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Demonetisation: 60 lakh depositors put Rs 7 lakh cr in banks since 8 Nov

New Delhi: Armed with information about Rs 7 lakh crore deposits made by some 60 lakh individuals and companies, the government today warned of hauling up anyone unable to show legal means saying mere depositing in bank does not convert black money into white.

Top officials said while the government will not hound any genuine depositor, it will not hesitate to litigate at any forum to catch any black money holder trying to convert illegal wealth into white.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Post demonetisation, unaccounted wealth holders have an option to avail of a tax evasion amnesty scheme Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) and pay their dues, failing which the government’s long arms will surely catch them, they said.

“People are thinking that money has come into the banking system and it has all become white. This is not so. We have been getting daily information of all the deposits above Rs 2 lakh, Rs 5 lakh and the number and amount deposited and we have been collating this information with past information about the same person,” a top government official told PTI.

“So, there is a huge scope for taxing now which has arisen and we do hope that people will understand that simply because they have put in bank it has become white that is not the case. We do hope that people themselves will come forward to participate in the scheme. But if they don’t, they are not going to be happy,” the official further said.

The tax department is armed with systems to track those with multiple banks accounts as well as those who are depositing in accounts of others and tax department will not leave anyone who is trying to evade taxes, he added.

“Even if you take deposits of more than Rs 2 lakh, we have information about more then 60 lakh individuals, companies and institutions who have deposited more than Rs 7 lakh crore of money. That’s an astonishing number. We will be looking at it. For individuals the deposit figure would be Rs 3-4 lakh crore. “We do expect a lot of revenue buoyancy because of this either in this year or in subsequent years but nobody will go scot-free,” the official said.

Following the demonetisation of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes on November 8, government has come out with PMGKY under which people can disclose unaccounted cash and come clean by paying 50 per cent tax. Besides the scheme provides for a mandatory deposit of 25 per cent of such income in the zero-interest bearing Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme, 2016, for four years.

PMGKY commenced on December 17 and shall remain open for declarations and deposits up to March 31, 2017.

The official said that tax department is doing data analytics. The purpose of demonetisation was to bring the money into the banking system so that there is a money trail with regard to the anonymous cash holding.

“We don’t want to send any inspector to people but at least we would like people to know that we know about them. Now this is a big change. Earlier, people used to keep a lot of black money and think that nobody knows about it. Now, the entire black money has come into the banking system,” he said.

The official said that at least 70 per cent of bank accounts have PAN numbers and are linked with Aadhar, and hence all deposits can be easily tracked. Besides, RBI has already asked banks within two months all accounts have to be linked with PAN or else there will be restrictions.

“It is better to disclose the deposits under the PMGKY and pay the tax rather than keep it hidden as the tax department will eventually be able to track them,” the official said.

The PMGKY scheme provides an opportunity to persons having undisclosed income in the form of cash or deposit in an account maintained with a specified entity (which includes banks and post office) to declare such income and pay tax, surcharge and penalty totaling in all to 49.9 per cent of such declared income.

Besides, the scheme provides that a mandatory deposit of not less than 25 per cent of such income shall be made in the zero-interest bearing Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme, 2016, for four years.

“When there is a scheme of 50 per cent tax payment available, no one should keep money at home. Unless it is a case of corrupt officer he doesn’t disclose. Business people will put money in bank and relax,” the official added.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 17:42 IST

Demonetisation: RBI now gives borrowers additional 90 days to repay loans

In further relief to people hit by demonetisation, the Reserve Bank on Wednesday gave borrowers another 30 days over and above 60 days for repayment of housing, car, farm and other loans worth up to Rs 1 crore.

“On a review, it has been decided to provide 30 days, in addition to the 60 days provided (on November 21),” the RBI said in a notification.



So, borrowers together get 90 days breather from getting the account classified under non-performing asset (NPA) category.

The above dispensation will apply to dues payable between 1 November, and December 31, 2016, it said.

The surprise announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 November to scrap Rs 500 and 1,000 notes resulted in a cash crunch in the market leading to slowdown in business. As a result, the repayment capacity of the borrowers were impacted and there was fear of loan default rising.

The demonetisation of higher value currency notes has affected normal banking activities including clearing of cheques. Besides, borrowers are unable to get payments from their creditors due to various restrictions including cash withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000 per week, limiting their options to repay their dues.

According to the RBI notification, running working capital accounts or crop loans with the sanctioned limit of Rs 1 crore or less would be eligible for this benefit. Besides, it said, “Term loans for business purposes, secured or otherwise, the original sanctioned amount whereof is Rs 1 crore or less, on the books of any bank or any NBFC, including NBFC (MFI). This shall include agriculture loans.”

The apex bank further said that all regulated entities are permitted to defer the downgrade of an account that was standard as on 1 November, but would have become NPA for any reason between November and December by 90 days from the date of such downgrade.

The additional time of 90 days will only apply to defer the classification of an existing standard asset as sub-standard and not for delaying the migration of an account across sub-categories of NPA. Dues payable after 1 January, 2017 will be covered by the instructions for the respective entities.

Last month, the RBI had provided additional 60 days for repayment of loans worth up to Rs 1 crore. Separately, the central bank came out this special dispensation for farm loan earlier this week.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 07:48 IST

Chennai: Hotels, clubs directed to wind up New Year parties by 1 am

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The city police has issued directions to hotels and clubs in Chennai, hosting special programmes on New Year’s eve, to wind up celebrations by 1 am.A direction to this effect was given to hotel owners during a meeting chaired by Additional Commissioner of Police K Shankar, Deputy Commissioners (South zone) S Anbu, (East zone) S Manoharan in Chennai, a police release said on Wednesday.Hotel authorities have been directed to take up all preventive measures ahead of the celebrations so that no untoward incidents take place, it said.The advisory issued to the hotels include, checking all vehicles entering the premises and noting their registration numbers, to close swimming pools from 6 pm on December 31 onwards to 6 am of January 1, 2017.They were also asked to deploy security guards in large numbers in the hotel premises, the release said. Besides, the police officials have warned the new year’s eve revellers of strict action against drunk driving. Vehicles would be seized if more than two persons were seen travelling in a motorcycle, they said.
ALSO READ Party poopers: No DJ, early deadline for Kochi hotels on New Year’s eveThe public have been advised not to venture into the sea or set off crackers in places where people gather in large numbers, the release added.

Govt to encourage online applications for around 1.36 lakh pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 1.36 lakh pilgrims have been travelling to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage from India since 2013. As part of its efforts to bring in transparency in processing applications from interested devotees, the government has decided to encourage applications online January 2, 2017 onwards.Besides, the ministry is also mulling launching a cell phone application to help devotees apply online for the pilgrimage. The ministry has a budget outlay of Rs 3,827 crore for the ongoing fiscal. Out of these, Rs 2,732 crore have already been spent on various works, sources said.These include Rs 1,800 sanctioned for distributing scholarships to students. The scholarships are being distributed through Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in phases. Besides, the government spent Rs 502 crore on multi-sectoral development programme, while the National Minority Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC) has been given equity of Rs 140 crore.Among other developments, the ministry released Rs 79.91 crore under Maulana Azad National Fellowship, Rs 4 crore as assistance to students willing to learn abroad under ‘Padho Pardesh’ scheme and Rs 13.19 crore out of Rs 15 crore allotted for ‘Nai Roshni’ scheme meant for leadership development among minority women.

Mamata writes to Centre on deploying CRPF, calls action unconstitutional

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee shot off a letter on Friday to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, following the deployment of central forces to assist Income-Tax (I-T) officials during their raids in the city.In the letter, Mamata said that the state was kept in the dark about the deployment of 15 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel. “The state government objects strongly to this decision, which is blatantly unconstitutional, illegal and against all principles of cooperative federalism,” the letter read.It said that the deployment of any central police force to any state could only be done at the request of the state government. “The decision must be immediately revoked,” she demanded. Mamata assured that the state would provide all necessary help, if requested by any central government agency.The letter by Mamata had been forwarded to all chief ministers as well.The West Bengal Chief Minister’s letter comes after a letter dated December 20, where the Department of Revenue and the Ministry of Finance requested the Ministry of Home Affairs to provide 15 armed personnel to I-T officials for assistance in their seizure operations in Kolkata.Sources at the I-T department said that during search operations at several places in the city, they had been outnumbered even while being accompanied by state police personnel. Thus they had requested for central forces, which would be used only if there was any lack of cooperation from the part of the state police.”It is, by no means, a step to demean or insult the efforts of the state police. They have been kept as an additional means of precaution. Besides it is not unprecedented. Central forces have been used during recent operations in Tamil Nadu as well,” an investigating official said.Earlier this month, Mamata had protested against the deployment of army personnel at toll plazas calling it a “political vendetta.”

Tripura panchayat by-polls: Left Front wins 43 out of 47 seats

Fri, 23 Dec 2016-10:50pm , Agartala , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling Left Front in Tripura on Friday swept the by-polls to the three-tier gram panchayat by winning 43 out of total 47 seats in the state, elections for which was held on December 21, officials said.Secretary of the State Election Commission Prasenjit Bhattacharya said the by-elections were held in 44 Gram Panchayat seats, of which the CPI(M) alone won in 38 seats, CPI in two seats, BJP won in two seats and TMC in two seats. “Besides gram panchayats, by-elections were also held to two Panchayat Samiti seats at Durga Chowmuhani in Dhalai district and at Gournagar in Unakoti district, where the ruling CPI(M) registered their win. By-poll was also held to one Zilla Parishad seat in Unakoti district, which was also won by the CPI(M),” Bhattacharya told reporters here.The by-polls were necessitated due to deaths and resignations of the candidates.

Government corks booze hologram row, ropes in CNP Nasik

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The liquor bottles that will be sold in the state will have holograms printed at the government-owned Currency Notes Press (CNP), Nasik, and not that of any private printing press.According to senior officials, the state government, in order to eliminate duplicate and spurious liquor from the market, had asked the Excise department to make it mandatory for all liquor bottles to carry a hologram and barcode—with embedded covert and overt features. The barcode will enable the consumer to know when and where the liquor was manufactured and when it was sent from the distillery to the wholesaler and further to the retailer and if it is an original or a fake.”There were controversies over allotting the hologram printing contract to a private firm. Besides, there were no guarantee that the hologram printed by the private firms will not be tampered with. Therefore, we decided to print the hologram at CNP, Nasik,” said the official requesting anonymity.”We visited many states and studied their model. Most of them are printing the hologram at the government currency printing presses. So why should we allot the tender to private firms,” he asked.When contacted, Excise Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankude was not available for comments.Stressing that the government’s intention is to bring in foolproof security features to end adulteration, the official said: “We will ensure that the hologram printed at CNP will have security features more advanced than those on currency notes.””To check whether the liquor is genuine or fake, all one will need is to scan the barcode on the bottle with a mobile phone,” the official said.He said the vehicles carrying the raw materials for the liquor distilleries will also be fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) and will be tracked round the clock. “The move will also fetch the government more revenue,” he said.What’s special about hologram?Security holograms are replicated from a master hologram—which requires expensive, specialized and technologically advanced equipment—and are difficult to forge. They are used widely in high denomination banknotes and are also used in passports, credit cards and other quality products.

1400 tourists remain stranded in Andamans, no casualties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the cyclonic weather condition persisting in the Andamans, around 1,400 tourists remained stranded in two islands on Thursday and naval ships deployed for evacuation were unable to enter the habour due to strong winds.There were, however, no reports of any casualty from either Havelock or Neil islands hit by the cyclonic weather since Monday.The rains have stopped since morning but the wind is still blowing hard. “The weather continues to be bad. Navy ships which were deployed for evacuation have not been able to enter the harbour because of strong winds and choppy seas,” a Defence official said.In the morning, two ships from the administration had sailed from Port Blair but could not berth in the jetty of the islands due to strong winds and rough seas, administration officials said.Speaking to the media after a meeting with Lt Governor Jagdish Mukhi, Deputy Commissioner of South Andamans Udit Prakash Rai said, “A decision has been taken that hotels where tourists are stranded will not take any room rent from them, besides giving them food and water for free.” “The administration will make all arrangements to send tourists back home once they are rescued,” he said.
ALSO READ 1,400 tourists stranded in Andamans due to cyclonic weatherFlight operations are normal since morning on Thursday. “Today we are hopeful that the stranded tourists will be brought back to Port Blair. There is no need to panic as everyone is safe,” the administration official said.The official said that there was no report of any loss of life or major damages to property. However, trees in the islands have been uprooted and electric posts twisted. Besides the tourists, 600 of whom are from West Bengal, local population in ten villages of Havelock and Neil islands has been affected due to limited supply of essential commodities.

Manipur already soaked in election colours

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As one moves through the central part of the state capital, colours of an impending Assembly polls dart its streets, seamlessly merging into the olive green of Army which stands guard across the city. Being a north eastern state, it is easy to assume that Imphal would be away from the boisterous, vociferous and pompous trappings of elections till you find huge billboards of BJP chief Amit Shah cheek by jowl with other advertisements. Saffron is all across the city, giving an impression that the anti-incumbency wave is firmly sweeping the voters, till one comes across late PA Sangma smiling from one of the posters of National People’s Party, sharing space with his son and MP Conrad Sangma.Manipur goes to polls in February, riding on age old key agendas of employment, infrastructure and repealing of Armed Forces Special Protection Act (AFSPA). The Congress which has been reigning for the last 15 years will face a direct battle for 60 seats with arch rival BJP that has been non-existent here till 2014. These elections also hold a special interest among Manipuris as Irom Sharmila will field herself for the first time, a decision which has not gone down well with a lot of natives. “We want to see her as a social worker, not a politician. People here have still not forgiven her for ending the fast as they feel betrayed. Besides, since she does not possess qualities of a good leader, she won’t be of much help to the AFSPA cause even if she wins,” T Neina, a local feels.Other than a clear mandate on Sharmila, it is difficult to gauge which way the wind is blowing.

Will Kerala BJP pay political price for Modi’s refusal to meet people’s representatives?

The political storm over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to deny audience with an all-party delegation from Kerala refuses to subside, even a week after the incident.

The delegation, comprising the chief minister, finance minister and MLAs, had planned to submit a resolution that requested the Centre to allow co-operative banks to exchange demonitised Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and accept deposits like other commercial banks.
The resolution was passed by the state legislative assembly during its special sitting, convened in the wake of crisis in the co-operative sector, on 23 November.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Leaders of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) have successfully kept the ‘Modi snub’ in the limelight for a long time to corner the BJP.
Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, had launched a scathing attack on Modi for not showing democratic values. “One cannot expect democratic values from a government led by an organisation that consider Hitler and Mussolini as their models.”

Former chief minister and senior Congress leader, Oommen Chandy, was equally harsh in his criticism of the prime minister. “Never before in the history of independent India had the Prime Minister declined to meet the delegation from a State. You had insulted Kerala by denying permission to this delegation. It was an insult to the federal structure of India.”

Dr J Prabhash, a prominent psephologist and head the of political science department at the Kerala University, opined that the prime minister has set a dangerous precedence. “It was an indication that Modi didn’t care about the state of affairs in Kerala. It would affect the centre-state relationship.”

War On Co-Operatives

The BJP began to train its guns on primary co-operative banks after the Reserve Bank of India imposed restrictions on them. The party alleged that co-operative banks are the hubs of unaccounted money and asked the Centre to take stern actions. It was a part of a carefully planned political game as most of the banks were controlled either by CPM or Congress (I).
The tough stand against co-operative banks, which are considered as the lifeline of rural economy, hasn’t gone down well with a large number of party sympathisers. Besides, Modi’s decision to deny permission to the legislators gave them the feeling that BJP is a predominantly North Indian political party.

“Many BJP sympathisers hold accounts in co-operative banks controlled by CPM and Congress. The party took a wrong decision to fight against the rural financial institutions. It eroded people’s confidence in the party. Besides, our rivals have succeeded in portraying BJP as an anti-Kerala party,” said a senior BJP leader on condition of anonymity.
App Vs People’s Representatives

It was an irony that the prime minister had asked people to express their views on demonetisation, albeit through his own app, a day before he denied permission to meet people’s representatives from Kerala.

Modi had urged the people to take part in a survey on the NM App as he wanted to get first-hand view on the demonetisation drive. A day later, he announced that 90 per cent of the respondents believed that black money existed in India, and supported the government to move to eradicate it. “I thank people for the historic participation in the survey. It’s satisfying to read the insightful views and comments,” the PM had tweeted.

Political analysts derided the exercise as a desperate attempt to shore up his waning public support.

Prabhash opined Modi would have understood the pulse of the people had he interacted with the legislators from Kerala. “How can he gauge the mood of the nation through an app survey? How many people in India use mobile phone and application? If he really wanted to know the pulse of the nation, he should have conducted a referendum,” he said.

Unconstitutional resolution?

Before Modi refused the audience with Kerala delegation, the BJP had even tried to term the resolution passed by the Assembly as unconstitutional.

Union finance minister, Arun Jaitley, fired the first salvo when he alleged that Kerala had breached the federalist structure by passing a resolution on a financial issue.

BJP state president, Kummanam Rajashekharan, echoed the sentiment while talking to journalists on November 24 in Thiruvananthapuram. “Only Centre has the right to decide on the country’s currency issues. No assembly in the country can pass such a resolution. So the Kerala assembly resolution is unconstitutional.”

However, legal experts found no substance in the allegation. They felt the accusations were politically motivated.

MA Rashid, co-founder, Live Law, India’s prominent legal news portal, said the Assembly has every right to express concern over issues that affect millions of people. “The assembly didn’t pass a law. The legislators expressed their concern about the crisis in co-operative sector. Expressing dissent on a decision by the union government is not unconstitutional or against the federal structure. Moreover, the constitutionality of demonetisation is yet to be verified by the courts.”

Advocate T Asaf Ali, former director general of prosecutions, opined that Assembly has not done anything wrong, “The assembly convened for a day to request the Centre to ameliorate people’s difficulties following RBI restrictions on co-operative banks. The BJP is trying to politicise the issue.”

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 12:57 IST

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

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

Demonetisation: Borrowers get additional 60 days to repay loans, say RBI

Mumbai: In view of cash crunch being faced by borrowers, the RBI today provided additional 60 days for repayment of housing, car, farm and other loans worth up to Rs 1 crore.



This is applicable to loans payable between 1 November and 31 December, the RBI said in a notification.

“… it has been decided to provide an additional 60 days beyond what is applicable for the concerned regulated entity for recognition of a loan account as substandard,” it said. The above relaxation is available to entities running working capital accounts with any bank with the sanctioned limit of Rs 1 crore or less.

Term loans, whether business or personal, secured or otherwise, the original sanctioned amount of Rs 1 crore or less, on the books of any bank or any NBFC, including NBFC (MFI) would also get benefit of this relaxation. This will also include housing loans and agriculture loans, it said.

The apex bank further said that all regulated financial institutions should note that this is a short-term deferment of classification as substandard due to delay in payment of dues arising during the period specified above and does not result in restructuring of the loans.

“Dues payable before 1 November and after 31 December, 2016, will be covered by the extant instruction for the respective regulated entity with regard to recognition of NPAs,” it said.

The demonetisation of higher value currency notes has affected normal banking activities including clearing of cheques. Besides, borrowers are unable to get payments from their creditors due to various restrictions including cash withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000 per week, limiting their options to repay their dues.

DHFL Chief Executive Officer Harshil Mehta said, “It is a welcome move by the RBI as many customers have expressed their inability to repay dues in time because of ongoing demonetisation drive.”

For many of them, EMIs are due in the first half of the month, so the relaxation will help keep account standard even when the payment is not received, he said.

Neither borrowers’ credit score is impacted negatively due to non-payment nor financial institutions have to make additional provisions for sub-standard account, he added.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 18:43 IST

Demonetisation: Queues get shorter at banks but no respite at ATMs

New Delhi: In the wake of certain restrictions on money exchange norms by the government, chaos and rush at banks eased but the situation did not quite improve at ATMs as people were still seen waiting in long queues to withdraw valid currency notes. As banks opened after a day’s break today, people rushed to exchange old defunct bills or withdraw cash.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

On the 12th day of demonetisation, people still have to stand in queues for hours at ATMs as most of the cash vending machines are either dysfunctional or running out of cash due to huge rush. There have been reports coming from different parts of the country about people being frustrated with shortage of cash at branches, leading to scuffle with bank staff and rioting at some branches.

Besides, those having wedding in their families are still not able to withdraw Rs 2.5 lakh from their accounts, even after the relaxation announced by the Centre five days ago. Banks said they have not yet received operational guidelines from the RBI in this regard. People are visiting their branches with gazette notification that talks of relaxation being provided to farmers and for marriage, but to no avail.

“Withdrawal for marriage purpose can be availed only after RBI’s notification, which will have clear direction about the various formalities needed to be furnished by the customers for withdrawal,” said a senior public sector bank official. To screen repeat customers, banks at many places have started using ink mark on fingers of people who are exchanging old notes. Besides, the government last week also reduced the exchange limit of old defunct notes to Rs 2,000 from the earlier Rs 4,500.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 11:39 IST

Demonetisation: Drive must have hit terrorism hard but we shouldn’t ignore roots of corruption

The demonetisation drive has hit terrorist organisations with large money caches lying waste, even though some may be laundered white money through the illegal money exchange racket, some glimpses of which are on electronic media. But there would plenty frustration, which may be vented through sabotage and terrorist acts. So, more violence should be expected. It would also be good if capacity building in local police is examined to provide succor during disasters like what has happened to the Patna-Indore train. In the instant case, visuals of local police standing around awaiting arrival of NDRF teams and the Army is not reassuring. This could well be part of training and equipping for civil defence-cum-disaster relief incorporating the public and NGOs. Delhi police is ready with its team of ‘plain clothes officers’ consisting farmers, homemakers, self-employed individuals, jhuggi dwellers, social workers, retired officials, students, advocates and army veterans (total 264 people including 49 women) – enrolled under the ‘police mitra’ scheme for prevention of crime, maintenance of law and order, and communal harmony. Good initiative, but why not pan-India when we needed the ‘billion-eyes-on-the-ground’ concept a decade back, being sixth on the global terrorist index?

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Demonetisation has brought relative peace to Jammu and Kashmir, for whatever period of time, because the separatists are unable to pay daily stone-pelting wages to their ‘street gangs’. Yet the number of schools burnt or ransacked keep going up – 34th school targeted yesterday over past 100 days, even as ceasefire violations by Pakistan continue unabated. The police in Jammu and Kashmir have recovered not only fake Rs 100 notes but also machines owned by local criminal gangs for printing fake currency. But if Rs 100 notes too are being faked, then these could also be used for stone pelting, even if the number of ‘employees’ reduces. Besides, payments received via hawala are generally never traced, as per police officials. Significantly, production of fake Indian currency in Pakistan is in government mints. No matter which paper or ink is used in the new Re 2000 and 500 notes, these being faked by Pakistan at a future date can hardly be ruled out. Chinese assistance to Pakistan in faking our new currency notes can also be taken for granted, being within ambit of the Chinese concept of ‘unrestricted warfare’. As for the Maoists, they will regain wealth though extortion, looting and poppy cultivation in due course of time.

NIA reports of 2013 revealed that Kashmiri terrorist groups had received US$ 100 million for terror operations in past two years, over the past 10 years, some Rs 600 crores were diverted to J&K terrorism from within India, Rs 98 crores were diverted in one single year from the Jammu and Kashmir Affectees Fund, and that the Jammu and Kashmir Affectees Relief Trust (JKART) has been facilitating Pakistani infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir. Besides, goods sent through trucks to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) were intentionally overpriced two-three times in the vouchers and additional money received was diverted for terrorist operations. It is unthinkable that Jammu and Kashmir politicians did not get share from the pie. Under the NIA Act, the NIA can take over any case related to terror suo motu except in Jammu and Kashmir where it needs the state government’s permission before it can start any investigation. Last year, Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra had suggested that the Ranbir Penal Code be brought under the NIA Act, but whether this has been implemented is not known. So, terrorist funding in Jammu and Kashmir apparently is easier than balance India, even though transactions of some Rs 38 crores from 17 accounts in four banks of South Kashmir were under NIA scanner in August this year for suspected terror links.

Demonetisation has hit political parties too, though the general belief is that big fish will remain untouched beyond some financial penalties, not targeting them personally through early prosecution and exemplary message to the rank and file. Then, it is not only the low-level politicians who are dependent on Maoists and radical support but there are also politicians of various hues that have links with inimical organisations. According to veteran RAW officers, politicians of various hues are under ISI blackmail having used hawala which is handled by ‘D’ company – franchisee of ISI. Some actions by these individuals have been obvious but they continue to flourish because of political clout and vote bank politics. As in the case of terrorist organisations, demonetisation having hit black money stocks of political parties too may result in venting anger through violence. India has been witness to criminalisation of politics, as also the perpetrators getting away completely or lightly.

Finally is the question of foreign funding of political parties that have been ‘legalised’, which cannot be without adverse fallouts, coming with a price tag. What portion of this comes from our adversaries via third party is also difficult to establish. Such funding would aim for a certain type of government in India, depending on the individual / group / national interests of those providing the finances. Some may want a strong India, but most may not. When the string of IEDs blew up at the pre-general election rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Patna (IED under the dais he was speaking from luckily did not fire), can you really pinpoint who wanted him assassinated – Maoists, radicals, another political party or those furnishing election funds from abroad? For that matter, a cross-section is wondering whether the chaotic manner in which the demonetisation scheme is being executed (no matter perception building through media) is by design to show the prime minister in poor light.

The bottom-line is that while euphoria over terrorist funding being hit by demonetisation is justified, we need to go into the roots within the country – for black money, terrorist funding and endemic corruption. Modi has the best of intentions but the system needs a major ‘top-down’ overhaul, not to forget we have the worst bureaucracy in Asia past 20 years. When the equivalent of Lok Ayukta was established in Singapore (then high on corruption), overnight 150 politicians, officials and mafia dons were jailed. Can there be similar action in India?

The author is veteran Lt Gen of Indian Army.

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 16:29 IST

HC sets free two men accused of gangraping colleague; says ‘inconsistency’ in woman’s version

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi High Court has set free two men of the charge of gangraping their colleague, saying there was “inconsistency” in the woman’s version about the incident.Holding that the two convicts, who have been in custody since June 2009, “deserve the benefit of doubt”, Justice S P Garg directed their release from jail immediately.”…Nothing has come on record to show if during her employment in the factory for about a month, the appellants had an evil eye on her or had attempted any time to outrage her modesty. No complaint whatsoever was filed by the victim against any of the appellants any time.”Considering the inconsistent and conflicting versions narrated by the prosecutrix (woman) at different stages of investigation, conviction and sentence of the appellants cannot be sustained in the absence of independent corroboration. The appellants deserve benefit of doubt,” the court said.The court’s verdict came on an appeal filed by the duo who had challenged their conviction and 10 year jail term awarded by the trial court here in July 2014. Besides the sentence, the two were also fined Rs 10,000 each.The high court set aside the trial court’s order and said that “on perusal of statements of the prosecution witnesses and various exhibits on record, they revealed infirmities or inconsistencies which have emerged on record making it unsafe to base conviction on the solitary testimony of the prosecutrix without independent corroboration”.As per the police, the woman was gangraped by the two when she went to the factory premises of one of the accused on June 14, 2009. On the day of the alleged incident, she had gone there to collect her wages, police had said.One of the accused during the trial had claimed innocence and told the court that the physical relations with the woman were with her consent.

Demonetization: Note ban hits farm produce, rates fallen by almost 20-30 %

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After demonetization, the farmers products rates are down by almost 20-30% and they are hoping that the current situation will improve otherwise they will face the major financial crisis.Kailash Patil, resident of Jalgaon, produced cotton but there are no buyers in the market. “This year we had the bumper crops due to the good rainfall. Initially, the cotton per quintal rate was Rs 6,000 per quintal but now it has come down to Rs 5,000 per quintal. And, the same with my other produce -jowar, bajra, soybean also. The traders are asking us to take the old currencies while the district co-operative bank where I have got an account, is not accepting the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currencies,” Patil said.Another farmer Sanjay Patil from Bhadgaon said that the traders are telling them to take the cheque as a payment of their produce. “In my village, there is no bank so where should I go and deposit the money? This is harvest time. I cannot afford to go to town and stand in queue to open an account and neglect the crops. The cash transaction was easy and comfortable for us. The government’s demonetization decision disturbed the entire our economy,” he said.Patil said, “We welcome the idea of fighting against black money and corruption. But where is the system and infrastructure that can ease our woes. The authority should have first created the infrastructure – bank in each village, round the clock electricity, and other required facilities. In villages, we face frequent power cuts so you can imagine other facilities. We are really in trouble. We produced really good crops this year but demonetization spoiled our dream of getting the good rates,” he added.Kushal Patil, the food grains traders at the Agriculture Product Market Committee (APMC) at Dhule, said that the small traders who were raising money on high interest from private money lenders and paying to farmers are completely finished now. “We can do business by issuing the cheques and transferring the payment through RTGS. However, farmers are not willing to accept it. They simply say that they do not have bank accounts. And those with accounts say if the money is deposited in the bank, the bank will deduct their loan amount taken from the respective banks first. They will not get anything even after selling their produces. So they are afraid to deposit cheque in banks as well. They want the payment in cash only,” Patil said.He said the farmers has a tendency to repay the banks crops loan in March or April at the end of their harvest season. “If the banks start deducting the money right now, how they will pay money to private money lenders from whom they had taken money at high interest rates. Besides, they have to pay for other expenses as well. Farmers are the most affected community after demonetization. They are reluctant to bring their produce in market at all,” Patil said.Sanjay Pansare, director at APMC, Vashi said that the fruit market is down by almost 50-60%. “People are spending the money on the essential commodities and needs only. Fruits come later. Therefore the fruit market is badly affected. There are small vendors who still come with the old currencies only. We are ready to accept, but the later government will only harass us when we go to banks to deposit,” Pansare said.

Janardhana Reddy comes under IT scanner for daughter’s lavish wedding

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The extravagant wedding​ celebrations of the daughter of former BJP minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy has been making news, amidst PM Modi’s demonetization announcement.According to an Economic Times report, the I-T department is now probing into the funding of the wedding and Reddy’s alleged tax evasions after a complaint filed by a senior advocate from Bengaluru. T Narasimha Murthy alleged that around Rs 650 crore was being spent on the four-day event. Seeking to know the source of the funding, he alleged that Reddy has evaded taxes.In his complaint Murthy says, “Reddy was released from prison in 2015, after serving a five-year jail sentence in illegal mining cases. Besides expensive cars and choppers, Reddy and his wife Lakshmi Aruna’s immovable assets, worth around Rs 70 crore, have been seized. Still he has managed to invest crores of rupees in his daughter’s wedding. How can this be possible?”Several VVIPs, including PM Modi, CM Siddaramaiah and union ministers were also invited for the wedding. Reddy’s daughter Bramhani will be tying the knot with businessman Rajeev Reddy on Wednesday at the Palace Grounds in Bengaluru. Temples of Hampi and Reddy’s house and school in Bellary have reportedly been recreated at the venue.On November 8, PM Modi had declared that Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes would not be considered legal tender. In later announcements, it was also made clear that action would be taken against those who declare more than Rs 2.5 lakh of undeclared amount.

Indo-Japan civil nuclear deal: Despite the anti-nuclear test stance, it’s a win-win for all

PM Narendra Modi and Japan's PM Shinzo Abe during a joint press conference at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan. ReutersPM Narendra Modi and Japan's PM Shinzo Abe during a joint press conference at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan. Reuters

PM Narendra Modi and Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe during a joint press conference at Abe’s official residence in Tokyo, Japan. Reuters

India and Japan, at last, signed an agreement for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Both countries took several rounds of negotiations, which helped resolve several sticky issues. Though only limited information has been released by the two governments, a media briefing of the Indian foreign secretary made several issues clear.

The joint document signed by the two countries lays down a roadmap for bilateral cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. “This would provide for the development of nuclear power projects in India and thus strengthening of energy security of the country. The present agreement would open up the door for collaboration between Indian and Japanese industries in our Civil Nuclear programme,” it says.

But cutting the deal wasn’t easy. There were several questions and concerns raised in the past that delayed the agreement. Some of those concerns remain afloat in both the countries, though they aren’t necessarily of the same nature.

Some in Japan argued that a nuclear agreement with India, a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), will undermine the nuclear regime. The reality is that India received a clean exemption in the guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in 2008 and the CTBT is in a coma. Instead, India has been extending a moratorium on its nuclear test, and this is far more relevant than merely signing a non-existent treaty. Besides, India has an impeccable record, and all of its nuclear cooperation agreements are accompanied by the relevant safeguard practices. So, there is no question of diversion of any item supplied for peaceful purposes to a military programme.

The point that a victim of the nuclear attack would find it difficult to sign a peaceful nuclear programme was intriguing. More so, the fact that idea came from a country, which is enjoying nuclear protective umbrella (and till the Fukushima Accident had used nuclear energy to generate about 30% of the country’s total electricity production), was definitely bizarre. Even the serious section of the Japanese policy making community found it non-serious and basically a deal-delaying ploy.

The argument that for a country that has stopped using nuclear energy and operating nuclear reactors, it is unethical to export them did have some merit. But the moment Japan started operating some of its reactors and decided to eventually operate its non-operational reactors and add a few more, even this ethical resistance evaporated. However, a section that opposes nuclear energy all over the world kept clinging to this argument.

Other than the ethical and non-proliferation concerns, there were some practical commercial concerns of the Japanese nuclear industry, a major driver for the India-Japan nuclear deal. As the Indian nuclear establishment was basically interested in Japanese technology, not in its reactors, Japanese industry did not find it commercially lucrative to enter into the Indian nuclear market.

It was only when India agreed to buy reactors that the Japanese nuclear industry started seriously working on the deal. Now, it will have to partner with one of the Indian operators like the Nuclear Power Corporation India Limited. A Japanese company, however, will still have less than 50 percent ownership in a nuclear venture. For a short period, Japanese industry also wanted a solution to the nuclear liability issue.

Moreover, Japanese officials wanted proper assurance regarding export control enforcement and outreach for the Indian companies receiving the Japanese goods. India has completely harmonised its export control system along the NSG guidelines and annexes. Besides, India increased its outreach activities for its companies. Some Japanese companies have also started giving export control training to employees of the Indian companies, which are receiving its goods.

In India, too, there were some concerns, and to a certain extent, they exist even now as the two governments have not provided details of the agreement. The India-US 123 agreement is a somewhat detailed document available in the public domain. However, the press briefing of the foreign secretary, Jai Shankar sought to clear the air after the signature ceremony. He informed that all the stages of India-US agreements for civil nuclear energy were compressed in one document for the India-Japan deal.

Implicitly, the foreign secretary conveyed that the template of the 123 agreement had been taken for drafting the India-Japan agreement. Administrative arrangements for India-Japan specific would be worked out later, although the technical annexure attached to the agreement may already have some of the arrangements. But the basic parameters of the agreement would not be different.

The termination clause, one of the concerns in India, exists in the agreement. As the Indian foreign secretary rightly pointed out, it exists in most of the agreements. So, is the concern in India, that in the event of a nuclear test, the deal will be nullified, true?

Theoretically, it is possible. A termination clause exists in the India-US 123 agreement as well, though a nuclear test is not explicitly mentioned. The agreement with the US has provisions for consultation between the two countries and remedial action for India in the case of a termination. The agreement with Japan is not radically different from that.

India will continue to have its right to conduct nuclear tests if the strategic environment changes dramatically and adversely affect India’s security. In such a situation, in reality, both the US and Japan may appreciate the Indian situation. India’s security interests are fast converging with both the countries. Quite importantly, by all the assessments, the next round of nuclear tests in the world will start either with the US or China. So, India may not have much difficulty in managing the situation after its own nuclear tests, which may follow after the tests of these countries.

Regarding reprocessing, too, seemingly, the India-Japan agreement has adopted the 123 model. Reprocessing will be done at a dedicated safeguarded site. In fact, India may help Japan in reprocessing its fuel which it sends outside. Moreover, India and Japan may in the future undertake joint research and development projects.

But still, one question emerges. Why did India focus so much on entering into an agreement with Japan when so many countries were willing to do business with it and have already signed agreements for the purpose? Actually, Japan is preferred because of its reliability and trustworthiness. It is not known for imposing additionalities. Second, its technology is considered more advanced than many of the countries active in global nuclear reactor commerce.

Third, important Japanese nuclear companies have bought stakes in the companies of some of the supplier countries. An agreement with Japan will solve the issue of taking a consent from Japan for doing business with the companies of those countries. Fourth, Japan is emerging as an important strategic partner of India in managing Asian affairs. Together the two countries may push the idea of Asiatom.

Fifth, Japan, a country with advanced technology but declining population, may provide both a base and an opportunity for the Indian scientific force. It could be a win-win situation for both the countries. It is indicated that both the countries may do some innovative work on safety and security, though other countries have the similar provision in their agreements with India.

In the future, the two countries have to consolidate what they have agreed, covered and gained so far. The deal will turn out mutually beneficially for both. India will get its much-needed electricity and technological partnership and Japan will get a market for its companies which are facing a tough situation for several years even before the Fukushima incidents. Really, the sky is the limit for India and Japan in the nuclear and other strategic sectors.

First Published On : Nov 12, 2016 19:44 IST

‘Black money one of the main sources to fund terrorism’: Afghanistan welcomes India’s decision on demonetisation

New Delhi: Underlining that black money is one of the main sources of funding terror activities, Afghanistan on welcomed India’s decision to demonetise high-denomination currency, saying the move will benefit the region.

Afghan Ambassador to India Shaida Abdali said the move will help curb economic terrorism by foiling the usage of counterfeit currency for terror activities.

“Black money is one of the main sources of funding for activities related to terrorism. And therefore it will help in fighting against it. Terrorism certainly has no boundary and so India’s move will help the region too,” he said on the sidelines of the ‘Heart of Asia’ seminar in New Delhi.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The two-day seminar, organised by International Council for World Affairs (ICWA), is being held in the run-up to the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference in Amritsar in December, which India will co-chair with Afghanistan. Earlier, speaking at the event, Abdali appreciated the role of ‘Heart of Asia’ in the stabilisation of Afghanistan and the region while pitching for for bold, result-oriented regional leadership.

“The National Unity Government of Afghanistan took unprecedented steps to address the question of terrorism and improve our relations with Pakistan. We have exchanged with Pakistan several delegations, to secure Pakistan’s cooperation in ending war and violence,” he said. “We appreciated the initial gestures of goodwill of the Pakistani government…but we are yet to see tangible steps to be taken towards the peace process,” he said.

He said zero-sum postures must be discarded and win-win strategies adopted to secure Afghanistan against the same threats that undermine the security of every nation in South Asia and Central Asia, and the countries that neighbour these resourceful regions in Asia.

Abdali said a well-defined regional counter-terrorism strategy was a necessity and no longer an option for stabilisation. The seminar is being attended by representative from several member and supporting countries of ‘Heart of Asia’.

There are 13 member countries, which include Afghanistan, India, China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Besides, there are 30 supporting countries which include the US, the UK and Germany.

In bridge over Ganga, Modi to fulfil plea pending from Nehru’s time

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over five decades after a proposal for making a bridge to link Tarighat in Uttar Pradesh to the north bank of the Ganga was placed before Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to turn it into reality. The date chosen for this is November 14, the birth anniversary of the country’s first Prime Minister.Modi will be laying the foundation stone for the Tarighat-Mau railway line and bridge when he goes to Ghazipur. Besides, he will also address a rally, participating in BJP’s ‘parivartan yatra’ launched on November 5. Besides this, the Prime Minister is expected to address rallies in Kushinagar, Bahraich, Kanpur, Agra, Bareilly and Moradabad.The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), headed by Modi, had cleared the rail project in June. The proposal to build a bridge from Tarighat had come up first in the 1960s after Lok Sabha member Vishwanath Singh Gahmari gave a grim picture of poverty in the eastern UP region. This had touched Nehru and the government set up the Patel Commission, which recommended linking Tarighat to the north bank of the Ganga, to give a boost to economic activity. Sources said the proposal which had been put on the backburner for years was now revived by the BJP government.Ghazipur is also adjacent to Varanasi, the Prime Minister’s Lok Sabha constituency. The BJP is trying to revive the mood of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when it swept the state on the development plank. The BJP has been focusing on the politically crucial Poorvanchal belt, from where five union ministers– Rajnath Singh, Kalraj Mishra, Manoj Sinha, Anupriya Patel and Mahendra Pandey–belong. The party’s state chief Keshav Prasad Maurya, an MP from Phoolpur, is from Kaushambi near Allahabad, where the BJP held its national executive earlier this year.The SP was hoping to win Ghazipur in the general elections, but BJP’s Manoj Sinha, who is now minister of state for railways, defeated the party’s Shivkanya Kushwaha in Ghazipur. The region has a high concentration of backward classes like Patels and Mauryas besides Brahmins, Yadavs, Muslims and Thakurs. The BJP is trying to reach out to the non-Yadav backward classes in the assembly elections due early next year.While launching the yatra from Jhansi, in the economically backward Bundelkhand region, BJP chief Amit Shah has promised to turn UP into the richest state if the party came to power. The party’s four parivartan yatras will culminate in Lucknow on December 24, the eve of the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was an MP from the state capital.Target audienceThe SP was hoping to win Ghazipur in the general elections, but BJP’s Manoj Sinha, who is now minister of state for railways, defeated the party’s Shivkanya Kushwaha in Ghazipur. The region has a high concentration of backward classes like Patels and Mauryas besides Brahmins, Yadavs, Muslims and Thakurs. The BJP is trying to reach out to the non-Yadav backward classes in the assembly elections due early next year.

Maratha community decides to launch their own political front in Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking cue from the Hardik Patel-led Patidar reservation movement, the Maratha community that has been protesting through silent marches across Maharashtra have decided to a float political front. The name of this new party will be Sambhaji Brigade, which has until recently been a Maratha-oriented social outfit and were instrumental in handling the Maratha Revolutionary March protests that created a furore in the state and national political circle. The Sambhaji Brigade is the youth organisation of the Maratha Seva Sangh.The Maratha Revolutionary March started by demanding justice for 13-year-old Maratha girl from Kopardi who was brutally raped and murdered.The other long pending demands of the group include – reservations for the community in the employment and education sectors, review of the Prevention of Atrocities Act and the implementation of Dr Swaminathan report to get the fair prices to farmer products.According to Sambhaji Brigade president Manoj Akare, the group has been in the social field for last 25 years. “Social work is helping us bring in reforms but we need political power to fulfil our promises. Although we registered the Sambhaji Brigade as a political party a few days ago an election symbol has not yet been allotted to us. We have adopted the progressive thinkers’ ideology. We will adore and implement the ideology of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Shahu Maharaj, Mahatma Phule, Dr B R Ambedkar,” Akare said.He added that the foremost agenda of theparty is to provide educated for everyone, make villages liquor free and provide fair rates to farmers products. “There are many youth who were nurtured in the Sambhaji Brigade but a lack of opportunity forced most of them to leave and join other political fronts. They are bound and loyal to their affiliated political fronts and as such are unable to address the community’s issues and implement a farmer oriented agenda in their respective parties. We want to uplift the deprived section through our political work. Now, many Maratha youths will get the opportunity to contest the polls and work for the community. We are also planning to contest the upcoming local body elections,” Akare told DNA.Another leader of Sambhaji Brigade said that once they get the success in Maharashtra, they will make alliances at the national level with other community fronts including the Patels and the Jats.This is not the organisation’s first foray into active politics. Some year ago, the Maratha Seva Sangh had started the Shiv Rajya Party. However, before making any political presence, the front vanished in the crowded political market.Akare said that they had studied the old model and decided to overcome any tactical lacuane. “In the past, people working for the Sambhaji Brigade were unready to contest under a different banner. This time we will not face that issue. The Maratha Seva Sangh will work as an ideological front for the Sambhaji Brigade; something along the lines of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-Bharatiya Janata Party for us. We wish to give the strong and credible option to the people. There may be several political outfits but most of them had failed to resolve the issues of the people. Farmers are still committing suicides and the government has issued no acceptable rates for their produce. We have decided to address all these issues,” said Akare.A former Sambhaji Brigade leader, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that it is wrong step to convert a social front into a political one.”No party can survive on the basis of one caste. We need to take other castes and creeds along with if we are to survive,” he said adding that that the parent organisation Maratha Seva Sangh will self-destruct one of the msot successful movements of recent vintage.”It is wrong to find the answer to every question in politics. There are many things we can do socially. Besides, I think it is too early to launch the political front. At this critical juncture, the Sambhaji Brigade will mostly damage the Shiv Sena’s traditional electorate and will help the BJP and other parties make inroads,” he observed.Some commentators say that a new party would play spoilsport on the regional political arena, which is presently crowded with four major parties and one minor player.”What votes would the Sambhaji Brigade get in such a crowded political scenario? Besides, Sambhaji Brigade has no workers’ network,” one observer said.

Pakistan violates ceasefire in Kathua sector of J&K; BSF retaliates

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan violated ceasefire by using mortar shells in Kathua sector of Jammu and Kashmir at around 7:20 am on Saturday. The BSF said that it had retaliated with small arms and that there were no casualties.Late Friday night, the Army said that Pakistan had violated ceasefire along the LoC in Sundarbani and Pallanwala sectors in Rajouri and Jammu districts.The latest violation comes in the wake of a “barbaric” incident in which terrorists, aided by the cover fire by Pakistani Army, crossed the Line of Control on Friday and killed an Indian army jawan. The terrorists mutilated his body in Macchil sector of Kupwara district of Kashmir. One attacker was killed in the incident which the Indian army said will be “responded to appropriately”.As military confrontation increased on the border, the BSF on Friday claimed to have killed 15 Pakistani soldiers over the last one week. BSF, which primarily guards the International Border with Pakistan, said it had also foiled two infiltration bids in Samba district three days ago. Besides, BAT (Border Action Team) attacks from Pakistani side along the Line of Control have also been thwarted.However, the Pakistan army on Friday claimed that none of its soldiers had died at the border, contradicting the BSF’s assertion. Pakistan accused India of killing three civilians and wounding five others in cross-border fire in the Nakyal sector.

Bag containing explosives found in Allahabad High Court premises

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A plastic bag full of explosives was found inside the high security Allahabad High Court premises late last night, sending authorities into a tizzy.Officials said the bag detected inside a court room was found containing low intensity crude bombs, firecrackers and shrapnels which would not have caused any major damage and were “most likely to have been planted by someone who wished to cause some mischief”.The plastic bag was found inside court room no. 55 by a staff member who informed his superiors following which administrative officials led by District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar and Senior Superintendent of Police Shalabh Mathur rushed to the spot.Bomb disposal squad was also pressed into service which took the bag away from the court room for defusing the explosives.The officials admitted that it was a major security breach at the sprawling High Court premises where 150 police personnel are supposed to keep a round-the-clock watch with the help of 210 CCTV cameras installed in various corners.A company of the CRPF also remains permanently deployed inside the premises.The DM and SSP later said “the bag contained two crude bombs which were defused. Besides, it contained firecrackers and shrapnels”.”They said “the bag is most likely to have been planted by someone who wished to cause some mischief.”It appears to have been kept there after the court was?closed down for five days in view of Diwali festivities.”The explosive material will be sent for forensic examination by way of abundant caution though prima facie the crude bombs were of very low intensity and unlikely to cause any major damage to life and property,” they said.Vehicles, both four-wheelers and two-wheelers, are strictly prohibited from entering the premises and while general public is allowed to visit those parts where a branch of the State Bank of India and a Post Office are located, only those carrying special passes are allowed to enter the court rooms.

1984 riots case: Delhi HC reserves order on Congess leader Sajjan Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi High Court on Monday reserved its order on applications filed by Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and others for transfer of their case relating to 1984 anti-Sikh riots alleging bias by one of the members of the division bench hearing the matter.During arguments, the CBI told a bench of Justices Gita Mittal and P S Teji that these pleas should be dismissed as it was an attempt to delay the proceedings. Kumar and others have alleged in their applications that Justice Teji should not hear the matter as he had heard the case earlier when he was a trial court judge. Countering the submissions, CBI said that Justice Teji had never conducted trial proceedings in the case and had heard the bail plea only when he was a trial court judge, as he, being a sessions judge then, was handling bail matters.Kumar was acquitted by a trial court in 2013 in the case pertaining to the killing of five Sikhs by a mob in Delhi Cantonment’s Raj Nagar area during the 1984 riots. Former MLA Mahender Yadav, who was handed a three year jail term in the matter and is currently on bail, had also alleged that “Justice Teji was exercising keen interest in the matter” and should recuse himself from hearing these appeals. Senior advocate H S Phoolka, appearing for the riot victims, had opposed the pleas saying such allegations should not be entertained by the court.Earlier, CBI in its reply to Kumar’s application had said it was an attempt to cause “obstruction”, delay proceedings and frustrate the course of justice. Besides Kumar and Yadav, convict Kishan Khokkar, who was sentenced to three year in jail and is on bail, has also filed a similar application. While acquitting Kumar, the trial court had held five accused guilty and awarded them varying jail terms for being part of the mob that killed the Sikhs.CBI has moved the high court challenging the acquittal of Kumar in a case relating to the killing of five Sikhs — Kehar Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Raghuvender Singh, Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh, all belonging to the same family, by a mob during the riots.Ex-councillor Balwan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal were given life term, while the remaining two, Yadav and Khokkar, were given three-year jail term each for their lesser roles. They have also challenged their conviction in high court. Besides CBI, the victims’ family members Jagdish and Nirpreet Kaur had also challenged the trial court order.The case against Kumar, a former Lok Sabha MP from Outer Delhi, and others was registered in 2005 on a recommendation by Justice G T Nanavati Commission. CBI had filed two chargesheets against him and other accused in January 2010.

PM Modi to lay foundation stone for Urja Ganga project in Varanasi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi where he will launch a number of projects including a 1,500-km-long gas pipeline costing Rs. 51,000 crore. Prime Minister Modi will launch ‘Urja Ganga’, the gas pipeline project which promises to provide piped cooking gas to residents of Varanasi within two years. He is also scheduled to flag off projects like doubling of railway tracks on the busy Allahabad-Varanasi section and expansion of the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) at Varanasi besides laying foundation stone for a fully air-conditioned perishable cargo centre. He will also release a stamp dedicated to Varanasi, which is believed to be among the oldest surviving ones in the world. Besides, he will lay the foundation stone for widening of a road passing through the city’s crowded Cantonment area. Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister will address a rally near Police Line in Mahoba city. Elaborate arrangements have been made in view of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the town in Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh. The region has been facing drought like situation for last few years and water scarcity is major problem in this area. The Prime Minister is expected to announce water management project and scheme for the region. Besides water and irrigation problems, lack of infrastructure and industry is also cause of distress for people of the region. Linking of Ken and Betwa rivers are also on long time plan as a solution for irrigation in the region.

Centre to act on enemy properties worth over Rs1.1 lakh crore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union home ministry has tasked Custodian of Enemy Property (CEP) of India to prepare a complete status list of enemy properties following which the Centre plans to act and take possession of all such properties.A top government source said there are 9547 enemy properties, having estimated worth of more than Rs. 1.1 lakh crore, scattered in important cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bhopal, Hyderabad and Lucknow etc.”There are court cases pending against 1215 properties. Most of the other properties are under illegal possession and occupation at prime locations in key cities, and can be used to serve government needs that is falling short of space in premium locations.”Enemy properties are those abandoned properties which the government took over when their owners chose to leave India and move to Pakistan and China after Partition and the 1965 and 1971 wars.”It is better if the government takes possession of all such enemy properties before they also get mired in court cases that linger on for years,”said the source.Recently, the government has taken possession of 31 such properties and decided to give their possession to the central reserve police force (CRPF) and border security force (BSF) that facing space crunch for their offices.The Government of India had created the office of CEP under the Enemy Property Act, 1968 soon after the 1965 war to tackle the growing list of abandoned buildings and their encroachment.The new move comes after the government failed to pass an amendment in law governing enemy property.The amended act says once the custodian’s office becomes responsible for a property, it shall continue to remain enemy property even if the original owner ceases to the country’s foe. Besides, the law of succession will not apply to enemy property and cannot be transferred as well.The bill failed to pass in the Rajya Sabha because of protests by the opposition parties following which an ordinance was promulgated to keep the amendment in force.

6 RWAs in Delhi go green, install solar panels for uninterrupted power supply

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the midst of all the buzz around lethal effects of global warming and enormously high pollution levels, small yet powerful initiatives taken up by residential units such as installing solar panels on rooftops appears as a moment of sunshine. Six RWAs in the capital — Nizamuddin, Vasant Kunj, Saket, Kalka Garhi Village, Ashok Vihar and Shahdara — have took to producing solar power to run each of their RWA office-spaces. All the six associations have installed solar panels of 1 KW capacity, which produces enough power to run around six fans and tube lights. The move has helped bring down their monthly electricity bills by around 15% to 20%.The RWAs affiliated to URJA (United RWAs Joint Action), an umbrella body of more than 2000 resident associations in the city, took the step in their campaign for ‘Going Green’. Two of the RWAs — Nizamuddin and Saket — have also started net metering (selling electricity to power grids), which has made it even more cost-effective for the office-bearers.Pradeep Lamba, URJA representative from Nizamuddin RWA, said, “We have installed the panels on the rooftop of our community centre from where we run our RWA office. It produces around 3-4 KWH units daily. There is a reduction of Rs 2000 -Rs 3000 in the monthly electricity bills. Further, we sell the power produced to the grid at Rs 6 per unit every month, which helps bring down the cost even more.”Similarly, Ashok Vihar RWA has the panels installed on their two-storey senior citizen’s center. “The center remains busy with activities and social functions for senior citizens. They have a hall and a recreation room. The electricity bills to run these used to be hefty, where use of solar energy has helped bring it down,” said, Pramod Kohli, secretary, Federation of Ashok Vihar RWAs.Only last year the Centre and the Delhi government had announced subsidies and incentives for solar rooftop installations. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced a scheme that consumers will get an incentive of Rs 2 per unit of solar energy produced from a domestic rooftop. “The 1 KW panels were installed at a cost of Rs one lakh each under the CSR activity in out tie-up with a company. Besides reducing the coost of the electricity bills for running the RWA offices, it has inspired a large number of people including both commercial units and individual households. People are inspired by the initiative and are moving towards it is our biggest achievement,” said, Atul Goyal, convener, URJA.However, he said, it will still take time to become a people’s movement, as solar installations are a costly affair. “Unless the government formulates a policy on the issue, it cannot turn into a revolution of having each domestic rooftop producing solar power. It is important to create a cost-effective model for it to be adopted on a large-scale,’ he said.

Wife’s demand for privacy not cruelty towards husband: Bombay HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Demand for privacy by a married woman after she enters her matrimonial home cannot be dubbed as cruelty towards the husband to grant him divorce, the Delhi High Court has held. “Privacy is a fundamental human right. Oxford dictionary defines privacy as ‘a state in which one is not observed or disturbed by other people.’ So when a woman enters into matrimony, it is the duty of family members of her matrimonial home to provide her with some privacy,” a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Deepa Sharma said. The observation came as the bench dismissed a plea by the husband who had challenged a 2010 trial court order dismissing his petition seeking dissolution of his marriage. Besides cruelty, the husband had also raised the ground of “irretrievable breakdown” of marriage by narrating that their wedlock has virtually lost its meaning as they were living separately for the last 12 years and had reached a point of no return. However, the bench said though the Supreme Court had recommended to the Centre in 2006 the amending of the Hindu Marriage Act to “incorporate irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce. Yet till date this ground of divorce has not been added to the Act”. “This Court thus lacks jurisdiction to dissolve a marriage on the doctrine of ‘irretrievable breakdown’,” the bench said. While holding that the demand for privacy by the wife cannot be termed as cruelty, the high court noted in its judgement that the trial court had rightly observed that her demand to set up a separate home was “not unreasonable”. The bench said, “There is no evidential backing by the appellant (husband) or his family members showing that they had provided requisite privacy to the respondent (wife).The family court was therefore correct in holding that such demand was not unreasonable and as such did not constitute cruelty.” The man, who had married in September 2003, had filed the divorce plea before the trial court alleging that his wife had treated him cruelly and pressurised him to set up a separate home as she did not want to live in a joint family.

Uran alert a prank for Intelligence Bureau, but Maharashra police disagrees

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite Intelligence Bureau terming Uran alert a prank, Maharashtra Home department is still conducting searches across the state and has also put adjacent states on alert as the internal departmental report doesn’t hint at any possible prank.On September 22, Maharashtra was put on high alert after students of Uran Education Society’s school spotted some suspicious men with arms in the early hours of the day and raised an alarm. However, the report filed by the Intelligence Bureau with the Ministry of Home Affairs called the entire episode a “figment of imagination” of a young girl who first raised the alarm.Sources with the state Home department said that their internal report does not specify any such possibility; instead, the story narrated by the young girl was only reported to the police by the school headmistress after another student corroborated it.As per the report, the girl student, aged 14, who first raised the alarm, saw four armed men in black Pathan suit at around 7 am. She immediately told her teacher who informed the headmistress. As a precaution, the headmistress announced it at the school assembly, following which a boy from the same class also reported seeing one such man from the window of his classroom which is on the third floor of the school, at around 6:45 am the same day.Soon after the headmistress alerted the police, the television channel started flashing the news. “We fear that the suspects, on learning it, mingled with the crowd and gave police the slip. However, the security forces are still on alert and are continuing with the search operations. We fear that the suspects might have made their way to neighbouring Goa, Gujarat or Madhya Pradesh, and we have alerted the police departments there as well,” said a senior officer on condition of anonymity.The alert came four days after the terror attack in Uri in which 18 soldiers were killed. The fishing town of Uran is located across the eastern water front of the financial capital. Coastal security has been a top priority after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in which multiple locations in the city were targeted by Pakistani terrorists who landed using the sea route. Besides local police, marine commandos (MARCOS) of the Indian Navy were also deployed on the Karanja naval base on account of the terror alert.

Mumbai: Twist in case against ‘cow-vigilantes’, complainant booked

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a surprising turn in the investigation of complaint filed against cow-vigilantes by the city-based creative director Barun Kashyap Bhuyan, the police on Saturday said his claim was found to be a fiction.Police had taken cognisance of the case when Bhuyan’s Facebook post describing the incident, where, he said, some persons suspected that he was carrying a bag made from cow-hide and grilled him menacingly, went viral in August.However, after thorough investigation, it was found that the incident had never happened, a police officer said. Police on Saturday registered a case against 24-year-old Bhuyan under the IPC sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 182 (giving false information to a public servant). He has not been arrested though.According to a police official, “Around 49 rickshaw drivers were interrogated but none of them matched the details given by the complainant. Besides, Kashyap was also called to identify the rickshaw driver and around 50 drivers were shown to him, but he couldn’t find the accused.” The police interrogation revealed loopholes in the story of the complainant, but when they expanded their search, they found nothing that matched the story. “We later recorded statements of 13 rickshaw drivers about the incident. However, all of them denied any such incident.”Andheri-resident Bhuyan, who hails from Assam, had claimed that on August 20, when he was on his way to the office in a rickshaw, the driver inquired about his leather bag, wondering whether it was made from cow-hide.Bhuyan said he told him that it was of camel-skin, but the rickshaw driver then stopped the vehicle at a temple, and called two men sitting there. They too grilled him.They finally let him go because his name sounded ‘Brahmin-like’, Bhuyan had said, adding that the rickshaw driver told him before leaving: “Aaj tu bach gaya”.The Amboli police, who probed the case, however found that Bhuyan was at his house when the purported incident took place and he had reached his office within only eight-nine minutes after leaving home that day.CCTV footage along the route was also examined. Police had also released sketches of the ‘suspects’. However the month-long probe did not corroborate Bhuyan’s story in any way, police said.”We have registered an offence against Barun Kashyap Bhuyan and are investigating why he made up this story,” said Arun Chavan, Assistant Commissioner of Police, adding that it was suspected that Bhuyan did it only for publicity.With inputs from Forum Gandhi

AIIMS to increase number of seats to 100 for UG courses from 2017

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi will admit 100 students from the country for its undergraduate programme from next academic session, increasing the number of seats from the existing 72, its director announced on Monday. Besides, seven foreign nationals would also be admitted for the institute’s MBBS course from 2017.”In sixty years of its journey, AIIMS has grown in strength, thanks to the sheer dedication of our predecessors and former directors who shaped this institution. It has grown tremendously with time, both academically and in service delivery. We have decided to increase our UG intake, and, I am happy to announce that from next year onwards, we will be admitting 100 students for this course,” AIIMS Director Dr M C Misra said. He was addressing a gathering on the occasion of the Foundation Day of AIIMS currently celebrating its diamond jubilee.The medical college currently admits 77 students — 72 Indian nationals and five foreigners — for UG courses. The percentage of reserved seats under various categories would remain the same, he said.AIIMS Registrar Dr Sanjeev Lalwani said relative share of seats meant for Schedule Caste, Schedule Tribe, OBC and physically handicapped reserved categories would remain the same.AIIMS was established in 1956. It was the vision of Rajkumari Amrita Kaur, the first Health Minister of India, that led to the establishment of a medical institute of international repute in India. Besides, the main Delhi campus, AIIMS also has six regional centres in Bhopal, Patna, Bhubaneswar, Jodhpur, Raipur and Rishikesh.”The regional centres currently admit 100 students each but no foreign nationals. So, the UG intake of AIIMS Delhi will be increased,” Lalwani said.”Besides, we have already increased by almost 90 per cent the intake for DM (Doctorate in Medicine) and MCh (Master of Surgery) programmes. We have been expanding facilities at our Masjid Moth campus here too and at Trauma Centre we have added 1,800 beds. In next 10 years, we target 6,000 beds for AIIMS,” Misra said.

Petition filed in Pak court seeking ban on Indian movies ‘to express solidarity with Kashmiris’

Sat, 24 Sep 2016-06:09pm , Lahore , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A petition was filed on Saturday in the Lahore High Court seeking a ban on the exhibition of Indian movies in the country till resolution of the Kashmir issue. The petition, filed by Advocate Azhar Saddique, alleged that Indian forces are committing atrocities in Kashmir and the Pakistan government has allowed Indian movies to be exhibited in local cinemas and this act is not only hurting the sentiments of Kashmiris but also the Pakistanis. It said the Indian movies are opposed to Pakistan’s Kashmir policy and are a ‘big hurdle’ in freedom movement of Kashmiris.”To express solidarity with Kashmiris the Pakistani government should be ordered to put immediate ban on exhibition of Indian movies across the country,” it pleaded. Besides, the petitioner alleged that the Indian government and other extremist organisations are threatening Pakistani actors to leave India after Uri attack therefore the Pakistani government should respond to India in a firm manner and ban its movies. The court will fix the date of hearing next week.

India seals the deal to buy 36 Rafale fighters for Rs 58,000 crore from France

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It’s final. India and France on Friday signed the much-awaited Rafale fighter jet deal to buy 36 of them in fly-away condition at a cost of Rs58,000 crore. 15 percent of which will be paid in advance.The aircraft will be delivered to IAF within next 36 to 67 months.The deal for the twin-engine fighters signed in the presence of India’s defence minister Manohar Parrikar and his visiting French counterpart here Jean Yves LeDrian has come about after 17 months of intense price negotiations and the final price was agreed at 4.2 billion euros lesser than the original price quoted by France (12 Billion).India also managed to get the aircraft customised with 14 Indian Air Force (IAF) specifications including Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile Meteor that Rafale jets will come fitted with. Besides, the weapons package also includes advanced precision guided air-to-ground long range weapons.As part of the offset obligations, France will invest a total of 50 per cent of the Rs58,000 crore. While 20 percent of it will go into local Rafale component production and the rest into the research for military aeronautics.The deal also entails advanced training of three IAF pilots, one engineer and six technicians by the French air force.In January, 2012 the Manmohan Singh government had decided to buy 18 such aircrafts in “fly-away” condition, and 108 were to be made operational by state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) through the transfer of technology clause.However, Prime Minister Modi, during his France visit lin April, 2015, announced buying 36 of them in fly-away condition by scrapping that tender and invoking “Critical Operational Necessity” of the IAF.Other bidders who lost to Rafale in 2012 were the American F/A-18 and F-16, Russian MiG 35, European Eurofighter and Swedish Saab Gripen.Rafales will provide a much needed succour to IAF whose squadron strength is at 34 currently as against the sanctioned strength of 42. IAF’s front line fighters, the Russian Sukhoi 30’s serviceability is around 55 percent only and vice chief BS Dhanoa in March last said IAF is not ready for a two-front war with China and Pakistan together.Customised aircraftIndia managed to get the aircraft customised with 14 Indian Air Force (IAF) specifications including Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile Meteor that Rafale jets will come fitted with. Besides, the weapons package also includes advanced precision guided air-to-ground long range weapons.As part of the offset obligations, France will invest a total of 50 per cent of the Rs58,000 crore. While 20 percent of it will go into local Rafale component production and the rest into the research for military aeronautics.

BJP bridles its bellicose rhetoric, hopes govt will send message to Pak

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after BJP leader Ram Madhav took a strident “jaw for a tooth” stand on the Uri attack, the party tried to restrain its hawkish eye for eye tone but hoped the government would send a tough message to Pakistan.While BJP leaders agreed that the sentiment within was to give a “befitting” reply, the party leadership was refraining from raising the pitch of its rhetoric. The party, however, is confident that the government was serious about responding.”We don’t know whether the answer will be given diplomatically, economically or through the Armed Forces. We have not tied the hands of Army. Army is free to take steps and the government will stand by it,” said BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh.In an indication that the government was exploring various options, he said, “We don’t have to speak to act.”Meanwhile, union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was quoted by a news agency as saying that India’s relationship with Pakistan will not be the same again. “Our patience is running out. There is a limit to patience. The government will consider strategic and diplomatic options and take a decision,” he said.The BJP is facing the ire of a large section of its supporters on social media. Besides, it would want the government take some steps to raise the morale of its rank and file, though party sources said the response would not be dictated by political considerations like elections in UP and Punjab.Sources said that while the party was not expecting the government to go for a surgical strike in PoK which could lead to civilian casualties, some action along the LoC could be one of the options under examination. Granting political asylum to exiled Baloch leader Brahamdagh Bugti was also being considered.Defence minister Manohar Parrikar briefed party spokespersons on Monday on the developments.Singh said the government was already working on a three-tier fencing of the LoC.BJP leaders also underlined the need to ‘isolate’ Pakistan. “The time has come when it has become important to announce Pakistan as a terror state. The entire world should boycott Pakistan and should be announced as a country that promotes terrorism,” BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said.

Thane: Seven dacoits loot ATM cash handling company of Rs 5 crore

A gang of seven dacoits, wielding knives and chopper, allegedly looted the office of an ATM cash handling company in Thane on Tuesday in the wee hours and decamped with nearly Rs 5 crore, police said.The incident took place when the dacoits, who had their faces covered with monkey caps and handkerchiefs, barged into the office in Teen Hath Naka area at about 3 AM where 4 to 5 staffers were engaged in counting money, Thane Police spokesperson inspector Sukhada Narkar said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to initial reports, the amount was pegged at around Rs 12 crore but after counting of the booty looted, police have estimated a sum of nearly Rs 5 crore. The dacoits kept the three security guards and staffers at bay at gun-point while some of them stacked off the cash.They had also disconnected the CCTV camera connection before fleeing the spot, the officer said. According to a complaint lodged by one of the staffers, the accused spoke in Hindi and Marathi and were attired in half-pants, shirts and vests.Narkar said the company handled cash for bank ATMs, malls and jewellers. At the time of the incident, the cash collected was kept in the office. After receiving an alert, Thane Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh rushed to the scene. He then handed over the probe to crime branch, Thane unit.Singh earlier said that the cash was estimated to be around Rs 7 to 8 crore but the exact figure was established after thorough counting. The accused were carrying knives, a revolver and a chopper. Besides cash, they also looted mobile handsets and CCTV camera recorder worth Rs 40,000, Narkar said.An offence was lodged under 395 (dacoity), 397 (preparation to commit dacoity), 342 (wrongful confinement), 506 (2) and relevant sections of Arms Act, she said. All the accused are at large now and no arrest has been with regard to the incident, police said.

Raghuram Rajan’s exit may fuel middle class anger against Modi govt

Dr Subramanian Swamy was true to character when he launched a blistering personal attack on Raghuram Govind Rajan about a month ago. It is rare that a RBI Governor would be called ‘mentally not fully Indian’, ‘an agent’ of a political party and as someone who made willful moves to ‘wreck the Indian economy’. But trust the maverick BJP leader to pull no punches when he is on the offensive, no matter who the target is. This time, however, there was more to his diatribe than the lack of civility.

As subsequent developments suggest, he was only sounding out to all Rajan fans, the middle class in particular, that it’s time they stopped looking at him with awe. It was also meant to be a message to the man himself that it’s pack up time; he won’t be getting an extension. Since the RBI Governor’s intellectual credentials were impeccable, as were his achievements in the top job, the attack had to be personal and below the belt. That the Narendra Modi government came up with a meek defence for him adds to the suspicion that Swamy was not working on his own.

File photo of Raghuram Rajan. PTIFile photo of Raghuram Rajan. PTI

File photo of Raghuram Rajan. PTI

Rajan’s exit was inevitable. The reason is simple: he didn’t fit in. For a government that indulges in hyperbole almost as a matter of policy, he routinely followed the beg-to-differ line. For a government not very comfortable with contrarian view points, he came up with the discordant note far too often. He spoke his mind, perhaps more than he should have, and offered a sobering touch of reality to the government’s over-enthusiasm. And the middle class loved it. He had the credibility and the authority to be convincing. He had the personal flair to boot. In many ways, he was India’s first people’s RBI Governor. The government, of course, had reason to be wary of him. He was no Vinod Rai, the ex-CAG, yet but he had the potential to be one.

After his exit the middle class would lose one of its icons. Things have not been particularly good for it after the Modi government came to power in 2014. Education, healthcare and housing costs have gone up by double digits. The general level of prices of essential items has not been comfortable either. Besides, the middle class has to bear the cost of the government’s ambitious schemes through several cesses. This was the class that voted overwhelmingly for the BJP in the elections of 2014. Two years and two budgets on, there are some signs of disillusionment here. In Rajan, the middle class found a voice. It wanted the government to be reminded that it should stop trying impressing people with slogans and circuses and get in touch with reality. They secretly appreciated the fact that the RBI Governor spoke what they wanted to convey.

What he achieved during his tenure—bringing down inflation sharply, building a strong Forex reserve, bring in reforms in the banking sector and standing up to the government on lending rates- may be beyond the comprehension of many, but his persona allowed him to bridge the gap with people and made him relatable unlike other RBI Governor’s earlier.

The victory, if there’s at all one, might prove expensive for the government. Beyond all that hype and hoopla, it needs people to keep it in touch with the ground and tell where it could be going wrong. The middle class displeasure needs a point of ventilation. With only ‘yes men’ manning critical institutions, the scope for it is killed. This class, of course, would remember the lack of courtesy shown towards a man with such personal integrity.

IIT-JEE results: Kota institute Allen Career makes history, students bag all top 3 ranks

Kota’s Allen Career Institute recorded its name in history on Sunday, when its students secured all top three ranks in IIT JEE-Advanced (IIT-JEE) 2016. Aman Bansal (17), Allen student from Jaipur centre, topped the prestigious entrance exam by securing 320 out of 372 marks, said Allen director Rajesh Maheshwari.Bhavesh Dhingra from the coaching centre in Chandigarh secured AIR 2 with 312 marks. He is also the zone topper for IIT-Roorkee. Kunal Goyal, another student from Allen bagged the third position with 310 marks. Besides these three, Allen student Ishan Tarunesh topped in IIT-Guwahati zone, while bagging an AIR 33. Allen student Sharvik Mittal secured AIR 29, topping the IIT-Kanpur zone, Maheshawari said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Topper Aman Bansal said he never bothered about the ranks, but devoted quality time to his studies and maintained confidence in his abilities. Success certainly follows hard work, he said, adding that now he wants to pursue B.Tech in computer science from IIT-Mumbai. Besides studies, Aman loves playing indoor games to keep his mind fresh and energetic. He scored 98% marks in Std XII, with 100% marks in chemistry and 99% marks in Math. He credited Allen for boosting his confidence through a series of tests. Aman’s father Mukesh Bansal is posted as Ex En PHED in Jaipur, while his mother Anju Goyal is a housewife.Second rank holder Bhavesh Dhingra said clarity of concepts was his strength, and he also focused on time management. In IIT-JEE Advanced paper, he first attempted chemistry, followed by physics and math. To keep himself fresh and relaxed, he played table tennis, Badminton and listened to music. Bhavesh’s father Inderjeet Dhingra is a retired bank manager and mother Savita is a housewife in Yamunanagar.Third rank holder Kunal Goyal said he secured 290 in JEE-Mains but he secured 310 marks in Advanced paper, as he did not repeat his mistakes. Learning to Improve and avoid silly mistakes is his strength, Goyal said, adding that now he wants to do B.Tech in computer science from IIT Mumbai. Kunal’s father S K Goyal is an engineer in the irrigation department and mother Manju Goyal is a housewife. He said he played mobile games to keep his mind refreshed.Another student from Allen, Gaurav Didwania, secured AIR 9 in the exam, said Nitesh Sharma, chief marketing officer of Allen. He added that it was for the first time that first three top ranks of IIT-JEE Advanced were secured by students from the institute. Notably, in 2014, Allen student Chitarng Murdia had secured AIR 1 in JEE-Advanced, he added.Meanwhile, Sunil Kumar, son of farmer Ram Kumar in Kathel district of Haryana, also bagged an All-India Rank with 258 marks. Last year, Sunil secured 3,561 rank in JEE-Advanced but instead of seeking admission in IIT-Kharagpur, he attempted for the second time this year and succeeded, said Maheshwari. Sunil was awarded 75% scholarship, he added. His mother Rambhateri is a housewife.

Rajnath Singh to be BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in UP?

Union home minister Rajnath Singh could be the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming UP Assembly election. The decision could be formalised at the meeting of top party leaders at the BJP’s two-day national executive meeting in Allahabad from Sunday.Sources in the party say Singh’s name could be announced as the head of the state election campaign committee chairman, which would immediately make him the driver of the party’s electoral bandwagon in UP. The party leadership is reported to have conveyed the plan to Singh and the latter’s acceptance is awaited.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh’s choice as the CM hopeful would solve the BJP’s long-standing dilemma of having a recognized face with a proven track record in UP to lead its electoral battle in this crucial state. Rajnath has been UP CM and knows the ins and outs of UP politics and its players like the back of his hand. Having been party president twice, he has the stature to stand up to opponents like BSP chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav.Party leaders agree that in the present circumstances, Singh could be the best bet for the party. Earlier, the party has been known to mull over the names of Varun Gandhi, Smriti Irani, Yogi Adityanath and even the virtually retired Kalyan Singh.However, none of them could measure up considering the challenge likely to be mounted by veteran foes like Mulayam and Mayawati. Besides, there is talk in the Congress camp of Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra leading the charge for the grand old party.In such a scenario, the BJP obviously didn’t want to be seen as an also-ran with a second rung or relatively unknown leader spearheading its campaign.Moreover, the party looks keen to repeat its Assam experiment where it used Union minister and prominent state leader Sarvanand Sonewal to emerge the winner. If Singh agrees to lead the campaign here, UP could witness a similar scenario.Party leaders also point out that Singh could draw the sizeable Thakur votebank since there is no other leader from this aggressive and prosperous upper caste group who could challenge him.Singh’s performance as UP chief minister also promises to stand him in good stead. Besides, Singh has good backing in the ‘Sangh parivar’ with his strong no-compromise posturing on ‘Hindutva’ and the Ram temple reconstruction issue.

Ken-Betwa green clearance deferred, MoEF panel seeks more studies

The environment and forest ministry’s expert panel on river valley and hydroelectric projects has deferred environment clearance (EC) for the ambitious Rs.10,000 crore Ken-Betwa river linking project in its last meeting on June 2, and has sought more clarity on its wildlife and hydrological impact, sources privy to developments said. The controversy hit project intends to divert water from Ken river in Madhya Pradesh to Betwa river in Uttar Pradesh for irrigation and it will submerge 5,258 hectares of forest land including 4,141 ha of Panna Tiger Reserve.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the meeting this Thursday, the project’s authority, National Water Development Agency (NWDA), explained the findings of an expert committee that had visited Panna Tiger Reserve, and measures they suggested to mitigate impact on wildlife. But, according to sources from NWDA, the meeting could not come to a conclusion as the members of the expert appraisal committee (EAC) on river valley and hydroelectric projects had several doubts regarding the project’s hydrological feasibility, its impact on hydrology and wildlife too. The EAC also deferred the clearance as the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) is yet to give its final recommendations on reducing impact on wildlife.Earlier in February, the EAC had said that it will look at the project’s green clearance only after NBWL takes a call on its wildlife clearance. In order to study impact on wildlife, NBWL appointed an expert committee to inspect the Panna Tiger Reserve and submit a report to it. But on May 10, even before the expert committee could submit the report, it agreed to give in-principle wildlife clearance for the project after it “considered the importance of the project for meeting the irrigation need of Bundelkhand region” and after experts explained the project’s impact on wildlife from experts. Even while giving in-principle approval for the project, NBWL had said that wildlife and hydrology experts need to deliberate on it further before final recommendations can be issued.Sources privy to developments in the EAC said many serious issues related to the project are yet to resolved. “Wildlife is one component, aspect of the clearance process. Things have to be considered in totality and for that certain studies and we need to also study parallels all over the world where this has happened. These studies will require some time, so we are not in haste to decide on an issue which is environmentally so sensitive. In such big projects, loss of two, three months or even a year is inconsequential because it is a sensitive issue,” said another source in the know of developments.The inspection committee that comprised of HS Singh, wildlife expert Raman Sukumar and a member each from National Tiger Conservation Authority, Wildlife Institute of India, Madhya Pradesh government and NWDA found that the project dam is likely to affect crucial habitats of tigers, sloth bears and leopards. Thus, reducing the height of the Daudhan dam and compensating submergence of forest by adding more forest are two crucial recommendations made by the expert committee.According to members of the committee, its report has said that Panna Tiger Reserve has a unique geomorphological features such as gorges, rock caves and crevices that will be threatened due to the submergence. “Tigers, leopards, bears and jungle cats use gorges, rock crevices and caves as shelter and to give birth to litter. The water of Ken river flows close to these structures and thus these shelters remain cool in summer. Besides, the 221-km canal linking the two rivers will divide non-forest areas where foxes, jackals and leopards are found,” HS Singh told dna.Project likely to affect crucial habitats
The inspection committee that comprised of HS Singh, wildlife expert Raman Sukumar and a member each from National Tiger Conservation Authority, Wildlife Institute of India, Madhya Pradesh government and NWDA found that the project dam is likely to affect crucial habitats of tigers, sloth bears and leopards. Thus, reducing the height of the Daudhan dam and compensating submergence of forest by adding more forest are two crucial recommendations made by the expert committee. According to members of the committee, its report has said that Panna Tiger Reserve has a unique geomorphological features such as gorges, rock caves and crevices that will be threatened due to the submergence. “Tigers, leopards, bears and jungle cats use gorges, rock crevices and caves as shelter and to give birth to litter. The water of Ken river flows close to these structures and thus these shelters remain cool in summer. Besides, the 221-km canal linking the two rivers will divide non-forest areas where foxes, jackals and leopards are found,” HS Singh told dna.

Rajasthan: Ashok Gehlot wants government to change MNREGA work timings

Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday demanded change in the work timings under MGNREGA and alleged that the state government’s ‘negligence’ was taking a toll on the labourers.He alleged that five labourers died due to heatstroke in Banswara, Jalore, Ajmer, Nagaur and Jhalawar during MGNREGA work in the recent days but the government has not changed the timings. Gehlot said the timings were changed in summers during his rule but the BJP government had “nothing to do” with the labourers and was “neglecting” the matter.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The time for MGNREGA workers during the Congress-rule was from 7 am to 11 am. Besides, the government should also make proper arrangements for sheds, drinking water, medicines and other necessary things, Gehlot said in a statement.

Elephant tramples man in Chhattisgarh, sixth such incident in one month

Korba, Chhattisgarh: Elephant attacks continue to claim lives in Chhattisgarh’s Korba district as another villager was trampled by a wild jumbo taking the death toll to six in the region this month.

The local forest authority has sought permission to tranquilise two ‘rogue’ tuskers in order to shift those to another place or kill the pachyderms if necessary.

“Mukhiram Manjhwar (45) was attacked by the jumbo last night while he was sleeping in front of his house at Pidiya village under Kartala forest range,” Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Korba Forest Division Vivekanand Jha said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Dori (Mahua fruit) was kept in front of the victim’s house and a jackfruit tree was also there. Prima facie it appears that pachyderm was attracted by the smell of Mahua or jackfruit, the DFO said.

So far six villagers, including two women, were killed by three rogue tuskers at separate places in Kartala and Kudmura forest ranges of Korba division this month.

An elderly woman, Samudribai Rathiya, was killed on Monday morning near Charmar village in Kartala forest range when she had gone to pick Mahua fruits.

“Of the three rogue tuskers, one has now joined its herd while two others are still venturing alone in the forests.
After monitoring the activities of the elephants for the past few days, we have become certain that the animals have gone rogue,” Jha said.

In a letter to Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (wildlife), we have sought his direction into the matter. Besides, permission has also been sought to tranquilise the two tuskers and shift them to other region or kill them if necessary keeping in view the welfare of people, he said.

“The chances of human-animal conflict increases in this season as villagers go in the forest to pluck tendu leaves and pick mahua fruits. After the recent incidents, the villagers have been advised to take precautions and stay alert,” the DFO said.

Moreover, Van Samiti (forest committees) have been asked to organise meeting with villagers to discuss the situation and take necessary precautions, Jha added.

The thickly forested northern Chhattisgarh, comprising Surguja, Korba, Raigarh, Jashpur and Korea districts, are notorious for incidents of human-elephant conflict.

The region has witnessed killings of several people and damages to houses and crops by rogue elephants in the last few years.

In a battle against rising pollution, govt’s vehicle scrapping policy looks laborious

It is heartening to know that the government has finally come up with a proposal to scrap vehicles registered before 2005. This has been a consistent demand of the automobile industry and also makes sense in India’s battle against rising pollution.

What does not quite click in the proposal though is the idea that multiple agencies will be involved to achieve this ambitious plan. Unlike similar schemes in some other countries like the US and UK, the government itself has not proposed to buy out old vehicles and scrap these while providing cash incentives to vehicle owners.



Lack of cash incentives could become a sore point in successful implementation of this scheme. Besides, will commercial vehicle owners find it lucrative enough – given that government’s own data show that while MHCVs (trucks and buses) are just 2.5% of total fleet, they contribute to almost 60% of pollution?

According to the proposal put up for public consultations by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, there is laborious, three-part process to be followed. Called Voluntary Vehicle Fleet Modernization Plan (V-VMP) for vehicles bought on or before 31st March 2005, the ministry estimates total potential vehicles to be replaced with this definition to be 28 million. It wants the replacement vehicle to be BS IV compliant, a standard which will be applicable from March next year. So anyway the proposal cannot be implemented before next fiscal.

The proposal says vehicle owners shredding their old vehicle will get monetary incentives thus:

1) scrap value from old vehicle
2) automobile manufacturers’ special discount and
3) partial excise duty exemption.

At least from the proposal it seems that at no stage does the vehicle owner get a direct cash incentive. And unlike the ‘cash for clunkers’ scheme which the US implemented successfully in 2009, the government is not directly buying and scrapping old vehicles. Instead, there is a multi-layered process involved with different agencies such as newly envisaged scrappage centres, dealerships etc, besides requiring unprecedented coordination between various agencies involved, this scheme in its present form does not appear to be time bound.

Cash for clunkers has been implemented across the globe in countries like the UK, US, Germany, France and Spain, for limited periods during the global recession of 2009, in a bid to drive sales in the domestic auto industry. The government buys up some of the oldest, most polluting vehicles and scraps them. If done successfully, it holds the promise of stimulating the economy, improving the environment and reducing gas consumption besides improving road safety.

In the US, cash for clunkers was introduced during the recession and was an attempt to stoke growth within the economy. the scheme was tailor made in such a way that it also incentivised the US consumer to shift away from gas guzzlers.

Under the UK car scrappage scheme, a £2,000 incentive was paid to motorists who scrap cars registered before 31 August 1999 to buy a new car. The government contributed £1,000 and the remaining amount came from the dealers and manufacturers.

China substituted an estimated 2.7 million high polluters from the national car fleet by offering rebates of $450 to $900 from June 2009 to May 2010 while Indonesia launched a scrappage scheme in 2009 paying owners of vehicles at least 10 years old MR5,000 ($1,354) was shared equally by the government and auto makers.

According to the government’s estimate, India has more than 180 million registered vehicles today – a surge of more than 8 times over last 25 years. The ministry’s proposal says it expects customers to receive three benefits amounting to 8-12% of total vehicle cost.

Anyway, the proposal falls short of automobile industry’s expectations for sure. As per this story in Mint newspaper,  a presentation by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers some three years back had proposed that customers receive concessions of up to Rs.1 lakh in taxes if they sell vehicles older than 15 years. The first stage of the scheme, the presentation said, should cover India’s eight largest cities, and could see as many as 8.9 million passenger vehicles and 1.47 million commercial vehicles being scrapped. The industry’s pitch to the government at that time was that: doing this will generate Rs.31,332 crore of revenue for the government through taxes in these eight cities alone.

What India’s automobile industry needs is a single window vehicle replacement programme with tangible benefits for owners of old vehicles.

‘Judicial officers must avoid disclosing identity of the victim in sexual assault cases’: Delhi High Court

Judicial officers should not mention the name of victims in the judgements passed in sexual assault cases and they “must avoid” disclosing the identity to protect their reputation, the Delhi High Court has said.Justice SP Garg said this while noting that a magistrate as well as district and sessions judge had mentioned the name of victim in their orders in a molestation case. “Before parting with the case, it is noted that in the judgement dated October 21, 2013, name of the victim has been disclosed/mentioned. The trial court was not expected to indicate the victim’s name in the judgement,” the court said. “The mistake has been carried out by the district and sessions judge too. Presiding officers must avoid disclosing identity of the victim in such cases in the judgement to protect her reputation,” it said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court noted it while dismissing a revision petition filed by a man challenging the legality and correctness of a July 2014 judgement passed by the district and sessions judge on his appeal against a magisterial court’s verdict convicting him for the offence under section 354 (molestation) of IPC.
ALSO READ Tehelka sexual assault: Case filed for disclosing rape victim’s identityThe magistrate had awarded one-year jail term to the man for outraging the modesty of a seven-year-old girl in Okhla here in July 2012. During the hearing before the high court, the counsel appearing for the man had argued that he was not challenging the findings of the conviction. The lawyer requested the court to take a lenient view considering the fact that the man was around 70-year-old and has remained in custody for “sufficient duration”.”Since the petitioner (man) has given up challenge to the findings on conviction, conviction under section 354 IPC stands affirmed. Besides it, there is ample evidence on record to establish petitioner’s guilt,” the court noted. The court refused to show any leniency observing that the man was “well aware of the consequences of his act” and the victim was “like his grand-daughter”.

Where are the jobs? asks P Chidambaram

Responding to BJP government’s celebrations trumpeting achievements of two years of its rule, the Congress on Saturday fielded former finance minister P Chidambaram to raise pointers at the ‘economic downturns’.Chidambaram’s appearance to take on the BJP after a long gap incidentally coincided with Congress nominating him for Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra for the biennial elections along with Kapil Sibal and Jairam Ramesh from Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka respectively.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Describing Modi government’s positives as meagre and not amounting to even a ‘bare pass’ in the overall score card, Chidambaram asked, “Where are the jobs? The most notable failure of the NDA government has been in job creation.””The average citizens need jobs and incomes. They do not consume GDP numbers,” said Chidambaram raising questions on the methodology of calculating GDP which he said, “If calculated under the methodology of old series would be around 5% and not 7.6%.””The ferment in universities can be partly attributed to the bleak future faced by graduates. Besides, there are millions of young people who will complete no more than 8 or 10 years of school education and will have no special skills. Where are the jobs for them?” Chidambaram asked.The former finance minister pointed out that annual sales growth of all firms in 2015-16 was negative at — 5.7% while annual sales growth of manufacturing firms was negative at – 11.2%.”These are reflected in credit growth which is at a 20 year low of 9.8%. They are also reflected in merchandise exports which was -15.5% in 2015-16. They are also reflected in the slump in merchandise exports which was – 15.5% in 2015-16,” said Chidambaram.Taking a pick on Modi government’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ programme, Chidambaram described it as a non-starter.”…The bulk of the FDI inflows have come into the Services and not into Manufacturing. 893 projects were classified as stalled projects in March 2016. According to CMIE, 1137 projects slipped into the categories of stalled/shelved/abandoned in the last two years. There is no evidence of private investment in Greenfield manufacturing industries,” said Chidambaram.Wondering why there is no clarity if the government and the RBI have agreed on the strategy for inflation management that has increased from 3.7% in July 2015 to 5.4% in April, 2016, Chidambaram said, “In the absence of an agreed strategy, inflation is bound to increase.”Simultaneously, the Congress also released a 60-page booklet titled ‘Sachchai Ka Aina – Pragati Ki Tham Gayi Chaal Do Saal, Desh Ka Bura Haal’ that takes pot shots on various schemes and policy decisions of Modi government along with cartoons showing PM Modi as an unsuccessful dream merchant.

Rajan’s reappointment an administrative subject, should not be of media’s interest, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the issue of reappointment of RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan was an administrative subject and it should not be an issue of interest of the media, in his first comments in the wake of continuing attack on the top economist in recent months.”I don’t think this administrative subject should be an issue of interest to the media,” Modi said.”Besides, it will come up only in September,” he told The Wall Street Journal, referring to the three-year term of Rajan which ends in September.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Do you support the reappointment of Mr Rajan, the central bank governor?” the Prime Minister was asked.As an outspoken RBI Governor, Rajan has expressed his views on host of issues, including intolerance and has even described India as ‘one-eyed king’ in the land of blind in reference to the country’s high economic growth.BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has levelled allegations against Rajan including of sending confidential and sensitive financial information around the world and asked the Prime Minister to sack him immediately.The BJP leader also accused Rajan of publicly disparaging the Modi government and alleged that he is a member of “a US dominated group” that was set up to defend America’s dominant position in the global economy.
ALSO READ Swamy vs Rajan: PM Modi should apologise for Swamy targeting Raghuram Rajan, demands CongressFinance Minister Arun Jaitley has said RBI and the government are in continuous dialogue and that relationship will continue.Jaitley also said that he does not approve of “personal comments” against anyone including the RBI Governor.

Rajan’s reappointment administrative subject, should not be of media’s interest: PM Modi

Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the issue of reappointment of RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan was an administrative subject and it should not be an issue of interest of the media, in his first comments in the wake of continuing attack on the top economist in recent months.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

“I don’t think this administrative subject should be an issue of interest to the media,” Modi said.

“Besides, it will come up only in September,” he told The Wall Street Journal, referring to the three-year term of Rajan which ends in September.

“Do you support the reappointment of Mr Rajan, the central bank governor?” the Prime Minister was asked.

As an outspoken RBI Governor, Rajan has expressed his views on host of issues, including intolerance and has even described India as one-eyed king in the land of blind in reference to the country’s high economic growth.

BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has levelled allegations against Rajan including of sending confidential and sensitive financial information around the world and asked the Prime Minister to sack him immediately.

The BJP leader also accused Rajan of publicly disparaging the Modi government and alleged that he is a member of “a US dominated group” that was set up to defend America’s dominant position in the global economy.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said RBI and the government are in continuous dialogue and that relationship will continue.

Jaitley also said that he does not approve of “personal comments” against anyone including the RBI Governor.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut files nomination for Rajya Sabha election

Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut filed his nomination from Maharashtra for the Rajya Sabha election slated for June 11. Also, senior Sena leaders and ministers in Maharashtra government Subhash Desai and Diwakar Raote filed their nominations for the state Legislative Council elections of June 10. In Maharashtra, six RS seats are up for grabs while there are 10 vacancies in the Legislative Council. Besides Raut and Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal (who filed his nomination on May 24), the Rajya Sabha MPs from Maharashtra whose term is expiring are Ishwarlal Jain and Praful Patel (both NCP), Vijay Darda and Avinash Pande (both Congress). <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the arithmetic, BJP and Shiv Sena can wrest at least one seat each from Congress and NCP given the present strength in the Legislative Assembly. The number of votes required to win election by a candidate is 42.Sena has 63 MLAs, BJP 122, Congress 42 and NCP 41.

Maharahstra: Government may rope in resident doctors to improve prisoners’ health

The home department is working on the possibility of roping in MBBS resident doctors under an ongoing welfare and rehabilitation of prisoners programme to help improve the health conditions of prisoners. The plan will also focus on providing regular sanitary napkins to female prisoners for better hygiene.Besides that, the department is aiming at starting short-term certified/training programmes in giving first-aid and undertaking community health programmes to enhance the availability of emergency health services. Not just that, the courses will also help the inmates find livelihood avenues upon their release.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are exploring the opportunity of incorporating ‘prison services’ in the bond of graduating MBBS students through the Department of Medical Education and Research (DMER). We are hopeful that it will work as a major step towards the improvement of overall health services of inmates,” said a senior officer from prison department.The department has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Tata trust, which is working on the implementation of the welfare programme. The programme will also focus on organising health awareness events in prisons in partnership with the health department and recognised NGOs and institutions. There will be a special emphasis on ‘mental health’ services and counselling within prisons after liasoning with relevant government departments with their consent.As of now, this scheme will only be implemented in five central prisons of Maharashtra and be implemented within the next three years. Besides, the department also has plans of hiring consultant dieticians to ensure that prisoners get exactly “2,100” calories a day.The dietician will also look into the qualitative aspect of the diet. The officer said the idea is to further improve the diet of the prisoners. “We are trying to make their diet better. The said quantity is scientifically calculated for an average adult,” Singh said.The department is also planning to introduce gymnasiums in prisons on a trial basis to help inmates stay fit. Sources claim that the decision was taken after there were reports of prisoners gaining too much weight. However, no survey has been conducted to confirm the reports. As of now, a prisoner is provided with two full meals in a day, besides two tea breaks.

People from inadequately represented sections joining civil services: Union Minister Jitendra Singh

Citing sudden upsurge of women power in civil services, Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Wednesday said more and more candidates from inadequately represented sections of the society were making it to top government jobs.He was speaking after meeting with three toppers of civil services examination–Tina Dabi, Athar Aamir Ul Shafi Khan and Jasmeet Singh Sandhu–who had called on the Minister at his North Block office.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congratulating the three youngsters for achieving the meritorious distinction, Singh said, it is a pleasant coincidence that ever since the Modi government took over two years ago, there has been a sudden upsurge of women power in civil services, according to a press release issued by the minister’s office.For example, he said, in the last year’s exam, four out of six toppers were girls while in this year’s exam, two out of four toppers are also girls. Besides Tina, Artika Shukla is the girl who has stood fourth, Singh said.Another notable trend in the last few years is that more and more candidates were making it to civil services from those sections of society which were hitherto not adequately represented. The profile of the three toppers of this year is also a testimony to this trend, he said.”The three toppers represent the hitherto lesser represented sections of society in civil services, which is an indication that the IAS and civil services have finally moved away from being ‘elite services’ as they were generally described earlier.”The government is committed to make civil services more and more identifiable with the aspirations of the common man,” said Singh, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.He said the present government’s thrust on citizen centric governance can be achieved by such young civil servants who come from the average common man’s background and can easily identify with the aspirations of the common youth of India who comprise more than 65% of the country’s population today.Singh said states like Jammu and Kashmir which, till few years ago, complained of not having enough number of direct IAS officers, will also feel gratified as more and more number of candidates from J-K are now making it to the civil services and also requesting for home cadre.Wishing Tina, Athar and Jasmeet best of career, he said, they have 30 to 35 years to serve which is a long period, during which many ministers and many governments will come and go, but they would have to shoulder the responsibility of maintaining continuity in services through the transition of different time-phases.Singh said they are also lucky to enter into the services at a time when India is on the verge of becoming a world power and they would have the satisfaction of being architects of India’s grand historic evolution to emerge as frontline nation of the world.

Security beefed up for 3rd phase of Bihar panchayat polls

State Election Commission has made adequate security arrangements for the third phase of panchayat polls in Bihar.Voting will begin at 7 AM in 62 blocks of 38 districts at 13,307 polling stations where 65,95,475 voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in the third round of polling, State Election Commission’s (SEC) Secretary Durgesh Nandan said. “All the polling stations would be manned by armed forces in tomorrow’s (May 2) polling. Besides, 3,997 patrolling magistrates have been assigned for the purpose,” the SEC Secretary said, adding that observers have been appointed in the blocks going to polls in the third phase.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To ensure free, fair and peaceful polling, the SEC has further appointed ‘observers’ in all the 62 blocks which will go to polls tomorrow. In tomorrow’s polling, votes would be cast to elect 129 members of Zila Parishad, 1,284 members of panchayat samities, Mukhiya and Sarpanch in 941 gram panchayats, 12,863 members of Gram Panchayat and 12,863 members of ‘Gram Kutchery’.Polling would be held from 7 AM to 5 PM except in Maoist-affected areas where voting would come to end at 3 or 4 PM, he said. The 10 phase three-tier panchayat polls are being held to elect a total of 1,161 members of Zila Parishad, 11,496 members of Panchayat Samities, Mukhiya and Sarpanch in 8,392 gram panchayats, 1,14,733 each members in Gram Panchayat and Gram Kutchery in the state.The remaining eight phases would be held on May 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, 26 and 30.

Third phase of odd-even scheme only after analysing reports and surveys: Gopal Rai

Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai on Friday said the government will implement the third edition of odd-even scheme only after analysing report of its six-member committee and surveys of media organisations on the ongoing second phase of the car-rationing plan. Rai said that after analysing surveys and reports, Delhi Cabinet will take a final decision on introducing the next phase of the car-rationing plan in the national capital.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government’s move came a day after the Transport minister appealed to newspapers and news channels to conduct an open survey on the existing odd-even scheme, alleging conspiracy is being hatched to “sabotage” the scheme.Last week, government had constituted a six-member committee, headed by Special Transport Commissioner K K Dahiya, to study the impact of the opening of schools and hot weather during the scheme and also suggest when the government should implement the next edition of the scheme.”We have decided to analyse surveys of media organisations which have been appealed by the government to conduct open surveys on second phase of odd-even scheme through various modes like SMS, field survey and others. Besides, we recently constituted the six-member committee to study the impact of opening of schools and hot weather in its second edition. We will analyse both surveys of media organisations and our committee’s report. Thereafter, Delhi Cabinet will decide the fate of third phase of the scheme,” Rai told PTI.The minister said Delhi government is strengthening public transport system by introducing new buses so that people won’t have to face problems in the next phase of odd-even scheme. On Thursday, Rai had claimed that many people are following odd-even scheme.He had said that some TV channels are telecasting seven videos on traffic-congestion and seeing them, it seems that due to odd-even scheme, people are “facing a lot of difficulties”, but the real picture is different.”When we meet people, they say that odd-even scheme is good, but TV channels are showing different pictures,” Rai had said on Thursday. HSC 10th Results 2016: Odisha Board ( HSC Matrix Exam Results 2016 declared

Over 6 lakh students appeared for the HSC class 10 exam conducted by Board of Secondary Education, Odisha earlier this year. The wait will be over now. The board has declared the results on the official websites.The Board authorities said no result booklets would be published this year as the results along with the mark sheet would be available on the website itself.The Board of Secondary Education, Odisha is a Body Corporate constituted under the Odisha Secondary Education Act, 1953. It regulates, controls and develops Secondary Education in the State of Odisha. It Provides varied courses in order to equip students for different occupations, to prepare them for University education and to equip them for various cultural purposes. It examines those who have completed a prescribed course of study and awards certificates to the successful candidates. Besides, it does all other things which are incidental to the above.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Follow this procedure to check your results – 1. Visit the websites: and orissaresults.nic.in2. Click on ‘HSC Class 10th Result 2016’3. Enter your details such as name and registration number.4. Your results will be displayed on the screen.5. Now, you can take print out of your scores.

Bihar: Heinous crime rate declined by 27% after liquor ban

Bihar government on Monday said rate of heinous crimes has decreased by 27 per cent in the month of April since the imposition of total prohibition in the state.A high-level meeting held by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with senior officials of Patna division comprising six districts of Patna, Nalanda, Bhojpur, Rohtas, Buxar and Bhabua, highlighted that the rate of heinous crime from April 1 to April 23 this year was 2,328 as compared to 3,178 during the corresponding period in 2015.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The fact regarding lowering of crime rate was stated by Commissioner Patna division Anand Kishore during the meeting held by Nitish Kumar to take stock of situation in the wake of promulgation of total ban on liquor in the state on April 5 last, an official statement said.The Commissioner informed the meeting that cases of death in road accidents have also come down during this period after declaration of the state as total dry. Besides, tension during communal procession and other kind of march have also witnessed a slide due to prohibition, it said.The CM during the meeting, in which Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav, Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and state police chief P K Thakur were present, asked about raids conducted to enforce prohibition and arrest of persons under the new Excise law. He also enquired about check posts and barriers put in the districts for catching liquor bottles and functioning of de-addiction camps in the districts.Kumar, who took a decision to declare Bihar a complete dry state from April 1, has been leaving no stones unturned to plug the loopholes in implementation of the decision.Starting today, the CM is scheduled to hold such high level review meetings of other divisions too to ensure success of total prohibition and also make preparation for implementation of seven resolves of his government, which has been adopted as a policy of governance of the grand secular alliance for the next five year.

For every 50,000 students, there must be a varsity or sub-campus: Report

Maharashtra needs at least 18 sub-campuses, if not separate universities, to ease out state-run universities which are struggling with huge workload in changing times, states a latest government report.”For every 100 colleges or 50,000 students, or every district, there must be a sub-campus of the university. However, for not so-crowded districts, one sub-campus between the two districts would suffice,” says the Yoganand Kale committee report.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sanjay Kharat, deputy secretary of Higher education department told dna, “The committee has recommended total 18 sub-campuses of 11 public universities. This includes three already existing sub-campuses (Thane, Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri) of Mumbai University.”The committee has also proposed that these sub-centres can be developed into new universities in future.The report also presented a comprehensive road map about establishment of these sub-centres of varsities. It suggests that state and varsities should equally share the financial burden of setting up new sub-campuses.The sub-campuses must be within 15 kilometres of the district headquarter. The land for the sub-campus should be acquired by the government, after the varsity identifies the same.The committee has also suggested to rope in local public representatives like MLAs and MPs for financial aid in the development of the sub-campuses in their area.The committee has estimated that a capital of Rs50 crore would be required for each sub-campus which will equally be shared by the state and the varsity concerned. Besides, recurring cost of the campus could touch Rs1 crore annually considering the staff strength of 40, including teaching and non-teaching staff. This must also be shared by the varsity and state, states the report.Yoganand Kale committee was constituted a year ago has submitted its report to the government in February end. The report is yet to be tabled before the cabinet.Mumbai University has over 800 associated colleges and a student strength of 8.5 lakh. Nagpur University has over 900 affiliated colleges.Due to increasing number of students and colleges, administration and examination departments at several public universities have almost collapsed. This has led to a wide-spread demand of setting up more universities or sub-campuses not only to reduce the varsities’ workload but also help students who often struggle for basic needs like timely results, revaluation, issuance of marksheets etc.Ram Takawale committee, a few years ago, had recommended bifurcation of big universities in the state. However, the idea was opposed by the stakeholders with the argument that the colleges and students wished to be part of existing prestigious universities rather than being affiliated with some new institution.

Spirituality, mysticism and festivity: All you need to know about this year’s Maha Kumbh Mela at Ujjain

Spirituality, mysticism, festivity, adventure and cultural extravaganza meet on the banks of River Kshipra at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, with the beginning of the month-long Maha Kumbh Mela — Simhastha on 22 April.

With the sunrise, the first holy dip in the river Kshipra (Shahi Snan) on Friday by nearly one million (10 lakh) devotees from various parts of the world, including 1.25 lakh sadhus (seers), marked the beginning of the Simhastha — the largest congregation of Hindus in the world.

Amidst the sound of conches and traditional musical instruments such as Dhol (drum) and Nagada, a large group of Naga sadhus belonging to Juna Akhada jumped into the river for a holy bath followed by others.

A Hindu holy man displays his hair after taking a dip in the waters of the river Shipra during the Simhastha Kumbh Mela in Ujjain. ReutersA Hindu holy man displays his hair after taking a dip in the waters of the river Shipra during the Simhastha Kumbh Mela in Ujjain. Reuters

A Hindu holy man displays his hair after taking a dip in the waters of the river Shipra during the Simhastha Kumbh Mela in Ujjain. Reuters

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan along with his wife took a holy dip during Shahi Snan on the first day.

Massive arrangements have been made for the grand event, which attracts many foreign tourists. “Today, we have made arrangements for 400 buses and 100 vans to take pilgrims from their destinations to bathing ghats. Besides this, we have full-fledged medical arrangement to take care of the devotees,” a Simhastha administration official said.

In a first, eunuchs and transgenders have participated in this Maha Kumbh under the umbrella of Kinnar Akhara. “This is the first time we are participating in Maha Kumbh and will be a part of various rituals. We also have our programmes to showcase during the Mela,” said Rishi Ajay Das, in-charge of the Kinnar Akhara.

About Simhastha (Kumbh) Mela

– From 22 April to 21 May at Ujjain.

– It’s called Simhastha due to celestial configuration. The ‘Simhastha Maha Kumbh’ in Ujjain occurs when the Sun (Surya) is in zodiac sign Aries (Mesh) and Jupiter (Guru) in Leo (Simha).

– The Kumbh Mela township is spread across more than 3,000 hectares and is divided into six zones and 22 sectors.

– Budget earmarked of Rs 3,500 crore but likely to touch around Rs 5,000 crore; this is an increase of more than 10 times in the budget allocation for Simastha 2004.

– 14 bridges and roads worth Rs 362 crore have been built; and a permanent 450-bed hospital has been built.

– An ambulance with 14 stretchers has been created to carry patients from the Mela site to nearby hospital.

– Digital display will tell a person from 30 km distance about parking facility and position.

– Water from the Narmada river has been brought to the Kshipra.

– According to MP government an estimated 5 crore pilgrims will visit Kumbh Mela from across the world.

All you wanted to know about the Simhastha:

– Akharas: There are 13 akharas (group/ school/institution of sadhus) like Juna, Nimrohi, Digambar, Nirvani, etc who have got approval from all the sects of Hindu religion and are participating. Of the 13 akharas, seven follow Shavism, three are Panchayati and three Vaishnavite.

– Types of sadhus at Simhastha:

1. Naga sadhus: Naked sadhus who smear their bodies with ash and have long matted hair. Constant exposure to the weather makes them resistant to temperature extremes. Their eyes are bloodshot from constantly smoking charas (marijuana), which they believe aids enlightenment.
2. Shirshasinse: The ones who remain standing, sleep with their heads resting on a vertical pole, and meditate standing on their heads.
3. Kalpvasis: Those who remain by the river banks and devote their time to meditating, performing rituals, and bathing numerous times a day.
4. Urdhwavahurs: They have emaciated bodies from rigid spiritual practices.
5. Parivajakas: These are the ones who have taken a vow of silence.

– Kinnar Akhara: For the first time in the history, Kinnar Akhara or Pari Akhara — a group of about 1000 eunuchs and transgenders from across the country — has participated and they will have procession in the city, host Bhagawath Kathas, Ram Katha, the yagya and the holy bath.

– Shahi Snan (Holy royal bath/dip): There are 10 auspicious days for bathing including three for the ‘Shahi Snan’ (April 22, May 9 and May 21).

– Ghats for bathing: Ram Ghat (ancient and holiest ghat), Triveni Ghat (at the confluence of rivers Kshipra, Khan and the invisible Saraswati), Ganga Ghat, Mangalnath Ghat, Gau Ghat, Kabir Ghat, Siddhwat Ghat, etc.

– Rituals: In the camps of various Akharas, one gets to see and experience rituals of different kinds from yogic to tantric practices. Pilgrims and tourists visit Simhastha to experience the unlocking of the mysticism in Hindu rituals.

– Facility for cashless transaction: All the shops at Kumbh Mela will accept cards. Besides, 70 ATMs and 300 executives from various banks have been deployed.

Legend behind Kumbh Mela

Kumbh means pot or pitcher. Mela means festival or fair. Hence, the Kumbh Mela means festival of the pot. According to Hindu mythology, the churning of the ocean (‘Samudra Manthan’) threw up Amrit or the nectar of immortality. Both gods and demons were part of the churning process and it was decided that nectar would be shared equally between the two groups. However, a fight broke between the two and during the battle celestial bird Garuda flew away with the pot (kumbh) of nectar. It’s believed that wherever the drops of nectar fell — Prayag in Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik and Ujjain — the auspicious Kumbh Mela is celebrated in a rotational basis. In each location, it’s held after every 12 years. The exact time and place of the festival depends on astrological and religious considerations. In between, in the sixth year, the Ardh Kumbh Mela (half mela) takes place.

Ujjain’s historical legacy

Ujjain, the ancient city situated on the eastern banks of river Kshipra was the most prominent city on the Malwa plateau and as the capital of the ancient Avanti kingdom, it emerged as the political centre of Central India around 600 BCE. Ujjain remained an important centre of political, commercial and cultural activities until the 19th century, when the British decided to develop Indore as an alternative centre for commercial activities. It’s an important pilgrimage site for various sects among Hindus.

Historical stalwarts like poet Kalidas, legendary emperor Vikramaditya and king Bindusar, father of Emperor Ashoka were associated with this city.

Kerala Assembly polls 2016: LDF poll manifesto says liquor abstinence its policy

CPI(M)-led LDF on Tuesday made it clear in its election manifesto that liquor abstinence is its policy and it would raise the age limit to 23 years for liquor consumption in the state.”Lessons about anti-liquor awareness will be included in the school curriculum from 8-12th standard. The age limit for liquor consumption will be raised to 23 years,” it said.Promising a corruption-free, secular and developed Kerala, the manifesto guaranteed employment to 25 lakh people in different sectors including IT, Tourism and small scale industries, house and toilets for all, power supply in all houses by 2017 and creation of an exclusive department for women. It also said all welfare pensions would be increased to Rs 1000 and also promised a comprehensive health insurance scheme to all.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The manifesto, which gives thrust for social security, health, education and environment sectors, was released by front convenor Vaikom Viswan at a press conference.Indicating that the left front prefers liquor abstinence rather than total prohibition, which the Congress-led ruling UDF advocates, the manifesto said “the LDF government will take various steps to reduce the availability and consumption of liquor gradually, if it comes to power.”Liquor policy is a major debating point in the state after the UDF government had closed down more than 700 odd foreign liquor bars, below the category of five star hotels, as part of its policy in 2014.Asked whether the bars, closed during the UDF regime, would be opened if LDF comes to power, Viswan said these bars had been converted into beer and wine parlours and “so how can we say that the bars have been closed in Kerala?” Referring to granting of license to more five star hotels to serve foreign liquor, he said this showed that the UDF’s propaganda that it stood for total prohibition was a “lie”.”Revenue from liquor sale has only increased during this period. Besides this, illicit liquor is flowing in the state. The liquor consumption has also gone up,” the leader said.On the liquor policy, the manifesto mentioned that a mass people’s campaign programme, similar to the one organised by LDF government previously to achieve total literacy in the state, would be conducted to create awareness about ill-effects of alcohol.Among other things, the manifesto said a Kerala-based bank would be opened by linking the district and state co-operative banks in the state.

Delhi government to seek public opinion on third phase of odd-even

New Delhi: Delhi government will seek public opinion on when to start third-round of odd-even scheme once the second phase of 15-day road-rationing plan is wrapped up on 30 April, Transport minister Gopal Rai said on Monday.

After the first phase of odd-even scheme, the Arvind Kejriwal government had sought people’s suggestion on when it should introduce its second phase of the odd-even scheme, aimed at tackling air pollution in the national capital.

Representative image. PTIRepresentative image. PTI

Representative image. PTI

“The second phase of odd-even scheme has so far been a success as per reports. We have decided to seek public opinion on the introduction of third phase of odd-even scheme through dedicated website, email id, phones and messages.

“Besides, we will also seek people’s feedback about their experiences during second round of the scheme,” Rai told PTI.

Last week, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that government will seriously consider to implement the road-rationing plan for 15 days every month if the second phase turns out to be successful.

Asked about permanent implementation of the scheme, Rai said that it would take the government around one and-a-alf
years to do the same.

“As public transport is not in good condition so far, we can not implement it permanently. We will first have to upgrade public transport. In next one and a half years, we can consider implementing the scheme for 30 days every month,” he said.

Government has suggested that parents should use car pooling to avoid problems with the authorities.

In the second round, cars with children in school uniform are exempted from the odd-even scheme. But parents have raised apprehensions over the fate of cars going to pick up children.

Sign Language: Disha, ‘Ikde Thikde’ to help visitors to JJ, Gateway of India

Maharashtra’s largest public health facility, JJ Hospital, attends close to 3,500 patients everyday, including emergency and accident cases.The biggest challenge to patients and their relatives here is how to locate emergency and casualty wards. The 125-year-old hospital complex is spread over 40 acres, with several buildings far away from each other, and with no clear directions. Things become more difficult during the night.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>That’s all changing. Disha (direction) is on the way. A few first-year bachelor of design students from IIT Bombay have come up with a simple and cost-effective design solution.”Besides putting up signboards, we would be marking the walls from the hospital entrance to the casualty and emergency wards with orange-coloured arrows. At the registration counter, patients would be given a colour-coded band through which they can follow the marks easily,” said Rohan Jhunja, one the 15 students associated with the project.Another group of students from his class are ready with a project for the Gateway of India. This project, ikde tikde (here and there), is aimed at helping tourists and local passengers navigate easily to the jetties and boats faster. The twin projects were developed in a five days.”We have designed a 10-ft-high tower with five different colours, each denoting different destinations: Elephanta, Alibaug, Mandva, JNPT and a half-an-hour sea ride. Tourists can see from afar whether their boat has arrived. The tower would also guide them on which direction to proceed,” said Samarth Bhardwaj, who is associated with the project. At present, jetty staff calls people by shouting and tourists often struggle to find the right jetty.The students have already sought permission from JNPT, BMC and the Colaba police for the pilot test. They were guided by Prof Peer Sarthik, Prof Jayesh Pillai and Prof BK Chakravarthy.

Kollam temple fire: Police arrests 13 as Kerala HC wants CBI inquiry into the blaze

Two days after the fireworks tragedy at Puttingal Devi temple in Paravur in Kollam that left at least 116 people dead and more than 380 injured, the police on Tuesday recorded the arrest of 13 temple officials as the Kerala High Court said that a CBI inquiry should be launched into the tragedy.

The 13 included seven of the management committee of the Temple. Five officials who surrendered before police late on Monday night include PS Jayalal (president), Krishnankutty Pillai (secretary), J Prasad, Somasundaram Pillai and Ravindran Pillai — all top office bearers of the temple. The sixth official — Surendran Pillai, was arrested on Tuesday morning.

They are being questioned by the crime branch team led by Deputy Superindent of Police Radhakrishnan Pillai at the Kollam Crime Branch office.

A file photo of police personnel at the site of the fire in Kollam. Image courtesy/Firstpost

A file photo of police personnel at the site of the fire in Kollam. Image courtesy/Firstpost

Paravur police had earlier charged around 30 people including the temple committee members, the contractors of the fireworks display and his workers under charges of culpable homicide.

Five employees of the fireworks contractor Surendran are already in the custody of the police team and they have confided to police about the nature of the firework display.

According to reports, authorities in Kollam on Tuesday began taking steps to conduct DNA tests on unclaimed bodies as 21 people remained missing after the tragedy. Officials said the health department had told the family members of those missing to reach Kollam on Wednesday.

They have been asked to bring identity proof of the missing ones and provide samples of their blood at a special counter at the Kollam district hospital. While the Kerala government informed the court that fireworks were not allowed to be taken inside the temple premises, the High Court questioned how the police could have permitted the inflammable substances inside, ANI reported.

The court also directed the police and the district administration to submit a separate affidavit on the incident, saying strict action needs to be taken against those involved for “dereliction of duty”. Besides temple authorities, the court also held the revenue department responsible for the mishap.

Maharashtra Council passes Bill to regulate dance bars

Jail term of up to six months for inappropriately touching or misbehaving with a bar dancer and hefty fine for violating licence norms are some of the key provisions of a landmark Bill passed on Monday in Maharashtra Legislative Council with an aim to regulate dance bars.The Bill, which sets the stage for reopening of dance bars after more than a decade, and comes post a recent Supreme Court verdict, was passed in the Upper House by voice vote with Deputy Chairman Vasant Dawkhare in Chair. The Bill was piloted by Leader of the House and Minister for Revenue Eknath Khadse.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The legislation seeks to prohibit “obscene” dances (dances which have sexual connotations, sexual gestures, actions which hint at sexual intercourse during a performance) in hotels, restaurants, bar rooms and other establishments. It lays down guidelines to “protect the dignity and safety of women in such places with a view to prevent their exploitation”.Any person seeking a licence under the new law to open dance bars in hotels, restaurants and bar rooms will have to provide conducive working condition for women employees and take adequate steps for their protection. Besides, the owner will have to ensure adequate security of people visiting such a place. Dance bar licence will not be issued for places which already have permission for discotheque and orchestra. The owner/manager of such an establishment, if found violating the licence conditions, shall face a jail term of up to 5 years or Rs 25 lakh fine or both. If he continues to violate the norms, a fine of Rs 25,000 will slapped per day. A patron cannot misbehave with the dancer or touch her inappropriately. Violating this rule shall invite a jail term of up to 6 months or Rs 50,000 fine or both. The owner/manager will not let dancers perform any “obscene” dance and shall ensure no woman is sexually exploited. If found guilty, such a person shall invite a jail sentence of 3 years or Rs 10 lakh fine or both.Further, if the person continues to commit the same crime, each day a fine of Rs 10,000 shall be imposed. According to the legislation, a patron will not be allowed to throw coins, currency notes or any object that are monetary in nature on the dance floor. The Bill is expected to be introduced in the Assembly tomorrow, and going by the all-round support it received in the Council, a smooth sailing is likely in the Lower House too.