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Demonetization will cause 1.5% GDP loss

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former finance minister and Congress spokesperson P Chidambaram on Friday pegged the hit to the GDP at 1.5 per cent that is Rs 1.5 lakh crore as against former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who had pegged the loss to 2 per cent or more. He said the govt should not misread people’s patience as being happy with the demonetization, asking the Prime Minister to put an end to all restrictions on withdrawals of own money by the people and grant them back the economic freedom to withdraw as much money as they want in the new year.He said it is fair to expect that there shall be no queues outside bank branches and ATMs, that all ATMs will be open round the clock, fully stocked with currency notes, the bank will pay the money written on the cheque and not ask the drawer to draw another cheque of smaller amount.Dropping a hint that the whole demonetization exercise was PM Modi’s own brainwave, Chidambaram asked for making public the agenda note of the board of governors of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Cabinet note on the demonetization on November 8. He pointed out that RBI Governor Urjit Patel and only three non-official directors of the RBI Board met in Delhi at 5.30 pm on November 5 and took the decision to recommend demonetization of 85 per cent of the Indian currency in just 30 minutes. He wants to know how the governor and ‘three wise men’ reached such a momentous conclusion in so short a period and said that it should be made public what was discussed and if there were any dissents.Chidambaram said it would bring out the truth that everything was prescribed to both the RBI Board and the union ministers at the Cabinet meeting to have the command performance (as per the PM’s wish). He said he only hopes that there would not be another ‘surgical strike’ of this dimension on the people. Taunting at the BJP leaders describing the bank note withdrawal as a ‘surgical strike’, he said, “it should rather put all surgeons to shame.”

Madhya Pradesh plans to develop 1,100 ‘climate-smart’ villages to help farmers

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh has embarked on an ambitious plan to develop 1,100 ‘climate-smart’ villages with an aim to prepare farmers to manage the climate change risks timely and ensure good productivity.

“The government has been planning to develop 1,100 villages as climate-smart villages in a period of next six years,” state Farmer Welfare & Agriculture Development Department Principal Secretary Dr Rajesh Rajora told PTI.

He said 100 villages in each of the 11 agro-climatic zones of the state would be taken up under the plan, which would incur a cost about Rs 150 crore every year.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan. PTI

Shivraj Singh Chouhan. PTI

“The work is being taken up under the National Agriculture Development Programme (NADP) and Indian National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture,” he said.

In these villages, the farmers would be encouraged to go for short duration variety of crops, in addition to using drought-resistance seeds.

“The focus would be on integrated agriculture, which comprises animal husbandry, fisheries, in addition to traditional farming. Agro-forestry would also be adopted in these villages,” Rajora said.

Agro-forestry conserves and protects the natural resources as it helps water retention and stops soil erosion.

He said integrated nutrients management would also be implemented to help in soil fertility and plant nutrients supply through optimisation of all possible sources of organic, inorganic and biological components.

“In addition, the integrated pest management, zero tillage, raised bed gardening techniques and micro-irrigation would also be introduced in the climate smart villages. This would help farmers to increase the productivity amid all challenges of climate change,” he said.

Zero tillage technique is a way of growing crops time and again without disturbing the soil through ploughing, another agriculture expert said.

“The micro-irrigation systems like drip and sprinklers would not only reduce the water use but also lessen the use of fertilisers and energy,” he said.

Rajora said the state government would seek help of International Crops Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), an international NGO working in the field of agriculture, and Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a global agriculture research partnership.

“The Centre has set ICRISAT, the UN organisation, as nodal agency for developing the climate-smart villages. We would also seek expertise from scientists of two agriculture universities at Jabalpur and Gwalior in addition to state government’s scientists in various district headquarters,” he said.

According to agriculture department officials, various equipment and sensors would also be used in these villages to help the farmers.

The state government has already announced to open a soil testing laboratory at the block level. A plan is also on the anvil to provide soil health cards to farmers under state government’s efforts to double farmers’ income in five years.

To ensure sustainable agriculture growth, MP has also constituted a ‘Krishi (agriculture) Cabinet’ for the purpose.

The cabinet includes ministers of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, fisheries, cooperatives, water resources, Narmada valley development, energy, panchayat, rural development and SC/ST welfare departments.

MP had also received Krishi Karman award for 2014-15, the fourth during past five years, for increasing the food grains production and productivity by 254 lakh tonnes and 1,719 kg per hectare, respectively.

The state government also claimed to have increased the irrigated agriculture area to 40 lakh hectares from 7 lakh hectares in 2003.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 11:17 IST

Govt approves Rs 11,000 crore road projects for areas hit by worst Left-wing extremism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government has approved an over Rs 11,000-crore project to construct all-weather roads and improve connectivity for security reasons in nearly 40 districts worst hit by the Left-wing extremism and violence.Approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), the ‘Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas’ will provide connectivity in 35 worst affected LWE districts – which account for 90% of total LWE violence in the country – and 9 adjoining districts, critical from security angle.To be implemented as a vertical under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, more than 5,400 kilometres of road would be constructed/upgraded and 126 bridges/cross drainage works would be taken up at an estimated cost of Rs 11,724.53 crore. The roads will be operable through the year, irrespective of weather conditions.The fund sharing for the LWE road project will be same as the PMGSY – in the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and states for all states except for North Eastern and three Himalayan States (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand) for which it is 90:10.Finance Ministry will allocate Rs 7,034.72 crore to the Ministry of Rural Development for the project during the implementation period 2016-17 to 2019-20. Ministry of Rural Development will be the responsible for sponsoring and implementing the project.The roads taken up under the scheme would include Other District Roads (ODRs), Village Roads (VRs) and upgrading of the existing Major District Roads (MDRs), that are critical from the security point of view.Bridges up to a span of 100 metres, critical from security angle, would also be funded on these roads. National and state highways have been excluded from the project.The roads to be constructed under the scheme have been identified by the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with the state governments and security agencies.PMGSY was launched in 2000 as a centrally-sponsored scheme with the objective to provide all-weather road connectivity to all eligible unconnected habitations in the rural areas.

DNA Evening Must Reads: Anil Baijal likely to be new Delhi LG, Mulayam rules out alliance with any party; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Union Home Secretary Anil Baijal likely to be new Delhi LGCareer bureaucrat Anil Baijal looks set to become the next Lt Governor of Delhi, a post which has fallen vacant after sudden resignation of Najeeb Jung. Read more here. Uttar Pradesh assembly elections: SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav rules out alliance with any partyAmid speculations, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of an alliance with any political party for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Read more here. Kalmadi defers Life President post of IOA, Sports Ministry issues showcause noticeFaced with a barrage of criticism, scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi declined the position of the Indian Olympic Association’s Life President even as the Sports Ministry issued a showcause notice to the IOA for its controversial decision. Read more here. Cabinet clears ordinance: Face jail time, Rs 50,000 penalty for holding old notesThe Cabinet on Wednesday approved promulgation of an ordinance to impose a penalty, including a jail term, for possession of the scrapped 500 and 1,000 rupee notes beyond a cut-off. Read more here. Scrap cash withdrawal limit, reveal how much black money recovered post demonetization: Rahul to ModiUpping the ante on the government’s demonetization drive, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sacrificed the common man in ‘yagna’ against black money. Read more here. Shocking: Ram Gopal Verma SLAMS Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan!Ram Gopal Verma took to Twitter to post a series of tweets, giving a thumbs up to Aamir’s brilliant performance. But while doing so, he took a serious jibe at the other Khans- Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. Read more here.

Demonetisation: Cabinet to decide on note ban ordinance today; another U-turn on cards?

The Union Cabinet meeting today is likely to take up an ordinance to end the legal tender of the demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, media reports say. The ordinance will also likely specify the date when the notes will become illegal, which is widely speculated to be 30 December.

There have also been reports saying the ordinance is likely to impose penalties on anyone possessing the junked notes beyond 30 December when the deadline to deposit them in banks expires.

However, there has not been any official word on the move.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

The ordinance will formalise the demonetisation, which was an executive decision announced on 8 November. According to a report in The Indian Express, which quotes a government official, this is a requirement as otherwise the demonetised notes will continue as a legal tender.

“If we do not put an end date on the legal character of the old notes, then they can be infinitely valid as a legal tender,” the official has been quoted as saying in the report. Explaining the rationale, he also said ending the legal tender of all notes on 30 December is important as it will clear the uncertainty for the government on how much money has flown into the system.

The ordinance will extinguish the liability of the government and RBI towards the promise to pay the bearer of these notes their value because of a statutory requirement.

In 1978 a similar ordinance was issued to end the government’s liability after Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 notes were demonetised by the Janata Party government under Morarji Desai.

According to the official cited in the IE report, the deposit of old notes will be allowed after 30 only in cases of exigencies.

However, if the government decides the cut-off date as 30 December that will be another U-turn by the government and the RBI. Prime minister Narendra Modi had on 8 November said the RBI window to deposit these notes will remain open beyond 30 December until 31 March. An ordinance that seeks to end the deposits on 30 December would mean the government and the RBI are going back on another promise they made to the common man.

The government had while announcing the demonetisation of the old currency allowed holders to either exchange them or deposit in bank and post office accounts. While the facility to exchange the old notes has since been withdrawn, depositors have time until Friday to deposit the holding in their accounts at the bank branches.

Media reports earlier said there could be a cap of holding no more than 10 notes of each after 30 December and violation of the rule could draw a fine of a minimum of Rs 50,000 or 5 times the amount in question — whichever is higher. However, there was no confirmation on this.

For those depositing any accounted funds, or black money, it has offered them an amnesty provided they paid 50 percent of it as tax and penalties and parked a quarter of it in a zero-interest bearing deposit for four years.

Out of the Rs 15.44 lakh crore worth of 500 and 1000 rupee notes in circulation on November 8, close to Rs 13 lakh crore have been deposited in accounts or exchanged for valid currency.

With PTI

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 08:37 IST

Beware! Ordinance likely to impose penalty for holding old Rs 500, Rs1000 notes post Dec 30

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government is understood to be mulling an ordinance to impose penalties on anyone possessing the junked Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes beyond December 30 when the deadline to deposit them in banks expires.There was no official word on the move which is likely to come up before the Cabinet on Wednesday but sources said penalties may be imposed on anyone holding more than 10 notes each of the old currency after December 30. The ordinance may also extinguish the liability of the government and RBI towards the promise to pay the bearer of these notes their value because of a statutory requirement.In 1978 a similar ordinance was issued to end the government’s liability after Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 notes were demonetised by the Janata Party government under Morarji Desai.The government had while announcing the demonetization of the old currency allowed holders to either exchange them or deposit in bank and post office accounts. While the facility to exchange the old notes has since been withdrawn, depositors have time till Friday to deposit the holding in their accounts.For those depositing any accounted funds, or black money, it has offered them an amnesty provided they paid 50 per cent of it as tax and penalties and parked a quarter of it in a zero-interest bearing deposit for four years.Reports said that there could be a cap of holding no more than 10 notes of each after December 30 and violation of the rule could draw a fine of a minimum of Rs 50,000 or 5 times the amount in question — whichever is higher, but there was no confirmation.Holders of such currency have an option to deposit them in RBI by March 31 but even that period may be curtailed, they said. Out of the Rs 15.44 lakh crore worth of 500 and 1000 rupee notes in circulation on November 8, close to Rs 13 lakh crore have been deposited in accounts or exchanged for valid currency.

Demonetisation: Govt mulling ordinance to penalise those holding junked notes beyond 30 December

New Delh: The government is understood to be mulling an ordinance to impose penalties on anyone possessing the junked Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes beyond 30 December when the deadline to deposit them in banks expires.

There was no official word on the move which is likely to come up before the Cabinet on Wednesday but sources said penalties may be imposed on anyone holding more than 10 notes each of the old currency after 30 December.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The ordinance may also extinguish the liability of the government and RBI towards the promise to pay the bearer of these notes their value because of a statutory requirement.

In 1978 a similar ordinance was issued to end the government’s liability after Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 notes were demonetised by the Janata Party government under Morarji Desai.

The government had while announcing the demonetisation of the old currency allowed holders to either exchange them or deposit in bank and post office accounts. While the facility to exchange the old notes has since been withdrawn, depositors have time till Friday to deposit the holding in their accounts.

For those depositing any accounted funds, or black money, it has offered them an amnesty provided they paid 50 per cent of it as tax and penalties and parked a quarter of it in a zero-interest bearing deposit for four years. Reports said that there could be a cap of holding no more than 10 notes of each after December 30 and violation of the rule could draw a fine of a minimum of Rs 50,000 or 5 times the amount in question — whichever is higher, but there was no confirmation.

Holders of such currency have an option to deposit them in RBI by March 31 but even that period may be curtailed, they said.

Out of the Rs 15.44 lakh crore worth of 500 and 1000 rupee notes in circulation on November 8, close to Rs 13 lakh crore have been deposited in accounts or exchanged for valid currency.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 21:50 IST

BJP submits ‘charge sheet’ against Himachal govt, Virbhadra terms it ‘bundle of lies’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Himachal Pradesh BJP on Saturday submitted a “charge sheet” to the Governor against the alleged “omission and commission” by the Congress government, which completed four years in office, even as Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh termed it as a “bundle of lies”.The Congress government in the state celebrated four years in office today by organising a rally at Dharamsala which was addressed by party vice president Rahul Gandhi.The 75-page “charge sheet” submitted to Governor Acharya Devvrat includes allegations against the Chief Minister, his Cabinet colleagues, Congress leaders and 41 individuals and institutions and demands a probe into these charges by a central investigating agency.It also highlights the “failures” of the state government in developmental front, accuses it of financial mismanagement and its lukewarm attitude in implementing the projects sanctioned by the Modi government at the Centre.The charges levelled by BJP against Virbhadra Singh are a compendium of cases registered against him by various agencies and alleged misuse of office.Terming the “charge sheet” by BJP against his government a “bundle of lies”, the Chief Minister said, “It is an old habit of BJP to make false allegations. It had submitted similar “charge sheet” twice in the past and implicated me in false cases but I was acquitted by courts.” Singh claimed the Congress government has ensured overall development of the state during the last four years and the charge sheet was prepared out of “frustration” of BJP leaders.State irrigation and public health minister Vidya Stokes, health and family welfare minister Kaul Singh Thakur and agriculture minister Sujan Singh Pathania termed it a “futile exercise” as the charges were “contrary” to facts.Reacting to accusations of corruption, they claimed the state government has adopted a policy of zero tolerance towards corruption and if BJP leaders have any proof, they should go to the Lokayukta. Else the party should seek apology from the people.

Ahead of elections, UP govt gives assent to include 17 Other Backward Castes in SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Playing the caste card ahead of Assembly elections, the Akhilesh Yadav government on Thursday gave its assent to include 17 Other Backward Castes in the Scheduled Castes (SC) list.A Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday morning cleared the proposal in this regard, officials said.The proposal, considered to be aimed at wooing the OBCs in the coming elections, will now be sent to the Centre for clearance, they said. The 17 sub-castes which the government wants included in the SC category are Kahar, Kashyap, Kewat, Nishad, Bind, Bhar, Prajapati, Rajbhar, Batham, Gaur, Tura, Majhi, Mallah, Kumhar, Dheemar and Machua.Earlier in March 2013, the Uttar Pradesh Assembly had passed a resolution asking the Centre to include 17 castes of the state into the list of Scheduled Castes (SC) category.In the resolution presented by Social Welfare Minister Avdhesh Prasad and passed by the voice vote in the House, it was stated that in a detailed study by UP SC/ST Research and Training Institute, these 17 castes have been found ‘deserving’ to be included in the list of Scheduled Castes (SC).The Mulayam Singh Yadav government too had passed the resolution in the state Cabinet in February 2004 and had sent recommendation to the Centre for inclusion of these castes in SC list in December 2004.Later, Mulayam went ahead and issued a government order on October 10, 2005 giving SC benefits to these castes, which was, however, struck down by the High Court.Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are likely to be held early next year.

Winter Session officially terminated, President prorogues Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

Mon, 19 Dec 2016-09:07pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Both Houses of Parliament have been prorogued, officially terminating the Winter Session which witnessed a virtual washout due to the demonetization row. The President has prorogued the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on Sunday, it was officially announced on Monday.Last week, the Cabinet Committee of Parliamentary Affairs had recommended for prorogation of both Houses of Parliament soon after there were adjourned sine die after a month-long session that was virtually washed out over the issue of demonetization. The session, which began on November 16, saw almost daily disruptions over the note ban issue. The debate on the matter began in both Houses but remained inconclusive, and resulted in one of the “least productive” sessions in the last 15 years.Due to the repeated disruptions, Lok Sabha could function only for 15.75% and lost 92 hours, while Rajya Sabha worked for 20.61% and lost about 86 hours.

Lt General Bipin Rawat is new Chief of Army Staff: How does selection process work?

The government on Saturday chose Lt General Bipin Rawat as the next Chief of Army Staff (COAS). He will succeed General Dalbir Singh Suhag, who retires on 31 December. However, controversy broke out immediately as Rawat was not the senior-most officer in the Indian Army. Traditionally, the rule in the security forces is to nominate the senior-most officer as the new head. According to the established tradition, Eastern Command chief Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi was all set to be the next chief, on account of his seniority.

This is the second instance in Indian Army’s history that this principle of seniority has been overlooked. In 1983, the then senior-most officer Lt Gen SK Sinha was superseded by Arun Shridhar Vaidya, who was the army chief when Operation Bluestar was launched.

Here is all you need to know about the process of selecting a new army chief.

Who has the power to appoint the new army chief?

The government of India has the power to choose the army chief. The government chooses a successor based on the security situation as well as the requirements that arise from time to time, noted The Times of India. It is worth noting that seniority has generally been the guiding principle while choosing the head of the third-largest army in the world.

Who exactly is responsible in the government for appointing the army chief?

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) is responsible for taking the final decision on the appointment. The ACC comprises of the prime minister, minister of home affairs and the concerned ministry, in this case the defence ministry.

File picture of Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. Getty Images

File picture of Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. Getty Images

How does the selection process go about?

The process of selection commences four-to-five months in advance, with the ministry of defence seeking personal data and professional profile of all eligible lieutenant generals from among the vice chief of army ataff and general officers commanding in chief of the various Commands, the IANS reported.

The service headquarter, then forwards data of the eligible candidates, including their professional exposure, achievements and operational experience. These are processed by the ministry and forwarded through the defence minister for consideration and selection to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, the IANS quoted an unnamed defence ministry source as saying.

Generally, the government appoints the prospective COAS as the vice chief of staff to familiarise him with the working at the South Block, the report added.

When is the announcement generally made?

The announcement of the next army chief is made two or three months in advance.

What is the tenure of the army chief?

The chief of army staff has a three-year term. Alternatively, the chief of army staff is in office till he is 62, whichever is applicable at the earliest.

Why has the move to appoint Rawat been criticised?

In an article in The Citizen, ex-army officer Lt General Vijay Oberoi said that such a move may play a negative role in the long run. “Chances of selection based on political, sycophantic and non-professional reasons may become predominant in due course, with professional and character qualities being sacrificed on account of extraneous issues.”

What about Lt General Praveen Bakshi now?

Media reports suggest that the current Eastern Command chief might be the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), a position first mooted after the Kargil War. The CDS will be the single point of contact for the defence minister as well as the prime minister.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 14:52 IST

Bharat Ratna for Jayalalithaa: TN CM Panneerselvam in Delhi to meet PM Modi today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday to hand over a letter that would request the government to bestow the Bharat Ratna on former chief minister J Jayalalithaa and to install a bronze statue in the Parliament complex.The Tamil Nadu Cabinet had on December 10 decided to recommend Jayalalithaa’s name for India’s highest civilian honour.In its first meeting chaired by Chief Minister O Panneerselvam after Jayalalithaa’s demise, the Cabinet also decided to recommend to the Centre installation of her life-size bronze statue in the Parliament complex.The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister will also relay the details of the damages caused by the Cyclone Vardah in the state.Cyclone Vardah hit several parts of Tamil Nadu earlier on December 12.The storm uprooted trees, overturned cars and did extensive damage to buildings as it tore across Chennai.According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) at least 10 people have died.Prior to the storm’s landing, Chennai already was pounded with heavy rain and winds.

Tamil Nadu CM to meet PM Modi; Jaya’s Bharat Ratna, Cyclone Vardah on agenda

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday in the national capital and relay the details of the damages caused by the Cyclone Vardah in the state.”The Chief Minister will also handover a letter to bestow late chief minister J Jayalalithaa with the Bharat Ratna and to unveil bronze statue in the Parliament campus,” an official statement said.Tamil Nadu Cabinet earlier on December 10 decided to recommend late AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa for India’s highest civilian honour, the ‘Bharat Ratna’.In its first meeting chaired by Chief Minister O Panneerselvam after Jayalalithaa’s demise, the Cabinet also decided to recommend to the Centre installation of her life-size bronze statue in Parliament complex.Cyclone Vardah hit several parts of Tamil Nadu earlier on December 12. The storm uprooted trees, overturned cars and did extensive damage to buildings as it tore across Chennai. According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) at least 10 people have died.Prior to the storm’s landing, Chennai already was pounded with heavy rain and winds.

Rebel RSS leader asks MGP to spell out its stand in two days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rebel RSS leader Subhash Velingkar asked Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) on Wednesday to make it clear within two days, if it is ready to strike an alliance with his outfit Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) for upcoming assembly polls.”We have conveyed a message to the central committee of MGP that if the talks of alliance has to happen it should start at the earliest. They should get back with their intentions in next two days,” Velingkar said.Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had yesterday said that he dropped two MGP ministers from his Cabinet to prevent the BJP cadres from getting demoralised by their outbursts in the poll-bound state, even as the ally chose to continue support to the government, citing “coalition dharma”.”GSM feels that if they have alliance with MGP, then the results would be much favourable for both the parties (GSM and MGP) during upcoming polls,” said Velingkar.GSM has already announced their alliance with Shiv Sena and Goa Praja Party. Velingkar said MGP will have to withdraw their support from BJP-led state government before sitting across the table to talk for forming an alliance with GSM. Parsekar on Monday night sacked MGP’s Sudin Dhavalikar and Dipak Dhavalikar from his Cabinet following their outburst against the BJP-led government, raising prospects of new equations emerging in state where elections are due next year.

CBSE Class 10 exams will be mandatory from 2017-18: Prakash Javadekar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The CBSE Board would meet at the end of this month and a resolution is set to be passed to make class X board exams compulsory for all its students from next academic session, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar has said.The minister also said the Human Resource Development Ministry (HRD) is working on an amendment to the Right to Education Act (RTE), and a proposal has been approved by the Law Ministry that would come to the Cabinet in a week or two. “This month there will be a CBSE Board meeting, in which there will be a resolution (for compulsory class X board exams). “So, I am very sure, from academic session 2017-18, Board examination will be mandatory for all students,” Javadekar told PTI.The minister also asserted that it was “unfair” that 23 million students in the country were taking various examinations -state boards and CBSE- and yet two million were not. Under the present norms, CBSE students can choose between the Board exam or a school based examination. On RTE amendment, he said once it is approved by the Cabinet, it will go to Parliament. “Even if it is referred to a Standing Committee, I hope by April, we will have an amendment which will allow states to take a call on whether to have detention or no detention,” Javadekar said.Presently, the ‘No Detention’ provision under the RTE Act does not allow students to be failed or detained till class VIII. The states will be given freedom to choose between having examination for classes V and VIII, Javadekar said. “But we are also simultaneously saying that if you take it and somebody’s detained, he should not lose one year. There should be a supplementary exam two months after and then he again joins the next batch. So that he does not lose a year but there is accountability for the student also,” the HRD minister said. “We don’t want to create exam oriented pressure on students but there has to be a challenge mode,” he said.

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

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

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

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

File image of Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

File image of Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With inputs from PTI

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

Vasundhara Raje reshuffles cabinet, six new ministers introduced

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

Delhi Government announces pay hike for guest teachers

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

Disability Bill yet to see light of day in Rajya Sabha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If one looks at the functioning of the Parliament, or the lack of it, in the last few days, it is no surprise that disability is not an important matter of discussion. In this winter session alone, the Rights of Persons With Disabilities Bill, 2016, has been listed for business four times at the Rajya Sabha. It is also no surprise that the Bill hasn’t been taken up for discussion even once.While in the last week, the Bill was listed twice, this week, it was up for discussion on Monday and Wednesday. The Bill has had a chequered past; it was first mooted in 2010 during the previous UPA government’s term. The bill was drafted by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), an independent body of experts set up to draft the bill and monitor state policies on disability.With a minority in the Rajya Sabha, the BJP is not going to gain any favours from the Opposition in the Bill’s passage, says Indumathi Rao of the CBR Network. “They are wary of the NDA taking away the credit,” she says.While the Bill seeks to expand the scope of disability from the existing seven to 21 conditions, it also takes away from the 2014 Bill the need to have a commission for the disabled. Vikas Sharma of the Disability Helpline India says that the Bill also takes away the provision of political reservation, which was assured by former PM Manmohan Singh, as per the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Sharma says that he submitted a memorandum to the PMO on November 28, and the standing committee before that.“As per the 1995 Bill, the existing disability reservation quota is 3 per cent, and our demand was that it be raised to 6 per cent. The bill has, however, kept it at 4 per cent. Our demands were ignored and the bill was cleared by the Cabinet just two days later,” he said.There is an estimated 2.68 crore disabled persons in India, as per the 2011 census; this includes 1.5 crore men and 1.18 crore women.NEW EXTENDED LIST OF DISABILITYBlindnessLow-visionLeprosy cured personsHearing impairment (deaf and hard of hearing)Locomotor disabilityDwarfismIntellectual disabilityMental illnessAutism spectrum disorderCerebral palsyMuscular dystrophyChronic neurological conditionsSpecific learning disabilitiesMultiple sclerosisSpeech and language disabilityThalassemiaHaemophiliaSickleCell diseaseMultiple disabilitiesAcid attack victimParkinson’s disease.

Demonetisation round-up: Goyal says 100% success, Kerala FM calls it ‘calamity’

The fumes that have arisen ever since PM Narendra Modi made the demonetisation announcement on 8 November refuses to abate. The public has been standing in long queues ever since with many having to return empty handed, some being given less than their requested amounts and most ATMs dispensing only Rs 2000 notes while many went dry.

Over the weekend, the trouble just heightened for the common man as customers rushed to ATMs to withdraw their salary credited just a day or two back. The queues before ATMs were lengthier and stretched beyond late night at certain places.

PTIPTI

PTI

Meanwhile, supporters and those opposing the scheme continued their war of words. Here’s a round-up of what happened over the weekend:

Need clear tax laws to prevent black money creation: Niti chief

Terming taxation laws in the country as ‘ill-defined’, Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya called for removing ambiguities in them so as to do away with “discretion of the tax officer”. He also said that demonetisation of high value currency is just one step to combat black money, and more needs to be done. “Tax reform is really important to curb black money,” he said at a panel discussion here.

Retailers asked to accept old Rs 500 note for recharges: COAI

Amid complaints about non-acceptance of old Rs 500 notes for mobile recharges at some places, cellular operators body COAI has said the companies have given strict guidelines to accept these notes from customers but retailers and distributors cannot be forced. COAI Director General Rajan Mathews said that operators have provided strict guidelines to their distributors and retailers for accepting and processing Rs 500 demonetised notes so that no inappropriate activity, contrary to the objectives of the government, takes place. “However, these retailers and distributors cannot be forced to do something they do not want to do, if they believe the process is tedious.

Depositing black money in banks will not make it white: FM

Issuing a veiled warning, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said one cannot convert black money into white by merely depositing unaccounted cash in bank accounts as taxes are required to be paid on them. “By just depositing it (unaccounted money), you don’t avoid the responsibility of paying tax,” he said when asked about surge in deposits in banks following withdrawal of high denomination currency notes. He further said the income tax department is keeping an eye on such deposits.

Goyal describes demonetisation scheme ‘100 percent success’

Power Minister Piyush Goyal described the decision to demonetise currency notes “100 per cent success” and said money which was not kept in bank accounts has come into formal economy and now is traceable. “We have never imagined that (black) money will not be deposited in banks. We have given 50 days time to deposit (old currency notes of Rs 500/1,000) money,” Goyal told reporters.

Kerala FM terms demonetisation as ‘national calamity’

Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac described the Centre’s decision to demonetise old Rs 500 and 1,000 notes a “national calamity” which has put the nation in a turmoil. “There is going to be a severe downturn. Even if you take 2 percent (decline in GDP as suggested by former prime minister Manmohan Singh)… it means something like loss of production of Rs 2.5 lakh crore…,” Isaac said, adding that the Centre’s move is now impacting almost all sectors of the economy. He dubbed it as a failed exercise, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi is shifting the goalpost to cashless economy.

Petrol pumps get into digital overdrive, play up wallets

Making a push to promote digital payment post demonetisation, petrol pumps across the country have installed infrastructure to accept not just credit and debit cards but e-wallets and mobile wallets as an alternative to cash. Also, over 4,800 petrol pumps across the country are dispensing Rs 2,000 per card a day through POS machine swipes and have dispensed Rs 65 crore in the past two weeks.

Aiyar says Modi bungled ‘big time’ on note ban implementation

Noted journalist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar criticised the note ban, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ‘bungled on a big scale’ so far but added he may still come out successful with some doles to the poor. He also warned that nobody has fully gauged demonetisation’s impact on the economy. Blaming Modi’s ‘lack of trust’ in anyone for the poor handling of the demonetisation move, he said it was done in great secrecy with even his own senior Cabinet colleagues not kept in the loop. “Modi does not trust his own Cabinet or anyone else, due to which he was incapable of preparing it well. The result is that it has been bungled on a very big scale,” Aiyar said.

RuPay card usage jumps 118 pc in 1st week of demonetization

RuPay card usage jumped by over 118.6 percent in the week following demonetisation that took effect from 8 November midnight while the overall debit and credit card transactions recorded an increase of 70.5 percent. According to RBI data, the usage of RuPay card at POS terminals soared by as much as 200.6 per cent to 46.6 lakh transactions during November 9-15. This compares with 15.5 lakh swipes during November 1-8.

Two-day seminar by CAIT to educate traders on e-payment

Seeking to educate traders about digital payment framework, a two-day seminar was organised by an umbrella body of traders to ease them in transitioning to a different transaction format. “With the kind of developments happening in the country we as traders will have to look for ways to enhance acceptance of digital payment to shift from traditional cash-based economy,” said Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General, CAIT.

Bank unions seek Jaitley’s intervention to end cash-shortage

Two large bank unions on 2 December demanded immediate intervention of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in ending the acute cash shortage in the system following the demonetisation of high-value notes last month. In a letter written to Jaitley, All-India Bank Employees Association and All-India Bank Officers Association said: “You (Jaitley) are very well aware of the problems being faced by the bank staff and customers after 8 November (when demonetisation was announced). Even after so many days we find that problem of acute cash shortage persists due to lack of lower denomination notes and non-functional ATMs,” the letter said.

Rs 2.5 lakh crore won’t come back into banking system: SBI

State Bank of India has estimated that money worth Rs 2.5 lakh crore may not come back into the banking system post demonetisation of high-value notes. On 8 November, the government banned banknotes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 worth over Rs 14 lakh crore from the economy. As per the SBI analysis, the market estimate of Rs 14.18 lakh crore currency – excluding cash with banks — is based on March 2016 data while in reality it should be based on data available as on 9 November, a day after demonetisation was announced. SBI noted that going by data as on 9 November, the amount of high currency denomination notes was Rs 15.44 lakh crore (excluding cash in the banks), an increase of Rs 1.26 lakh crore compared to the March figure.

Cash pain remains as demand outstrips supply

Shortage of cash continued to make things difficult as ATMs ran out of money quickly even as banks rationed valid notes to meet requirements of as many customers as possible. There were reports suggesting that bank branches from across the country did not get sufficient cash to take care of pay day withdrawals. While RBI placed weekly withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000 per person, bank branches on their own have further lowered the ceiling to make cash available to more people. The ATMs too did not come to the rescue either as most went dry soon after being loaded with cash, given the huge pent-up demand. Many ATMs were dispensing mainly Rs 2,000 notes.

Demonetisation: 27 senior PSU banks officials suspended

In a major crackdown on bank employees involved in irregularities post demonetisation, as many as 27 senior officials of various public sector banks have been suspended and six others transferred to check corrupt practices. The suspensions come amid reports of Income Tax authorities conducting search and seizure in many places, including one at Bengaluru where Rs 5.7 crore cash in new currency notes was recovered from two businessmen.

India Ratings lowers GDP forecast to 6.8% post demonetisation

India Ratings today lowered its GDP forecast for 2016-17 to 6.8 percent from 7.8 percent earlier, stating that the demonetisation drive will lead to an erosion of Rs 1.5 trillion this fiscal. “We have revised GDP growth forecast for 2016-17 to 6.8 percent, 100 basis points lower than earlier projection of 7.8 percent. The downward revision is a fallout of the disruptions caused at various levels in the economy due to the de-legalisation of banknotes from November 9, which according to our analysis can cost economy a Rs 1.5 trillion,” it said.

With PTI

First Published On : Dec 5, 2016 12:10 IST

Demonetisation: Swaminathan Aiyer criticises note ban, says Modi bungled on big scale

Mumbai: Anklesaria Aiyar on Saturday criticised the note ban, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “bungled on a big scale” so far but added he may still come out successful with some doles to the poor.

He also warned that nobody has fully gauged demonetisation’s impact on the economy.

Blaming Modi’s “lack of trust” in anyone for the poor handling of the demonetisation move, he said it was done in great secrecy with even his own senior Cabinet colleagues not kept in the loop.

“Modi does not trust his own Cabinet or anyone else, due to which he was incapable of preparing it well. The result is that it has been bungled on a very big scale,” Aiyar said at Times Lit Fest 2016 which began here.

Stating that it could have been done much better, he said Modi could have first printed Rs 5,000 and 10,000 notes and then demonetised those currencies.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Another way could have been to cite inflation and print a series of Rs 2,000 notes. This would have ensured availability of enough notes. But he did not discuss with anyone “so it has been bungled on a major scale,” he said.

Terming Modi as an incrementalist and not a good reformer, Aiyar said the Prime Minister “has never been as good as his great supporters claim or as bad as his worst critics claim.”

“He has always been somewhere in the middle and not a radical reformer. Basically, he is an incrementalist which is evident from the fact that he has taken a large number of Congress programmes and renamed them and pushed them,” the ‘Economic Times’ columnist said.

But he admitted “incrementalism has some big political advantages as radical changes create a lot of losers, while incremental changes don’t create many winners to begin with but the losers are also small. But he has done enough in the first two-and–a-half years to get re-elected. I think he is there for at least next 10 years.”

On the political impact of note ban, pointing to the results of recent local body polls in Gujarat and Maharashtra (which went BJP way), Aiyar said, “the voters have given their verdict to Modi. There was no question that demonetisation was a major issue in these elections.”

Stating the economic impact of cash recall exercise is “much more adverse than people have realised,” he said every financial-induced recession is much worse and difficult to recover from. “Some people think by December we would return to normal. I would say at least for six months the economy is in trouble and there would be recessionary tendency.”

First Published On : Dec 3, 2016 12:39 IST

India inks Rs 5,000 crore deal with US for 145 M777 howitzers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Breaking the Bofors jinx, India and the US on Wednesday inked a nearly Rs 5,000 crore deal for 145 M777 ultra-light howitzers, which will be mostly deployed near the borders with China.This is the first deal for artillery guns since the Bofors scandal in 1980s. “India has today signed the Letter of Acceptance which formalises the contract between India and US for these guns,” sources said.The deal for 145 American ultra-light howitzers, costing about Rs 5,000 crore was recently cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). The deal was inked as a two-day meeting of the 15th India-US Military Cooperation Group (MCG) began here.India-US MCG is a forum established to progress Defence Cooperation between HQ Integrated Defence Staff and US Pacific Command at the strategic and operational levels. The meeting commenced with the US Co-Chair Lt Gen David H Berger, Commander US Marine Corps Forces, Pacific calling on Lt Gen Satish Dua, CISC, HQ IDS. The MCG meeting is co-chaired by Air Marshal AS Bhonsle DCIDS (Operations), HQ IDS.A 260-member delegation from the US Defence Forces and several officers from the three Services HQ and HQ IDS representing the Indian side are attending the bilateral event.On the issue of M777, the sources said India had sent a Letter of Request to the US government showing interest in buying the guns which will be deployed in high-altitude areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, bordering China. The US had responded with a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) and the Defence Ministry had in June looked into the terms and conditions and approved it.The offsets, under which BAE Systems, manufacturer of the gun, will invest about USD 200 million, will be pursued independently.While 25 guns will come to India in a fly-away condition, the rest will be assembled at the proposed Assembly Integration and Test facility for the weapon system in India in partnership with Mahindra. The first two howitzers will be delivered within six months of the contract being inked, while rest will be delivered at the rate of two per month. The howitzers that can be heli-lifted were first proposed to be bought from BAE about 10 years back.

Gen AK Bhatt to replace Ranbir Singh as DGMO

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lt Gen A K Bhatt has been appointed as the country’s new Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) and will be in charge of all army operations including on the LoC which has seen heightened tension. Bhatt, a Gorkha officer, replaces Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, who has been appointed as the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Mathura-based Strike 1 Corps — one of the three assault forces of the army — which is mandated to cross into Pakistan in a short notice. It was during the tenure of Lt Gen Singh that India carried out surgical strikes at five separate locations in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to target terrorist launch pads. Bhatt is at present posted in the Army Headquarters as the Additional Director General of CAB (Complaint and Advisory Board). The appointment was cleared by the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Lt Gen Shokin Chauhan, who headed the Strike 1 Corps, has been appointed as the new chief of the Assam Rifles.

Aakrosh Diwas | Protest over demonetization tomorrow, no Bharat bandh: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress made it clear on Sunday it has not called for a ‘Bharat bandh’ tomorrow, but will hold protests across the country against demonetization, which it alleged “was a political move being sold as a fight against corruption”.Speaking to reporters here, party leader Jairam Ramesh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes in “dhamaka” politics and the decision to scrap high-value currency notes was taken because he had seen the “writing on the wall” in Uttar Pradesh, where polls are due next year.He claimed that Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes were scrapped to cover up the government’s failure to deliver on the Prime Minister’s big electoral promise of bringing back black money stashed abroad and Modi wanted to do something “dramatic”. “It is a political move which is being sold as a fight against corruption,” Ramesh said hitting out at the Centre. He said people who have amassed wealth by illegal means are not suffering, but those who do not have black money are facing hardships. “Unfortunately, people who needed to be attacked have gone scot-free,” he said, adding that one section of “suited-booted” people was still leading a life of luxury. Ramesh, a former Union Cabinet minister, claimed that BJP was spreading misinformation that Congress and other parties have called for a ‘Bharat bandh’. The Opposition parties will hold protests across the country by observing “Jan Aakrosh Diwas”, he said.Taking a swipe at the Modi government, he said economic activity has anyway come to a standstill since November 9.Asked what will be the Opposition’s strategy in Parliament, Ramesh said a debate will happen if the Prime Minister participates in it.The Congress leader also questioned government’s preparedness to bring in new currency notes, saying that according to estimates, it may take up to 250 days to print new notes and bring economy back on the track.He also criticised the Prime Minister’s call for a “cashless” or “lesscash” society, saying that in India, a majority of people use cash for daily transactions.” “Such things take time and cannot be forced by giving shocks,” Ramesh said.

Power Dept urges LG to form a panel to appoint DERC head

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government’s Power Department has requested Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung to constitute a three-member selection committee to appoint chairman for the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC).”A proposal to this effect has been sent to the LG for approval,” said a senior Power Department officer. He added: “As per Section 85 of the Electricity Act, 2003, the selection committee is to be constituted by the state government. The power and functions of the state government were delegated to the LG vide a Government of India notification. dated 20.2.2004.”Former DERC Chairman Krishna Saini, a 1981-batch Indian Revenue Service officer, who was appointed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, was removed from the post on November 4, following Jung’s direction to withdraw his appointment order. Saini was appointed without Jung’s approval, which had led to a major confrontation between the AAP-led government and the LG.Interestingly, the Delhi Cabinet had to approve his removal, which has still not happened.In its judgment on August 4, the High Court had declared Saini’s appointment illegal following which Jung set aside his appointment on grounds of “illegal infirmities” on September 22.Taking a serious note of Jung’s order, Kejriwal had shot off a lengthy letter to the LG, asking him to reconsider his decision in public interest. The state Cabinet requested Jung to reconsider the decision thrice, but all in vain. Thereafter, the Power Department issued an order to remove Saini with immediate effect.

You won’t be able to exchange those old notes at banks now

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>You will not be able to exchange your old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in banks as the government on Thursday stopped the swapping of these currency notes over the counter. However, you will be able to deposit them in your accounts till December 30.You have also been allowed use of Rs 500 notes for certain transactions. (see box). Old Rs 1,000 notes can now not be used for them.Permission to use old notes for payments of medical supplies, railway reservations, airfares, milk, metro tickets, purchase of petrol or diesel and cremation has been discontinued.A finance ministry release said that the decision to suddenly suspend over-the-counter exchange was taken to “encourage people who are still unbanked to open new bank accounts”. It also said that it had observed a declining trend in the swapping of old currency notes lately.A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, said one of the reasons for not permitting any more exchange of old currency over the counter was misuse of the facility by many by using “cash mules” to convert black to white.”This is happening because of its (over-the-counter currency exchange) misuse where cash mules were being used by some people to deposit their unaccounted high value cash. Also, there is this whole purpose of throwing out the informal economy and bringing it into the formal economy,” he said.According to him, people in rural areas will be hit hard by this move as there are many places where there were no banks for several kilometres and where banks operated only once a week. Additionally, the government also decided to allow people to continue the use of old Rs 500 notes for some emergency and essential activities till the middle of next month. However, it disallowed the use of old Rs 1,000 notes, which was earlier permitted for these purposes.The government has also asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to gird up for meeting the cash demand from government staff and pensioners after the electronic transfer of their salary and pension to their accounts early next week.It asked banks to specially ensure adequate cash availability for taking care of pensioners and put enough cash at military outposts to meet the cash needs of the Armed Force personnel.Earlier in the day, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley held a videoconference with bank chiefs to work out a strategy to make a shift to a “cashless” economy on a “mission mode” through rampant use of digital methods for transactions such as NEFT, mobile wallets, pre-paid cards, QR codes, pay-roll cards, debit and credit cards, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and others.”We had a videoconference with heads of all banks, single agenda of (the) meet was to expand the digital banking itself,” the minister told the media after the meeting.Clearing the confusion over how much penalty would be levied against black money offenders or those who were holding undeclared income, the Union Cabinet is believed to have discussed amending laws to levy close to 60% income tax on unaccounted deposits in banks.Earlier, the government had said offenders could be charged up to 200% tax. The move comes amid banks reporting over Rs 21,000 crore being deposited in zero-balance Jan Dhan accounts in two weeks after the Rs 500 and 1,000 notes were banned, which authorities apprehend may be laundered black money.Sources said the Cabinet, which met under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was keen to tax all unaccounted money in bank accounts after it allowed the banned currency to be deposited in bank accounts during a 50-day window from November 10 to December 30.They said the government was planning to bring an amendment to the Income-Tax Act during the current session of Parliament to levy a tax that will be higher than 45% and penalty charged on black money disclosed in the one- time Income Disclosure Scheme (IDS) that ended on September 30.As for black-money holders, who did not utilise the window, they would be charged a higher rate, which could be close to 60% that the foreign black money holder had paid last year. Sources said the government is keen to root out benami deposits, particularly in Jan Dhan accounts.Where you can use old Rs 500 notesSchool fees up to Rs 2,000 per student in central and state government-run and municipality and local body schools.Fees in central and state government colleges.Pre-paid mobile top-up to a limit of Rs 500.Consumer cooperative stores (up to Rs 5,000).Current bill and arrears for water and electricity.Since toll plazas made toll-free till December 2, old Rs 500 notes can be used from Dec 3 to 15.Foreign citizens allowed to exchange foreign currency up to Rs 5,000 per week with an entry in their passports.

Demonetization: Cabinet mulls levying 60% tax on unaccounted deposits above threshold

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Cabinet is believed to have discussed amending laws to levy close to 60 per cent income tax on unaccounted deposits in banks above a threshold post demonetization of high-denomination currency notes.The move comes amid banks reporting over Rs 21,000 crore being deposited in zero-balance Jan Dhan accounts in two weeks after the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes were banned, which authorities apprehend may be the laundered blackmoney.There was no official briefing on what transpired in the meeting that was called at short notice as Parliament is in session. Traditionally, there could no disclosures outside on any policy decision taken during the sitting of Parliament. Sources said the government was keen to tax all unaccounted money deposited in bank accounts after it allowed the banned currency to be deposited in bank accounts during a 50-day window from November 10 to December 30. There have been various statements on behalf of the government ever since the demonetization scheme was announced on November 8, which has led to fears of the taxman coming down heavily on suspicious deposits that could be made to launder blackmoney.Officials have even talked of a 30 per cent tax plus a 200 per cent penalty on top of a possible prosecution in cases where blackmoney holders took advantage of the 50-day window for depositing the banned currency.Sources said the government plans to bring an amendment to the Income Tax Act during the current winter session of Parliament to levy a tax that will be higher than 45 per cent tax and penalty charged on blackmoney disclosed in the one- time Income Disclosure Scheme that ended on September 30.As for those blackmoney holders who did not utilise the window, they would be charged a higher rate which could be close to 60 per cent that the foreign blackmoney holder had paid last year.Sources said the government is keen to root out benami deposits, particularly in Jan Dhan accounts.There was also talk of the government imposing a limit on domestic gold holding, but it is not clear if the proposal was discussed at the Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi tonight. Modi’s November 8 shock ban on high-denomination currency notes had swept away 86 per cent of the currency in circulation in the biggest-ever crackdown on black money, corruption and counterfeit currency. The move had led to Rs 14 lakh crore worth currency being withdrawn from circulation.The Cabinet meeting, summoned at a very short notice, comes amid reports of high tax penalty terrifying people from putting their cash savings in the formal banking system. The sources said the government wants all of the 500 and 1,000 banknotes to be deposited and not burnt or destroyed for the fear of penal action. The Income Tax Department had previously warned that cash deposits above Rs 2.5 lakh threshold post demonetization decision could attract tax plus a 200 per cent penalty in case of income mismatch.It was stated that the department was tracking all cash deposited during the period of November 10 to December 30, 2016, above a threshold of Rs 2.5 lakh in every account.This had instilled fear in people with reports of the banned currency even being destroyed.The sources added that the government may come out with a deposit scheme or an instrument like bond where the cash savings in the banned notes could be deposited.A 50-day window was given to holders of the old currency to deposit in their bank accounts. But the penal tax provisions were deterring many.

Cabinet gives nod to buy Dornier surveillance aircraft, to cost Rs 2,500 crore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Cabinet Committee on Security on Wednesday gave its nod to buy 12 upgraded Dornier surveillance aircraft for Indian Navy at a cost of about Rs 2,500 crore.Defence sources said the proposal was first given Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) by the Defence Acquisition Council in October 2014 and has finally being approved by the CCS, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The aircraft will be manufactured by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at its Transport Aircraft Division (TAD) in Kanpur, where over 120 of the type have been produced since 1984.Maritime surveillance and patrol variants of the Do-228 have been modified by HAL to cater for a host of equipment demanded by the navy including surveillance radar, FLIR (forward looking infrared), ESM (electronic support measures), satellite communications, data links, speech secrecy equipment, TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system) and EGPWS (enhanced ground proximity warning system), among others.

Indore-Patna train derailment: Ruckus in parliament over railway mishap; Govt promises ‘strictest action’

New Delhi: With the promise of “strictest possible action” against the guilty, government on Monday announced in Parliament a thorough probe aided by latest technical and forensic analysis into yesterday’s train accident near Kanpur in which over 133 people were killed.

Making suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha amid noisy protests by the opposition over demonetisation, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said the exercise to replace old coaches lacking crash-worthy features, announced in the Rail Budget, will also be expedited.

In the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain made the statement, which was objected to by the Opposition leaders who demanded that Railway Minister should do so.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

A statutory inquiry by the Commissioner of Railway Safety has also been ordered to find the correct cause of the accident, Prabhu said. “There shall be separate comprehensive investigation aided by latest technical and forensic analysis by an appropriate agency to look into all possible angles. Strictest possible action would be taken against the guilty,” he said expressing profound grief over the tragedy.

Prabhu also gave details of the relief and rescue operation launched by the railways. He along with Railway Board Chairman visited the spot and interacted with the injured. Several other top officials including his junior Manoj Sinha, also visited the site.

An enhanced ex-gratia of Rs 3.5 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased, Rs 50,000 to the grievously injured and Rs 25,000 to those with simple injuries and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also announced an additional amount of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 50000 for the kin of the killed and those injured, he said.

Old-technology coaches in operation lack the crash-worthy characteristics of modern coaches, Prabhu said.

“I had informed this House during the previous Railway Budget that such coaches will be progressively replaced and phased out. This will be expedited,” he said.

When Gohain rose to read the statement, Congress leader Anand Sharma said he was not a Cabinet Minister. “The Railway Minister made a statement in the other House. But this House is not being given its due respect…,” he said.

“The Cabinet Minister is not busy. He is available. It is a serious matter. Members have said so. Members are aggrieved,” he said.

Sharma added that the opposition will not have any clarifications today unless and until their demand of Prime Minister being present was met.

BSP leader Satish Chandra Misra supported Sharam and said, “How casually they are taking this accident, the Railway Minister himself is not here”.

To this, Kurien reminded the House that he too has been a Minister of State and the position is not of “casual Minister”.

The opposition MPs objected to the fact that the government did not even circulate the statement among the members.

The Deputy Chairman said: “There is no harm in MoS making the statement.”

As Gohain read his statement, the protesting members kept on shouting slogans against the government and Modi, saying “Jan virodhi Narendra Modi hosh mein aao, hosh mein aao”.
(Anti-people Narendra Modi come to your senses) and “Gali Gali main shor hai, Narendra Modi chor hai”.

As the Minister finished reading out his statement, Kurien said that since the House is not in order today, clarifications can be done later.

“Since the House is not in order today, if Members want clarifications, it can be done on another day,” he said.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 19:54 IST

Nepal to annul MoU with Indian consortium building Kathmandu-Nijgadh expressway

Kathmandu: Nepal has decided to terminate all memoranda of understanding (MoU) and decisions reached with an Indian consortium that was preparing to build the Kathmandu-Nijgadh expressway.

The Himalayan state was now preparing to build the project on its own as reported by the Kathmandu Post.

The 76 km long proposed highway had remained on the government’s drawing board since 1991.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Attempts to award the project to the Indian consortium of Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) Transportation Networks, IL&FS Engineering and Construction, and Suryavir Infrastructure Construction, had drawn flak earlier, Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Ramesh Lekhak told the parliamentary Finance and Development committees on Sunday.

“Without terminating the agreements and decisions reached in the past, it was impossible to move ahead, or build the project on our own,” he said.

Lekhak’s ministry is now planning to table a proposal to scrap all the agreements and understandings with the Indian developer at the Cabinet.

The Kathmandu-Nijgadh expressway which would cut travel time to an hour from the existing eight to 10 hours would be a public expressway where no toll would be levied, Lekhak told on Sunday.

The ministry was directed to settle issues related to the detailed project report (DPR) submitted by the consortium.

The developer had claimed that it had invested Rs 500-600 million for preparing the DPR.

Dhan Bahadur Tamang, secretary at the ministry, said a high-level committee was formed to sort the issue.

In 2014, the former Prime Minister Sushil Koirala-led government had made efforts to award the 100 billion-rupee-project to the consortium.

However, questions were raised over the Koirala government’s intention to offer minimum revenue guarantee up to Rs 15 billion a year to the developer if traffic remained inadequate to generate profits.

Even the Supreme Court, on 8 October, 2015, had issued an interim order shelfing the project.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 11:30 IST

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

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

Demonetisation: Pinarayi Vijayan protests Centre’s move, claims it will ‘destroy’ Kerala’s cooperative sector

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, along with his ministers, sat on a dharna in front of the RBI office in Thiruvananthapuram, protesting against the Centre’s move to “destroy” the cooperative sector in the state under the cover of demonetisation process, while also taking pot shots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Vijayan and his Cabinet colleagues marched from the Martyrs Column at Palayam to the RBI regional office in Thiruvananthapuram, before commencing the dharna.

The CM termed the Centre’s move a “political conspiracy”, backed by BJP, and rejected the saffron party’s charge that cooperative societies are “hub for black money”.

Attacking the Prime Minister, he said the demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes “without taking proper precautionary measures” had led to the present “crisis” and hardships to people.

File photo of Pinarayi Vijayan. PTI

File photo of Pinarayi Vijayan. PTI

Arguing that about 84-86 percent of currency in circulation was that in the demonetised notes, he said the sudden withdrawal had led to the “present crisis”.

“It was not an appropriate decision of a seasoned administrator,” he said.

Vijayan said the cooperative sector was not being allowed to accept deposits and exchange demonetised Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes which had led to “deep crisis” and attributed this to the outcome of BJP’s “propaganda”.

“All financial transactions in these societies have accurate inspection systems and these are deposits of ordinary persons,” he said, adding, the sector stands with the people of the state.

Vijayan said he and state Finance Minister Thomas Issac had met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 14 November to apprise the Centre of the difficulties of the cooperative sector.

“We pointed out that primary agricultural cooperative societies should also be allowed to exchange notes and accept deposits. We thought there would be a favourable decision. But by afternoon, the Centre decided to take back the permission given to district banks also,” he said, adding, “this was not a normal action”.

Pointing out that some people may be shocked that cooperative sector in the state had such deposits of about Rs 1.27 lakh crore, he said, “The sector has grown step by step and people working in this field are socially committed”.

Highlighting the importance of cooperative societies in Kerala, he said 70 percent of agriculture loans for farmers were given by the sector. Besides, it also meets the day-to-day needs of the people, he said.

Vijayan said, “Cooperative sector in Kerala has a bond with the people right from their birth to their death. People depend for all their small needs on the sector”.

To save the cooperative sector, Kerala will fight unitedly, he said.

“We need to stand together on the issue. We need to fight out forces who are trying to destroy the sector,” he said.

A special Cabinet has been called later in the day to discuss the issues of the sector and an all-party meeting would be held on 21 November on the issue, he said.

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said all India programmes and actions on the issue will be launched along with other opposition parties and his party would take the initiative.

First Published On : Nov 18, 2016 16:10 IST

Dhaka cafe attack: 3 terrorists involved were admirers of Zakir Naik, says govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Three terrorists, involved in the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka, were admirers of Zakir Naik, founder of Islamic Research Foundation, which was banned by the government, Rajya Sabha was informed today.”The three terrorists involved in the attack were reportedly admirers of Zakir Naik,” Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said in a written reply. The Minister said as per the available information, although the mandate of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) is educational and social, it is also involved in other activities. “Noticing certain violations of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, the IRF has been placed under the prior permission category”.The government on Tuesday decided to declare the IRF, an NGO promoted by the controversial Islamic preacher as an outlawed organisation under the anti-terror law for five years for its alleged terror activities. The decision has been taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Cabinet approved a proposal to declare IRF as an ‘unlawful association’ under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for five years.The move comes after investigation by the Home Ministry found that the NGO was allegedly having dubious links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, accused of propagating terrorism. According to the Home Ministry, Naik, who heads the IRF, has allegedly made many provocative speeches and engaged in terror propaganda. Naik came under the scanner of the security agencies after Bangladeshi newspaper ‘Daily Star’ reported that one of the perpetrators of the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka, Rohan Imtiaz, ran propaganda on Facebook last year quoting Naik.The Islamic orator is banned in the UK and Canada for his hate speech aimed against other religions. He is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia. He is popular in Bangladesh through his Peace TV, although his preachings often demean other religions and even other Muslim sects. The Mumbai-based preacher who is abroad, has not returned to India ever since the controversy came to light.

Will rehabilitate IRF students: Tawde

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde on Tuesday assured the students of a school run by Zakir Naik-promoted Islamic Research Foundation that the Centre’s decision to ban the NGO would not “adversely affect” them.”Ban on Islamic Research Foundation (#IRF) will not adversely affect students studying there. Measures for rehabilitation will be instated,” he said in a tweet.The Union Cabinet today approved a proposal to declare IRF as an ‘unlawful association’ under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for five years.Naik, who heads the trust, runs Islamic International School that was founded in 2003 in Mazgaon area of Mumbai.

Modi govt bans Zakir Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation for 5 years

New Delhi: The government on Tuesday decided to declare an NGO promoted by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik as an outlawed organisation under the anti-terror law for five years for its alleged terror activities.

The decision has been taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Cabinet approved a proposal to declare Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) as an ‘unlawful association’ under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for five years, a Home Ministry official said.

Zakir Naik. Reuters

Zakir Naik. Reuters

A formal notification will be issued by the Home Ministry soon.

The move comes after investigation by the Home Ministry found the NGO was allegedly having dubious links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, accused of propagating terrorism, the official said.

According to the Home Ministry, Naik, who heads the IRF, has allegedly made many provocative speeches and engaged in terror propaganda.

Maharashtra Police has also registered criminal cases against Naik for his alleged involvement in radicalisation of youths and luring them into terror activities, officials said.

Naik also transferred IRF’s foreign funds to Peace TV for making “objectionable” programmes. Most of the programmes, which were made in India, contained alleged hate speeches of Naik, who had reportedly “urged all Muslims to be terrorists” through Peace TV, they claimed.

An educational trust run by Naik have already been prevented from receiving foreign funds and agencies are looking into their activities.

He came under the scanner of the security agencies after Bangladeshi newspaper ‘Daily Star’ reported that one of the perpetrators of the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka, Rohan Imtiaz, ran propaganda on Facebook last year quoting Naik.

The Islamic orator is banned in the UK and Canada for his hate speech aimed against other religions. He is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia.

He is popular in Bangladesh through his Peace TV, although his preachings often demean other religions and even other Muslim sects. The Mumbai-based preacher who is abroad, has not returned to India ever since the controversy came to light.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 20:46 IST

Govt will reintroduce compulsory class X board exam for CBSE schools from 2017-18: Javadekar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government will reintroduce compulsory class X board examination for CBSE schools from the 2017-18 academic year, Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said here on Monday.In an informal conversation with reporters after a meeting with the Rajasthan Education Minister, he informed about the decision to re-introduce class X board examination.Javadekar also said state governments will be given authority to reintroduce class V and VIII board examinations, a proposal for which will be tabled in the Cabinet and then in Parliament.”The decision to conduct class V and VIII board examinations will be left with the state,” Javadekar said.Praising the initiatives taken in school education sector in Rajasthan, Javadekar said much improvement in the quality of education in government schools have been brought in the state, which was 25 years ago called “Bimaru”.He informed that enrolment in government school in Rajasthan has increased by 15 lakh where Utkarsh Adarsh schools have been opened at panchayat level.Narendra Modi-led government is working to improve academic standard and wants the curiosity among students to grow with education, the Minister said.Asked about suicide by several students preparing for IITJEE at coaching institutes of Kota, Javadekar said a website IIT-PAL will be introduced for free of cost on which students will get facilities like study material, guidance by experts and discussion options.

50 days for a new India: PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“This is not an end. I have more projects in mind to make India corruption-free…Cooperate with me and help me for 50 days and I will give you the India you desired.”That was Prime Minister Narendra Modi replying to detractors of demonetization at a function in Panaji, Goa, on Sunday. Modi, who got emotional over the problems being faced by the people and the long queues before banks, urged them to bear with him till December 30, saying he was ready to face the consequences of his move.“I know that (some) forces are up against me, they may not let me live, they may ruin me because their loot of 70 years is in trouble, but I am prepared,” Modi said.“This government does not want to bother honest people but doesn’t want to spare the dishonest…I am not going to stop at this…I am not born to occupy the high chair. I have left my village, my family for the sake of the country,” Modi said.Hitting out at the erstwhile UPA government at functions in Belagavi (Karnataka) and Pune, Modi said: “We will take action against benami property. This is a major step to eradicate corruption and black money.”Taking potshots at the Congress, Modi said, “Those who were involved in the coal scam, 2G scam and other scams, now have to stand in queues to exchange Rs 4,000.”He said the people had voted against corruption in 2014. “This had become clear from the very first Cabinet meeting when a Supreme Court- monitored Special Investigation Team was formed to investigate black money parked outside the country.“We collected Rs 67,000 crore under the amnesty scheme. In the last two years, through raids, surveys and declarations, Rs 1,25,000 crore has flown into the government coffers,” he said, referring to the Jan Dhan scheme aimed at financial inclusion.Stating that an enemy country is printing more fake Indian currency than their own currency, Modi said that this money is being used by the terrorists and extremists to foment trouble in our country. Allaying the fear of farmers, Modi said that no tax would be imposed on their agricultural income.Stressing the need to go cashless in transactions, he said: “There is a talk about a cashless society and we should shift to plastic money. That’s why we have removed all taxes from debit and credit cards in the budget.”(With inputs from Agencies)

Narendra Modi in Goa: Need 50 days to fight black money, emotional PM exhorts nation

After demonetising high-value notes to curb blackmoney, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that he has “more projects” in mind to rid the country of corruption and was ready to face the consequences as forces are “up against me” with  70 years of loot being in trouble.

“This is not an end. I have more projects in mind to make India corruption-free… Cooperate with me and help me for 50 days and I will give you the India you desired,” Modi said, after laying the foundation stone of Mopa greenfield airport and launching work on electronic city project in Goa.

“We will take action against ‘benami‘ property; This is major step to eradicate corruption and black money… If any money that was looted in India and has left Indian shores, it is our duty to find out about it,” he said.

“I know that [some] forces are up against me, they may not let me live, they may ruin me because their loot of 70 years is in trouble, but I am prepared,” Modi said in a speech which saw him getting emotional a few times.

He said the people voted against corruption in 2014. “I am doing what I was asked to do by the people of this country and it had become clear from the very first meeting of my Cabinet when I formed the SIT [on black money]. We never kept the people in dark.”

Hitting out at previous governments, the Prime Minister said they “neglected this… we took a key step to help honest citizen to defeat the menace of graft.”

PM Modi teared up in his emotional appeal to the public for support of the scheme. He said, “I was not born to sit on a chair of high office. Whatever I had, my family, my home-I left it for nation.”

He said, “Why do we have to put the future of our youths at stake? Those who want to do politics are free to do so.”

Hitting out on the Opposition, he said that those who want to do politics an those who want to ‘loot’ the country, they are the ones making the allegations, not the honest Indians. He sought the support of the people for the next 50 days.

In light of the recent reports of violence and the inconvenience faced by people, standing in queues, he said, “Yes I also feel the pain. These steps taken were not a display of arrogance. I have seen poverty & understand people’s problems.”

Reiterating that he is prepared to fight his critics for the success of his ‘abolish black money plan’, he said, “I know the forces up against me, they may not let me live,they may ruin me because their loot of 70 years is in trouble, but am prepared.”

Addressing the rumours on scarcity of salt, he said, “One day they spread the rumour of scarcity of salt, they do this because they know that they are losing their money.”

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Nov 13, 2016 14:23 IST

Trump economic adviser: stop talking about the Fed | Reuters

Trump economic adviser: stop talking about the Fed | Reuters

Updated: Nov 10, 2016 20:44 IST

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WASHINGTON A senior economic adviser to President-elect Donald Trump stressed economic growth over discussion of Federal Reserve policies on Thursday, citing the need for small-business job growth through better regulation, energy policy and tax cuts.”I think people should move on from the Fed and talk more about the other policies that will change rather quickly,” adviser David Malpass said in an interview with CNBC.Malpass, a Treasury and State Department official during the presidential administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, said Trump’s focus will be on small-business job growth, achieved through better regulation, tax cuts and tax simplification.”The Fed is independent,” he said. “The issue, though, is their performance has not been good. We’ve had a really slow-growth economy. The question is will they look inside and see their part of that problem.”

The Fed is one of many parts of government that have been slowing the U.S. growth rate, Malpass said. Malpass did not comment on possible Cabinet picks by Trump. He said the New York real estate magnate has stressed he wants a business-like Cabinet and has given running mate Mike Pence more influence in helping make personnel decisions.

Malpass deflected questions about whether he is being considered as a possible head of the Federal Reserve when Janet Yellen’s term expires in February 2018.

“I don’t think we should be talking about the Fed today,” he said. “The Fed is doing what it’s doing. It’s data dependent, it’s going to look for a rate hike in December based on whether we’re going to grow faster. All the signs are that the U.S. can begin to accelerate and I think that’s wonderful for the country.” (Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bill Trott)

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

Delhi Pollution epidemic: IMA issues advisory, asks Delhiites to stay indoors

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that the alarming air pollution has become an epidemic in Delhi, Indian Medical Association (IMA) president KK Aggarwal on Monday called on Delhiites to stay indoors while adding that the particulate matter 10 (pm) and 2.5 has crossed 600 which is hazardous for the people. “We are now calling this as a pollution epidemic. Our advisory to people is to stay at home, if possible work from home and avoid stepping outside the house,” Aggarwal pointed out that the Delhi Government should need to step in and cap pollution masks which are now selling like hot cakes among.These masks which used to sell at Rs 30 are now selling at Rs.1000, so there needs to be capping, At best it can be sold at Rs 40 but not at Rs 2500. Hence the Delhi government should act immediately. Aggarwal further called on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to take concrete steps on vehicular pollution. “They have not taken any concrete action on vehicular pollution. Benzene and Carbon Monoxide are all time high this. Hence we need to check vehicular pollution,” Aggarwal added. The Centre will today convene an emergency meeting of Environment Ministers of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to tackle the alarming level of pollution in Delhi.Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave will chair the meeting to chalk out an action plan to control the rising pollution levels. Talking to media in New Delhi yesterday, Dave said that no one should indulge in a political blame-game to fight pollution in the national capital. He appealed for a united response to tackle the problem. He said that the ISRO images show that the role of neighbouring states and their contribution is only 20 percent and blaming them would not work.Meanwhile, the Delhi Government has decided to close all schools for the next three days and shut down all constructions and demolitions for five days. Addressing media after holding a Cabinet meeting to discuss the issue yesterday afternoon, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that he won’t point fingers at anyone and stressed on the need to sit down and come out with a solution.He sought the Centre’s support, saying the Delhi Cabinet has discussed about artificial rain. He said, emergency measures are the need of the hour instead of politicising the Delhi’s pollution issue. The Delhi Government has announced several emergency measures to tackle the unprecedented level of pollution plaguing Delhi and the NCR.Water sprinkling on roads will begin tomorrow and vacuum cleaning measures to deal with dust pollution will start next week. Badarpur thermal power plant will be closed for ten days from Monday. Landfill sites fire will be extinguished and transportation of fly ash will be stopped for 10 days. City government is also planning to bring back Odd Even scheme soon and preparations are already on.The MeT department has forecast little improvement in the current weather condition for the next three days.Cases of respiratory problems have risen in the city with people rushing to medical stored to buy air masks.

NCP to celebrate Sharad Pawar’s half century in politics

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As NCP supremo Sharad Pawar is completing 50 years in politics, his party has planned a string of events across Maharashtra and other parts of the country to celebrate his eventful career which saw his rise from the grassroots to prominent state and national slots.Yashvantrao Chavan Pratishthan, headed by his daughter Supriya Sule (47), is holding events in February at Pune and Mumbai to mark the anniversary.The period had witnessed many changes in politics of the nation, including major splits in Congress, in some of which the 76-year-old leader himself played a central role.The “Maratha Strongman”, as he is often referred to by friends and rivals, plunged into politics as a grassroots worker in home turf Baramati in western Maharashtra in 1960s, and grew up under the tutelage of the late Y B Chavan.A hub of co-operatives which are crucial in the state politics, western Maharashtra has always been a fertile ground for youngsters to learn the ropes in politics.A player for all seasons, his name has since then been synonymous with power politics, both in Maharashtra and at the Centre.After his first election to the Maharashtra Assembly in 1967, Pawar has never lost any electoral contest, a feat which has eluded many of his contemporaries.After scoring his maiden victory, young Pawar was inducted as a junior minister. He was elevated to the Cabinet rank and over the years held several key portfolios in the state. In 1978, he became the youngest Chief Minister of Maharashtra at 38, a post at which he had three more stints.Pawar, who floated a separate outfit after breaking away from Congress, called Congress (S), returned to the parent party in 1986 at an event in Aurangabad in presence of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.Since his maiden Lok Sabha poll victory in 1984, Pawar has remained a key player in national politics. His prime ministerial ambitions, however, were cut short as Congress chose P V Narasimha Rao for the post, after the elections that followed the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991.Industrialist Rahul Bajaj put it succintly, during an event in Delhi to celebrate Pawar’s 75th birthday, saying the Maratha strongman was the “best PM the country never had”.During the NDA regime, Pawar headed the joint parliamentary committee probing higher amount of pesticide content in soft drinks in 2003. Pawar has always maintained cordial relations with leaders cutting across political divides, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many top leaders from the left, right and the centre.In 1991, Pawar became Defence Minister in the Narasimha Rao Cabinet. He faced allegations of diverting defence land to builders. He was also accused of ferrying alleged aides of Dawood Ibrahim in his official plane.During Pawar’s last stint as Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mumbai was rocked by serial bomb blasts in March, 1993 followed by the Gowari stampede in 1994 in Nagpur.After parting ways with Sonia Gandhi over the foreign origin issue, Pawar in 1999 formed the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). His party, however, struck alliance with Congress and ruled Maharashtra for 15 years till the BJP-led government came to power in 2014.In 2014, Pawar got elected to the Rajya Sabha, enabling his daughter Supriya to contest from his Baramati Lok Sabha seat.Pawar has also occupied key positions on the cricket board, including that of BCCI and ICC President, besides other sports associations.As the veteran politician is set to complete half a century of public life, the question being asked is who will be his political heir.The query was recently put to none other than Supriya, an NCP MP, and pat came the reply “time will decide”.”For Yashwantrao Chavan (first Chief Minister of Maharashtra), Pawarsaheb was his ‘manasputra’ (political heir). However, time will decide who will be his (Pawar’s) political heir in future,” Supriya added.

Recipient of President’s Police medals, NIA chief Sharad Kumar re-employed

Fri, 28 Oct 2016-09:47pm , New Delhi , PTI

Sharad Kumar is involved in various important cases which includes Pathankot terror case, terror strikes in Kashmir, Burdwan blast case and Samjhauta blast cases. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a rare move, the Government gave second extension of one year to senior IPS officer Sharad Kumar on Friday by re-employing him as Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) for a period of one year. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the proposal for re-appointment of Kumar on the post of DG, NIA on “re-employment” for a period of one year beyond end of previous one year an official statement said.Kumar, an IPS officer of 1979 batch of Haryana cadre, was appointed as Chief of NIA on July 30, 2013. His continuance was approved apparently to help the agency in completing some of the important cases which includes Pathankot terror case, terror strikes in Kashmir, Burdwan blast case and Samjhauta blast cases. Having got numerous outstanding reports during service, Kumar is also a recipient of President’s Police medals for meritorious and distinguished services in the year 1996 and 2004, respectively.

Yadav v/s Yadav: Never wanted to become chief minister – Shivpal Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav, who was sacked from the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet on Thursday, said he never nurtured an ambition to become the chief minister and will always remain a “disciplined soldier” of his brother Mulayam Singh Yadav. Talking to reporters here, en route to Saharanpur, he said,”I never wanted to become chief minister. Had I wanted, I could have been in 2003 but I supported Mulayam Singh Yadav and he became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh”.Shivpal said that he may or may not be the SP state president but will always remain a “disciplined soldier of Netaji (Mulayam)”.He said SP will form a ‘Maha Gathbandhan’, as was in Bihar polls, with secular parties to check BJP from wresting power in Uttar Pradesh.

Talks between AAP and Navjot Sidhu are for a bigger cause of ‘saving Punjab’: Sanjay Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Talks between former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and Aam Aadmi Party are going on, AAP senior leader Sanjay Singh said in Chandigarh on Thursday, even as suspense continued over which way the cricketer-turned-politician would finally go after Congress recently maintained that it had no reservation if he joins the outfit “unconditionally”.”Talks are going on with Sidhu. There is no denying this. Talks have been underway for the past 4-5 days,” Singh told reporters here. Sources said Sidhu held a meeting with AAP’s co-in-charge and Delhi Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s confidante Durgesh Pathak here late last night. They said former BJP MP is pushing for the deputy chief minister’s post and added that the bone of contention was also some 7-8 seats which Sidhu has demanded, including seats for Hockey Olympian Pargat Singh and two Independent legislators, Balwinder Singh Bains and Simarjit Singh Bains.They also indicated that a section in the party favoured an alliance with Sidhu’s outfit Aawaz-e-Punjab rather than the former BJP MP joining AAP. “An alliance with Sidhu’s Awaaz-e-Punjab will boost party’s prospects but giving him deputy CM’s post will not go well with the party cadre,” they said, adding, the alliance will help strike balance between the demands of the two sides.They indicated that the party was not keen on giving him the deputy chief minister’s post but it was ready to induct his wife in the Cabinet if the AAP comes to power. “Our party constitution states that we cannot give seats to two people from one family. Since the Bains brothers are sitting MLAs, they would want tickets, a demand which we would not be able to fulfil,” the leader added.Sidhu had last month floated his ‘Awaaz-e-Punjab’ forum in what many had then thought was the outcome of Sidhu’s talks with AAP having “failed” at that time. After the development, Kejriwal had said his respect for Sidhu will continue irrespective of whether “he joins (AAP) or not”, indicating that the party had not shut its doors on him.However, Sidhu had later attacked Kejriwal and dubbed AAP as “anarchy in the garb of democracy”, saying the AAP chief wanted only “yes men”. In a clear indication that talks with the former BJP MP leader were progressing, Singh said not too much should be read into Sidhu’s utterances, asserting that the two sides were engaged in talks for a bigger cause which was how “save Punjab”. “A long time has passed (since Sidhu made these remarks), if we get involved in small things, then Punjab’s interests will take a back seat. What he has said in his speech or in his statement, that is not the issue, that is not important.”The issue is how to save Punjab, how to save the state from corruption, from drug menace, how we will restore the lost glory of our farmers. We are thinking about this and we have to think about these issues,” Singh said.Asked if AAP has offered Sidhu the post of the Deputy Chief Minister in case the party wins next year’s Punjab polls, Singh said, “At this stage, the only thing I can say is that talks are going on.” On whether Sidhu and other members of his forum will join AAP or will there be any alliance with his forum, Singh said, “The whole formula will be put before you. What will happen and how it will happen, all this you will come to know but wait for some time.” Asked at what stage these talks were, he said, “They are currently on, but I cannot tell you at what stage these are. When we take a final decision, it will be made public”.Praising the role played by Sidhu in raising a voice for what was right, Singh said, “And in this (their effort to save Punjab), there are some people who have played a role for state’s betterment, our effort is that all such people should join hands. This is a fight for justice and all such forces should come together.” “In the interests of Punjab, all those people we need to talk to, we will do that,” he added.”We will make honest efforts for it but what the result will be, this only time will tell. We have not set any time frame for these talks (with Sidhu) but when we make any final decision, we will make it public,” he said. Asked if Sidhu was an important factor for Punjab, Singh said, “Look, he and his wife (Navjot Kaur, who was BJP MLA from Amritsar-East) raised their voice on issues concerning people, they raised voice against the Badals and how they were plundering the state”.On Sidhu reportedly also negotiating with Congress, Singh replied, “It will be better if you put this to question to Sidhu or Congress…but as far as our talks are concerned, they focus on common issues of how to save Punjab…”To another question, Singh said the upcoming Punjab polls will be fought under Kejriwal’s leadership. Replying to another query, he said, AAP has no problem in inducting the members of Sidhu’s Awaaz-e-Punjab forum.Regarding Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav’s claim that AAP’s graph had gone down in Punjab, Singh said, “AAP will win more than 100 seats and SAD-BJP will be completely wiped out.” “What we did in Delhi, history will repeat itself in Punjab. People are wise, they know that many forces have taken (electoral) plunge which will try to create obstacle but these forces will face defeat,” he said.On if Kejriwal will contest from Punjab, Singh said, “These are your speculations.” He also hit out at the ruling Akalis who have claimed that AAP will fail to create an impression in the upcoming Punjab polls and took a dig at those alleging that the AAP government in Delhi had failed to deliver on its promises.”In Delhi, all that we had promised in our manifesto, we have worked to fulfill them. We had promised to make power cheaper by half, we promised free water, we talked about Mohalla Clinics, we did all this. We improved standard of education in government schools, installed CCTV cameras in buses for women’s security, ended Raid Raj and Inspector Raj, odd-even formula became a worldwide hit. Our work speaks for itself. Earlier, people used to say learn from (developed nations like) the US, now world is saying learn from Kejriwal and AAP,” Singh said.

PM Modi forms 10 Groups of Secretaries to focus on specific sectors

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday decided to form 10 Groups of Secretaries which will work on various sectors like agriculture, energy and transport and submit their reports by the end of next month. The decision was announced as the Prime Minister met all Secretaries to the Government of India here. Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State for Independent Charge were also present at the meeting.At the meeting, Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha made a brief presentation on the work done, as a follow up to the reports presented by 8 Groups of Secretaries to the Prime Minister in January this year, a PMO statement said. The rapporteurs for two out of the eight groups also made presentations on the status of implementation of the recommendations of their groups, the statement said.”Ten new Groups of Secretaries are being formed, who will submit their reports on various Governance issues, by the end of November,” the PMO said.”As compared to the earlier groups, which worked on specific themes, the focus of the groups this time will be on sectors, such as agriculture, energy, transport etc,” it added.Addressing the Secretaries, Modi complimented them for the work done by them as part of the 8 thematic groups in the month of January. He urged them to undertake a critical review of the work done by the Union Government in the respective sectors that they will be studying. He also asked them to engage young officers to research related issues, the PMO statement said.Speaking of demographic dividend, the Prime Minister said all groups must prioritize harnessing the strengths of the 800 million youth of India as part of their recommendations. He said the team of Secretaries to the Government of India, has the collective wisdom and experience to create policies to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of India s people. He exhorted them to put their best foot forward to the task ahead, the statement said.

Jayalalithaa’s health: Respect of privacy is justified, adulation bordering on paranoia is not

With over 50 cases registered against individuals for spreading rumours, discussing or commenting on social platforms about the state of health of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, fear is certainly the key that shuts the lock on the public’s lips.

Retribution is swift and arbitrary. Even water cooler conversations are open to police action and you could possibly get even with an adversary by just calling up the cops anonymously and giving them a name. That is how skittish the state is over this issue and it is just not defensible that New Delhi has not stepped in. This is not North Korea, this is democratic India and Jayalalithaa is the chief minister of one of the states, so her health is a matter of public concern.

The tangled web being woven in the utterly absurd bulletins and the obvious deception entailed in them, feeds rumours and speculation and is harmful to everyone.

Representational Image. ReutersRepresentational Image. Reuters

Representational Image. Reuters

What need is there for such a major operation in obfuscating the details? Fine, we do not want to know the intimate blow by blow account, but surely the updates can have some factual information and not babble on about ‘progressing gradually and ‘interacting and taking time off respiratory support’.

You don’t need to be an Einstein to figure out that this cover up is flimsy and silly and insulting to not just her followers and fans, but to public intelligence as well.

If the Governor (and why is he the spokesman) were to tell it like it is, what could possibly be the adverse effect? What about the Cabinet, why are they keeping it a secret?

What is inconceivable is that between ward boys, nurses, doctors, lab assistants, cleaners, specialists, their families, their friends, their colleagues and the whole Apollo hospital hierarchy, there must be at least a thousand people in the loop and nothing has leaked out. In a nation where secrecy and privacy are impossible, it clearly indicates that the need-to-know basis is being severely restricted, and there must be a major effort to prevent access to patient or the patient’s papers.

Not only has the state’s business of the day come to a halt, but no one is prepared to take charge and stand in for the indisposed leader in case it is misunderstood by her when she returns.

This closed door policy is now not only bordering on the absurd, but it is also the fuel for a hundred disturbing rumours and half-truths based on leaps of imagination and the presence of specific kinds of medical specialists.

If one is brutally honest, by bending over backwards in what they seem to be doing to earn her gratitude these political luminaries are actually doing their boss a disfavour.

Bu all means penalise people who send out malicious reports or use social platforms to generate incitement and outrage but stop being so claustrophobic about her medical condition.

The public of Tamil Nadu, especially, and the country at large have a democratic right to know what exactly the situation is and that the treatment being given is the best possible one. If they do not know how unwell she is, how can they be comforted that all care is being taken and there have been no errors in judgement. What if it is to deflect from just that?

What possible advantage is there in keeping all this under covers? It is just baffling. And one cannot think of any precedent even close to this.

Respect of privacy is acceptable. Adulation for a publicly elected leader bordering on paranoia is not.

Yadav v/s Yadav: Mulayam Singh surrounded by evil powers, says Ram Gopal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expelled Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav on Sunday said he is not sad by getting expelled from the party, but was hurt by the false allegations levelled against him by state party president Shivpal Yadav.”I am not sad that I have been expelled from the party, but I am hurt because of the false allegations levelled against me,” Ram Gopal said in a statement.Defending himself, Ram Gopal said it is not a crime to meet leaders from any other political party in a democracy.”Whether I am in the Samajwadi Party or not, I will continue to extend my support to Akhilesh Yadav till he becomes Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh,” he said.Commenting on party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, he said Mulayam Singh is not just his elder brother but also a political ‘guru’ who is currently surrounded by evil powers.Earlier today, Samajwadi Party state president Shivapal Yadav expelled party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav from his position and the party for next six years while accusing him of being part of a conspiracy against the party.”Ramgopal is involved with the BJP; he met BJP leaders thrice in the last few days. He is doing such things because his son Akshay Yadav and daughter-in-law are involved in a scam. To protect himself and his son they are planning conspiracy as per the direction of BJP,” Shivpal said. He said that Ram Gopal is making the party weak, adding Akhilesh is not understanding the facts that who is with him and who is against him.Earlier on Sunday, Akhilesh in an unexpected move sacked four ministers including his uncle Shivpal from the Cabinet. Narad Rai, Saiyyada Shadab Fatima and O.P. Singh are the other three leaders, who have been shown the door by the Chief Minister post the meeting called by him on Sunday.

‘One single outsider’ responsible for SP feud: Azam Khan indirectly attacks Amar Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hours after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav removed senior minister Shivpal Yadav and four other ministers from his Cabinet, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on Sunday blamed “one single outsider” for the “unfortunate” developments.”It is happening due to one single outsider who has penetrated into the ruling party’s family and I have been apprising my colleagues about his detrimental presence in the party. Had a serious and severe action been taken, the damage could have been averted,” he said.The SP national general secretary termed the stern action taken by chief minister “late but inevitable”. Known for his controversial remarks in the past, Azam Khan had been maintaining a silence over the recent developments in the party.

dna Evening Must Reads: From Yadav vs Yadav feud to India’s win over Pak in Asian Champions Trophy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Live | Yadav vs Yadav: Shivpal out of Akhilesh’s ministry; Ram Gopal sacked from SP in retaliationCrisis hit a new low in ruling Samajwadi Party with UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday taking the extreme step of sacking Shivpal Singh Yadav and three others from his Cabinet. In retaliation, Shivpal Yadav has sent close Akhilesh aide Ram Gopal Yadav from the party for six years. Catch the live updates here 2. UP, Punjab and three other states likely to go to polls in February- March next yearUttar Pradesh, which is set to witness game-changer elections, and four other states will go to polls simultaneously, most likely in February-March next, commencing shortly after the presentation of the Union Budget on February one. Read more here3. Black money: IT department to intensify crackdown against stash holdersWith both the one-time black money declaration windows concluded, the Income Tax department is set to intensify its crackdown against stash holders after a recent case where an IDS participant surrendered a fresh Rs 30 crore of unaccounted wealth to the taxman after raids were conducted against him. Read more here4. Clinical strike: Pacy India down arch-rivals Pakistan in Asian Champions Trophy India exhibited their composed defence when under pressure from early Pakistan raids and worked hard to gain control of the showpiece encounter of the tournament at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium. Read more about the ‘Clinical strike’ here5. ADHM row: Fadnavis, Johar and Raj Thackeray producing a film called ‘Yeh to hona hi tha’, says UddhavSena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday poked fun at the meeting called by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanavis to resolve the imbroglio over the release of Karan Johar’s “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, which was facing threat by MNS over the casting of Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. Read what Thackeray said here

Proposals sought to regularise contractual employees: Arvind Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi government has sought proposals from its various departments by November 15 regarding regularisation of contractual employees, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said. Kejriwal, however, indicated that if Lt Governor Najeeb Jung doesn’t give his nod to government’s proposals, it will move the Supreme Court as there is an apex court’s order on regularisation of contractual employees.”Delhi Cabinet had last year decided to make a policy to regularise contractual employees of all departments. To begin with, Education Department had prepared a proposal in this regard and it was sent to the LG for his nod. However, the Lt Governor has not given his approval so far,” he told reporters here. Instead of getting proposals from different departments in a series, “we have directed all departments to send their proposals by November 15 so that government will take decision on all proposals together,” he added. The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by the CM at his official residence today. Chief Secretary K K Sharma has been directed to monitor the progress on various departments’ proposals.The Aam Aadmi Party had promised to regularise all contractual employees if it was voted to power. The Delhi CM said that there was Uma Devi judgement of the Supreme Court according to which specified some conditions for regularization of the contractual employees. “As per the judgement, there should be open exam for this practice. Besides, relaxations can be given on experience and age while regularising contractual employees. We had sent guest teachers’ proposal to LG, but he has sent back it. He had objected to experience relaxation. Government will again sent it to LG. If it is not approved then, we will move the Supreme Court,” he said. As per rough estimate, there are over 50,000 contractual employees working in various departments of the Delhi government. In the past, contractual employees of DTC and other departments have staged protest demanding regularisation of their services.

Mobile phones banned from Cabinet meetings

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a move aimed at checking any possibility of leakage of information through hacking of communication devices, Union Ministers have been asked not to carry mobile phones in Cabinet meetings.The Cabinet Secretariat has recently issued a directive to private secretaries of the concerned ministers in this regard. “It has been decided that smartphones/mobile phones will henceforth not be permitted inside the meeting venues of Cabinet/Cabinet Committees,” it said.The private secretaries have been asked to appropriately brief the ministers on this.The move assumes significance as security agencies have raised doubts over the security of mobile phones which are prone to hacking.Official sources said the measure will ensure that the discussion, which is mostly sensitive, during cabinet meetings remains secret.Such an instruction has been issued from the government for the first time. Earlier, ministers were allowed to bring mobile phones with them which would be kept either on silent mode or preferably switched off.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar to revive his interaction with people from December

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five months after scrapping his ‘Janata Ke Durbar Mein Mukhya Mantri’ programme, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has decided to revive his interaction with the people in the form ‘Lok Samvad Karyakram’ (Public Interaction Programme) from December, an official said on Friday. The decision in this regard was taken at a cabinet meeting presided by the Chief Minister, Principal Secretary (Cabinet Secretariat) Brajesh Mehrotra said.Under the Public Interaction Programme, Kumar, along with his ministers, will interact with the people and hear their suggestions on first three Mondays of every month, he said. Mehrotra said the public interaction will take place at the Chief Minister’s official residence or at his Secretariat at Samvad or even in the districts.About 50 people will be invited for the interactive programmes, the Principal Secretary (Cabinet Secretariat) said. “A software named ‘Lok Samvad’ has been designed, under which the people can post their suggestions in approximately 200 words or send the same to the Chief Minister and the Cabinet Secretariat or make a presentation in person at the Pubic Interaction Programme,” he said.Shedding light on the agenda of the Public Interaction Programme, he said that suggestions on infrastructure, industries, building and construction, electricity, water, irrigation, etc will be heard on the first Monday of the month. On the second Monday the invited people will be heard on issues like police, general administration, urban and rural local bodies, cooperative.The Chief Minister and his ministers will be given presentation by the people on matters like improvement of health services, education and welfare of weaker sections on the third Monday, Mehrotra said. The exact date for commencement of the Chief Minister’s Public Interaction Programme will be announced in due course of time, Mehrotra said.

Smriti Irani, Sadananda Gowda dropped from Inter-State Council

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Ministers Smriti Irani and D V Sadananda Gowda have been dropped from Inter-State Council, official sources said on Wednesday. Irani and Gowda were permanent invitees to the council headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Irani and Gowda were divested of their HRD and Law and Justice portfolios respectively in the last Cabinet reshuffle in July. Irani is now Textiles Minister, while Gowda holds Statistics and Programme Implementation portfolio. Both the ministers were dropped from the council which was reconstituted yesterday, according to an official order.HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has been included in the new council. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, who also holds the Law and Justice portfolio, continues to be on the council.The Inter-State Council was established in May 1990 with a mandate to act as a coordinating body between the states and the Centre. It is tasked to inquire into and advising upon disputes which may have arisen between states and also to investigate and discuss subjects in which some or all of the states, or the Union, have a common interest.The Prime Minister had in July chaired the 11th meeting of the council after a gap of nearly ten years. The previous meeting of Inter-State Council was held in December 2006. The council has as its members chief ministers of all states, chief ministers of union territories having a Legislative Assembly and administrators of union territories not having Legislative Assembly, and six union ministers.The ministers who are its members include Rajnath Singh (Home), Sushma Swaraj (External Affairs), Arun Jaitley (Finance and Corporate Affairs), M Venkaiah Naidu (Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information and Broadcasting), Nitin Gadkari (Road Transport & Highways and Shipping) and Manohar Parrikar (Defence). Ten Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State (Independent Charge) are permanent invitees to the council.Besides Javadekar and Prasad, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ramvilas Paswan, Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot are the permanent invitees.

Panneerselvam holds first Cabinet meeting after taking over ailing Jayalalitha’s portfolios

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For the first time after the Tamil Nadu Governor re-allocated the portfolios of ailing Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, state Finance Minister O Panneerselvam on Wednesday presided over a meeting of the state cabinet to discuss, among other matters, the vexed Cauvery issue.Although the government did not release details of the agenda of the meeting, the Cabinet is understood to have deliberated on the ongoing Cauvery water sharing dispute with Karnataka, besides other subjects.The meeting also comes ahead of the scheduled onset of north-east monsoon later this month. The rains in December last year had wreaked havoc, flooding Chennai and nearby districts.Last week, Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao had allotted the portfolios including Home held by Jayalalithaa to Panneerselvam, till the time she returned to resume official duties.The government released photographs of Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, where Panneerselvam was seen seated with a picture of Jayalalithaa placed on his desk.The nearly hour-long meeting was held in the backdrop of the ongoing Cauvery water sharing row with Karnataka and demands by Opposition parties for an all-party meeting on the issue.Farmers’ bodies and political parties had staged a two-day state-wide rail blockade ending Tuesday, urging the Centre to constitute the Cauvery Management Board.The Raj Bhavan had last week in a release, said Paneerselvam, who holds the Administrative Reforms portfolio, in addition to Finance, “will also preside over cabinet meetings.”The last Cabinet meeting held by Jayalalithaa was in July this year to discuss the state budget.68-year-old Jayalalithaa was admitted to the Apollo hospital on September 22 after she complained of fever and dehydration. A specialist from London besides three-member team of doctors from AIIMS, Delhi, had also examined Jayalalithaa, who is being treated for infection with respiratory support.

Please Manohar Parrikar, stop conducting surgical strikes on our senses

It is not often that the Congress makes a lot of sense these days, but it is difficult to find fault with its description of Manohar Parrikar as a “national embarrassment”. The defence minister’s recent spate of garrulousness sits at odds with the discretion and gravitas that his portfolio demands. The senior BJP leader must remember that before a party functionary or mukhya shikshak of RSS, he is India’s defence minister. His actions and words must be commensurate with that post.

File image of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

File image of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Unfortunately, over the last few days since the Indian Army’s Special Forces carried out a covert operation to eliminate a few terrorists on Pakistan soil, Parrikar has carried out surgical strikes on our senses. Not a day passes without his inane comments flooding the media. Parrikar might be an exceedingly honest man and a hardworking minister in the Narendra Modi Cabinet but that hardly gives him the license to try and raise political capital out of a military offensive. The BJP has been accusing rival political parties of trying to politicise the surgical strikes but truth to tell, nobody has made the onerous attempt more than Parrikar himself did.

Some of his statements, like the one he delivered on Monday, challenge the boundaries of ridiculousness. Speaking at an event in Ahmedabad, the defence minister said: “The prime minister hails from Mahatma Gandhi’s home state and defence minister comes from Goa which never had a ‘martial race’. And then take this surgical strike. This was a different kind of combination. Maybe the RSS teaching was at the core.”

According to the Ministry of Defence website, Government of India, “the responsibility for national defence rests with the Cabinet. This is discharged through the Ministry of Defence, which provides the policy framework and wherewithal to the armed forces to discharge their responsibilities in the context of the defence of the country.”

Which part of his responsibility was Parrikar carrying out by ostensibly trying to credit RSS for a military offensive? His comments demean the role of armed forces — as rightly pointed out by Opposition parties — and the self-aggrandisement on display is inaccurate and conceited.

But Parrikar’s verbosity doesn’t stop at boasting about his sartorial brilliance, comparing the Indian army to Hanuman or stretching the limits of ridiculousness. Some of his other statements as defence minister are damaging to India’s security interests and run the risk of upsetting the flimsy equilibrium vis-à-vis Pakistan post surgical strikes.

Just a few days after the strike was conducted in the intervening hours of 28 and 29 September and Pakistan’s hot denial of the operation, Parrikar said, “Pakistan’s condition after the surgical strikes is like that of an anaesthetised patient after a surgery who doesn’t know that the surgery has already been performed on him. Even two days after the surgical strikes, Pakistan has no idea what has happened… If Pakistan continues with such conspiracies, we will give them a befitting reply again.”

This type of dialoguebaazi is well-suited for Bollywood potboilers, but thoroughly misplaced when it comes from a defence minister. As one of the key ministers in the Modi Cabinet, Parrikar should have respected the reticence in DGMO’s statement following the strikes which was aimed at ensuring de-escalation of tension with a nuclear-armed adversary following the strike. The operation carried a loud enough message, there was no need for the defence minister to rub salt in Pakistan’s wounds and risk forcing a retaliation from Rawalpindi.

It requires major suspension of disbelief to reckon that Parrikar was unaware of the delicacy of the situation. His blatant disregard from realpolitik needs, therefore, give merit to Congress’ statement that he is unfit for his role.

When will Manohar Parrikar tire of tooting the surgical strikes horn?

On 29 September, the world at large was informed that India had conducted surgical strikes by crossing the Line of Control and tackling terrorists. The move was hailed as a success and before you knew it, everyone had an opinion.

Uddhav Thackeray said that Narendra Modi fought with Pakistan like a “mard (man)”. The Art of Living Foundation’s Sri Sri Ravishankar said that terrorists has been shown their place and that he “would also congratulate our prime minister. It shows that peace needs to be protected not only through shaastra (scriptures) but also shastra (arms).” Amit Shah, BJP supremo called the surgical strike a “frontal fight against terrorism”.

A file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTIA file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

A file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Those in the government did make statements about the attacks; Venkaiah Naidu, urban development minister said that Pakistan is “like a thief bitten by a scorpion and cannot even cry.” But these were few and far between. All except one member of government.

If there is one person in the Modi Cabinet who has had plenty to say on the subject, it’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. Modi had strictly ordered his Cabinet and party members to not make stray comments about the surgical strikes and that only those with authority should speak on the matter. “Only those authorised and when specifically directed to speak on the matter should do so,” sources have quoted the prime minister as saying.

In his first statement after the attacks, Parrikar had said that “anyone who casts an evil eye on the country would not be spared”. Parrikar further said that Pakistan had been stunned into silence after the surgical strikes and was in a comatose condition. “Pakistan is like a patient who has been put under anaesthesia before an operation,” he said as people clapped in agreement.

In the most recent statement, on Monday, 18 October, twenty days after the strikes, Parrikar said that the RSS ideology inspired Modi and him to carry out the strikes across LoC. The minister said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh teachings were at the back of his mind and that of the prime minister while ordering the surgical strikes on the terrorist launch pads.

It was not possible that a prime minister from the land of Mahatma Gandhi and a defence minister from Goa with a common RSS orientation would not take such a strong decision, he said. The minister was addressing students and teachers of Nirma University here during a ‘Know Your Army’ programme in Ahmedabad. ” “I wonder that a prime minister from land of Mahatma Gandhi and a defence minister from Goa and surgical strikes… maybe the RSS teachings was there, but this was very different kind of a combination,” he said, as reported by Firstpost.

At another event,  Parrikar said that a major share of the credit goes to the prime minister. “For myself, I would only share the credit, at the most, the major share goes to the prime minister but the issue, I will at least claim the credit for, is decision-making ability and planning.” Parrikar also said that the 29 September operation was carried out by the Indian Army and not a political party. “I think that should settle the nerves of many people I understand quite well, because I am a politician… I understand peoples’ sentiments are satisfied and when population is satisfied, ‘Wo khuda jaisa hi hota hai, chhappar phad ke deta hai‘ (they are like gods, they give in abundance),” he said.

Parrikar also compared the Indian Army with Lord Hanuman of Ramayana, Parrikar said as the deity was reminded of his strength before going to Lanka, “I reminded our army of their powers and they did the job brilliantly. I congratulate the soldiers of special forces on behalf of the entire country,” he said in Dehradun. “Indian troops were like Hanuman who did not quite know their prowess before the surgical strikes,” Parrikar had said.

Parrikar’s chest-thumping didn’t sit well with many as Goa Congress spokesperson Sunil Kawthankar said that “Parrikar is a defence minister with verbal diarrhea. He should speak less, act more, respect the forces and equip them. Our armed forces are strong enough to hit hard. Don’t undermine them with your political pitch.”

Soon after the surgical strikes, Manohar Parrikar was supposed to participate in a victory rally in Goa — the state BJP’s plans to accord a hero’s welcome to Parrikar for choreographing the surgical strikes across the Line of Control. But this was cancelled as the move drew ire from political parties and prominent personalities. Probably for the best.

Delhi Cabinet advises LG to dissolve Shunglu Committee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government on Friday advised L-G Najeeb Jung to dissolve the Shunglu Committee set up by him to examine 400 files pertaining to decisions the AAP dispensation has taken since coming to power.Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said a decision in this regard was taken at a Cabinet meeting today chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The Delhi Cabinet termed the three-member Shunglu Committee- which was looking into the files- unconstitutional.Sisodia told a press conference here, there is no provision in the Constitution, or in any statute or rule, which mandates setting up of an “external committee” to inquire into ongoing projects of public welfare, question officers and “threaten” to recommend administrative and criminal action against them. He requested Jung to return all files of the government saying “various important works are being affected” due to this.”The Committee has created a dangerous climate of fear and uncertainty among the bureaucracy, thus threatening to derail the government functioning in its entirety, noted the Cabinet,” he said.”We have requested the L-G to dissolve the committee as the Lt Governor has no power. The jurisdiction of L-G is well defined under Article 239AA of Constitution of India, the GNCTD Act, 1991, and the rules framed under the Act,” he said.If the committee continues its “illegal” functioning, not only will it imperil public welfare, it has also the potential to create a serious constitutional crisis in the national capital, noted the Cabinet, according to the Deputy CM. Sisodia said the “impounding” of over 400 files by L-G is against the transaction of business rules and GNCTD Act.”Cabinet also brought to the notice of the L-G that the August 4 Delhi High Court judgment which is being invoked by him to take such actions, has not become final and is presently under challenge before the Supreme Court,” he said.Notices have already been issued by the apex court and the matter is to be finally heard on November 25, he said. “It would have been prudent for the L-G to await the final decision of the apex court before taking such unilateral actions bypassing the elected government,” said Sisodia.He claimed that several officers have reported to their respective ministers that they were summoned by the committee informally and grilled for many hours for decisions taken by them in public interest over the last one-and-a-half years.”Such summoning of officers through oral instructions and then questioning them over the content of the files without duly recording and authenticating the officers’ version is against the well-established norms of transparency and propriety,” he added.

Cabinet approves Indian Institute of Management at Jammu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu is set to get an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) from the current academic session as part of the Prime Minister’s development package for Jammu and Kashmir.An out-campus will be set up in the Kashmir region later.The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the establishment and operationalisation of IIM at Jammu in a temporary campus at Old Government College of Engineering and Technology from the Academic Year 2016-17.The project will involve a cost of Rs 61.90 crore in temporary campus for the initial four years from 2016 to 2020.The student strength intake for this year in the Post Graduate Diploma Programme (PGDP) in Management is 54 which will progressively go up to a cumulative student strength of 120 in the 4th year.”Steps would also be taken up for setting up campus at Jammu and an out-campus in Kashmir region. The detailed project report for the permanent campuses is under preparation and thereafter the process for setting up of the campuses would start,” an official statement said after the Cabinet meeting.The Cabinet also approved formation of an IIM Jammu Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. IIM Jammu will be run and managed by the Society with a Board of Governors (BOGs) to be constituted by the central government which will administer the institute and would be responsible for establishment and operationalisation of the institute.”This is a part of Prime Minister’s development package for Jammu and Kashmir. The institute, coupled with opening of IIT at Jammu, modernisation of NIT Srinagar and opening of two new AIIMS institutions, one each in Kashmir region and Jammu region, would go a long way in meeting the requirement of high quality living and education in the state,” the statement said.At present, there are 19 IIMs. Out of these, 13 are located at Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Lucknow, Indore, Kozhikode, Shillong, Ranchi, Raipur, Rohtak, Kashipur, Trichy, Udaipur. Another six IIMs which have been started in 2015 are located at Amritsar, Sirmaur, Nagpur, Bodhgaya, Sambalpur and Vishakhapatnam.

‘Illiterate’ Karunanidhi desperate to rule Tamil Nadu: AIADMK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The AIADMK on Wednesday alleged that an “illiterate” DMK supremo M Karunanidhi is desperate to rule Tamil Nadu and said the demand for an interim Chief Minister following incumbent Jayalalithaa’s deteriorating health condition exposes the vindictive approach of the self-centered opposition party.”As far as DMK is concerned, DMK headed by Karunanidhi is always vindictive in its approach. It is a self-centered political party, a political party for his own family,” senior AIADMK leader Ponnaiyan said. “Karunanidhi doesn’t know the law. Karunanidhi wants to rule Tamil Nadu or anything he wants to do, above law, without law, by breaking the law, which is his approach. Even if a judge gives a correct statement, if it goes against him, Karunanidhi won’t be hesitant to accuse, to scold and insinuate the judiciary to the maximum extent, unmindful of the consequences. He is illiterate, so he takes law into his hands,” he added.Stating that the arrangements have been made according to Jayalalithaa’s wishes, Poonaiyan further said, “According to the Constitution of India, no acting Chief Minister can be appointed, no in-charge Chief Minister can be appointed. What is being arranged for our Chief Minister is followed subject to the prevailing situation in the state.”
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu: Governor allocates portfolios held by Jayalalithaa to O PaneerselvamAfter Raj Bhavan informed the media that the Chief Minister’s portfolios had been reallocated to Finance Minister O Panneerselvam, Karunanidhi made a strong case for an interim arrangement in Tamil Nadu. Karunanidhi said it was the wish of the people that either the Governor or the Centre should act immediately to explain the position of the government on major issues.”Till the Chief Minister recovers and resumes her duties, an arrangement should be made to fulfill the essential needs of the people of the state,” he said.
ALSO READ Did DMK appoint interim CM when Karunanidhi was ill, asks AIADMKJayalalithaa has been hospitalised in Apollo hospital, Chennai since September 22. Since then, reports released by the hospital have said that she has been on respiratory support but recovering. On Tuesday, Tamil Nadu Governor, C Vidyasagar Rao allocated the portfolios dealt by the Chief Minister to Pannerselvam and also said that he will also preside over the Cabinet meetings. This arrangement has been made on the Chief Minister’s advice and will continue until she resumes her duties.

Govt may soon announce defence orders worth Rs 50,000 cr: Parrikar

Mumbai: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Wednesday said he expects another Rs 50,000-60,000 crore worth of defence contracts to be signed during the remaining quarters of the financial year, taking the total orders to Rs 3 trillion since he took charge two years ago.

“During the past 23 months that I have been in charge, we have signed contracts worth Rs 2.2 trillion. Recently, we signed a letter of intent with a government-run shipyard for about Rs 32,000 crore, taking the total orders to Rs 2.5 trillion.”

Manohar Parrikar. PTIManohar Parrikar. PTI

Manohar Parrikar. PTI

“Over the next six months, I hope to sign another Rs 50,000-60,000 crore worth of contracts, taking the total to Rs 3 trillion,” the minister told reporters on the sidelines of an industry exhibition on technology and material sciences in Navi Mumbai near here.

The Cabinet Committee on Security had in August cleared a proposal to get Goa Shipyard build mine counter measure vessels for the Navy at an estimated cost of over Rs 32,000 crore.

Answering a question on the impact of the manufacturing push with private participation in the defence space, he said exports have jumped over six-times to Rs 3,000 crore from Rs 500 crore in the past two years alone.

“The Make in India initiative has seen defence exports from Rs 500 crore to Rs 3,000 crore, though the ministry figures will show only Rs 2,100 crore. One reason for this is that export of aviation sector items are not included in this as it has been delicensed.”

Parrikar explained that the Defence Ministry tabulates only those goods that are in the licensed segments. As many 65 percent of defence sub-segments are de-licensed now and are, therefore, not in the information list of the defence ministry.

“If we include the gains from the offset clause, our defence-related exports should be about $1 billion, out of which defence items alone are worth Rs 3,000 crore, which I hope to increase it to Rs 10,000 crore soon,” he said.

When asked about the inflows through the FDI route after foreign director investment cap was hiked to 49 percent, he said so far it has been about $100 million but will go up as foreign capital flows in at stages.

Parrikar also said the ministry is finalising a new strategic materials policy so that we can promote production as well as storage of defence-related strategic materials.

“We have set up a study team to draft a new strategic materials policy to promote the sector, which involves production and storage of these materials,” he said.

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