congress (NSC), student wing of the NCP. “The NSC will soon submit a memorandum to the Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley and if the centre fails to reduce the GST, we will be left with no alternative but to launch a state wide agitation” he further added.

Watch: PM Modi inaugurates Hyderabad Metro, takes first ride

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated the Hyderabad Metro Rail and took a ride along with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao in its maiden run.The first phase of the metro rail project covers a 30-km stretch between Miyapur and Nagole, having 24 stations.The train was driven by a woman driver covering four stations. The trains would run from 6 am to 10 pm initially.Prime Minister Modi was accompanied by Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana ESL Narasimhan, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, Telangana’s IT Minister KT Rama Rao and state BJP chief K Laxman. ALSO READ Delhi metro fares among the lowest in the world: Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri ALSO READ 3 lakh passengers ditched Metro after fare hike: RTIBefore the inauguration, Modi said: “We believe in cooperative federalism. There is no question of discriminating against states where we are not in power. We are committed to the overall development of our country.”

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