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From Demonetisation to Donald Trump: The biggest stories of 2016, as voted by our readers

2016 was a remarkable year for news.

Filled with stories painted in all sorts of hues, it’s unlikely there’s been a year that was as uplifting as it was saddening, as rewarding as it was frustrating, as exhilarating, as shocking.

Roughly 10 days ago, we began asking you what you thought was the biggest story of the year across a variety of sections.

Here’s what you thought:

Let’s start with Business, where your biggest story of the year — somewhat unsurprisingly — was demonetisation.

In a surprising move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on 8 November, and in the process, sucked out a major chunk of currency notes in the country. As there weren’t enough notes of smaller denominations to replace the banned ones, the move created an artificial cash crunch.

People queued up in front of banks and ATMs to withdraw cash and deposit old notes. As they are still struggling to come to terms with the situation, nobody has been able to fathom the real impact of the move on daily lives. Demonetisation will remain the biggest news story not only of 2016, but even in 2017.

Demonetisation, however, wasn’t just a business story. An all-encompassing story like that affected all walks of life.

Which is probably why you voted it the biggest story of the year in terms of General News too. But since that’s covered above, let’s look at the second biggest news story of the year: Donald Trump being elected President of the United States.

Reams of newsprint and hours of airtime have been devoted to just why this was such an earthshaking story. In fact, the very idea that a rank outsider — a joke candidate, if we’re being honest — at the start of the campaign trail could swat aside all opponents to become the (arguably) most powerful man in the world was laughable. And when it happened, it shook not just the US, but the world at large.

The road to the election was marked by mudslinging, insults, accusations, sexism and much more unpleasant stuff. Ever since it became official that Trump will take office in January 2017, the entire world has been wondering just what he will do when he enters the White House. It was both his journey to presidency and the concerns about what he will do next that made this such a massive story.

In Sports, it was the rise of PV Sindhu that found the most takers.

Sindhu became an overnight sensation after her stunning run at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she came away with the silver medal. Her incredible ability, combined with her perseverance, made her the nation’s next biggest sporting icon of 2016. After Rio, she went on to win the China Open, her first Super Series title, the Malaysia Masters, and finished as runner-up in the Hong Kong Open.

On her debut at the season-ending Dubai World Super Series Final, she reached the semis and even avenged her Olympic loss to Carolina Marin in the group stage. With these brilliant performances, she consolidated both her own and India’s position as a force to be reckoned with in international badminton. Her dominance also neatly plugged the gap left by an injured Saina Nehwal, and we hope she continues to shine even brighter in the years to come.

In the world of Technology, it was the exploding Samsung Note 7 that you picked.

The Note 7 was quite an interesting phone. In fact, we at Firstpost had a chance to use the smartphone for a short bit when it was announced in India and came away impressed. Soon after its announcement, the phablet had started selling in a few markets. Not even a month had passed and around 30 different reports of certain units catching fire began to trickle in. This turned into a deluge and the first stock for India was delayed.

Samsung even issued a statement confirming the battery malfunction issue. The company immediately began sending out replacement units to Note 7 consumers. Sadly, the second and even third replacement units were still catching fire. It was a complete disaster. The smartphone was banned from flights and announcements were made advising Note 7 users not to use the handset while travelling. Nothing screams bad PR like such public service announcements at the airport.

After numerous replacements, the company had no choice but to announce a global recall of the smartphone. One of the biggest in consumer electronics history. It sent out boxes to consumers asking them to return the handset, as it was a serious threat. It even announced and rolled out software updates to restrict battery charging. Eventually, the Note 7 had to be killed.

In the world of Entertainment, you voted for the ban on Pakistani artistes.

In the aftermath of the Uri terror attack, followed by the surgical strikes in September this year, various sections of the population demanded a ban on Pakistani artistes from the film industry. This meant that any impending film, concert or event featuring a Pakistani artiste or actor had no place in India. Some members of the Cinema Owners Exhibitors Association of India announced they wouldn’t release films featuring Pakistani artistes in four states — Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Karnataka.

The Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association also said that it had effectively banned any Pakistani artiste from India. This lead to a conflict in the release of Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. MNS chief Raj Thackeray took it upon himself to ensure this ban was followed. After much running around, and hush-hush conversations with the Maharashtra chief minister, the matter was finally resolved.

Which brings us to Social Media, where the most viral story of the year — as selected by you — was the visual of the Syrian boy covered in blood and dust.

Shared a million times over, this image of five-year old Omran Daqneesh emerged as the ultimate reminder of the horror and trauma thousands of people, especially children, face due to the Syrian civil war. Omran was one of five children wounded during a military strike.

Widely shared on social media, the photograph makes it impossible to forget little Omran in the ambulance, stunned by the bloody chaos. The video in which he is seen wiping dust and blood from his face is considered as one of the strongest visuals of the ravages of war in the past year.

And there you have it.

Those are the biggest stories of 2016, as voted by you.

Bring on 2017!

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 15:01 IST

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.

Jet Airways mishap: Prompt Navy response in evacuating on-board passengers helps avert ‘catastrophe’

Panaji: On Tuesday, Navy said its prompt response in rescuing passengers on-board the Mumbai-bound flight that veered off the runway at Dabolim Airport in Goa early on Tuesday morning, has averted the incident from turning into a “catastrophe”.

“The Navy responded within 15-20 minutes and all the passengers were evacuated safely out of the aircraft. It would have turned into a catastrophe had the Navy not acted promptly,” a Naval spokesperson said.

The incident took place at around 5 am when Jet Airways flight 9W 2374 that had arrived from Dubai and was bound for Mumbai, skidded off the runway while aligning for the take off.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The Goa airport is located in Indian Navy’s facility, INS Hansa in Vasco town, nearly 25 km from Panaji.

As many as 15 passengers suffered “minor injuries and fractures” during the evacuation process, Navy sources said.

“Few guests have sustained minor injuries during the evacuation process and medical assistance is being coordinated by the Jet Airways team and the airport authorities,” the airlines said in a statement.

Beside 154 passengers, there were seven crew members on board.

Meanwhile, the runway was made available for flight operations at 9 am, hours before the initial deadline of 12.30 pm.

Soon after the incident, Navy officials had cordoned off the aircraft that had tilted towards its front end, while the passengers were being alighted.

“After the passengers were evacuated, the operation to rescue the aircraft started. The damage to the runway was also accessed by a team of Indian Navy and Airport Authority of India officials,” the spokesperson said.

“There was lot of muck on the runway as the flight was grounded on the sides of the runway,” he said.

During the rescue operation hours, a chartered flight was diverted to Bangalore, while an Oman Air flight that was scheduled to arrive in morning, was diverted to Mumbai, he said.

A total of seven scheduled flights that were to land at the airport were cancelled, while one scheduled flight and another chartered flight remained grounded. The two aircrafts will take off later during the day.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 11:43 IST

Removed after IT raids, Rama Mohana Rao says, I am Chief Secy of Tamil Nadu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu’s top bureaucrat P. Rama Mohana Rao who was removed after tax raids at his home and office on Tuesday, said that he is still the Chief Secretary of the state, and claimed that his life was in danger.Speaking to the media, Rama Mohana Rao said, “I will hand over to you the panchanama of what income tax department has found in my house. I was under house arrest. It is an unconstitutional assault on the office of Chief Secretary. I am still the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu.”After the raids, senior IAS officer Girija Vaidyanathan was appointed as the Chief Secretary of the state on Thursday (December 22), replacing Rao.Stating that when the CRPF entered his house, his name was not there in the search warrant, he added, “The search warrant had name of my son. They have found nothing, no incriminate documents were found, no secret chamber.””At gun point, CRPF entered my house, my son’s house. Why did they do? I may be a big hurdle for many. I am being targeted. I have fear, my life is in danger,” he said.Rama Mohana Rao also said that they (government) had no guts to serve him with the copy of transfer order.Questioning where the state government was and who gave the CRPF the go-ahead to enter his house, he asked, “If madam (Jayalalithaa) had been alive, would this happen to Tamil Nadu? What about people’s security?”

Troubles of honest people to reduce, dishonest to increase after December 30: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday warned of ruin for the dishonest after the expiry of December 30 deadline for depositing scrapped currency and said they should not underestimate the mood of the country against corruption. “Dishonest people, you should not underestimate the mood of 125 crore people. You will have to be afraid of it… Time has come for ruin of dishonest people. This is a cleanliness campaign,” Modi said. “After 50 days (from November 8), the troubles of honest people will start to reduce and the problems of dishonest people will begin to increase,” Modi said.The Prime Minister was addressing a gathering at MMRDA ground in the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai after laying foundation of various big ticket infrastructure projects. “We took a big decision against black money and corruption on November 8 and 125 crore Indians endured pain but did not stop supporting me. I want to assure people of the country that this battle won’t end till we win it,” he said.Hitting out at parties opposing demonetization, he said, “this is not a simple battle. Those who have consumed malai (cream) did not leave any stone unturned to foil this (demonetization).” “The corrupt have made all efforts to defeat the decision (demonetization). They even thought of managing bank officials to get their black money converted into white. And that’s how many of them got caught,” he said. “I said there will be pain for 50 days (after demonetization announcement),” he said, adding people are ready to bear the pain in the country’s interest. “People have borne the troubles in the country’s interest and are willing to do so in future too,” the PM said.
ALSO READ PM Modi lays Foundation for Rs 3,600-crore grand memorial for Shivaji MaharajModi alleged that those who benefited from corruption during the earlier regimes “in last 70 years” did all they could to ensure the demonetization move by him does not work. “Those who are used to a certain type corrupt practices for last 70 years, will have to pay the price of their acts,” he said. “Time has changed and after a gap of 30 years, a government with full mandate is in power. One should not forget it. The country will change, will move forward and will hold its head high before the world,” the PM said.Modi, who earlier laid the foundation of the Shivaji Maharaj memorial off Mumbai coast, said the Maratha king was a multi-faceted personality “which inspires us” “I am grateful to the Maharashtra government that I got the chance to perform jalpujan of Shivaji Maharaj,” the PM said. When the memorial is complete, people will admire the iconic building, he said, adding Shivaji Maharaj “is an inspiration for all of us” and remains a torch bearer of good governance.
ALSO READ Mumbai: Modi announces longest sea bridge, two metro lines project worth Rs 1.06 lakh crore”If India is projected in the right manner, it has the potential to attract global tourism,” he said. “After independence, had we adopted the path of development, the problems we face today wouldn’t have been there,” Modi said.Development should be sustainable and should help the poor realise their dreams, Modi said. The PM also dwelt on the various development initiatives of his government. “Our efforts is to ensure affordable medicine to the poor. When we came to power, there were 18,000 villages without power. We decided to provided electricity to them in 1000 days,” Modi said.
ALSO READ As Modi-Uddhav shares stage, BJP-Sena strains comes to foreShiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party has had strained ties with senior alliance partner BJP, also addressed the gathering. However, as Thackeray began to speak, he was greeted with shouts of ‘Modi, Modi’ from BJP workers in audience. “I extend my best wishes for memorial construction and hope that it gets completed within stipulated period,” he said. “I have come here to pay obeisance to Shivaji Maharaj,” Thackeray said, adding the memorial should be built as strong as the Sindhudurg fort, built by the Maratha king.The Sena leader also asked the government to “free forts in Maharashtra from the shackles of the Archaeological Survey of India”. Union minister Nitin Gadkari described Modi as the biggest “Shivbhakt” (devotee of Shivaji).Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the memorial will be the tallest in the world. “If the US is known for the Statue of Liberty, Maharashtra will be known as the land of Shivaji Maharaj,” the CM said. Justifying the state government’s decision to go ahead with the memorial despite opposition from various quarters, including environmentalists and activists, Fadnavis said, “This memorial is to remind people not to forget our glorious past. This memorial will inspire every person to work for good governance.”

I wanted to quit earlier, PM Modi asked me to carry on, says Najeeb Jung

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Najeeb Jung on Friday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a day after springing a surprise by tendering resignation as Delhi’s Lt Governor even as he said that he had wanted to quit earlier but was asked by the PM to continue.Jung reached the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) at South Block here around 11.30 AM and spent a little over an hour inside.Sources said it was a courtesy meeting. on Thursday, in his brief resignation statement, Jung had thanked Modi for his help and cooperation.Rejecting speculation that he quit as pressure was mounting on him, Jung was quoted as saying by NDTV that there is no politics behind his decision and that he wanted to quit earlier as well.”I had offered to resign as I had been appointed by the previous UPA government, but the PM asked me to carry on. After three years, I requested the PM to relieve me but he asked me to carry on,” he said.
ALSO READ AAP, Cong should not do politics on Najeeb Jung’s resignation: Kiren Rijiju”After three and a half years, I requested the PM again on Tuesday that I would like to resign on personal grounds,” Jung was quoted as saying.Jung also said that he would like to write a book.
ALSO READ Najeeb calls it quits, speculation over new ‘Jung’ beginsOver the last two years, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has time and again taken on Jung over his perceived closeness to Modi.Earlier in the day, Kejriwal had an hour-long meeting with Jung over breakfast during which the latter reminisced their nearly two-year-long association in governing the city besides discussing other issues.
ALSO READ Arvind Kejriwal meets Najeeb Jung, says he resigned due to personal reasonsThe Delhi Chief Minister said he was invited by the Lt Governor for the breakfast meeting that came a day after Jung’s sudden resignation from the post.Sources said Jung and Kejriwal spoke about the bitter- sweet times and spent some light moments.Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also called on Jung.Asked why Jung quit, Kejriwal said, “He resigned due to personal reasons.”Though publicly Kejriwal had made stinging attacks on Jung on many occasions, both of them are known to share a cordial relationship at personal level.Asked about his meeting with Jung, Sisodia said, “We had a very good chat. He shared memories of the last two years and also of his days as a bureaucrat. He said that he was mulling quitting over the last one year.”He wants to spend time with his family and focus on academics. He said that he could not quit due to things like chikungunya (outbreak in the city).”Sisodia said he shared a “good rapport” with Jung and thanked him for his cooperation especially in areas of education. “We will work for the people if Delhi irrespective of circumstances be that easy or tough.”On who could be next LG of Delhi, the Deputy Chief Minister said many names are doing the rounds but nothing official has come up.Sources close to Jung had said yesterday his resignation has nothing to do with his acrimonious relationship with the AAP government over matters of jurisdiction and he was contemplating to quit for last few months.The Chief Minister was in Ranchi yesterday when the news of Jung’s resignation broke.

Delhi murder: 17-year-old girl shot dead in Najafgarh area; suspect absconding

A 17-year-old girl was allegedly shot dead by her male friend right outside her house in Delhi’s Najafgarh area on Tuesday night, reports said.

According to PTI, the victim and her two friends, Shubham and Yogesh had gone to Rajouri Garden to have lunch on Tuesday. Anxious about her whereabouts, the victim’s mother called her around 7.30 pm. “While coming back they stopped at Dwarka for shopping. The girl’s mother called her around 7.30 pm,” said a senior police officer.

The two boys came to drop her off. After reaching her place, one of her friends came out of the car while the victim and her friend Shubham remained inside the car, the policeman said.

Her mother told police that she suddenly heard the sound of a bullet and saw her daughter lying in a pool of blood, he added.

Shubham fled from the spot. The victim’s mother and her friend Yogesh took her to a hospital where she was declared brought dead, police said.

The murder weapon has been recovered. Shubham and his family are absconding. The Police is trying to ascertain the motive behind the murder.

Further details are awaited.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 11:32 IST

10 days after kidney transplant, Sushma Swaraj discharged from AIIMS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was discharged from AIIMS on Monday, 10 days after she underwent a kidney transplant at the premier hospital. Doctors decided to discharge her after all her latest biochemical tests were found normal including kidney function. “Sushma Swaraj has been discharged from Hospital at 7 PM after her postoperative uneventful recovery following kidney transplant operation on December 10,” the AIIMS said in a statement.Union Health Minister JP Nadda, who is President of AIIMS, visited Swaraj before her discharge and expressed satisfaction about her recovery. A team of doctors will continue to review Swaraj’s progress over next several weeks, AIIMS Director MC Misra said expressing happiness over her recovery.64-year-old Swaraj has been advised to restrict visitors for next three months at home and office to minimise the chances of infection. “A team of specialists, which included Transplant Surgeons, Nephrologist, Pulmonologist, Endocrinologist reviewed her on Monday for her post discharge advice regarding medications,” the AIIMS said.It further said necessary detailed advice has been given pertaining to her nutrition and diet, physiotherapy and fluid intake. Nadda also met the team of doctors and nurses who treated Swaraj and congratulated and complimented them for care provided to her. As no suitable donor was available in the immediate family, the transplant was done with the kidney from an unrelated donor and clearance for it was given by the Authorisation Committee of AIIMS.Swaraj has been suffering from diabetes for quite sometime and after it was found that she had renal failure, she was put on maintenance dialysis. On November 16, Swaraj had tweeted that she was in AIIMS because of kidney failure. Swaraj, who has been in and out of the hospital for last few months, was admitted to AIIMS on November 7. After Swaraj made public her health condition on social media, several people offered their kidneys to her.

Demonetisation challenge: Govt underestimating ‘digital ignorance’ among people is a big mistake

On 8 November, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, it was projected and seen as a big blow to unaccounted wealth and black money. In the following weeks as the images of long queues across the country started emerging; challenging the “good intention” of the government, another narrative was put in place to soothe the common man who was at the receiving end.

On 13 November, the prime minister while speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Mopa airport in Goa, made an emotional appeal to the citizens to bear the “pain” for “50 days” to help him deliver the “India of your dreams”.

An emotional Modi had said, “I promise you, I will give you the India of your dreams… If someone faces a problem, I also feel the pain. I understand their problem but this is only for 50 days.”

A narrative was build: The pain that people were facing was short-term which will yield wondrous long-term results. As weeks passed, demonetisation which was essentially seen as an attack on black money, was gradually projected as an attempt to make India a cashless economy.

On 15 December Modi came up with two schemes named Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana to incentivise cashless transactions. In a series of tweets, Modi said the schemes “will further incentivise digital payments” and it would be a big boost in the move towards “cashless and corruption-free India”.

The two schemes would cover small transactions between Rs 50 and Rs 3,000 to encourage every section of the society to move towards digital payments.

India is now being seen as moving towards a cashless economy. It raises an important question: Are people prepared to embrace this new way of life?

Consider these scenarios of people juggling with their new life in a ‘cashless economy’ that also highlight the sticking points in our digital edifice. 

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Case 1: In Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur district, a man enters a store selling VIP bags. After selecting his product, he asks the shop owner whether he accepts debit or credit cards. The store owner reluctantly replies in affirmative and takes the card from the customer. He swipes the card and punches the amount. The bill is produced and it is a happy ending.

Welcome to ‘Digital India’.

But the story has an anticlimax. As the man leaves the store, he is stopped by the owner. The store owner reveals to the customer that instead of the actual payment of Rs 6,600, by mistake he punched only Rs 66. The customer looks upset and amused at the same time. He asks a simple question: What if by mistake one extra zero was pressed?

The store owner replies, “This is new to us. You cannot expect us to learn all this in a day. It has been thrust upon us without giving us the time to get use to it.”

Case 2: Atul, who runs a canteen in one of the offices in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, is struggling daily to get stable supply. He says, “Paytm and all are good, but there are many issues. Firstly, while I can accept the payment through Paytm, not everyone, from a vegetable seller to the milkman, knows about this. They just want cash.”

He adds, “I too am facing problem with Paytm. It allows me to transfer up to Rs 25,000 in a month whereas I am receiving much more in my account. As I cannot transfer the rest of the money in my bank account, I am also incurring loss of interest (Paytm website confirms this cap)

Case 3: A person books a private airlines flight using Paytm wallet and his ICICI debit card. The flight gets cancelled due to bad weather. The man calls up the airlines for the refund. He is told that as he has made the booking through a travel portal, he should contact the portal for the refund. Fair enough. The man calls up the portal and is told by the portal that as he has made the payment through Paytm, he should contact Paytm for the same. The man calls Paytm and is informed that the payment was made using ICICI debit card so he should call the bank. The bank, in turn, asks the customer to call Paytm. After much of argument, Paytm accepts that the amount will be refunded in 72 hours.

A happy ending may be? No, this story too has an anticlimax. Four days have passed and the man is waiting for his refund, frantically making calls to all the parties.

All the above mentioned cases point to one thing: The unpreparedness of the economy to go the cashless way. And in this regard, sudden push by the government towards cashless economy has left great number of people; living in small cities clueless, for whom digital transaction is still a “thing of tomorrow”.

The Indian Express reported on 20 December that Arundhati Bhattacharya, head of the State Bank of India (SBI) has stressed that government “should find ways to disincentivise cash transactions, such as imposing a charge or levy above a specified limit or threshold, after normalcy is restored in banking operations following the demonetisation move.”

The report stated, “According to Bhattacharya, if India wants to de-emphasise cash, there should not only be an incentive for people to move towards a cashless economy but also a disincentive for transacting excessively in cash, while leaving out small-ticket transactions”.

While strong measures like the one suggested by the SBI chief or the limit on free cash withdrawal from ATMs have indeed pushed people to go for digital transitions, the problem faced by them in the last one month is due to the sudden and large scale change in their transaction behaviour that demonetisation demands.

The underlying fact remains that underestimating digital ignorance among people was a big mistake of the government and the same is posing challenge to its well-intentioned decision of demonetisation .

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 19:48 IST

PM Modi, Tajikistan President Rahmon hold bilateral talks, agree to work together on trade through Iran’s Chabahar Port

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon issued a joint press statement after holding delegation level talks in New Delhi to discuss bilateral relations and issues of mutual interests. After the talks, the two sides are expected to sign agreements in various fields. Addressing the press, PM Modi said, “Tajikistan is a valued friend and strategic partner in Asia. Our strategic partnership is built on a foundation of mutual respect, trust and shared interests in regional security and development. President Rahmon and I had fruitful discussions earlier today.”Describing the relationship between the two countries as a “rewarding partnership”, the PM said, “President and I agreed on the need to increase the scope and scale of our economic engagement especially trade and investment traffic.”Touching upon the importance of peace in Afghanistan for the region, Modi said, “The threat from terrorism endangers not just our 2 countries. It casts a long shadow of violence and instability over the entire region.”Modi said that the two countries would work together on trade and transit linkages through Chabahar Port in Iran.President Rahmon is on a five day visit to India from 14th of this month. This is his sixth visit to India. During his last visit to India in 2012, the two countries elevated their bilateral relations to the level of a long-term strategic partnership.Bilateral relations span cooperation in a wide spectrum of areas – political, economic, health, human resources development, defence, counter-terrorism, science and technology, culture and tourism.Read the full joint statement here.

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.

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.

Bengaluru: Youth kills Flipkart delivery man for Rs 12,000 smartphone

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 22-year-old gym trainer allegedly killed a 29-year-old Flipkart delivery man in in order to steal a smartphone, reports NDTV. The incident happened on December 9, 2016 in Bengaluru.Varun Kumar, the 22-year-old trainer ordered the phone from Flipkart and asked it to be delivered at his gym. When the delivery man Nanjundaswamy came to the gym he was attacked by the trainer with an iron rod and a flower pot. After he lost his consciousness, Kumar slit his throat and dragged his body to the basement cellar.He kept the phone worth Rs 12,000 and then stole other phones too from Nanjundaswamy.The police say that Varun had planned the murder, possibly with help. He had sneaked the kitchen knife to the gym.The police was alerted after Nanjundaswamy’s family filed a missing person’s complaint as he didn’t come home after two days.The police traced the last delivery address and found his body in the gym cellar. They were able to pin Varun to the murder as he did not opened the gym following the murder. He was arrested this week.

Uttar Pradesh: Man arrested for raping and murdering nine-year-old girl

Mathura: One person was arrested from Hathkauli village in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, for raping and murdering a nine-year- old girl, police said on Wednesday.

Indrajit, who is in his 40’s, kidnapped and raped the girl, who was his neighbour, on Monday, SSP Mohit Gupta said.

Indrajit has confessed to his crime, SSP said, adding that he was arrested near Hathkauli village falling under Baldeo police station.

Indrajit confessed to his crime before the press, saying, “After alluring the girl I took her to a mustard field near Yamuna Expressway and murdered her, after raping her.”

SSP Gupta said that the accused was earlier trying to dodge the police by pretending to help in the girl’s search operation, but when he suddenly disappeared, police became suspicious of his involvement.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 09:10 IST

Uttar Pradesh: Man arrested for raping and murdering nine-year-old girl in Mathura

Mathura: One person was arrested from Hathkauli village in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, for raping and murdering a nine-year- old girl, police said on Wednesday.

Indrajit, who is in his 40’s, kidnapped and raped the girl, who was his neighbour, on Monday, SSP Mohit Gupta said.

Indrajit has confessed to his crime, SSP said, adding that he was arrested near Hathkauli village falling under Baldeo police station.

Indrajit confessed to his crime before the press, saying, “After alluring the girl I took her to a mustard field near Yamuna Expressway and murdered her, after raping her.”

SSP Gupta said that the accused was earlier trying to dodge the police by pretending to help in the girl’s search operation, but when he suddenly disappeared, police became suspicious of his involvement.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 09:10 IST

Why denying armoured corps its importance would be an error in late announcement of new army chief

Whenever anyone criticises Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for either his intemperate remarks or his shabby sartorial inelegance and total lack of occasion there is invariably a group of people who rush to his rescue.

This is understandable because we are, as a nation, weaned on the equation that those who are ‘simple’ (read sloppy) or disheveled and scruffy are good people at heart. This is integral to our categorisation of the human race and any effort to be smart or display a level of is indicative of a certain corruption of values. Simplicity becomes a cloak for laziness, sloth, even casual indifference.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

The same sort of casual indifference that marks the attitude towards the announcement of the next Chief of the Army Staff. General Dalbir Singh Suhag, who himself, was appointed after much stress, retires at the end of the month and that is scarcely more than two weeks to go.

In a brilliant assessment of the subject of four-star appointments by Prakash Nanda in Firstpost on the inordinate delay, he has traced the frequent rocks strewn in the path of the handing over in all three services. The fact that the successor is announced at least 10 weeks before the date of retirement has been conveniently ignored because, of course, the defence ministry is clearly not cognizant of this fact. The thing is when the announcement is made automatically there is a shuffling at the Army Commander level and the domino principle kicks in. Immediately, the senior ranks know who the next leaders of their armies and Corps are going to be. The deck so to speak is reshuffled.

It is customary in India to give the fourth star to the seniormost army commander. After all, if his Annual Confidential Reports are without any negatives Indian convention follows the British model and it cannot find fault with that aspirant. After all, there is no further gauge to measure his caliber. In the US the president can appoint and leapfrog several Generals to announce a successor.

To keep the obvious choice in suspense is to inject politics into the issue and needlessly bring about speculation that is detrimental to the morale of the force and fuels rumours. At present Lt General Praveen Bakshi, GOC-in-C Eastern Command is the frontrunner and the automatic choice. The indication that since he is an Armoured Corps officer (tanks and missile regiments) there is uncertainty over his being the chief a position held usually by an infantry officer.

This is such balderdash it is unbelievable. We have had Signals officers who were Army Commanders. The Armoured Corps is not only held in the highest esteem it is an elite arm of the Service and has a history of over 250 years with regiments like Deccan Horse, Scinde Horse, Poona Horse, Hodson’s Horse, the 3,7, 8 Cavalries and Central India Horse that can display medals of gallantry in battle way back to the early 18th century. The much-touted battle of Basantar, the biggest since Rommel, was an Armoured Corps affair and if he denied command over the Army on these grounds it will be a huge pity.

If Lt General Bakshi is denied his legitimate claim to the fourth star it will also be a bruising of the huge store held in the capabilities of our men in tanks.

The black berets are the best.

Honestly, this is so indicative of civilian ignorance of how the armed forces operate that they would play tiddlywinks with such a sensitive matter.

Even the infantry would be appalled if that was a reason applied to the Parrikar decision to bypass the Eastern Command chief while appointing the vice-chief.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 21:41 IST

Vasundhara Raje reshuffles cabinet, six new ministers introduced

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In her second cabinet reshuffle, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje inducted six new ministers on Saturday including a Dalit woman MLA, elevated two state ministers to Cabinet rank and dropped two state ministers. Five Parliamentary Secretaries were also appointed separately.With two years to go for assembly elections in the state, Raje said the second cabinet reshuffle was an exercise to work with a “full team” to complete the government’s goals in the remainder of its tenure. BJP MLAs Srichand Kriplani (Nimbahera) and Jaswant Singh Yadav (Behror) were inducted as Cabinet rank ministers while Banshidhar (Khandela), Dalit face Kamsa Meghwal (Bhoplagarh), Dhan Singh Rawat (Banswara) and Sushil Katara were inducted as State Ministers.State Ministers Ajay Singh and Baboo Lal Verma were also elevated to Cabinet rank while Jeetmal Khant and Arjun Lal Garg were dropped. They tendered their resignation which was forwarded to the Governor Kalyan Singh. The Governor administered oath to the 8 ministers (6 new and 2 elevated) at a ceremony in Raj Bhawan.The council of ministers, apart from the chief minister, now has 29 members with 17 Cabinet and 12 State Ministers. The portfolios will be announced soon. Before the reshuffle, there were 13 cabinet and 12 state ministers. After the swearing-in ceremony of the newly-inducted ministers was over, five Parliamentary Secretaries were also appointed by the chief minister.Shatrughan Gautam (Kekri), Kailash Verma (Bagru), Narendra Nagar (Khanpur), Omprakash (Mahwa), and Bhima Bhai (Kushalgarh) were appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries. Chief Minister Raje administered them oath in her office. “Team Rajasthan is working good and now this is an opportunity to work with the full team. In the last two years, the full team will work with dedication which will benefit all,” Raje told reporters at Raj Bhawan.Newly-inducted Cabinet minister Jaswant Yadav said he would fulfill all the responsibilities given to him. “I am thankful to the chief minister and the party’s leadership for giving me this chance. I will do my best and work to make the state progress and reach new heights and will discharge my duties to the fullest,” Yadav said after taking oath.The members of council of ministers and newly inducted ministers were asked to remain present in Jaipur for a meeting on Saturday. The ministers and MLAs started visiting the official residence of the chief minister where they were informed about the development. After their meeting with the chief minister at noon, the six MLAs left the her residence for the BJP’s state headquarters where they were felicitated and garlanded by the party’s state president Ashok Parnami and other leaders before the swearing-in ceremony.This is the second cabinet reshuffle since Vasundhara Raje was sworn-in as the chief minister on December 13, 2013. The first reshuffle took place in October 2014.

AgustaWestland scam LIVE: SP Tyagi in Patiala House Court, CBI seeks 10-dau custody for all 3 accused

How was Tyagi involved in the scam?

According to an earlier report by Firstpost, the Indian Air Force had urged the Defence Ministry to purchase helicopters that were capable of flying in high-altitude areas like Siachen and Tiger Hill. After careful evaluation of the AW101, it was ascertained that it was not capable of flying 6,000 m and above and could only reach up to 4,572 feet.

The alleged middleman in the deal, Guido Haschke, revealed that while AW101 did not meet the technical requirements of the IAF, the deal was signed after
Haschke tweaked the contract with the help of his Indian contacts.

​AgustaWestland allegedly paid €30 million in bribes, of which €20 million was routed through Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

A CBI report that came in later said that prior to Tyagi being appointed as Air Force chief, the IAF had ‘’vehemently opposed’’ the lowering of the altitude requirement. This changed after Tyagi came into the picture and the IAF “conceded to reduce” altitude requirements, allowing AgustaWestland to re-enter the bidding process.

Initial investigations by the Italian prosecutor said that Tyagi had personally met Haschke before, and that the bribery took place via Tyagi’s cousins Julie, Sandeep and Dosca. Tyagi, however, has denied any claims of having met Haschke.

In investigations by the Milan Court of Appeals, particularly in its 225-page judgment, Tyagi’s name appeared more than once. The judgment said, “So, in the absence of contrary indications, it must be concluded that the reward bestowed to ‘Tyagi family’ for their work in support of AW in relation to the race of the Government (of) India for military helicopters amounts to €10,500,000.”

AgustaWestland scam LIVE: CBI to seek 14-day remand in custody for SP Tyagi and other accused

How was Tyagi involved in the scam?

According to an earlier report by Firstpost, the Indian Air Force had urged the Defence Ministry to purchase helicopters that were capable of flying in high-altitude areas like Siachen and Tiger Hill. After careful evaluation of the AW101, it was ascertained that it was not capable of flying 6,000 m and above and could only reach up to 4,572 feet.

The alleged middleman in the deal, Guido Haschke, revealed that while AW101 did not meet the technical requirements of the IAF, the deal was signed after
Haschke tweaked the contract with the help of his Indian contacts.

​AgustaWestland allegedly paid €30 million in bribes, of which €20 million was routed through Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

A CBI report that came in later said that prior to Tyagi being appointed as Air Force chief, the IAF had ‘’vehemently opposed’’ the lowering of the altitude requirement. This changed after Tyagi came into the picture and the IAF “conceded to reduce” altitude requirements, allowing AgustaWestland to re-enter the bidding process.

Initial investigations by the Italian prosecutor said that Tyagi had personally met Haschke before, and that the bribery took place via Tyagi’s cousins Julie, Sandeep and Dosca. Tyagi, however, has denied any claims of having met Haschke.

In investigations by the Milan Court of Appeals, particularly in its 225-page judgment, Tyagi’s name appeared more than once. The judgment said, “So, in the absence of contrary indications, it must be concluded that the reward bestowed to ‘Tyagi family’ for their work in support of AW in relation to the race of the Government (of) India for military helicopters amounts to €10,500,000.”

AgustaWestland scam LIVE: Ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi’s arrest sparks Congress-BJP war of words

How was Tyagi involved in the scam?

According to an earlier report by Firstpost, the Indian Air Force had urged the Defence Ministry to purchase helicopters that were capable of flying in high-altitude areas like Siachen and Tiger Hill. After careful evaluation of the AW101, it was ascertained that it was not capable of flying 6,000 m and above and could only reach up to 4,572 feet.

The alleged middleman in the deal, Guido Haschke, revealed that while AW101 did not meet the technical requirements of the IAF, the deal was signed after
Haschke tweaked the contract with the help of his Indian contacts.

​AgustaWestland allegedly paid €30 million in bribes, of which €20 million was routed through Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

A CBI report that came in later said that prior to Tyagi being appointed as Air Force chief, the IAF had ‘’vehemently opposed’’ the lowering of the altitude requirement. This changed after Tyagi came into the picture and the IAF “conceded to reduce” altitude requirements, allowing AgustaWestland to re-enter the bidding process.

Initial investigations by the Italian prosecutor said that Tyagi had personally met Haschke before, and that the bribery took place via Tyagi’s cousins Julie, Sandeep and Dosca. Tyagi, however, has denied any claims of having met Haschke.

In investigations by the Milan Court of Appeals, particularly in its 225-page judgment, Tyagi’s name appeared more than once. The judgment said, “So, in the absence of contrary indications, it must be concluded that the reward bestowed to ‘Tyagi family’ for their work in support of AW in relation to the race of the Government (of) India for military helicopters amounts to €10,500,000.”

Karunanidhi discharged from hospital; advised rest

Thu, 8 Dec 2016-12:16am , Chennai , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK chief M Karunanidhi was discharged on Wednesday from a private hospital in Chennai after a week-long treatment for nutritional and hydration support.The 93-year-old former Tamil Nadu chief minister was admitted to the Kauvery Hospital on December 1 after being treated at home for a drug-induced allergy. “After medical treatment, he has improved substantially and was discharged from the hospital today,” Kauvery Hospital Executive Director Dr S Aravindan said.In a statement, he said the DMK chief’s vital signs and bio-chemical parameters have normalised now. “He has been advised rest and Kauvery Hospital will continue to assess and provide necessary medical and nursing care to facilitate his recuperation at home,” he said. The drug-induced allergy has virtually kept Karunanidhi out of public activities for the past one month.

Jayalalithaa dead: Poes Garden was her closet of comfort, her chamber of secrets

The lane off the ever-buzzing Cathedral Road is mostly quiet. Save for the police post right at the entrance, the road, dotted with rambling bungalows and high-end apartments, is remarkably nondescript.

That this street leads to one of the most well-known addresses in the State, Veda Nilayam, the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa is both surprising and revealing.

Jayalalithaa’s residence Veda Nilayam at Poes Garden. Image courtesy: NewsToday

And Veda Nilayam itself (36, Poes Garden, Chennai – 60086), standing as a silent sentinel to much of the politics that has unravelled in this State for the better of the last 35 years, is an interesting paradox. Much like its famed occupant. It has been part and parcel of Jayalalithaa’s ups and downs through her tempestuous life and times. It was her closet of comfort. Her chamber of secret. Taking stoically, in its concrete cloisters, her many emotional mood swings.

Got up in 1967, the house carries her mother’s name (Vedavalli alias Sandhya). It was Jayalalithaa’s tribute to her mother. It was her mother who introduced her to films, and from Ammu to Amma of the entire State, Veda Nilayam provided the backup and bulwark to her phenomenal growth.

To be sure, Jayalalithaa also had the ornate and swanky “Siruthavur bungalow” and the equally spectacularly sprawling and splendid Kodanadu Estate, but it is into Veda Nilayam she retreated whenever she needed emotional sustenance. The Siruthavur bungalow and Kodanadu estates were properties she held; Veda Nilayam was her home in an all encompassing sort of way. She was safe as long she was in there. All guardian angels keeping a strong vigil on her safety and health. After all, that house was her mother. Her troubles were only when she was in the outside world.

There are portions of the building that visitors and guests have never been privy to, much like the emotional recesses in her mind that no one else was aware of. What we mostly saw from outside of the building — beautiful, imposing, impressive, stylish, multi-functional — camouflaged the many interiors that we can only imagine was verily a metaphor for Jayalalithaa.

And on this day, the nooks and crannies of the house will surely be crying. Its owner won’t return to its comforting embrace anymore.

A home, from on, will just be an address.

The author is editor of News Today, a Chennai eveninger

By arrangement with

First Published On : Dec 6, 2016 14:03 IST

Hyderabad Police detains five people with Rs 95 lakh in new currency

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hyderabad Police has confirmed the detention of five people, including a lady with a total cash of Rs 95,18,000 in new currency of Rs 2000 and Rs 100 denomination.Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government announced demonetization on November 8, banning high-value notes of Rs 500 and 1000. After the ban, new currency notes of Rs 2000 and 500 denominations were introduced in the monetary system.However, the move was announced suddenly and due to the lack of proper implementation, the common man is experiencing a disrupted life. The Centre is of the opinion that this move would curb black money and corruption.However, many cases of people being detained with large amount of cash in new currency notes have come to light since this announcement. Recently, Rs 70 lakh cash in new currency notes was ceased from Maharashtra.Shaktikanta Das, Economic Affairs Secretary said that the ones involved in money laundering won’t be spared.

Mumbai shoemaker gets Bombay High Court relief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court on Thursday quashed and set aside a criminal case registered against a Thane based footwear seller under section 295 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, which refers to deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice Nutan Sardesai quashed the criminal complaint lodged against Dejul Shah, in the year 2014, by Amjad Shaikh at the Naupada Police station. Advocate Ashok Pande appearing for Shah had argued that in 2014, the complaint was registered with the Naupada police station alleging that he deliberately printed the alphabet ‘M’ in a manner resembling the word ‘Allah’ in Urdu language, if seen in reverse.The bench observed, “The police officers who register case under the said section should be cautious while doing so and only if all ingredients are made out in the preliminary inquiry, then an offence be registered. They should not act to please any political party”.The police summoned him immediately and started investigating the matter. After a few days, Shah was given bail by the local court. After that, the police neither investigated the matter nor filed a charge sheet in the local court. Therefore, Shah approached the HC and requested to quash the FIR.Pande further argued saying, “Shah is a small-time business man who makes shoe and sandals locally. He orders soles for his products from a Delhi-based manufacturer named A to Z footwear. He has no idea about how the printed M looks like Allah in Urdu. The sole manufacturer in Delhi belonged to the Muslim community and was also not aware of this. The police arrested the sole manufacturer but had let him off”.It was also argued that due to the case registered by the police, Shah suffered a monetary loss of Rs 1.5 lakh and humiliation for which he sought damages be paid to him.

After 5 years of legal battles, women finally enter Haji Ali dargah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a series of legal battles that lasted for five years, women activists on Tuesday entered the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai.Around 100 women from different parts of India including Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, Rajasthan visited the Haji Ali dargah and offered prayers.Noorjehan Safia Niaz of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) said, “We were gathered in the city for an event and thought of coming together and offering prayers. We were not stopped by any authority and this helped us pray peacefully. It is good to see the change that now allows us inside, but we were still not able to touch the grave (mazar). We will soon have a national meeting of BMMA and decide about our next step. “After offering prayers, the group enjoyed a qawwali performance in the dargah.On October 24 this year, the Haji Ali Dargah Trust had told the Supreme Court that it was ready to implement the Bombay High Court’s order to allow entry of women into the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine located in South Mumbai and had sought four weeks for infrastructural changes to make arrangements for it.A Bench led by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur was hearing a plea by the Haji Ali Dargah Trust challenging the Bombay High Court’s ruling to provide equal right of entry to both women and men in the dargah’s sanctum sanctorum.On August 26, the Bombay High Court held that the ban imposed by the Trust, prohibiting women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, contravened Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution and said women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum like men.Noorjehan Niaz and Zakia Soman, founders of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), had petitioned the Bombay High Court against the ban, calling it unconstitutional.Bhumata brigade chief Trupti Desai had also said the Supreme Court’s decision should act as a guidance for the nation to allow the entry of women in all temples.Speaking to ANI, Desai said, “Those trustees who opposed our movement and did not allow us to enter the dargah, they had to bow down in front of us. The decision of the Supreme Court should act as an inspiration for the nation and to all temples where women are dishonored and not treated at par with their male counterparts.”(With ANI inputs)

Note ban: Rs 8.45 lakh cr old notes deposited in banks in 17 days

Banks have witnessed exchange and deposits of old high denomination Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes worth Rs 8,44,982 crore (Rs 8.45 lakh crore) until 27 November, the RBI said in a press release on Monday.

Of this, exchange amounted to Rs 33,948 crore and deposits Rs 8,11,033 crore (Rs 8.11 lakh crore). Meanwhile, banks saw withdrawals of Rs 2,16,617 crore from their accounts either over the counter or through ATMs.

RBI Reuters 380RBI Reuters 380


Earlier on 21 November, the central bank had said such transactions until 18 November amounted to Rs 5,44,571 crore with exchange at Rs 33,006 crore and deposits at Rs 5,11,565 crore. The withdrawal as of 18 November stood at Rs 1,03,316 crore.

The latest deposit numbers is about 84 percent of the target the government has set itself – Rs 10 lakh crore – for accrual from the demonetisation exercise. The figure was revealed in attorney general Mukul Rohatgi’s submission before the Supreme Court.

It is to be noted that the deposit and exchange figure of Rs 8.45 lakh crore has been achieved in just 17 days after demonetisation. After the government announced the measure on 8 November, banks remained shut for one day on 9 November. The exchange/deposit started on 10 November even as ATMs remained shut for one more day.

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 09:08 IST

‘Why was my sister killed?’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Just 24, she was a pillar of support to her brothers and mother, working as a dancer to help make ends meet and build a home for the family. A day after Neha Sharma was allegedly killed by cops chasing prisoners on the run, a jailbreak that should have been just a headline, far removed from their daily lives, has left an aching void in the Sharma home.”Papa ke jaane ke baad, Neha ne hi saath mil ke ghar banwaya tha. Ab ghar mein wahi nai hai (After papa’s death, Neha helped build a home for us. Now she herself is not at home),” says her elder brother, 26-year-old Karan Sharma, about his sister who was allegedly shot dead by a Punjab police constable near Nogawan village, around 25 km from here, soon after six prisoners had escaped from the Nabha jail on Sunday morning.Survived by her mother Neelam and three brothers, aged 15, 24 and 26, Neha, who worked as a dancer, was the strength of the family after their father’s death about 14 years ago. The family had taken a loan of Rs 5 lakh to build the house in Patiala which is almost complete now.”My younger brother is studying and I am looking for work. But she began working at an early age. She would earn around Rs 5,000 in every function and would save the money. She also appeared for her Class X11 exams while working,” recalls a grieving Karan.She was 19 when she began working as a troupe dancer with the Patiala- based Arman Entertainment Group and had been supporting her family since. On Sunday, Karan recounts, she left home around 10.30 am for Kaithal in Haryana, where she was supposed to perform along with three other girls.”She left at 10.30 am and told me that she would be back in the evening and we would go to the market to buy something to celebrate our mother’s birthday,” says Karan.She was reportedly sitting on the front seat with the driver, who was also the troupe manager. The three others were in the back seat. According to the police version, the driver apparently panicked when he saw the police and tried to jump the police barricade. That’s when the police opened fire. One bullet hit Neha in the chest and the other the car’s dashboard on the driver’s side. Neha was declared brought dead to the hospital. A bullet also hit a bike rider who was passing by. He has been admitted to the Samana Civil Hospital.Stunned and grief-stricken, Neha’s family denies the police version. “Half-an-hour after she left, I got a call from the driver that she has been shot. The car had slowed down and was about to stop when the police began firing. My sister was sitting on the front seat and she was hit. How could the police fire on the front end of the car if they (troupe members) had tried to escape? It was broad daylight, but the police could not notice that a woman was sitting on the front seat?” says Karan.The family says it wants justice and demands the arrest of the police constable who was arrested. “Humein bas insaaf chahiye (All we need is justice),” says Karan.Deputy Commissioner of Police, Patiala, and senior police officers have visited the family and assured them financial assistance, including a government job, to one of the family members.

When wings weave a tale

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Every naturalist dreams of witnessing some of the greatest natural history moments on the planet, such as the wildebeest migration, glowing seas or the northern lights. The greatest animal migrations are one of these natural history moments, during which animals migrate together in unimaginable numbers, covering incredible distances across continents every year. The annual Amur falcon migration, from Russia and China to the east African coast via India, is one such sought-after spectacle.Although I’ve had a preview of these huge congregations in Northeast India in the past, it was only this year, in early November that I planned to witness this miracle at its best at the Doyang reservoir in Nagaland, where an estimated 50,000 birds blanket the entire sky.Named after the Amur region of Southeast Russia and Northeast China, Amur falcons breed there in the summer before undertaking the longest recorded sea crossing of 22,000 km to east and south Africa, passing through the Himalayas within a few weeks. A large number of these birds make a quick stop around water bodies, such as in Doyang reservoir in remote Nagaland where roughly two lakh birds must be stopping over a 2-3 week period every year. When they first started showing up in Nagaland, these birds were hunted by the locals. At the time, I played a small role in the Amur falcon conservation project that kicked off in 2013, following reports of these mass hunts in 2012. Pangti village and Doyang reservoir became globally known when within a year the mass hunting stopped entirely thanks to the effort of several organisations.This year, soon after Diwali, I set off for Nagaland with a couple of friends. We had to arrive in Doyang, a tiny village nestled in the hill, the same day as the flight landed in Dimapur to be able to watch the spectacle. We started early the following morning to reach the congregation roosting sites near the beautiful Pangti village. Even before reaching the site, where villagers have built watch towers and tourist reception centers, Amur falcons had already started coming off the roosts and filling up the sky. We were overwhelmed at the sight—hundreds of birds dotted the sky. Soon, we were flabbergasted when we went slightly downhill to a watchtower; the sheer numbers of falcons had taken over every bit of available tree branch and the sky was full of specks of these birds. It took us a while before we returned to our senses and started clicking pictures and shooting videos in a frenzy. A few hours later, we had a delicious local meal while watching the falcons feasting on termites and other insects. After about an hour of feeding, around 50,000 birds returned from all directions by the time it was almost dark. The overwhelming numbers of these falcons, and this once-in-a-year spectacle is enough to stun any person.(The writer is a Mumbai-based naturalist who travels the expanse of India’s pristine wildlife habitats)

Demonetization: Man held for depositing fake notes in Thane bank

Sun, 27 Nov 2016-04:21pm , Thane , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A paper scrap merchant from Ulhasnagar township in the district has been arrested for allegedly possessing counterfeit notes of the demonetized currency and depositing it in a bank, police said on Sunday.Pankaj P Kori (30) went to the Ulhasnagar branch of a leading public sector bank on November 24 and deposited cash in the now defunct Rs 500 notes worth Rs 1.05 lakh. After verification, 11 notes were found to be fake, they said. Subsequently, an offence under IPC section 489 (B) (using as genuine, forged or counterfeit currency-notes or bank-notes) was registered against him under zero category with the Ulhasnagar police station on October 25.The case was transferred to Thane Nagar police station on for further probe and Kori was arrested, police said.

Kerala rape case: Police inaction, shoddy investigation make for outrageous miscarriage of justice

By Maya Palitn

“We were made to sit like dogs in the station for four days. I was mentally tortured and decided to drop the case,” a 32-year-old rape survivor told the Times of India earlier this month, speaking about her attempt to register a complaint against her alleged rapists at Peramangalam police station in Kerala.

About two years ago, she was told that her husband had been in an accident, then forced into a vehicle by four of her husband’s friends, taken to an empty house and gang-rapedShe narrated her account to the dubbing artist and talk-show host Bhagya Lakshmi, of how the police officers had taunted her at the time with appalling questions about the incident, such as, “Which rapist gave you the most pleasure?”

Image courtesy: Bhagya Lakshmi/FacebookImage courtesy: Bhagya Lakshmi/Facebook

Image courtesy: Bhagya Lakshmi/Facebook

Lakshmi subsequently publicised the case on social media, which prompted a call from chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who assured her that he would ensure the case would be investigated.

Despite the public outrage and such high-level political intervention, however, the police continue to exhibit shocking indifference to the case; they have been stupendously slow to act, and hadn’t even bothered to interrogate the perpetrators, one of whom is PN Jayanthan, a Communist Party of India (Marxist) committee member and municipal councillor. This has led to the case being mired in what may become a tussle between political parties: Congress MLA Anil Akkara has accused the police of siding with the accused, before the CPM hit back for apparently revealing the name of the survivor. Akkara also urged the state police chief to put a new investigative team on the case, claiming that the CPM had interfered in the probe.

More recently, an investigation team, led by a female police official named G Poonguzhali, stated on Wednesday that it would be impossible for them to summon or arrest the accused because they lack “scientific evidence” of the rape and the necessary information to establish the exact spot where the crime took place. This is directly contrary to Palakkad ASP Poonguzhali’s previous statement, which indicated that the police would also rely on the testimonies of witnesses. The ridiculous demand that a woman who was forced into a moving car must be able to identify the precise location where the crime took place two years ago, is all too obviously a strategy for stalling the investigation.

Bhagya Lakshmi has responded to this illogical argument, saying she had lost confidence in the police investigation. “A woman was forcibly pushed inside the vehicle and subjected to harassment. In such a situation, how could the victim mark all those places? Police say they will take up the case if the victim provides all evidence. If so, why are we seeking the help of police?”

She expressed more hope in the National Commission for Women, which has recorded the victim’s statement and set up a three-member committee to probe the mental harassment inflicted on the victim by the police officer.

A protest march in Thrissur condemning police inaction and calling for Jayanthan’s arrest turned violent on Friday, and was followed up by a hartal a day later, but the police remain adamant that there is not enough information to go forward with the case, even though the probe was initiated almost three weeks ago.

Clearly, political and media attention still provides no guarantee for gender justice in India. After the police faced heavy criticism for its shoddy work, a team of top police officials admitted that there had, in fact, been misconduct and inattentiveness on their part. After further public outcry, the government suspended the officer who had subjected the victim to humiliation during her first complaint. Since then, however, the police’s response has been to dig in its heels, close ranks, and protect each other rather than get on with rectifying their mistakes. Instead of conducting a thorough investigation, they have now challenged the survivor to take the case to court, without which they will not lift a finger.

In the aftermath of the Nirbhaya rape case, several reports exposed how police mistreatment of rape survivors served to discourage them from coming forward, with one claiming that 95 out of 100 victims were subjected to unfriendly procedures or police harassment while reporting their experiences. One article also expressed anxiety about the fact that police lethargy and inadequate protection of victims leaves them at risk of being attacked again, as in the Haryana case this summer, where a Dalit woman was hunted down after three years and raped by her previous assaulters.

It is necessary to revisit these anxieties in cases like the Thrissur incident because its being old and posing technical difficulties is no excuse for the police to decide to not even try to investigate such cases. By refraining from even questioning the perpetrators, the police are blithely continuing their deliberate and outrageous miscarriage of justice.

First Published On : Nov 26, 2016 21:12 IST

Eknath Khadse continues to occupy government bungalow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former revenue and senior most cabinet minister in state government, Eknath Khadse continues to occupy his government bungalow as per a reply given under RTI. The reply also states that Khadse while occupying the bungalow has not paid dues to the govenrment for occupying the same. As per reply given under RTI to applicant Anil Galgali, Khadse continued to occupy ‘Ramtek’, the government bungalow that was given to him. Khadse was dropped from the cabinet following allegations of wrongdoings whhen he chaired the meeting in which case of his family was being decided. Though there have been talks of Khadse returning to the cabinet off and on, he has not been inducted as yet. As per government rules, a minister is allowed 15 days to vacate the premises. Post that, he is given extension. If he continues to occupy the place, the minister has to pay the rent for the propoerty occupied. In this case, the public information officer (PIO) informed that Khadse’s dues amount to Rs 15.5 lakhs. “I had first raised the issue of his illegal occupying of a government bungalow. I wanted to check if he is still occupying or vacated the bungalow. It was imperative for him to vacate the bungalow on 19th June 2016 as he had resigned on 4th June 2016. A minister can use his official residence free for a period of 15 days, from the date that he ceases to be a Minister. After that on obtaining Government permission he can retain the residence for three months on a payment of Rs 25 per square foot. After three months this charge is to be doubled to Rs 50 per sq foot. Khadse has not even bothered to obtain necessary permission for extension of his stay. They should anyhow recover from him or cut from the salary he gets it as MLA,” said Galgali. When contacted, Eknath Khadse’s associate who answered the phone for him said that he was in a rally and would get back. He did not. Devendra Fadnavis when asked to comment on the issue did not respond to the sms from DNA.

Mumbai: Guilty of negligence, doctor & hospital directed to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra’s consumer dispute redressal commission held a reputed Mumbai hospital and one of its best haematologists guilty of providing faulty treatment to a three-year-old child in 2000, asking them to pay a compensation of Rs five lakh along with 9% interest rate from 2002. The court also asked them to pay a separate amount of Rs 25,000 towards the complainant’s litigation cost.The case dates back to the year 2000, when Vishakha Pujari, the three-year-old daughter of Ashok Pujari, started developing symptoms of leukaemia. After multiple medical consultations, the ailment was confirmed. Ashok Pujari took her to haemologist Dr. Mukesh Desai at Nanavati hospital. However, at the time of injecting chemotherapy on the left arm of the baby, the needle went out of the vein. The medicines, which were to be administered intravenously as prescribed by the doctor, allegedly collected in the left elbow of the baby, causing tremendous pain. A big black spot formed at the left elbow. The child’s hands were tied to a wooden pad and bandage applied, which remained for seven days. As a result, gangrene developed in the arm of the baby. She was then referred to Dr. Ketan Parikh, who immediately diagnosed the gangrene and operated on the baby. The child’s hospital stay was prolonged for three months as the left elbow and ulna bone also got infected .Two years after the treatment, the child passed away. Pujari then approached the forum and filed for compensation. However, the doctor and the hospital claimed that they were not responsible for the said incident.The commission held them guilty of negligence. “It was the duty of the duo to take standard medical care in accordance with the accepted protocols, particularly when the ailment of cancer was detected and it was curable according to medical science. There is no reliable or acceptable evidence before us to indicate that the ailment suffered by the child was incurable. It was onus upon the duo to prove that the appropriate standard of care was taken to administer the appropriate medicines by adopting a standard protocol while the child was treated while administering the Chemotherapy to the child,” the commission said.

Veteran journalist Dileep Padgaonkar no more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noted veteran journalist Dileep Padgaonkar and Times of India’s consulting editor died in Oune’s Ruby hospital. He was 72 years old. As per the The News Minute, he had suffered a heart attack which led to multiple organ failure on November 18. He was on dialysis after his kidney failed.He was born in 1944 and matriculated from St Vincent’s College and graduated in Political Science from Fergusson College, Pune.He got into journalism at the age of 24. He joined the Times of India as its Paris correspondent in 1968 after receiving a a doctorate in humanities from the Sorbonne. After working at the daily in various posts, he took on as its editor in 1988. He also worked for the UNESCO in Bangkok and Paris from 1978 to 1986 as an international civil servant. Padgaonkar was appointed as one of the members of the three-member Interlocutors Group on Jammu and Kashmir, set up by the government after continuous unrest in the Valley in 2008Many from the sphere of politics and journalism condoled his death.

Kashmir unrest: One soldier and two militants killed in encounter in Bandipora

Srinagar: A soldier and two militants were killed in Kashmir on Friday in a brief gunfight, police said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The police said troops of the 13 Rashtriya Rifles and special operations group surrounded Manzpora village in Bandipora district, following an information about the militant presence.

“With the break of dawn, the flushing out operation was started when the hiding militants opened indiscriminate fire causing critical injuries to a soldier, who later succumbed,” a senior police officer said.

Exchange of fire was stopped in the area, but a combing operation was on.

In a separate operation in Tujjar village of Baramulla district, security forces surrounded a house where a local militant was in.

“After persuasion, the militant surrendered before the security forces. A pistol has been recovered from him,” the police said.

First Published On : Nov 25, 2016 12:04 IST

#NotePeCharcha Episode 1: A train to Kasara that narrates the demonetisation story in rural India

While the effects of demonetisation on urban India are immediately apparent to those with access to mainstream English media, its impact on rural lives is as yet unclear. We travelled in a north-by-north easterly direction from Mumbai to examine the depth of the impact.

Firstpost sent out Apoorv Mishra into rural Maharashtra with an iPhone, a couple of mics, a GoPro and no institutional monetary support – he had borrowed money from friends and withdrawn all the cash permitted under prevalent restrictions.

His journey started in Mumbai, on a Kasara-bound train, where the passengers told him about their lives post demonetisation. It’s a tale of hardship and struggle that only gets worse as you delve deeper.

When he started out, he had no clear idea of where to go exactly. The idea was to visit a place in Maharashtra that truly fits the rural bill and Kasara just seemed like the natural choice.

On the way, he met a businessman who seemed surprisingly unconcerned about the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. After all, “You only need money for travelling. You can use your debit card everywhere else,” he said. “I don’t want money [cash],” he said.

A little old lady told him that she was completely unaffected. “Those who have money need a bank,” she said.

As he approached Kasara, however, people’s reactions started to change.

Many reported that their business was dead. The lack of money and change has hit them hard. A young man said that he hadn’t been able to drive his rickshaw for over a week, yet another said that he hadn’t sold anything in days.

All these tales are coming to us just on the train to Kasara. Watch the video to find out more about our quest to dig out how demonetisation impacted daily lives in rural India:

Firstpost broadcasted Mishra’s road trip on our live blog, and our Facebook page, and is now releasing the videos in the form of a series of documentary shorts.

First Published On : Nov 23, 2016 18:29 IST

Odisha added in Japanese Encephalitis high-burden states this year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After at least 31 of over 93 children that had contracted Encephalitis or brain fever in Odisha were confirmed to have died of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) virus, the Union Health Ministry has decided to roll out vaccination in four districts of the state. The vaccination drive for JE for children uptil fifteen years of age in Malkangiri, Kokrajhar, Jajpur and Mayurbhanj will occur after the state declares that the outbreak has ended. A team of officials from the Immunization department at the centre visited Orissa last month to assess the readiness of the state to conduct a vaccination drive. A population of up to 25 lakh children under the age of 15 years are slated to be immunized within two weeks, later this year, but only after Odisha declares that the outbreak has ended.India imports JE vaccine from National Biotech Group’s Chengdu Institute in China since 2006 after first cases surfaced in Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh. One vial of injectible JE vaccine costs upto Rs 150 and contains five doses. “This vaccine contains live virus. It cannot be administered during an outbreak as we do not know it’s mode of interaction with the wild virus that is dominant in the region currently. Only after the outbreak has subsided that we can inject the vaccine into the community,” said Dr Pradeep Haldar, Deputy Commissioner, Immunization at the Health Ministry. Once a person is vaccinated it takes up to 4 to 6 weeks for the immunity against JE to set in. “If a person contracts the virus during the month of being vaccinated, community will blame it on vaccination, saying the infection occured due to immunization. This has happened in the past,” Dr Haldar said. A person at any age can be vaccinated against JE, however the disease burden is high in children uptil 15 years, with 90% of cases being reported in children uptil five years. Children are being immunized against JE in 199 districts of 18 states currently. After the recent spate of deaths, Odisha is the 19th state to be added to the list of high-burded JE states, this year. In 2015, India saw 1609 cases of JE of which 279 (17.34%) patients died.According to National Health Profile between January to December in 2014, Odisha had recorded 990 cases and 116 deaths due to Encephalitis. In 2015, Odisha recorded the highest cases of Encephalitis at 1451 and up to 118 deaths. However, no cases were recorded under the category of JE. “Not all cases of Encephalitis necessarily turn out to be cases of JE. In Malkangiri, we are seeing an atypical presentation of cases post-monsoon, this year. This has never been seen before,” Dr Haldar said. “Given poor testing facilities for samples and limited period of survival it has been tough to confirm cases of Encephalitis as JE, but there was no harm in immunizing children in the past,” argued a state health official at Orissa. “We have been asking for vaccines since 2012, it is only now that we will recieve them. This is a huge medical debate. We cannot consider vaccination until state confirms cases of JE and reports to the centre,” said Haldar. An expert panel of doctors constituted by the state are probing other causes of death and said that five patients may have developed brain fever after consuming a plant – ‘bana chakunda,’ which is deemed to be toxic. Japanese Encephalitis in India: In 2015Cases – 1609Deaths – 279Case Fatality Ratio – 17.34%High burden states in 2015 Cases Deaths Assam 614 135West Bengal 342 75Uttar Pradesh 351 42(Source – National Health Profile, 2016)Pigs and wild birds are hosts of the virus. Japanese Encephalitis Virus is spread by infected mosquitoes of Culex species. It infects humans when an infected mosquito bites the humanSymptoms include rapid onset of high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, seizures, spastic paralysis and ultimately death. Of those who survive, 20%–30% suffer permanent intellectual, behavioural or neurological problems such as paralysis, recurrent seizures or the inability to speak.JE has no treatment, preventive vaccination can help

Demonetization | Unable to withdraw money for exam fees, UP teen hangs self

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An 18-year-old student allegedly committed suicide after “failing to withdraw money” from the bank for submitting his examination fees at in Mavai Buzurg village here, police said.They said Suresh has been standing in queue for the past several days for withdrawing money to submit his examination fees but he could not succeed. After returning from the bank yesterday, he hanged himself from the ceiling with the help of his mother’s saree, police said. Suresh’s family members said he was a BSc second year student in Panchnehi Degree College and had to submit the fees by today. A case has been lodged and investigations are on, police said.On hearing of the suicide of the student, the villagers pelted the bank with stones in protest.On Monday, a four-year-old child had died in a bank compound after her father had failed to withdraw money for her treatment in Tindwari police station area.

Centre blinks, give time till February 28 to NGOs to renew their FCRA licence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With days of national human rights commission (NHRC) admonishing the union home ministry on allegations of “draconian approach” over the renewal of FCRA licences, the ministry has given time till February 28, 2017 to about 12,100 NGOs to renew their licences.Besides 11,319 NGOs who had lost their FCRA licence after failing to submit papers online, registration of 1,736 NGOs had also lapsed on October 31 the last date of renewal.Basing its observation on UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Assembly analysis’s report the NHRC said, “Prima facie it appears FCRA licence non-renewal is neither legal nor objective and thereby impinging on the rights of the human rights defenders both in access to funding, including foreign funding.”The UN Rapporteur noted that FCRA is not in conformity with international law, principles and standards as access to resources including the foreign funding is a fundamental part of the right to freedom of association under the international laws, standards and principles.The DNA had earlier written that the union home ministry could find itself on a weak wicket as the NGOs are planning to take the legal route after they found that the ministry was using FCRA section dealing with renewal to cancel their FCRA, thusThe government had derecognised 11,319 NGOs last month after they failed to renew their registration by June-end, preventing them from receiving foreign funds.”As many as 11,319 NGOs have lost FCRA licence after they failed to renew it. Besides, around 800 NGOs whose paper work was found deficient may now re-apply by February 28, 2017,” a home ministry official said.Earlier this month, the ministry had announced that FCRA licences of 11,319 NGOs whose registration was expiring on October 31, 2016 and which needed to apply for renewal by June 30,2016 were “deemed” cancelled from November 1, 2016.It also closed the FCRA renewal applications of 1,736 NGOs who applied within the deadline but failed to submit the complete documents, but gave them time till November 8 to complete their documents. After nearly half of these NGOs managed to explain the lack of documentation, the home ministry allowed renewal of about 800 entities.

5 effects of note ban on the common man

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the country says goodbye to the old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, and with restrictions on exchanging money and taxation on high amounts of deposits, Indian economy is going through some serious churn. But how is this going to affect the economy in the short run as well as the long run?Cash crunchThe 500 and 1,000 rupee notes were the largest denomination of money, which made up for 14 lakh crores in circulation. Demonetization has a direct impact on sectors dealing with cash—vendors, auto rickshawwallahs, taxi drivers, daily wage earners and small traders. The Indian system mainly functions on cash, and so, less cash means disruption in the flow. Even sectors like real estate, which deal with illegal cash transactions, will go through a rough patch leading to fall in profits.Interest ratesWhen money is deposited in the bank, one earns interest for the same. After the announcement of note ban, there have been huge cash deposits in banks. In fact, some of the leading public and private banks have reduced the interest rates on deposits. Depositors might get lesser interest on their deposits, but the good news is that it will have a long-term positive effect on the economy as the lending rate (interest rate on loan) will fall. This will boost credit and investment, to recover the slumping economy.InflationTotal cash available, and by this we mean the supply of money, has fallen, which may lead to deflationary pressures (general price level becomes lower). In effect, it implies less cash compared to the supply of goods. But as the price levels in India have been high due to high inflation, fall in money supply can actually help in bringing down inflation. With unaccounted money being wiped out, we can expect lesser pressure on demand. Fall in inflation will help the common man, because goods will now become cheaper.On the other hand, due to the slowing economy, if production falls more than the fall in the supply of money, then the demand for goods will overshoot the supply of goods, which in turn will lead to higher inflation. It all depends upon the effect on production and economic activity in the nation.The tax effectDeposits above Rs 2.5 lakh that have not been justified or declared to the income tax department will be penalised and taxed 200 per cent. This can help bring black money into the white money fold, making it legal. This can also provide revenues for government, which can be used to pay the deficit in the budget estimation. If economic activity is slow, then the indirect taxes (tax on goods and services) will be lesser than estimation. It all comes down to which is more, collection of penalties and taxes, or the fall in indirect taxes. Demonetization could be the first step in creating a ripple in the taxation policy before the Goods and Service tax (GST) rolls out.GrowthThe gross domestic product, which is a parameter to measure growth in the economy, will take a hit. Research firms have already cut growth estimates by 0.5 per cent. India’s economy could shrink as there are many sectors run by cash. There are a lot of businesses in the non tax-paying sector, which will now be formalised; they will have to give up their market share to the organised sector. This will cause shrinking of the economy and a fall in the growth.On the other hand, though there may be a fall in consumption due to shortage of cash, growth won’t take a hit as high demand and consumption during the recent festival time would offset the effect of fall in consumption and compensate for the fall. This process would also forcibly bring in huge amount of money from the informal sector, which was unaccounted for. This will help in the growth and therefore GDP would not face a negative impact.

Toll mounts to 148 in Indore-Patna Express derailment, rail services resumes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The death toll today mounted to 148 in the Indore-Patna Express derailment here even as railway services resumed on Jhansi-Kanpur section after damaged tracks were replaced between Pukhrayan and Malasa stations.”The death toll has risen to 148 after fresh casualties were reported from the hospital. The deceased have not been identified yet,” Kanpur IG Zaki Ahmed said.Some of the injured are still in a critical situation, he said.The Railway official said that besides replacing rails, electrical works were completed to ensure train operation on the busy route. After conducting the trial run, train services resumed today, the official said.”The route became operational last night after the damaged tracks were removed from the site. A trial run was conducted on the tracks before the resumption of train services,” he said.A government helpline has been set up for the victim’s families in Kanpur.Earlier, four trains were cancelled and 14 diverted after 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed due to suspected rail fracture, disrupting traffic on the route.Officials had said that prima facie the cause of the accident could be due to track fracture.A high-level probe was yesterday ordered by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who promised “strictest possible action” against the guilty.Making a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha, he said a separate investigation will be held aided by latest technical and forensic analysis.

Kolkata hospital fire: All patients and hospital staff evacuated safely from SSKM hospital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A major fire broke out at the state government-run SSKM hospital in Kolkata on Monday morning. All patients and hospital staff were evacuated safely. The fire broke out at the library housed on the sixth floor of the Ronald Ross Block of the hospital around 10.30-11am. The plastic surgery and burn department is housed right next to the library, where as many as 17 patients were undergoing treatment. As soon as the hospital staff spotted smoke billowing out of the windows of the library, authorities undertook the evacuation of the patients. No casualties or injuries were reported in the incident.As many as six fire tenders, hydraulic lifts were rushed to the hospital. After two hours of fire-fighting, the fire was brought under control. While the cause of the fire is yet to be known, the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee rushed to the hospital and ordered an enquiry. “I am happy that everyone escaped unhurt. I have asked the health department to set up a committee to enquire into the incident. Through the enquiry, we will get to know whether it was an act of sabotage or some accident. There will be thorough enquiry by the police and fire services department,” said Banerjee. The Chief Minister announced that the SSKM hospital will soon have a permanent fire station inside the hospital premises. “We are planning a permanent fire station inside SSKM, which will have a skylift and two fire tenders,” she added. Meanwhile, all the 17 patients that were evacuated from the Ronald Ross Block have been shifted to the Woodburn Ward, where they are undergoing treatment.

Demonetisation: Government must be vigilant over ‘first of the month’ pressures

It was very moving to hear BJP representative Sambit Patra give his word on behalf of his party that every single drop (sic) of the black money unearthed and sent to banks would be used for the upliftment of the poor.

All Rs 600,000 crores of it and counting.

He scoffed at the idea that it was money that would cover the losses suffered by the banks in their massive and ‘lost’ loans to corporations in what is now known as the Vijay Mallya syndrome.

I don’t know how this is going to happen and have no clue what the road map is or who will mount surveillance on the upliftment of the poor, but the patience shown by the people does indicate not just an ongoing strength of the national moral fibre but a probably ill expressed but core belief that the Modi initiative is worth believing in.

That something about the attack on the black money brigade is right, good, got to be done.

Representational image. Image courtesy: AFPRepresentational image. Image courtesy: AFP

Representational image. Image courtesy: AFP

Sure, as an exercise it has been flawed with fragments of clumsiness and absurdity, not to mention the shortsightedness reflected in the ATM fiasco make great grounds for accusations against the prime minister and his cohort. Indeed, there is little doubt it could have been better planned and executed — in hindsight, we are all so much cleverer and knowledgeable of how it should have been done. But the shrapnel that we nitpick over does not entirely betray the honesty of the intent.

Yes, every time a new angle rises up the Opposition picks it up and tries to fan the flames but it must say something for the public attitude of forbearance and patience that the flames have not caught. It has kept the faith.

Anti-BJP forces would like to generate rage and turn it into rioting and place the government on the backfoot as the discomfort turns into violence. With Day 50 still a murky distance away, the Opposition can still fondly believe that this patience in the people will wear off and they are probably hoping that financial logjams in the dawning of the new month could ignite the spark.

Delayed salaries, default on EMIs, fines on non-payment of loans and credit cards, a sudden surge for money to kick-start the month and a shortage of cash — all these elements are kindle that is dry and can cause a spike in anger.

But the odds are that despite the efforts to derail the Narendra Modi doctrine of ‘let’s do it’ the line will hold. Somewhere, in some fashion Indians have felt a spasm of sincerity from New Delhi and are prepared to make it their war, too.

He has struck a chord, one that says enough is enough and with every passing day the feeling that things are getting better intensifies.

Within ten days to go for the ‘first of the month’ pressures to build it would make sense for the authorities to be a little more vigilant. After all if it is everyone’s war then EMIs can be delayed without a fine by federal fiat, a fifteen day freeze by property dealers, car and motorcycle salespeople and especially banks and their loans and their credit card bouquet of charges even if there is a one day delay in payment. Rents can be put on hold, credit can be extended and a sense of community can prevail.

Why should anyone be exempt? These institutions are as Indian and should also do their bit, be it the bans, business enterprises or brokers in the property business. There will be so much relief for people at various levels if they get this sort of a breather even as more money is funneled into the public coffers and the queues reduce.

Don’t mess up the month end priorities and give the matchstick a chance to flare.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 13:51 IST

India needs a superheroine for motivation: Ram Devineni

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dressed like a mythological character, she flies on a ferocious tiger to fight against social evils. Priya, the rape-survivor-turned-super-heroine, will fight against female sex trafficking. Ram Devineni, co-creater of the series, spoke to DNA. Why represent the lives of survivors of violent attacks?We can present difficult topics in an approachable and empathetic way through comic books. Such is its power. Readers relate to characters, especially to Priya, and understand the complexity of these problems without being repulsed. Nearly half of our population is under 25 years old; and they being our main audience we believe they will be receptive to the message. Priya is someone who doesn’t have magical powers but will fight social evil.Why did you choose these topics?I was in Delhi when the Nirbhaya gang rape happened in 2012. Like many people, I was horrified and angered by the government’s indifference. There was an enormous outcry from young adults both women and men. The problem with sexual violence is not its legal aspect. It is a cultural problem. I travelled across India for about a year speaking to rape survivors, realising how difficult it was for them to seek justice. At the same time I also began to research upon Hindu mythology reading stories that involved humans and gods. That’s when I formulated a new tale where a mortal woman and a rape survivor would seek help from the Goddess Parvati after having no one else to turn to. I wanted to create a superheroine who would motivate people to change through the power of persuasion.Is India unsafe for women?I think that is too much of a generalisation. There clearly are parts more patriarchal and unsafe for women than others. However, we want to emphasise through the comic book that change is possible. A cultural shift is incredibly difficult, but not improbable. India is going through some monumental changes and people’s views have not caught up with the speedy change. We needed a superheroine and there came Priya.WHO IS PRIYAPriya, co-created by Indo-American filmmaker Ram Devineni, film-maker Paromita Vohra and artiste Dan Goldman is the protagonist of a five-book series which are an assemblage of mythological tales and modern day social evils. In Priya Shakti, the first of the five released in 2014, she was gang-raped and shamed by society. After seeking blessing from Goddess Parvati, she regains her shakti to fight against social evils.In the sequel, Priya’s Mirror, she holds up a mirror to acid-attack survivors to convince them that they don’t need to hide their scars.The next book, Priya and the Last Girls, is about sex trafficking—another prominent and heinous crime against women.

Indore-Patna express derailment: Two children pulled out alive from mangled bogie

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two childrenTwo children were pulled out alive from an overturned bogie of the Indore-Patna Express here, offering a glimmer of hope to rescuers looking for survivors among the heaps of metal and scattered baggage.The two boys aged six and seven were pulled out from the S3 bogie of the train, police officials said. A woman, probably the mother of the boys, was found dead near them, they said.Two girls are also trapped in another smashed coach, AK Singh, NDRF Commandant said. “There is another coach which is smashed and two girls are still trapped inside it. We can’t use cranes to pull them out. But I want to assure you that they will be rescued. After that, we will execute a search operation to find the bodies before closing the operation,” he said.Singh said crowd management was posing as a big problem. A huge crowd has gathered at the spot and is posing as an obstruction, he said.

SBI employee dies after collapsing in bank

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 51-year-old employee of State Bank of India (SBI), handling cash counter at a city branch, died after he collapsed during a rush of people who had come to exchange the demonetized currency notes, a bank official said.The deceased, identified as Rampantula Venkatesh Rajesh, was posted as a customer service assistant at Gandhi Nagar branch of SBI in south-western part of city. Branch manager of the bank, S Nausadkar, confirmed the incident. According to family members of the deceased, who was an ex-serviceman, he had complained of chest pain last night. “His wife had advised him to visit a doctor and not to go to bank. However, citing work pressure, he went to the office. In the afternoon, when there was a huge rush of people at the bank, he started sweating profusely and soon collapsed,” a family member said.Nausadkar said, “After Rajesh collapsed, he was immediately taken to a nearby private hospital. There, doctors tried to save him, but was declared dead half an hour later.” Ambajhari police is in the process of registering a case of accidental death.

Demonetisation: Signs of deep freeze in Mumbai realty as stamp duty, registrations fall by 35%

After the government announced the decision to ban high value currencies of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on 8 November midnight, stamp duty collection on real estate deals in cities such as Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Nashik has witnessed about 35 percent decline, signalling a deep-freeze in the market.

Officials estimate the daily loss on this count at almost Rs 3 crore. There are 503 registrar offices in the state.



According to N Ramaswamy, inspector general of controller of stamp and registration, about 5,300 documents used to come for registration on a daily basis. This had come down to around 3,500 after the announcement, a decline of 35 percent. This includes sale of property, land and leave and license agreements.

“From 1 November to 8 November, we collected Rs 64 crore. After the demonetisation, the collection dropped to Rs 42 crore. Our daily collection used to be Rs 8 crore. Now it is just Rs 5 crore,” he said over the phone from Pune.

The stated reason for the demonetisation measures as explained by prime minister Narendra Modi on 8 November is to curb black money, fake currency and terror financing. And real estate is one of the markets where black money use has been rampant. Market observers have already predicted up to 20 percent decline in realty business as demonetisation impact plays out completely. The resale market, where the black money plays a bigger role than primary market, is likely to see a sharper fall in prices, they said.

According to market sources, the white-black ratio in Mumbai and Thane markets is 60: 40 or 70 : 30. What this means is 60 percent of the deal money is paid through cheque, DD or RTGS and 40 percent as hard cash. The stamp duty and registration fee are paid only on the white payment. With the demonetisation measures closing down on black money generation, the real estate market is feeling the pinch.

However, Ramaswamy said since 99 percent of stamp duty and registration transactions are done online nowadays, the registration officials have no headache of dealing with old notes.

Stamp duty accounts for 5 percent and registration fee forms 1 percent of the total property cost in Maharashtra.

According to Ramaswamy, last financial year the state had earned Rs 21,767 crore. This year from April to October 2016 the amount stood at Rs 11,438 crore.

Out of total revenue, Mumbai accounts for 35 percent, Thane 15 percent, Pune 20 percent and Nashik 10 percent.

“Though we are witnessing a decline in registration income, we hope to match last year’s figure by year end,” said Ramasawamy.

In Mumbai there are two main registration offices, one at BKC and another at city collector office.

“Earlier there used to be 8 to 10 enquiries daily for registration. But for the last 10 days, there have been hardly any,”an employee working with the city office said.

According to this employee, the resale market is bearing the huge brunt. “If the situation continues, it is unlikely that we will match last year’s figure,” the employee said.

First Published On : Nov 18, 2016 19:07 IST

Demonetisation: If this is a moral crusade, why wasn’t Janardhana Reddy shown his place?

Mining mafioso Janardhana Reddy is a typical example of hoarder of black money: he has, in his inimitable way, cocked a snook at the prime minister and has made it look as if Narendra Modi is not a great moral warrior against black money, but an astute political strategist who takes a pragmatic view of money, black or white.

When the Prime Minister delivered the nation-wide address to announce the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes (8 November), he said that this was a move to bring the corrupt to book. He projected himself as an uncompromising crusader against corruption.

Barely a week later, when millions of Indian citizens were forming queues in front of the banks and ATMs to draw a few thousand rupees (as per the limits set by the government to ease the currency crunch situation), here is a politician, a former BJP minister and the biggest player amongst the mining mafia in Karnataka, making the most vulgar display of wealth to celebrate his daughter’s marriage at Bengaluru.

File image of G Janardhana Reddy. PTIFile image of G Janardhana Reddy. PTI

File image of G Janardhana Reddy. PTI

A report in The Indian Express (17 November) said: “The wedding venue was designed to look like a scene from the Vijayanagar empire, designed by a film art director on 35 acres of land at the Bangalore Palace grounds.”

The Hindu reported (November 17): “A dazzling array of diamonds, massive ornate replicas of elephants befitting grand Dasara celebrations and rows of luxury cars decorated with the priciest orchids waiting outside the main hall [sic].”

The invitation cards for the marriage were delivered in decorated boxes with an LCD screen inside it — the screen announcing the marriage, followed by a song and dance sequence by the Reddy family. Eight priests from the Tirumala temple in Tirupati were brought in to perform the wedding rituals (it must be noted that Reddy had donated a diamond-studded crown worth over Rs 40 crore to Lord Venkateshwara in Tirupati in 2009).

Reddy had a guest list of over 50,000 people: seven helipads were created to facilitate the arrival of VIP guests in special jets, 3,000 bouncers were deployed to keep the hoi polloi under discipline.

“After the glittering ceremony, lunch for non-VIP guests was served in a separate hall… with a 50-item menu, while the VIPs had a more lavish spread of 100 items,” The Hindu reported, adding, “It was an expensive wedding in Bengaluru and it stood out in the present cash-strapped times.”

What needs to be stressed is that it was a vulgar display of black money. After all, where did Reddy get the money from? He is an accused in the mining scam, he was in jail for three-and-a-half years after the CBI chargesheet (he got bail in January 2015 after the Narendra Modi government came to power and the CBI withdrew its objection to Reddy’s bail application); his bank accounts remain still frozen. Obviously, he delved deep into the black money reserve to hold the function on such a grand scale.

But what is alarming is that he had no qualms about making such an ostentatious display of wealth (media reports suggest that the total estimate of the wedding expenses might have touched a staggering figure of Rs 500 crore), even though he is supposed to be a chargesheeted man, accused of illegal mining operations; during a CBI raid in his house in September 2011, the investigative agency had found Rs 3 crore cash and 30 kgs of gold.

That was clearly black money; this is the kind of black money that the prime minister wants to make a thing of the past. If it is a moral crusade with the prime minister, he would have ensured that Janardhana Reddys are shown their place. The party and the administration that he commands should have refused to touch him with a barge pole.

But what did we witness on 16 November? Vajubhai Vala, the governor, and BS Yeddyurappa, a former BJP chief minister of the state (who is again set to become the chief minister if the BJP comes to power in Karnataka in 2018 assembly elections) were there to rub shoulders with the mining mafia don at the wedding.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. APPrime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

The governor is supposed to be an independent functionary, but as we know today, most governors are political appointees and they carry out the diktat of the party in power at the Centre. And Vala, the incumbent governor, has been a Modi disciple for long years; Narendra Modi had made Vala the Speaker of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly when he was the chief minister of the state.

Vala and Yeddyurappa would not have ventured to attend the vulgar show, if they would have felt that the prime minister would not take to it kindly especially when he has positioned himself as the commander-in-chief of the war against black money.

But, having been close political associates of Narendra Modi for decades, Vala and Yeddyurappa know our prime minister very well. They understand that if they are questioned about their presence in the glittering function in which black money is written all over in golden typeface, they would be able to convince the party leadership that Janardhana Reddy’s black money had played a stellar role in the BJP (Yeddyurappa) assuming power for the first time in Karnataka in 2008; and if they had taken the moral high ground and stayed away from the marriage function, then Reddy’s hundreds of crores would not reach them again in 2018 elections. And this explanation would settle the matter once and for all.

Yeddyurappas and Janardhana Reddys are there to stay in a cosy relationship to make Narendra Modi’s dream of conquering Karnataka again in 2018 come true.

It is not for nothing that Narendra Modi is known as an astute political strategist; one who can simultaneously wage a war against black money and look the other way when his minions make peace with a black money baron.

First Published On : Nov 18, 2016 11:01 IST

Congress leaders stashed Rs 12 lakh crore during UPA rule, PM turned it into scrap: Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Launching a fierce attack on the Congress, especially on Rahul Gandhi, amid the demonetization debate, BJP chief Amit Shah on Tuesday alleged that the leaders of that party had accumulated Rs 12 lakh crore during the UPA rule through “corrupt” means, which he said was turned into “paper scrap” overnight by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Setting the tone for the Winter Session of Parliament, scheduled to begin tomorrow, he claimed that the Congress was unhappy with the withdrawal of the high-value currency notes as its “fortune” was reduced to “paper scrap” by Modi’s move. Shah also mocked the Congress vice-president for “going to a bank in a Rs-4 crore car to exchange Rs 4,000”. “During their 10-year rule, the Sonia-Manmohan government did one scam every month, be it 2G, CWG, coal allocation, Adarsh Society, aircraft purchase and many other. With such large-scale corruption, Congress leaders accumulated Rs 12 lakh crore which is equal to the size of three Union budgets.”They parked this huge amount of money in their houses, godowns and at their friends’ places thinking that it was safe. But, Modi turned it into paper scrap by announcing demonetization on November 8. This has taken away all the charm from the faces of the Congressmen,” he said. Shah was addressing party workers and citizens at Bharuch in Gujarat where he inaugurated the Bharuch District Cooperative Bank building.The BJP president was also unsparing in his attack on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, claiming that everyone was in “deep trouble” due to the demonetization move, but no one was ready to reveal the reason behind their discontent.Shah’s comments came on a day when the Congress-led opposition closed ranks to pin down the government on the demonetization issue in Parliament. “The situation is like a flood which sweeps away everything. Now, Congress leaders, Kejriwal, Mamata and Mulayam Singh have joined hands to save themselves from this flood. I am sure that those present here are not worried at all because we do not have black money. Only those who have black money are worried,” he said.Taking a dig at Rahul who had criticised the prime minister for the demonetization decision, Shah said, “Rahul baba went to withdraw Rs 4,000 in a Rs-4 crore car. Do you think these people ever need Rs 4,000 cash? Rahul baba talks about the poor. I want to tell him that if he and his party were so concerned, then the Congress leaders should not have stashed away the Rs 12 lakh crore.”Acknowledging that the cash crunch was causing hardships to the common man, the BJP chief said they will “benefit in the long run”. “After surgery, you feel a bit of pain till the wounds heal completely. This is just like that. I know that you are facing problems. But, these queues (outside banks and ATMs) are temporary. After some time, you will be able to buy a new apartment at a price which would be 30 per cent lesser (than the prevailing one),” Shah said. Slamming Rahul for his ‘khoon ki dalali’ barb on Modi in the wake of the Army’s surgical strikes in PoK in September, he advised the Congress vice-president to take lessons in history.”The whole country was in grief when our jawans were brutally killed by terrorists in Uri. Had Congress been ruling now, they would have only condoled the death of the jawans. But, the BJP government sent a stern message that those who do not respect the borders will (have to) face consequences. “After the surgical strikes, Rahul Gandhi had said that Modiji was doing ‘khoon ki dalali’. I think, Rahulji is not aware of history. He needs to read it. He should realise that our jawans are ready to sacrifice their lives to save our motherland and the whole country is standing behind these brave armymen,” the BJP chief said.He also attacked senior Congress leader Kamal Nath who had reportedly questioned the “frequent” foreign tours of Modi over the last 30 months since assuming power. Shah claimed that the prime minister’s foreign tours were “less” in numbers compared to his predecessor Manmohan Singh. “Kamal Nath claimed that Modi was visiting foreign countries frequently. I want to tell him that (Manmohan) Singh had made more foreign trips than Modi. But, no one used to notice his tours as he only used to read out from some written notes and come back.”Today, thousands gather to welcome Modi during his foreign visits. He gets a grand welcome which is a matter of great pride for all Indians. Now, everyone takes note of our prime minister’s visit. That is the reason why Congress leaders feel that he is visiting foreign countries frequently,” he said.

Demonetisation: Why now spread the indelible ink, leave the depositors and withdrawers alone

The idea of smearing one’s finger with indelible ink on the customers making transactions in the bank has been imported from the Election Commission of India. It prevents voting again and again by the same person i.e. it eschews impersonation.

The diehard charlatan of course doesn’t mind the pain inevitable in rubbing off the stubborn ink but he doesn’t go to the extent of doing an Ekalviya act of Mahabarath fame. Ekalviya cut off his finger to please Guru Dhronacharya who wanted to put the upstart archer in his place so that he couldn’t rival his favorite acolytes.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Banks which have been instructed to smear the same indelible ink on the finger of exchangers/ withdrawers/ depositors lest charlatans have a field day and thumb their nose at the solemnity of the ongoing demonetization scheme. The Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes are not legal tender from the night of 9 November 2016 but one of the reliefs given by the government is exchange of these disagreeable notes for the ones which are legal tender upto Rs 4,000 initially and now Rs 4,500. This exchange counter was meant to be accessed but once during the fortnight starting 10 November 2016 and ending 25 November 2016 but the intrepid among them have done several such errands both for themselves and for their benefactors and were planning to do more. But they have been stopped in their tracks.

The government has at last read the riot act to them. Hereafter they cannot run amok. The indelible ink hopefully would last till 25 November 2016. It, therefore, must be of good quality lest the intrepid ones do not scrape it off even masochistically. No one of course would do ekalviya act just for laundering Rs 4,500. May be plastic surgeons would rise to the challenge for a right price.

Both in bank withdrawal counters and ATMs there are frequent cash outs. One hopes there are no ink outs, if one may say so. One also hopes CCTV cameras are enabled to catch the inking act lest an intrepid exchanger is tempted to bribe his way out of the inking process. While tightening of the screws on exchangers and their proxies hasn’t come a day too soon, the government is dissipating its amenities nay causing unnecessary trouble to withdrawers and depositors.

Why should a withdrawer who is often fobbed off with Rs 2,000 whereas he was promised Rs 10,000 initially but given freedom to withdraw pretty much she pleased subject to the weekly ceiling of Rs 24,000 be subjected to this ignominy and inconvenience. After all her account would show whether she has crossed the lakshman rekha. What can be controlled through accounts need not be controlled physically.

And likewise why cavil at the depositor of the demonetized notes when she has been given time up to 30 December 2016 to do so without any limit. Like an act of withdrawal, the act of deposit is also going to leave telltale, indelible mark in her accounts. Why inconvenience her needlessly?

It is common knowledge that when you try to catch everyone you end up catching none. Only exchange bristles with problems and possibilities. Ideally, exchange facility shouldn’t have been offered in the first place. But having offered it, it needs to be tightly controlled lest charlatans have a field day and laugh all their ways to as many banks as possible.

The government seems to say it would use different inks (colors) but the moot question is why harass depositors and withdrawers at all. It also says it would smear the ink on depositors in such a way that the one entering the bank the next day is not stopped in her tracks. Is this possible? There could be heated arguments at the withdrawal counters on this score—about the age or vintageof the ink smeared, todays or yesterday’s.

Leave the depositors and withdrawers alone please.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 16:59 IST

Indian-origin lottery winner jailed for beating wife and child in UK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Indian-origin man has been jailed for six months for beating his wife and a five-year-old child at their home in west London, months after he won a 70,000 pounds lottery which he had promised to use for his family.30-year-old Balvinder Malhotra had bagged 70,000 pounds in a lottery win in January this year and vowed to use the money to make 2016 a “great year for his family”.However, a few months later in June he punched his wife Hardeep Kaur three times and also smacked a five-year-old child in the face during a picnic party at their home.”These are significant injuries. This crosses the custody threshold by a mile,” District Judge Debbie Wright told him at Uxbridge Magistrates Court last week.The court was told Malhotra suffered from alcohol problems and had previously given his mother a bloody nose during a row.Malhotra, who has been living with his parents since the attack on his 28-year-old wife, was convicted of gross bodily harm (GBH), jailed for six months and ordered to pay his two victims 1,000 pounds each.Soon after the lottery win in January, the couple had posed together spraying a bottle of champagne into the air to celebrate.At the time, he said: “When I told my wife she burst into tears of joy. I used to have a shop but we lost this when big retailers moved in. This win will give me the boost I need.Looks like 2016 is going to be a great year for our little family.”After the attack in June, Malhotra used his winnings to buy a new corner-shop in a bid to turn his life around after going bankrupt in 2011.

Govt to use acronym DAESH in place of ISIS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government has decided to refer the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as DAESH, a name that ISIS hates to be known as. The Union Home Ministry would soon make the required changes in the officials documents, sources said.The move is being made not to give any kind of legitimacy to the terror outfit as words ‘Islamic State’ give an impression that it has a valid constitutional status and entity which also helps it to increase its area of influence among gullible youth who get sold to its propaganda on the web.Replacing acronym ISIS, security establishment feels, would also help in reigning in its popularity and traction as the name al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham (DAESH) is not in vogue.Moreover, it also resembles other popular colloquial Arabic words like Daes and Dahes which when translated mean ‘one who crushes something underfoot’ and ‘one who sows discord’ or ‘a bigot who imposes his view on others’, which is an insult and is often used as a swearword.For these reasons, ISIS considers DAESH derogatory and hates to be known by it. It has even issued threats to cut the tongue of those who used the acronym DAESH instead of referring it by full name.Perhaps, for these very reasons there is a growing trend in the world to call ISIS ‘DAESH’. After attacks in Paris, both John Kerry and Francois Hollande repeatedly used the nomenclature DAESH.

After NDTV India, govt orders Assam channel to go off air on 9 November for violations

New Delhi: After NDTV India, the government has also ordered that an Assam-based news channel be taken off air for a day, following the recommendations of a high-level panel which felt it had “violated” programming guidelines on more than one occasion.

Screenshot from PratidinTime's YouTube pageScreenshot from PratidinTime's YouTube page

Screenshot from PratidinTime’s YouTube page

An I&B ministry order dated 2 November, has sought that the channel ‘News Time Assam’, be taken off air on 9 November, for a day.

One of the allegations against the channel relates to telecasting a programme which revealed the identity of a minor who had been brutally tortured while working as a domestic servant.

Observing that the visuals telecast by the channel appeared to compromise the privacy and dignity of the child
while also exposing him to harm and stigma, a showcause notice was issued to the channel in October 2013.

Having listened to the channel’s version, the Inter-Ministerial Committee which looked into the matter felt that
the channel may be taken off air for a day.

According to the order, the matter was reconsidered as some other channels had also shown similar content for which they had been issued warnings, but the IMC looked at all the circumstances and again recommended taking it off air for a day.

The same order also lists two other cases of alleged violations by the channel which were considered by the IMC.

One of them related to telecast of gory visuals of dead bodies for which a recommendation was made to take off the channel for a day.

In another case, the channel telecast a programme which allegedly appeared to defamatory towards to women and in bad taste. The IMC had asked the channel to run an apology scroll but since it did not comply, in this regard, taking it off air for a day was recommended.

The I&B ministry order, dated 2 November, mentions all the three cases and says that the “IMC clarified that the TV channel can be allowed to carry out the three awards of one day off air concurrently.”

Quoting rules under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, the ministry order said that the government “orders to prohibit the transmission or retransmission of News Time Assam TV channel for one day on any platform throughout India with effect from 00:01 hours on 9th November, 2016 till 00:01 hours on 10th November, 2016.”

NDTV India has also been ordered off air for the same date over its coverage of the Pathankot attack, which has
resulted in a massive controversy.

Modi is ‘the most bitterly criticised’ person post Independence: Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the “most bitterly criticised” person post Independence, BJP chief Amit Shah said, adding that if criticism was targeted against the country, it cannot be called freedom of expression.”Sab se jyada katu alochana agar kisi ek vyakti ki hui hai azadi ke baad, to wah hai Narendra Modiji ki. (After the Independence, if there is one person who has received the most bitter criticism, it is Narendra Modiji),” he said at the inauguration of ‘India Idea Conclave 2016’ here. “Alochana ka swagat hai. Alochana ko sahan bhi karna chahiye. Magar Narendra Modi ji ki alochana se ek kadam aage jakar agar isko desh ke virodh ki disha mein le jayenge to kshama karna ye sacchi swatantrata nahi hai abhivyakti ki. (Criticism is welcome and it should be tolerated. But if someone goes beyond that and targets the country, it cannot be pardoned or termed as freedom of expression),” he said.Shah said although dissent was part of the democracy, if it continued in an unwarranted way, there could be no development.”If people do not understand this, the purpose of democracy will collapse. The purpose of democracy is to ensure that development reaches the last man in the society – who can utilise the same to explore his maximum potential to realise his freedom,” he said. The BJP chief alleged that the country got good governance after 68 years of Independence, when the Modi-led government came to power.”We spoke about the all-inclusive development. In the 2014 elections, after 30 years a single party got majority in Parliament,” he said, adding that the government has implemented reforms in every sector.Referring to the row over the issue of triple talaq, Shah said, “When the Union government has taken a stand, there was no scope for confusion on the issue.” “The Constitution has given right to every woman to live safely here. Had you ever imagined that women’s issues could be a part of Prime Minister’s speech on Independence Day? But when BJP came to power, it became part of the PM’s speech,” he added. PTI RPS NP

Germany introduces train that has zero emission

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Germany is set to introduce the world’s first zero-emission passenger train to be powered by hydrogen. The train, which has been manufactured by Alstom, a company that specialises in railway equipment, only emits excess steam into the atmosphere, and provides an alternative to the country’s 4,000 diesel trains.”Alstom is proud to launch a breakthrough innovation in the field of clean transportation which will complete its Coradia range of regional trains. It shows our ability to work in close collaboration with our customers and develop a train in only two years,” said Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Chairman and CEO, Alstom.The train is powered by huge lithium ion batteries, and these get their energy from a hydrogen fuel tank placed on the roof of the train. It can travel almost 874 km per day at speeds of up to 140 km/h, and the only sound it gives off comes from the wheels and air resistance.While eco-friendly public transport hasn’t kicked off in India, there are initiatives to get it starting. As part of its sustainable development goals, India hopes to reduce its carbon footprint by 30-35 per cent. The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, the municipality running the satellite city on the outskirts of Mumbai, recently submitted a proposal to acquire 12 electric buses to run on its fleet.Similarly, the Bengaluru Municipal Corporation is in the process of buying 150 electric buses in its fleet. Also, Barasat, on the outskirts of Kolkata has introduced 1,000 e-rickshaws, which have gained popularity amongst the masses.In a piece written in BusinessWorld, author Nayan Chanda says that the e-rickshaws apart from curbing pollution, have also helped create job opportunities. After initially importing them from China, India is now manufacturing to meet most of the growing demand, albeit with import of engine and critical parts from China. While India has a few years to reach the place Germany has reached, it’s definitely moving in the right direction.

Pakistan will pay heavily, India has suffered enough in silence: Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If Pakistan inflicts injuries on India, the costs are going to be far heavier for them, Union Minister Arun Jaitley has said, asserting that there is a shift in India’s approach towards dealing with cross-border tensions as it has “suffered enough in silence” for Pakistan’s terror export.Jaitley also lashed out at Pakistan for consistently violating the 2003 ceasefires saying the “de facto violation has become de jure violation”.Eight civilians were killed on Tuesday as Pakistan indulged in heavy shelling in an escalation of cross border military tensions since the surgical strikes by army targeting terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) on September 29.”The new normal is that India doesn’t accept that Pakistan can keep sending terrorists and keep inflicting injury on India. If they do that then costs are going to be much heavier,” Jaitley said.He was asked about the “new normal” in Indo-Pak ties after the recent tensions.”2003 ceasefire was being violated by Pakistan. After all what is terrorism- you train people, you smuggle them in.Today, de facto violation has become de jure violation,” he told NDTV.”We have suffered enough in silence and we have been taking just some diplomatic initiatives. I think times have now changed and the Government of India has a more proactive approach. And, the proactive approach is if you indulge in terrorism in India and kill people across the border then there is a cost involved and you will have to pay a price for it. I think that policy of government of India is extremely clear.”He also pointed out that the internal turmoil in Pakistan has further made its position precarious.”We paid a price in Uri and in Pathankot. But it was a one-sided price. Today the cost Pakistan has to pay is far heavier and Pakistan in a very precarious situation as far as their own government, democracy and civil-military relationships are concerned.”Therefore, the cost involved for Pakistan is extremely severe,” Jaitley said.

Pune: Three children of one family die due to food poisoning

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three children of a family died in Junnar district due to suspected food poisoning, police said on Tuesday.The incident took place last night after five children, including two girls, in the family started vomiting following which their parents took them to a nearby private hospital. The three minor victims were identified as Rahul (8), Sairaj (6) and Dhanraj (4).While Rahul and Sairaj died early this morning at the hospital, Dhanraj passed away on his way to Sassoon hospital in Pune.Their two sisters who were rushed to Ahmednagar government hospital, are said to be out of danger, police said. The girls after after primary medication had come back home. However, when their vomiting did not stop they were rushed to the government hospital, said a police inspector, attached to Otur police station.”During our investigation, we came to know that Diwali sweets were distributed in the locality, where the family resides, however, it is unlikely that the food poisoning occurred due to sweets as no one in the locality had complained after consumption. We also came to know that the family had prepared potato curry and non-veg for dinner and suspect that food poisoning might have taken place at home,” the inspector said.”Food samples from the house and those of sweets distributed in the locality have been taken and the viscera samples of deceased after the post mortem, have been preserved. After detailed investigation, the exact cause of the death will be ascertained,” the inspector added.

OROP: PM Modi celebrates Diwali with jawans, says have resolved ’40 year’ old issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday Rs 5,500 crore has been paid for implementing the OROP scheme, an issue that has been hanging fire for the last 40 years, even as he lauded the valour and sacrifice of the armed forces amid tension on the border with Pakistan. Dedicating this Diwali to the armed forces personnel, he said he has “fulfilled the promise” he made to ex-servicemen on the one-rank-one-pension scheme.Modi said the issue had been pending for “40 years” as certain people in the previous governments “did not know” about OROP, and therefore “only Rs 500 crore was allocated” for the purpose. He also said many people thought that if the scheme was not implemented, a section of “ex-servicemen would turn against the government”.He made these remarks while celebrating Diwali with army and ITBP men in Sumdo in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district. “Spent time with our courageous @ITBP_official & Army Jawans at Sumdo, Kinnaur district, Himachal Pradesh. Jai Jawan! Jai Hind!,” he tweeted.Earlier, in his monthly “Mann ki Baat” programme on All India Radio, Modi asked the people and the state governments to find ways of forging unity across the country and work to defeat separatist tendencies and mentalities. He hailed the people including celebrities for sending overwhelming messages to his “Sandesh2Soldiers” campaign.In the wake of ongoing unrest in Kashmir Valley, he said, “Unity in diversity is our strength. It is the responsibility of every citizen and all governments to forge unity and curb separatist tendencies to save the country.” In an apparent reference to tension on the Indo-Pak border, Modi credited the soldiers for maintenance of peace and security in the country and called upon everyone to remember their gallantry while celebrating Diwali. “In the wake of recent events, our soldiers have been sacrificing their everything for the safety and security of the country. Their dedication and labour has overwhelmed me completely. Let us dedicate this Diwali to our armed forces.”I had invited everyone to participate in the Sandesh2Soldiers campaign and I have been humbled by the response. From students, villagers and traders to political leaders and sports persons, everyone has sent a Diwali message for our soldiers,” he said while referring to the jawans who are stationed in deserts and on the icy heights of the Himalayas and security personnel who are guarding our industries and airports.In a veiled reference to the unrest in Kashmir Valley, the Prime Minister also called for forces of unity to be strengthened and those of separatism to be defeated. “Unity in diversity is the strength of our country. Every citizen and every government must work to find ways of forging unity and defeating separatist mindset and tendencies,” he said as he remembered Sardar Patel who strived hard to forge unity in the country and bind it together.The Prime Minister, while on his way back from Sumdo, met civilians at Himachal’s Chango village, close to the Sino-Indian border. He exchanged greetings, interacted with the people there, and offered sweets to children.”Made unscheduled stop at Chango village, close to Somdu, to wish people on Diwali. Was deeply touched by the impromptu reception & their joy,” Modi tweeted.”The Prime Minister spent time with ITBP jawans and personnel of Dogra Scouts of army at Sumdo on border of Kinnaur and Spiti, and distributed sweets to them,” an official said.Modi also met personnel of the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF), a branch of Border Roads Organisation (BRO), entrusted with construction and maintenance of border roads and also executing the Rohtang Tunnel project, the official said. After coming in power in 2014, the Prime Minister had celebrated his first Diwali with soldiers posted in Siachen, and in 2015, he celebrated it at the India-Pakistan border in Punjab.On the OROP issue Modi said, “The OROP was not about just Rs 200 crore or Rs 500 crore, but Rs 10,000 crore… After I became the PM, and decided that I had to do (implement) it, the entire government lost sleep over it… It was not possible for the government to pay in one go, so I requested the ex-servicemen to accept it in four instalments. The money will reach them in four installments. Nearly, Rs 5,500 crore has been paid as the first installment,” Modi said.He said implementation of OROP was his “dream”, which has been “fulfilled”. Rahul Gandhi had questioned the Modi government’s resolve to work for soldiers’ welfare on Saturday, asking the Prime Minister to first implement OROP in a meaningful way and redress their pay anomalies and other grievances.The Congress Vice President had written to Modi saying he was saddened at the decisions of the government taken in the last few weeks “which are far from reassuring the soldiers and has caused them pain instead”. Chief of Army Staff Gen. Dalbir Singh was present on the occasion.

PM Modi celebrates Diwali with jawans, says Rs 5,500 crore paid as first OROP istalment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The first instalment of nearly Rs 5,500 crore has been paid for implementing the OROP scheme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said while asserting that he has “fulfilled the promise” he made to ex-servicemen on the issue that has been hanging fire for the last 40 years.The Prime Minister, while celebrating Diwali with army and ITBP personnel in Sumdo here, over 270 km from state capital Shimla, also lauded the role of the security force personnel guarding and protecting the country. “Spent time with our courageous @ITBP_official & Army Jawans at Sumdo, Kinnaur district, Himachal Pradesh. Jai Jawan! Jai Hind!,” he tweeted. Earlier in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme on All India Radio, he saluted the valour of the armed forces and lauded their sacrifice while dedicating the festival of Diwali to them.”The OROP was not about just Rs 200 or Rs 500 crore, but Rs 10,000 crore… After I became the PM, and decided that I had to do (implement) it, the entire government lost sleep over it… It was not possible for the government to pay in one go, so I requested the ex-servicemen to accept it in four instalments. “The money will reach them in four instalments. Nearly, Rs 5,500 crore has been paid as the first instalment,” Modi said.He said the issue had been pending for “40 years” as certain people in the previous governments “did not know” about OROP (scheme), and therefore “only Rs 500 crore was allocated” for the purpose. Modi also said that many people thought that if the scheme was not implemented, a section of “ex-servicemen would turn against the government”. The Prime Minister, on his way to Sumdo, met civilians at Himachal’s Chango village, close to the Sino-Indian border.”Made unscheduled stop at Chango village, close to Somdu, to wish people on Diwali. Was deeply touched by the impromptu reception & their joy,” Modi tweeted. “The Prime Minister spent time with ITBP jawans and personnel of Dogra Scouts of army at Sumdo on border of Kinnaur and Spiti, and distributed sweets to them,” an official said. Modi also met personnel of the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF), a branch of Border Roads Organisation (BRO), entrusted with construction and maintenance of border roads and also executing the Rohtang Tunnel project, the official said.After coming in power in 2014, the Prime Minister had celebrated his first Diwali with soldiers posted in Siachen, and in 2015, he celebrated it at the India-Pakistan border in Punjab. Modi also said that implementation of OROP was his “dream”, which has been “fulfilled”. Noting that everyone wants to celebrate Diwali with their loved ones and that is why he had come in Sumdo, he said after the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, he celebrated Diwali at that time with the quake victims.”So it is not that I am doing this after becoming the Prime Minister,” he said. Lauding the role of the personnel of various services, Modi said that while other people look for career, they (the services personnel) look for an opportunity to face the enemy. “When you (jawans) are awake, they (the people) sleep. If you do not keep awake, the people will not be able to sleep (peacefully),” he said, adding that the forces make the nation proud.

We have no faith in JNU administration or Delhi police: Najeeb Ahmed’s family

New Delhi: Family of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Najeeb Ahmed who has been missing from the campus for 13 days, on Thursday claimed they have “no faith” in the university administration and investigation by the police.

JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) also demanded that police should first rule out his presence in the JNU campus by searching the jungles and also demanded that those accused of assaulting Ahmed should be questioned and arrested immediately.

A student of School of Biotechnology, Najeeb Ahmed, allegedly went missing on October 15 following a brawl on the campus allegedly with members of ABVP, the night before.

Claiming that Ahmed is not a person who would leave the campus on his own, his mother Fatima Nafees said he has been targeted as he was new and didn’t have many friends in the university.

“We have no faith in the university administration and the police investigation so far as the varsity officials are spreading ‘misinformation’ and shielding the ‘culprits’. Those who has been named as assaulters are roaming freely. They have not even been questioned,” she told reporters as she broke down.

Image courtesy: JNU website

Image courtesy: JNU website

Claiming that JNU administration is resorting to misinformation, Shahid, a resident of Mahi-Mandvi said that he was a witness and also got beaten during the violence along with Mohit Kumar Pandey, JNUSU president.

“I was on the second floor campaigning for hostel committee elections. After hearing the commotion I ran down. Vikrant (ABVP) said he was assaulted by Najeeb. I went up to Najeeb who was bleeding from his head. I asked him but he wasn’t able to speak. He went to the washroom.

“Another student Ankit said he wanted to use the washroom. I stopped him fearing he will again beat Najeeb. Ankit said he won’t and once inside started assaulting him. After we got him (Najeeb) out and were taking him to the warden’s office downstairs a group of 15-20 students literally lynched him,” Shahid alleged.

Shahid claimed that the proctor is making statements based on what Vikrant is saying and is refusing to state the depositions of the 20-odd neutral students.

“15 of us deposed before the police as well. But the police is yet to act against the assaulters,” added Shahid.

Alleging bias, Ahmed’s sister Sadaf said, “No written explanation was taken from the assaulters that day who beat up Najeeb in front of everyone including the warden. But they took it in writing from Najeeb. We have to force entry to proctor’s office and to meet the VC”.

JNU administration on Wednesday had issued a 25-point bulletin in connection with the case even as the varsity’s teachers association fumed over the authorities “selectively omitting” the fact that he was attacked during a brawl a night before.

JNUSU has been agitating alleging inaction on the administration’s part. The students had even confined the VC and other senior officials in the administrative building for over 20 hours last week.

Following directives from the Home Ministry, Delhi Police had formed a special investigative team to trace the missing student.

Culture Minister’s faux pas: Calls New Zealand PM John Key ‘McCullum’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Minister of Culture Mahesh Sharma made a faux pas at an event in Delhi when he addressed New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key as “McCullum”. The event was organised to promote New Zealand tourism in India and apart from Sharma and Key, Brendon McCullum, who earlier skippered that country’s cricket team in all three forms of the game, was also present.The gaffe happened when Sharma began his speech, addressing Key as “His excellency Prime Minister McCullum”. Moments after the minister made the blunder, Bollywood actor Sidharth Malhotra, who is New Zealand tourism’s ambassador in India, rose to speak but could not recall Sharma’s name. After fumbling for a few seconds, he said wittily “It’s payback time”.The event was aimed at promoting cultural exchanges between the two countries and, ignoring the mix up, Key said New Zealand is looking forward to having more Indian tourists visiting the nation.He said getting Malhotra on board was their way of attracting youngsters from India to visit the country which is one of the best destinations for adventure and nature tourism. Malhotra, who visited New Zealand last year to shoot some promotional videos, was presented an All Blacks (rugby team) jersey by the Prime Minister and, to honour the foreign dignitary on his India visit, the actor gifted him a handmade lion depicting confidence and power. The 31-year-old actor will be travelling across New Zealand for around 10 days to shoot a new set of promotional videos.