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DNA Evening Must Reads: PM Modi to address nation at 7.30 pm, updates on Mulayam-Akhilesh row, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yadav vs Yadav: Akhilesh back in SP fold, to make poll candidates list with MulayamFaced with an imminent split which could have drastically reduced his clout, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today revoked the expulsion of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Ramgopal, just a day after they were sacked for ‘indiscipline’. Read more hereAmid demonetization row, Rahul Gandhi leaves country to celebrate New YearAccording to various media reports, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has reportedly left the country to celebrate New Year in London. Read more herePM Modi’s New Year’s Eve Speech at 7:30 PM.Here’s where you can watch PM Modi’s address. BJP forms govt in Arunachal as Pema Khandu & 32 MLAs join partyIn a fast paced development, a BJP government was today installed in Arunachal Pradesh after 33, out of 43 Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA) MLAs led by Chief Minister Pema Khandu, joined the saffron brigade in this politically fragile state. Read more hereAamir Khan’s ‘Dangal’ ROARS at the Box Office, mints Rs 216.12 crore in 8 days!Aamir Khan ‘s Dangal continues its victory marathon at the ticket windows on Day 8 of its release. Read more here

Arunachal Pradesh: PPA blames BJP for ‘hijacking’ its MLAs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) on Saturday accused the BJP of hijacking its MLAs to install its government in the state, after Chief Minister Pema Khandu joined the saffron party with 32 MLAs.Addressing media persons at Arunachal Press Club (APC) here, PPA President Kahfa Bengia criticised North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma for remaining a silent spectator during the political crisis. PPA is a partner of NEDA. “The NEDA convenor instead of coming to the state to resolve the ongoing crisis went to Kenya. He should have deputed somebody to sort out the differences between the MLAs of the party,” Bengia said.”The PPA is not comfortable with NEDA in the state and we are going to discuss the issue with other constituent members of the alliance soon,” PPA central working committee (CWC) Chairman Kamen Ringu said while supporting Bengia.Criticising the BJP for its “conspiracy” to dislodge the PPA-led NEDA government in state and to install a full-fledged BJP government, Bengia alleged that the party even hijacked the PPA candidate for the November 19 by-poll to Hayuliang Assembly constituency and forced her to contest from a BJP ticket.”Most of the MLAs treat PPA as a “transit camp”. We’ll not allow it any more. We’ll try to strengthen the lone regional party of the state and will come out strong in the 2019 elections,” Bengia said. “Most of the leaders are not to lead the state but to loot,” Bengia said, adding that the party had enough legal aspects to teach lessons to those who had been maintaining equal relation with PPA as well as the BJP.

Arunachal strife: PPA says Pario to be CM, BJP claims Khandu has numbers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a politically tumultuous year in Arunachal Pradesh came to an end, the stage was set for another turmoil in the state assembly.Amidst reports that the ruling People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) had announced that Takam Pario would take over as Chief Minister, the BJP ruled out any change in the top post saying Pema Khandu had the backing of a majority of MLAs.Khandu’s term seemed set to be cut short on Thursday night when his party suspended him, his deputy Chowna Mein and five other MLAs allegedly for anti-party activities. However, uncertainty continued on Friday as fissures within the PPA surfaced.”It was a failed coup by the Takam Pario group. Khandu has the backing of 33 of the 43 MLAs in the 60-member assembly,” BJP state president Tapir Gao told DNA. Besides, the BJP’s 12 MLAs and two independents are also backing Khandu, taking the total to 47.The BJP, which was an ally of the PPA, made it clear that it would support Khandu, and that there would be status quo in Arunachal Pradesh assembly.Government spokeperson Bamang Felix said 35 of the 43 PPA MLAs have reposed faith in Khandu’s leadership. “Everything is going normally as usual and the Chief Minister is still enjoying absolute majority,” he said.However, a section of PPA chose Pario, the richest MLA in the assembly, as its candidate to replace Khandu, who left the Congress in September and joined PPA. Party president Kahfa Bengia said Pario will be the next CM.Bengia said the party will now go to any length to ensure that they are in power. “Khandu and some MLAs were plotting to become turncoats by joining the BJP by January 15. The next few days will be crucial; if Khandu’s faction does something unconstitutional, we will take a legal recourse and revoke them from the party,” Bengia said over the phone from Itanagar.The PPA, the only regional party in the state, is an alliance partner in the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA). The state has seen three different chief ministers in 2016.The political turf war began when Congress dissidents revolted against Nabam Tuki when he was chief minister. Congress rebel Kalikho Pul became CM with the support of 11 BJP MLAs. The Congress moved Supreme Court which restored Tuki government, only to be in power for a short term as he did not have the majority. However, MLAs backed Khandu instead of Pul, who committed suicide following which his wife won the election as BJP candidate.

Fresh twist in Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu claims support of 49 MLAs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a fresh political drama unfolded in Arunachal Pradesh after Chief Minister Pema Khandu was suspended from PPA along with six other MLAs, his government on Friday claimed majority support and the BJP backed him, but the ruling party said there will be change in leadership.The Pema Khandu government claimed support of 49 of the 60 MLAs, including 35 of Peoples Party of Arunachal (PPA) legislators, a day after he was suspended from his own party.Government spokesperson Bamang Felix claimed that 35 out of the 43 PPA MLAs have reposed their faith and allegiance in the leadership of Khandu.”We have support of 49 MLAs including 35 PPA, 12 BJP along with one associate BJP member and one independent,” he claimed at a press conference here.”Everything is going normally as usual and the chief minister is still enjoying absolute majority from PPA, BJP and independent MLAs,” Felix said in response to queries.The PPA, which has total 43 MLAs, had midnight last night temporarily suspended Khandu, deputy chief minister Chhowna Mein and five other MLAs from the primary membership of the party for their alleged “anti-party activities”.Stating that there was no question of change in leadership, Felix said, “We are looking at the legal aspects of the suspension of seven MLAs including Khandu.” “The PPA is not a single man party. Whatever decision was taken by the party’s president Kahfa Bengia was his own.”We are trying to sort out the differences among the party MLAs and our door is open for all,” the spokesman added.Responding to a query on BJP s claim that process is on for the PPA MLAs to join it, Felix said that since PPA is an alliance partner of BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) government “no such question arises”.Bengia on his part said that Takam Pario, PHED minister, is likely to be the next chief minister.”The sudden decision of the PPA is not acceptable to us as they have never discussed with us. In the interest of development of the state and its people, BJP cannot be a party to change of government every six months,” BJP legislature party leader Tamiyo Taga told a press conference.Taga, who is also the Textile and Handicraft Minister, further said that the party has decided to support Khandu on the floor of the assembly if the Governor issues directives for a floor test.Khandu broke away from the Congress along with 42 lawmakers in September this year, managing a coup that suddenly left the party out of power in the state.Arunachal has been battling political instability since December last year when Congress dissidents revolted against former chief minister Nabam Tuki.After a series of dramatic developments, which included a special session held at a hotel to vote out Tuki, Congress rebel Kalikho Pul became chief minister in February with the help of 11 BJP lawmakers.The Congress then moved Supreme Court, which turned the clock back and restored Tuki’s government.But Tuki was out within days as he did not enjoy a majority in the 60-member assembly.Pul, who insisted that he be reinstated as chief minister, was left alone in the last minute when lawmakers supposedly backing him shifted their loyalties to Khandu.Pul committed suicide in August and a month later, Khandu walked out of Congress with 42 lawmakers and joined the PPA.

Arunachal Pradesh: Takam Pario likely to become next CM, Ram Madhav says BJP MLAs support Pema Khandu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after suspending Pema Khandu, the Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA) is likely to elect Takam Pario as the new Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh.The final statement is yet to come out after the PPA meeting.However, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Ram Madhav said that around 12 BJP MLAs in Arunachal are lending support to the government led by suspended Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA) leader Pema Khandu.”12 BJP MLAs in Arunachal strongly backing government led by Pema Khandu,” Ram Madhav to ANI.Takam Pario, Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) minister, is likely to be the next Arunachal Pradesh CM, said PPA President Kahfa Bengia.In a fast-paced development, PPA on Thursday late night suspended Khandu, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and five other party MLAs from the primary membership of the party temporarily with immediate effect for alleged anti-party activities.The five other MLAs are Jambey Tashi (Lumla), Passang Dorjee Sona (Mechuka), Chow Tewa Mein (Chowkham), Zingnu Namchom (Namsai) and Kamlung Mossang (Miao).PPA President Kahfa Bengia in an order stated that by virtue of the power vested in him by the Constitution of the party and the resolution adopted in the state executive committee meeting held on December 20, the MLAs are placed under suspension temporarily from the primary membership with immediate effect pending initiation of disciplinary proceedings.Bengia said prima facie he was satisfied with the proofs of their indulgence in gross “anti-party” activities.The order further stated that with the suspension, Khandu ceased to be the leader of the PPA Legislature Party.He directed the party MLAs and PPA functionaries not to attend any meeting called by Khandu and said that any members failing to comply with the order would have to face disciplinary action of the party.

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

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

Crisis in Arunachal: PPA suspends CM Khandu and six others from primary membership

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a fast-paced development, the Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA) late on Thursday night suspended Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and five other party MLAs from the primary membership of the party temporarily with immediate effect for alleged anti-party activities.The five other MLAs are Jambey Tashi (Lumla), Passang Dorjee Sona (Mechuka), Chow Tewa Mein (Chowkham), Zingnu Namchom (Namsai) and Kamlung Mossang (Miao). PPA President Kahfa Bengia in an order stated that by virtue of the power vested in him by the Constitution of the party and the resolution adopted in the state executive committee meeting held on December 20, the MLAs are placed under suspension temporarily from the primary membership with immediate effect pending initiation of disciplinary proceedings.Bengia said prima facie he was satisfied with the proofs of their indulgence in gross “anti-party” activities. The order further stated that with the suspension, Khandu ceased to be the leader of the PPA Legislature Party.He directed the party MLAs and PPA functionaries not to attend any meeting called by Khandu and said that any members failing to comply with the order would have to face disciplinary action of the party.Bengia, in a letter to Assembly Speaker T Norbu Thongdok requested him to declare the suspended MLAs as unattached members of the House and arrange separate sitting for them in the House. He further requested the Speaker to communicate the development to the Governor

India-China ties: Modi govt hopes to gain in 2017 as Donald Trump presidency plays out its cards

There has been much noise about a Pakistan Lieutenant General Aamir Riaz asking India to become a part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Consider for a moment that India agrees, Pakistan itself will regret the invitation. As a much bigger economy, India will become a key player, and take some of the shine away from Pakistan. The strategic equation in Asia as we know it at present would go into a tailspin and could even finally hit the “all weather” China-Pakistan friendship as the entire region would be transformed. In an ideal world, this would be a game changer as countries become stake holders for peace.

But even a leader like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, given to thinking out of the box, cannot risk this bold initiative so long as anti-India terror groups continue to target Indian forces in Kashmir. Without bringing the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai terror strikes, the Uri and Pathankot kingpins to book, no Indian leader can risk making peace. Modi as the leader of a nationalist right-wing party, who had long decried the UPA’s soft approach to terror, cannot dream of it now with tension escalating and daily killings across the Line of Control (LoC).

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

India-China and India-Pakistan ties are unlikely to change dramatically in the next few months, with Pakistan especially, till such time as elections in UP, Punjab and other states are done and dusted. Modi’s greetings to Nawaz Sharif on his birthday is an indication that Modi wants to leave a door open to his counterpart. India-Pakistan ties are more emotive than its relationship with China, but with Pakistan becoming a key element of President Xi Jinping’s pet one-road-one-belt project, Beijing, much more than earlier is an integral element in the relationship.

Though India is a member of China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), it has never warmed up to the New Silk Road project. Beijing had earlier been keen for India to join its one-belt-one-road scheme but with the $46 billion investment in Pakistan, it is impossible. India has often protested that some of the CPEC infrastructure will be passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), which India claims as its own. China and Pakistan’s friendship has been further cemented by the $46 billion investment in the CPEC.

India-China ties have also taken a hit in the last one year. China has halted India’s entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), it is cool to Delhi’s ambitions of being a member of an expanded UN Security Council. It has also blocked Pakistan-based terror group leader Masood Azhar from being declared on the UN list of terror, though his organisation, the Jaish-e-Mohammed is a designated terror outfit. All this on “technical grounds” according to China. More acrimony in India-China ties lie ahead.

The visit of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh in February is likely to further hit India-China ties. Not that this will be his first visit. He was in the Tawang monastery in 2008 also. But now the Chinese are slightly more nervous. US President-elect Donald Trump’s phone call to Taiwan’s president has made China uneasy and Beijing will be watching closely whether Washington’s new incumbent will continue the long accepted one-China policy which the world seemed until now to have accepted. Taiwan and Tibet are key elements of the one China theory. The Dalai Lama’s visit to any country, remember Mongolia, leads to loud and angry protests by Beijing. The fact that most of its neighbours, aware of China’s economic and military power finally gave in, has emboldened Beijing.

The Tibetan leader’s meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee in Rashtrapati Bhavan has elicited similar noise from China. US ambassador Richard Verma was given rare permission to travel to Arunachal Pradesh. Now, when it is already vulnerable about Taiwan, a visit to the state, which China claims as an extension of South Tibet, will lead to more raucous protests from Beijing.

China usually is circumspect and has long-term policy visions, but over both Taiwan and Tibet it is ultra sensitive. With an unknown individual ready to shake up the Washington consensus China remains nervous. Moreover, it has been closely monitoring the growing warmth in India-China ties and believes the US is using New Delhi to balance China’s clout in the Asia-Pacific region.

All this does not bode well for relations between the two Asian giants. China is also aware that Modi is not the run of the mill Indian leader, and can take extraordinarily bold decisions and can even be adventurist if required.

China’s one-road-one-belt policy is hard to resist for most countries in the neighbourhood. Everyone needs funds for infrastructure, whether it is Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal or the Maldives. China’s footprints are writ large around India’s neighbourhood. This is of concern to India. But India’s frustration should not lead to arm-twisting of smaller neighbours. What it needs instead is a viable development alternative, something much more than the Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec). So long as China is flushed with funds, its influence in the region will remain intact. But as many economists predict, China is living in a bubble and chances of the bubble bursting in the next couple of years are high. Without the abundance of cash, Beijing’s competitiveness will dim for awhile. India needs to think of a viable option to carry its neighbours with it. 2017 is likely to be an interesting year as the Trump presidency plays out its cards. India is hoping it will gain in the process.

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 18:26 IST

Kiren Rijiju asks Arunachal govt to hold independent inquiry into death of engineering student

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju has asked the Arunachal Pradesh government to constitute an independent inquiry into the death of 22-year-old engineering student Haa Tama who died last week after falling from his hostel building in Rajasthan.Rijiju gave this direction to state Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Food and Civil Supplies Parliamentary Secretary Markio Tado and sought a report in the matter during a meeting at New Delhi yesterday.The Union minister urged the state government to constitute an independent inquiry by a superintendent of police, an official communique said here today.Tado also appealed to the Union minister to direct the Rajasthan government to disclose the post-mortem and FSL report.Khandu assured to take up the matter immediately with Union and Rajasthan governments.Tama, who was pursuing engineering degree at Dr K N Modi University in Tonk district of Rajasthan, died after he fall mysteriously from his hostel room on December 16 last.

US finds remains of WW II soldiers in NE

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After years of concerted efforts, US government officials have found remains of soldiers who fought during the World War II in Arunachal Pradesh. A team of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) visited several locations in Arunachal Pradesh.In a statement, American Ambassador to India Richard Verma lauded the findings. “The United States is committed to making sure all the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who served our country come home. DPAA’s mission in India is a vital part of that commitment,” he said.Mission Commander Lt Col Pritz of the American Embassy, too, issued a statement thanking the Indian government.Efforts to locate the remains around Arunachal were going on since 2003. It was only in 2008 that India and the US entered into an understanding to let the American search crew inside the area.Between 2006 and 2010, the crash sites of several US aircraft have been discovered in the area. Some of these are the crash sites of C-87 transport (41-23696), B-24J bomber (42-73308) nicknamed as “Hot as Hell”, C-46A transport (41-24724), B-24D bomber (42-40069) nicknamed as “Pregnant Swan”, C-47DL transport (41-18518), C-87 transport (42-107259), C-46A transport #41-24739, C-87 transport (41-23791), 308th Bomb Group B-24J 42-100184, and, 08th Bomb Group B-24J 42-73242, nicknamed “Haley’s Comet”.In these crashes, the number of suspected casualties is over 50. In April this year, the crew found the remains of soldiers travelling in a C-109 that crashed on July 17, 1945, travelling from Jorhat in Assam to China’s Hsinching province.

Justice JS Khehar set to be next Chief Justice of India after President clears appointment

Justice JS Khehar is set be the next Chief Justice of India after President Pranab Mukherjee formally gave his nod to his appointment. He will succeed CJI TS Thakur as the 44th Chief Justice of India after the latter demits office on 3 January.

The Chief Justice of India, the highest authority in the judiciary, is traditionally appointed on seniority basis, on the recommendation of the incumbent Chief Justice. As Justice Khehar was the senior-most judge after the Chief Justice TS Thakur, his name was recommended to the government on the principle of seniority. As Chief Justice, Khehar will have a tenure of over seven months as he would be retiring on 28 August, 2017.

Justice Khehar in a file image. Twitter/ @airnewsalerts

Justice Khehar in a file image. Twitter/ @airnewsalerts

Justice Khehar will be the first Sikh to occupy the highest office. However, as a report in Live Mint states, his appointment assumes importance as doubts were raised that Justice Khehar might be superseded by the government. A group of prominent lawyers had, earlier this month, urged the government to overlook Justice Khehar’s seniority, citing his verdict on the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) case.

Justice JS Khehar was heading the five-judge constitution bench that junked the National Judicial Appointments Commission for the appointment of judges as unconstitutional holding that it intruded upon the independence of judiciary.

Incidentally, Justice Khehar also presided over the five judges’ constitution bench that had quashed the then Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa’s decision to advance the assembly session from January 2016 to December 2015, as it directed restoration of ousted Chief Minister Nabam Tuki’s government. But subsequent political developments in Arunachal Pradesh took a different course.

Having done LLB and LLM from Punjab University, Chandigarh, Justice Khehar was awarded gold medal for securing first position in the university LLM examination.

Before being elevated as a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh on February 8, 1999, Justice Khehgar had practised before it as well as the Himachal Pradesh High Court and the Supreme Court. He was twice appointed as the acting Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court from 2 August, 2008, and again from 17 November, 2009.

He was elevated as Chief Justice of Uttrakhand High Court on 29 November, 2009. Later, he was transferred as Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court.

Justice Khehar was elevated as judge of the Supreme Court on 13 September, 2011.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 21:46 IST

Justice JS Khehar appointed 44th Chief Justice of India by President Pranab Mukherjee

Justice JS Khehar is set be the next Chief Justice of India after President Pranab Mukherjee formally gave his nod to his appointment. He will succeed CJI TS Thakur as the 44th Chief Justice of India after the latter demits office on 3 January.

The Chief Justice of India, the highest authority in the judiciary, is traditionally appointed on seniority basis, on the recommendation of the incumbent Chief Justice. As Justice Khehar was the senior-most judge after the Chief Justice TS Thakur, his name was recommended to the government on the principle of seniority. As Chief Justice, Khehar will have a tenure of over seven months as he would be retiring on 28 August, 2017.

Justice Khehar in a file image. Twitter/ @airnewsalerts

Justice Khehar in a file image. Twitter/ @airnewsalerts

Justice Khehar will be the first Sikh to occupy the highest office. However, as a report in Live Mint states, his appointment assumes importance as doubts were raised that Justice Khehar might be superseded by the government. A group of prominent lawyers had, earlier this month, urged the government to overlook Justice Khehar’s seniority, citing his verdict on the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) case.

Justice JS Khehar was heading the five-judge constitution bench that junked the National Judicial Appointments Commission for the appointment of judges as unconstitutional holding that it intruded upon the independence of judiciary.

Incidentally, Justice Khehar also presided over the five judges’ constitution bench that had quashed the then Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa’s decision to advance the assembly session from January 2016 to December 2015, as it directed restoration of ousted Chief Minister Nabam Tuki’s government. But subsequent political developments in Arunachal Pradesh took a different course.

Having done LLB and LLM from Punjab University, Chandigarh, Justice Khehar was awarded gold medal for securing first position in the university LLM examination.

Before being elevated as a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh on February 8, 1999, Justice Khehgar had practised before it as well as the Himachal Pradesh High Court and the Supreme Court. He was twice appointed as the acting Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court from 2 August, 2008, and again from 17 November, 2009.

He was elevated as Chief Justice of Uttrakhand High Court on 29 November, 2009. Later, he was transferred as Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court.

Justice Khehar was elevated as judge of the Supreme Court on 13 September, 2011.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 21:46 IST

China protests Prez’s meeting with Dalai Lama, warns of disturbance to ties

Beijing: On Friday, China took strong exception to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama’s meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan during a children’s summit, saying India must respect China’s “core interests” to avoid “any disturbance” to the bilateral ties.

“Recently in disregard of China’s solemn representation and strong opposition, the Indian side insisted on arranging for the 14th Dalai Lama’s visit to the Indian Presidential palace where he took part in an event and met President Mukherjee,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang told a media briefing in Beijing.

“The Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to that,” he said, replying to a question on the Dalai Lama’s presence in the opening session of the ‘Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit’, organised by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s Children’s Foundation on 10 December.

“The Dalai Lama is in political exile and is long been engaged anti-China separatist activities with the attempt of separating Tibet away from China under the cloak of religion,” Geng said.

Dalai Lama. PTIDalai Lama. PTI

Dalai Lama. PTI

The Chinese side firmly opposes any form of contact between officials of the other countries with him.

“We urge the Indian side to see through the anti-China separatist nature of the Dalai Lama clique, fully respect China’s core interests and major concerns, take effective means to remove the negative impact caused by the incident to avoid any disturbance to China-India relationship,” Geng said.

China routinely protests world leaders meetings with the Dalai Lama.

This is the second time that China objected to the Dalai Lama’s activities in India in recent months.

Beijing objected in October this year to India’s permission to the Tibetan spiritual leader to visit Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as part of southern Tibet.

Early this month, China also objected to the visit of prominent Tibetan religious leader, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to Arunachal Pradesh, hoping that India would abide by consensus and refrain from taking any action that might complicate the boundary dispute.

India also came under the criticism from Chinese official media over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Mongolia following which Beijing was accused of imposing a blockade of the land-locked country.

While China besides criticising Mongolia for permitting the Dalai Lama reportedly blocked movement along the Mongolia-China border, Beijing was also livid over the Mongolian Ambassador to India Gonchig Ganhold’s appeal to New Delhi to help Mongolia to deal with China’s countermeasure against Ulaanbaatar.

India has said Mongolia can avail the USD one billion aid, which one of the Chinese newspaper Global Times termed it as a bribe.

An article in the daily also warned Mongolia that it is “politically harebrained” to ask for New Delhi’s support as it will further complicate bilateral ties.

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 15:21 IST

Local Arunachal Congress leaders ‘astonished’ by corruption charges against Kiren Rijiju

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who is at the centre of a controversy for having sought release of payments for contractors named in a vigilance probe, said on Thursday that the Congress Party has made a grave mistake by raising their finger against him, and therefore, they will have to pay the price for their lifetime. The Lok Sabha MP also shared a post on Twitter in which he said that he had the support of senior Congress Panchayat leaders. He wrote on Twitter: “This is a tight slap on the face of Congress ! Senior Congress Panchayat leaders are also condemning the shameful & malicious Congress act.”The letter reportedly written by Congress Panchayat leaders, claimed that he they had approached Rijiju for help since they hadn’t been paid. They wrote in the letter:“We would like to inform that we were deprived off the rightful payment due to us for performing the services of providing boulders for the project during being engaged as sub-contractor of Patel Engineering. As we were facing financial difficulties we had approached the NEEPCO and Patel Engineering admin many times but they have not listened to our request for release of our due payments. Shri Rijiju being our local MP we had approached him for taking our issues at appropriate level. His conduct in this case was his responsibility towards the people of projects affected site irrespective of political affiliation. We may have political differences because many of us are representing congress party in public life but it is our right to approach elected representatives to resolve grievances irrespective of political affiliation.” Earlier, talking to the media, Rijiju said if he has committed something wrong, then the Congress has no morale right to even exist even as a political party. ‘If I have committed something wrong then the Congress has no morale right to even exist even as a political party because as a people representative we normally recommend the people’s need, we recommend people’s request. That is our job. If I don’t recommend and I don’t have the local people then what am I for’ I am the Member of Parliament for my people,’ he said.Requesting for a thorough probe into the matter, he said, ‘I have written to only one recommendation letter. There are thousands of recommendation letter written by the Congress MLAs, Congress Chief Ministers, Congress MPs. It all should come out. So, if there is a thorough inquiry then the Congress will think again to raise this issue.’‘I have very clearly said that the Congress Party has made a grave mistake by raising their finger against me, they will pay the price for their lifetime, I’m telling you,’ he added. Rijiju had earlier said “Congress people should apologise for this. The scam – awarding of contract and payments – all happened during the Congress’ reign, and thus, the Congress should apologise to the nation”.‘The scam happened during the Congress reign, it has not happened during our regime. After 2014 had there been awarding of any contract or was there any payment’ Hence, all evidences are during the Congress’ time, so, they must apologise,’ he said.Rijiju brushed aside all allegations of corruption levelled against him and his distant cousin, saying that the ones planting such news would be beaten up with shoes if they come to Arunachal. He pushed aside all blame calling it “shameful” and asked if helping one’s own people can be termed as ‘corruption’. Rijiju, his distant cousin, a contractor in Arunachal Pradesh, Goboi Rijiju, and several other officials of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) have been alleged of corruption in the construction of two dams for one of the biggest hydro-electric projects in Arunachal Pradesh.Their names, including the names of Chairman and Managing Editor of NEEPCO, have been mentioned in a 129-page report submitted by the Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) Chief Vigilance Officer.With inputs from ANI

Lok Sabha adjourns amid Oppn din over Kiren Rijiju, demonetization issues

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lok Sabha continued to see ruckus on Wednesday with the Opposition training their guns on the government over the controversy involving Union Minister Kiren Rijiju and the demonetization issue, forcing adjournment of the proceedings till noon.As soon as the House met for the day, Opposition members, including those from Congress, TMC and Left parties, were on their feet raising demands about certain issues, including the controversy involving Rijiju and demonetization.Some members from the Treasury benches were also on their feet waving papers but both sides were not audible amid the din. A couple of members from the Left parties trooped into the Well. Among other issues, Opposition members were seen to be raising concerns about alleged misuse of office by Rijiju, who is the Minister of State for Home Affairs, with regard to a power project in Arunachal Pradesh.With the ruckus continuing, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan the proceedings were adjourned till noon. Even as the protests continued, one question was taken up during Question Hour.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, party’s Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, among others, were present in the House.Lok Sabha has been witnessing a virtual washout since the Winter Session started on November 16 with the Opposition and the government locking horns over the demonetization issue.

Not a crime to help poor tribals, all payments made during Congress regime, says under-fire Kiren Rijiju

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Minister Kiren Rijiju came under attack over allegations that he influenced Power Ministry to clear bills related to a power project in Arunachal Pradesh, with Congress demanding his sacking but the minister denied any wrongdoing.Alleging that it was a Rs 450-crore scam in the form of false and inflated transportation bills, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala released an audio tape of a purported conversation of the minister’s cousin, a contractor in the 600 MW power project, and Rijiju’s letter recommending that held up payments be released.”Kiren Rijiju has no right to stay in office. He should either be dismissed by the Prime Minister or asked to resign till an independent probe is complete,” the Congress spokesman said.The opposition party also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying his “tall claims” of bringing transparency have “fallen flat” as had happened with several other scandals in the past including Vyapam, Lalitgate and the Vijay Mallya issue. “Mr Modi’s claims of transparency ad honesty is now under question. People of India are looking at what action he takes on this issue,” Surjewala said.Hitting back, Rijiju, who is Minister of State for Home, said, “I have written the letter to the Power Minister after I received representations from some people in my constituency in Arunachal West regarding pending bills. I have done no wrong and there is no corruption.”Peeved at the allegations, the Minister said, “Those who planted the story will be beaten up with shoes when they will come to our area.”Rijiju also tweeted copies of the representation he received and the letter he had sent to the Power Minister. “Really cheap!… Is it a corruption helping poor Tribals?,” he said on twitter.Stating that the contracts were given and most of the payments made during the Congress rule, he asked the opposition party to apologise. Reports claimed that Rijiju, his cousin, a contractor in Arunachal Pradesh, Goboi Rijiju, and several top officials of the state-run NEEPCO, including its Chairman and Managing Director, have been named in a 129-page report by the PSU’s Chief Vigilance Officer Satish Verma that alleges corruption in construction of two dams for 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project, one of the biggest hydro-electric projects in Arunachal Pradesh.NEEPC comes under the Union Power Ministry. “I pity Congress party … I feel that Congress should apologise to the nation for creating an issue which is non-existent. If local people have approached me to tell me that bills are pending and the bills are of small amount and what they are saying of Rs 150 crores, it is not like that,” Rijiju said.”Small pending bills, pending since 2012, 2013, 2014 before we came to power, the contracts were awarded when we were not in the government, the payments were paid when we were not in the government. Only I was told that some 20-30 per cent of payments were remaining which NEEPCO is not releasing the money. So I wrote a letter to the Power Minister that just look into the matter, thats it,” the Minister said. Verma’s report was sent to the CBI, CVC and the Ministry of Power in July this year. It alleges an “elaborate conspiracy” involving contractors, North East Power Corporation (NEPCO) officials and the West Kameng district administration to defraud NEEPCO and the government of funds that “may extend up to Rs 450 crore”. West Kameng, the site of the project, falls in Arunachal West which is the parliamentary constituency of Rijiju. The CBI has made two “surprise checks” but no FIR has been registered yet, reports said.Chief Vigilance Officer Satish Verma, a Gujarat IPS officer, was pulled up by NEEPCO for “unauthorised absence,” and transferred to the CRPF in Tripura soon after his report.Verma was also part of the three-member SIT set up to probe the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan in Gujarat in 2004 when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister.Verma had said Ishrat’s killing was a “premeditated murder”. Surjewala said, “This is a very serious issue. The Prime Minister should speak out on this issue…. “If PM has courage of conviction, he must either sack Kiren Rijiju or ask him to resign and conduct a fair and free probe so that truth comes out…Till then, Rijiju should be divested of his post.” “The Prime in the run up to elections used to say that he will neither do or allow corruption to happen. But there have been a series of charges of corruption that came to light in the Modi government,” he said.Payments were stopped after a letter by the Chief Vigilance Officer conducted a probe into the issue, he claimed.Targeting the CBI, Surjewala alleged that the premier investigation agency has become a “puppet” in the hands of the Modi government and has not even registered an FIR in the matter despite the report by the vigilance officer.Surjewala also played out a purported audio conversation between Goboi and Verma and the opposition party claimed it also had a mention of the goings on that led to pulling down of the Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh.He claimed Rijiju’s relative was clearly attempting to influence the CVO in the 28-minute tape and was using his Minister brother’s name to seek his help in getting the bills cleared and was also enticing him with a promotion.”There seems to be a connection with making of these payments and were some of these payments used to buy and sell legislators is a matter that needs to be seriously probed,” he said.Alleging that “inflated” bills were put up for bringing boulders for the dam construction, he said some of the huge boulders were shown to be carried on scooters, motorcyles and cars by a single driver at the same time.

DNA Evening Reads: Kiren Rijiju denies role in power project scam, Trump picks Secretary of State, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress alleges Kiren Rijiju involved in Rs 450 crore Arunachal power project scam, demands his resignationCongress on Tuesday demanded the sacking of Union Minister Kiren Rijiju alleging his “involvement” in the ‘Rs 450-crore Arunachal power scam’ and said the Prime Minister’s “tall claims” of bringing transparency have “fallen flat”. Read more here Rs 12.44 lakh crore demonetized notes back in the system: RBIReserve Bank of India, Deputy Governor R Gandhi stated that as of Tuesday, the central bank has collected Rs 12.44 lakh crore at banks in demonetized notes. Read more here Trump picks Exxon Mobil CEO and Putin associate Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of StateExxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson was chosen as the new US Secretary of State by President- elect Donald Trump, a nomination that could face intense scrutiny due to the veteran oil executive’s close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Read more hereKohli climbs to 2nd spot in ICC Test Rankings for batsmen, Ashwin extends lead at top amongst bowlersIndian captain Virat Kohli climbed to the second spot in the ICC Test Rankings for batsmen on Tuesday. Read more herePriyanka Chopra appointed as UNICEF Goodwill AmbassadorActress Priyanka Chopra, appointed as UNICEF’s newest global Goodwill Ambassador, urged people from across nations to become the “collective voice” of oppressed children in the world and join forces to leave a better future for the coming generations. Read more here

Kiren Rijiju dismisses hydro project scam allegations, says conspirators ‘will be beaten by shoes’

The Chief Vigilance Officer of the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) has alleged that the Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju, his cousin Goboi Rijiju — a contractor in Arunachal Pradesh — and several top officials of NEEPCO are involved in a multi-crore scam in the construction of two dams for 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project, one of the biggest hydro-electric projects in Arunachal Pradesh.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju. PTI

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju. PTI

According to The Indian Express, in a 129-page report, CVO Satish Verma alleged an “elaborate conspiracy” involving contractors, NEEPCO officials and the West Kameng district administration to defraud NEEPCO and the government of funds that “may extend up to Rs 450 crore.” Rijiju had written a letter to Ministry of Power to release funds to the contractor and his cousin Goboi Rijiju, News18 reported.

Chief Vigilance Officer Satish Verma, a Gujarat IPS officer, was pulled up by NEEPCO for “unauthorised absence,” and transferred to the CRPF in Tripura soon after his report. The Indian Express quoted him as attributing the “absence” to his investigation.

Meanwhile, Rijiju said that those who “planted” the news that he has been named along with a few others in a vigilance report on corruption at NEEPCO will get beaten up with shoes if they come to Arunachal Pradesh. “Jhoothe khayenge hamare yahan,” ANI quoted him as saying reacting to the report that appeared in The Indian Express on Tuesday. According to the paper, Verma’s report alleges many fake and “inflated bills” by contractors to embezzle money “in the name of transporting rocks”.

Reacting to the news, a Congress member of Arunachal Pradesh said.

Rijiju represents Arunachal Pradesh in the Lok Sabha. CVO Verma is a Gujarat-cadre IPS officer who assisted on the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, and in a petition to the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) alleged that his role as a CVO was curtailed since he flagged off the multi-crore scam. “In the affidavit, Mr. Verma said that all his outstation visits were accounted for and were done to investigate the fraudulent activities,” The Hindu reported.

Speaking to The Hindu, Rijiju, however, said, “He (Goboi) is a distant cousin. Be it anyone, whether distant cousins or friends, will not tolerate if my name is used to get their works done. Anyway I will always ensure that my people don’t face hardship.”

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 13:54 IST

Rechristening Christmas: BJP tweaks ‘good governance day’ for North East, says change not mandatory

The Bharatiya Janata Party, tweaking its political strategy for the North East, has reversed its decision to observe 25 December as ‘Good Governance Day’. The Christian-dominated NorthEast had opposed the central government’s decision of re-christening Christmas Day, and even state units had assured people that they wouldn’t impose Good Governance Day here.

Local units of the saffron party now stand on opposing sides of the debate. Visasoilie Lhongu, Nagaland state BJP president, told Firstpost, “We are being criticised by the church for stepping into religion, by asking Christians to observe Good Governance Day.”

In Christian-dominated North East, Christmas Day is celebrated in a big way. AFPIn Christian-dominated North East, Christmas Day is celebrated in a big way. AFP

In Christian-dominated North East, Christmas Day is celebrated in a big way. AFP

He added that it was always going to be a tough ask, getting people’s participation on seminars organised on Christmas Day,  considering over 90 percent of the state’s residents are Christians. “We can definitely get a fair number of participants if it is organised on a day other than Christmas,” he added.

Lhongu suggested that the Centre change the date Good Governance Day is observed in states which have a large Christian population.

The Nagaland Baptist Church Council had earlier demanded the NDA government reverse its Good Governance Day notification, saying it would go down in history as a discriminatory move against religious minorities. It had also criticised the NPF-led DAN state government for “betraying the trust of the people, by continuing to adore and glorify leaders who have systematically dismantled the secular fabric of the country”.

The Nagaland state government has still not planned any programmes for Good Governance Day. The Naga People’s Front (NPF), in a central executive council meeting on 29 November, had appealed to the Centre to not impose Good Governance Day on Christmas Day.

Jyoti Kalash, resident commissioner of Nagaland House in Delhi, told Firstpost that he has received no specific instructions in this regard. “It is likely that the Nagaland government will observe a holiday on 25 December as usual,” he said. “Since it is a Christian majority state, and Christmas is the only major festival for the community, it’s unlikely the government will function on that day.”

Kalash, who has been in the present position since a long time, further added that Nagaland also didn’t observe Good Governance Day last year.

Meanwhile, the Mizoram unit of the BJP has moved even further away from the Centre’s diktat. State president of the BJP in Mizoram told the media, “The BJP led government at the Centre had declared 25 December as Good Governance Day to mark former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birthday. But we want to assure the people of the state that it will never happen in Mizoram. This day will always be Christmas Day here.”

Sources from the party have told Firstpost that the party has been forced to take up this stand because of the stinging public criticism it has faced ever since suggesting the rechristening.

David Thangliana, former journalist and resident of Aizawl, told Firstpost that no one in Mizoram supports the move, as they feel it restricts the religious freedom of Christians.

The Reverend Lalramliana Pachau, one of the Church leaders in Mizoram, further added, “We have not issued any public statement on whether to celebrate Good Governance Day or not. But we are definitely not in favor of it.”

In Arunachal Pradesh, where the party officially supports the Pema Khandu-led government, the BJP released a statement clearing misconception among the people that Good Governance Day will replace Christmas Day. “25 December is a national Gazetted holiday. It will continue to remain Christmas Day for followers of Jesus Christ everywhere in the country, including in Arunachal Pradesh,” the statement said.

The statement came after the Arunachal Christian Forum strongly opposed the move to celebrate Good Governance Day, calling it a strategy to cater to the local demands. The shift in BJP’s stand on Good Governance Day is seen as an extension of the changing political discourse it had employed so effectively in Assam earlier this year. The party moved away from its rhetoric on ‘Bangladeshi infiltrators’ to ‘soft Hindutva’, and clinched Assembly polls in the state.

The present NDA regime at the Centre had said Good Governance Day will be observed across the country on 25 December, to mark Vajpayee’s birthday. The move was heavily criticised by several quarters, since observing this day required government officers and staff to remain present in office on Christmas, a gazetted holiday.

First Published On : Dec 10, 2016 14:48 IST

Arunachal Pradesh: 17 Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan employees suspended

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Arunachal Pradesh government has suspended 17 employees working under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for remaining absent from their duty for an excessively long period. Taking action against the absentees, 17 teaching and non-teaching staff under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) posted in various educational institutions of Damin and Parsi-Parlo administrative circles under Kurung Kumey district, Deputy Commissioner Kangki Darang, also the district SSA project director, suspended them recently, an official release said in Itanagar on Monday.The suspended officials were found absent from their place of posting since a long time, it said. Some of them were reported to have not joined their duties since the beginning of the current academic session, thereby affecting the smooth functioning of the schools located in remote outposts.The DC has directed Kurung Kumey district Deputy Director of School Education (DDSE) to carry out an inquiry against all the suspended officials individually and submit report before December 20 for further necessary action. Darang became the first DC to reach Ruba, the last village on the Indian side at the Indo-China border in Kurung-Kumey sector after trekking for several days and also the first Deputy Commissioner to reach Damin on foot. He visited various government establishments and institutions during his week-long tour recently, the release said.

Pushing for relaxing norms for Arunachal road projects: Kiren Rijiju

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Admitting that road connectivity in border areas is of utmost importance, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Saturday said he has been pushing for relaxation of norms specifically for Arunachal Pradesh in implementing Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana.”The Union Home Ministry will pursue with the ministry concerned for connecting each registered village under PMGSY by relaxing its norms for the state,” he said.Rijiju was addressing a meeting with Chief Minister Pema Khandu and high level officers of the state government on ‘Special Package for Border Areas’ in Itanagar. He said the ministry is also mooting proposals for a frontier highway and an industrial corridor for Arunachal Pradesh, an official statement said. “We are proposing the frontier highway to connect all towns along the international border and the industrial corridor to connect all foothill areas.These roads along with the ongoing Trans-Arunachal highway in the middle belt will become the lifeline of the state around which other arterial roads will come up solving the connectivity hurdle forever,” Rijiju said.He asked the state government to submit proposals immediately so that the Home Ministry can pursue those with the ministries concerned for sanction. Khandu emphasised on road connectivity to usher in development and welfare projects in remote border areas of the state. The proposal for seeking a ‘special package’ for border area development was mooted in 2014 but was delayed due to various factors, the statement said.Khandu asserted that further delay in going ahead with the proposals will deprive timely development of remote border areas of the state and urged officials of the departments concerned to submit their proposals immediately. “We have lost enough time. We can’t wait anymore,” the chief Minister said.The state government is seeking special assistance from the Centre in health, education, rural connectivity, power (including solar and alternate resources), drinking water and civil supplies, the statement said.

Arunachal Pradesh: Two soldiers killed, eight injured as militants ambush Assam Rifles convoy

Guwahati: Two soldiers were killed and eight others injured as militants, believed to be from the banned Naga outfit NSCN-K, ambushed a convoy of the Assam Rifles along the India-Myanmar border in Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday, a defence spokesman said.

An Assam Rifle spokesman said the attack took place at Nginu village in Tirap district, in the radius of 20 km from the border.

“Soldiers belonging to the 16 Assam Rifles were returning from a patrol when the heavily armed militants fired at them. While two of them including a JCO (junior commissioner officer) died, eight others were injured. The condition of two of them are stated to be serious,” the spokesman said adding more forces have been sent to launch counter-insurgency operations in and around the area.

“We believe it to be the handiwork of anti-talk faction, Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang militants who have some presence in Tirap district.

On 19 November, a combined team of the NSCN-K and the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) had carried out an ambush on Army personnel in Assam’s Tinsukia district, killing three soldiers and injuring four others.

After this attack, the United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFW), which is a joint platform of all the northeastern militant outfits ambushed a group of commandos of 21 Para in Chandel district of Manipur on November 26, injuring five soldiers.

First Published On : Dec 3, 2016 21:20 IST

NEC cries for funds as new project launch gets affected

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The North Eastern Council is facing acute shortage of funds, hampering implementation of several of its dream projects like setting up of educational institutes, skill development centres and sports academies.”We have so many dream projects to implement, but there is no money. Whatever little money we receive, it has over 99% utilisation. So, we need more money,” North Eastern Council (NEC) Secretary Ram Muivah said.Fund allocation to NEC substantially decreased after 9th Five Year Plan from 5.12% of the total outlays for the North East to 0.03% in the current fiscal, he added. “When NEC was established in 1972, the first year’s fund allocation was Rs 500 crore, which was a big amount then. However, it has increased to just Rs 950 crore in 2016-17.Out of that, Rs 150 crore directly goes to North-East Road Sector Development Scheme (NERSDS),” Muivah said.Besides, every year NEC gives Rs 3 crore to Border Roads Organisation, Rs 47 crore to Alliance Air as Viability Gap Funding for operating flights in loss making routes and Rs 100 crore to North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project for sustainable livelihood programme, he added. “So practically, we are left with only Rs 600 crore in this fiscal. Out of this amount, around 70% goes to ongoing projects or to clear liabilities, which currently stands at Rs 2,100 crore,” he said.That means, only 30% of Rs 600 crore is left for new projects and this amount needs to be divided between eight states,” Muivah added. NEC has nine different sectors under it to work upon, but has not been able to take up any important new project only due to lack of funds, he added. Muivah informed that the North East-specific organisation wants to set up a number of educational centres as per global standards, including an international institute of mass communication and a school of architecture and planning, along with an institute of music, art and theatre.”Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland do not have any medical college. These states have only around 350 doctors each. We want to develop medical colleges there. We also want to develop an iconic skill development centre in North East,” he added. The Secretary said NEC has plans to start a football academy in Nagaland, besides setting up a road research institute in North East as roads in almost all states are washed away every year.He said there are plans to upgrade small airports of the region with Airports Authority of India, implement a mega tourism project and set up convention centres.”However, we are not able to start anything significant. Against such low budgetary allocations, the actual allocations were further reduced.” The actual allocations for the 12th Five Year Plan was only Rs 3,622 crore, which is just 59% of the approved outlay of Rs 6,108 crore, Muivah said..On the other hand, the demand of the constituent states of NEC is on an average Rs 4,800 crore annually. Muivah expressed apprehension that NEC will fall short of serving any meaningful purpose unless “this negative approach is changed”. “We reiterated fund concerns at the 65th NEC Plenary Session this year attended by the Prime Minister.There is a large gap between the resources made available and aspirations of the states.Without a quantum jump in allocation, it will be difficult for NEC to provide funds for core areas and large projects with inter-state or regional character,” Muivah said.

Bypolls takeaway: PM Modi emerges stronger from demonetisation purge

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

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. APPrime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DNA Morning Must Reads: Updates from Indore-Patna express derailment, demonetization; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Live Updates: At least 45 killed, several injured after Indore-Patna express derails in KanpurAt least 45 people killed in Indore-Patna express train derailment in Kanpur Dehat district. Read more.2. ITBP’s Mt Kangto expedition in Arunachal may annoy ChinaThe strategic significance of this is immense as the ITBP team has opened the route from Bameng village in the East Kameng district, located 50 km from the Mount Kangto base. Read more.3. NIA sleuths raid 12 premises of Zakir Naik’s IRF; laptops, computers and documents seizedThe National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday morning searched the offices of Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and residences of his associates. Read more.4. Demonetization: Note ban hits farm produce, rates fallen by almost 20-30 %Farmers are hoping that the current situation will improve otherwise they will face the major financial crisis. Read more.5. As long as I inspire younger kids to take up golf, I have done my best: Aditi Ashok​As long as I inspire younger kids to take up golf, I have done my best: Aditi Ashok. Read more.

ITBP’s Mt Kangto expedition in Arunachal may annoy China

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a first, a joint expedition team from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has reached the base camp of Mount Kangto. This assumes all the more significance as Mount Kangto, the highest peak in Arunachal Pradesh, is located right on the India-China border.The strategic significance of this is immense as the ITBP team has opened the route from Bameng village in the East Kameng district, located 50 km from the Mount Kangto base. Currently, 54 Border Outposts (BOPs) of the ITBP lie in the East Kameng district, and with the opening of the route, the BOPs will be set up for patrolling in this region. Such a move is likely to annoy Beijing, which claims Arunachal Pradesh to be part of China.Analysts have welcomed the ITBP’s feat. Dr Monika Chansoria, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Land Warfare Studies and a China observer, believes that the ITBP’s feat will bolster the presence of the CRPF and the Army, along the India-China border. Chansoria also points out that the move forms part of India’s overall strategy in the region.”The opening of a new route in East Kameng district (and the scaling of the base camp of Mount Kangto) is in sync with the recent military upgradation of the IAF’s airfields and Advanced Landing Grounds in Pasighat, Mechuk (situated 29 km from the China border), Ziro, Aalo, Vijoynagar, Tuting and the strategically vital Tawang,” she said.”This cohesively points to India’s growing focus to enhance operational capabilities in key forward areas in the eastern sector that are located 100 km or less from its border with China in Arunachal Pradesh,” Dr Chansoria added.In fact, in early November, India had landed its largest military transport aircraft, the C-17 Globemaster, at Mechuk.The ITBP’s achievement has come in the wake of Beijing’s recent aggressive postures against New Delhi. On July 9, 250 Chinese troops entered the East Kameng district, and stayed there for three hours. According to sources, the transgression happened around the same time that Beijing had blocked India’s bid to be a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).Post this, China again entered Indian territory in the Chamoli district of Uttaranchal on July 19, triggering an hour-long confrontation.In th spring of 1962, prior to the Sino-India war, then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had ordered a small number of lightly armed Indian troops to establish presence and control in the forward areas along the Chinese borders, despite intense sabre-rattling in Beijing. The policy known as ‘Forward Policy’ was originally intended as a ‘game of chess and a battle of wits’ .

DNA Evening Must Reads: Latest updates on demonetization issue, Nikki Haley meets Donald Trump, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AAP maybe unhappy with demonetization, but ‘aam aadmi’ isn’t: BJPA relentless opposition on Friday disrupted the proceedings of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for the second consecutive day demanding that they be allowed to move an adjournment motion on the demonetization issue. Follow live updates here.Demonetization: Congress and BJP members clash in Rajya Sabha over Ghulam Nabi Azad’s remarksCongress and BJP members on Friday clashed in Rajya Sabha over Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad’s remarks about demonetisation which he made on Thursday. Read more here.Demonetization: There are difficulties, long queues outside banks a ‘serious issue’: SC to govtThe Supreme Court on Friday dubbed as a “serious issue” the long queues outside banks and post offices and expressed its reservation on the Centre’s plea seeking a direction that no other court in the country should entertain petitions challenging the November 8 notification demonetising Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes. Read more here.Indian-American Nikki Haley meets Donald Trump amidst speculation about his Cabinet picksSouth Carolina’s Indian-American Governor Nikki Haley has met President-elect Donald Trump in New York and had “good” discussions about the new administration, amid reports that she was a top contender for either secretary of state or secretary of commerce in his Cabinet. Read more here. Amid row, China claims Indian badminton team manager himself cancelled visa applicationChina on Friday refuted allegations of denial of visa to the manager of the Indian badminton team, Bamang Tago on the ground that he is a resident of Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims as Southern Tibet, saying he himself cancelled his visa application. Read more here.Salman Khan’s rumoured girlfriend Iulia Vantur opens up on her experience in IndiaIulia talks about the time she spent in India and more. Read here.

Delhi: Northeast student claims she was asked to pay to enter Jama Masjid

Sat, 5 Nov 2016-06:00pm , Itanagar , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A female law student from Arunachal Pradesh has claimed that she was asked to pay Rs 300 to enter Jama Masjid in New Delhi when others were not charged anything even as Union minister Kiren Rijiju said he would look into the matter.Niyang Pertin, the law student, posted the video of the incident on a social media website on Friday. She repeatedly mentioned that the amount she had to cough up was “not the problem” but the “case of discrimination” was.Even an intervention by the police did not deter the masjid authorities from asking for money, she alleged. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju tweeted saying he himself would look into the matter.

IAF’s Globemaster achieves rare feat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Giving a boost to Indian Air Force’s rapid airlift capability in the tough terrain of Arunachal Pradesh near the China border, a C-17 Globemaster aircraft made its maiden landing at Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at an altitude of 6,200 feet.The ALG at Mechuka in the Yargyap river valley of West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh had been upgraded recently.Situated along the international border, Mechuka was one of the strategic locations during the India-China war in 1962.”With a landing surface only 4,200 feet long, the plane landed, validating its short field landing performance at high altitude,” the IAF said.In the event of a disaster in the region, C-17 operations to the remote ALG can enhance the speed and quantum of national relief effort.IAF has plans to validate airlift operations to and from various ALGs in the region that would usher in a new dimension in enhanced disaster response.This trial landing is expected to pave the way for operation of civil flights operating to and from the newly upgraded ALGs, which has an enormous potential to boost tourism by improving connectivity to remote locations in the North East.The IAF had started its operations with Dakota and Otter in 1962 in the area and subsequently the Antonov-32, popularly known as AN-32, was operated till October 2013 before the upgrade work was started.The road connectivity to the nearest air/rail head at Dibrugarh, about 500km away, is generally two days of travel, unless the roads get damaged due to frequent landslides.”This is a quantum jump from the existing capability of An-32 and C-130J aircraft. Such airlift capability facilitates speedy transfer of men and material in this rugged terrain, interspersed with valleys and high mountain ranges that inhibit road connectivity,” a statement by the Indian Air Force said.

Dalai Lama is free to travel any part of India: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday expressed that Dalai Lama is free to travel to any part of the country and added that these allegations by the China would not help Bilateral relations. “As far as whoever wants to visit any part of India, they can do so and these kinds of comments are uncalled for and they do not help in Bilateral relations in any way,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said.China on Friday warned India that bilateral ties may suffer “damage” and peace and stability of the border areas could be affected if it allows Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims is part of southern Tibet. China considers Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet and routinely objects to visits by Dalai Lama, Indian leaders as well as foreign dignitaries.The border dispute covers the 3,488-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC). India asserts that the dispute covered Aksai Chin area which was occupied by China during 1962 war.On October 24, China took exception to the visit by Richard Verma, the US envoy in India, to Arunachal Pradesh which it claims as southern Tibet, saying any interference by Washington in the Sino-India boundary dispute will make it “more complicated” and “disturb” hard-won peace at the border.

Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh early next year, may upset China

New Delhi: Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit Arunachal Pradesh early next year, a move which may raise the hackles in the official establishment in China that claims the state to be a part of southern Tibet.

Dalai Lama will travel to Arunachal at the invitation of state’s Chief Minister Pema Khandu and the visit is understood to have been cleared by the Centre. The spiritual leader is likely to visit Tawang, the seat of a Buddhist monastery.

File photo of the Dalai Lama. ReutersFile photo of the Dalai Lama. Reuters

File photo of the Dalai Lama. Reuters

Last week, China has reacted strongly to American envoy Richard Verma’s 22 October tour to Tawang, saying the Ambassador visited a “disputed region”.

When asked about the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said he is a “guest of India” and is free to travel across the country.

“Dalai Lama is a revered spiritual figure and an honoured guest of India. He is absolutely free to travel to any part of the country.

“It is a fact that he has a sizeable following among the Buddhists in Arunachal Pradesh who like to seek his blessings.

“He has visited the state in the past as well and we see nothing unusual if he visits again,” Swarup said.

Arunachal government sources said the state was looking forward to the Dalai Lama’s visit.

China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet and routinely protests visits by Indian leaders, foreign officials as well as the Dalai Lama to the area.

In the wake of the US envoy’s visit, China had gone to the extent of warning the US that any interference by it in the Sino-India boundary dispute will make it “more complicated” and “disturb” the hard-won peace at the border.

Sources said the Dalai Lama’s visit is likely to take place in March.

DNA Evening Must Reads: From Venkaiah Naidu’s assurance on uniform civil code to Team India ruling ICC Test rankings

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Decision on India’s NSG bid to be taken soon: New Zealand PM John KeyIndia and New Zealand agreed on Wednesday to strengthen ties in key areas of trade, defence and security during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Kiwi counterpart John Key, who also assured that his country will contribute “constructively” to the process currently underway in the NSG to consider India’s membership. Read more hereDeceased Kalikho Pul left behind ‘explosive secret notes’: Former Arunachal Governor RajkhowaClaiming that Kalikho Pul, who allegedly committed suicide, left “explosive secret notes”, Arunachal Pradesh ex-Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa on Wednesday sought a CBI inquiry into the former chief minister’s death. Read more hereUniform Civil Code will not be brought by back door, assures Venkaiah NaiduUniform Civil Code (UCC) will not be brought through the back door and without a consensus, says Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu who rejects the charge that contentious issues have been raked up by BJP to polarise elections, especially in Uttar Pradesh. Read more herePakistan arrests National Geographic’s ‘Afghan Girl’ over fraud documentsThe green-eyed girl who had adorned the National Geographic magazine cover once was arrested in Pakistan on Tuesday for living in the country with fraudulent identity papers, reports AFP. Read more hereCarpool Karaoke: Lady Gaga takes the wheel, Corden tries out outrageous outfits!In the latest ‘Carpool Karaoke’, James Corden hosted Lady Gaga on The Late Late Show. It was a brilliant ride of soulful singing, trying out costumes, and Lady Gaga taking the wheel. Read more hereTeam India, Ashwin rule ICC Test rankingsThe Indian cricket team and its premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin held on to their numero uno status in the latest ICC Test rankings for teams and bowlers. Read more here

NSCN(R) self styled leader arrested in Arunachal Pradesh

Wed, 26 Oct 2016-02:00pm , Itanagar , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Security forces have arrested a self-styled Sergeant Major of NSCN (R) in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday..The rebel identified as Bainong Mungrey was apprehended by police from Manmao Bazaar on Monday evening under Changlang district, an official communique informed here today. The police team led by SDPO Miao, John Pada, SI R Rawat, officer in charge of Manmao police station T Lanching arrested the underground cadre without any resistance.The arrest of a top ranking cadre has given a serious jolt to the organisation, while so far 14 NSCN (R) cadres have been arrested by the Police and other security agencies in the district, the communique added. UPL CR CR10261350NNNNPTI

ITBP deploys women personnel at Sino-India border for the first time

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 100 women ITBP personnel have been deployed at 15 border posts along the arduous Sino-India frontier, making it the first such posting of ‘mahila’ combatants in a forward area. The force has recently completed the full processes for deployment of the women personnel at select forward posts, ITBP Director General Krishna Chaudhary said.The women contingent, trained in war craft and and weapon firing, have been posted after the Border out Posts (BoPs) were made “gender neutral” and other facilities were created for them, he said.Officials said while the maximum of these women have been sent to Indo-Tibetan Border Police BoPs in the Ladakh frontier of Jammu and Kashmir, few have been posted at other locations in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.The total numbers of the women personnel, who have been posted at BoPs, is about 100, they said, adding few more BoPs will have women personnel in the coming days. The force earlier this year commissioned 500 women troops for deployment at India-China border in its constabulary ranks after training them for 44-weeks in in battle craft and mountain survival. The posts where these women have been deployed are situated at heights of between 8,000 and 14,000 feet, including the ‘Mana pass’ border post, the last village on the Indian side in Uttarakhand.The force plans to have women personnel make up at least 40 per cent of its strength at these forward posts. This is the first time India has deployed women troops right at the front, at least on the one which is considered to be the most arduous and tricky given the harsh climatic conditions and extreme mountainous terrain along the India-China border.ITBP, which marks its 55th Raising Day today, was raised in the aftermath of the 1962 Chinese aggression. These women, who were recruited in the force in February last year, hail from various states with 97 of them, the highest, coming from the hill state of Uttarakhand.Women constables were first inducted in this 80,000 personnel strong force in 2008, but they were until now only deployed for rendering law and order duties in troubled areas and in a few instances at the Nathu La pass to facilitate traders and for frisking women.ITBP has a total of 1,661 women personnel in its various ranks and branches of work with the maximum number of 1,033 being in the constabulary ranks.

Infrastructure along India-China border being enhanced at “galloping pace”: ITBP DG

Greater Noida: Asserting that enhancement of border infrastructure along China is a “thrust area”, the ITBP chief said on Monday that it is being done at a “galloping pace” by having new border posts, vehicles, weaponry and surveillance gadgets.

Giving this information at a press conference to mark the 55th Raising Day of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), its Director General Krishna Chaudhary also said transgressions by Chinese PLA forces at the border is going down steadily. ITBP is tasked with guarding the 3,488-km long Sino-India border.

He, however, declined to give the exact number of such incidents in the past.

Official figures said while in 2015 about 500 transgressions were reported along the border, it went down to 350 last year and this year about 200 such violations have taken place till now.

“All I can say is that these incidents of transgressions take place due to the difference of perception. This is a perceptional difference of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).”

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Asked about the developments being witnessed on the other side of the border, Chaudhary said, “infrastructure on that side has grown tremendously.”

“We were a little slow to start in the growth of infrastructure but now we are doing it at a galloping pace. We are getting new border posts, vehicles, weaponry and surveillance gadgets. We are very fast catching up,” he said after reviewing the ceremonial parade of the paramilitary force at its base.

The DG added that enhancement of border infrastructure along China is a “thrust area” for the government and the force even as troop levels have been enhanced by the ITBP at 116 BoPs in the recent past.

Chaudhary said a total of 172 new Border out Posts (BoPs), out of the total 176, have been raised on this border while work has been “fast paced” to build border roads in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, that share their borders with China.

“We had started work on 27 roads and I can tell you that on eight of these, work has been completed,” he said.

The ITBP chief said government sanctions have also been received for converting/creating 50 high-altitude BoPs on this icy border as “composite” ones which will have a central heating and 24X7 supply of liquid water for troops manning this arduous frontier which is marred by vagaries of sub-zero temperatures and blizzards.

China objects to US envoy visiting Arunachal, warns ‘outsiders’ not to meddle in border dispute

Beijing: China on Monday slammed the US after its envoy visiting Arunachal Pradesh, warning it not to meddle in the border dispute between New Delhi and Beijing.

After the US ambassador to India Richard Verma went to Tawang in Arunachal which abuts Chinese border, Beijing said such acts will make the dispute more “complicated” between the two countries and “sabotage” peace in the region.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“You have also noted that the place visited by the senior diplomatic official is disputed region between China and India. We are firmly opposed to the visit to the disputed area between India and China,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a regular media briefing.

China claims a huge chunk of India’s northeast state Arunachal Pradesh, which it calls as South Tibet. Verma visited Tawang to attend a festival.

“It will only make the dispute more complicated, disturb peace and tranquillity of border areas and sabotage the peaceful development of the region,” Lu said.

“We urge the US to stop interference in boundary issue between China and India and make more commitment to regional peace and stability.”

Lu said the boundary issue between India and China was complex and sensitive and interference by a third party would heighten tension.

Lu maintained that China’s position on the eastern sector was “clear and consistent”.

“Two countries are now trying to resolve territorial disputes through negotiations and consultation. Any third party should have sense of responsibility and should respect efforts made by China and India for peace reconciliation and tranquillity rather than opposite.

“Behaviour of the US runs contrast to efforts by China and India,” Lu said.

“At the end of the day, only the peoples of the two countries will fall victim. We believe India and China have the wisdom to properly handle the dispute,” he added.

How India can tackle China’s myriad mischief and increasingly assertive hegemony

It is not often that we get to hear voices from China on Sino-Indian relationship and various pulls and pressure that the intriguing pirouette between two neighbouring powers entails. It was therefore informative to go through Kai Xue’s column on The Times of India‘s edit page on Tuesday.

Most interestingly, the Beijing corporate lawyer starts by complaining about India’s ‘aggressive posture’ near its north-eastern border.

“India has recently deployed 120 tanks in Ladakh, cleared deployment of around 100 supersonic BrahMos missiles in Arunachal Pradesh, and within this year has reactivated and upgraded five advanced landing bases in Arunachal Pradesh. These actions are the culmination of a large scale multi-year arms buildup near the border with China that has included drilling of new bunkers and additional troops and artillery at the edge of the disputed line. China has during this time not moved new weapons to the border” and has merely “engaged in upgrading non-military transportation infrastructure in border provinces.” 

In an act of supreme victimhood, the author suggests that all of India’s actions were “unilateral”.

I have quoted the paragraph in full because it reflects somewhat the way China approaches the Sino-Indian relationship. Unlike Pakistan, whose enmity towards India is one-dimensional and replete with rhetorical flourishes (and hence, open to reception), Beijing’s moves are deceptive. It plays the aggressor and the victim at the same time. It provokes, needles and bullies New Delhi, yet does not hesitate to play the victim card when India reacts.

File image of Chinese president Xi Jinping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

File image of Chinese president Xi Jinping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

The author, for instance, magnificently ignores the weight of history, China’s frequent, unprovoked incursions into India’s territory and the way Beijing has traditionally treated Arunachal Pradesh, calling it ‘south Tibet’ and claiming it in full.

To jog the memory, in 2006, just a week ahead of former President Hu Jintao’s India visit, China announced that Arunachal Pradesh was “our territory”. It criticised Japan last year for calling the region a part of India and reportedly even went to the extent of lodging an official protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s visit, adding that the move was “not conducive” to developing bilateral relations.

This deft interspersing of dandabaazi and diplomatic sleight of hand was again on full display during the just-concluded Brics Summit. While Chinese obstinacy on not letting the names of Pakistan-based terror outfits Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba be mentioned in the Goa Declaration was on expected lines, more surprising has been Russia’s ambivalence on terrorism emanating out of Pakistan.

Nobody was surprised by China’s umbrage at Modi’s ‘mothership of terrorism’ jibe against Pakistan but India’s discomfort was evident at Vladimir Putin’s silence on terrorism at the Brics Plenary. Firstpost had argued on Monday why the Brics Summit was actually a huge success for India despite Chinese machinations, but it did rankle Indian negotiators that Russia failed to do its bit in pushing more for Indian concerns while ensuring that the terror outfit with which it engages with finds mention in Goa Declaration.

It would be erroneous to attach too much important to Russia’s joint military exercise with Pakistan beyond an obvious attempt to provoke India into splurging on defence deals. More instructive would be to look at the Sino-Russian relationship in the wake of Moscow’s plummeting ties with Washington.

As Indrani Bagchi writes in The Times of India, “As the West has shunned Russia, slapped sanctions on it, Russia has moved East. To China. Chinese students go to Russia, as do Chinese tourists. Russia is now almost completely subservient to China… Indians have been alarmed at the depth and quality of the Russia-China relationship. Moscow is sharing military technologies with Beijing that would have been unimaginable earlier.”

It is not difficult in this context to interpret why Russia was forced to dump its “old friend” from the Cold War era and settle for a more pro-Chinese stance.

The lesson for India, therefore, is manifold. A nation’s geopolitical influence and its ability to bend the regional curve in line with its strategic interests depends almost entirely on its economic heft. Three decades of robust growth have given China unprecedented hard power and in President Xi Jinping, it has a president willing to wield that power to assert its hegemony, have a say in international relations and in the long run, even challenge the supremacy of the US.

India’s problem is that it shares China’s economic ambition but lags behind woefully on developmental scale, a point Kai Xue also makes in his aforementioned column where he says that “India… has withered under mediocre governance and slow-growth socialist economics.”

India wishes to have peaceful and friendly relationship with its neighbours but must somehow tackle China’s burning global ambition and its usage of various of levers (which includes using Pakistan’s nuisance value or heavy infrastructural spending aimed at throwing a military-strategic ring around India) to check New Delhi’s rise.

The extent of China’s belligerence under Xi can be gauged by taking a look at the most recent defence white paper, Chinese Military Strategy, published in May 2015. According to Richard A Bitzinger in Policy Forum, “the PLA will continue to de-emphasise land operations, all but abandoning People’s War (except in name and in terms of political propaganda), particularly in favour of giving new stress and importance to sea- and airpower.”

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What must India do to if not tackle, at least maintain a reasonable equilibrium against such an aggressive power with whom it runs a trade deficit of $52.7 billion?

For starters, it must invest in new ties as the prime minister has tried to do with the Bimstec (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) initiative. The new conglomerate of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand and Myanmar may not be a Saarc substitute but provide a vital hedge against Chinese manipulation since many of these nations are themselves victims of China’s naked aggression. The investment gave a handy early return to India when it said in the outcome document that terrorists cannot be called “martyrs” which was a direct jab at Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s attempt to glorify Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani at the UN.

Two, India must develop its ties with Japan on a war footing. As The Financial Times noted (subscription required) during Modi’s 2014 visit to Japan when he famously gave Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe a bear hug, Modi’s decision to make Japan his first “foreign port of call” was “informed by hard-nosed calculations of how India and Japan can work together on undertakings of mutual interest and concern — reviving their respective economies, and grappling with Chinese expansionism”.

Much needs to be done on this front beyond a symbolic hug or a bullet train project. Commerce and industry minister N Sitharaman’s urge to Indian industry to make more use of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is important.

What must India do to if not tackle, at least maintain a reasonable equilibrium against such an aggressive power with whom it runs a trade deficit of $52.7 billion?

India must also get over its distrust of US and understand that for Washington, courtship of India isn’t an act of benevolence but a necessity to gain an Asia pivot against China. Towards that end, India must shed its coyness over the crucial Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with US that allows both militaries to work closely and improve logistical cooperation. If that paves the way for future pacts, India must not be defensive. Non-alignment as a foreign policy has expended its usefulness.

Of particular importance is Brazil’s acquiescence on India’s NSG membership. An outcome of a bilateral between Modi and Brazilian president Michel Temer on the sidelines of the Brics Summit, the development has far-reaching consequences. Brazil, as The Times of India points out, was one of the very few countries along with China to refuse a waiver for non-NTP signatory India in the NSG. However, as MEA secretary Preeti Saran noted: “Prime Minister (Modi) conveyed to Brazil India’s aspiration for joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group membership and Brazil president conveyed its understanding of India’s aspirations and conveyed that he would work with other countries of the NSG in helping India to move towards its membership”.

This portends well for India. New Delhi cannot match Beijing’s economic heft and consequent influence in the medium to short term. But India’s action plan must include avoidance of direct confrontation and rhetoric, developing relations with powers not tied to China’s apron strings and initiating reforms and growth measures domestically.

Jung v/s Kejriwal: Delhi HC verdict has erroneously turned back the constitutional clock

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The recent verdict by the Delhi High Court declaring that the National Capital Territory of Delhi continues to be a Union Territory and the Lieutenant Governor is its administrative head must make each one of us, irrespective of our political affiliations, sit up and take notice of the larger adverse implications it will have on the constitutional narrative not just in Delhi but across India, unless rectified by the apex court. This issue cannot be one where we seek to score a few convenient political brownie points over a much larger principle that we all must commit ourselves to in a democracy – namely the primacy of an elected government of the people, by the people and for the people over any sort of disingenuous, almost tyrannical form of government exclusively of the LG (or a Governor ) , run only by the LG (or a Governor) and presumably for the political masters at the Centre at whose behest the LG (or a Governor) acts. With utmost respect to the Delhi High Court and even as we await the decision of the Supreme Court, which I believe, would for strong legal and constitutional reasons, strike down this perplexing judgment, I would strongly urge members of my tribe to not turn back the constitutional clock to the British era by justifying the rule of an unelected (and perhaps unelectable) LG/administrator over a government that has been voted into power by the people of Delhi only because we relish the “jung” that ensues between them. Not only would we be guilty of putting politics before principles but we would also be buying into serious long term losses for some short term gains. Let me explain.V R Krishna Iyer in his opinion piece on the role of governors had written this years ago “The Supreme court, in the Shamsher Singh case (1974), laid down that the Indian administrative system is substantially based on the Westminster system where the Queen is bound to follow the Cabinet’s advice except in rare exceptions in which the Cabinet decision is irrational or arbitrary or perverse or plainly and blatantly biased or mala fide. In such an instance, the Governor may have discretion. The rule democracy implies is that the Governor is the ceremonial head and real power of administration remains with the Council of Ministers. To assume, that the Governor has the free and indiscriminate discretion to substitute his judgment for that of the Cabinet is a grave outrage. Can a Governor assume all executive power and refuse to sign legislation passed by the legislature and negative judicial decisions? Then, our Constitution will be reduced to paper tyranny. The implications of the Governor being treated as vested with absolute power is dangerous. Imagine the President of the country acting as the sole ruler, not accountable to anyone except his conscience. Swaraj then becomes a mirage and an absurdity.” Call it sheer co-incidence or an irony of sorts that on the very same day Delhi HC gave the verdict in question that virtually legitimised the LG acting as a super CM of sorts, the Upper House of Parliament was also discussing the misadventures of Governors in states like Arunachal Pradesh where the elected government of the Congress party had been destabilised by the unconstitutional actions of a pliant Governor, presumably at the behest of his political masters in the Central government! And the positions taken by the members of the Congress party in the Rajya Sabha echoed pretty much the sentiment expressed by V R Krishna Iyer or that of the Aam Admi Party on that day. Initiating the debate senior leader Anand Sharma questioned the role of governors and said he or she is “not supposed to interfere in the day-to-day functioning.” Governors taking unilateral decisions, in his opinion was an “insult to people’s mandate.” He further added “Governors are willingly becoming tools and agents to execute the nefarious agenda of the ruling party.”On the other hand, some Delhi based leaders whose questionable political acumen earned them all of 0 seats out of 70, eager to score petty brownie points, scored a self-goal by supporting a verdict that favoured the Modi government even though it completely contradicted and undermined the stand taken by senior Congress leaders in Rajya Sabha. That in a sense also legitimised the nefarious agenda of the Modi government to misuse Governors as agents. Some including a former advisor to ex-Delhi Chief Minister tried to rationalise this illogical stand. The sum and substance of his argument was that one could take two stands on the same issue-one at Delhi level and the other at a national level- on the role of the governor vis-a-vis an elected government! His justification was rather bizarre. Hair-splitting on the fact that Delhi’s constitutional status wasn’t the same as Arunachal Pradesh’s. On a lighter note, during our brief twitter exchange on the subject, I hoped the former political advisor wouldn’t end up saying something bizarre that would imply the vote of a voter in Delhi carried less weight than the vote of a voter in Arunachal Pradesh! He suggested that Delhi’s status as a UT wasn’t the same as Arunachal Pradesh which is a full-fledged state. That’s only partly true. Perhaps, the advisor and my friends in Delhi would have been well “advised” to take a leaf out of senior Congress leader Vivek Tankha’s book on the subject. Much like me senior advocate Vivek Tankha, who has been recently elected to the Rajya Sabha on a Congress party ticket, has nothing to gain by siding with the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi. Tankha did not let his political preferences come in the way of an objective legal opinion/principle when he categorically (and correctly) stated in his article written in 2015 that “the NCT, though called a UT, was conceptualised as a virtual state, minus the three important subjects (land, police and public order).” The Union Territories, he further explains, “which include the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, have less administrative autonomy than the states. But Article 239AA is a special provision conferring a degree of autonomy for the governance of Delhi.”Indeed, Tankha’s legal perspective is bolstered by a plain and simple reading of the Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to the Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991 which inserted articles 239AA and 239AB after Article 239A of the Constitution which states as follows: “The question of re-organisation of the Administrative set-up in theUnion territory of Delhi has been under the consideration of the Government for some time. The Government of India appointed on 24-12-1987 a Committee to go into the various issues connected with the administration of Delhi and to recommend measures inter alia for the streamlining of the administrative set-up….After such detailed inquiry and examination, it recommended that Delhi should continue to be a Union territory and provided with a Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers responsible to such Assembly with appropriate powers to deal with matters of concern to the common man. The Committee also recommended that with a view to ensure stability and permanence the arrangements should be incorporated in the Constitution to give the National Capital a special status among the Union territories.” 239AA (4) clearly states that there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Lieutenant Governor in the exercise of his functions in relation to matters with respect to which the Legislative Assembly has power to make laws, except in so far as he is, by or under any law, required to act in his discretion.The Delhi HC verdict which says that the LG is not bound by the aid and advise of the CoM is in essence saying that a) there is no difference between a union territory directly under control of the central government eg Andaman and Nicobar Island and one that has an elected legislature, eg: Delhi and b) real power vests with the Governor and not the cabinet/council of ministers which is contrary to the Basic Structure of the constitution. Can we be told what happens to the “special status” of Delhi explicitly granted to it by 69th Amendment? Why and with what legislative intent was 239AA inserted at all vide the 69th Amendment? Why this expensive farce of holding an election and electing a CM and a legislative assembly? Why not continue with Delhi as a Union Territory under the administration of the President of India which it was from 1956 onwards? Why was the Delhi Assembly re-established in the year of 1993, after the Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991 came into force, followed by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991? And if this verdict holds true for Delhi, does it also hold true for Pondicherry where the elected government would have an unelected dictator in the form of former IPS officer & BJP leader Kiran Bedi running the show reducing the CM and his Council of Ministers to mere puppets? What a hilarious situation indeed! AAP in Delhi and Congress in Pondicherry would have to get elected and would thereby be held accountable for all actions of Najeeb Jung and Kiran Bedi – two of the most unelectable persons in the country? And these two would enjoy all the power without any accountability towards the people of Delhi and Pondicherry and would do as the Centre commands them to, usually to play political spoilsport and create trouble for the elected governments in Delhi and Pondicherry? Does this make any sense – political or constitutional?Tankha has further settled one more pressing controversy with respect to civil servants and who regulates their postings in the Delhi government. According to him “Under Section 3 of the All Indian Services Act, 1951, the Centre, in consultation with the state governments concerned and by notification in the official gazette, can lay down rules to regulate the recruitment and conditions of service of the persons appointed. The All India Administrative Service Cadre Rule, 1954, defines “state” as “a state specified in the First Schedule to the Constitution and includes a UT”. It says that the Centre, in consultation with the state government (or UT), shall determine the strength and composition of the cadre, as well as the allocation of officers. Most importantly, it lays down that cadre postings are the prerogative of the state government, which may be read as the government of the NCT of Delhi.” Congress general secretary in-charge for Delhi and former MP PC Chacko has gone on the record to say that – “We are for complete statehood because in its absence Delhi is only a glorified municipality. If the central government is hostile to the government of the day in Delhi, the latter simply can not function”. Leaders of the BJP in Delhi too have advocated full statehood for Delhi at different points of time. The principle can’t change merely because somebody else happens to be in power in this case Kejriwal. We cannot do such a U-turn, right from full statehood to denying Delhi its current arrangement of having a Special status amongst UTs! Not only is it opportunistic but extremely myopic and politically unwise. Delhi is a state where the Congress party may return to power. Does it want to go through what AAP government is in case there is a hostile government at the Centre? And if we all are going to accept that the LG is indeed the boss of Delhi how are political parties then going to say that AAP must be held responsible for unfulfilled promises? And are we going to start telling people of Delhi to approach the LG to get their work done instead of approaching the CM?Hopefully, the Supreme Court will set things right again in Delhi but let us not lose sight of the larger nefarious design of the Modi government to misuse governors as “agents” as Anand Sharma rightly pointed out. It is happening in Delhi just as it will happen in Pondicherry and has happened in Arunachal Pradesh. The author is he youngest Secretary of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee and has been the youngest Addl Private secretary to MoPA, Govt of India . He can be reached at @Shehzad_Ind

Xi Jinping confers special honours on PLA battalion posted near Arunachal for ‘outstanding performance’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday bestowed special honours on a PLA battalion posted in Tibet close to Arunachal Pradesh for its “outstanding performance in safeguarding borders”.Xi, who heads the Central Military Commission (CMC) which is the overall command authority of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), signed orders to give honorary titles, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. “Troop 77656 is now titled as a “model plateau battalion” for its outstanding performance in safeguarding borders, ensuring stability and helping disaster relief,” the report quoted a statement as saying.While the news report has not identified the battalion, Indian defence officials and strategic think-tanks have said it is Gangba 2nd Independent Battalion.It is based in Shigatse City, Gangba County in Tibet close to Arunachal Pradesh and is one of the six battalions functioning under the Tibet Military Area Command, official sources here told PTI.The Line of Actual Control (LAC) covers 3488-km border. While China says that the boundary dispute is confined to 2,000 kms, mainly in Arunachal Pradesh in eastern sector which it claims as part of southern Tibet, India asserts that the dispute covered the whole of the LAC including the Aksai Chin occupied by China during the 1962 war.Both sides formed a number of mechanisms both at the levels of field commanders and at the level of headquarters to defuse tensions arising out of the aggressive patrolling of the disputed border.India and China have held 19 rounds of Special Representatives talks to resolve the border dispute. Xi also honoured Submarine 372 whose crew saved it from a major disaster while on a patrol mission in 2014.According to Chinese official media reports, Submarine 372 was caught in an underwater trench thousands of metres deep and started plunging down. The vessel had encountered a sudden change in water conditions, leading it to sink uncontrollably fast, according to a December, 2014 report by state-run China Daily. The crew quickly seized the little time they had by opening all the emergency air flasks within 10 seconds to fill the tanks and managed to close more than 100 valves and related equipment in less than a minute.In two minutes, all the cabins were sealed. The team’s swift, coordinated reaction saved everyone, the report said. The whole armed forces were urged to learn from both examples, according to the Xinhua report. In a separate statement, Xi signed orders to award merit citations to four military units and 15 persons for outstanding services.Troop 66114 was given a first-class merit citation for its outstanding contribution to completing tasks, and units 91515, 94669 and 96261 were given second-class merit citations for their outstanding performance in strengthening fighting capacity. Chen Deming, a researcher from unit 63620, was awarded a first-class merit citation.Chen was quoted last month by the official media about China’s ballistic missile interception system tests. “The Ballistic missile defence system is a critical link in our strategic defence, and is also an important chip in the contest between big powers. It makes a world of difference whether you have it or not,” Chen said.Footage of the original test has been released on the heels of the US and South Korea agreeing to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system before the end of next year. While the US insists the system is to defend South Korea from possible attacks from North Korea, Chinese officials have condemned its planned deployment, saying it threatens China’s security.Two others were given posthumous first-class merit citations by Xi. Twelve individuals, including research fellows, engineers and medical staff, were honoured with third-class merit citation, the Xinhua report said

Congress to oppose FDI in defence in Parliament: Anand Sharma

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma on Wednesday denounced the Modi government’s decision to allow 100 per cent FDI in defence sector by easing norms, saying the Prime Minister was working under pressure from the US and his party would oppose it in Parliament.”The Congress government had allowed FDI in defence with a pre-condition that it would be for state-of-the-art-technology but the present government has eased the conditions. The Prime Minister is working under pressure from the United States. This is not in the country’s interest and Congress would oppose it in Parliament,” he told media persons here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Reserve Bank of India would issue a notification under FEMA on easing FDI norms which would be ratified by Parliament and Congress would oppose it at that stage,” he said.Sharma questioned “on what basis BJP was celebrating its two years in office when over the last two years, FDI saw a decline, exports gone down, industrial production fell and the government miserably failed to generate employment”.He accused the Modi government of unleashing a “political vendetta” against Congress, trying to destabilise Congress’ governments in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and toppling the party-led government in Arunachal Pradesh in a bid to accomplish its agenda of a ‘Congress-free India'”.”The NDA government is totally insensitive towards the agriculture sector. Farmers are committing suicides, but instead of visiting the affected villages, the Modi government is busy celebrating its achievements, which are nowhere visible on the ground,” he said.Asked about his party’s stand on GST, Sharma said: “Such issues should be resolved with the consent of all parties and not by vote.”Replying to another query, he said he was not in run for post of the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.

Don’t recommend states to hike power tariff for next few years: Piyush Goyal

Listing out a slew of steps taken recently taken by the union power ministry to curb power thefts and power transmission losses in the country, union power minister Piyush Goyal said he doesn’t believe the states should change their power tariffs in the next few years, given that there is surplus power available with the central government.Goyal was speaking at the backdrop of the state power ministers’ conference held over the last two days, attended by power ministers and secretaries across all states.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If the states take Goyal’s words seriously, none of the states may see a hike in their power tariff in the next few years.Government will soon bring a proactive hydro power policy to push stalled projects and explore the possibility of providing benefits of renewable energy like wind and solar to hydro projects beyond 25 MW to harness the clean source.Addressing the media here, Goyal said the power ministry in association with the state governments are also working towards changing the hydropower sector by reviving several smaller defunct projects.Hydro projects of up to 25MW capacities have been categorised as small hydro power projects and get benefits as renewable energy projects. Hydro power potential in the country is about 150 GW with 50 GW in Arunachal Pradesh alone.”We are in the process of framing a pro-active comprehensive hydro power policy to revive the hydro power sector. The policy shall also explore possibility of providing benefits of renewable energy to hydroelectric projects beyond 25 MW,” he said.Goyal announced a resolve to electrify villages by December this year except in left wing extremist areas such as parts of Jharkhand, odisha and Chhattisgarh, much ahead of the revised deadline of May 1, 2017.Initially, government had planned to electrify all 18,452 villages by May 1, 2018. States are expected to achieve electrification of 12,300 villages (two third of 18452) on August 15, 2016.Talking about the government’s flagship UDAY scheme meant for revival of cash-strapped power discoms, he said, “There will be savings of Rs 1.8 lakh crore every months through UDAY while discoms were losing Rs 60,000 crore every year.”Showering praises on the Andhra Pradesh government for bringing significant changes in the power sector, Goyal said power thefts can soon be reported at a toll free number 1912.The states have also resolved to henceforth procure only smart meters. All states will send a revised proposal under this. The government has planned to provide smart meters to consumers with 200 units consumption.

China refutes India’s allegations of ‘transgression’, claims it was a regular patrol

Beijing, Jun 16 (PTI) Downplaying reports of scuffles between Indian and Chinese troops during PLA troops
transgression into Arunachal Pradesh, China on thursday said it was committed to peace and tranquility at the border areas.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“We have noted that the Indian official has clarified the situation saying that there is no transgression as reported in the media,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said replying to a question on reports of scuffles between the two forces.

“China’s position on the East part of the border line is clear,” he said in apparent reference to China’s claims over Arunachal Pradesh as part of Southern Tibet.

“As I said it was a regular patrol by Chinese border troops and China is committed to the peace and tranquility of the border area,” he said.

In his comments on the border transgression by over 200 Chinese troops into Arunachal Pradesh on 9 June, Lu on Wednesday said that China and India border has not yet been demarcated.

“It is learnt that China’s border troops were conducting normal patrols on the Chinese side of the LAC (Line of Actual Control),” Lu said.

The big contingent of PLA soldiers stayed in the area for few hours and left for their base, the reports said.

On the issue of incursions, China has been maintaining the same stand whenever its troops crossed into the Indian side of the LAC stating that both countries have difference perception about it.

The LAC covers the 3,488 km long border. While China says that the boundary dispute is confined to 2,000 kms, mainly in Arunachal Pradesh, India asserts that the dispute covers the whole of the LAC including the Aksai Chin occupied by China during the 1962 war.

The two countries have so far held 19 rounds of boundary talks by Special Representatives.

The incursion into Arunachal Pradesh came at a time when China is opposing India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on the ground that India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Asked about reports that Chinese vessel tailed Indian naval ships taking part in the Malabar naval exercises in the Pacific along with the US and Japanese navies, Lu said, “I am not aware of the details. It seems that some people are intent to linking this incidents and everyone should be careful about their hidden motives.”

Indian and Chinese troops break into a scuffle at LAC

A scuffle had broken out between troops of Indian Army and Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) when the 276 Chinese personnel entered the Indian side from four different border points in Arunachal Pradesh last Thursday, according to an official account of the incident on Wednesday.The incident occurred at ‘Shankar Tikri’ on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) of Yangtse area in Arunachal Pradesh with the PLA claiming the area belonged to China. The area, which is being guarded by the Indian Army, was immediately covered and army moved in its men to prevent the aggressive PLA troops from crossing the perceived LAC in the region.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An estimated 215 PLA troops reportedly tried to push their way at ‘Shakar Tikri’ and simultaneously 20 each from ‘Thang La’ and ‘Mera Gap’ and another 21 from ‘Yanki-I’ of Arunachal Pradesh made similar attempts.During the normal banner drill, the PLA troops striking an aggressive posture tried to attack the Indian army personnel physically but were overpowered immediately, official sources said on Wednesday. The sources said the army has officially reported that there was only a “mild scuffle” between the Army and PLA at east of ‘Shankar Tikri’.Tensions reportedly eased only after four PLA officers accompanied by an interpreter met Commanding Officer of the Indian army formation in the area and presented him with two packets of chocolates and one gift packet to the in-charge of Yanki-I post.Yangtse is one of the identified disputed pockets between the two countries and is an Indian territory. PLA carries out unusually big patrols as compared to other areas along the LAC. The area has been reportedly witnessing transgressions by the Chinese side at regular intervals since 2011. Meanwhile, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said the scuffle had ended with exchange of chocolates.”The Chinese troops went back with a sweet note,” he told reporters in New Delhi.

250 Chinese troops briefly entered Arunachal Pradesh four days ago

In yet another incident of Chinese incursion, about 250 China’s Peoples Liberation Army soldiers entered Arunachal Pradesh’s east district of Kameng four days ago, defence sources said on Monday. The “temporary transgression” by the Chinese patrolling party happened in Yangste, East kameng district on June 9, they said. However, the soldiers went back within hours, they added. Significantly, the Chinese crossing-over happened at a time when Beijing had hardened its opposition against India’s bid for membership of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is the first known transgression by the Chinese army this year in the region, which China claims is part of its territory. The Chinese troops spent about three hours on this side of the border before going back to their territory, the sources said.

Brave soldier killed four terrorists before attaining martyrdom

Srinagar: It was sheer grit and determination of 36-year-old Havildar Hangpan Dada that saw him fight valiantly at the 13,000-feet high Shamsabari range to eliminate four heavily-armed terrorists who infiltrated into North Kashmir from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir before he laid down his life.

Saluting the brave. Image courtesy PIBSaluting the brave. Image courtesy PIB

Saluting the brave. Image courtesy PIB

Having been posted at the high range since late last year, it was the team of Havildar, who is known as just Dada, which spotted the movement of terrorists in the area yesterday and lost no time in engaging them in an encounter that went on today too.

Enrolled in the Assam Regiment of the Army in 1997, Dada was posted with the 35 Rashtriya Rifles, a force carved out for counter-insurgency operations, at present.

A senior Army official said on Friday that he was injured badly in the encounter as the terrorists who crossed over from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir(PoK) were having a slight height advantage.

He displayed raw courage, unflinching grit, presence of mind and with utter disregard to his personal safety and
despite bleeding profusely, discharged his duties and made supreme sacrifice for the nation, the official said.

He charged at the spot where terrorists were holed up to ensure that two terrorists were killed on the spot and the
third one after a scuffle on Friday as they slid down the hill towards the Line of Control. One terrorist was shot dead by him on Thursday itself.

The official said that the presence of mind of Dada, a native of village Boduria in far flung Arunachal Pradesh, saved lives of his team members who were coming under heavy fire from the terrorists.

His body was being taken to his native village where the last rites will be conducted with military honours.

The Havaldar is survived by his wife Chasen Lowang, daughter Roukhin who will turn 10 on June 30 and six-year-old
son Senwang.

PTI

Modi govt is ‘intolerant’ towards non-BJP governments: CPI

Left parties feel that the Narendra Modi dispensation is “intolerant” towards non-BJP governments, a top Communist Party of India leader said on Thursday, citing examples of Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. “Intolerance towards non-BJP governments and misuse of Raj Bhavans and Governor’s posts for political purposes have become practice of BJP-led government,” CPI General Secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He was giving an assessment of Left Parties on the two-year tenure of the Modi government. Claiming that the Centre-state relations have gone from bad to worse, he alleged that the federal spirit has totally been “destroyed” under the NDA rule. “…misuse of Article 356 and they (BJP-led NDA) are successful in overthrowing the government in Arunachal Pradesh, but got a setback in Uttarakhand, and they are making some attempts of defection in Himachal Pradesh and Manipur,” Reddy said.On the foreign policy front, he said India’s relations with Pakistan have not improved, while they are spoilt with Nepal, with the Modi government trying to interfere in the internal affairs of the Himalayan kingdom. Reddy said exports and industrial growth are down, while growth rate in GDP is only because of the service sector.
ALSO READ No saffronisation of education: Smriti Irani”Employment creation is one of the lowest in recent period. BJP promised two crore jobs but in 2014 it was 4 lakh and odd, last year it was 2.5 lakh and this year 1.35 lakh only. So, every year it’s getting reduced,” he said. The prices of essential commodities and food grains are high, he said.There is a sense of “insecurity” among minority communities, he said, adding that “saffronisation” attempts in universities are creating tension and serious concern among democratic forces. Reddy claimed that BJP candidates forfeited their security deposits in 500 constituencies in the recent elections in West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, “reflecting public opinion on the performance of the ruling party (at the Centre)”.

Two years of Modi sarkar: What was promised and what delivered

Two years ago, the Modi government came riding high on the issues of spiralling prices, mounting corruption, pervasive black money, slow infrastructural and industrial growth and accruing non-performing assets (NPAs).To catch the attention of general masses before 2014 elections, the BJP, in its vision document or election manifesto, promised reining in inflation, bringing back black money, eliminating obsolete laws, increase public spending on education to 6% and ushering in economic revival by rationalising and simplifying tax regime etc.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>How the BJP has performed during its first two years of governance, here is a reality check done by dna.Eliminating obsolete laws, regulations and administrative structures:The Modi regime has broken records of past governments by repealing 1,159 obsolete laws in two years. Earlier governments had done away with 1,301 such laws over 64 years. In the recently concluded session 1,053 Acts were repealed. Obsolete laws had become hurdles in projects proposed by various ministries.Centre-state relations: We will place Centre-State relations on an even keel through the process of consultation and strive for harmonious Centre-state relations. Our government will be an enabler and facilitator in the rapid progress of states.The Modi government faced the Opposition ire for imposing President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. While in Arunachal Pradesh BJP managed to wrest control of the government, in Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat managed to win the trust vote on the floor of the state assembly leaving the BJP red-faced. It also puts a question mark on the promise of harmonious centre-state relations.Price rise: Our immediate task will be to rein in inflation by several steps, such as put in place strict measures and special courts to stop hoarding black marketing, setting up price stabilisation fundThe Modi government seems to be grappling with how to arrest price rise and inflation. Time series data on CPI inflation collected by the ministry of statistics shows that education costs have risen 13%, housing 10%, healthcare 14% and electricity 8% since Modi took charge in May 2014. The year-on-year, cost of food and beverages rose 6.21%, cost of clothing and footwear went up 5.56%; fuel and light rose 3.03%; and housing prices increased 5.37%.The government in March last year approved the creation of a price stabilization fund (PSF) with a corpus of Rs.500 crore as a Central Sector Scheme, to support market interventions for price control of perishable agri-horticultural commodities during 2014-15 to 2016-17.Smart cities: We will initiate building 100 new cities; enabled with the latest in technology and infrastructure – adhering to concepts like sustainability, walk to work etc, and focused on specialised domainsOne full year was spent in drafting and finalising the guidelines. It was only in January this year that the government announced the name of 20 cities to be developed into smart cities. Another 13 cities were announced just this week. The UD ministry hopes to announce a total of 40 smart cities by the end of this year.However, till date, no work under the smart cities has started in any of the cities. The cities selected, have been asked to set up their Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to steer the project. Only Jaipur and Vizag have set up their SVP. The ministry so far has not received a detailed project report from any of these cities. The Centre is to provide Rs 500 crore to each city. However, no funds have been awarded to any of the cities till date.Education: Public spending on education to be raised to 6% of GDP. NDA’s flagship programme ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ to remove illiteracy.Only 3.9% of the GDP spending goes to education sector against the promised 6%. In the 14th finance commission, the Centre has recommended that the state will spend 10% of the grant received from the centre towards social section, of which education forms a major component. Technically it is an attempt by the centre to pass the education funding load to the states.In the last UPA-2 budget, Rs 27,000 crore was marked for the education sector. Soon after coming to power, the BJP slashed this budget to 22,000 crore. A marginal increase of 500 crores has been made in the 2015-16 budget for setting up 62 navodaya schools and digitization of education.Right to Education (RTE), which is the tool for implementing SSA has so far been implemented in less than 10 per cent of schools.Women’s welfare and development will be accorded a high priority at all levels within the government, and BJP is committed to 33% reservation in parliamentary and state assemblies through a constitutional amendment. Launch a national campaign for saving the girl child and educating her – Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao.The BJP government could not ensure 33% reservation of women in state and parliamentary ministries. Union minister Maneka Gandhi recently said that ensuring 33% was a decision that has to be taken by the Parliament. “I have put forward recommendations and requests, and unless the Parliament does not decide to do it, we cannot have reservation,” she said. The ministry, however, launched the Beti-Bachao, Beto Padhao – Beti Bachao scheme to ensure the better implementation of the PCNPDT Act and better education opportunities got the girl child. It adopted the 100 worst districts in terms of sex ratio and vowed to bring up the ratio. In February this year, the ministry expanded the scheme to 61 more districts in 11 states after “the overwhelming response of the stakeholders” in the first phase of 100 districts.Railways: Will launch Diamond Quadrilateral project – of High Speed Train network (bullet train), strategic rail networks to connect hinterland to ports and agri rail network.The Railways is gaining speed towards implementing its high-speed corridors. The Railways has granted approval to Spanish firm Talgo to undertake trial runs at speeds between 160 and 200 kmph on the Delhi-Mumbai route. Depending on the results of the trial runs, the Railways will consider introduction of high speed trains on other routes too.The Rs 2 lakh crore diamond quadrilateral project aims to drastically reduce the travelling time between the metro cities with the introduction of the high-speed trains running at a maximum speed of about 300-kmph.The ministry over last year removed constraints over issues of raising funds, pinpointing hurdles and finding probable solutions for them. According to railway minister Suresh Prabhu, the Railways is ready with projects worth Rs 5.6 lakh crore and expects to spend more than the budgeted Rs 1.21 lakh crore in next year. The ministry expects to spend about Rs 3 lakh crore to procure raw materials in next three years. The ministry’s ambitious bullet trains project will see light in 2023.Decision-making on environment clearances will be made transparent as well as time-bound.Soon after taking charge of his ministry, minister of environment Prakash Javadekar unveiled the online environmental clearance system. The foundation for the online submission for clearances was laid by his predecessors, Javadekar merely inaugurated the system. According to Javadekar, the average period for enviromental approval has come down to 190 days from 600 days. The ministry is now aiming to process clearances in 100 days.Economic Revival: Rationalise and simplify the tax regime. It also said that it will bring on board all state governments in adopting GST, addressing all their concerns.Modi is struggling to realise India dream as GDP growth figures disguise decline in industrial production. RBI economists say India’s potential growth rate is sliding. RBI’s economist Barendra Kumar Bhoi and Harendra Kumar Behera estimate says that if the country’s potential growth rate is only 6.7%, then its present expansion of around 7.5% may be due to start slowing soon – or risk sparking rapid inflation.Modi government has missed own deadline for goods and services tax (GST) of April 1, 2016. Govt has been unable to pass the biggest Indirect tax reforms in Rajya Sabha.Accord high priority to the growth of manufacturing, so that we can create enough jobs in the country. This sector must grow fast to ensure employment and asset creationThe growth in our core sectors have fallen from the very respectable 6.5% in 2013 to a mere 2.7% last year. Make in India, aimed at transforming the country into a manufacturing hub on the lines of China, has so far failed to bring any dividends.Manufacturing sector activity dropped to a four-month low in April as new orders stagnated during the month following a robust increase in March, a latest business survey shows. Exports have fallen steadily during the last 17 months. The spending in infrastructure projects has dropped. FICCI’s latest quarterly survey on Indian manufacturing also gives a gloomy picture.Black Money: Will ensure minimization of the generation of black money. Will initiate the process of tracking down and bringing back black money stashed in foreign banks and offshore accounts. We will set up a Task Force for this purpose and to recommend amendments to existing laws or enact new laws. We will also proactively engage with foreign Governments to facilitate information sharing on black money.In order to check the menace of black money stashed outside the country, the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 has been enacted. The Act provides a one-time compliance opportunity for a limited period to persons to disclose foreign assets. The scheme has not proved very successful and only Rs 4,164 crore have been disclosed.Modi government declared that those caught with black money within the country would have to pay 90 per cent tax penalty and also face up to 7 years jail if they fail to declare it during the four-month compliance window.The compliance window is from June 1, 2016 to September 30, 2016. According to revenue secretary, Hasmukh Adria, crackdown by government has yielded over Rs 20,000 crore domestic black money in last two years, .
NPAs have increased sharply over the past few years and the trend continues. BJP will take necessary steps to reduce NPAs in Banking sector. Also, BJP will set up a strong regulatory framework for the non-banking financial companies to protect the investors.Modi government along with RBI has taken some steps to curb the menace of NPA. Government strengthening SARFESI Act, 2002 and open 6 new Debt Recovery Tribunal for quicker disposal of pending cases. Now Banking Board Bureau is operational from April 1st under leadership of former CAG Vinod Rai. However, the effects of these steps are yet to be seen.

Uttarakhand crisis: The trust vote is ‘victory for democracy’, says Sonia Gandhi

Congress President Sonia Gandhi hailed as “victory for democracy” the high-stakes trial of strength in the Uttarakhand Assembly which her party clinched on Tuesday.”It is a victory for democracy,” she said after the floor test, outcome of which would be announced by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. It is being seen as a clear setback to the Modi government which had dismissed the state government and imposed President’s Rule on March 28.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At the AICC briefing, party spokesman and senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi remarked, “We may have reason to exult.” He, however, hastened to add that it is subject to the final result to be announced by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.Singhvi said that the Congress assessment is based on the verbal accounts of MLAs, the way they sat in the House and reports in the media and it should be taken with a “bucket full of salt”.”The political process has worked itself out. If we win, it will prove such political misadventures are akin to a Himalayan blunder,” he said, taking a dig at the Modi dispensation. He steered clear of a question whether after winning the trust vote, Harish Rawat should dissolve the House and order fresh election.Several leaders in the party have been advocating such a course of action contending that it would help the party to go to the people on the theme of “murder of democracy”.Taking a dig at the Centre, Singhvi said, “Questions will be asked if it was the arrogance of power. Was it an attempt to distract the people?” He maintained that whatever be the decision tomorrow in the apex court, it is clear, “today is a victory for democracy”.Party General Secretary Digvijay Singh wished that the judiciary was “as forthright” on the issue of dismissal of the Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh.The party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala demanded that BJP should apologise to the nation.”Democracy wins in Uttarakhand. Defeat for conspirators. Truth always wins over muscle & money power. BJP must apologize to the Nation,” he said.

Has Harish Rawat won the Uttarakhand floor test? Here’s what it all really means

The Uttarakhand Assembly took a floor test of former chief minister Harish Rawat’s government on Tuesday, and according to reports on various news channels, Rawat has won the trust vote. The Supreme Court of India will declare the official result on Wednesday.

It was an unprecedented vote in that it is being directly supervised by the Supreme Court.

In India’s constitutional history, the courts have never had to step in on the functioning of a legislature and it’s for that reason alone that, irrespective of whether Rawat actually wins or loses, the message is already loud and clear. The message is for the NDA government at the Centre. And it is simple: Hands off Article 356.

The BJP should introspect on its acts that brought about this unprecedented denouement in Indian democracy where the apex court not only challenged the Centre’s imposition of President’s Rule in a state, but also accorded to itself the responsibilities of a Speaker. Never before in the parliamentary history of India, not even during the Emergency, had the legislature been subjected to such judicial accountability.

File image of former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat. PTI

File image of former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat. PTI

The BJP should have realised that Article 356 is a no-go area since the SR Bommai case when its use became justiciable. The verdict in the Bommai case was a strict warning against the Centre’s adventurism and vile tactics to topple state governments led by its rivals. But, perhaps the BJP felt emboldened by its machinations in Arunachal Pradesh and made the mistake of implementing the same template in the hill state: Promote instability by luring rebels, impose President’s rule, revoke it and allow the rival faction to manipulate the trust vote.

In Uttarakhand, the high court checkmated the Centre by first, warning it against revoking the President’s Rule to pre-empt a trust vote and then, quashing it. That the Supreme Court almost upheld the spirit of the verdict by mandating voting on the floor of the House under its supervision is a rebuke the Centre should not forget. The other important lesson, and this is for every political party, is that the days of Aayaram and Gayaram are history.

By disqualifying rebel MLAs from voting in the Assembly, the judiciary has upheld the Anti-Defection Law in letter and spirit.

The fear of the law is now evident in Uttarakhand legislators. Before the Supreme Court-monitored voting, there were rumours that many horses were available for trading in the state’s political market. Now, afraid that they would be disqualified, they have gone back to their party stables.

Over the past two months, the Narendra Modi government has faced a series of embarrassments, taken several U-turns and been forced to rollback decisions it announced with a lot of fanfare.

The way it has gone around destabilising governments in smaller states — first Arunachal Pradesh and then Uttarakhand — it is apparent the BJP is using the Lok Sabha mandate to accumulate power through undemocratic means. Instead of using the mandate to fulfil the promises made to voters, it is more eager to destroy the rivals and pursue politics of vendetta. Perhaps the only jumla the party has taken seriously is that of making India Congress-mukt.

Even if it manages to topple the Congress government in Uttarakhand, the blot of being made to fall on its knees by the judiciary after toying with Article 356 will be difficult to erase.

When Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph, who was part of the two-member bench that quashed President’s Rule in the state, announced the verdict, he used some really harsh words for the Centre. He said the Court was “pained” by the Centre’s actions in the case on imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand where the Centre was acting like a “private party” instead of being impartial. “We are pained that the Central government can behave like this. How can you think of playing with the Court?” he asked.

Uttarakhand should be a timely reminder to the BJP against the perils of playing with the Court, Article 356, democracy and the 2014 mandate.

It’s like devil quoting scriptures: Politicians react to Cong’s Save Democracy rally

Mounting a counter strike after Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul Gandhi led the ‘Save Democracy’ rally outside Parliament on Friday, the BJP called it a gimmick to divert public attention from the much controversial AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case.

The rally came amid a face off between the Congress and the BJP led-coalition government at the Centre over a host of issues, including the AgustaWestland scandal.

Former Prime Minster Manmohan Singh, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and other senior Congress leaders at their 'Loktantra Bachao March' (Save Democracy March) at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Friday. PTI

Former Prime Minster Manmohan Singh, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and other senior Congress leaders at their Save Democracy March in New Delhi on Friday. PTI

The rally also saw Rahul and former prime minister Manmohan Singh attacking the Modi dispensation over pulling down of Congress governments in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Here is how political leaders reacted to the rally:

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu: Comparing Congress’ talks over ‘save democracy’ to devil quoting scriptures, the minister said: “Today Congress is demonstrating outside the Parliament and levelling allegations against us. This is ridiculous and they have no moral right to say this (allegation against the NDA government).

“During the Congress regime, they had dismissed almost 100 state governments. President’s Rule was imposed in two states but the governments (in Uttarkhand and Arunachal Pradesh) were not dismissed as was done by the Congress government in non-Congress states.” He also said it was Congress that clamped the emergency on the country in 1975 and imposed press censorship besides sending opposition leaders to jail.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad:  According to the minister the ‘Save Democracy’ rally was more of a ‘Save Gandhi family’ rally.

Mujhe aisa lagta hai ki aaj ka ye pradarshan ‘Sonia-Rahul parivar bachao abhiyaan’ tha: Ravi Shankar Prasad pic.twitter.com/HuEFltGcMy

BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy: The Congress should change the name of the rally from ‘Save Democracy’ to ‘Save Democracy from Congress’. It is very unique that Robert Vadra‘s face is featuring in one of the posters, the minister told Times Now.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra: “It is ridiculous to learn, that leaders like Sonia and Rahul who are out on bail on the National Herald case are marching in the ‘Save Democracy’ march. Since they have been cornered in the AgustaWestland case, the ones who have tried to destroy the democracy by means of corruption are now trying to find an escape route.”

Suggesting that the Congress should hold a surrender march rather than holding a farcical ‘Save Democracy’ rally, the spokesperson said that they should walk up to the police admitting their corruption and surrender.

With inputs from Agencies

Uttarakhand: The curious case of President’s Rule

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to consider a court-monitored floor test and get back to them by Wednesday. The apex court had on April 27 pronounced that President’s rule in the state of Uttarakhand would continue till it pronounces judgement on the Centre’s plea challenging the Uttarakhand High Court’s judgement on the issue. Though that statement implied that the floor test in assembly on April 29 would stand cancelled, the two-judge bench consisting of Justice Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh were of the opinion that the answer to the current situation could be solved if a floor test is conducted. Attorney General, Mukul Rohatgi, who appears for the Centre, was thus asked to mull over the suggestions given by the court. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on April 22 had stayed the judgement of Uttarakhand High Court which had quashed the President’s rule in the state.
ALSO READ Supreme Court stays Uttarakhand HC order of lifting President’s RulePresident’s rule in UttarakhandOn March 18, 2016 during passing of the state Budget, rebel 9 MLAs of Congress joined hand with opposition and asked for a division of vote. If the budget failed to pass, Harish Rawat govt would have fallen as it was a money bill. But the speaker refused division of vote and passed the budget by voice vote.
ALSO READ After bouquets, crisis returns for Harish Rawat in UttarakhandThe rebels immediately went to the governor and sought the dismissal of Rawat govt. Much political turmoil ensued and finally on March 27, 2016, on the advice of the Union cabinet, Article 356 was imposed by the President in Uttarakhand. According to Arun Jaitley, democracy was murdered by speaker in the Assembly whereas Congress interpreted it as BJP forcefully imposing President’s rule in the state. Uttarakhand High Court’s take on the issue
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: High Court to resume hearing on rebel Congress MLAs’ petition todayWhen the matter of President’s rule in Uttarakhand was taken to the High Court, the bench consisting of Chief Justice KM Joseph and Justice VK Bist, said “even the President can go wrong”. It added, “There is no king or absolutism. Howsoever high you are, the law is above you. Legitimacy of relevant inference drawn from the material that is placed before the President is open to judicial review”.A day after this, according to the judgement passed by the High Court, the Congress government in the state led by Harish Rawat was revived. However, the Supreme Court on April 22 stayed the judgement of Uttarakhand High Court. The Premise in Arunachal PradeshOn January 26, 2016, President’s rule was imposed in Arunachal Pradesh on various grounds, including dissidence. Governor JP Rajkhowa mentioned cow slaughter, threats and an episode with Chief Minister Nabam Tuki’s council of ministers that almost resulted in physical assault as some of the reasons for the imposition of President’s rule in the state. The Governor had sent six reports to the President claiming that ‘Constitutional machinery has broken down in the state’. However, the primary reason that was stated for the move was that the party had split in December, wherein 21 of its members had teamed up with 11 BJP members and ousted the Speaker and the Chief Minister in two assembly sessions. On the basis of the report submitted by the Governor, the apex court took up the case for hearing. Supreme Court’s stand on President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh When the apex court of the country was approached in this matter, their stand was clear – the Governor of a state holds ‘complete immunity’ and thus would not be answerable to the judiciary for a decision taken in their official capacity. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, in the course of argument drew the bench’s attention to Article 361 (1) of the Indian Constitution, which protects the President and the Governor from legal action. The clause verbatim states that, ‘The President, or the Governor or Rajpramukh of a State, shall not be answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office or for any act done or purporting to be done by him in the exercise and performance of those powers and duties’. Once Supreme Court weighed in on the legality of the matter, a floor test was conducted which helped Kalikho Pul assume office as the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, which led to the withdrawal of President’s rule in the state.Uttarakhand: The Apex Court steps inBased on the apex court’s stand on April 22, Rawat had to step down again.Since, the apex court did not have the verdict copy of the High Court on the day it was first slated for hearing, it stayed the Uttarakhand High Court judgement. The case was then listed for hearing on April 27. The bench had then recorded Rohatgi’s undertaking which said, “Union of India shall not revoke the Presidential proclamation till the next date of hearing”.So what now?Supreme Court in its previous hearing had stated that they would want to wind up this issue before the court breaks for Summer vacation on May 16. However, as stated earlier, the Supreme Court in its last sitting has suggested that President’s rule could temporarily be lifted for two days to conduct the floor test, which could aid the court in making a decision.Looking at court’s attitude, it does look like a floor test will be held sooner or later in Uttarakhand. Whether the 9 dissenting MLAs are allowed to take part may decide the fate of Harish Rawat.

Army convoy attacked in Arunachal Pradesh: NIA files chargesheet

NIA has filed a charge sheet against an NSCN-IM militant in connection with the ambush on an army convoy in Arunachal Pradesh on April 2, 2015, in which three jawans were killed.The charge sheet was filed before a National Investigation Agency Special Court for Arunachal Pradesh at Yupia on Thursday in which NSCN(IM) militant Kapai alias Singmayo Kapai, a resident of Nagaland, has been named as the key accused.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NIA told the court that it would continue further investigation in the case as certain other accused are yet to be apprehended, a release issued by the agency said on Friday.According to NIA, militants belonging to NSCN(IM) ambushed the convoy of army soldiers on April 2 on Khonsa-Longding road near Tupi village, about 15 km from Khonsa Police Station in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh. Three army personnel were killed and three others were seriously injured in the incident.During the course of investigation, NIA collected evidence from the field as well as technical and forensic evidence, which was submitted along with the charge sheet to the Special Court.

Opposition stalls Parliament on Uttarakhand

Even as the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday sought cooperation from Opposition, the second half of the Budget session began on a stormy note. The Opposition didn’t allow any business in the Rajya Sabha and in Lok Sabha. Congress staged an impromptu ‘dharna’ in the well over the imposition of the President’s rule in Uttarakhand. Congress spokesman Jairam Ramesh told in a press conference that the party’s protest would continue in the Rajya Sabha.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress group leader Mallikarjun Kharge, squatted on the floor of Lok Sabha, even as the party MPs raised slogans from the well after the Speaker did not allow them raise the issue at the start of the House with the question hour. The government took stand in the Rajya Sabha that the matter was sub judice before the Supreme Court and hence it could not be discussed, prompting the Congress and other opposition MPs to repeatedly storm into the well and force adjournments.Speaker Sumitra Mahajan also did not allow debate since the matter was sub judice, rejecting adjournment motion of the Opposition, but allowed Kharge to speak briefly, cutting him short even as he started talking on a series of unconstitutional acts by the government to pull down all Opposition-ruled states, starting with Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand to seize power in every state.Home minister Rajnath Singh asserted that the ruling BJP had nothing to do with the crisis in Uttarakhand as it was an internal crisis of the Congress. The ruckus died down in the Lok Sabha to let it transact the listed business but not so in the Rajya Sabha where the Congress members forced repeated adjournments to protest against the government’s hand in engineering defections and then imposing the President’s rule.

Arunachal Pradesh CM Pul seeks Rs 2,000 crore special package from Centre

Arunachal Pradesh on Sunday requested the Centre to give a one-time special package to bail out liabilities of Rs 2,000 crore inherited from the previous Congress government.Chief Minister Kalikho Pul urged Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Sunday during a function organised to celebrate the National Panchayati Raj Day, to pursue the Centre for the special package to overcome the liabilities.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Being a nascent state in terms of development, Arunachal Pradesh depends cent per cent on central funding,” he said, pleading for early release of all remaining funds against various projects.Pul said the Centre had already assured an additional Rs 380 crore for four-laning of Banderdewa-Hollongi NH-415, besides providing solar lights to 80,000 households in the state this year.”Work on NH-415 will commence from September after evicting all illegal structures,” he said.Terming Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) as a bridge to development, Pul said since scheme formulation and implementation starts in the villages, PRIs play an important role.”The state government has revived the ,PRIs provided more power and functions to them,” he said. The Chief Minister said women empowerment was getting priority in the state with the government making sufficient budgetary provisions this year.”Many steps have been taken up for women, including establishment of women police stations and introduction of 24-hour bus services in the state capital run by women drivers and conductors,” he said.Lamenting poor implementation of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in the state capital, Pul asked the municipal authorities to coordinate with PRIs and students to conduct cleanliness drive at least thrice a month.Referring to the tragedy at Tawang where 18 persons were killed in landslides, Pul directed the Chief Secretary to inspect all under-construction buildings in the state capital.”The PRIs and municipal committees should play active role in making people aware on building by-laws in the capital to prevent major disaster in the future as the state lies in Seismic Zone V,” he said, adding “If we are alert and aware, disasters can be avoided.”Pul administered oath to the PRIs on the occasion. Deputy Chief Minister Kameng Dolo, who holds the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj portfolios, urged PRIs to raise revenue locally to strengthen the state’s exchequer.Stating that strengthening of PRIs was the commitment of the state government, Dolo said the state had adopted a three-tier monitoring system for all central schemes right from the state level to maintain transparency in works.

Congress teams up with regional parties to corner government in House

The main Opposition Congress is teaming up with regional parties to corner the government on the issue of imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand. Sources here said the party was also negotiating with the BJP’s allies – Telgu Desam Party (TDP), Shiv Sena as well as Akali Dal — playing up with their fears of central intervention and destabilisation of elected state governments.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The idea is to isolate the BJP on this issue in Upper House. One of their allies, Shiv Sena, has already publicly opposed President’s rule. We hope the TDP will also follow to oppose it for the sake of keeping up country’s federal structure,” a senior Congress leader said. The regional parties, including the three NDA allies, make up 89 MPs in the House of 245. The Congress has 65 MPs and the BJP has 47.The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Deputy Leader of Congress in the House, Anand Sharma, have given notices under Rule 267, to Chairman Hamid Ansari for the passage of a resolution condemning the Modi government for “destabilistion” of the Uttarakhand government and imposition of President’s Rule.The resolution reads, “This House deplores the destabilisation of the democratically elected government in Uttarakhand and disapproves the unjustified imposition of President’s Rule there under Article 356 of the Constitution.”The Supreme Court on Friday stayed till April 27 the judgment of the state high court quashing imposition of President’s rule, giving a new turn to the continuing political drama in the state by restoring central rule there.Congress is trying to project the imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand and earlier in another party-ruled state of Arunachal Pradesh as an “attack” on the federal structure and is hopeful that a large number of Opposition parties will back it in cornering the government on the issue.

Landslide in Arunachal buries 16 workers alive

Sixteen construction labourers from Assam were buried alive in landslides, triggered by incessant rains, near Tawang on the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday.Tragedy struck the victims in their sleep at Famla village, located five kilometres away from Tawang, in the wee hours. They were engaged in the construction of a five-star hotel. The family of former Arunachal chief minister, the late Dorjee Khandu, owns the land and the under-construction hotel. The hotel was being built under the supervision of Khandu’s son Pema, who is an MLA.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to officials, the victims were staying in a camp near the construction site. Tonnes of mud and stones came crashing on them, burying them instantly. Later, the bodies were retrieved by the Army with assistance from the district administration and locals.”Seventeen workers were lodged in the camp. While 15 of them were killed on the spot, two were critically injured. One of them succumbed to his injuries later. When reports last came in, the other injured person was being taken to Tezpur (in Assam),” chief minister Kalikho Pul told dna.All the victims were from Tezpur and Dhekiajuli areas of Assam. The chief minister said the rains had wreaked havoc in his state.”The situation in most parts of the state is critical due to the rains. There is artificial flood even in Itanagar. We urgently need the support of Central government to combat the situation,” Pul said.According to officials, the entire stretch of National Highway 13, which connects Tawang to the rest of the world, has either been blocked by landslides or washed away due to the continuous rainfall.The rains have also thrown life out of gear in Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland.Union home minister Rajnath Singh called up Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Kalikho Pul to discuss the floods and the landslide situation in the state.”Singh has assured full central assistance to Arunachal Pradesh to tackle the floods situation arising due to a swollen Noa Dehing river. He has asked director general of National Disaster Response Force OP Singh to rush rescue teams to the landslide-hit Famla village in Tawang, bordering China,” said an official.A high-level committee chaired by the home minister also approved assistance of Rs.84.33 crore for Arunachal Pradesh to tackle floods.

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