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DNA Morning Must Reads: Rift in SP, fire in Pune bakery, Serena’s engagement & more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rift widens in Samajwadi Party, Akhilesh releases list of candidatesThe crisis within the Samajwadi Party (SP) deepened on Thursday, with UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav announcing his own list of 325 candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls. Read detailsJharkhand: Coal mine collapses in Lalmatia, at least 50 people trappedAt least 50 people are feared trapped after a coal mine collapsed in Jharkhand’s Lalmatia in Godda district on Thursday night. According to initial information, some machineries of a private company along with around 50 workers are suspected to be trapped inside the debris. Read moreMaharashtra: 6 killed in fire at bakery in PuneSix people were killed after a fire broke out at ‘Bakes and Cakes’ bakery in Maharashtra’s Pune early morning on Friday. Read more Crisis in Arunachal, party suspends CM; Ram Madhav says BJP will stand by Pema KhanduThe newly formed People’s Party of Arunachal Pradesh (PPA) is in crisis. The newly formed outfit has suspended its own chief minister Pema Khandu, son of former chief minister Dorji Khandu, who died in a helicopter crash four years back. Read moreSerena Williams is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian!World number two tennis player Serena Williams has become engaged to Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of the social media company Reddit. Read details

Demonetisation ordinance: Beyond technicality, it means little for public and govt

The Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation ordinance, passed by Cabinet on Wednesday, is only a technical requirement to extinguish the RBI’s liability on banned Rs 500, Rs 1,000 currency notes, and will not mean much both for the government and the common man.

Reason: The relevance of the ordinance is almost nil otherwise since 90 percent of the demonetised money has already come back to the system. Hence, it is unlikely that the ordinance will scare the crooks and force them dump their illegal cash in PMGKY or banks. For citizens with legitimate funds, there is little to worry. They still have time till 31 March to deposit their money in RBI counters. Only tax cheats, who are in no position to take their ill-gotten wealth to day light need to fear.

Going by the reports, the ordinance will effectively penalise any one holding demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes after 31 March, when the deadline to deposit these notes at the RBI window ends. According to the ordinance, named the Specified Bank Notes Cessation of Liabilities Ordinance, holding these notes after 31 March deadline would be a criminal offence that can attract a penalty, including a jail term, for possession of the scrapped 500 and 1,000 rupee notes beyond a cut-off date.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The cabinet also approved the decision to extinguish the liability of the government and the central bank on the demonetised high-denomination notes to prevent future litigations.

As mentioned above, this ordinance is only a technicality and wouldn’t serve much purpose for the government since out of the Rs 15.4 lakh crore currency demonetised on 8 November, already Rs 14 lakh crore have already come back, according to reports. For the common man too, there is no reason to worry on depositing his money. That means nearly, all the money government invalidated on 8 November has found their way back to the banking system.

Also, people can deposit whatever money remaining with them in banned currencies in bank branches till 30 December. Even after that, there is a window at designated RBI branches until 31 March. Only those with unaccounted cash with them needs to worry since depositing money at RBI counters will attract tighter scrutiny.

The only purpose of this ordinance is to legally terminate RBI’s liability on the banned currencies to prevent future litigations. Similar ordinance was promulgated in 1978 too to extinguish government’s liability after Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 notes were demonetised by the Janata Party government under Morarji Desai. Unless the liability is legally ended, the RBI cannot refuse someone carrying an old Rs 500, Rs 1000 note and claiming its value in a court of law, since it will continue to remain as a legal tender. This is the reason why the ordinance was necessitated.

For the tax cheats, the final deadline of 31 March is crucial. If they fail to deposit the money either at bank branches or RBI, or deposit in the black money declaration scheme, PMGKY by 31 March, they will have to face prosecution.

But only fools will keep the old currency with them beyond March, when these notes will cease to be legal tender. Smart tax cheats with unaccounted cash would have pushed their money into different bank accounts using benamis since 10 November instead of waiting to walk into RBI counters to face scrutiny and where chances of getting caught are high. The RBI window is originally meant for high value depositors, like institutions, who couldn’t deposit their old notes by 30 December.

The short point here is the demonetisation ordinance means little, beyond technicality, both for common man and the Modi government.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 16:00 IST

IIMC faculty sacked for allegedly backing Dalit labourers, objecting to appointment of course director

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An academic associate at Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) was terminated by the institute allegedly for raising voice against the sacking of 25 Dalit labourers working at the campus and against the recent appointment of a course director. The institute has also debarred him from entering the campus premises, saying it would “vitiate” the peaceful atmosphere.According to Narendra Singh Rao, who was working as a contractual employee at the institute from 2012, he had been abruptly thrown out of the institute while he was on medical leaves. “I have been victimised for raising voice against the sacking of 25 Dalit employees working at the campus. Also, I objected the illegal appointment of a course director as she was neither qualified nor experienced for that post,” Rao told DNA.The institute, however, denied the allegations saying Rao’s termination was completely based on clause 1 of the service contract, which says that “services of the employee can be terminated at anytime without assigning any reason”.“Shri Rao while accepting appointment had duly put his endorsement on the terms and conditions of his appointment,” the institute said in a statement.A letter issued to Rao by the institute on December 21, said that his services were terminated with “immediate effect” under clause 1 of the contract signed by him on September 23, 2013. It, however, stated that he would be paid salary of one month in lieu of the notice period.According to sources at IIMC, the administration had received complaints against Rao, accusing him of propagating indiscipline at the campus. “As many as ten written complaints were received against Rao for misbehaving with his colleagues and trying to disturb the peaceful environment at the campus,” they said.This is the second incident of its kind in a year, where a faculty member has accused IIMC of curbing voices of dissent on campus. Earlier this year, an associate professor at IIMC, Amit Sengupta, had also resigned from the institute after he was transferred to Odisha, for allegedly supporting students of JNU, FTII and speaking about the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula at HCU.“IIMC has turned into a playground for right-wing forces where any voice other than that is being silenced,” Sengupta said. According to him, Rao has also become a victim for raising voice against the right-wing forces prevailing on campus. “Because of his academic qualification and his immense popularity among students, he had become a thorn in the flesh of an institute which is driven by the utter mediocrity,” he said.Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) is one of India’s premier institute for journalism. Besides Delhi, it has five other branches in Odisha, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala.

Kanpur Train Accident: Two killed, 26 injured in Sealdah-Ajmer Express derailment

Two passengers were killed and 26 injured when fifteen coaches of the Ajmer-Sealdah Express, train no 12987, derailed near Rura, around 70 kilometres from Kanpur, on Wednesday, PTI said.

Though initial reports claimed casualties, Kanpur IG Zaki Ahmed told PTI that two passengers have been killed in the accident which took place at around 5.20 am. According to reports, rail traffic between Etawah and Kanpur is affected.

The Kanpur train accident took place when the train was crossing a bridge overhead a dry canal in the area, Northern Central Railways PRO Amit Malviya said.

Speaking to ANI, Anil Saxena, ADG, PR Railway said, “No casualties have been reported so far. Ambulances are already on the spot and rescue work is in progress. A medical train from Kanpur has also arrived on the spot. All trains between Etawah and Kanpur are affected, and we are trying to divert them to an alternate route.” Saxena also told ANI that:

Ahmed told PTI that 13 sleeper coaches and two general coaches of the train derailed in the accident. The injured have been rushed to a nearby hospital. Rescue and relief operations have been started at the accident spot with the district health department dispatching 14 ambulances and relief teams from Kanpur and Tundla, he said.

Buses have also been plied to drop the stranded passengers from the spot to Kanpur railway station.

The Delhi-Howrah route via Kanpur has been temporarily closed and the Shatabdi express from Delhi to Kanpur has been cancelled, Malviya said.

As per local sources, a few of the bogies of the train also fell into a canal, travellers stuck in it were yet to be rescued soon till 8 am, Times Now said.

Meanwhile, railway minister Suresh Prabhu said has announced an ex-gratia to the injured, on Twitter. He said, “I have directed CRB, all senior officials to personally ensure best possible help,” he tweeted, adding that a thorough investigation will be carried out to ascertain the cause. He also tweeted:

According to local police, the railway authorities have not arrived on the spot. The reason for the accident is not known as yet.

The Indian railways has also announced that four trains — 12826/Jharkhand Sampark Kranti Express, 12382/Poorva Express, 12312/Kalka Mail, 12488/Seemanchal Express — have been diverted.

The Railways have issued the helpline numbers for Kanpur — 0512-2323015, 2323016, 2323018 and for Allahabad — 0532-2408149, 2408128.

More details awaited.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 09:38 IST

Party poppers: No DJ, early deadline for Kochi hotels on New year’s eve

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There will be no DJ parties in the city to usher in the new year with the police announcing stringent rules on Tuesday for hotels for organising special events on the night of December 31. Parties that can be enjoyed by people of all age groups, from children to elderly, will be permitted in hotels in Kochi on the new year’s eve, police said.After holding a meeting with representatives of hotels here, police said new year parties should be concluded by 12.30 AM in order to facilitate the safe journey of party-goers back home by 1 AM. According to a tough compliance list for party hosts, there will be police presence at the parties and events will be monitored through CCTV cameras.Abkari rules should be followed for serving liquor in the parties, police said. Tough measures have been taken to curb drug consumption and music accompanied by obscenity during the New Year parties, they added.

Victims can’t state facts like parrot, minor contradictions bound to happen: Court says in molestation case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Victims cannot be expected to state facts in a “parrot-like manner” and minor contradictions are bound to happen after a lapse of time, a Delhi court has said while sending four men to jail in a molestation and assault case after relying on the complainant’s statement.Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain sent the four men, all Delhi residents, to one year rigorous imprisonment for molesting, threatening and voluntarily causing hurt to the victim, a married woman, after forcefully entering her house when she was alone. “Facts and circumstances clearly show that all accused persons assaulted and used criminal force on her to outrage her modesty. “They gagged her mouth and tore her clothes,” the judge said while holding the accused guilty.Rejecting the argument about there being discrepancies in the woman’s testimony, the judge said, “Victim of such an incident cannot be expected to possess photographic memory and to state the facts in a parrot-like manner. “Minor contradictions are bound to happen if the witness is examined after a lapse of time. No credence can be given to these minor contradictions if they do not go to the root of the matter and create suspicion as to the veracity of the incident.”The court said there is enough direct and circumstantial evidence against the men to prove their complicity in the commission of the offence, adding that the complainant remained “consistent and cogent” and her testimony was of “sterling quality”. “Besides the jail term, the court also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on each of the four convicts with a direction that out of the total amount, Rs 30,000 be given to the victim.” According to the prosecution, on the intervening night of September 14-15, 2014, the men — Tukun Das, Pawan Kumar, Vinod Kumar and Dev Kant Giri, who were the neighbours of the woman, entered her house when she was alone and abused her physically and verbally.It said there had been a quarrel between the woman and Vinod before this incident which resulted into registration of a complaint against him by the woman. After this, in order to “teach her a lesson”, Vinod along with three others, entered her house and used criminal force on her to outrage her modesty, it said.

Aligarh: BJP mayor Shakuntala Bharti refers to former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee as ‘deceased’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP’s controversial Aligarh mayor Shakuntala Bharti found herself in a pickle on Saturday during an address to Dharam Jyoti Mahavidyalya School students at Iglas on Saturday. According to a Times of India report, in an event held to celebrate the 155th birth anniversary of Madan Mohan Malviya and Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 92nd birthday, the mayor referred to Vajpayee as “deceased” in her speech.”Bharat ke purv pradhan mantri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji hamare beech me nahin rahe, lekin unki yadein hai (Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji is no longer with us, but his memories remain),” she said. Her statement not only took everyone by shock, but also did not go well with other leaders of BJP and other parties present.However, Bharti tried to brush off criticism of the statement by saying that she was talking about Malviya and not Vajpayee. But, a video of the event was shown to her, she apologised for her mistake and said that she was feeling “miserable” about it. She also wished Vajpayee a healthy and a long life.Vajpayee, the only non-Congress leader who served the nation as the prime minister and completed his full term, was born on December 25, 1924. He was among the founder members of the BJP. After former prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Vajpayee is the only prime minister to get three successive mandates. He was felicitated with country’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna, on March 27, 2015. His birthday is also celebrated as Good Governance Day.Earlier this year, Bharti had opposed Manoj Bajpayee starrer ‘Aligarh’ which she claimed defamed the city. (With ANI inputs)

A Hindu view of menstruation: Using ayurveda to ease the pain

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Many women today perceive menstruation as unavoidable pain, a distraction or an obstacle in their otherwise busy and ambitious life. The advent of sanitary napkins and period postponing pills have been touted as ultimate solutions that provide much needed relief from distraction. Apart from the obvious fact that there is a multi-million dollar sanitary products manufacturing industry behind the portrayal of menstruation as an irritant, such a portrayal is also due to the fact that menstruation is often accompanied by weakness, achy legs, headache, mood swings, and many other bodily conditions that cause extreme inconvenience in a large section of women.Many women also suffer from conditions like excessive bleeding, irregular periods, scanty bleeding, etc., which has further reinforced the labelling. This labelling has become so widespread that people, especially women have come to accept painful menstruation as a normal condition. A few months ago, while I was researching a series of articles on the Hindu view of menstruation, I started reading about ayurveda and how it perceives menstruation. To my surprise, I found that what is considered ‘normal menstruation’ by most women, ie pain with many side effects, is actually termed “abnormal menstruation” in ayurveda. Ayurvedic texts define normal menstruation as one which is not associated with pain or burning sensation, blood is not unctuous, not very scanty or excessive in amount, and the color of the blood resembles the red juice of lac or rabbit’s blood. It explains how a balance of Tri-Doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) inside the body results in normal menstruation and an imbalance in them results in abnormal menstruation. Sinu Joseph, a social activist working on issues pertaining to women and children, especially in areas related to menstruation, explains the connection of Tri-Doshas and menstruation, thus: “According to ayurveda, each individual has a specific body constitution or prakriti, based on which our health, personality and menstrual experiences vary. This is called the tri-dosha system, wherein the three doshas of vata, pitta and kapha in different combinations occur in individuals. Being disease free means having an equilibrium of these. Disease and imbalance can cause doshas to increase or decrease temporarily. Therefore, treatment in ayurveda is centered around bringing back the balance.”Thus, ayurvedic texts like Sushruta Samhita state that “disturbed menstruation” is caused by disturbed Vayu (ie vata), pitta, kapha, and blood, either severally or in combination of two or more doshas, and will in turn hamper the ability of a woman to conceive. A Vatika menstrual flow, for example, will be accompanied by pain. Aggravated aata also causes mood swings, restlessness, constipation, intolerance to cold, etc. A paittika flow will result in heavy bleeding. Aggravated pitta causes swollen breasts, acne, intolerance to heat, excessive temper, loose bowel movements, etc. A khaphaja menstrual flow will cause heavier flow with clots in the menstrual blood.Aggravated kapha exposes one to respiratory problems, makes one dull, sleepy and obese. To counter this, Ayurvedic texts prescribe menstruating women to adopt of a specific lifestyle called rajaswala paricharya during the 3-4 days of menstruation. Charaka Samhita asks menstruating women to avoid sexual intercourse, sleep on the floor, to take food with hands from unbroken utensils and to not to have bath. To this, Sushruta Samhita adds living on a Havishya diet, i.e. a very light diet containing ghee, shali rice, and milk or similar items. A full list of Do’s and Don’ts during menstruation include among other things, following items: not sleeping during day time, consuming less food, not combing, running or performing actions that cause physical exertion, not applying collyrium to the eyes, and not anointing the body in any way. This strict regimen proposed by ayurvedic texts aim to prevent aggravation of the Tri-Doshas. It is interesting to note that ayurvedic texts prescribe similar lifestyle regimens for pregnant women as well as women in post-natal care. Is there any confirmation of its efficacy in modern science? I came across at least one scientific study, which corroborated its efficacy. Though a single study is not enough to establish anything, the larger question is should we discard indigenous scientific knowledge that have stood the test of time? Ayurveda offers a healthy alternative to pill-popping solutions by vested interests. If the alternative be given space, women can make informed choices.

Our tailor and the ‘ticking time bomb’

The challenge posed to India by Type 2 diabetes is set to increase further, according to experts

Union minister Manoj Sinha undergoes surgery for fracture at AIIMS

Sun, 25 Dec 2016-12:15am , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union minister Manoj Sinha on Saturday underwent a surgery at AIIMS Trauma Centre for a fracture he suffered in the upper left arm in a road mishap in Gorakhpur.”The minister was operated on a fractured left upper arm. His condition is stable and is being monitored closely by a team of experts from critical care, anesthesia and orthopedics,” said a senior doctor at AIIMS Trauma Centre. The 57-year-old was involved in an accident that took place around 7.15 PM yesterday on the Tapti river bridge when he was coming to Gorakhpur from Barabanki.Sinha, who represents Gorakhpur in Lok Sabha, was initially admitted to Apollo Hospital and later shifted to the Lalit Narayan Mishra Railway Hospital. According to sources, the accident took place when the vehicle ahead of the minister’s car in the cavalcade suddenly applied brakes to avoid hitting a man. The car carrying Sinha hit the vehicle from behind and in the impact, the minister sustained the injury.

MoS Railway Manoj Sinha injured in a car accident

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Minister of State for Railways and Mos (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Commications Manoj Sinha was reportedly injured in a car accident. According to reports he was taken to Apollo Hospital. It’s believed the accident occurred when he was returning from Gorakhpur. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted: “Shocked to learn about accident to my colleague and friend @manojsinhabjp Wishing him speedy recovery.”More details awaited…

Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung meets Narendra Modi; govt puts resignation in abeyance: Reports

Najeeb Jung, who resigned as Delhi’s lieutenant-governor on Thursday, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday. However, various TV reports suggest that the government has kept his resignation in abeyance.

Speaking to NDTV, Najeeb Jung claimed that he wanted to quit in 2014, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged him to carry on. He added that he requested the prime minister to relieve him after three years as Delhi L-G.

The meeting comes hours after Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and met Jung after the latter’s resignation. The ex-Jamia Milia Islamia vice-chancellor put in his papers about 18 months ahead of his scheduled end of term. The move surprised many, triggering off a war of words between the ruling AAP, BJP and the Congress.

Meanwhile, media reports say that the Centre is already searching for Jung’s replacement. According to The Tribune, two former home secretaries, Anil Baijal and GK Pillai, are the frontrunners to replace the ex-IAS officer.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 13:28 IST

Rajasthan ATS officer shoots himself, woman’s body found next to him

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 42-year-old cop who was recently posted in the Anti-Terror Squad has been found dead in Rajasthan in the front seat of his official car on Thursday night, reports NDTV.Superintendent of Police Ashish Prabhakar allegedly shot himself with is revolver in his car. A body of a woman in her early thirties was also found next to him. The car was parked on a road outside Jaipur. A note allegedly written by Prabhakar asking forgiveness from his wife was found by the police. According to the police, the apparent reasons for his suicide seem to be family issues.Prabhakar was posted a month ago in the ATS and was given administrative work.

ED raids Axis Bank’s Ahmedabad branch, detects Rs 89 cr worth illegal transactions

There seems to be no end in sight to the woes of private sector Axis Bank. According to a report in India Today, the bank’s Ahmedabad branch has now been raided and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has put transactions worth Rs 89 crore under scanner.

The raid was conducted at Mayamnagar branch of the bank and the ED scrutinised 19 accounts, the report said.

Axis Bank logo. ReutersAxis Bank logo. Reuters

Axis Bank logo. Reuters

According to I-T officials quoted in the report, these accounts, which allegedly have lax KYC compliance, saw Rs 89 crore worth of investment after the demonetisation announcement, and the amount was later transferred to beneficiary accounts. Four bank officials are also under the scanner, said the report.

The bank had been in the news in the last few days after authorities found certain branches had opened fake accounts to help tax cheats to launder their ill-gotten wealth.

The ED has already registered a money laundering case in the alleged forging of a customer’s identity to conduct huge illegal transactions in the branch of Noida for conversion of black money into white post demonetisation.

The individual, identified as N Paswan, in his complaint filed with the police has claimed that his identity has been forged and a current and a savings account was opened in his name in the said branch which was allegedly used to launder crores of rupees post demonetisation.

The bank branch, in sector 51 of Noida, is also under scanner of the income tax department owing to alleged dubious transactions using shell companies.

In the Noida case, the ED probe involves a laundering of Rs 60 crore. The officials of the agency had told PTI that they are probing more than two dozen accounts in the bank there which could have been used to perpetrate the crime of money laundering.

The bank, according to a PTI report, had suspended 24 employees and 50 accounts after the I-T raids unearthed such illegal activities.

“We are embarrassed that this has happened, but these are isolated incidents given that we have more than 3,000 branches and 50,000 employees.We have had many of our customers writing to us that the bank has done a great job and, therefore, it is disappointing that a handful of people have let us down,” MD and CEO Shikha Sharma had told The Economic Times in an earlier interview.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 14:02 IST

State, Railways yet to form joint venture firm for rail projects

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>State, Railways yet to form joint venture firm for rail projectsOver a year after railway minister Suresh Prabhu and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis met in New Delhi to discuss rail infrastructure and the modalities of forming a joint venture (JV) firm or special purpose vehicle (SPV) to fast-track Maharashtra’s rail projects, a Right to Information plea by DNA has shown that no such JV or SPV has as yet been formed.In its RTI reply signed by VS Dahiya, joint director (Works), Railway Board, the railway ministry stated, “The ministry of railways and the Government of Maharashtra are in process to form a joint venture company for the development of rail infrastructure in the State of Maharashtra. GoM has communicated their willingness to sign a JV with MoR. Neither any JV agreement has been signed, nor any SPV has been formed as yet.”According to railway officials, the SPV or JV will streamline the construction of rail infrastructure in the state as a dedicated team would work to carry out various legal processes to kick-start a project. “It would be like the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), a SPV between the state and the railways, that has been overseeing Mumbai’s rail projects and has been acting as a bridge between the state, the railway ministry, Western and Central railways, and the World Bank. It has increased the pace of work since the early 2000s,” explained an official.During the Delhi meeting between Prabhu and Fadnavis on November 4 last year, it was mutually agreed to form a SPV with Prabhu, even asking the state government to finalise a funding model for the SPV.According to officials, work on the SPV should be expedited as Maharashtra has got Rs 4767 crores for rail projects this year, a 206 per cent increase from the average of Rs 1171.4 crores received by the state between 2009-14. “When the funds are in, the work shouldn’t suffer,” said an official.Earlier, in a statement released on November 30 this year, the railway ministry had said that as of now five state governments — Chattisgarh, Haryana, Gujarat, Kerala, and Odisha — had formed joint venture firms with the railways. A total of 16 states had also decided to share costs in 43 projects, the total cost of the projects at current prices being Rs 62,379 crores.

India overtakes United Kingdom, economy ranks fifth in the world

India’s economy for the first time in more than a century has overtaken that of the United Kingdom, Forbes magazine reported.

Akshay Shah, a researcher at Tsinghua University, who wrote the article adds, “This dramatic shift has been driven by India’s rapid economic growth over the past 25 years as well as Britain’s recent woes, particularly with the Brexit.”

While India’s economy was expected to overtake the United Kingdom by 2020, the weakening of the Pound Sterling speeded up the process, the report said.

It is interesting to know that the UK-based policy group, Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), had predicted in December 2011, that India would become the fifth largest economy by 2020, but it has already crossed the landmark, The Times of India reported. 

According to Foreign Policy, the country’s economy now ranks fifth in the world. “India may have a large population base but this is a big leap,” Foreign Policy quoted Minister of State Kiren Rijiju as saying.

The Forbes report noted that the latest milestone implies the arrival of India on the world stage and might significantly change the power dynamics between New Delhi and the West.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 21:54 IST

Civet rescued from AC duct in Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A family in the capital’s East Patel Nagar was in for a surprise when they ran into a long cat while cleaning their AC ducts on Tuesday. A Common Palm Civet, had taken shelter in the duct. Wildlife officials had to be called in to rescue the wild cat. It was later released in the Asola Wildlife Sanctuary.However, this is not an isolated occurrence. Neelgais, leopards and more civets have been spotted on different occasions straying in urban areas. According to wildlife experts, while spotting a Common Palm Civet is not rare since it lives close to human habitation, the repeated occurrences of wild animals straying into urban areas is largely because of loss of natural habitat.A civet was rescued running amok from the Parliament complex in July 2014 and another from Khan Market in September, having sent shopkeepers and customers in a tizzy for a few hours. Last year a baby civet was rescued again from AC ducts in a house in Vasant Kunj area.A leopard was spotted in Faridabad last month reaching up the roofs of one-storeyed houses. Locals ended up killing him. In October this year, a Neelgai was found loitering in a park in Alaknanda in south Delhi.Professor Surya Prakash, School of Life Sciences, JNU, said, “It is not unusual to spot a civet in urban areas, as they live close to human habitation. They breed during the winters and was probably seeking shelter in the duct.”He added, while there are two types of civets — Common Palm Civet and Small Indian Civet — the later is an endangered species.Increased population of stray dogs is another reason for the decline in the numbers of Small Indian Civets, as these are preyed upon by the dogs.Geeta Seshamani, co-founder, Wildlife SOS, a rescue and conservation organisation said, “This is the second civet rescue in the last 10 days. Habitat encroachment and deforestation is redefining boundaries between forest and urban areas. Consequently, the incidents of wild animals straying into urban area are increasing. People need to be made aware of and sensitized towards the common wild animals straying into urban areas.”

Telangana police can conduct effective investigation into Nayeem’s activities: Chandrasekhar Rao

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Telangana government on Monday rejected demand of Opposition parties for a CBI probe into the criminal activities of slain gangster Nayeem, saying, state police can conduct effective investigation into the matter. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao informed the Assembly that an “impartial and thorough inquiry” will be conducted by police as it is an efficient force. “Telangana Police came in for praise even from top functionaries of the Union Government,” he said.Rao was speaking during a discussion on Measures taken by the government against the criminal activities of Nayeem and his associates and to maintain law and order in the state . According to a statement by Rao on the matter, Nayeem gang has committed crimes in Telangana for past two-and-half decades. “The activities of the gang which started from Bhongir (near Nalgonda) gradually spread to the entire state,” said the statement. “Several innocent people became victims of the atrocities committed by this gang. Public were forced to live in fear. During the reign of the previous governments Nayeem continued his criminal activities without any hindrance,” the statement said.After several victims approached the government, it decided to check the criminal activities of the gang with an “iron hand”, the statement said. Nayeem was killed in an exchange of fire with police on August 8. “Police recovered one AK-47 rifle, one 9 mm pistol and ammunition from the crime spot,” it said.The government constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the crimes committed by the gangster, it said. “On the complaints of victims, 174 cases were registered. Police examined 741 witnesses and arrested 124 suspects owing allegiance to the gang,” it said. “During the raids conducted across the State on the hideouts of Nayeem’s gang, police seized 21 firearms, 21 cars, 26 motor-cycles and cash worth over Rs 2.95 crore,” the statement said.Police also seized documents of properties registered in the names of family and friends of Nayeem — land to the extent of 1,015 acres, house sites to the extent of 1,67,000 sq yards, and 27 residential houses, it said. The registered value of the properties seized is estimated to be Rs 143.94 crore. So far, the involvement of Nayeem’s gang is established in 27 murder cases and their involvement is suspected in another 25 murder cases, the statement said. “Chargesheets have been filed in 2 cases and another 15 chargesheets are ready to be filed in the competent Courts. As the extent of the criminal activities of the gang is spread all over the state, the investigation is still in progress,” it said. Speaking during the debate, Congress T Jeevan Reddy and TDP’s S Venkata Veeraiah sought a CBI probe into the matter. During the debate, the treasury benches and the Opposition members were also engaged in an exchange of words.

In new world map, India is banana republic

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a new interactive map that is made up from data collected from the World Bank and the United Nations amongst other sources, each country is given a unique characteristic that best describes it. According to the map, India is the best country for bananas.The map was created by David McCandless from InformationIsBeautiful.net and is divided into nine categories (commodity, psychology, ecology, gastronomy, economy, nicety, humanity, technology, and nasty). The map gives each nation a unique characteristic. It, however, excludes smaller countries in the study.While India is famous for bananas, Pakistan is famous for gay porn, China for jailed journalists, the United States for spammed emails and Australia for data breaches. Interestingly, Rwanda has the most women representatives in parliament, while Zambia has most female entrepreneurs. It’s also worth mentioning that the values are either “mostly per capita” or “per cent of the population”.

Interactive map shows India is best at bananas! Find out what it reveals about other countries

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a new interactive map that is made up from data collected from the World Bank and the United Nations amongst other sources, each country is given a unique characteristic that best describes it. According to the map, India is the best country for bananas.The map was created by David McCandless from InformationIsBeautiful.net and is divided into nine categories (commodity, psychology, ecology, gastronomy, economy, nicety, humanity, technology, and nasty). The map gives each nation a unique characteristic. It, however, excludes smaller countries in the study.According to the map, while India is famous for bananas, Pakistan is famous for gay porn, China for jailed journalists, the United States for spammed emails and Australia for data breaches. Interestingly, Rwanda has the most women representatives in parliament, while Zambia has most female entrepreneurs.It’s also worth mentioning that the values are either “mostly per capita” or “per cent of the population”. Here’s the full map:

MoEF issues draft pet shop rules to control registrations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With a view to check the largely unregulated business of pet shops, the union environment ministry on Friday brought out the Draft Pet Shop Rules that has laid down standards for registration of shops, veterinary care and minimum space required to house pets. The draft will be in the public domain for a month for suggestions and objections.Environment Minister Anil Dave said that the draft rules were brought out to make pet shops accountable and to prevent cruelty inflicted on animals. The State Animal Welfare Board’s along with municipal corporations, urban local bodies and district level Societies for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) will be responsible for implementation of these Rules. This is the second time after 2010 that the union environment ministry has brought out Pet Shop Rules.As per the new draft, all pet shop owners will have to register themselves with state animal welfare board across states. Representatives of state board’s, veterinary practitioners and representatives of society for prevention of cruelty to animals will inspect the shops before registrations. The rules also mandate that a minimum space is required to house birds, cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters in pet shops.“It is mandatory to maintain proper records of sale, purchase and death of animals and sickness in pet shops. Pet shop owners are also required to submit yearly reports to State Board, regarding animals sold traded, bartered, brokered, given away, boarded or exhibited during previous years, along with other information sought by State Board,” the Rules said.The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and SPCAs across the country routinely receive complaints against pet shop owners for unethical practices and regarding cases of cheating customers. According to experts, in the absence of checks, pet shops are often cruel to animals as pets are kept in cramped spaces and are treated without proper veterinary case.“Scores of pet shops are completely unregulated and this encourages unethical practices. Pets are brought from unknown sources where unscientific breeding occurs. Pets are not given adequate healthcare and customers often buy unhealthy pets that are prone to diseases. Also, practices such as inbreeding are fairly common that gives rise to illness among pets,” said Major General (Retd) Dr R M Kharb, chairperson, AWBI.Kharb added, “The state animal welfare boards will have to increase manpower for effective implementation of these rules with cooperation from SPCAs.”

Girl comes to Delhi looking for work, gets raped

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the news of a 13-year old’s gangrape a few days ago comes yet another horrific incident of rape of a girl in India’s capital.A girl was allegedly raped in a car in a car in Delhi’s Moti Bagh on Thursday. According to News18, the 20-year-old was raped by a taxi driver whose vehicle bore the sticker of Home Ministry.The girl had come to Delhi to look for a job, as per the News18 sources. She hailed a cab from AIIMS to Noida.The driver stopped the car in an isolated place and allegedly raped her near Moti Bagh in South Delhi.The girl saw a patrolling van and raised an alarm, following the driver ran away from the scene. The cops rescued the girl and taken to the police station where she told the officials about the incident.The driver was arrested late in the night and has been put in police custody. He has not been found to be related to the Home Ministry.The police is carrying further investigation into the incident.

Ensure cash crunch ends by Jan 15, UP BJP MPs tell Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After yet another day of uproar in Parliament stalled over demonetization, around 30 BJP parliamentarians from eastern Uttar Pradesh gathered in the heart of the city on Wednesday evening for a meeting with party president Amit Shah.The aftermath of demonetization was the predominant concern of the MPs at the two-hour meeting, which Shah had convened to get feedback on the issue, besides the impact of surgical strikes and the party”s parivartan yatra in the poll-bound state.A majority of MPs told Shah that if the inconvenience caused to people because of demonetization was not mitigated by January 15, it could hurt the party’s prospects in the assembly elections in the state due early next year, according to sources. The MPs said steps should be taken to address the cash crunch and ensure normalcy in transactions.The MPs also said that after the surgical strikes across the Line of Control on September 28 midnight there was a positive mood for the party, but demonetization has overshadowed it and dominated the narrative. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement to recall notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 on November 8.With elections drawing near, there has been a growing concern in the state party with about the opposition capitalising on the lack of cash in banks and long queues at ATMs causing inconvenience to people.This was the first meeting Shah had with his party MPs after demonetization. Some MPs are of the view that the feedback should have been taken earlier, sources said.Shah, who heard their concerns, asked them to go to villages in their constituencies before the candidates were announced.The meeting was held over dinner hosted by home minister Rajnath Singh, an MP from Lucknow.Around the same time, at another meeting convened by the RSS-affiliated Laghu Udyog Bharti, representatives of small and medium industries expressed concern about going cashless overnight and the situation leading to retrenchment. The meeting was attended by minister of state for finance Arjun Meghwal.Shah, who met another group of party MPs from UP on Thursday night, held deliberations with BJP office bearers earlier in the day. According to sources, the office bearers told him that despite the problems, there was support for demonetization.Shah said that the Modi regime was different from the previous Manmohan Singh and Narasimha Rao governments and had got the mandate to take tough decisions.According to sources, Shah described demonetization as a visionary decision of political will aimed at curbing black money and said the government will not confine itself to small reforms but will bring “fundamental changes” in the economy.

Watch: Rs 10.10 crore seized in old and new notes from a car in Mumbai

Thu, 15 Dec 2016-11:40pm , Mumbai , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A car carrying 10 crore in old notes and 10 lakh in the newly minted 2000 currency notes was intercepted by the Mumbai Police in Tilak Nagar area on Thursday evening. According to police, two people were impounded carrying the cash in a white Nissan car. After interrogation, they revealed that the money belonged to the Vaidyanath Urban Bank.The police, however, are verifying the claims made by the suspects and will be seeking help from the Income Tax Department on the same.

Two dead in Uttar Pradesh, as cold wave sweeps across north India

New Delhi: Cold wave conditions continued in parts of north India, with two lives lost in Uttar Pradesh, although the capital Delhi experienced pleasant weather.

Cold wave persisted throughout the country. AP file imageCold wave persisted throughout the country. AP file image

Cold wave persisted throughout the country. AP file image

The national capital witnessed a pleasant day, with a minimum of 10.4 degrees and maximum of 24.3 degrees Celsius, a notch above the season’s average. However, shallow foggy conditions in the morning led to cancellation of 13 trains. Flight operations remained normal at the Indira Gandhi International airport.

Two persons died, allegedly due to cold in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district while shallow to moderate fog continued at a few places in the state. According to the met department, night temperatures fell in Agra and was appreciably below normal in Lucknow and Gorakhpur, and remained normal in remaining divisions of Uttar Pradesh.

Fog also played spoilsport in parts of Punjab and Haryana, disrupting normal life, even as minimum temperatures hovered above normal levels in the region.

Amritsar was the coldest place in the two states registering 6.8 degrees Celsius; Chandigarh settled at 9.9 degrees, three above normal; the minimum temperature at Karnal was 10 degrees.

Rail, road and air traffic were affected due to poor visibility in the states, officials said. The northern state of Rajasthan also reeled under cold wave conditions, with the minimum temperature dipping to 6.9 degrees Celsius. The capital city of Jaipur recorded a minimum of 11.2 degrees Celsius, a fall by 3.5 degrees from the previous day. The met said a further dip in temperature is predicted in the state in next 24 hours.

Bihar, meanwhile, experienced a warm day with the sun shining bright as both maximum and minimum temperatures increased.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said global warming was responsible for milder winter in the northern parts this season. “With temperatures being recorded above normal levels in several parts of north India, global warming is one of the major reasons for a milder winter this season,” it said.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 20:28 IST

Manipur ambush: Terrorists kill two jawan, injure eight in Chandel district

Militants killed two policeman and injured eight during two surprise attacks in two different places in Manipur’s Chandel district on Thursday.

According to PTI, one of the attacks took place in Lokchao village in Chandel district, 21 kilometres from the border town of Moreh, along the Imphal-Moreh route killing one personnel on the spot and injuring seven others.

News18.com report said that team of Manipur Police were travelling from Moreh (near India-Myanmar border) to Tengnoupal District for a scheduled programme of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, when they came under attack. The jawans were attacked with improvised explosives and bullets by terrorists on reaching Lokchao, the report said, adding that injured were rushed to a nearby hospital.

One wounded personnel succumbed to injuries later, a police officer told PTI. Ibobi was scheduled to inaugurate the newly created district of Tengnoupal, carved out from the existing Naga-dominated district of Chandel.

The two dead Manipur Police personnel have been identified as Md Ayub Khan and Hc Ngarei Marring, the police officer said.

While the no terrorist outfit has officially claimed responsibility for the attack, News18 said that the police suspect the terrorists who attacked near Lokchao village to belong to the Naga outfit, National Security Council of Nagaland Isak-Muivah(NSCN-IM).

In the second ambush that took place at Bongyang area in the same district, one personnel of the state forces was also severely injured. Of the eight injured, three personnel who received critical injuries have been rushed to Imphal for further medical treatment, the police officer said.

Incidentally, Chandel district, which sits close to the Myanmar border, has been seeing a lot of deadly attacks on security forces in the recent past. According to reports, on 26 November, five security forces personnel were injured in an ambush in Sajik Tampak in Chandel district. In similar incidents, according to Indian Express, “eighteen soldiers were killed in the district on 5 June 2015” whereas, “on May 23 this year, six personnel of the Assam Rifles were killed in an ambush in Chandel”.

According to News18, the entire area has been put on high alert following the incident.

With PTI inputs

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 10:17 IST

Railways lost over Rs 7 crore due to Naxal disruptions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian railways lost more than Rs 7 crore in 2015 due to destruction of its property by Naxalites. According to sources, the states in which the railways suffered the maximum losses due to Naxal disruptions were Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Orissa.Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain disclosed the figures in a written reply to the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. He said railway property worth Rs 7,02,92,441 was damaged by Naxalites in 2015. The minister also informed the Parliament that the loss suffered by the railways due to Naxal activities in 2015 was less than the losses in 2014.Railways spent Rs 3,415 crore to safeguard its property in the 2014-15 and it has already spent Rs 3,833 on the same this year. The minister apprised the Parliament that the railways had taken many measures in order to protect its property but added that policing in railways was the responsibility of states. “Policing on railways is a state matter and prevention of crime, registration of cases, their investigation and maintenance of law and order is the statutory responsibility of the state police, which they discharge through Government Railway Police (GRP) of the state concerned,” Gohain said. He, however, added that the Railway Protection Force (RPF) supplements the efforts of GRP by deploying its staff on trains and railway stations.Listing measures to prevent sabotage of railway property and security of passengers, he said that railways had also installed CCTV cameras at 344 railway stations. Gohain added, “RPF personnel escorting trains in Naxalites/Maoists/insurgent affected areas are equipped with sophisticated weapons, sufficient ammunition, bullet proof jackets, walkie-talkies, dragon, search lights etc. ” Apart from the security personnel, dog squads are extensively engaged at railway stations and trains for anti-sabotage checking, said Gohain.

Bank accounts of ISIS ‘recruit’ Tabrez and kin under ATS scanner

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Anti-Terrorism Squad is finding out bank account details of Mumbra youth Tabrez Tambe, a suspected member of ISIS held in Libya, and his close relatives here to find out the nature of transactions, if any.Meanwhile, the agency has confirmed that Tabrez’s friend Ali who had indoctrinated him, is a Saudi national. Tabrez, a resident of Mumbra in neighbouring Thane district, was caught last week in Libya, where he had joined ISIS with Ali. According to ATS officials, the agency has written to Central government seeking more information about Tabrez and his activities in the oil-rich country and the exact role he might have played for the terror group.The agency is trying to ascertain the nature of bank transactions, if any, between Tabrez and his kin and if money was deposited in their accounts by any suspected IS handler, they said.ATS officials are now trying to find out if Ali, who had earlier visited India with Tabrez, met or brainwashed more local youths. The ATS teams are making enquiries with Tabrez’s family members, relatives and friends in this regard. “We will investigate Ali’s motive to visit India,” an ATS official said. ATS has also seized various gadgets belonging to Tabrez’s family members, through which he used to communicate with his mother, brother and wife.The gadgets, including mobile phone handsets and a laptop, are sent to Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) to find out details about the communication.According to an official, there is no contact between Tabrez and his family members after a case was lodged with ATS. The agency has already registered offences against him under various sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Tabrez had left India earlier this year to go to Egypt for a job and landed in Libya, where he was said to be fighting for ISIS against US-backed forces.Earlier this year, the National Investigative Agency (NIA) and ATS officials had arrested suspected IS member Mudabbir Shaikh (33) from Mumbra. He was believed to be in direct contact with his handler Shafi Armar who is also known as Yousuf Al Hindi in ISIS.

AC rake trial pushed back again

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The first set of field trials of the air-conditioned rake scheduled for the early hours of Wednesday was postponed after officials from the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) expressed their inability to carry out trials at the present moment, said Central Railway officials. According to CR officials, the postponement came about after a team from Netherlands-based Strukton Rail was to be in Mumbai to take part in the filed trials had to reschedule their trip.The electrical systems and the Train Control and Management System of the train has been jointly built by BHEL and Strukton under a transfer of technology arrangement the former has with the Dutch firm.”The plan was to take the rake from Kurla Carshed to Karjat and then run it on the 14km Karjat to Khopoli section so that several initial readings of the rake could have been taken. There are 7-8 readings that will be ascertained during the Karjat-Khopoli section. Once permissions come in, we can start field trials in other sections beyond Kalyan,” said a CR official.The chances of the rake being run on the section between Kurla and CST is remote, said officials, because the AC rake is taller at 4295mm than conventional rakes. With Christmas round the corner, more delays in the field trials cannot be ruled out, said officials, as the number of leaves of staff increases. The chances that the rake might not be commissioned this financial year ending March31, 2017 is now higher with these delays, said officials.The first of the static trails within Kurla Carshed, where the rake is parked, started on November 2. According to railway officials who oversaw the trials then, the rake was tested for ‘coherence’ among all its different components.The rake was supposed to cost Rs 43 crores when the layout was approved by the railway ministry in March 2014. It was finally finished in March 2016- two years later- at a cost of Rs 54 crores. The Rs 54 crore tag is a sizable 25 percent increase in construction cost. It arrived in Mumbai on April 5.

Seventh pay commission: UP govt approves recommendations, 24 lakh employees to benefit

The Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh has approved the recommendations of the seventh pay commission, and said it will be implemented from 17 January. According to a report on CNN News18, the entry salary of a person joining at the lowest rung will be around Rs 18,000, while pay for highest office of chief second will be around Rs 2.25 lakh.

The move comes just months before the key political state goes in for Assembly elections, and Yadav was confident of electoral success. “We will win, and if the alliance happens, we will cross 300 plus seats,” he said, referring to a possible alliance with the Congress party.

The decision to hike salaries was taken after a committee, headed by retired bureaucrat GB Pattnaik, submitted its interim report to Yadav on 7 December, reported The Pioneer.

File image of Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

File image of Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

It could mean that state government employees will get at least a 20 percent hike in their salaries, which would bring about parity between state and central government employees.

As per statistics, the state government will incur an additional burden of Rs 26,573 crore annually in the first year of implementation while in the second year, the expenditure would come down to Rs 22,778 crore annually. Presently, the state government spends around Rs 95,000 crore annually on salary and perks for state employees, the publication noted.

Yadav, while speaking to CNN-News18, claimed that the pay hike is a people friendly move and will help more than 24 lakh employees.

The Central Cabinet gave its nod to the seventh pay commission recommendations in June 2016, allowing an overall 23.55 percent hike in salaries, allowances and pensions of central government employees. The pay panel, in November last year, had recommended a 14.27 percent hike in basic pay at junior levels — the lowest in 70 years. The previous 6th Pay Commission had recommended a 20 percent hike, which the government doubled while implementing it in 2008.

The seventh pay commission’s recommendations will have bearing on the remuneration of nearly 50 lakh central government employees and 58 lakh pensioners. This is estimated to put an additional burden of Rs 1.02 lakh crore, or nearly 0.7 percent of the GDP, on the central government.

The process to introduce the latest pay commission began in January this year, when the central government set up a high-powered panel headed by Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha to process the recommendations.

However, after the government approved the recommendations, there were widespread protests by employees, with many unions threatening to go on strike. Even RSS affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and other trade unions rejected the recommendations, contending that it would increase disparity between the minimum and maximum pay. To placate the grievances, the central government promised to set up a high level committee to look into the issues.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 17:14 IST

States to steer future suburban network?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It seems the railway ministry has finally had enough of running suburban systems. In a draft policy issued a couple of days ago to all state governments by the Works Planning directorate of the ministry, the latter has put all responsibility of conjuring up new suburban systems in cities on the respective states. State governments have been asked to give their feedback in the next fortnight.The catalyst for the ‘hands-off’ policy, according to officials, is the bleeding status of its seven current suburban railway systems. According to the CAG report tabled in June this year, the cumulative losses from the suburban systems of Central, Eastern, South-Central, South-Eastern, Southern, Western and Kolkata Metro for the period 2010-15 stands at a whopping Rs 13,631 crore. During this period, the Railways carried a total of 3,054 crores, of which suburban passengers accounted for 2,225 crores or 72 per cent of all passengers.According to the draft policy released this week, “feasibility studies for suburban projects, duly considering the technical requirements, site feasibility and operational requirements, shall be carried out by the state government at their own cost.” Another criteria is that, “the complete cost of land acquisition, leasing of railway land and resettlement and rehabilitation shall be met by the states, by providing interest-free subordinate debt to the Special Purpose Vehicle or from its own resources.”Going further, the draft states that “guarantees for the loans to be taken by the SPV shall be provided by the state government.” The future sustenance of the suburban system has been given to the state government. The draft statement states that “state government would set up a dedicated urban transport fund at state level and city level through levy of dedicated taxes, levies, betterment tax, impact fee, development charges and higher floor area ratio in the influence zone of proposed railway stations to create a pool of resources for part financing the project’s capital cost, replacement of assets and providing operational subsidies.”

Kerala: Six people arrested for not standing during national anthem, later released

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During one of the screenings of International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala on Monday evening, six men between the age of age group of 25-30 and a 52-year-old man refused to stand for the national anthem.At the screening of an Egyptian movie at the Kannakakunnu Nishagandhi Auditorium, an open air theatre, the national anthem was played as per Supreme Court’s November 30 order. However, according to the police report these men did not budge even when they were requested to stand by the policemen present at the hall. According to a NDTV report, IFFK organisers and Director of Chalachitra Academy also asked them to stand, but they refused.Thus, a police case was filed against them and they arrested. However, they were later released on bail. In another incident that took place in in Kasi Theatre in Chennai, a youth and two students were beaten up in a theatre for not standing up when the national anthem was being played.
ALSO READ Chennai: Three youths beaten up for not standing during national anthem in theatreAccording to the Supreme Court order of November 30, all movie theatres must play the anthem before screenings and everyone must stand. There was amendment added to it later wherein the theatre management was asked to shut the door, but not bolt it when the anthem is playing.

Three youths assaulted in Chennai theatre for taking selfies during National Anthem

Three youths were allegedly beaten up by moviegoers for not standing up when the National Anthem was being played in a Chennai theatre on Sunday, The Times of India reported.

The incident comes on the backdrop of Supreme Court’s 30 November order which made it mandatory for everyone in a cinema hall to stand for the National Anthem before the commencement of a film.

Representational image. Getty

Representational image. Getty Images

The incident took place in Kasi Theatre in Chennai’s Ashok Nagar. According to The Times of India report, violence broke out during the interval of a Tamil film, Chennai 28-II. Twenty men assaulted three students, including two women, who were part of a seven-member group. They were allegedly taking selfies while the national anthem was being played, the report added.

The scuffle took place after a group of moviegoers objected to the group taking selfies during the National Anthem was being played. Based on the complaint from Vijayakumar, who objected to the behaviour of the youths, filed a police complaint under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act and the Indian Penal Code, The Hindu reported.

Meanwhile, a group of moviegoers filed a separate complaint against those who manhandled and threatened the seven people. Both the groups were later interrogated by police, the report added.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 14:20 IST

65-year-old share trader murdered in Mumbai, body found in Kandivali flat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A dead body was found in flat of Pratik Apartment, Kandivali West in Mumbai on Sunday evening. According to the police, they had received a call from the neighbours that a smell was coming from a flat number 401 of the building.Following the call, Kandivali police reached the spot and started investigation. During the probe, they found a dead body in the flat. “According to prima facie investigation, the body has been identified as Devendra Jayantilal Doshi (65) who is supposed to be the share trader. He used to live alone in his flat and would work from home.” said Mukund Pawar, senior police inspector of Kandivali police station. “The investigation is going on and it is clear that Doshi had been murdered a few days back by stabbing knife,” he added.A case was registered at the Kandivali police station on Sunday night against an unknown person under section 302(committing murder) and 452(for causing grievous hurt with intent) of Indian Penal Code act.

No mechanism to deal with complaints against retired judges appointed in HCs: Law Ministry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after agreeing with the judiciary to appoint retired judges in high courts to tackle rising cases, the Law Ministry has cautioned that there is no mechanism to deal with complaints of “wrongful acts” against them.As per the minutes of the meeting of the Chief Ministers- Chief Justices Conference held in April, approved after a gap of nearly six months in October, it has been resolved that “subject to integrity, suitability and performance of a person who has held the office as a judge of the high court, the provisions of Article 224 A can be invoked to deal with the extraordinary situation involving the large pendency of civil and criminal cases in the high courts…”The provision says that the chief justice of a high court, with the previous consent of the President (Centre), can request any person who has held the office of a judge of that court or any other high court to sit and act as a judge of the high court for that state.But now, the Department of Justice in the Law Ministry has told the Parliamentary standing Committee on Law and Personnel that “There is no mechanism to deal with the complaint against retired judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.”It was a responding to a series of questions asked by the committee on judges’ appointment and vacancies in the higher judiciary.The department was asked to explain the “merits/demerits” of appointment of ad hoc judges in the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts.It said “impeachment is the only remedy to remove a sitting judge. However, in this case, if a retired judge indulges in wrongful act or omissions, no mechanism has been laid down in respect of retired judges.”According to the minutes of the meeting, appointment of retired judges in high courts can also help achieve the goal of ‘five plus zero’ pendency. ‘Five plus zero’ is an initiative toensure that cases pending for more than five years are taken up on priority basis and pendency of such cases is brought down to zero level.As on June 30 while the total sanctioned strength was 21,303, the subordinate courts were functioning with 16,192 judicial officers — a shortage of 5,111.The 24 high courts face a shortage of nearly 450 judges.Over three crore cases are pending in courts across India.So far, the government has received names of 18 former judges for appointment in four high courts.The 18 names have been received from the high courts of Andhra Pradesh/Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Allahabad and Calcutta.The names are under process, highly-placed sources said.

Demonetization: IT dept raids Chandni Chowk Axis Bank, finds Rs 450 crore in fake accounts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a raid conducted by the Income Tax department at Chandni Chowk’s Axis Bank branch on Friday, 15 fake accounts were discovered.According to ANI, an official said that over Rs 450 crores were found in these fake accounts.This amount has been deposited in the bank ever since PM Modi made the announcement to demonetize old Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes on November 8. According to a NDTV report, the fake accounts have been created using forged documents. It is suspected that the money may have been routed to buy gold.Last month too, Axis Bank Kashmere Gate branch in Delhi was raided and two people were caught with Rs 3.5 crore in new currency.
ALSO READ Demonetization: ‘Expect banks to cut lending rates soon’In an effort to curb black money and fake currency, PM Modi had announced that people would be allowed to deposit the demonetized notes in bank accounts only till December 30. The other clause added to the provision is that deposits more than Rs 2.5 lakh will attract scrutiny by the taxman.People who haven’t disclosed black money till September 30 have been given a chance to disclose money and pay a penalty along with 50% tax.

Anantnag encounter: Kashmir civilians’ efforts to assist militants are severely hampering security ops

A few hundred metres from the site of an encounter with suspected militants in south Kashmir, a mob of at least 1,000 — including children — gathered in Arwani village and tried to break the cordon laid by security forces. The encounter took place in the Hassanpora locality of Bijbehara in Anantnag district.

Security forces during the encounter in Anantnag. Firstpost/Sameer Yasir

Like dozens of previous attempts made by local residents to provide safe passage to the militants caught in encounters with government forces, the mob pelted stones and tried to come to the rescue of “our heroes”. It is the new normal in Kashmir, which has the security establishment worried.

In the retaliatory action, Arif Ahmad Shah was killed while at least three dozen protesters suffered injuries; one of them was referred to Srinagar’s SKIMS Hospital in a critical state. According to police and witnesses, at least two dozen protesters suffered pellet injuries.

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Security forces during the encounter in Anantnag. Firstpost/Sameer Yasir

It won’t be wrong to suggest that Shah, a resident of Sangam area in Anantnag, at least 10 kilometres from the encounter site, was part of the group that was trying to divert the attention of forces to facilitate the escape of the militants — a trend that has picked up recently in Kashmir.

On Thursday evening, after Shah was killed, according to officials by a stray bullet, the Jammu and Kashmir Police, once again, appealed to people not to assemble or come close to the encounter sites “as there is every chance that stray bullets may hit them and they make get injured (sic)”.

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Security forces during the encounter in Anantnag. Firstpost/Sameer Yasir

According to witnesses, the protesters, who tried to break the cordon around Hassanpora locality, danced with joy, apparently to celebrate the escape of militants from the area, before they were intercepted by the police in Arwani. At the time of writing, no bodies had been recovered from the encounter site.

Although many news outlets reported that three militants have been killed, there was no conformation on that from the police till midnight on Thursday. The Hassanpora village was cordoned off late on Wednesday evening following inputs of militants in the area. After getting no response to few warning shots, the forces suspended the operation for the night “owing to darkness”.

A member of the security force conducts a search during the encounter. Firstpost/Sameer Yasir

A member of the security force conducts a search during the encounter. Firstpost/Sameer Yasir

On Thursday morning, the operation was resumed but soon fresh clashes broke out. Witnesses and police said there was intermittent firing going on at the site. Sources said the forces, a joint team of the police and Indian Army, tried to start a mopping-up operation in the evening, but they came under fresh fire due to which the operation was put off till Friday.

As if the happenings in Arwani were not enough, protests broke out in different parts of south Kashmir as rumours of two militants getting killed in the encounter started gaining currency, a harsh reminder that all is not well in the Valley. According to police sources, people from villages adjoining Hassanpora tried to march to the encounter site, sparking clashes.

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A police convoy seen during the encounter. Firstpost/Sameer Yasir

In February this year, the Jammu and Kashmir Police was forced to issue an advisory, asking people to stay away from encounter sites to ensure “smooth anti-militancy operations and no civilian casualties”. “We have issued the advisory in the interest of people. We request people to follow it. It’s for their safety,” Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Syed Javid Mujtaba Gilani said.

Given the fragile peace prevailing in the Valley, the violence in Arwani is just a tip of the churning taking place in south Kashmir which has been the epicentre of anti-India and pro-freedom clashes following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

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Army patrols operate during the encounter in Anantnag. Firstpost/Sameer Yasir

The massive outpouring of residents is a small window into what is going to be happen in coming days in the Valley, especially since many youths, who have joined the militancy in south Kashmir, are often seen roaming in and around their localities. When they get trapped, locals come to engage security forces and provide them a safe passage, which was what happened on Thursday evening.

“We will do it till the time we are alive. We will continue to save militants from forces. We will end this tyranny,” Shabir, who only gave his first name in Arwani where protesters were trying to break the cordon around the encounter site, said.

A soldier on patrol during the operation in Anantnag. Firstpost/Sameer Yasir

A soldier on patrol during the operation in Anantnag. Firstpost/Sameer Yasir

Earlier this year, after the rise in incidents of people thronging encounter sites, the then commander of the Army’s Northern Command, Lieutenant-General DS Hooda, had told AP that it was a major concern and a challenge to conduct anti-militant operations.

“Frankly speaking, I’m not comfortable anymore conducting operations if large crowds are around,” Hooda told AP.

“Even if I get killed, I don’t care. We are fighting for freedom. If we have to spill more blood, so be it,” Shabir, the protester in Arwani, said.

First Published On : Dec 9, 2016 13:26 IST

Maharashtra ATS registers case against Thane youth for joining ISIS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad has registered a case against a youth from Mumbra, Maharashtra for allegedly joining the Islamic State. According to the Indian Express, 28-year-old Tabrez Noor Mohammed Tambe went to Egypt on the pretext of looking for job but later went to Libya to fight alongside the Islamic State (IS). A senior official from the agency has said that Tabrez’s brother has informed that went to Libya with his friend Ali who hails from Saudi Arabia. The family also claims that Ali who Tabrez met during his stay in Riyadh, brainwashed him to join the Islamic State. “The family claims that Ali was instrumental in brainwashing their son and drawing him into IS fold,” the official said.The Maharashtra ATS said that they have registered a case against Tabrez Tambe under Sections 16, 18, 18(B), 20, 38 and 39 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

Delhi Government announces pay hike for guest teachers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government on Thursday announced a hike in the salaries of guest teachers, pending the approval of Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung. According to the government officials, the almost 90 per cent hike will be valid for guest teachers who have cleared the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) .Those guest teachers who have not yet cleared the CTET will still be able to enjoy a hike of up to 40 per cent. “From now on, guest teachers will get fixed monthly salaries like their permanent counterparts. The Delhi Cabinet has approved a substantial hike in the salaries of 17,000 guest teachers. We have also approved eight casual leaves for those who have cleared the CTET,” said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. He added that the announcement awaits LG Jung’s nod, and if granted, the salary hike will be implemented from the coming month itself. There are nearly 17,000 guest teachers in government schools, out of whom, 2,000 have not cleared the CTET.Welcoming the move, the guest teachers said the Delhi government should also fulfill its poll promise of granting them a permanent status. “I have been working as a guest teacher since 2013. I am not entitled to leaves like the regular teachers. During this stint, I was almost thrown out of the school when a permanent teacher was hired,” said Deepak Vashisht, 24.“We are being paid on a daily basis. We don’t get paid for off days,” he said, adding that unlike permanent teachers at government schools, guest teachers get no salary for the months of May and June, when the schools remain shut for the summer break.

Cash still the preferred mode of payment at toll plazas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite the government’s increasing push for digital payments, cash continued to remain the preferred mode of payment at the toll booths. Days after toll collection at national highways resumed after a 23-day hiatus post demonetization, more than 90 per cent of the commuters paid toll fee in cash. According to National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) sources, almost 92 per cent of the vehicles preferred paying their toll fee using cash on December 6, of which around 78 per cent used notes of lower denominations.About 16 per cent of the commuters used the new Rs 2,000 notes and the old Rs 500 notes, a top official said, adding that the majority used the old notes. Similarly, on December 4 and 5, around 95 per cent of commuters paid the toll fee using cash, of which 84 per cent used lower denominations. Despite equipping the toll plazas in advance with multiple digital payment options, including 3,800 point of sale (PoS) machines, limited vehicles chose the mode, government officials said. Sources informed that only about 3.69 per cent of vehicles paid their toll fee using the Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) facility, while about 2 per cent of the vehicles used debit/credit cards and other modes of e-payment to pay the toll fee. Even on December 4 and 5, only 3 per cent of the vehicles have paid the toll fee using the RFID facility and nearly the same percentage of commuters used debit/credit cards and other modes of e-payments. The Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways is advising vehicle manufacturers to provide RFID facility in all new vehicles. With RFID tags on, vehicles can pass toll tax booths without having to stop. The toll amount is deducted from the RFID card, which can later be recharged. The government has already installed PoS machines in more than 95 per cent of the toll plazas. NHAI collects an average Rs 51.59 crore per day from the toll booths.

Angry commuters block trains in Titwala, up and down trains affected

Angry commuters blocked trains on Titwala-Khadwali route, Mumbai, on Wednesday morning for more than two hours after train services were delayed due to a technical glitch, reports said.

According to visuals shared by ANI on Twitter, commuters took to the tracks and blocked movement of all trains through Titwala staging a train roko protest. According to the images, one could see protesters at the platforms as well as on the tracks.

While the exact cause for the glitch is not known, Central Railway appealed to passengers to board trains so that the train services could resume.

According to Central Railway, the ongoing protests have only affected the Kalyan-Kasara route, and the train services on Karjàt-Kalyan-CST section are running.

Central Railway later announced on its Twitter page that train services on Kalyan-Kasara section resumed from 8.55 am on Wednesday. Trains on central railways were delayed by nearly half an hour.

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 09:21 IST

Maharashtra may go Gujarat way to help developers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government wants to go the Gujarat way by dropping a clause from the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016. The government proposes to do away with the clause that provides retrospective effect of escrow account for under-construction projects. This will apparently spare developers the headache of putting the investor’s money only in those projects it is meant for.Escrow refers to money held by a third-party on behalf of transacting parties. According to the Act, developers and promoters have to keep the buyer’s amount for a specific project in the escrow account and that this fund has to be used with retrospective effect.”We do want to keep this pro-buyer escrow account clause in tact but developers have been complaining that this can land them in trouble. They suggested that Maharashtra adopt the Gujarat model,” said a senior government official from the state housing department. The Gujarat has dropped the escrow account clause from the Act.Niranjan Hiranandani, chairman and MD of Hiranandani Group, told DNA that developers had met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and requested him to adopt the Gujarat policy. “The retrospective effect of escrow account will not be feasible now. As developers, if we have already spent the money, how will we bring it back? Therefore, we have requested the chief minister to drop this clause,” Hiranandani said.However, Pankaj Kapoor, MD of real estate research firm Liasas and Foras, said that developers are blowing the issue out of proportion. “The state can only enhance the provision mentioned in the Act — it can neither dilute nor repeal it. If someone challenges the Gujarat government’s decision, it will be forced to reverse it. In Maharashtra also, the government should not succumb to the pressure of developers who are in habit of crying for everything. In fact, the government has already allowed developers to show the land and construction cost that is estimated over 60% of the total cost of the project. In the said clause, there are loopholes that developers can easily exploit and withdraw the money for other ventures,” Kapoor said.Kapoor added that developers should follow the prescribed procedure of the Act. “Most developers indulge in using money from one project to buy land for another, and due to this the regular project suffers. This also delays the project and subsequently the procedure of handing over of flats. A Buyer should get his/her apartment on time if s/he had already paid the money,” Kapoor said.Maharashtra Housing Minister Prakash Mehta was not available for comment. However, a source in his ministry told DNA that Mehta does not want to take any risk by dropping the clause. “We have prepared a report and will send it to the chief minister for his approval. We are sure that the Opposition will make an issue out of it saying Maharashtra is following the Gujarat government’s policy which is pro-developer and anti-buyer,” the source said.

Beating plastic with plastic

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The world’s annual consumption of plastic materials has increased from around 50 lakh tonnes in the 1950s to nearly 10 crore tonnes today. According to the Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated in India every day, out of which 9,000 tonnes is collected and processed, while 6,000 tonnes is not collected. It was this problem faced by ordinary citizens that disturbed Ashwath Hegde, a Mangalore-born but now Qatar-based NRI entrepreneur.In order to beat the plastic woes plaguing the world, Hegde, through his company EnviGreen, developed a biodegradable plastic bag made out of natural starch and vegetable oil derivatives — products that are non-toxic and can consumed by plants and animals. The bags can dissolve in room temperature water in 24 hours and dissolves in 15 seconds if placed in boiling water. The bags also take 180 days to biodegrade, which means people can discard them without worrying about the environment. However, the bags are still not available in India, although they are being distributed in Qatar and Abu Dhabi. The price of the bag is Rs 3. In contrast, a plastic bag is Rs 2, while a cloth bag is anything between Rs 20 and Rs 70.In previous interviews with various media organisations, Hegde has said that he wants to set up enough manufacturing facilities before the bags are distributed to customers and kirana shops. “We have already started supplying to corporate retail chains like Metro and Reliance, which will start using the bags from December this year,” says Hegde.According to The Better India, Ashwath has now set up a factory in Bengaluru that produces 1,000 metric tonnes of bags every month. “We had this unique idea of empowering farmers in rural Karnataka by sourcing all our raw materials from them. We are also planning to distribute seeds to help them produce the amount of materials required to make the bags,” he says.

Sushma Swaraj asks Kerala govt to expedite trial of Japanese woman rape case

Fri, 2 Dec 2016-09:45pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has asked the Kerala government to expedite the trial in a case of alleged rape of a Japanese woman in the state’s Kovalam district last month.In a series of tweets, she said, “I asked for a report from Government of Kerala about the rape of a Japanese tourist on 25 Nov 2016. We have received the report.””The statement of the victim has been recorded before a Magistrate and the accused has been apprehended.””I have asked Government of Kerala to expedite the trial and keep us informed about the case.”According to Kerala Police, the 35-year-old Japanese woman was allegedly raped by a man from neighbouring Karnataka at Kovalam and a case was registered against him under section 376 (punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code.

Banks rise to the occasion on salary day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and commercial banks are making all efforts to increase the supply of cash to meet the payday rush. Banks said they are rationing cash so that it can be equitably distributed to locations where there is an increased demand.State Bank of India (SBI), which controls 15 per cent of the banking sector, said it did 95 lakh transactions, disbursing about Rs 4,600 crore all over the country, till 5 pm on Thursday.Manju Agarwal, Deputy Managing Director, SBI, said: “We are using analytics to determine which areas have greater demand and are diverting money to those centres.” Some bankers said that they received increased supply from the RBI to meet the month-end needs of the salaried class and the pensioners. But still in many locations, it fell short of demand.”We are ensuring equitable distribution of cash received from RBI across our branches and ATMs so that customers face minimal inconvenience,” Kotak Mahindra Bank spokesperson said.Surinder Chawla, the bank’s head (branches and business banking), said: “We are geared up with extra staff to deal with the enhanced rush. We have arranged for cash from all sources and made it available to all branches sufficiently. Our m-ATMs are reaching out to as many areas as possible, allowing withdrawals in societies and offices. We are also stocking ATMs in key areas (of high salary withdrawals).”According to rating agency Crisil, “The problem gets compounded because of a preponderance of cash transactions in the humongous informal sector, which cannot be accurately measured or monitored. Infusing replacement notes has been very sluggish and the ensuing cash choke has pulled back the business cycle, which was beginning to accelerate on the back of a good monsoon, the seventh pay commission, pay hike and One Rank, One Pension Scheme.”More than 1.25 lakh employees of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had their salaries directly transferred into their bank accounts. No cash transactions are done by the civic administration with their employees – either permanent or on a contractual basis.”We do not give any component in cash. The entire salary is deposited in the bank account of employees. In fact, we do not even pay our contractors in cash. They are given cheques and they then disburse the amount to the labourers. We expect that even contractors pay wages to labourers through banks,” said Sudhir Naik, Deputy Municipal Commissioner (General Administration Department).There are four currency presses — Nashik (Maharashtra), Dewas (Madhya Pradesh), Salboni (West Bengal) and Mysuru (Karnataka). The first two are owned by the Central government through the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd. According to the Finance ministry’s latest annual report, the yearly currency printing capacity of these two presses is around 40 per cent of the total in the country. The other two are part of the Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Pvt. Ltd (BRBNMPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).These two presses can print 16 billion notes in two shifts per year, according to the BRBNMP website. This means that the total capacity in the country would be 26.66 billion notes in two shifts. The government says that the presses are running in three shifts to meet the increased demand.

Demonetization: Shorter queues, but cash dispensing machines running dry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Queues at most of the ATMs and banks across the city were shorter than expected on Wednesday though there were complaints that cash dispensing machines were either dry or shut and customers could not draw the maximum permissible amount.When asked about the situation, Central Bank Executive Director RC Lodha said, “We have made adequate arrangements to meet the higher demand for cash as salaries would be credited into customers account (as the month turns). In our bank there would be no shortage of cash.” However, many customers who went to banks today to withdraw money for their monthly expenses, a day ahead of the salary day, complained that they got very less cash, much below the withdrawal limit. “I managed to get only Rs 4,000 this morning against the withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000 as I was told that there was hardly any cash supply to the banks in the last few days. I will have to wait and try my luck later in the day,” said Swamy, a South Mumbai resident.Barring banks with huge customer base, the turnouts were lower as compared to the initial days of note ban. But in some places, the rush increased in the afternoon after banks were replenished with cash to meet customer demands amid fears of heightened crunch due to salary payments. Many others complained about ATMs being shut in their area for a fortnight while some others said they were being given coins during high withdrawals. “There are 4-5 ATMs of leading banks in my locality. But they have been shut since over a week, being dry on cash,” said Animesh, a resident of Andheri.However, they were a few who seemed to be unfazed by the cash chaos resulting out of the demonetization move. According to a Bhandup resident Hemang Palan, the situation on the ground has improved significantly compared to the panic in initial days leading to marginal rush and queues outside banks. “The situation was chaotic in initial days but not now. I think people have realised that this move to demonetise high denomination notes is in the larger benefit of the people and hence they are bearing with the decision,” he said.Also, public has come to terms with the fact that it may take some more days to resolve the crisis entirely as most of the ATMs are yet to be recalibrated. Nitin Sharma, a budding artist said, one has to bear some pain to get some gain in the coming months. “Me and my retired father did face difficulties in first few days, but there is no such rush or mismanagement. Bigger customer base banks, undoubtedly, are having a bit rush but they have streamlined their services and there are separate queues for senior citizens,” he said.
ALSO READ Crisis to hopefully end by Jan 2017, says demonetization committee head NaiduHowever, some people expressed their displeasure over the design and parity of new notes. A senior doctor working with a government hospital said, “I withdrew some thousands. Though there was no rush outside the bank, I was shocked to find disparity in the note designs. For a few seconds, I thought it was fake. Then I downloaded the Narendra Modi Keynote app and confirmed it by running Modi’s speech after scanning it.” He also claimed that situation of cash crisis was improving fast.

Deep depression over southeast Bay of Bengal has intensified into Cyclone Nada: IMD

A deep depression over the southeast Bay of Bengal has intensified into Cyclone Nada, according to a circular issued by India Meteorological Department (IMD).

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Graphical representation of Cyclone NADA. India Meteorological Department

Light to moderate rainfall is expected at many places, and it is expected to begin in coastal Tamil Nadu from Wednesday evening. But heavy to very heavy rainfall is also expected in parts of coastal Tamil Nadu on 1 and 2 December. Light to moderate rainfall at many places with isolated heavy showers is very likely over Kerala over the weekend.

The depression over the Bay of Bengal has moved northwestwards over the past six hours with a speed of around 15 kilometres per hour. It has intensified into a deep depression, around 830 kilometre southeast of Chennai, 780 kilometre southeast of Puducherry and 490 kilometres southeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka), according to the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre for Tropical Cylones Over North Indian Ocean of the IMD.

Sea condition would be rough to very rough along & off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from 1 st December onward. Damage to thatched huts is expected. According to the circular issued by the IMD’s Earth System Science Organisation, the deep depression over southeast Bay of Bengal moved northwestwards during past six hours with a speed of around 25 kmph.

The system is very likely to move west-northwestward, intensify further and cross north Tamil Nadu coast between Vedaranniyam and Puducherry, close to Cuddalore by early hours of 2 December.

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 14:55 IST

Nagrota attack: Militants strike army camp; 1 jawan dead, 2 hurt in Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu: Militants attacked an army camp in Nagrota in Jammu and Kashmir early morning on Tuesday, officials said. The attack reportedly started around 5.30 am with militants firing at a field regiment camp located in the garrison town of Nagrota near the headquarter’s of army’s 16 corps in the state.

Two-three suicide attackers are believed to be holed up in the area as a heavy exchange of fire is going on between the militants and security forces, however, their exact number is still not confirmed.

The ongoing firing has killed one jawan, CNN-News18 reported and injured two others, one of them being a junior commissioned officer. According to the TV news channel, the militants entered the area dressed in army clothes.

“A group of heavily armed militants, believed to be four-to-five in number, attacked the 166 field army regiment camp in Nagrota area of Jammu today (Tuesday) morning,” the police told IANS.

According to CNN-News18, the militants are currently holed up inside the officer’s mess. This is the seventh terror attack in the last seven days. “The encounter is currently in progress, however, the number of militants is still not confirmed. We will able to give more details only once the operation is over,” Defence PRO, Manish Mehta told the news channel.

The security forces have cordoned off the area and ordered to shut down all schools Nagrota tehsil as a precautionary measure.  “We have ordered closure of all schools and education institutions in Nagrota tehsil in view of the terror attack”, Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Simrandeep Singh said.

“We have ordered closure of all schools and education institutions in Nagrota tehsil in view of the terror attack”, Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Simrandeep Singh said.

In view of the attack, the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has been closed for traffic in the area, PTI said.

An alert has been sounded in Jammu city as well.

The attack came around the same time when an infiltration bid was undergoing near the Chambliyal Border Outpost in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir.

With inputs from IANS

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 10:42 IST

Delhi’s Jamia Millia teaching Bob Dylan’s songs as literature long before Nobel recognition

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Literature and music enthusiasts across the globe might be debating the Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to iconic musician Bob Dylan but students at Jamia Millia Islamia have been studying his songs as poems in literature curriculum since 2011.The 75-year-old American singer-songwriter was chosen for the coveted award last month for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”, sparking off a debate whether songs qualify as literature or not. However, Dylan’s songs have been taught as literature in Jamia long before he was chosen for the prize. The varsity introduced Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the wind” in its MA English programme in 2011 as part of the poetry paper “From the Victorian Age to Contemporary Times”, a compulsory subject for those studying English literature.Other poets that are taught along with Dylan include Robert Browning, Ted Hughes and Dylan Thomas. “Students respond interestingly to Bob Dylan’s literature. Around 40 students are currently studying the course that is taught in the third semester of the MA English programme. We have been teaching how Dylan’s songs were used almost as anthems during the American Civil Rights movement in the 60s,” a faculty member of Jamia’s English department said. “However, with Dylan becoming the first musician to bag the Nobel Prize for literature we are hoping that more students from from other disciplines will opt for the course under the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS),” he added.Jamia, however, is not the only university to be teaching Dylan’s work as literature. Kolkata’s Jadavpur University also has some of his songs in the undergraduate curriculum. According to the Swedish Academy’s permanent secretary, Sara Danius, while Dylan performs his poetry in the form of songs, that’s no different from the ancient Greeks, whose works were often performed to music, a “great majority” on the 18-member jury panel had voted for him.

26/11 Mumbai attacks LIVE: Martyrs lost life to cowardice and terrorism, says VK Singh

Nov 26, 2016

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It has been eight years since 10 terrorists, trained in Pakistan, entered Mumbai and caused havoc across South Mumbai. The terrorists had entered into the heart of the financial capital of India marching unafraid with only one aim — to cause mayhem and death. At least 164 people were killed and 308 were injured. And they did so for three days, launching coordinated attacks that included hotels, a train station, a hospital and a Jewish community centre.

How it happened:

According to revelations made by Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley who turned approver in the case, 10 terrorists made two unsuccessful attempts to attack Mumbai before they landed on Mumbai shores on 26 November in 2008.

A file image of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel during the 26/11 attacks. Courtesy: IBN

A file image of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel during the 26/11 attacks. Courtesy: IBN

An India TV report offers a detailed account of how they reached Mumbai. According to the report, the terrorists set sail towards India on 23 November on a hijacked Indian trawler named the Kuber. Seven kilometres off Mumbai shores, the terrorists got on inflatable speedboats. Disguised as students, six of them got off at Macchimar Nagar, in Mumbai’s Cuffe Parade neighbourhood, while the rest four came ashore at Badhwar Park.

CST Station: The terrorists than headed to their respective targets, attacking anything that came their way. According to The Indian Express, four militants (one of them being Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist who was captured alive) started firing inside the CST station on the night of 26 November. “The attack had left 52 dead and injured over a 100 others. The firing ended at about 10:45 pm,” the report said.

Nariman House: Meanwhile, terrorists managed to enter Chabad House (a Jewish community centre) in Colaba. The militants exchanged fire for the next two days torturing the residents of the building. According to The Indian Express, which visited the site after the terrorists were killed, “the site resembled much like a global conflict zone. More than 30 grenades had been hurled. Small craters were all over the floor and bullet marks all across the walls. The stench of decomposed bodies was unbearable. The bodies of the two terrorists lay on the fourth floor.”

The Oberoi-Trident: The first victim to fall at the Oberoi-Trident attack was the gatekeeper of the Trident Hotel. According to reports, foreign nationals were the main target of the attack. By the end of the 40-hour seize, 143 hostages were rescued alive and 24 bodies were recovered.

Taj Mahal Palace Hotel: The burning dome of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel with dark smoke emanating from it has become one of the iconic images of the 26/11 attacks. The attack on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel made it clear that the terrorist knew about the place. This was further proven during the depositions by Headley, where he said that the terrorists had a mock of the hotel as well as GPS locations of their targets that he had provided. The terrorists were killed after 60 hours of fire exchange between them and the NSG commandos. Around 30 people died in the attack.

Leopold Cafe: On the evening of 26 November, two gunmen opened fire at Leopold Cafe, killing around 10 people and injuring many others.

Timed bombs: According to an India TV report, two taxis were also targeted in the city using time bombs — one at Vile Parle that killed a driver and a passenger and another at Wadi Bunder that killed three including the driver and injured 15.

Who was behind the attack:

Several investigations and statements given by Headley, have revealed that Hafiz Saeed, leader of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah (JuD) was the mastermind behind the attacks. Headley also revealed the involvement of Pakistan’s Army and ISI. India has requested to name Saeed as a terrorist, a move which has been often blocked by China. Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist, caught alive was hanged after a special court found him guilty in November 2012. His hanging was carried out secretly by the Maharashtra government. According to reports, the government spent Rs 1.47 crore on Kasab when he was lodged at the Arthur Road jail for four years. Out of the total amount, Rs 1.46 crore was spent on security, Rs 39,000 on his medical expenses, Rs 42,000 on food and Rs 1,878 on clothes.

RPF continues to be ignored: The attacks highlighted how ill-prepared and ill-equipped Indian security forces were when it came to dealing with trained infiltrators like those who attacked Mumbai eight years ago. While frisking and metal detectors have become mandatory in all public places including railway and malls, and India now has its own elite force of commandos called Force One, the wait for a specialised commando training centre for the Railway Protection Force continues to be trapped in the files, reported DNA.

“The need for a commando training facility was felt after the nation was subjected to painful images of helplessness of RPF personnel during the 26/11 terror raid on Mumbai in 2008,” the report said, adding, “RPF constables, armed with British-vintage .303 rifles, first tried to ward off the two terrorists at CST that day. But when most of the British-vintage .303 rifles jammed, these personnel had little choice but to duck for cover from the assault rifle fire from the terrorists.”

According to the report, around Rs 26.70 crore was sanctioned and railway construction firm Ircon was appointed to construct a commando training facility for the RPF at Canning in the South Parganas district in West Bengal. But the plan was dropped in 2013 due to hassles in land acquisition.

Security remains a concern: However, security remains a major concern for India. This year alone we saw two attacks, one on an airport base and another in an army camp, both carried out by foreign militants.

Compensation not offered to the dead and their families: What is more saddening is that even after eight years, the Maharashtra state government has compensated only 102 families (of the 166 that died) with the Rs 3 lakh compensation that the government had promised, India Today reported.

That’s not all, though. The state government even failed to seek reports on victims who were not from the state of Maharashtra if they received the due compensation. The state has also not bothered to check whether or not kin of the officials from the police/NSG Commandos/Home Guard (it has no information on 15 officials) who died during the attacks received the promised compensation of Rs 25 lakhs.

According to Indian Express, the government has further stated that it is yet to receive information from embassies for disbursement of compensation to legal heirs of 26 foreigners who died in the attacks.

(With inputs from IANS)

First Published On : Nov 26, 2016 10:13 IST

Attacks of 26/11: Eight years on, government fails to fulfil promises, compensate victims’ kin

It has been eight years since 10 terrorists, trained in Pakistan, entered Mumbai and caused havoc across South Mumbai. The terrorists had entered into the heart of the financial capital of India marching unafraid with only one aim — to cause mayhem and death. At least 164 people were killed and 308 were injured. And they did so for three days, launching coordinated attacks that included hotels, a train station, a hospital and a Jewish community centre.

How it happened:

According to revelations made by Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley who turned approver in the case, 10 terrorists made two unsuccessful attempts to attack Mumbai before they landed on Mumbai shores on 26 November in 2008.

A file image of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel during the 26/11 attacks. Courtesy: IBN

A file image of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel during the 26/11 attacks. Courtesy: IBN

An India TV report offers a detailed account of how they reached Mumbai. According to the report, the terrorists set sail towards India on 23 November on a hijacked Indian trawler named the Kuber. Seven kilometres off Mumbai shores, the terrorists got on inflatable speedboats. Disguised as students, six of them got off at Macchimar Nagar, in Mumbai’s Cuffe Parade neighbourhood, while the rest four came ashore at Badhwar Park.

CST Station: The terrorists than headed to their respective targets, attacking anything that came their way. According to The Indian Express, four militants (one of them being Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist who was captured alive) started firing inside the CST station on the night of 26 November. “The attack had left 52 dead and injured over a 100 others. The firing ended at about 10:45 pm,” the report said.

Nariman House: Meanwhile, terrorists managed to enter Chabad House (a Jewish community centre) in Colaba. The militants exchanged fire for the next two days torturing the residents of the building. According to The Indian Express, which visited the site after the terrorists were killed, “the site resembled much like a global conflict zone. More than 30 grenades had been hurled. Small craters were all over the floor and bullet marks all across the walls. The stench of decomposed bodies was unbearable. The bodies of the two terrorists lay on the fourth floor.”

The Oberoi-Trident: The first victim to fall at the Oberoi-Trident attack was the gatekeeper of the Trident Hotel. According to reports, foreign nationals were the main target of the attack. By the end of the 40-hour seize, 143 hostages were rescued alive and 24 bodies were recovered.

Taj Mahal Palace Hotel: The burning dome of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel with dark smoke emanating from it has become one of the iconic images of the 26/11 attacks. The attack on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel made it clear that the terrorist knew about the place. This was further proven during the depositions by Headley, where he said that the terrorists had a mock of the hotel as well as GPS locations of their targets that he had provided. The terrorists were killed after 60 hours of fire exchange between them and the NSG commandos. Around 30 people died in the attack.

Leopold Cafe: On the evening of 26 November, two gunmen opened fire at Leopold Cafe, killing around 10 people and injuring many others.

Timed bombs: According to an India TV report, two taxis were also targeted in the city using time bombs — one at Vile Parle that killed a driver and a passenger and another at Wadi Bunder that killed three including the driver and injured 15.

Who was behind the attack:

Several investigations and statements given by Headley, have revealed that Hafiz Saeed, leader of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah (JuD) was the mastermind behind the attacks. Headley also revealed the involvement of Pakistan’s Army and ISI. India has requested to name Saeed as a terrorist, a move which has been often blocked by China. Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist, caught alive was hanged after a special court found him guilty in November 2012. His hanging was carried out secretly by the Maharashtra government. According to reports, the government spent Rs 1.47 crore on Kasab when he was lodged at the Arthur Road jail for four years. Out of the total amount, Rs 1.46 crore was spent on security, Rs 39,000 on his medical expenses, Rs 42,000 on food and Rs 1,878 on clothes.

RPF continues to be ignored: The attacks highlighted how ill-prepared and ill-equipped Indian security forces were when it came to dealing with trained infiltrators like those who attacked Mumbai eight years ago. While frisking and metal detectors have become mandatory in all public places including railway and malls, and India now has its own elite force of commandos called Force One, the wait for a specialised commando training centre for the Railway Protection Force continues to be trapped in the files, reported DNA.

“The need for a commando training facility was felt after the nation was subjected to painful images of helplessness of RPF personnel during the 26/11 terror raid on Mumbai in 2008,” the report said, adding, “RPF constables, armed with British-vintage .303 rifles, first tried to ward off the two terrorists at CST that day. But when most of the British-vintage .303 rifles jammed, these personnel had little choice but to duck for cover from the assault rifle fire from the terrorists.”

According to the report, around Rs 26.70 crore was sanctioned and railway construction firm Ircon was appointed to construct a commando training facility for the RPF at Canning in the South Parganas district in West Bengal. But the plan was dropped in 2013 due to hassles in land acquisition.

Security remains a concern: However, security remains a major concern for India. This year alone we saw two attacks, one on an airport base and another in an army camp, both carried out by foreign militants.

Compensation not offered to the dead and their families: What is more saddening is that even after eight years, the Maharashtra state government has compensated only 102 families (of the 166 that died) with the Rs 3 lakh compensation that the government had promised, India Today reported.

That’s not all, though. The state government even failed to seek reports on victims who were not from the state of Maharashtra if they received the due compensation. The state has also not bothered to check whether or not kin of the officials from the police/NSG Commandos/Home Guard (it has no information on 15 officials) who died during the attacks received the promised compensation of Rs 25 lakhs.

According to Indian Express, the government has further stated that it is yet to receive information from embassies for disbursement of compensation to legal heirs of 26 foreigners who died in the attacks.

(With inputs from IANS)

First Published On : Nov 26, 2016 09:06 IST

Demonetization: Rs 1.12 cr in scrapped notes seized from businessman in Pune

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police seized cash worth Rs 1.12 crore on Friday, all in banned denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 from a businessman in Pune. According to Lashkar Police Station, the businessman, Bharat Shah, wanted to convert his alleged unaccounted money through some agents at 25% commission. “We received a tip-off that Shah was planning to meet some people on MG Road on Friday morning to convert the cash,” said a police inspector, attached to Lashkar Police station.Subsequently a trap was laid and Shah was detained for questioning. “We recovered 22,444 demonetised notes of Rs 500 denomination and 28 demonetised notes of Rs 1000 denomination from him,” the police official said . “Though Shah is claiming that the cash seized from him are his savings, we suspect that it is unaccounted money, which he wanted to convert,” said the officer.Police said no case has been registered against Shah but Income Tax department has been notified about the seized notes. On Wednesday, crime branch officials had seized “unaccounted” cash worth Rs 1.11-crore in old notes from a property broker, who too wanted to convert it into white through some agents here.

Note ban: ‘Printing’ errors in new Rs 500; is haste killing the very purpose of the exercise?

In its hurry to meet the demand for new notes, the Reserve Bank of India has made major errors which can have serious consequences for the demonetisation exercise. The gaffe — RBI has printed two variants of the new Rs 500 notes.

According to a report in The Times of India, the newspaper has seen at least three case studies where the new Rs 500 note varied from each other. According to one customer quoted in the report, Gandhi’s face has a more than visible shadow. Apart from this, he has pointed to alignment issues with the national emblem and also serial numbers.

ReutersReuters

Representational image. Reuters

Another Mumbai resident has told the newspaper that the colours of the notes he got were different. The report has cited one more such instance of variation.

Meanwhile, a RBI spokesperson has termed them as “printing defects” that have propped up because of “the current rush”. She has also said people can still freely use it for transactions or even return it to the central bank.

One thing is for sure: the same note with different features would mean confusion for the common man. It will be easy for the ‘experts’ in counterfeiting to cash in on this confusion.

How is the common man to know whether the Rs 500 note he has is indeed original or fake? It has to be remembered that the fake note circulation has been rampant in India despite the RBI’s frequent notifications on how to detect such notes.

Clearly, the awareness level among the general public about the security features of currency notes is very low. Notes with slight variations in features will only add to the confusion about the features.

Announcing the decision to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and issue new ones on 8 November, the prime minister had said that the move was aimed at destroying the counterfeit racket, ending terror funding and also stop black money generation.

If the haste has resulted in errors that will only facilitate counterfeiting, then it will kill the very objective of the demonetisation exercise.

Interestingly, the RBI had published on its site the security features of the new Rs 500 notes before the notes came into circulation.

It will be better for the RBI to find some practical solution to the problem before any damage is done.

First Published On : Nov 25, 2016 14:32 IST

Villagers club leopard to death in Mandawar village

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A tense drama unfolded for nearly three hours on Thursday morning in Mandawar village, 30 km from Gurgaon, as a leopard, which had strayed into the village and injured nine people, was clubbed to death by a mob of hundreds.Forest guards were among those injured by the leopard and they were taken to the Sohna civil hospital. Residents of Mandawar, located at the foothills of Aravallis, spotted the 2.5-year-old leopard around 8 am after it was found crouching under a cot.While some immediately locked themselves up in their homes, several others pursued the wild cat with sticks, rods and axes. The villagers were quick to make a distress call to the Gurgaon Forest Department, and a team of nearly 10 was dispatched to the spot to tranquillize and capture the leopard.”The leopard did not attack anyone immediately. First it moved around the village, moving away from residents. It entered a cattle shed and later hid beside a nearby farmhouse. As the villagers closed in, it entered a nullah. By this time, the mob had grown in numbers and the leopard dashed towards them. Even our staff was beaten up by the villagers,” said MD Sinha, Conservator of Forests, Gurgaon circle.The leopard clawed at people and bit a few as it ran and climbed houses in the village. Soon, residents of neighbouring areas too joined and the Forest Department could not control the large mob. According to sources, as the leopard was about to attack one villager, the mob struck it on its head with axes and large sticks. It was overpowered and the spotted cat died on the spot.”Since the mob was out of control, there was no clear line of sight to aim the tranquillizer at the leopard. We also had difficulty retrieving the leopard’s body as villagers surrounded it,” added a forest official at the spot. The leopard’s body was sent for a post-mortem to the Sultanpur National Park and it was cremated soon after. The Forest Department has registered a case against unknown persons for killing the leopard, which is listed as a Schedule I endangered species under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.Encroachment of forest land and increasing human habitation near the Bandhwari-Mangar Bani forest of Aravallis are posing a threat to leopards, forest officials said. “While human life is certainly more important, we also need to curb the pressure on this dense and contiguous forest stretch,” added Sinha. The Bandhwari to Damdama forest, including Mangar Bani, is spread across more than 5,000 hectares on a 30-km stretch. While this stretch is home to an estimated 30 leopards, the Gurgaon forest circle confirmed through camera trap images the presence of five leopards in Gurgaon.

Bypolls takeaway: PM Modi emerges stronger from demonetisation purge

Conducted 10 days after the demonetisation drive and held across six states and one Union Territory, the bypolls were seen largely as a referendum on Prime Minister’s daring move. The results succinctly explain the high frustration levels of opposition parties who seem at their wits’ end to stop the Narendra Modi juggernaut.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. APPrime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

Some of the outcomes for 14 seats (four parliamentary and 10 Assembly) are still being updated but enough information has already emerged to draw the outline of the story.

And the story is that BJP continues to be a party on the rise. If the by-elections were a gauge of public mood on demonetisation, it seems to be firmly behind the party. And if the polls were a personal test for Modi, he has started on the right note.

In BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, the party retained Shahdol Lok Sabha and Nepanagar Assembly seats at the cost of Congress. According to news agency PTI, BJP’s Gyan Singh defeated Congress candidate Himadri Singh of Congress in Shahdol by a margin of over 60,000 votes. In the Nepanagar Assembly seat, BJP’s Manju Dadu defeated Congress rival Antar Singh Barde by a margin of 42,198 votes. The Shahdol Parliamentary seat fell vacant after the death of BJP’s Dalpat Singh Paraste.
In Assam, another BJP-ruled state, the party bagged both the Lok Sabha and Assembly seats. According to PTI, Pradan Barua retained the Lakhaimpur LS seat, defeating Congress’s Hema Prasanga Pegu by a massive 1,90,219 votes. The seat was vacated by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. BJP’s Mansing Rongpi, who had deserted the Congress in July, won the Baithalangso Assembly seat beating nearest Congress rival Ruponsing Ronghang by 16,600 votes.

In Arunachal Pradesh, BJP-backed Dasingu Pul, wife of former chief minister Kalikho Pul who committed suicide in August, won the Anjaw assembly seat by 944 votes beating Independent candidate Yompi Kri.

In Tripura, the CPIM-led Left Front retained one seat and wrested another from the Congress. CPM’s Biswajit Datta defeated TMC’s Manoj Das by 16,094 votes in Khowai while in Barjala, CPM youth leader Jhumu Sarkar defeated BJP’s Shista Mohan Das by 3,374 Votes.

In West Bengal, Trinamool Congress retained the Tamluk and Cooch Behar Lok Sabha and Monteshwar Assembly seats by huge margins, prompting Mamata Banerjee to say that the results were “a revolt against demonetisation”.
The Bengal CM’s comments are a stretch because if we look at the vote swing, as psephologist and CVoter founder Yashwant Deshmukh demonstrated on Twitter, the BJP with 21 percent votes has registered a positive swing of 10 percent relegating CPM, who suffered a massive downswing of 21 percent, to a miserable third place. Notwithstanding Mamata‘s bluster, BJP seems to have gained in Bengal.

But the story of the day came from North-East, where the BJP officially replaced the Congress as the dominant national force. Even as Tripura became Congress-mukt, despite failing to register a win the BJP gained a massive footprint with 20 percent positive swing.

BJP’s North-East conquest had started with a win in Assam where it unseated the Tarun Gogoi government and kingmaker Himanta Biswa Sarma showed he has not lost his touch. Lotus is blooming in both Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

The BJP has not only taken in its stride a hugely disruptive socio-economic step, it seems to have blossomed in spite of the inconveniences and hardships that have been unleashed due to the currency ban. That points to a deep-seated trust between the electorate and Modi, who had positioned the insanely risky manoeuvre as a morality test against corruption.

The result will relieve the PM. If a poll that took place within the most disruptive period brings such heartening results for BJP, Modi would be well within his rights to hope for a better political dividend in the long run.

The results proved that the lotus is now a truly pan-Indian force and enjoys the kind of momentum the Congress once did at the height of its popularity. The BJP is breaking new grounds, creating footprints where none existed and consolidating position where it had the advantage.

Democracy isn’t instant coffee, however. It would be churlish to interpret bypoll results solely through the prism of demonetisation.

The forces that worked behind BJP’s stunning rise are still at work. What should simultaneously please the party and worry its opponents is that Modi has hit such a sweet spot, he can afford to take even more risks. Economist Jean Dreze, a known critic of Narendra Modi, has slammed demonetisation as shooting a bullet at the tyres of a booming economy. If the PM manages to steer the economy to a path of growth and reap political dividends even with a flat tyre, the opposition will be left chasing his shadow.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 19:42 IST

Demonetisation: Opposition’s criticism of Modi govt irrational, writes JDU MP Harivansh

The demonetisation divide is disturbing.

Sitting on the opposite side of the treasury bench, it becomes a normal impulse to oppose the government. But moving beyond partisan politics, a few decisions need to be seen in the context of both their end purpose and the means employed, without divorcing one from the other. The recent decision by the BJP government to demonetise requires one such analysis.

Today, India is facing countless challenges; both internal and external. Externally, a major challenge is posed by increasing assertiveness of China, a country that started its development journey with us but is now challenging the world’s biggest superpower, the USA. It cannot be disputed that it was only after it became an economic super power that China’s presence started being felt on the global high table.

File image of JDU MP Harivansh. Screen grab from YouTube

File image of JDU MP Harivansh. Screen grab from YouTube

On 13 November, Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the operational activities of the strategic Gwadar Port, an important trade link between western China and the Arabian Sea. Gauging its strategic implications is not a tough job and is indeed a matter of concern for India. Fresh manoeuvring in the relationship of Bangladesh with China and Pakistan in the past few months compelled our defence minister to forge new ties with Bangladesh. The way India is being surrounded in the India Ocean also raises serious strategic concerns.

Without getting into the finer nuances of these issues, it is can be safely remarked that external challenges equal the internal ones, which are no less.

This country is of the youth. They are both our capital and strength. If we cannot provide employment to them, nation-building will not be possible. That is a categorical fact. The needs of our rapidly increasing population also need to be taken care of. Environment degradation is staring us in the face. We have mixed poison in the air and are inhaling it. Various reports have indicated how more people in India are dying than in China because of diseases caused by environmental degradation. It is not only impacting our health, it is impacting our society and our economy at large. If we don’t take strong steps in the economic realm, it is not very viable to expect the country to remain in its current shape.

Demonetisation and its desirability

Marx’s proposition that it is economic decisions that forge the historical narrative is so true and China is a living example of this. After Independence, the dream of making India great, a dream nurtured by the freedom fighters, was met with several roadblocks and the economic ones were the most gigantic among them.

To remove these roadblocks, it was only on two occasions that decisive steps — exuding full determination to bring a substantive change — were taken.

In 1969, the nationalisation of 14 banks by the Indira Gandhi government was a big step in regard to economic reforms. Also, the abolition of privy purses and nationalisation of coal mining in (1971-1973) was a decisive step that sent a very strong message to the people.

Again, decades of economic mismanagement pushed our economy to the wall compelling the PV Narasimha Rao government to initiate liberalisation and opening up of the economy in 1991.

The BJP government, while announcing the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on 8 November, joined the same line of reforms. Its consequences will be judged in time, but it can be safely said that it would be beneficial for the economy at large, given that it is taken to its logical conclusion by initiating more reforms. It is the sheer misfortune of this country that a decision that provides a direction to the country and determines it destiny is seen through a political prism.

Politics has become a 24-hour vocation for almost all the political parties. Every step is evaluated in terms of personal and political gain.

Of course, there are exceptions like Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar who chose to see it from a different perspective, not allowing myopic oppositional politics to colour his views. On the very next day after the demonetisation announcement, Nitish supported the move. The reason for his support was simple: Cleansing Indian polity of black influence.

I have earlier, in various discussions in Parliament talked about the Mumbai blasts of 1993. And I have also highlighted that in the same year the NN Vohra Committee submitted its report. The committee highlighted the problem of the criminalisation of politics and of the nexus among criminals, politicians and bureaucrats in India. It showed how this nefarious syndicate is destroying this country. It pointed out that this syndicate draws its strength from black money. The report was completely forgotten. We should deliberate upon implementing its recommendations.

While we kept talking about curbing black money, a new power-broking class like Ponty Chadha, Matang Singh and Abhishek Verma and a host of political people who still hold important posts in different political parties, has emerged. Their sole interest is to generate black money on which to thrive. These power brokers have permeated defence deals, major policy decisions and even in the justice delivery system.

Demonetisation is an important but small step to check these trends. To take it to its logical conclusion, the government has to strike on benami property, where most of the black money is invested.

Tough economic decisions are required to strengthen democracy. Nitish’s decision to ban liquor — estimated to cause a revenue loss of thousands of crores — was to benefit the people at the bottom of the social pyramid. And when this happens it strengthens the democratic ethos of the country. In 2005, Bihar was written off by the leading publications of the world such as The Economist, TIME and Newsweek. It was declared as a hopeless case. But the same Economist magazine in 2010 talked about its transformation and turnaround. It was the result of some very strong legal and economic steps, like speedy trials — wherein 90,000 criminals where convicted in record time — and sounding the bugle against benami properties of corrupt government officials and politicians.

It is assumed that in a democracy, strong steps cannot be taken with decisiveness. And the long-held image of India as ‘soft state’ allows the corrupt and the thugs to turn audacious enough to openly endorse, support and perpetrate wrong.

Today top economists are arguing that the current demonetisation might be problematic in the short run but it will be beneficial in the long. Consider this: In Khairagarh, Chattisgarh, after 29 years, people came out in the open to pay up tax worth Rs 50 lakh. This is a story of a small district in Chattisgarh. In Ranchi, after demonetisation, Rs 1.16 crore was deposited as municipal tax in one week against Rs 20 lakh a week in normal times.

A Congress member asked in Parliament as to what was so great about demonetisation. It has happened earlier too. Now consider this: In 1945, of a total Rs 1,235 crore worth of currency, Rs 143 crore (11.57 percent) was demonetised. In 1978, out of Rs 9,512 crore, Rs 146 crore (1.53 percent) was demonetised. In the current exercise, of the Rs 16,41,500 crore currency, Rs 14, 21,539 crore (86.6 percent consisting of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations) has been demonetised.

This is huge and unprecedented. In terms of the value of the currency, it is a whopping 73.656 percent more than the 1978 exercise. In terms of the number of notes that need to be removed, it is even more mind-boggling. Against around 10,00,000 (give or take a few lakh) notes taken out in 1978, this time around 22,56,00,00,000 (two thousand two hundred and fifty-six crore) pieces of currency will have to be taken out. That is, this time, the effort is 22,56,000 percent larger.

Now the government should ascertain the impact of demonetisation on Naxal funding, insurgency in Kashmir and the North East. It needs to enquire as to what extent the reports of note-burning like the one reported from Kolkata are true and who these people are. Information regarding this will justify the government’s move. And in due course, all efforts should be made to ensure that if we want to move towards a cashless economy, the infrastructure to support this dream is put in place quickly.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

What the Opposition should be doing now
Now what should be the role of the Opposition in this case? I think it should be of constructive deliberation. Rather than blindly opposing demonetisation, it is a moment when the Opposition should initiate a debate as to why in the last several decades, in spite of all the serious talk on the issues of corruption and black money, we failed to take any decisive steps.

In 1962, Lal Bahadur Shastri formed the Santhanam Committee to suggest ways to tackle corruption. While one of its recommendations did result in the setting up of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), several other important recommendations were never debated seriously. In the following years, numerous committees were formed on the same issue and several reports on corruption and black money were submitted to the government, but without any substantive outcome.

Corruption and black money was once a big issue. But over the decades, instead of sharpening the fight against corruption, ironically it got normalised by the shameless acceptance of its inevitability. In Jawaharlal Nehru’s first Cabinet, a minister named Keshav Dev Malaviya had to resign because he was accused of taking Rs 10,000 donation in elections.

Sankar Das, in his biography of Nehru, writes that in April 1963, certain charges of a minor nature were brought against KD Malaviya — a Central minister. Nehru asked SR Das, a Supreme Court judge, to ascertain whether there was a prima facie case against Malaviya. Nehru otherwise liked Malaviya because he had done useful work in helping develop oil prospecting in India. Das’ enquiry was not conducted openly; it was held in camera. However, Das found that there was a prima facie case against Malaviya on two out of six charges. Malaviya resigned.

This sort of aversion to corrupt practices has dissipated largely. It is an indisputable fact that black money is the direct outcome of corruption and there is a symbiotic relation between the two.

In the past 40 years, since the time I started observing social and political developments, the base and impact of black money has increased manifold. As members of the Opposition we need to look up how many committees were formed to check corruption and black money in last few decades and question why no steps were taken to implement their recommendations.

We need to ask if the governments till now were only interested in forming committees.

The World Bank has put the extent of India’s parallel economy at roughly 20 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP). The 2014 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections were evidently fought with black money. People like Baba Ramdev, Ram Jethmalani and Professor R Vaidyanathan were vocal about this. It can be nobody’s case that the host of social evils facilitated by black money can be allowed to remain. Now that the government has decided to demonetise currency, there is no point in irrationally criticising it.

Of course, some tough questions need to be asked of the government. But before that as an Opposition we should see that the government machinery ensures that people in the most distant places get the new notes in the shortest span of time.

Debate, dissect

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury speaks about demonetisation in the Rajya Sabha. PTI

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury speaks about demonetisation in the Rajya Sabha. PTI

Also, all the news that is emerging after demonetisation should be debated. A few days ago a leading financial paper reported that at the India-Bangladesh border, the fake currency racket has suffered a huge setback due to the demonetisation process. The same day Mint published a report headlined, ‘Hoarders woo friends to turn black money into white’. According to this report. big politicians and government officials are asking people to help them convert their black money into white for a commission.

Some other reports claimed that the government is monitoring the income of around 400 big jewellers. Given the fact that a 10-gram gold coin costs Rs 30,000, a briefcase full of such coins can hold black money worth crores. Another important concern is the way Jan Dhan accounts are being used to stash black money. According to a Times of India report, Rs 170 crore was deposited in these accounts in just three days. The government needs to probe all abnormal transactions in these accounts.

It is estimated that Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 crore of hawala money is with terrorist organisations. According to some estimates, terrorists funding in Kashmir rides on this money and following demonetisation, this has been severely affected.

All these news reports — both positive and negative — need to be debated and dissected by the Opposition to ensure the government follows through and taken demonetisation to its logical end. The extent of black money is vast. According to World Bank, it is around 20 percent of the total GDP.

The government estimates it at a far more conservative Rs 15-20 lakh crore which is less than 20 percent of GDP. What is the exact extent of this is tough to ascertain. Professor Arun Kumar, who has written a very important book on the subject, has, in his article published in Economic and Political Weekly (subscription required), put the figure at 62 percent of the GDP. That, too, in 2013.

It is true that farmers, small businessmen and traders, patients, passengers and common people are facing huge problems. But in a decision of this scale, it was bound to happen. An argument has been made that people should have been given some time before announcing demonetisation. It is common sense that if such a big decision had leaked even 15 minutes before earlier, it would have had the potential of destroying the economy. It is natural that with a population of around 1.3 billion, there will be challenges. The government needs to provide immediate succour to the people and move quickly to mitigate the adverse impact of this massive move.

This is a fight against organised corruption. Information regarding tax havens on foreign shores was given to this government time and again. In 2015, the Black Money Bill was introduced to bring back black money. But a measly Rs 2,500 crore was netted.

Then came the income declaration scheme. By September-end, only Rs 65,000 crore had been received. If the estimated black money is Rs 10-15 lakh crore and only Rs 65,000 crore is received, it surely calls for some serious steps.

All said and done, there is no denying the fact that demonetisation is an audaciously positive move. But it can reach its logical end only if it is accompanied by electoral reforms, confiscation of benami properties and stern action against those still in possession of wealth disproportionate to their known source of income. These objectives if attained substantially would set India on a different course. Politics can come later.

The author is a former editor of Prabhat Khabar, a Rajya Sabha MP from Bihar and JDU spokesperson. Views are personal.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 10:32 IST

J-K: Two terrorists gunned down by Army in Bandipora, combing operation underway

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two terrorists have been gunned down by the Indian army in Bandipora on Tuesday during a combing operation in the area.The Army and the police in a joint operation had cordoned off the area to smoke out the two terrorists who were holed up and had opened fire, thus engaging in a heavy gunbattle early in the morning. A combing operation is underway to ensure no untoward According to the Financial Express, the armed forces had received a tip-off about the presence of militants in the Hanjan area. The combing operation is still underway.Regions nearing the border in the state continue to remain tense. A civilian was injured on Monday as Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire twice in Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu and Kashmir, while a BSF head constable injured in Sunday’s cross-border firing succumbed to injuries. The civilian identified as Abdul Aziz, 50, a resident of Basoni village in Mendhar Tehsil of Poonch, was injured when a mortar shell landed near his house, a police officer said.Meanwhile, head constable of BSF Rai Singh (40), who was injured along with three other BSF jawans in last night’s shelling from the Pakistani side along the line of control, succumbed to his injuries on Monday morning in Rajouri sector. Singh, a resident of Jhajjar district of Haryana, is survived by wife, three sons and mother, he said. Since the surgical strike on terrorist launch pads in PoK on September 29, there have been a staggering 286 incidents of firing and shelling along the LoC and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistani troops, which have resulted in the death of 26 people, including 14 security personnel. With inputs from agencies.

Why can’t you shift tanneries outside Kanpur, NGT asks UP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for their lax attitude towards the health and environment hazards posed by the tannery hub at Jajmau, Kanpur, that grossly pollutes river Ganga. The tannery hub in Kanpur is perhaps the biggest in the country and accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the country’s leather exports. The NGT pulled up the authorities after they informed the bench that it will be difficult to shift the tanneries outside Kanpur, even as the industrial cluster discharges high amounts of carcinogenic chromium into the environment. The NGT’s principal bench is currently hearing a matter on industrial pollution in river Ganga, especially the highly polluted stretch between Haridwar and Kanpur. “Why can the industrial cluster not be shifted out of Kanpur? Should the industrial cluster take precedence over the fundamental right to environment and health?,”said NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar. The counsel for industries informed NGT that there are a total of 400 tanneries in Kanpur of which 211 units use chromium for tanning while 189 use vegetable tanning. Of the 211, 141 units have their own chromium recovery systems while 61 discharge their chromium into the common effluent treatment plant. Upon hearing that high concentration of chromium is discharged in spite of chromium recovery plants, the bench questioned both UP government and the industry counsel, “How is the chromium level high at discharge points. Either you are not operating chromium recovery plants or the units are not sending it to the CETP,” the bench said. The bench was informed that while mixing of sewage with wastewater from tanneries is one issue, the sub-optimal functioning of chromium recovery and treatment was another reason for high concentration of chromium. Chromium is used as a tanning agent to harden animal hides. It is carcinogenic and even as tanneries have their own chromium recovery or recycling systems, it is discharged into Ganga everyday. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, 9 million litres per day of industrial effluent is discharged into Ganga at Kanpur from the tanneries.

Tiger deaths see 25% increase from last year: Anil Madhav Dave

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tiger deaths have registered an increase of 25% this year, with the toll recorded at 98 compared to last year’s 78. The data was shared by Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha. The figure includes deaths due to natural causes and poaching, besides cases where the cause is unclear and under investigation.Instances of poaching too have doubled as compared to the previous year. 29 cases of poaching have been recorded till November, while last year a total of 14 cases were registered. According to the reply in Parliament, all tiger ranges barring Jharkhand have shown the tiger population either increasing or remaining stable.Jharkhand’s tiger population, however, has gone down from 10 to 3. The total number of tigers across 44 tiger reserves is at 1,586. The top five reserves in terms of tiger population are Jim Corbett (261 tigers), Bandipur (134 tigers), Kaziranga (115 tigers), Nagarahole (113 tigers), Kanha (90) tigers.

Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa shifted to normal ward from ICU

Sat, 19 Nov 2016-07:45pm , Chennai , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was on Saturday shifted from the ICU to the normal ward in Apollo Hospital.The official twitter account of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) tweeted this information. This is the first time that that Jayalalaithaa has been moved out of the ICU since she was admitted on September 22 with complaints of fever and dehydration.On November 13, she said she had taken ‘rebirth’and she is waiting to resume her duties after her complete recovery. According to reports, the normal ward will have all requisite facilities to attend to the medical needs of Jayalalithaa.

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