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Kejriwal says he is not scared of any probe, dares Centre to accept Sahara diaries investigation

Kejriwal says he is not scared of any probe, dares Centre to accept Sahara diaries investigation

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New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday dared the Centre to get all the appointments made by his government probed after the CBI filed an FIR into the appointment of city Health Minister Satyendar Jain’s OSD.

Arvind Kejriwal. Getty Images

Arvind Kejriwal. Getty Images

Asserting that he was not afraid of any probe, the AAP chief also wondered whether the Centre would accept a Delhi government-appointed committee to look into the Sahara Birla papers.

Kejriwal alleged that the CBI has filed “seven FIRs” against Jain and “two” against Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, but did not elaborate.

In fresh trouble for the AAP government, the CBI has filed an FIR into the appointment of Jain’s OSD while the LG office has recommended a probe by the agency into the appointment of his daughter Soumya Jain as a functionary in the Mohalla Clinic project.

“You (Centre) make your committee and get all our appointments probed. And we will form one, and you get the Sahara Birla matter probed with it. Agree?”

“We are not scared of any probe as we have not done any wrong. Then why are you scared of a probe?” Kejriwal tweeted.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 10:59 IST

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Income Tax department notice to AAP citing discrepancies in donors’ list

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income Tax department has issued a notice to Aam Aadmi Party, citing discrepancies in the donors’ list submitted to tax officials and what had been put up on the party website.Terming the notice as “malicious”, AAP alleged that the BJP-led NDA government is harassing the party and targeting its donors.AAP national treasurer Raghav Chadha said, “Initially, there was an inadvertent error in the list submitted to the income tax department, which has been rectified in the revised ITR after receiving the notice.””To revise an IT return is the legitimate right of a party. Not even single donation is concealed by Aam Aadmi Party. We maintain 100 per cent transparency in donors’ details and the amount we receive. The IT department had issued us a notice and we have revised the IT return,” he said.The party had removed the donors’ list from its website claiming that its donors were being harassed by tax officials.Attacking AAP over the issue, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari alleged that the funding details of Aam Aadmi Party are “manipulated”.”AAP seeking withdrawal of its accounts submitted to the authorities vindicates our stand. Arvind Kejriwal should make things clear right away as he has all through claimed to be champion of transparency in polity,” Tiwari said.Hitting back, Kejriwal tweeted, “AAP receives less than 8% of its donations in cash against 70-80% cash donations by Cong-BJP.”Another AAP leader blamed technical glitches for the error.”While we put all donations on the website, at times there are some technical errors. For instance, there have been cases in which a donor has tried to make payment, but the transaction could not becompleted. In that case, our website reflected that payment has been made, but we did not receive money in our bank account,” the leader said.

Demonetisation: Narendra Modi and his exceptional talent of courting public opinion

No leader in India and perhaps no other political figure in any modern democracy could have survived the demonetisation crisis for seven weeks as Narendra Modi has.

If one is looking for evidence of his talents as a mass leader, it has been on display in this entire period. Let us look at it and appreciate it, because we are in the presence of a true master.

We have a few clues that the currency exchange crisis may not have been fully anticipated y the government. The first clue is Modi’s initial announcement where he made some predictions on a return to normalcy that were incorrect. The second is that he continued on a scheduled visit to Japan, at the time when the extent to which the note shortage would affect the economy was just being realised. By the time he returned from Japan it was clear that the queues were not going to disappear quickly.

His initial announcement was so powerful and energetic that it carried popular opinion. The media was fully on his side and a nervous Congress lacking in confidence also announced support for the move. Only two grassroots leaders, Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal, recognised the danger and opposed it. Modi was in fact able to recruit large parts of the population on his side, probably including millions who did not vote for him, but who did not mind the inconvenience because they anticipated major change.

File image of Narendra Modi. APFile image of Narendra Modi. AP

File image of Narendra Modi. AP

It is difficult to imagine the Manmohan Singh government producing this kind of euphoria in either the media or the middle class urban population if it had chosen to demonetise. The reaction would likely have been the opposite: resentment at being made to go through the trouble. And if it had carried on for seven weeks there would have been extreme anger.

Perhaps that anger is building now when it is clear that the disturbance is going to stay for months, but for Modi to have sustained it even for this length of time is remarkable.

The second demonstration of his talent was how quickly he grasped that the negative consequence of the policy was bigger than anticipated. Immediately on his return from Japan he made a couple of speeches in which he did two things. First he said to Indians that he meant well and that he had sacrificed his family life for his mission. The uncharacteristically emotional moment of that speech, when he briefly broke down, may also have been the moment when he acknowledged to himself that the issue was out of hand. Second, he said that normalcy would not return before 50 days. With this second move, he bought himself time and space to recalibrate his strategy. Once again, he got the media on his side and the discourse over the immediate problems that people were facing was diverted.

Now Modi could have waited for things to settle on their own, but he chose instead to voluntarily offer a time-frame before being pressed on it by the Opposition.

It is this comment on 50 days of inconvenience that allowed him the freedom to think of how to re-position demonetisation. As some publications have noted, there was no reference to a digital economy in his initial announcement, which was limited to black money, counterfeit currency amd terrorism. It is after his return from Japan and those speeches that suddenly the discourse shifted and it shifted because of Modi’s talent and credibility. One can picture him thinking about it alone. The opposition said this was a shifting of goalposts, but they should understand that this is not a university debate. So long as Modi can convince large parts of the population that the policy is good and the inconvenience will ultimately be beneficial, he will continue to do so. The specific benefits of the policy are unimportant to politics.

Proof of this appeared when the Bharatiya Janata Party continued its electoral successes across India even a month after demonetisation, including in Punjab where it is in power and suffering anti-incumbency. There is actually no opposition to Modi at the moment and he is still in full control of the narrative, which is astonishing because it has affected every single Indian negatively.

The Congress had the opportunity to exploit mass inconvenience but it has so far been unable to.

Many people are hesistant to publicly voice their dislike of demonetisation because they are afraid that they will be abused.

No other Indian leader, and few politicians in democratic politics anywhere could have achieved what Modi has since 8 November. Perhaps this will change in 2017 when the medium term effects of demonetisation are on display in the second salary cycle after 8 November.

For now, it must be acknowledged that so far, the prime minister has shown that he is where he is not because of luck but pure talent at bringing public opinion to his side and keeping it there.

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 08:24 IST

Najeeb resignation: Wanted to quit earlier but PM Modi asked me to continue, says Jung

New Delhi: Najeeb Jung on Friday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a day after springing a surprise by tendering resignation as Delhi’s Lt Governor even as he said that he had wanted to quit earlier but was asked by the PM to continue.

Jung reached the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) at South Block here around 11.30 am and spent a little over an hour inside. Sources said it was a courtesy meeting. On Thursday, in his brief resignation statement, Jung had thanked Modi for his help and cooperation.

Rejecting speculation that he quit as pressure was mounting on him, Jung was quoted as saying by NDTV that there is no politics behind his decision and that he wanted to quit earlier as well.

“I had offered to resign as I had been appointed by the previous UPA government, but the PM asked me to carry on. After three years, I requested the PM to relieve me but he asked me to carry on,” he said.

“After three and a half years, I requested the PM again on Tuesday that I would like to resign on personal grounds,” Jung was quoted as saying. Jung also said that he would like to write a book.

File photo of former Delhi Governor Naseeb Jung. Reuters

File photo of former Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung. Reuters

Over the last two years, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has time and again taken on Jung over his perceived closeness to Modi.

Earlier in the day, Kejriwal had an hour-long meeting with Jung over breakfast during which the latter reminisced their nearly two-year-long association in governing the city besides discussing other issues.

The Delhi chief minister said he was invited by the Lt Governor for the breakfast meeting that came a day after Jung’s sudden resignation from the post. Sources said Jung and Kejriwal spoke about the bitter- sweet times and spent some light moments.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also called on Jung. Asked why Jung quit, Kejriwal said, “He resigned due to personal reasons.” Though publicly Kejriwal had made stinging attacks on Jung on many occasions, both of them are known to share a cordial relationship at personal level.

Asked about his meeting with Jung, Sisodia said, “We had a very good chat. He shared memories of the last two years and also of his days as a bureaucrat. He said that he was mulling quitting over the last one year.

“He wants to spend time with his family and focus on academics. He said that he could not quit due to things like chikungunya (outbreak                                                                                                              in the city).”

Sisodia said he shared a “good rapport” with Jung and thanked him for his cooperation especially in areas of education. “We will work for the people if Delhi irrespective of circumstances be that easy or tough.”

On who could be next LG of Delhi, the Deputy Chief Minister said many names are doing the rounds but nothing official has come up.

Sources close to Jung had said yesterday his resignation has nothing to do with his acrimonious relationship with the AAP government over matters of jurisdiction and he was contemplating to quit for last few months. The Chief Minister was in Ranchi yesterday when the news of Jung’s resignation broke.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 19:09 IST

Government launches city-wide water audit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on Thursday launched an audit of the water utility infrastructure with an aim to ensure constant water supply in the national Capital.The ‘Walk the Line’ initiative, which the Delhi government claims to be the largest in the world, will deploy 800 junior engineers to scope out the city water network for leakage and contamination, according to an official statement.“The engineers would work in tandem with 3,500 staffers, who would be divided in teams comprising 4 to 5 members each. The engineers are also required to submit daily reports on broken pipelines, household contamination, valves and UGRs, besides suggesting solutions for each kilometer under their jurisdiction within 45 days,” Water Minister Kapil Mishra said.He said the DJB will lay 3,500km of pipeline onto the existing infrastructure of 14,000km of pipeline to reach every household by December 2017. The initiative aims to achieve Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s vision of providing potable water in every part of the city by December 2017.

Unprecedented acrimony marks Jung’s tenure as Delhi LG

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The tenure of Najeeb Jung as the Lieutenant Governor saw Delhi’s complex administrative structure stretched to the limit with unprecedented rancour marking his relationship with the elected Aam Aadmi Party government. The Arvind Kejriwal dispensation, having won a brute majority in the February 2015 election, repeatedly accused Jung of “stalling” governance and acting at the BJP government’s behest and as the “agent” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.But, Jung steadfastly maintained that he was merely following the constitutional provisions in letter and spirit and asserted at one point that “in respect to the NCT (national capital territory) of Delhi, the government means the Lieutenant Governor of the NCT of Delhi”. Earlier this year, the Delhi High Court’s verdict came as a shot in the arm for Jung as it stamped his primacy as the city’s administrative head. However, the ruling AAP has challenged the order in the Supreme Court.The die was cast during AAP’s 49-day-stint spread across 2013-14 as the dispensation had clashed with Jung over his objection to the tabling of the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Delhi Assembly. The party also referred to Jung’s stint with business house Reliance to caste aspersions on his decisions.
ALSO READ AAP v/s LG: Najeeb Jung’s sudden resignation leaves bete noire Arvind Kejriwal ‘surprised’In AAP’s second term, the first stand-off occurred within days of Jung appointing senior bureaucrat Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary of the city government in June 2015, notwithstanding strong reservations by Kejriwal who termed the decision as “unconstitutional”.Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) became another sticking point with the body being headed by two simultaneous heads at one point, LG-appointed MK Meena and the other, SS Yadav, authorised by the AAP government. As matters came to a head over the appointment of Swati Maliwal as Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief in July 2015, Jung proclaimed, “In respect to the NCT (national capital territory) of Delhi the Government means the Lieutenant Governor of the NCT of Delhi.”
ALSO READ LG v/s AAP: A timeline of the battle between Najeeb Jung and Arvind KejriwalA fresh round of confrontation started in December 2015 once Jung, in his communication to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), questioned the legality of a Commission of Inquiry set up to probe alleged irregularities in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), an issue over which the AAP was training its guns on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, demanding his resignation.In September last year, Jung had directed all officers, including IAS and DANICS, not to follow the Delhi government orders which were declared by the Centre as “null and void”. This year, soon after the verdict of the Delhi High Court, Jung set up a panel to examine over 400 files pertaining to the AAP government’s decisions.
ALSO READ Home Secretary met Najeeb Jung two days ago, was unaware of his resignationThe panel headed by former CAG VK Shunglu submitted its report last month. According to sources, it pointed out many discrepancies in decisions. The report has not been made public yet. Terming the Delhi High Court verdict as “historic”, Jung had then said, “When we get elected, it doesn’t mean we are rulers and instead we will have to work and confine ourselves to our roles and jobs which are in the framework of the Constitution.” The genesis of the confrontation, in many ways, lies in the ambiguity of powers of the elected government as Delhi continues to be a Union Territory while enjoying a special status with a Legislative Assembly.

LG v/s AAP: A timeline of the battle between Najeeb Jung and Arvind Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On a day when Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi were exchanging barbs, Delhi LG and Arvind Kejriwal’s bete noir, LG Jung, suddenly dropped a bombshell by claiming that he was resigning. The move came completely out of the blue and even the officials had the Home Ministry had no clue about his impending move. While the Congress asked if the plan was to bring ‘someone close to the RSS’, firebrand right-wing leader Subramanian Swamy called the move ‘long overdue’!DCW chief Swati Maliwal termed it the ‘end of dark days’ for women of Delhi but AAP leaders, particularly Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia, seemed bittersweet about the move.Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal described the resignation of Lt Governor Najeeb Jung a “surprise” move while his deputy Manish Sisodia said working with him was a “bitter-sweet” experience, but the AAP government and Jung did a “good job in Delhi together”. Kejriwal and Sisodia spoke to Jung over phone and wished him luck for his future. The Delhi Chief Minister said it was “good” working with him.But despite the late words of reconciliation, the AAP government and LG Jung were continuously at loggerheads. It came to appoint when Kejriwal even likened Jung to ‘Hitler’ and accused him of selling his soul to Modi so that he could become Vice President.Here’s a timeline of their Jung:2013July 9: Najeeb Jung appointed Lt Governor.Dec 28: Kejriwal becomes Chief Minister after taking outside support from Congress.2014Feb 3: Delhi Cabinet clears draft of Jan Lokpal Bill. Feb 10: Jung sends it to Law Ministry which says Centre’s nod mandatory to introduce Jan Lokpal Bill.Feb 14: Kejriwal resigns as Chief Minister.Feb 17: Delhi assembly kept in suspended animation, President’s Rule imposed.2015Feb 14: Kejriwal is Chief Minister again, as AAP wins a staggering 67 out of 70 seats.April 1: Jung says not obliged to route files through CMO after Kejriwal’s order send files related to police, public order and land through him. April 29: Kejriwal tells officials not to ‘bother’ LG with all the files.May 16: Kejriwal accuses IAS officer Shakuntala Gamlin of lobbying for power companies.May 20: Jung annuls all bureaucratic postings by Delhi government, says power to appoint and transfer rests with him.June 2: Five officers of Bihar Police join Delhi Government’s Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB). Jung rejects it, says he is the ACB boss.June 8: Jung names Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police M.K. Meena new chief of ACB. Kejriwal cries foul.June 9: Delhi government replaces Home Secretary Dharam Pal. LG vetoes order. July 20/21: Delhi government appoints Swati Maliwal as Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson. Jung asks why his approval was not taken.August: Kejriwal hikes circle rates in Delhi for agricultural land. Jung objects.Aug 11: Delhi government forms Commission of Inquiry to probe CNG fitness scam. LG again objects.December: AAP government sets up Inquiry Commission to probe Delhi and District Cricket Association. Jung questions its validity. Dec 15: CBI raids Chief Minister’s Office. Kejriwal blames Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jung.Dec 31: IAS and DANICS officers go on mass leave a day before flagship odd-even scheme. 2016Jan 1: Kejriwal blames LG, Centre for strike. Odd-even scheme a success.March: AAP government appoints former Chief Income Tax Commissioner Krishna Saini as Chairperson of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission.June 1: ACB probes Delhi government’s app based Premium Bus Service. June 20: ACB files FIR against Kejriwal and former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in water tanker scam after Jung’s okay. Aug 4: Delhi High Court gives primacy to Lt Governor in Delhi’s administration. AAP government moves Supreme Court. Aug 30: Jung axes Delhi Health Secretary and PWD Secretary. Kejriwal says Modi hell bent on destroying Delhi through Jung.Aug 30: Jung sets up panel to probe over 400 files related to decisions taken by Delhi government. Kejriwal calls it illegal.Sep 16: After chikungunya outbreak, Jung asks Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to return from Finland.Sep 17: Jung refuses to meet AAP ministers. Oct 7: Jung appoints IAS officer Alka Diwan as DCW Member Secretary. Diwan stops payment of salaries to contractual employees of DCW. Kejriwal seeks her removal.Dec 6: Jung replaces Diwan with IAS officer Dilraj Kaur. Kejriwal rejects the move, calls Jung “Hitler”.Dec 22: Jung resigns.

Kejriwal party do: Twitter reacts to Najeeb Jung’s resignation as Delhi LG

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a sudden move, Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung resigned today, ending a nearly three-and-half- year-long eventful tenure, mostly marked by bitter confrontation with AAP government on a range of issues that virtually brought governance to a halt on many occasions. Without citing reasons for the decision, 65-year-old Jung, who had taken charge in July 2013, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his help and cooperation and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his “association”.In a brief statement, Jung’s office said he has submitted his resignation to the Government of India and that he would be returning back to academics, “his first love”. Sources close to him told PTI that his resignation has nothing to do with his acrimonious relationship with the AAP government and he was contemplating to quit for last few months. “His decision to quit was not at all related to his relationship with the AAP government. It was purely a personal decision which he was mulling over for quite some time,” they said. Reacting to Jung’s resignation, Kejriwal said the decision surprised him. “Sh Jung’s resignation is a surprise to me. My best wishes in all his future endeavours,” he tweeted.

Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung submits his resignation, Kejriwal ‘surprised’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Najeeb Jung, the 20th Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, stepped down from his position on Thursday. He was appointed to the post of Lt. Governor in 2013, replacing Tajender Khanna, another IAS officer. He was the Vice chancellor of Jamia Milia Islamia University from 2009-2013. The Lt Governor’s officer has confirmed that after demitting​ office he will return to his first love “academics”.Taking to Twitter on Jung’s resignation, CM Kejriwal said, “Sh Jung’s resignation is a surprise to me. My best wishes in all his future endeavours.”Jung, in an official statement issued, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his cooperation during his tenure as the LG of Delhi. The exact reason behind his reasons, however, behind his resignation is yet to be known. Jung had been constantly in news for the past two years for his confrontation with the AAP’s Delhi Government and CM Arvind Kejriwal. According to India Today report, Kejriwal spoke to Jung to enquire about his resignation and Jung cited personal reasons. Speaking to the channel, Jung said, “I believe I have served Delhi & have done my job, want to spend more time with my family. I have a house in Goa also where I intend to move.”He also added that he wasn’t in the race for next Vice President. “I also intend to spend time in academic works & writing. I’m looking at universities in both America & Singapore,” he added.Union Home Secretary said that he had met Jung day before and there was no inkling of it, he said he was not aware of his resignation.Jung also thanked the people of Delhi for their support and affection, especially during the one year’s President Rule in Delhi, when received unstinted support from the people of the national capital, which in turn helped run the administration in Delhi smoothly and effortlessly. He has thanked Arvind Kejriwal “for his association in the last two years”. He had joined Indian Administrative Service in Madhya Pradesh cadre in 1973. He later served as the Joint Secretary to Government of India in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas from 1994 onwards, and resigned in 1999.This is a developing story.(With inputs from Mohit Sharma)

I-T raid at TN chief secy’s home: Mamata Banerjee slams govt, asks why Amit Shah was spared

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday criticised the I-T raid at the residence of Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao, saying such a “vindictive and unethical” act by the central agencies devalues the institution of head of the civil service.

File image of Mamata Banerjee. PTI

File image of Mamata Banerjee. PTI

“Why this vindictive, unethical, technically improper action? Is it only to disturb the federal structure? Why do not they raid Amit Shah and others…” she said in a statement.

Mamata said corruption needs to be strongly condemned, but “the raid on Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary by central agencies devalues the institution of head of the civil service”.

“The proper procedure should have been to take the state leadership into confidence and removing him from the post prior to any preemptive action, based on information,” she said.

“Earlier the Principal Secretary of Arvind Kejriwal was raided and harassed. Now I read Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu has also been raided,” Mamata said.

The Income-Tax department on Wednesday conducted searches at over a dozen locations in connection with its tax evasion probe against the son and few other relatives of Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao.

It is understood that the official residence of the Chief Secretary in Chennai was also raided.

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

CBI files charge-sheet against Kejriwal’s ex-principal secretary Rajendra Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a charge sheet against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s former principal secretary Rajendra Kumar, reported PTI sources. CBI had registered a case against Kumar and others in December last year alleging that the officer had abused his official position by “favouring a particular firm in the last few years in getting tenders of Delhi government departments”.The accused have been charged under section 120-B of IPC (criminal conspiracy) and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act relating to criminal misconduct for allegedly favouring ESPL in bagging of five contracts.CBI has alleged that the accused persons had entered into a criminal conspiracy and caused a loss of Rs 12 crore to the Delhi government in award of contracts between 2007 and 2015, and claimed that the officials had taken “undue benefit” of over Rs three crore while awarding the contracts. This is the same case in which the agency had come under scathing criticism from court which had directed it to return documents sought by Delhi government seized during December 15, 2015 search of Kejriwal’s office.Arrest of the top state government official had triggered a political storm with the Delhi government accusing Centre of indulging in “political vendetta” and “paralysing” governance.With inputs from PTI

Demonetisation: ‘48.63 lakh in unorganised sector could lose jobs,’ claims Ajay Maken

New Delhi: As many as 48.63 lakh workers in the unorganised sector in the national capital may become unemployed due to “faulty implementation of demonetisation” and they have already started going back to their home states, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken claimed.

A march will be held on 24 December from Jantar Mantar to Parliament House by Delhi Poorvanchal Congress, in association with Delhi Parvatiya Congress and Delhi South Indian Congress, to highlight the plight of migrant labourers due faulty implementation of demonetisation, he said.

“48.63 lakh unorganized/informal workforce in Delhi consist of first-generation migrant labour. After faulty implementation of demonetisation, reverse migration has begun in Delhi,” Maken alleged.

File photo of Delhi Congress Chief Ajay Maken. Reuter

File photo of Delhi Congress Chief Ajay Maken. Reuter

“Lakhs of labourers have already returned to their homes, and around 15,000 labourers are returning to their homes from Delhi every day, which is stalling development works in the national capital,” he claimed.

The Delhi Congress chief said he had written a letter to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on 9 December to draw his attention towards this issue and had asked him to take steps to stop reverse migration of this informal workforce.

Claiming that he has not received any reply from the Chief Minister, Maken said the Delhi Government has not taken any steps to implement his suggestion that Rs 5,000 be given to these labourers as monthly unemployment allowance, which is nearly 50 percent of minimum wages.

“Major projects in Delhi have come to a standstill as labourers are not getting their daily wages due to the cash crunch. The daily earning of rickshaw pullers have also come down sharply. “If steps are not taken immediately to stop reverse migration of the informal workforce, it will take a long time for Delhi to come back to its normal routine,” he claimed.

Quoting a survey on employment by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), Maken said as per the 68th Round, between 2011 and 2012, the working population of Delhi was 57.06 lakh. “The data of Directorate of Employment, Delhi Government reveals that the total                                                                                                              number of workers in the organised sector was 8.43 lakh in 2009. This figure has remained almost consistent in the last one decade,” he                                                                                                              said.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 19:13 IST

Demonetisation: Opposition fails to capitalise on govt’s poor management of crisis

We are going through a strange political phase in India. On the one hand, for the first time in two and half years, there is a sense that the government is in trouble. On the other hand, there is also the feeling that the Opposition doesn’t really have the talent and the ability to either express popular sentiment or to capitalise on the moment.

The issue being debated is of course demonetisation, an exercise that has entered the second fortnight of its second month. Banks are still relatively low on supply, ATMs are still often not fully stocked with the right bills. But most importantly, the initial violence of the move to take out most of India’s cash is still passing through the system. The economy looks to have been put through an action which has damaged it and there does not seem to be sufficient control over managing the instability.

Opposition leaders after meeting President Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

Opposition leaders after meeting President Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

There was a moment, one week after the demonetisation announcement, when it may have been possible to reverse it. This was when the first hearings on the matter began in court and when most of the old currency was lying in the hands of the public. That moment has passed. The money has vanished in physical terms also, into the coffers of the RBI or banks, and the new notes have not been fully distributed through the system. The government says it will take another month, till the middle of January, before the system is stable. Even if that is true, merely printing the money doesn’t mean that the economy has received it. The cash has to be distributed across the system and there is no real estimate of how long that will take.

Few, including the prime minister who warned us about this in his latest speech on demonetisation, believe that there is no further pain ahead. This is the sort of moment and sort of political issue which any Opposition in a democratic space would have capitalised on. A deliberate action that slows the economy and inconveniences hundreds of millions of people daily for months is the sort of gift that politicians in Opposition dream of.

Incredibly, the government was actually able to make gains on this in the first couple of weeks. The media was strongly on the side of demonetisation then, and the public was shown as happy to be queuing up in support of the nation and against black money and terrorism. The Congress said it supported demonetisation but would insist on good management so that people were not inconvenienced. This position showed a lack of confidence and, more importantly, a lack of understanding about what was about to unfold. It could be said, rightly, that most people including experts, had no idea that things would drag on so long. But the Congress has decades of experience governing this country at the level of Centre and state. Surely it has enough input and data to be able to have known, and if it doesn’t then that is incompetence.

Instead it was two grassroots leaders, Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee, who from the first instance opposed the act of demonetisation unconditionally. They perhaps recognised that the action was reckless and that popular support would wane. Sure enough, this euphoria began to blow away from the queues as the discomfort continued and the nature of the goal changed from attacking black money to securing a digital economy.

It speaks poorly of the Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi in particular that they have not been able to introduce original phrases that would capture the tragedy of demonetisation. In popular politics it is vital that you rally your support base with slogans. Gandhi was excellent at doing this against the British and so is Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is the most talented politician of our time. The Congress has no such ability and it bumbles along, having been handed a priceless political opportunity and not knowing how to properly grasp it.

The way in which Rahul has approached the crisis makes no sense. He has first been tentative, then he has senselessly broken Opposition unity by unilateral Congress action. He has threatened to reveal the prime minister’s personal corruption and then changed the subject to farmers’ distress when he eventually met Modi. There seems to be no discipline and no strategy in his approach. Very few people believe the prime minister is personally corrupt. It was not the sort of allegation that was to be made casually, yet it does seem to have been made in that fashion.

And so here we are, in the middle of the biggest self created crisis of this government. A crisis which involves and includes citizens and affects the way we go about our lives. A crisis that promises to continue into the first weeks of the new year at the level of individual inconvenience and the first few months at the level of the economy. It is crisis that is being managed poorly by the government and, it is absolutely clear, even more shoddily by the Opposition.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 09:38 IST

Demonetisation is good, for many reasons: Surat CA’s video explaining velocity of money goes viral

A chartered accountant from Surat, who penned an open letter to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal explaining Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s demonetisation move using two imaginary, but interesting scenarios, is back with another video on note ban.

Mehul Shah in the video, produced by Tax Origin, explains how the decision to demonetise will increase ‘velocity of money’. Velocity of money denotes the number of times a unit of money in an economy changes hands during a certain period. Shah says that cash is not supposed to be hoarded because it is not a commodity, instead, cash is meant to be used as a “medium of exchange” for goods and services to be received. “A single note of Rs 1,000 is worth Rs 10,00,000 if it passes through 1,000 citizens across the country in a year and is worth only Rs 1,000 if it is kept idle in a locker. This is called the velocity of money.”

Asserting that demonetisation will increase veloctiy of money, Shah adds a rider.

“It is true that the economy may surely be benefited if the velocity of money increases and theoretically the move of demonetization and move towards cashless economy should help to increase the Velocity of Money but it cannot be proved with certainty because we never knew the velocity of money in parallel economy because those transactions were never captured in accounts or public records.”

The video strictly advises people not to sell notes at discounted prices or deposit cash into benaami accounts in fear of penalty. Shah further tells not to claim any bogus expenses or bogus loss to gain more trouble. “Do not manipulate accounts by creating bogus cash on hand. Be sporty and pay tax honestly to buy peace of building capital.”

Even though Shah’s blog is ridden with jargons, the video will help you understand the concept and benefits of a cashless economy better. If we had to cut through the jargon and explain the concept in a gist, it would be this:

Since cash leaves no trails and it is hard to pinpoint black money hoarders in a parallel economy, a cashless economy is probably the best way to cut through all the corruption.

“…the task of the Government as well as citizens is not going to be easy because as I said earlier, Cash leaves no trails. Hence it is in the interest of the Government as well as we common man to adopt to cashless means of doing business and encourage everyone to use banking route as much as possible.”

First Published On : Dec 17, 2016 16:28 IST

Demonetisation: Yogendra Yadav slams govt for seeking to dilute corruption bill

New Delhi: Terming the decision to devalue high-denomination notes a “pseudo war” against black money, anti-corruption activist Yogendra Yadav criticised the government for seeking to dilute the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), saying this would weaken the actual battle against corruption and help the corrupt.

“The point we are trying to make is that it is pseudo war against black money. Not an actual war. It is a very small step in the larger picture of corruption issues in the country. The (amendment) bill will help the corrupt. We are going to pose 10 questions to the government,” Yadav told IANS ahead of a demonstration his Swaraj India Party is to hold on Sunday against black money and corruption — and the weakening of the anti-graft mechanism.

File image of Yogendra Yadav. PTI

File image of Yogendra Yadav. PTI

The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, was first brought in 2013 and the Cabinet has approved the changes proposed by a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha. The changes will dilute and defeat the whole purpose of the law, said Yadav, once a close aide of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal till he transformed into a full-time politician.

Various non-profit organisations and think-tanks are learnt to have made recommendations and suggestions to the government opposing the dilution of the Act.

The Bill has an new section that bars investigating agencies from initiating an inquiry or investigation against a public servant without the prior approval of the competent authority, which effectively means the political bosses, Yadav said, terming this the babu-neta nexus to protect the corrupt.

The existing law requires approval from a higher authority before prosecuting any public servant to protect honest officers from harassment, persecution and frivolous litigation.

The new Bill requires a court order to sanction prosecution against a corrupt public servant, which, Yadav said, would discourage victims of corruption and activists from prosecuting such individuals.

Priyanka Rao, a senior researcher with PRS Legislative Research, a not-for-profit outfit, termed the sanction before prosecution as “standard” but expressed concern over the proposed approval before inquiry or investigation.

“Is not the process of investigation (meant to establish) a prima facie case against someone? However, if at the start of an investigation you need approval, on what basis will you get this approval? It is a big challenge. How will we strike a balance between allowing honest officers to work smoothly and (ensuring) investigation and trial do not take a long time,” she wondered while speaking to IANS.

The amendment has done away with the protection cover to the bribe-giver against prosecution and makes both the bribe-giver and the bribe-taker equally punishable, which would deter the former — the victim — from speaking out in cases against public servants, Yadav contended.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 13:50 IST

Modi degree row: Kejriwal questions PM’s reluctance to show his academic records

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come clean on his educational qualification. Addressing reporters at his residence in New Delhi, Kejriwal alleged that Modi’s reluctance to show his degrees raised suspicion about their authenticity.

Arvind Kejriwal. File photo. Getty images

Arvind Kejriwal. File photo. Getty images

“Earlier, Modiji said he did not go to college. Later, he showed correspondence course degrees which were found to be fake,” the Aam Aadmi Party leader said. “If the degree is genuine, why is Modiji reluctant to show it? Why is he hiding his degree?”

The Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) had in April directed the Gujarat and Delhi Universities to disclose details of Modi’s graduation and post-graduation degrees to Kejriwal after he approached CIC.

The AAP leader added that people believe that Modi was not aware of the repercussions of demonetisation and now that there was chaos across the nation he doesn’t want to roll it back.

“Today, there is a hearing in the Gujarat High Court about the degree issue. We want his lawyer to say in the court that they are ready to show Modiji’s degree.”

Kejriwal also demanded the money deposited in banks since the spiking of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes was used to waive off loans of farmers and small traders. “Not a single penny of this money should be used to waive off loans of Modiji’s rich friends.”

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 12:38 IST

Night shelters for homeless to get TVs and barbers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>From barbers on weekends to on-demand TV, night shelters in the national capital are soon going to have it all. Working towards building a better image of the homeless, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) is all set to initiate a hygiene drive at the night shelters.DUSIB officials said beginning December 15, barber facilities will be available at all the 198 night shelters in Delhi. “Even though some homeless people work hard to make a living, often they are not hired because of their unkempt appearance. So, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal decided to provide the basic facility of barbers to the people who live in these night shelters,” said an official.The government will also initiate regular bathing and clothing drives. “We will teach the basic advantages of bathing daily and also initiate a clothing drive, wherein people will be encouraged to donate their clothes for the homeless,” the official said.The government also plans to distribute hygiene kits to the homeless, which would include toothbrush, soap and toothpaste. “The government has also decided to install TV sets at more than 125 night shelters and to provide them with hot tea and biscuits twice a day,” said DUSIB expert member Bipin Rai.At present, DUSIB has 198 night shelters that can accommodate 16,338 people. Apart from these permanent structures, DUSIB has decided to set up temporary shelters as well, to ensure that no night shelter is at a distance of more than a kilometre.“As per our survey, there are nearly 16,000 homeless people in the national Capital. Additional accommodations will be set up to ensure that there is no shortage,” said an official.As part of its Winter Action Plan, the Delhi government had previously announced that Mohalla clinics will be established in four of its night shelters — Yamuna Pushta, Jama Masjid, Sarai Kale Khan and Shakur Basti. Also, 10 teams of doctors have been formed, which will visit the night shelters on alternate days to provide necessary medical help to the destitute.

OROP suicide: Kejriwal claims Modi govt ‘not allowing’ Delhi govt to pay Grewal Rs1 crore compensation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “not allowing” the Delhi government to compensate the family of ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal. He said the AAP government’s plan to give Rs 1 crore compensation to the family of Grewal, who committed suicide in the city last month over the OROP issue, has been hindered as Lt Governor Najeeb Jung has sought a report on the issue from the ruling dispensation. The Chief Minister, however, vowed to provide the compensation “at any cost”.He also sought to know why the Central government had not given Rs one crore to the families of soldiers, who were martyred in Uri terror attack, on lines of the Delhi government’s policy.”They (BJP) go to seek votes in the name of surgical strike, but when the time comes to help families of martyrs, Modi ji neither gives compensation nor allows us to do it,” Kejriwal said.Under the AAP government’s compensation policy, the families of martyrs, who are residents of Delhi, are given Rs one crore. Kejriwal has been urging the Prime Minister to implement the same across the country.The Chief Minister said the Cabinet has decided to compensate the Grewal family and there was “no need to seek LG’s consent on the issue.””There is no need to seek LG’s approval on the Cabinet decision. Cabinet is supreme and it can give compensation.Grewal did not commit suicide for himself. He did it for the country’s soldiers.”He committed suicide so that the country’s attention move towards soldiers and we recognise their sacrifice,” he said. Kejriwal, however, clarified that he was open to meet the LG on the issue and convince him about the Cabinet decision if he had any reservations about it. “LG has sought a report on this issue, saying that he will not give approval on it. But, we will request LG. Deputy CM will meet the LG and request him to allow us to release the compensation,” he said. The AAP leader added that Delhi Chief Secretary was preparing the report that will be submitted to the LG office soon.Ram Kishan Grewal, 70-year-old ex-serviceman, had consumed poison in the lawns behind Jawahar Bhavan, which houses some offices of the Ministry of External Affairs, on 1 November. His suicide had snowballed into a huge political showdown in the capital.

Demonetization: BJP accuses Rahul Gandhi of ‘mental bankruptcy’, dares him to speak in Parliament

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accusing Rahul Gandhi of levelling baseless allegations against the government to grab headlines, BJP on Thursday dared him to speak on demonetization in Parliament.Attacking the Congress Vice President, the ruling party said on the one hand he claims to speak about the interests of the common man but on the other hand Congress was stalling Parliament for three weeks and wasting public money spent on running it.Congress ran way from discussion in Parliament when it was in power and it is doing the same now when it is in the opposition, BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma alleged. “His (Rahul’s) charges against the Modi government are borne out of his incompetence and arrogance. He is competing with Arvind Kejriwal in TRP politics by levelling baseless charges on almost daily basis. He is doing so merely for headlines. He should instead speak in Parliament not outside,” Sharma said.
ALSO READ Demonetization a foolish decision, PM laughs as people suffer: Rahul GandhiHe was reacting after Rahul attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying his “foolish decision”, a reference to demonetization, has “devastated” the country.Earlier also, the Congress leader had targeted Modi over demonetization, accusing him of practising TRP politics and said the country has suffered damage due to his “vanity and incompetence”.Sharma hit out at Rahul, saying he was rattled by Modi’s offensive against black money and corruption as they are rooted in the opposition party’s culture and said the Congress leader’s allegations highlight his “mental bankruptcy”.Congress does not want Modi to take developmental measures for the poor and farmers, he said, adding that the Prime Minister’s fight is not against some political parties or persons but against corruption. “When 2G, coal block allocation and CWG scams happened during the UPA government, BJP wanted debate in Parliament but Congress ran away from it. It continues to avoid a debate even in opposition. It committed scams worth 12 lakh crore and is rattled by the Modi government’s actions,” he claimed.

Thirty days of demonetisation: The death of the Rs 1,000 note is a sad news for Indian economy

Exactly a month after the Rs 1,000 note, lovingly known as “Ek Hazaar” and its younger brother the equally loved “Panch Saw” were taken into custody by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), it is believed that the older brother has met its end under mysterious circumstances.

Tight-lipped RBI officials declined to give any details of what occurred and attempted to divert the attention by underscoring their success in releasing a slimmer and more robust avatar of the younger brother into circulation.

2016-12-08-PHOTO-00000001 (1)

Since Panch Saw has refused to make any statement, what transpired behind the closed doors is not known, but the sad, if yet unconfirmed demise of the highly loved Ek Hazar has sent a wave of sorrow through its supporter and fans.

A weeping businessman said that the bringing in of a muscleman twice the size of Ek Hazaar and then falling back on the weak younger brother of the deceased was a dreadful situation. Asking not to be identified, he confided that the inside story indicates there are irreconcilable differences between the newly inducted bully called “Do Hazaar” and the popular Panch Saw, the gap between them being literally unbridgeable.

“They are not even on speaking terms,” he said, “But don’t quote me on it.”

It is believed that Panch is deeply upset about the way his older brother was treated and sees Do Hazaar as an impostor and a nuisance.

Official RBI sources rejected the theory that there had been a bungling within its premises leading to the death of Ek Hazaar.

Even now the RBI spokesman was not prepared to confirm the passing away of the once powerful leader of the fiscal party whose influence had been all pervasive.

When confronted with the fact that not a single bulletin had been issued over the past thirty days with regard to the health of the Rs 1,000 note and the public’s right to know what exactly the position was, the RBI spokesman said Ek Hazar was in custody as a precautionary measure against corruption, and was hale and hearty and would soon be released.

But exactly thirty days after being stripped of its powers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi were seen making a beeline for the RBI main office. The RBI governor was closeted with them on the top floor leading to the speculation that something had gone wrong.

If Rahul Gandhi had gone there it could only mean the note had gone to its heavenly abode.

As people began to gather outside the RBI one staunch supporter of Ek Hazaar said, “If the news is true we now have no second line of defence. No economic pyramid. The people have been left in the lurch and no one is telling us what has happened.”

According to sources Ek Hazaar, once the bulwark of the Indian financial system was a victim of shortsightedness and poor medical treatment. Seeing as how the younger brother was resurrected it is pretty much inconceivable that the older sibling is allegedly dead.

A famous economist who had been flown in from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said he believed this was a case of eco-medical malpractice because nowhere in the world is the top currency followed by one worth 25 percent in value.

“The trauma is so massive,” he added, “That an amputated currency totem pole will forever limp along despite any prosthetic that may be recommended. If Ek Hazaar is actually dead, it is indeed a very sad day for the Indian economy.”

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 13:36 IST

AAP rally held in Benaulim seat for Goa Assembly Elections

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the run up to Goa legislative assembly elections, politically important Benaulim constituency witnessed a rally taken out by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Royla Fernandes.”AAP is the only party to begin its campaigning here, even as other political outfits are yet to decide their candidates. The first round of door-to-door campaigning in the constituency is completed,” Fernandes, an architect-turned-politician said on Wednesday. The rally was held on Sunday.The Catholic voter dominated constituency in south Goa, next to Margao town, was traditionally a Congress bastion until it was won by Goa Vikas Party candidate Caetan Silva during the 2012 Assembly election. “The door-to-door campaign of AAP in Benaulim began prior to Arvind Kejriwal’s rally held on May 22 in Goa. All volunteers have knocked every door in the village,” Fernandes said.She said the AAP volunteers have heard the problems faced by people in this constituency and would be suggesting practical solution for them. “We are touched by desire of the people to fight corruption and people are joining in this revolution for clean and honest politics,” Fernandes added.AAP has announced its 30 candidates who will be contesting the upcoming assembly election in Goa. The party has decided to field candidates in all the 40 constituencies.

Kejriwal permanently exempted from appearance in defamation case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi High Court on Monday granted permanent exemption to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal from appearing in person before a trial court here in a criminal defamation case filed by Amit Sibal, lawyer son of former union minster Kapil Sibal.Justice Mukta Gupta, however, said that if the proceedings in the matter are delayed due to Kejriwal’s absence, the “trial court has liberty to modify the order and direct the AAP leader to appear before it whenever required.” It also asked the leader to give an undertaking before a trial court that he will have no objection if the matter proceeds in his absence.The counsel appearing for Kejriwal agreed to the condition imposed by the high court.Taking note of this, the court said in its order that “the petitioner (Kejriwal) undertakes that in case permanent exemption is granted he will not dispute his identity, the witness identity and the evidence recorded in the matter”.”Affidavit in this regard shall be filed before a trial court in one week from today. Considering his responsibilities and duties and in interest of justice, permanent exemption from personal appearance before a trial court is granted to the petitioner,” the court said.It also clarified that the counsel duly nominated by the Chief Minister shall also not seek adjournment on any ground in the matter before a trial court.The court said that if on any specific date the trial court needs the presence of Kejriwal, it can direct him to appear before it and the chief minister “will have to comply”.The court’s order came on Kejriwal’s plea seeking permanent exemption from personal appearance before a trial court in the defamation case filed against him by Amit Sibal.Senior advocate Sudhir Nandrajog, appearing for Kejriwal, submitted that it was not possible for his client to appear on each and every date before a trial court as he, being the Chief Minister of Delhi, had many other things to look after.”Notice has been framed in the matter. Cross examination is going on,” the counsel said and asked why his client was required on each and every date.

Demonetisation: Arvind Kejriwal questions funding of BJP MP Mahesh Sharma’s daughter’s wedding

Demonetisation: Arvind Kejriwal questions funding of BJP MP Mahesh Sharma’s daughter’s wedding

By

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Mahesh Sharma following his daughter’s marriage and asked how he managed the marriage expenses in Rs 2.5 lakhs post demonetisation.

File photo of Arvind Kejriwal. Getty images

File photo of Arvind Kejriwal. Getty images

“BJP MP Mahesh Sharma’s daughter wedding. Is he making all the payments in cheque? Is he managing the marriage in Rs 2.5 lakhs? How were his notes exchanged?” Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor Kejriwal asked.

The AAP has been protesting against the central government’s demonetisation of Rs 500 and 1,000 currency notes.

The opposition has called for Bharat Band on Monday in protest against the 8 November announcement.

Serpentine queues have been witnessed outside banks and ATMs, as many anxious people waited for hours to deposit or exchange their spiked currency notes or obtain cash.

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 11:16 IST

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Demonetization has given Rahul, Mamata sleepless nights: Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP President Amit Shah on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization move has given opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee “sleepless nights”.”Friends, people who are hurt are those whose black money has gone for a toss. The demonetization move has given sleepless nights to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Mamata, Arvind Kejriwal, and also they have lost shine on their faces,” he said at the BJP’s ‘Other Backward Classes’ rally here. “..Till November 7, opposition parties BSP, SP and Congress, and also leaders like Mamata, Arvind Kejriwal, were questioning Modiji’s steps to bring back black money, but after November eight midnight, they changed their tone and started to ask why did he do this (demonetization),” he said.Slamming the opposition for joining hands to oppose demonetization, he said: “There is a flood-like situation where you find one tree in the middle, on which a rat, cat, mongoose and snake have climbed to save themselves from the raging water, flowing below,” he said. “Interestingly, the mongoose and the cat are not eating the snake and the rat – they all have joined hands against Modi’s fight against black money and corruption,” he said.Shah, however, expressed his gratitude towards Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for supporting Modi’s efforts to fight corruption and black money.”I want to express my gratitude towards Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for supporting Modiji’s fight against black money and corruption,” he said. Referring to the Congress government in Karnataka, Shah alleged that the Siddaramaiah government was the “most corrupt” in the country and urged the people of the state to root out the present one to elect BJP under the chief ministership of BS Yeddyurappa, which would make the state one of the top states in its five-year rule.

Kejriwal says Punjab Deputy CM will be Dalit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In an attempt to woo dalit community in the state, Aam Aadmi Party National Convenor Arvind Kejriwal today said that a Dalit will become the deputy chief minister of Punjab if his party comes to power in state Assembly polls scheduled next year. He made this announcement at the launch of a dedicated manifesto for Dalits, which constitute nearly 25 per cent of the state’s population.”A Dalit will be the deputy chief minister when AAP comes to power in Punjab,” said the Delhi chief minister, who has been campaigning in the state for the past few days.However, there was no word on the chief ministerial candidate of the party. AAP is being seen as a serious contender in the state that has given four MPs to the party in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. As Kejriwal seeks to widen his influence outside Delhi, wooing the dalit community has been as a major aspect of party’s poll strategy. After the alleged suicide by Rohith Vemula, a Dalit student from the Hyderabad Central University, and flogging of Dalits in Una in Gujarat, the AAP has been attacking the BJP.In Delhi, Kejriwal chose Rakhi Birla, an MLA from the Dalit community, as a replacement for deputy speaker of Delhi Legislative Assembly Bandana Kumari.

Demonetisation: Will liquidity gush lead to interest rate, stamp duty, income tax rationalisation soon?

The government has claimed that as of 21 November 2016, close to Rs 5 lakh crore of deposits have poured into bank accounts in the form of demonetised currency notes. This gushing influx of cash is a reflection both of the staggering cash that rules the economy as well as the efficacy of the demonetisation scheme. Even the perpetual nay-sayer Arvind Kejriwal the Delhi Chief Minister grudgingly acknowledged that as much as Rs 12 lakh crore could pour into the bank accounts.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

At the start of the demonetisation scheme on 9 November 2016, the cash in circulation was Rs 17.54 lakh crore. Indeed the fresh gush of cash into the banking system would be gigantic in proportion if the figures of the first 12 days are extrapolated into the remaining 38 days of the 50 day scheme. The Indian tendency and experience is lash minute rush.

Political parties, religious and charitable trusts are likely to make a beeline for banks in the last week of December with wads of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes many of them suspected to be donated in a spirit of mutual back scratching by the crooks. Be that as it may.

Banks are going to be flush with cash. That would call for infusion of fresh capital mainly into the public sector banks. The government can imaginatively come out with public issues of various PSBs on attractive terms. It could do a power of good to the capital market which is at present going through a low mainly on account of depressing sentiments.

Another upshot of surge in deposits would be the inevitable reduction in lending rates that could go a long way in reviving the economy. The Indian money market has long been characterised by high interest rates due to scarcity of funds. With cash held clandestinely or in households entering the mainstream banking, interest rates could fall sharply. On the flip side however deposit rates are in for a fall. A few banks have already announced 15 to 20 basis points reduction in term deposit rates.

While heightened lending for agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructure building is likely to follow in the wake of this healthy deposit mobilisation, a sizeable part of these deposits may also end up as subscription to treasury bonds and other gilt papers.

Serendipitous fallout of the scheme is heightened awareness of digital banking. With cash becoming scarce, even iterant vendors are embracing mobile payments like Paytm and swiping card machines. The digital phobia and divide are happily vanishing thanks to the cash crisis. We Indians react only when a crisis explodes on one’s face.

Even some of the computer-literates and net savvy persons were till recently skeptical of online banking and use of cards. The Jan Dhan Yojana was pilloried by the opposition as accounts sans deposits. Once again it has taken a crisis to fill these accounts with hard cash. Villagers and agriculturists, swearing by cash, willy-nilly had to deposit the demonetised currencies into their account though there is some uncharitable explanation to the sudden phenomenon of Jan Dhan accounts springing to life– -money laundering by the crooks.

The government has learnt its lessons hopefully. High stamp duty is largely responsible for increased use of cash in real estate transactions. The central government is likely to lead by example with the Union Territories where the stamp duty rates are likely to be brought down sharply to 4 percent or so. The income tax rates are also likely to witness a drop in the budget 2017. For select companies, the rate is already 25 percent which is 5 percentage points less than the maximum marginal rate obtaining for individuals. The government must and is likely to bring down the maximum marginal rate to 25 percent both as a rational gesture and as thanksgiving for their forbearance during the cash crunch.

First Published On : Nov 23, 2016 11:50 IST

PM Modi is making people cry, shedding crocodile tears: Manish Sisodia

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and his cabinet colleague Kapil Mishra were detained on Tuesday when they tried to march to Parliament from Jantar Mantar protesting the Centre’s demonetization move. Before beginning the march, Sisodia launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over demonetization alleging he is making people cry and shedding “crocodile tears”. “We don’t like Modi for what he has done in his personal and political life. This is not notebandi but note-badli. The terrorists in Kashmir today were found with Rs 2000 notes. From where are terrorists getting them? Either you are unaware of the lapse or are involved in it.””He keeps crying all the time and makes people cry. But he sheds crocodile tears. The demonetisation drive should be rolled back. This is what people want,” Sisodia said while addressing the gathering at Jantar Mantar.He was joined by his cabinet colleagues Gopal Rai, Kapil Mishra and Satyendar Jain. “Neither terrorist funding has stopped nor counterfeit notes nor black marketing. The government has no money to give for OROP to soldiers but waives the loans of industrialists,” Sisodia added.A day after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is presently in Punjab, exhorted people to “change” the Prime Minister instead of the defunct notes, slogans of “note nahi, PM badlo” were raised at the march. “The PM again became emotional… he is not getting any support. Hence, he is crying. The need is to take the fight to the streets,” Gopal Rai said.The Prime Minister had on November 8 announced withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. The decision has been drawing criticism from opposition parties. The two ministers were released from Parliament Streetpolice station an hour later.

Notice the discomfort on Rahul baba’s face: Amit Shah hits out at critics of demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP President Amit Shah hit out at the opposition parties protesting demonetization on Tuesday, saying the discomfort is evident on the face of the leaders opposing the move, which should worry only those who possess blackmoney. “Those who don’t have any black money in their homes, do they have any reason to worry? Do you see any worries on the faces of our leaders? Now have a look at the face of Rahul baba (Gandhi) and see if can notice discomfort or not,” Shah said addressing a public meeting here.He also targeted other parties asking the crowd if they could see worry on the faces of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, BSP chief Mayawati or AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, as the audience answered back saying “yes”. “All of them are worried,” he said.Underlining the effects of the government’s move to demonetise high currency notes, Shah said that through black money terrorism, naxalite movement, drug mafia and counterfeiters operate and “(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ji, with one stroke of the pen, has turned this black money into scrap”.
ALSO READ Demonetization: Paan shop owner gets ‘fake’ Rs 2,000 note in Ahmedabad”On November 7, they said, Modi ji what did you do on the issue of black money. Now they say, Modi ji why did you do it. The what has turned into why. They are concerned who have millions and billions stashed in their bungalows,” Shah said, taking another jibe at opposition party leaders.The BJP President said that if the human body has an ailment, doctors have to conduct an operation and similarly, demonetization will have a positive effect. “The way demonetization is being opposed, I believe, these people are siding with black money and corruption,” he added.
ALSO READ BJP by-poll victory indicates people support PM Modi’s war on black money: Assam CM Sonowal Shah claimed that BJP was sensitive to the problems being faced by people queuing up outside the banks and ATMs but said they must realise that the step had hurt “those sleeping over hoardes of blackmoney three thousand times more than the people on the streets”.Addressing a huge gathering on the occasion of Parivartan Yatra in the Kumaun University SSJ Campus, Shah said that people have to make a decision in the upcoming assembly elections in Uttarakhand – whether they want a state which is developed or not – as he sought votes to bring change in the state, presently ruled by a Congress government. “We will work to combat Chinese insurgency at the border, control generation of electricity, and work for industrial progress for the benefit of Uttarakhand people,” he said as he appealed to the people to vote for BJP, which “will give you a strong, fear-free and corruption-free government” and then Uttarakhand will be the strongest state in the country.
ALSO READ Demonetization just the ‘beginning’ of fight against black money, says PM Modi in emotional appeal to BJP lawmakersAccusing the Harish Rawat government of doing nothing without taking commission, Shah said having a BJP government both in the state and at the Centre will serve the interests of Uttarakhand better as it would help the benefits of the central schemes and funds percolate to the ground level.He claimed that Uttarakhand could not progress under the Congress as he accused the party of carrying out corruption to the tune of Rs 12 crore. He appealed to the people to ‘save the state’ by putting an end to the current regime. Targeting Rahul Gandhi, he said the Congress vice president had no right to shed “crocodile tears” over One Rank One Pension (OROP) as three generations of party leadership had failed to address the issue which Modi did within two years of coming to power.”Modi fulfilled the vexed demand when Rahul Gandhi had disappeared for six months with no one having any clue of his whereabouts. Perhaps he is not aware of what happened during his disappearance,” he alleged. “Modi has fulfilled an age-old demand. There may be some small outstanding issues which are being looked into by a commission,” Shah told the gathering that included former chief ministers and other top most leaders of Uttarakhand BJP who also made speeches before the party president.

Demonetisation: AAP ministers Manish Siosdia, Kapil Mishra detained for carrying out protest march

New Delhi: Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and his cabinet colleague Kapil Mishra were on detained when they tried to march to Parliament from Jantar Mantar protesting the Centre’s demonetisation move.

Before beginning the march, Sisodia launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over demonetisation alleging he is making people cry and shedding “crocodile tears”.

File image of Manish Sisodia. PTIFile image of Manish Sisodia. PTI

File image of Manish Sisodia. PTI

“We don’t like Modi for what he has done in his personal and political life. This is not notebandi but note-badli. The terrorists in Kashmir today were found with Rs 2000 notes. From where are terrorists getting them? Either you are unaware of the lapse or are involved in it.

“He keeps crying all the time and makes people cry. But he sheds crocodile tears. The demonetisation drive should be rolled back. This is what people want,” Sisodia said while addressing the gathering at Jantar Mantar.

He was joined by his cabinet colleagues Gopal Rai, Kapil Mishra and Satyendar Jain. “Neither terrorist funding has stopped nor counterfeit notes nor blackmarketeering. The government has no money to give for Orop to soldiers but waives the loans of industrialists,” Sisodia added.

A day after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is presently in Punjab, exhorted people to “change” the Prime Minister instead of the defunct notes, slogans of “note nahi, PM badlo” were raised at the march.

“The PM again became emotional… he is not getting any support. Hence, he is crying. The need is to take the fight to the streets,” Gopal Rai said.

The Prime Minister had on 8 November announced withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. The decision has been drawing criticism from opposition parties.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 15:32 IST

Delhi: Manish Sisodi, Kapil Sharma detained while leading march against demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and his cabinet colleague Kapil Mishra were detained on Tuesday when they tried to march to Parliament from Jantar Mantar protesting the Centre’s demonetization move.Before beginning the march, Sisodia launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over demonetization alleging he is making people cry and shedding “crocodile tears”.”We don’t like Modi for what he has done in his personal and political life. This is not notebandi but note-badli. The terrorists in Kashmir today were found with Rs 2000 notes. From where are terrorists getting them? Either you are unaware of the lapse or are involved in it.”He keeps crying all the time and makes people cry. But he sheds crocodile tears. The demonetization drive should be rolled back. This is what people want,” Sisodia said while addressing the gathering at Jantar Mantar.He was joined by his cabinet colleagues Gopal Rai, Kapil Mishra and Satyendar Jain. “Neither terrorist funding has stopped nor counterfeit notes nor blackmarketeering. The government has no money to give for OROP to soldiers but waives the loans of industrialists,” Sisodia added.A day after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is presently in Punjab, exhorted people to “change” the Prime Minister instead of the defunct notes, slogans of “note nahi, PM badlo” were raised at the march. “The PM again became emotional… he is not getting any support. Hence, he is crying. The need is to take the fight to the streets,” Gopal Rai said. The Prime Minister had on November 8 announced withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. The decision has been drawing criticism from opposition parties. Kumar (49), a resident of Uttam Nagar who sold vegetables in Keshopur Mandi, collapsed outside the Oriental Bank of Commerce branch on Najafgarh Road, while he was standing in a queue to deposit Rs 50,000.Sisodia said the wife of the deceased told him that they did not have any money on them for the past 10-12 days. Kumar was distressed and talked of returning to his native village.The Deputy Chief Minister claimed that Satish fainted after standing in the queue for six hours.Attacking the Prime Minister, he tweeted, “Modiji, after how many deaths will you realise that poor people and not the rich are dying due to your surgical strike (sic),” he tweeted.The AAP has been vocal about their opposition to PM Modi’s demonetization drive.

Jaitley defamation case: SC dismisses Kejriwal’s plea seeking stay on trial court proceedings

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed Arvind Kejriwal’s plea seeking stay on trial court proceedings in criminal defamation case filed by Arun Jaitley.The apex court said said that a judgement in civil proceedings is not binding on criminal case and it will not interfere with the Delhi High Court judgement in the case.Kejriwal had contended before the apex court that the proceedings before a trial court should be stayed since a civil suit was already pending before the Delhi High Court and both could not proceed simultaneously.Jaitley had filed a suit seeking Rs 10 crore in damages against the backdrop of attacks on him by Kejriwal and other AAP leaders over alleged irregularities and financial bungling in DDCA of which he was the president for about 13 years till 2013.The Union Minister then filed a criminal defamation complaint on the same issue.Jaitley filed criminal defamation case against Kejriwal and five AAP leaders in the Patiala House Court, while the civil defamation case was filed in the Delhi High Court.

Rahul ‘baba’ wearing Italian glasses, can’t see India develop, says Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a jibe at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Sunday said the former can’t see the nation’s development under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership as he is wearing ‘Italian glasses’.”Rahul baba is opposing because he is immature. Rahul Gandhi cannot see the country’s development as he is wearing Italian spectacles,” he said at a rally in Chandigarh’s Ramlila Ground.Continuing his tirade against Gandhi, he said that the BJP has provided a Prime Minister who can speak.”Rahul Baba toured places and asked what has Prime Minister done for them? Let me answer the first thing we gave ‘bolne wala’ Prime Minister. Rahul asks us what government we gave them, we gave a transparent government. Even the opposition could not prove charges of corruption against us,” Shah said.”Rahul baba you have to answer as to what did your party do during its tenure at the Centre. Rahul baba you have to answer as to what have you done in UPA-1 and UPA-II. The Congress did scams one after another during its 10-year regime,” he added.The BJP president further said that the Centre?s move to ban high-currency notes would help boost the Indian economy. Shah also used the occasion to hit back at the opposition parties for criticizing the demonetization move.”The SP, BSP, Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee all have become one post the demonetization move. Everyone is scared. I just want to say that people of this country have come to know their truth and they stand exposed today,” he added.Hailing the decision, Shah said that the country’s economy was suffering from cancer and, therefore, Prime Minister Modi did a surgery. Admitting that the nation is facing problems post the decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes, the BJP president assured that the government is taking all steps to ensure that the people do not suffer.

Some in opposition not able to digest Narendra Modi’s popularity: M Venkaiah Naidu

Bengaluru: Terming the demonetisation move as a “war” on corruption and black money, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said some people are opposing it because of their inability to digest Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s popularity.

He hit out at the opposition for not allowing Parliament to function and ruled out any possibility of a rollback of demonetisation.

“Different parties are taking different stands. I’m happy that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and others have come out in support of this decision, but some people are not able to digest it,” Naidu said.

Speaking at an event organised by BJP, he said, “They have this indigestion problem from beginning itself. From day one you (people) gave the mandate to Modi… They are not able to digest it.”

File image of Venkaiah Naidu. CNN-News18

File image of Venkaiah Naidu. CNN-News18

Naidu said some people are not able to accept Modi as Prime Minister and his growing popularity and started the “drama” of award wapsi.

“Intolerant are those people who are intolerant towards the victory of Modi. They are not able to digest it. That is why on Thursday they compared Modi to Hitler, Mussolini and Gaddafi. Look at their anger because he defeated them, brought out what is beneath their bed,” he said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee and her Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal were opposing demonetisation just for the sake of politics, the Union minister said.

He listed prominent economists, personalities and international organisations who have spoken in favour of the move and said those trying to create confusion among people “will be disappointed after a week or so”.

“They will be disappointed because there are queues and queues are shown by TVs, the moment these queues disappear, these people will also disappear,” he added.

On disruption of Parliament over demonetisation, Naidu said the opposition, which started the discussion on the issue in Rajya Sabha, is now trying to shy away after coming to know that they are in a fix as their arguments are proving to be hollow.

“It is like after marriage one is complaining about problems with stars or zodiac sign,” he said.

Modi has come before the country with a massive social mobilisation which impacts every countryman’s life for a better tomorrow. At this juncture, every political party has to choose whether they are with the people’s and government decision against black marketers, hoarders, arms smugglers and those running counterfeit, he said.

“There is no question of a rollback at any cost. Narendra Modi is the last man… he will never go back on his decision,” Naidu said.

“He (PM) is ready to take suggestions. We expected Parliament to function smoothly and (opposition to) give ideas, suggestions for improvement with regard to problems faced by people, but they have disappointed us,” he said.

Naidu said the government has taken the decision of demonetisation, keeping the national interest in mind and it is a “war” on corruption and black money.

“It is a war on corruption and black money. I know that I’m using the word, I know the meaning also,” he said.

The Union minister said that in India, black money has become the biggest menace because there is almost a parallel economy in the country.

“This is a war because our neighbour Pakistan is aiding, abetting, funding and training terrorists. They want to cripple the economy of India. They want to subvert the system. That is why they are printing counterfeit notes and circulating them in the country, causing a huge loss to the country,” he said.

The Centre did not want to harass any party or section. It was also not done keeping the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls in mind, Naidu said.

He said the biggest beneficiary of this programme will be the poor, middle class and honest taxpayers of India.

First Published On : Nov 18, 2016 23:26 IST

Demonetisation: Did PM Modi underestimate incompetence of resources at his command?

Moral strength was the unwritten force majeure clause behind Narendra Modi‘s audacious demonitisation drive. But morality is a high emotion. When baser instincts drive our judgement, morality usually clasps the hand of reason and quickly makes a dash for the door.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha on Wednesday. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha on Wednesday. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha on Wednesday. PTI

As a mature politician more prescient than most of his peers, the Prime Minister must have foreseen the reaction that would set in when the adrenalin kick of morality dose wears out. Did he impose undue faith in the machinery at his command? Did he take into account that given the secrecy of the entire operation (the bank managers came to know of it at the same time as the public) he would need Jedi Knights, not government officials to minimise hiccups?

An idea can change the world. But whether that idea will hold the promise of ushering in change depends largely on implementation. Did the Prime Minister underestimate the clockwork and colossal synchronization of all governmental resources such a policy would demand? Even the best-laid plans can sometimes go awry if the last mile mapping is inadequate.

Pause for a moment to reflect on the numbers. In one stroke, 86 percent of the currency in circulation was wiped out affecting 1.25 billion people, many of whom still remain outside the ambit of financial inclusion. Consider also that almost 90 percent of all monetary transactions in India are cash-based. Add the fact that by 2022, India is slated to become the world’s most populous country and a picture emerges of the enormous economic and political risk that borders on insanity.

In his subsequent speeches, the Prime Minister told us that he thought long and hard before embarking on the path. It didn’t need his own words. Those familiar with Modi’s work ethic as an administrator vouch for the fact that his thoughts precede actions. If that is so, the PM couldn’t have staked his entire goodwill on just a dry cost-benefit analysis. As an astute politician, he must have banked on the higher moral judgement of people while taking an action that would rip to shreds their daily lives.

While introducing chaos in order, Modi must have gambled on two things. One, to the extent possible in limiting the shocks of such a tectonic exercise, all possible glitches and inconveniences have been factored in. Two, people would face mighty hardships but their moral strength will be enough to tide it over.

In his column for The Indian Express, Centre for Policy Research president PB Mehta writes: “When was the last time there was a policy measure that required, in a manner of speaking, the total mobilisation of society on this scale, where literally every citizen is being enlisted (or conscripted, if you prefer) in a policy cause? When was the last time literally every citizen is being inducted into a behaviour change, albeit temporarily?”

But eight days into the sudden decommissioning of high-value notes, it increasingly seems as if the government miscalculated the immensity of the crisis and is now looking witless and thoroughly unprepared. It failed to factor in the glitches and teething problems. It went horribly wrong in larger calculations. Its arms — the entire logistical infrastructure — are creaking, its brains — new set of rules every day — are imploding and it looks in the grip of pure panic.

This, in turn, is affecting the public whose reservoir of fortitude and forbearance is evaporating quickly. With Modi’s political adversaries such as Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal eager to churn the pot and stoke the fire, we are just a few strands of public patience away from witnessing anarchy on streets.

Economists say it will take four-five months for the crisis to subside and normalcy to be restored. Modi has asked for 50 days. But in reality, he has a fraction of the time. When baser emotions kick in, morality fades into the background. That is the gravest worry because Modi’s entire demonitisation exercise is based on a morality project. He expects people to sacrifice and withstand inconvenience in pursuance of a greater, common good. But people cannot go cashless for 50 days. They need food on table, money in pocket and hope in mind.

If that hope increasingly turns into frustration as the entire administrative machinery melts before their eyes, they will stop paying attention to the morality project. And when that happens, the Prime Minister will have been served notice because the resources that he wields are simply not good enough. What’s more, those have been further rendered ineffective by poor planning.

Even as banks struggle to comply with the rules, a new set of rules are being introduced every day. Often, there is a communication gap between the banks and the government which results in more confusion for the customers. On Tuesday, the RBI was quite clear in its directive that customers who exchange their non-legal tenders will be inked to ensure that they don’t do it more than once a day. This was ostensible to cut the queue and ensure a better distribution of liquidity.

And yet we find Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal telling Bloomberg-Quint that it is up to the bank managers to decide if anyone with an indelible ink mark can be allowed to exchange old currency notes more than once.

On Thursday, economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das let loose another spate of rules. There are more allowances now for a family planning a wedding, farmers, APMC traders while daily exchange limit has been reduced to Rs 2,000 from Rs 4,500. The government says there is no shortage but this is just to better dispense cash.

Few would buy the logic. Why announce different ceilings now? Does it mean that these things were not taken into account earlier? If there is enough cash, why are the Rs 500 notes conspicuous by absence? Printing presses are running at full capacity over three shifts but it’s still not enough to replace even 50 percent of the currency in calculation. This has resulted in banks going dry by afternoon. The government also seems to have missed the fact that when a crisis takes place, hoarding increases. There may be some cash in the system already but the net effect is drier because people are holding on to their Rs 100 bills.

As the government tinkers around, the impression grows firmer that either Modi did not fully think this through, or the bureaucrats failed to apprise him of the pitfalls. At the other end of the spectrum, the plebeians find that a hitherto strong leadership is suffering from unpreparedness, lack of thought and poor planning. These impressions are eating away at the moral strength of the exercise.

First Published On : Nov 17, 2016 15:56 IST

Demonetisation, ATM chaos: Why should the poor pay to divest the ‘rich’ of their dirty wealth?

When banks reopened on 10 November after a day’s shutdown, following the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes by the Modi government on 8 November, the crowds thronging them were a forbearing lot. It was for a good cause they said – enabling a freeze of counterfeit currency and black money – while waiting for their turn to swap, deposit or withdraw money.

But that public sentiment is now fading. The middle class’ positivity around the demonetisation has all but evaporated for a simple reason – its inefficient implementation. They had collectively exulted in the fact that all bad money was being rendered useless, and that they would benefit from the demonetisation over time. But just a day later, a feeling of despondency took over as the realisation dawned that the common man was the real victim.

The government's plan to curb black money through demonetisation has clearly gone awry, if not haywire. PTIThe government's plan to curb black money through demonetisation has clearly gone awry, if not haywire. PTI

The government’s plan to curb black money has clearly gone awry, if not haywire. PTI

To make matters worse, they heard on the grapevine that the so called black money hoarding ‘big fish’ were in fact already making plans to convert their stash into white, thus legitimising the illegal. Then the analysts began to say that most, if not all, of the black money was either salted away in benami properties or stashed in tax havens overseas.

Reports of touts buying the demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes at a discounted price, to enable black money holders to convert their money into white by December-end, only added to the ire. The plan to curb black money was clearly going awry, if not haywire. Then why conduct such an elaborate exercise at all?

Why should the common man be penalised; forced to stand in long queues to attain the new, crisp currency notes? Especially, since they cannot even spend it, as most stores/outlets have already run out of the smaller denominations needed for change. Even the ATMs have not been stocked with Rs 100 notes, despite the repeated promises by the government.

The common man was pushed into a vortex of confusion and anger. “Why us?” has been the common refrain. The frequent assertions by the Finance Ministry that there wasn’t any reason to worry as there was enough cash, did not find much traction either. As merely printing cash is not the same as putting cash into people’s wallets.

The system, unlike the banks, is not overburdened with the mad rush to attain the new currency. Inefficacies on their end cannot be tied up with the banks’ problems. If the government is unable to supply money to the banks because of a botched operation, then their promise to restore the cash flow is clearly notional.

The banks have been working overtime, including on a second Saturday and a Sunday. The fact that Monday was a public holiday has become another irritant.

Visiting ATMs has not been a pleasant experience either. After standing in long queues, the public has to face the same sorry realisation – that most were not functioning for want of cash refills or were not recalibrated. And the ones that were functioning ran out of cash soon enough.

It is hard to console a person who is left with no money in his/her wallet, as even if it is not spent immediately, it provides for a sense of confidence.

The poor are now being hunted by the so-called elite, as their empty bank accounts work perfectly as a money laundering system – their zero-balance accounts are loaded with Rs 2.5 lakhs and then withdrawn for a commission. Their Rs 500 notes are being traded for as little as Rs 300 to Rs 400. This then leads to a pertinent queston: Why should the poor pay the price to divest the rich of their dirty wealth?

First Published On : Nov 14, 2016 19:12 IST

Suspended BJP leader & MP Kirti Azad’s wife Poonam Azad to join AAP today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Suspended BJP leader and MP Kirti Azad’s wife Poonam Azad will join the Aam Aadmi Party on Sunday. She met with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal at his residence and join the party shortly . Aam Aadmi Party senior leader Sanjay Singh had said last week that the wife of suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Kirti Azad and three-time BJP National Executive member Poonam Azad will be joining the party on November 13. Briefing the media, Singh said, “We were in touch with Poonam Azad ji. Since long she has wanted to become a member of the Aam Aadmi Party family. And today, after officially talking to her, she has agreed to join the party on November 13.””She has had a long career in the Bharatiya Janata Party. She has also contested for elections in the past. It was her great initiative to gather the people of Purvanchal with Delhi, being a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. And I feel, when she will join the AAP, our party will gain strength. And after her joining the party, the people of Purvanchal and women will join the party,” he added.Azad has been the BJP’s Delhi unit spokesperson and has served as its vice-president in the past. She has been facing growing marginalisation in the party for some years after having earlier been a member of the BJP National Executive thrice. Kirti Azad, who currently represents Darbhanga in the Lok Sabha was suspended by the BJP in 2015 for publicly targeting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).

Demonetisation: Politicians trade barbs as cashless common man suffers

By launching a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise step to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has generated fresh ripples in the political waters of the country.
Most importantly, Kejriwal has stolen a march over other Opposition parties by raising serious questions against the demonetization move, even though it appears to be an attempt to gain political mileage out of growing resentment amongst people due to unavailability of cash at ATMs across the country, even four days after the PM’s announcement.

The ruling NDA government and the BJP — who continue to be busy thumping their chests — have perhaps missed the point that a bold, historical move by the PM to clean out fake currency notes and curb black money generation from the country stands to be jeopardized due to inadequate planning to implement it. The banking sector has clearly been caught ill-prepared to deal with this monumental exercise even as the common man’s patience continues to be tested due to non-availability of cash to meet daily needs.

While launching a scathing attack on Modi and his demonetization move on Saturday morning, Kejriwal sent a volley of three questions to the PM and simultaneously leveled charges that the government had selectively leaked its plan much before 8 November.

But how valid are his questions and charges against Modi?

A file photo of Narendra Modi. PTIA file photo of Narendra Modi. PTI

A file photo of Narendra Modi. PTI

By levelling charges without valid proofs, Kejriwal’s allegations seem nothing less than another political rant, even if they are true.

It’s no different from what other politicians like Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati or Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi are saying. They didn’t lose any opportunity to slam Modi soon after the announcement to ban Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes.

But, Kejriwal has gone a step further as the present chaotic situation of ‘no cash, shut ATMs and long queues at banks’ have helped him fuel public anger.

The aam aadmi – the common man — the working class — the consumer – is frustrated and angry of waiting in long queues for hours outside ATMs to withdraw their hard earned money, that too with a cap of Rs 2000. Many have not succeeded even once in their attempt to withdraw money so far. Rs 100 currency note has done a ‘Houdini’ act and vanished from public domain.

“There is severe discomfort with people on street. Those with pressing needs are suffering by standing long hours in the queue to get just Rs 2000, which may be lesser than their requirement. It’s all due to improper implementation; 86 percent of the currency comprising Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes has been withdrawn out of the system and no proper replacement is in place,” said economist Professor Surajit Mazumdar.

“Government’s justifications reflect certain biases as well. Those having black money, do not keep it stored; rather it’s circulated and invested. In contrary, it’s large number of people from poor and middle class who keep cash at home for day-to-day living and contingency. Now, they are facing crisis in getting their hard earned money exchanged. All these factors are leading to public outrage,” he added.

While the opposition as usual is busy using the negative public sentiment in its favour, the ultimate sufferer is the common man, who voted the BJP to power. No one is trying to mitigate their problem; instead politicians from opposite camps are busy in ‘making hay while the sun shines.’

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in a hurriedly called emergency press conference on Saturday afternoon appealed people to be wary of rumours and baseless reports on social media. “Somebody spread a rumour on salt and this led to such chaos. There is sufficient amount of salt in all states… Some politicians have made it a point to raise issues for the sake of opposing… ATM machines are being re-calibrated to adjust to the new notes. The re-calibration could not have been done in advance to maintain secrecy.”

Though, political and economic analysts, housewives and common man had initially hailed the ‘surgical strike’ of Modi against fake currency notes and black money, the immediate effect of this master-stroke seems to have boomeranged.

The government failed in the implementation of the demonitisation move. It also failed to realize that the common man has become its biggest immediate victim. This was obviously not the objective of the PM in his operation against black money.

“It was a brilliant idea of the PM, but due to bureaucratic failure, the idea seems to be suffering. Improper implementation has led to chaos, panic, fear and anger in public. Were the planners not aware of the capacity of ATMs and daily circulation of cash? Forget what Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee or Arvind Kejriwal said. If people fail to get cash in hand within 10 days, it’s going to be disastrous for Modi government, as public may go hostile,” quipped political analyst Professor MD Nalapat.

“This is a do-or-die measure for the BJP. If it fails to address the problem that the 125 crore population across the country has been facing for the last four days, the party may come down to single-digit by the next election,” he said.

“There is no doubt about the PM’s demonitisation move, but how long the common public has to bear the brunt of improper planning and poor implementation? The Opposition may be fueling public sentiment, but if the chaos continues, there may be a riot-like situation on streets soon. It’s the improper post-announcement planning that is providing fodder to the Opposition. If this situation persists for another 10 days, besides public outrage, our economy may collapse,” added chartered accountant Abhishek Aneja.

First Published On : Nov 12, 2016 18:35 IST

Demonetisation: BJP responds to scam allegations, says Congress, Kejriwal are good at spreading rumours

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rejecting Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s allegations against the Centre over demonetisation as laughable, Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “I can see that Congress and Kejriwal are all about political hypocrisy and lies are their passwords. They have become a laboratory of putting the progress of nation into dire straits. The only thing that they are good at is, how to defame the progress and reforms of our nation, how to spread rumours, how to create rumours,” said Naqvi.”And, I think, that their rumours are nothing but humour for our country. Black money was an obstacle in the growth of the poor and the weaker sections of society. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has started a revolution against black money and both the Congress and AAP are doing nothing but igniting fire in the minds of the public through which they can harm the ruling BJP government,” he added.Naqvi further said that both the Congress and the AAP are disappointed and are doing all this out of desperation.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday asserted that a few corporate houses were informed before hand about the radical decision to demonetise. “In the name of demonetisation, a huge scam is being played out. Before the Prime Minister Modi announced the move on Tuesday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its friends had been alerted before and they had stashed their cash,” Kejriwal said.He said that in the last three months, thousands of crores of rupees have been deposited in bank accounts of some people and corporate houses, adding that deposition of such large sums creates suspicions.

Rs 500, Rs 1,000 ban: Arvind Kejriwal is right, if Sanjeev Kamboj knew of demonetisation, it is a ‘scam’

Trust Arvind Kejriwal to ask uncomfortable questions. Always first off the block to seek answers from the government, more specifically from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he has done it again. This time the issue is demonetisation. And some of his stinging questions make sense.

If some outsider was in possession of a currency note worth Rs 2,000 before it made its public appearance, then the conclusion is as simple as it is harsh: The entire population of the country, which trusted the government has been taken for a royal ride. If bank deposits swelled in anticipation of demonetisation, meaning hoarders of black money had prior information about the change and had enough time to load stashed money into bank accounts, then it means nothing short of betrayal of public faith.

File photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFPFile photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFP

File photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFP

Total secrecy is vital to any such exercise. The purpose is to catch black money hoarders off-guard, leave them with no time to react. If Sanjeev Kamboj, BJP leader from Punjab, did post a picture of the new Rs 2,000 note before 8 November, it means a whole lot of people, at least in the BJP circles, were privy to the information of a demonetisation plan. It is not improbable that the information would have been passed on to many hoarders. This makes many Indians queuing up at banks and ATMs, sacrificing their daily work and maybe wages, to withdraw or exchange money absolute foolish. The demonetisation exercise is thus, as Kejriwal puts it, a ‘scam’.

Kejriwal has put doubts in our minds. True to his usual shoot and scoot style, he may not produce hard evidence of all that he alleged. It’s the responsibility of the government to refute him and explain to people what happened, both in the case of Kamboj and bank deposits. It has to come out with bank deposit details of the July-September quarter and convince us that the additional deposit, if there’s some, is not due to spurious money taken out from lockers at homes. Kamboj may claim the picture he posted was not of the real note. But then the fact that he knew something about new currency notes is a serious matter. The BJP cannot escape by calling all allegations baseless.

Now that Kejriwal has dropped the bomb, politics will take over. The new currency issue hits political parties the hardest because most of their illegal poll-time transactions are conducted in cash of high denomination. Prior knowledge of demonetisation gives unfair advantage to the party or parties who have it. Some commentators have said that the Samajwadi Party in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh will be particularly hit and the fallout of demonetisation suits the BJP well. Expect harsh reaction from it and others.

It is surprising that the Congress saw no hint of foul play in the whole demonetisation matter. Even P Chidambaram, former finance minister, made no remark to this effect while criticising the government’s move. It’s to be seen whether the party rallies itself on the issue to take on the government.

First Published On : Nov 12, 2016 15:16 IST

BJP leader Sanjeev Kamboj to Firstpost: Only tweeted about new notes, not ban on Rs 500, Rs 1,000

In a fresh attack on the BJP government, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday alleged that BJP had informed its ‘friends’ beforehand about its decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, to help them fix their black money.

Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Kejriwal claimed that “Sanjeev Kamboj, head BJP Legal Cell Punjab tweeted the picture of Rs 2,000 notes on 6 November.”

“How is it possible that these notes were in his possession before 8 November, the day when the prime minister made the announcement of banning the existing Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes?” asked Kejriwal

Firstpost spoke to Sanjeev Kamboj who rubbished the claims made by the Delhi Chief Minister saying, “I had only written that new notes would soon be introduced. But nowhere I had talked about or even mentioned banning of the old notes.”

“There were various news reports about the probable introduction of new notes. What was new in that?” Kamboj added.

A lawyer by profession, Kamboj said that he understands the legal consequences of doing any such thing. “I know I can land up in big trouble if I do something so foolish. What Kejriwal is doing is nothing more than dirty politics. He will see what will happen to him in Punjab.”

Kejriwal also added that it is being alleged that wads of same Rs 2,000 notes were seen in pictures taken during the wedding of the daughter of Uttar Pradesh BJP Chief, Keshav Prasad Maurya. “But let me tell you that Keshav Prasad Maurya, in fact, does not have any daughter. He only has two sons. This is all a deliberate attempt by AAP and other adversaries to create suspicion and mistrust,” said Kamboj.

Jalandhar-based Kamboj claims that Kejriwal is feeling frustrated as his black money has been blocked ahead of elections in Punjab.

Furthermore, Kambhoj denied that the image on Twitter belonged to him. He had received the photo as a forwarded message in the Whatsapp group. He was, however, tight-lipped when he was asked that it was the BJP person who was holding the bundle of Rs 2,000 notes. He said that it could possibly be an employee (bank) holding the note.

When asked that how does he react to Kejriwal’s allegation that those in BJP with black money had been informed beforehand and had managed to fix it, Kamboj said, “The government that is working under Modiji is doing great work and will never indulge in such activities. Whoever is wrong will be caught.”

He added that he has never met Modi or anyone else. “I think Kejriwal has now given me this opportunity, so hopefully I will be able to meet them,” said Kamboj.

First Published On : Nov 12, 2016 14:15 IST

Criticism over demonetisation: What is the problem with Congress, SP, BSP and AAP? asks Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP President Amit Shah on Friday asserted that rival parties have exposed themselves and shown their true face by criticising the Centre’s demonetisation move which, he said, has rattled those with black money and fake currency and made some political parties poor as well. Taking a swipe at his rivals, the BJP chief said he would like to ask Congress, SP, BSP and AAP as to why they are so pained.Shah said while he understands dealers of black money, fake currency, hawala and drug are rattled what he cannot fathom as to why leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and Arvind Kejriwal are joining the list of such people.Even though he insisted that the government’s move had nothing to do with the impending assembly polls, he said BJP will benefit politically going by the reactions of opposition parties. Assembly polls on his mind, Shah consistently targeted SP, BSP and Congress, BJP’s rivals in Uttar Pradesh, AAP, its challenger in Punjab besides Congress, but skipped any mention of TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was the first leader to take on the government. He named her in his reply to a question.”I can understand the pain of those keeping black money, fake currency, terrorists, hawala operators, naxalites and drug dealers with this decision. What has amazed me is the way some political parties are rattled. “I want to ask Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP President), the BSP chief, Arvind Kejriwal as to why are you pained? If politics become cleaner with a measure and black money is taken out of electoral politics, then why should it pain political parties,” he said. He challenged political parties to face the polls with the issue and said “People will decide.”These political parties always questioned the Modi government what it was doing against black money and now it has given such a hard blow to black money and they are rattled, he said. “The kind of environment these political parties are making I want to ask them if you are in support of black money, hawala operators, terrorism, fake currency dealers… SP, BSP, Arvind Kejriwal and Congress should answer this. “What is the problem of these four parties? They have exposed themselves and shown their true faces,” Shah said.To a poser that these parties have claimed to have voiced concerns of the poor, he said the demonetisation move will do no harm to the poor. “But some political parties have become poor.” Asked about Mayawati’s charge the move amounted to “economic emergency”, he said it has caused economic emergency in her party BSP.

War on black money | Biggest beneficiary is our country: Paytm founder hits back at Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A lot has been said after PM Modi’s announcement that Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes would be demonetized. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal however alleged that Paytm – a mobile wallet service – would be the biggest beneficiary. He wrote on Twitter: “Paytm biggest beneficiary of PM’s announcement. Next day PM appears in its ads. What’s the deal, Mr PM?” He went on to add, “Utterly shameful. Do people want their PM to model for pvt cos? Tomo, if these cos do wrongdoings, who will act against them?”While there was a lot of hue and cry on Twitter, over what some felt was Kejriwal attacking PM Modi without a cause, Paytm’s owner founder Vijay Shekahar wrote back to the CM: “Dear Sir, The biggest beneficiary is our country. We are just a tech startup, trying to solve financial inclusion and make India proud.”BJP and its “friends” were informed about the demonetisation of high value currency “a week before” the move was effected, especially keeping the upcoming UP polls in mind, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today alleged.Kejriwal questioned the logic behind the introduction of Rs 2000 notes saying it will fan corruption and the black money economy instead of containing it and that demonetisation has hit the common men hard.Interestingly, Kejriwal’s Cabinet colleague Satyendar Jain supported the “historic” move to introduce Rs 2000 currency notes saying it will remove corruption and black money. “To remove corruption & Black money, decision to introduce Rs 2000 notes historic,” Jain tweeted.The AAP chief, in a video message, said a racket of commissions was thriving across the country. The fault lies in their (government’s) intentions, Kejriwal said. In a series of tweets, Kejriwal also took pot shots at an advertisement of Mobile payments firm ‘Paytm’ that featured Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image, saying the company was the biggest beneficiary of the move.”There is evidence that their (BJP) friends and own people were informed a week before the decision was announced. They have made all arrangements like buying property or gold.BJP is going to fight polls in Uttar Pradesh and other states. It has made arrangements. “Common men are the only ones suffering. I spoke to many people, they told me that black money holders have done settings already. Money will be delivered to their homes in lieu of 15 to 20 per cent commission,” Kejriwal said. Kejriwal said he was finding it difficult to understand as to why Rs 2000 notes have been introduced, which he said will only make hoarding of black money easier. “Utterly shameful. Do people want their PM to model for pvt cos? Tomo, if these cos do wrongdoings, who will act against them? Paytm biggest beneficiary of PM’s announcement. Next day PM appears in its ads. Whats the deal, Mr PM?” Kejriwal said in a series of tweets. With agency inputs

File ATR against Rahul Gandhi, Kejriwal for questioning surgical strike: Delhi court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Police has been directed by a city court to file an action taken report (ATR) on a criminal complaint filed against six persons, including Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal, for questioning the recent surgical strike carried out by the Army.Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sunil Beniwal asked the police to file the ATR by February 5 next year, the next date of hearing. The court was hearing a complaint filed by east Delhi resident Pravesh Kumar against six persons– Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Congress leaders Digvijay Singh and Sanjay Nirupam, Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra and actor Om Puri.The plea filed through advocate Rakshpal Singh and Sanjeev Shukla alleged that the six persons had termed the surgical strikes by the Army in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) as false and politically motivated and aimed at taking political advantage. The statements had hurt the image of the Army as well as the country, it claimed.The Army had conducted surgical strikes against terror launch pads in PoK on September 29 in response to the Uri terror attack.The plea sought lodging of FIR against them for alleged offences under sections 121A (conspiracy to wage or attempt to wage was against India), 124A (sedition), 131 (abetting mutiny or attempting to seduce a soldier, sailor or airman from his duty), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC. The complainant, who also annexed media reports with the plea, said it had given a complaint at Jagatpuri police station on October 7 but no action was taken by cops after which he approached the court.

Punjab has no role in Delhi’s pollution, says CM Parkash Singh Badal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday said that the state has no role in the pollution in the national capital.”Punjab has no role in environment pollution in Delhi,” he said.Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi has “miserably failed” on all fronts and now they were trying to shift the onus of their non performance on others, he said while refuting charges that stubble burning in Punjab is one of the reason for pollution in Delhi.Seeking resignation of Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, Badal categorically said that any Chief Minister who fails to discharge his duties has no moral right to remain in office.Reiterating the commitment of his government to maintain peace and communal harmony in the state, he said that no one would be allowed to disturb the hard earned peace in the state. On the sidelines of his Sangat Darshan programme, on proposed ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ (congregation of Sikh) at Talwandi Sabo on November 10, he said that it was the bounden duty of the state government to maintain peace, communal harmony and brotherhood in the state at every cost. He said the state government was keeping a strict vigil over the entire situation and none would be allowed to take law into their own hands.Badal said his government has entirely focused on development during its rule. “With unstinted support and cooperation of people if Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP alliance is again voted to power after 2017 assembly polls, it would usher a new era of development of the state and prosperity of its people,” he said.

Arvind Kejriwal meets missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed’s mother in police station

Arvind Kejriwal meets missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed’s mother in police station

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New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday rushed to Mayapuri police station, where mother of the missing JNU student was taken, and camped there till she reached the university after release.

Arvind Kejriwal. AFP

Arvind Kejriwal. AFP

Kejriwal also met the students of the university who were detained. Earlier, he also met President Pranab Mukherjee and expressed concern over the tense situation in JNU.

The Chief Minister tweeted that he was going to Mayapuri Police station as soon as news spread that Najeeb Ahmed’s mother Fatima Nafees was detained there.

“Reached Mayapuri police stn. Police saying she has been sent home in a police van. Will wait here till she reaches home.”

“Najeeb’s mother reached home. Spoke to her on phone. She is fine. Am leaving the police stn now. Urge police to quickly find Najeeb,” Kejriwal said in a series of tweets.

He also vented his ire against Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying “It is obvious police doesn’t act it own, it follows its bosses. Earlier Congress tortured people taking shelter behind police now Modi is doing the same. Hay lagegi apko (you will be cursed)”.

Delhi imposes ’emergency’ measures to combat hazardous smog | Reuters

Delhi imposes ’emergency’ measures to combat hazardous smog | Reuters

Updated: Nov 6, 2016 20:14 IST

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NEW DELHI The Delhi government on Sunday put all construction projects on hold, shut down schools and advised residents of the Indian capital to stay indoors as part of an “emergency” plan to deal with dangerous levels of air pollution.New Delhi ranks among the world’s most polluted cities. In the past week, a thick layer of smog has enveloped the city, with people complaining of irritated eyes, throats and lungs. A combination of smoke from burning farm residue in surrounding states, fireworks for the Hindu festival of Diwali, dust from construction works and vehicle emissions has pushed up levels of the most dangerous particles, known as PM 2.5, to more than 15 times the safe limit. Hundreds of people, including children, on Sunday staged a protest in New Delhi over the worsening air quality, demanding immediate and effective steps from authorities.New Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, who has called the city a “gas chamber”, said all construction and demolition would remain on hold for five days and schools would be shut for three days.

He also banned the use of all diesel-powered electricity generators for the next 10 days. The local administration will start vacuum cleaning roads and sprinkling them with water, Kejriwal said.”We all need to cooperate and work together to find a solution,” he said. “The situation is such that we need to take some urgent measures.”

Air quality is usually poorest in Delhi’s winter months of December and January. Authorities have responded with such measures as a ban on old trucks from entering the city and briefly trying a scheme that limited use of private vehicles to alternate days. Experts say those have done little to reduce pollution.

Kejriwal said his government was contemplating another round of restrictions on the use of private cars. (Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh, editing by Larry King)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

JNU missing student case: BJP accuses AAP, Congress of ‘playing politics’ by staging protests

New Delhi: On Sunday the BJP accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Congress and the Left of “orchestrating” the protest by JNU students at India Gate, saying they cannot digest the “good work” done by the Narendra Modi government.

BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said the party prays that JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who went missing since 14 October, is found safe, adding that it was “tragic” that he could not be traced yet.

“The police permission was taken for Jantar Mantar but they have intentionally gone to India Gate where Section 144 of CrPC is imposed. Arvind Kejriwal had gone to (JNU) campus a few days back and influenced the students to take this step,” Sharma alleged.

He asserted that none of the political leaders in the opposition had any concern for the missing students and that they were only “playing politics”.

Representational image. CNN News 18Representational image. CNN News 18

Representational image. CNN News 18

“The opposition, be it the AAP, Congress or the Left cannot digest the fact that the Modi government is fulfilling all its promises even as they can’t. It is shameful that they are using students to hit out at the Modi government,” Sharma said.

He claimed that the BJP was providing a corruption-free government and hence the opposition was trying to use various incidents to attack it.

Stating that the opposition was “devoid of ideas”, he slammed them for resorting to politically milk the tragic incident of a missing scholar.

Najeeb, a Biotechnology student, has been missing since a brawl at his hostel on October 14. The Left-linked All India Students Association (AISA) has alleged that before he vanished, Najeeb was beaten up by activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which is linked to the RSS.

The ABVP, however, has denied any involvement in his disappearance.

The protest comes days within days of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other leaders of the opposition parties visiting the university during a protest regarding the missing student.

The students have accused the JNU authorities of “not doing enough” to trace him. Last month, the protesting students had kept the Vice-Chancellor, Rector and other University officials confined in the administrative block
for a whole night, demanding that they take action to trace Najeeb.

The police have announced a reward of Rs 2 lakh for any information on Najeeb.

‘Be solution to pollution’: Delhiites take to streets for their right to breathe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the pall of smoggy gloom suffocates all and cripples life in the national capital, the people from all walks of life geared up to carry out a series of protests beginning Sunday to fight for their right to breathe. The national capital, considered to be the world’s most polluted city, hit a new low the past week. As millions struggle with hacking coughs and burning eyes, many schools across the city have either shut down or ended all outdoor activities.Several mask-clad children and concerned citizens were seen protesting at the Jantar Mantar here against the rising pollution level. They were seen holding placards which read “Be the solution to the pollution”, “Don’t Let Our Future Go Up In Smog, Go Green 2 Breathe” and so on.”My grand children have recently shifted from America. They used to play football but now they can’t play it here. The pollution is affecting the children. Unless we do something, this won’t get resolved. Unhealthy citizen is an unhealthy nation. This problem is there for years. If today we stand up for this then we might get some result in the coming days,” Sanjiv Kumar, one of the protestors, said.
ALSO READ Delhi pollution: Arvind Kejriwal calls emergency meet to take stockEquating breathing in Delhi with that of smoking a pack of cigarettes per day, another protestor said the air in the national capital is getting worse day by day. “Till now, it has never happened that schools have to be closed in Delhi. The air in Delhi is getting worse day by day. We can’t raise our children like this. There has to be combined efforts from both government and individual citizens. This is becoming from bad to worse. Breathing in Delhi is like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day,” she said.”This is happening due to the government. During the time of Sheila Dikshit, it was a complete clean environment. Here we have little children, who are suffering from diseases like asthma. It has become an emergency situation for Delhi,” she added.
ALSO READ Delhi pollution: Kejriwal says schools to be closed for 3 days, Odd-Even may returnAnother protestor said that they would hold such protests every Sunday. “Everyone in Delhi is getting affected with this air pollution. We need a committed and consistent effort for this. This is an emergency, a crisis. The politicians need to listen to us,” he said.Meanwhile, social activist Nafisa Ali voiced her opinion against the use of crackers during the festival of lights Diwali and said the situation of rising level of air pollution in Delhi will change if everybody contemplates over the same. “This situation will change only when we ponder over this. One should not use crackers during Diwali. The Odd-Even scheme was very much successful for change. We should support that. I would request everyone not to use cars and use cycle, metro or just walk for three days,” she added.
ALSO READ Emergency situation in Delhi, Centre says about alarming pollution levelDelhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called for an emergency meeting this afternoon to take stock of the recent measures announced to combat the soaring pollution-level in the national capital. Technologies like jet sprinkling and the dust sweep machine will be discussed at length during the meeting to be held at Kejriwal’s residence.This development comes in the wake of the Centre calling a meeting of Environment Ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday to put an end to crop burning as Delhi’s pollution rises to alarming level. Kejriwal had met Union Environment Minister Anil Dave on Saturday and sought the Centre’s intervention following which the latter declared an emergency situation in Delhi.Dave said the present circumstances are quite bad, particularly for children, patients, women and the elderly. Kejriwal has, however, blamed the practice of crop burning in Haryana and Punjab for the pollution in the national capital, as air quality in the city dips to its worst in 17 years.Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has also called a high-level meeting on the issue on Monday during which immediate, short-term and long-term measures to combat the growing air pollution in the city are to be discussed. Earlier on Saturday, the first day’s play of two Ranji Trophy games in New Delhi was cancelled due to poor light caused by smog. The players complained of irritation in eyes and breathing problems. The matches cancelled were Group A league encounter between Bengal and Gujarat at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium and Group C match at Karnail Singh Stadium between Tripura and Hyderabad.

Chhath Puja: Devotees pay obeisance to Sun God at ghats in Delhi

New Delhi: Thousands of devotees celebrating Chhath Puja gathered on the banks of the Yamuna river, lakes and canals in the national capital early this afternoon to pay obeisance to the Sun God on the third day of the festival.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet of ministers visited several Chhath ghats and greeted people on the occasion. Water minister Kapil Mishra took a boat ride to take stock of the preparations. Leaders from other political parties also met people at the ghats.

East Delhi Mayor Satya Sharma visited the ghats under the EDMC jurisdiction and greeted people on the occasion.

“The first day of ‘Arghya’ went off peacefully with large number of people gathering at Geeta Colony and Sonia Vihar ghats. The crowd is much bigger than last year, but we have made adequate arrangements,” she said.

Devotees worshiping on the occasion of the Chhath festival on the banks of Ganga river at Varanasi  on Sunday. PTI

Devotees worshiping on the occasion of the Chhath festival on the banks of Ganga river at Varanasi on Sunday. PTI

Married men and women observing the over 38-hour fast stood in knee-deep water and prayed for the well-being and prosperity of their families.

The observance on Sunday, as part of the four-day festival, saw people offering prayers at more than 50 major sites across the national capital. Thousands of devotees thronged Qudsia Ghat, Wazirabad Ghat, Rambagh Ghat, Kalindi Kunj Ghat, Sonia Vihar and Geeta Colony ghats.

For the first time, ghats in North Delhi had CCTV cameras to monitor the crowd. Delhi government and civic bodies had worked in tandem to ready the river banks, and making safety arrangements for people thronging the ghats.

Makeshift pandals, sandbanks, floodlights and barricades were put up at the ghats’ premises.

Traffic police said traffic situation this time is better compared to last year, when there were huge snarls on roads. Apart from a few areas surrounding Kalindi Kunj Ghat and ITO, traffic was smooth in the other areas.

“Since Chhath Puja fell on a Sunday, there were no school buses. Many people preferred to stay indoors because of smog. We could manage the traffic situation,” a senior traffic police officer said.

The age-old tradition of paying obeisance to the Sun God, is observed mainly by the people from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh or Poorvanchalis. The national capital has a sizeable population of people hailing from these two states.

The puja starts with the ritual of ‘Nahai-Khai’, in which devotees prepare traditional food after bathing. The second day is ‘Kharna’, during which devotees observe a day-long fast which ends after sunset.

On the third day, the devotees stand in water and offer ‘Arghya’ to the setting sun. On the final day of the puja, devotees and their friends and relatives assemble at the river bank before sunrise and offer ‘Arghya’ to the rising sun.

With an aim to woo the Bihar-UP migrant community that is seen as a major voting population in the city, Kejriwal had announced that ‘kachha’ Chhath ghats will be made into ‘pucca’ ones by next year.

Delhi: Pollution level over 17 times the safe limit; Centre terms it ’emergency situation’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi is witnessing an “emergency situation” due to alarming pollution level, said the Centre and called a meeting of Environment Ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday to curb stubble burning by farmers which has made Delhi a ‘gas chamber’.As a blanket of haze continued to cover the city with pollution level remaining very high and breaching the safe limit by over 17 times at several places, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met Environment Minister Anil Dave and sought Centre’s urgent intervention to deal with the challenge.Kejriwal likened the city to a “gas chamber” with main reason being smoke from farm fires in Punjab and Haryana and appealed to people to minimise use of vehicles.After the meeting, Dave said he has called a meeting of Environment Ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday and will request them to curb stubble burning in their states as it increases level of smog in Delhi.”There is an emergency situation in Delhi. The situation is bad, particularly for children, patients, women and elderly. We need to take immediate steps to deal with the situation,” Dave told reporters, adding he was also exploring the possbility to call a meeting of chief ministers of all neighbouring states on the issue.On his part, Kejriwal appealed to people to restrict use of private vehicles and use public transport.Earlier, addressing a press conference, Kejriwal said vehicle restriction measures like odd-even will not be able to bring down smog as initial studies suggest that the “large scale” influx of pollutant-laden smoke from Punjab and Haryana has aggravated the situation.”Pollution has increased to an extent that outdoors in Delhi are resembling a gas chamber. Prima facie the biggest reason seems to be burning of stubble in agricultural fields in Haryana and Punjab in huge quantity,” he said.Dave said the situation has been “very alarming” and that there was a need to take short-term measures to deal with the situation immediately, adding he discussed with Kejriwal “emergency measures” including ways to contain dust pollution and crop burning.”There are five reasons triggering air pollution that include use of firewood, coal, diesel, petrol and burning of agricultural waste. We have to find solution to address the problem”We should imbibe self discipline in our routine life style. If I don’t minimize use of my four cars and expect other people to use cycles, that should not be happen. We should collectively come under self regulation,” he said.Both Dave and Kejriwal were in agreement that shutting down schools was not the solution when asked about the decision of the civic bodies to keep schools run by it closed for a day in view of pollution.Kejriwal pitched for providing alternatives and incentives to farmers so that they discard the traditional practise of burning farm stubbles.Air Quality Index (AQI) of all the eight monitoring stations of Centre’s SAFAR blinked red, indicating severe levels of pollution. CPCB stations had severe AQI as well.The Delhi High Court had last year observed that living in Delhi was akin to living in a “gas chamber” as it directed the Centre and the city government to present comprehensive action plans to combat it.

Row over removal of DERC chief Krishna Saini, Kejriwal cancels LG’s order

New Delhi: The removal of Krishna Saini as DERC Chairman has triggered yet another row between the Lt Governor and AAP government with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal “cancelling” the LG’s order, alleging it was part of a conspiracy to increase power tariff in the national capital.

Kejriwal also attacked LG Najeeb Jung for removing Sukesh Jain from the post of Power Secretary, which he alleged was done as the officer did not cancel Saini’s appointment notification as told by the LG office.

LG had directed removal of Saini and an order to this effect was issued yesterday.

Sukesh Jain was threatened of “serious consequences” as he initially turned down the LG office’s alleged directive to remove Saini with immediate effect, Kejriwal alleged.

“It’s sad that he (Jung) is cutting salaries of people, stopping mohalla clinics, closing schools. He has turned governance into a joke in Delhi. Does he intend to shut down Delhi?” Kejriwal asked.

A file photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFPA file photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFP

A file photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFP

The Delhi government has issued show cause notices to the Deputy Secretary (general administration department) and other officers who issued the order cancelling Saini’s appointment, Kejriwal told a press conference.

“There’s a big conspiracy to increase power tariff in Delhi. An honest officer like Krishna Saini was appointed by
following the due process.

“We kept LG in the loop when the selection committee was formed in January. We sent him the information of selecting him as well. Why did the LG choose to act eight months later? On whose directions?” the Chief Minister
asked.

Sources in the LG office claimed the government was needlessly dragging it into the case, which it said amounted to undermining constitutional and judicial authorities as the Delhi High Court has already upheld the LG’s order on the DERC appointment issue.

The sources added that contrary to Kejriwal’s claim, the government was sent five reminders asking it to re-process the appointment of DERC as LG’s prior approval was not taken while appointing Saini.

Meanwhile, Sukesh Jain, who has been replaced by Varsha Joshi as Power Secretary, will continue to serve as OSD to the CM.

“BSES discoms are owned by Anil Ambani who is a close friend of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There must be a reason that compelled the discoms to conspire to remove him,” Kejriwal alleged.

“Saini took a number of pro-public decisions and riled the power companies in the process. He put an end to their thuggery,” he claimed.

He said that Power Minister Satyendar Jain had written to the LG twice informing that matters that involve differences of opinion should be forwarded to the President, but “LG did not do so and acted unilaterally”.

“The file from LG’s office came to me a week ago and I was in the process of consulting legal experts. On November 3 night, (former) Power Secretary Sukesh Jain got a call from the LG office asking him to cancel Saini’s appointment notification.

“The LG office called him again yesterday morning to put pressure. Who put pressure on the LG to resort to such illegal and unconstitutional steps? The BJP-led Centre wants Ambani’s person as DERC chief,” Kejriwal alleged, adding “we will fight and resist any such move”.

Emergency situation in Delhi, Centre says about alarming pollution level

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi is witnessing an “emergency situation” due to alarming pollution level, the Centre said on Saturday and called a meeting of Environment Ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday to curb stubble burning by farmers which has made Delhi a “gas chamber”.As a blanket of haze continued to cover the city with pollution level remaining very high and breaching the safe limit by over 17 times at several places, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met Environment Minister Anil Dave and sought Centre’s urgent intervention to deal with the challenge.Kejriwal likened the city to a “gas chamber” with main reason being smoke from farm fires in Punjab and Haryana and appealed to people to minimise use of vehicles.After the meeting, Dave said he has called a meeting of Environment Ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday and will request them to curb stubble burning in their states as it increases level of smog in Delhi.”There is an emergency situation in Delhi. The situation is bad, particularly for children, patients, women and elderly. We need to take immediate steps to deal with the situation,” Dave told reporters, adding he was also exploring the possbility to call a meeting of chief ministers of all neighbouring states on the issue. On his part, Kejriwal appealed to people to restrict use of private vehicles and use public transport.Earlier, addressing a press conference, Kejriwal said vehicle restriction measures like odd-even will not be able to bring down smog as initial studies suggest that the “large scale” influx of pollutant-laden smoke from Punjab and Haryana has aggravated the situation.”Pollution has increased to an extent that outdoors in Delhi are resembling a gas chamber. Prima facie the biggest reason seems to be burning of stubble in agricultural fields in Haryana and Punjab in huge quantity,” he said.Dave said the situation has been “very alarming” and that there was a need to take short-term measures to deal with the situation immediately, adding he discussed with Kejriwal “emergency measures” including ways to contain dust pollution and crop burning.”There are five reasons triggering air pollution that include use of firewood, coal, diesel, petrol and burning of agricultural waste. We have to find solution to address the problem We should imbibe self discipline in our routine life style. If I don’t minimize use of my four cars and expect other people to use cycles, that should not be happen. We should collectively come under self-regulation,” he said.Both Dave and Kejriwal were in agreement that shutting down schools was not the solution when asked about the decision of the civic bodies to keep schools run by it closed for a day in view of pollution.Kejriwal pitched for providing alternatives and incentives to farmers so that they discard the traditional practise of burning farm stubbles. Air Quality Index (AQI) of all the eight monitoring stations of Centre’s SAFAR blinked red, indicating severe levels of pollution. CPCB stations had severe AQI as well. The Delhi High Court had last year observed that living in Delhi was akin to living in a “gas chamber” as it directed the Centre and the city government to present comprehensive action plans to combat it.Meanwhile, Kejriwal pitched for providing alternatives and incentives to farmers so that they discard the traditional practice.”The Centre can sit with the Chief Minister of these states and chalk out a solution. Few reports have put the volume of stubble being burned at around 16-20 million tonnes. Fireworks during Diwali marginally added to the pollution. But other things inside Delhi did not drastically change. So the smog is mainly due to smoke from farm fires,” he observed.Kejriwal identified the main sources of pollution inside Delhi as vehicles, dust and waste burning, which he said could not be responsible for the pall of smog across the city.”I saw smoke across Punjab, Haryana during my visits. We need Centre’s help. We are hiring an agency in a week or two to study the sources of pollution in Delhi afresh,” he said.

Delhi resembles a gas chamber, Centre needs to intervene: Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi: The Centre needs to intervene to mitigate the alarming levels of smog, which have virtually turned Delhi into a “gas chamber”, mainly due to farm fires in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Saturday.

He said vehicle restriction measures like odd-even will not be able to bring down smog as initial studies suggest that the “large scale” influx of pollutant-laden smoke from Punjab and Haryana has aggravated the situation.

“Pollution has increased to an extent that outdoors in Delhi are resembling a gas chamber. Prima facie the biggest reason seems to be burning of stubble in agricultural fields in Haryana and Punjab in huge quantity,” Kejriwal told a press conference.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Shutting down of schools for a long time was not a feasible solution, he said, when asked about the decision of the civic bodies to keep schools run by it closed for a day in view of pollution.

Kejriwal pitched for providing alternatives and incentives to farmers so that they discard the traditional
practise.

He said the Delhi government has very few methods at its disposal and the Centre needs to intervene.

“The Centre can sit with the Chief Minister of these states and chalk out a solution. Few reports have put the volume of stubble being burned at around 16-20 million tonnes.

“Fireworks during Diwali marginally added to the pollution. But other things inside Delhi did not drastically change. So the smog is mainly due to smoke from farm fires,” he observed.

Kejriwal identified the main sources of pollution inside Delhi as vehicles, dust and waste burning, which he said could not be responsible for the pall of smog across the city.

“I saw smoke across Punjab, Haryana during my visits. We need Centre’s help. We are hiring an agency in a week or two to study the sources of pollution in Delhi afresh. The Centre needs to intervene,” he said.

95% people have already benefited from OROP: Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 95% people have already benefited from One Rank One Pension, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Saturday. “More than 95% people have already got the benefit of OROP. The rest are very old pensioners, from 1962 war, so their records are incomplete,” he told ANI.”We are in the process of completing the records of these remaining 4-5%. It will be done in the next two months,” Parrikar said.On Friday, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi alleged that the Centre was disrespecting soldiers by not fulfilling their promises regarding the long pending One Rank, One Pension scheme. Gandhi, who met the ex-servicemen protesting at the Jantar Mantar against the government’s lackadaisical approach on the One Rank, One Pension scheme, said that, at this point of time, the issue was not just about the implementation of the scheme but about giving justice to the soldiers.The suicide by an army veteran over OROP snowballed into a huge political show with Gandhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other opposition leaders attacking the Modi government on the issue. There was high drama after police detained and prevented them from entering a hospital.The opposition targetted the government following the suicide of the ex-serviceman as he allegedly did not get due OROP benefits. BJP accused Gandhi and Kejriwal of doing politics over a dead body.National Secretary Shrikant Sharma told a press conference that the government had constituted a committee to look into certain anomalies following the OROP’s implementation and it has submitted its report. In two months, its recommendations will be executed.BJP also said that anywhere between 55-56 lakh ex-servicemen had benefited from the OROP decision while there were only 1 lakh of them who had got less than what they should get.

Jung v/s Kejriwal: Delhi govt rejects LG decision to revoke appointment of 15 lawyers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi government on Friday rejected Lt Governor Najeeb Jung’s decision to revoke the appointment of 15 lawyers by it, setting another stage for fresh round of confrontation between the LG office and AAP dispensation.However, LG office has slammed the Kejriwal government over the move, saying that after the August 4 High Court verdict, the Lt Governor is the final authority in all administrative issues.On Thursday, Jung had revoked the appointment of a panel of 15 Supreme Court lawyers while refusing to give his post-facto approval on the appointment of these advocate. The decision to reject the LG’s decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday.”The Cabinet has rejected the LG’s decision to revoke the appointment of panel of Delhi Government’s SC lawyers. “Cabinet also resolved that Law is a transferred subject and as per August 4, 2016 Delhi HC Judgement power to appoint lawyers lies with the elected government,” said a senior government official.Sources in the LG office said that the AAP government had appointed 15 lawyers without prior approval of Lt Governor and in view of this, if the city administration gives salaries of these advocates, it will be their own responsibility.”Law is not a transferred subject. It falls only under the LG’s jurisdiction. By rejecting the LG’s decision to revoke appointment of 15 lawyers, government is overlooking all constitutional and judicial machineries,” LG office’s sources said.The Kejriwal government had appointed 15 lawyers without prior approval of the Lt Governor in 2014 and 2015. Recently, government had sent the file to LG seeking his post facto approval.

Orop suicide: Delhi Police team in Bhiwani to meet Ram Kishan Grewal’s family members

New Delhi: A Delhi Police team has been sent to ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal’s home town Bhiwani in Haryana today to meet his family members, a day after his suicide case was handed over to the Crime Branch.

A file image of Ram Kishan Grewal. PTIA file image of Ram Kishan Grewal. PTI

A file image of Ram Kishan Grewal. PTI

“A team has been sent to Bhiwani to talk to Grewal’s family members. However, the team is still waiting to talk to them since they have been surrounded by media and politicians. They have shared all the details with the media but we still need to talk to them,” said a senior police officer privy to the probe.

On Thursday, the case was transferred from New Delhi district to Crime Branch keeping in mind the sensitivity of
the matter and the fact that the district police is busy with law and order duties in the area.

The Crime Branch team led by DCP(Crime) Bhisham Singh is conducting inquest proceedings in the matter.

Grewal, along with three of his companions, had come to the city apparently to submit a memorandum to the defence
ministry over the issue of OROP.

The 70-year-old ex-serviceman had consumed poison in the lawns behind Jawahar Bhavan, which houses some offices of the Ministry of External Affairs, on 1 November. He was rushed to RML Hospital where he died later.

The officer said that they are still searching for the three men who were accompanying him when he took the extreme step.

Police have procured the suicide note and the audio recording of Grewal’s last conversation with his son from
media persons as the family members haven’t shared any details with the police yet, he said.

Grewal’s suicide had snowballed into a huge political showdown on Wednesday in the capital with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi being detained twice by Delhi Police amid high drama and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also being detained by the policemen.

OROP suicide to Gajendra Singh’s death: Same political play, different detention policy

Let’s be clear about something. There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal are playing politics over the suicide of veteran Ram Kishan Grewal.

A photo of Ram Shankar Grewal. PTI

A photo of Ram Kishan Grewal. PTI

Grewal committed suicide at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Tuesday over the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme after pointing out that his pension was still low in a letter written to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

But is the punishment for politicising an issue getting detained by the police?

For the moment, let’s accept the stupid assumption that politicising an issue is a strong enough reason for the Delhi police — which comes under the control of the central government — to detain political leaders and claim that they were causing “disturbance” and “obstruction” at the hospital where Grewal’s body had been brought.

Now, let’s reiterate some solid facts.

Fact 1: Grewal’s body was brought to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Fact 2: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Rahul Gandhi made a beeline for the hospital and tried meeting some of Grewal’s family members, who were at the hospital.

Fact 3: Delhi police eventually detained Kejriwal, Gandhi and Sisodia, claiming that their presence at the hospital would cause disturbance.

Now, let’s go back a year. Let’s go back to 22 April, 2015, when farmer Gajendra Singh allegedly committed suicide by hanging from a tree at a rally organised by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). By the way, a Delhi police probe into the alleged suicide later hinted that the farmer’s suicide could have been an accident.

Let’s reiterate some solid facts again.

Fact 1: After the alleged suicide, Gajendra Singh’s body was brought to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in New Delhi, where he was declared dead.

Fact 2: Opposition leaders like Arvind Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi, Manish Sisodia, Ajay Maken, Somnath Bharti, Sitaram Yechury and even leaders from the ruling party like Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay visited the hospital.

Fact 3: None of these politicians who visited the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital that day were detained.

After Gajendra Singh’s alleged suicide, the BJP and Congress had played politics over the issue and lashed out at AAP and CM Kejriwal for continuing the rally despite knowing about Gajendra Singh’s tragedy.

Gajendra Singh, the farmer who died in April, 2015. PTI

Gajendra Singh, the farmer who died in April, 2015. PTI

After Grewal’s suicide, AAP and Congress played politics over the issue and lashed out at the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly lying about the implementation of OROP.

Can detaining politicians based on reasons like “causing disturbance” be justified only when the ruling party at the Centre is facing criticism over an issue?

Going by the logic of the Delhi police, weren’t the politicians at the RML Hospital causing “disturbance” when they visited the hospital after Gajendra Singh’s suicide?

At this point, one cannot stress enough on how important the fact is that the Delhi police is under the control of the Centre. Somehow, when the Modi government is on the back foot and Opposition leaders are taking advantage of that fact, the Delhi police finds some reason or the other to detain them. But when the tables are turned and Opposition leaders are on the back foot and BJP is taking advantage of that fact, nothing of this sort happens.

It is very obvious what is going on here. To deny the fact that the detentions of the AAP and Congress leaders by the Delhi police was purely based on petty politics is laughable.

It is a horrible irony that BJP and leaders from the Modi government have accused the Opposition leaders of politicising Grewal’s suicide when they themselves seem to be playing a much darker and more sinister version of politics over the issue. Dissenting voices in a democracy are being stifled.

The biggest evidence of this kind of politics is that even Grewal’s family members were detained.

One of the most ridiculous aspects of this issue was when BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao told Times Now on Wednesday night that the government empathised with Grewal’s family members. So the government apparently empathises with the family members. But the Delhi police, under the government’s control, detains them, definitely not out of ’empathy’.

Grewal’s son has also alleged that he and his family members were abused and beaten up while in detention.

Moreover, Kejriwal and Sisodia are ministers from the Delhi government who were visiting a hospital after they heard of a tragedy which had taken place in Delhi, irrespective of whether they were playing politics or not.

After the SIMI jailbreak, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan also visited the residence of the guard who had been killed and met his family members.

Politicians from state governments have been meeting people affected from a tragedy in their own state for a very long time. Detaining them on flimsy grounds makes no sense.

By the way, merely hours after Gajendra Singh’s suicide, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted about how he was “deeply shattered”.

Till now, PM Modi has not posted a single tweet about Ram Kishan Grewal’s suicide. He might still make a statement about the suicide. In fact, he should, because he had recently said that he kept his promise on OROP when he spent his Diwali with soldiers in Himachal Pradesh. And this issue is all about OROP.

But the difference in the reaction time of the PM between the two incidents is something we should all think about.

Ram Kishan Grewal’s last words: Sacrificing my life for my country

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ex-serviceman, whose alleged suicide led to a huge political showdown with detentions of Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal and many other AAP and Congress leaders, had written in his suicide note that “he is giving his life for his country and his fellow jawans”. The 70-year-old ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal from Haryana’s Bhiwani district had allegedly consumed poison behind the Jawahar Bhavan, which houses the Ministry of External Affairs, on Tuesday afternoon.Police said he along with three of his companions had come to the city apparently to submit a memorandum to the Defence Ministry over the issue of OROP. Grewal wrote his suicide note on a document he wanted to submit to the Defence Ministry. He wrote, “I am sacrificing my life for my country, my motherland and for my brave fellow jawans,” police said.In an audio clip of Grewal’s last conversation with his son that was aired on news channels, he told his son that “he had consumed poison and was sacrificing for OROP and his fellow jawans who were not getting their due.” According to his friends, Grewal, who served in the Army and the Defence Security Corps for 30 years, had been “upset” over the issue for sometime.

OROP suicide: Ram Kishan Grewal’s death is not a solution to pension struggle

Of course, it is emotional and difficult to critique it when an ex-serviceman commits suicide. You come off callous, harsh and come under attack.

Except that soldiers fight; they do not take their own lives. I covered the 1971 war in uniform and come from the only family in the world where four real brothers made the rank of generals. So I do have some right to say suicide is wrong.

It is regrettable that Ram Kishan Grewal took his own life. One does not know his compulsions or his level of frustration and while thoughtless political capital will be made of this by politicians like Arvind Kejriwal (he never misses a chance), I didn’t see the Chief Minister go visit our troops on the frontline.

File image of people protesting against OROP. PTIFile image of people protesting against OROP. PTI

File image of people protesting against OROP. PTI

At least Modi spent Diwali with them.

In the case of OROP, even the diehards who stood in the sun for months outside Jantar Mantar will have to agree that their pensions have risen with the latest promise of a further hike, retrospective from 1 January, 2016 having come last week. And if one of these frail old men (some of them octogenarians) had died while spending weeks on strike at least they would have died fighting for their cause. Not taking their lives.

Indeed, there are four outstanding issues before the Anomaly committee that was formed, after the three chiefs sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister last month calling attention to the four points: the discrepancies in disability pay, the lack of recognition for JCOs by equating their military pay with soldiers they lead, the inequality in the pay brackets with Civvy street and the absence of non-functional upgrades which the IAS cadres enjoy.

None of these are major mountains to climb. In all fairness, the lot of the retired service officer has improved but the increments have been given in so niggardly a fashion and yes, ‘incremental’ in the disbursement that the fractured increases have lost their value. It is the gracelessness that has led to the sense of despair. Like crumbs thrown at the hungry. As much as they have been hit in the bottomline, the services have been made to feel secondary.

The current concern that the MoD is going about it unilaterally without involving the forces could well be because they are doing the ground work. After all, the initiative hasn’t shifted. The drafts can be rejected by the three chiefs as they did the 7th Pay Commission, only allowing it to be implemented after they were assured the four points that were unresolved would be taken up.

If you ask the service officers per se who have retired they will cavil about being treated as country cousins to the bureaucrats and the police in the order of things and their agitation has distilled to a basic call for equality nothing more, nothing less.

But they will also agree, albeit reluctantly, that things are not that bleak. They are better off.

While the difference between the bureaucrats and the men in uniform is still a burr under the saddle, committing suicide is not the answer, and even if the ex-servicemen take up the cause and bellow their approval in their hearts they will know this is not done, this is not the solution.

Public regret and public remorse will follow the death as is the norm but it would not edify the armed forces to take advantage of one former soldier’s act, sad as it is.

Ex-serviceman commits suicide in Delhi over OROP issue, Kejriwal slams Modi govt

A former serviceman on Wednesday committed suicide at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi over the One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue.

Ram Kishan Grewal, the former jawan from Bhiwani district in Haryana who committed suicide, left a note which stated that he was taking this extreme step for the Indian soldiers, eyewitnesses told CNN-News18.

“He called us and informed us that he is committing suicide as the government has failed to fulfill their demands related to OROP,” ANI quoted Grewal’s son as saying.

Reports suggest that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will visit Grewal’s family. The Delhi CM also lashed out at the Centre and said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was lying when he talked about implementing OROP.

CNN-News18 further reported that Grewal’s family has blamed the Centre for the former jawan’s suicide. Reports also said that Grewal had written to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar over the issue.

The OROP scheme has been a long-standing demand of the over two million ex-servicemen of India. It seeks to ensure that a uniform pension is paid to the defence personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.

The one-man judicial committee on OROP set up by the government had submitted its report to Parrikar in October this year.

The Centre had appointed the committee under the chairmanship of retired Chief Justice of Patna High Court L Narasimha Reddy to look into the anomalies, if any, arising out of implementation of OROP.

The judicial committee had held hearings at around 20 cities and towns across the country and interacted with cross sections of ex-servicemen as well as their associations.

The committee had also received 704 representations from individuals and various ex-servicemen associations and had held extensive interactions with all stakeholders before submitting its report.

(With inputs from PTI)

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