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Apologise for ‘blunder of demonetization’: Kejriwal attacks PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tender an apology to the people during his address to the nation on New Year’s Eve on what he said was a “blunder of demonetization”.Kejriwal, also the national convener of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which governs Delhi, said Modi has committed a blunder by demonetizing high-value notes and pushed India into a deep economic crisis.”Modi had demanded 50 days to implement the exercise, but there’s no sign of people recovering from its after shocks,” he said and demanded a roll back, suggesting that Modi should make an announcement in this regard in his address on Saturday.”There’s no solution other than rolling back demonetization,” the former Income Tax department official told reporters. Alleging that the RBI was “tight-lipped” on the amount of money demonetized or black money recovered, he asked the prime minister to explain how much of illegal wealth has returned and what amount of money was being pumped into the system.Initial estimates by RBI suggest Rs 14 lakh crore (in high-value notes) was in circulation, which has returned to RBI, but only Rs 4 lakh crore of new currency of Rs 2,000 notes was available for circulation, said Kejriwal, who had criticised the drive soon after it was launched on November 8.Financial experts all across the world have spoken against demonetization, he said, but only BJP president Amit Shah and “his team of sycophants” were hailing the decision. He also challenged the prime minister to order “any probe” against him. “I am not scared of Modi threats and open to any probe of my accounts by any central agency,” he said.Kejriwal maintained that Modi accepted bribes from big corporates such as Sahara and Birla.Modi had taken Rs 40 crore from Sahara on October 30, 2013 and Rs 25 crore from Birla group on November 12, 2013, he claimed, adding that the IT department has seized relevant documents from Sahara and Birla offices but no notice was issued to Modi.He said under the IT Act section 132(4A), any document recovered during raid is deemed to be true unless proved wrong by the party accused. “Not even a notice was issued to Modi and all Income Tax Commissioners dealing with the case were transferred,” he said.

Rajya Sabha passes Disability Bill: How it can help improve life of differently-abled persons

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A bill stipulating up to two-year jail term and a maximum fine of Rs 5 lakh for discriminating against differently-abled persons was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, which aims at securing and enhancing the rights and entitlements of disabled persons, was passed by a voice vote after rare unanimity was witnessed among the Opposition and Treasury benches in the House, which has seen acrimony and disruptions since the Winter Session began on November 16.The bill, which was moved in Upper House earlier this month by Social Justice Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot, also gives effect to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and related matters. It provides for imprisonment of at least six months up to two years, along with a fine ranging between Rs 10,000 and Rs 5 lakh for discriminating against differently-abled persons. It’s hoped that the bill will help counter the challenges faced by the disabled community in India. While the earlier iteration of the bill (1995) only recognised 7 disabilities, the new act includes 21 disabilities. The bill also puts a lot of onus on accessibility to other facilities and make India as a nation more disability friendly.Here are some of the important features of the bill:1) Responsibility of government to take effect measures to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy same rights as everyone else.2) The definition of disability isn’t kept rigid and is based on an evolving and dynamic concept.3) The 21 disabilities are: Blindness, Low-vision, Leprosy Cured persons, Hearing Impairment (deaf and hard of hearing), Locomotor Disability, Dwarfism, Intellectual Disability, Mental Illness, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Chronic Neurological conditions, Specific Learning Disabilities Multiple Sclerosis, Speech and Language Disability, Thalassemia, Haemophilia, Sickle Cell disease, Multiple Disabilities, Acid Attack victims and Parkinson’s disease.4) Additional benefits have been provided for people with benchmark disabilities and those with high support needs.5) Every child with disability will have right to free education.6) To strengthen PM’s Accessible India Campaign, to ensure accessibility in public buildings in a prescribed time-frame.7) Proposal to increase in reservation from 3% to 4% for students with benchmark disabilities in higher educational institutions.8) Grant of guardianship by District Court which will allow joint decision-making between guardian and person with disabilities. 9) Broad based Central & State Advisory Boards have been proposed to be set up as policy making bodies.10) Proposal to strengthen office of Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities and State Commissioners of Disabilities, which will act as regulatory bodies and Grievance Redressal agencies and monitor implementation of the Act.11) Proposal of a national fund to provide financial support to persons with disabilities.12) Strong penalties for offences against persons with disabilities, with a maximum penalty of Rs 5 lakh and imprisonment of two years.

Massive I-T raids across country; CBDT seeks more manpower

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A month after demonetization of high-value currency notes, the Income-Tax (I-T) department and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted nationwide raids to detect money-laundering and hawala transactions.I-T department officials continued raids on the premises of three Chennai-based businessmen for the second day on Friday. So far, the investigation wing has seized 127 kg of gold bars worth Rs 36.29 crore, fresh Rs 2,000 notes totalling Rs 9.63 crore, and demonetized currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 amounting to Rs 97 crore.They were seized from the residence of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) member Shekhar Reddy. Also known as Isuka (sand), Reddy runs a sand-mining ring in Tamil Nadu. Eight premises (six residential and two commercial) were searched. Tax authorities told DNA that strong evidence has emerged about the involvement of a senior political figure and some top bureaucrats of Tamil Nadu in the money-laundering ring.In Delhi, tax authorities stormed Axis Bank’s Chandni Chowk as soon as it opened. DNA learns that around 50 fake accounts were unearthed. I-T officials said that “Rs 500 crore have been deposited in the branch since the day the ban was announced… We are scrutinising the documents of depositors”.They confirmed that two PSU banks were also being raided. This is the second raid at Axis Bank. Last month, officials had apprehended two people with Rs 3.5 crore in new currency notes as they were coming out of the Kashmiri Gate branch of the bank. Axis Bank authorities did not respond to repeated calls and messages.Last week, I-T investigations at Mumbai unearthed a syndicate converting banned currency notes into legal tenders for a commission. When I-T officials sent a few decoy customers, the syndicate agreed to exchange the notes for a 35 per cent commission. The exchange was to take place at the mediator’s residence. The mediator was caught red-handed and new currency notes aggregating Rs 29.5 lakh were seized.Similarly, an investigation into the cash deposits in a bank account in Nagpur revealed that the account holder had no knowledge of the existence of Rs 3.29 crore, deposited after November 8, in her account. It later came to light that there were six more such accounts in her’s and her parents’ names.Meanwhile, CBDT Chairman Sushil Chandra has asked all Principal Chief Commissioners to provide manpower from different wings to assist raiding and assessing teams.

CEC to take stock of Goa poll preparations next week

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi would be reviewing preparations for the Goa Assembly elections due next year. “CEC Zaidi and two Election Commissioners (ECs) Achal Kumar Jyoti and Om Prakash Rawat would be visiting the state next week,” a senior official from Chief Electoral Office said on Tuesday.”The exact date of their visit is yet to be finalised, however, another team of CEC officials will be arriving on December 12 to check out the logistic preparations,” he said.The official on condition of anonymity said that the dates for holding polls in Goa are yet to be finalised. “They would be decided considering public holidays, festivals and school and college examinations which are to be held between December-March next year. The entire list is currently being compiled by Chief Electoral Office (CEO),” he said.”This list would be taken into account before arriving at a date to conduct polls in Goa,” he added. The HSSC exams are scheduled to begin from March 1 while SSC exams will commence from April 1, 2017.The state will be on Christmas vacation from December 24 to January 1. Goa will be going for polls along with four other states early next year.

Reply to every RTI application: Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Officials should reply to every RTI application irrespective of what kind of information has been sought by the applicant, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said and asserted that the importance of the transparency law has increased in present times. Addressing the inaugural function of the 11th annual Central Information Commission convention, Singh said his ministry was recently asked what is the action plan of the government against “a zombie or alien attack” and he had ensured that response is given to it.”All of you must understand the ecosystem of information and without getting influenced by what information is being sought, you must do your duty,” he told the gathering which included Central Public Information Officers and Information Commissioners. Singh also inaugurated the e-court system in the Central Information Commission which will make the transparency panel go paperless in matters of appeals and complaints being processed by it.The new system has come into place as the Commission has digitised over 1.5 lakh files with it, allowing people to file appeals and complaints online without any requirement of hard copy.”Government must be sensitive, corruption free and accountable to people of the country. Keeping this in mind, the importance of RTI in these times has increased more than ever. As far as RTI is concerned, it is an effective and strong mode of communication between people and government,” he said.Asserting that participation of people is increasing in framing policies, Singh said over 40,000 suggestions were received on GST. “More the systems will go digital, the better will be transparency… there is a need for a digitally strong society,” he said, adding that it is the responsibility of government to make people aware about their rights under Article 21 of the Constitution.He said there should be a single window system for addressing people’s grievances so that people do not have to knock the doors of different offices. “It is the demand of time that government is transparent, responsive as well as smart. It is required that the government performs and also provides information to people wherever it is required,” he said.Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh said although there is no pendency, the filing of such grievances has gone up from about two lakh annually when the new government was formed to eight lakh now. Quoting a couplet of Mirza Ghalib, Singh, while taking a veiled dig at UPA government, said people file grievances because they have hope of them being resolved.He said a higher number of RTI applications are being processed but still the numbers are increasing. “We cannot check corruption by laws,” Singh said.Underlining the menace of frivolous RTI applications, Singh said one must test it on a couple of parameters to “avoid the avoidable” RTI applications like whether the motive is public or personal.Chief Information Commissioner Radha Krishna Mathur also highlighted the system being choked by a single RTI user as among 35,000 pending cases before the Commissioner, about 4,000 have been filed by a single person.

India rejects Pak media report on recalling High Commissioners as ‘totally speculative and nonsensical’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India on Friday dismissed as “totally speculative and nonsensical” a Pakistani media report that the two countries were planning to recall their respective High Commissioners temporarily in the backdrop of continuing slide in the ties.Government sources were totally dismissive of the report in Pakistani daily ‘Express Tribune’ which said Pakistan and India may temporarily recall their envoys and scale down the size of diplomatic staff in each other’s missions. “It is totally speculative and nonsensical,” a source said. The report comes in the wake of Pakistan pulling out six of its senior officials, including diplomats, after Pakistan High Commission staffer Mahmood Akhtar was expelled last week after being caught running a spy ring. He had also named four Pakistan diplomats as being part of the spying operations in India.India is also mulling withdrawal of eight of its diplomats from Islamabad as their security has been “completely compromised”. It had strongly protested against the manner in which their names and photos were published. According to sources, these diplomats were likely to return by Sunday. Pakistan had claimed that these Indian officials were involved in “espionage, subversion and supporting terrorist activities in Balochistan and Sindh, especially Karachi, sabotaging China Pakistan Economic Corridor, and fuelling instability in the two provinces”.Reacting sharply to Pakistan’s charge, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the allegations against Indian officials represent an “after-thought” and a “crude attempt” to target them for no fault of theirs, after the Pakistan High Commission staffer was caught.”We completely reject the baseless and unsubstantiated allegations made by Pakistan against certain officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. The Government categorically denies those allegations. “It is especially regrettable that Pakistani authorities have chosen to level these allegations after deciding to recall, on their own, six officials of the Pakistan High Commission, some of whom may have been named to Indian authorities by Mehmood Akhtar – Pakistan High Commission official caught red handed,” Swarup had said.

Declare emission, noise levels, car makers told

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All automobile manufacturers will have to furnish vehicle emission and noise level details of their vehicles from April 1 next year, the government announced Tuesday as concerns mount over the impact of indiscriminate honking and vehicular pollution levels.Vehicle manufacturers will have to compulsorily state the sound level for horn and pass-by noise values in the Form 22, the amended version of which will also include the brand, chassis number, engine number and emission norms of a vehicle,The ministry of road, transport and highways said in a statement that Form 22, under the Central Motor Vehicles Act, 1989, had been amended. Unlike the earlier Form 22, which merely certified that the vehicle complied with the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act and rules, including the relevant emission norms, the revised form will also seek the emission and noise level details of each vehicle.The amended rules will apply to all vehicles run on petrol, CNG, LPG, electric, diesel and hybrid, including agricultural and construction vehicles, as well as e-rickshaws and e-carts.”This is bound to act as a selling point for vehicles since more people are likely to buy those adhering to the specified emission norms and standard noise levels,” a senior official from the ministry said.Welcoming the move, environmental activist Sumaira Abdulali, said giving information on noise and emission in a government document will not only make such details more accessible to the public but also create more awareness among buyers about vehicles.”However, different bodies such as the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have different set standards for noise. These standards should be brought in line to the lowest decibel level; there is also a Bombay High Court order upholding this,” Abdulali, who is convenor of the Mumbai-based Awaaz Foundation that works against noise pollution, added.Ideally, the sound level of the horn should be 10 decibels more than the standard noise of the vehicle that includes the engine and exhaust sound, she said.Delhi govt strengthens drive against imported firecrackersThe Delhi government on Tuesday resolved to strengthen its drive against imported firecrackers ahead of Diwali, ordering inspection teams formed in this regard to check markets and godowns more frequently. In a review meeting attended by senior officials of DPCC, Police, SDMs and Deputy Commissioners among others, Environment Minister Imran Hussain directed that strict action be taken against those found violating the norms. “The 11-district-wise inspecting teams of area SDMs and Executive Engineers (DPCC) constituted to check availability of imported firecrackers in the market should enhance their field inspections. The team(s) of officers from Licensing Unit constituted to check godowns randomly for availability of imported firecrackers in the market should augment their vigilance and field visits,” an official statement said.

Lt Governor Najeeb Jung directs Delhi police to deploy more personnel at crowded places

New Delhi: Ahead of the festive season, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on Thursday held a meeting with top Delhi Police officers and directed the force to keep a close tab on the city’s crowded places by deploying sufficient security personnel and ensuring that CCTV cameras installed at these places are functional.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung. PTI

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung. PTI

In the wake of the Uri attack and intelligence inputs of a terror threat to the capital, Delhi Police has ramped up security at places that see high footfall. The meeting was attended by Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Verma, Special Commissioners (Law & Order) and Joint Commissioners of Police (all ranges). The Lt Governor issued instructions to Delhi Police for strict compliance with these directions.

Jung asked the police personnel to be particularly vigilant and keep a close watch on major markets in the national capital with increased footfall during festive season. He also asked all police officers that ahead of the festive season, all CCTVs cameras installed in markets, malls and crowded places should be made fully functional. These CCTVs cameras will help the police keep an eye and help prevent any untoward incident.

In the meeting, Jung expressed concern at inadequate training of security personnel of private agencies manning malls, cinema, halls, etc. He directed Delhi Police to be extra careful in all such places.

The Lt Governor instructed that sufficient numbers of police personnel should be deployed for the safety of the citizens during Ramleela, Navratra and Muharram and other festivals and wherever there is large congregation of people. He also instructed that police personnel to ensure safety and security of sensitive installations in the capital.

Ahead of festive season, LG directs Delhi Police to deploy sufficient security personnel at crowded places

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of the festive season, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on Thursday held a meeting with top Delhi Police officers and directed the force to keep a close tab on the city’s crowded places by deploying sufficient security personnel and ensuring that CCTV cameras installed at these places are functional. In the wake of the Uri attack and intelligence inputs of a terror threat to the capital, Delhi Police has ramped up security at places that see high footfall.The meeting was attended by Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Verma, Special Commissioners (Law & Order) and Joint Commissioners of Police (all ranges). The Lt Governor issued instructions to Delhi Police for strict compliance with these directions.Jung asked the police personnel to be particularly vigilant and keep a close watch on major markets in the national capital with increased footfall during festive season. He also asked all police officers that ahead of the festive season, all CCTVs cameras installed in markets, malls and crowded places should be made fully functional. These CCTVs cameras will help the police keep an eye and help prevent any untoward incident.In the meeting, Jung expressed concern at inadequate training of security personnel of private agencies manning malls, cinema, halls, etc. He directed Delhi Police to be extra careful in all such places.The Lt Governor instructed that sufficient numbers of police personnel should be deployed for the safety of the citizens during Ramleela, Navratra and Muharram and other festivals and wherever there is large congregation of people. He also instructed that police personnel to ensure safety and security of sensitive installations in the capital.

Lt Guv Najeeb Jung reviews Chikungunya, Dengue situation in Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the directions of Supreme Court, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Wednesday chaired a meeting at his official residence to discuss issues related to Chikungunya, Dengue and other vector borne diseases in Delhi. The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Health Minister Satyendra Jain, Union Health Secretary CK Mishra, Delhi Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary (Finance) SN Sahai, New Delhi Municipal Corporation Chairperson Naresh Kumar and other key officers.The Lt Governor asked for a feedback from all present on the directions issued by him in the previous two review meetings held at Raj Niwas, on 14 September 2016 and 26 September 2016, and the necessary follow-up and compliance of his directions.The medical superintendents of major hospitals, such as Hindu Rao, G B Pant, Lok Nayak, B S Ambedkar etc apprised the Lt Governor that the fever clinics, fever wards etc are operational round the clock and adequate supply of testing kits and medicines are available in all hospitals. They also stated that the rush of fever patients has come down by 40-50 percent in the last few days. This is a general trend across all hospitals.The NDMC informed about the preventive measures being taken by them to check mosquito breeding and other anti-larval measures, such as regular cleaning of dhalaos, ample fumigation, fogging etc. The municipal bodies also apprised about the publicity and awareness programmes being conducted by them in association with RWAs, Market Associations, Schools etc. They also informed of the preparedness of their hospitals, dispensaries, as also of medicines, testing kits etc available with them.Municipal Commissioners informed that they have drawn a roster for field visits by DCs, which is being followed strictly. Moreover, as per directions of the Lt. Governor, critical dhalaos in all municipal wards are being cleaned twice every day. The mapping of critical dhalaos has been done and shared with concessionaires so that garbage does not overflow in these dhalaos.The South MCD is the nodal agency for reporting and Commissioner (South) informed that in the week ending October 1, the number of cases have come down to 1600, which is a fall of 25 percent, compared to last week.The Divisional Commissioner informed that in compliance of the Lt. Governor’s directions, Deputy Commissioners (Revenue) of all districts are following a roster of inspections in their respective districts and reports of daily inspections are being submitted to him. Starting 5 October 2016, these reports shall also be made available online and monitored online. They shall also be sharing these reports with the Health department and MCDs. The IEC material to raise awareness is also being circulated widely in each district. The DCs are also ensuring that no EWS category patient is denied admission by private hospitals.The Health Secretary, GNCTD and DHS informed the Lt. Governor that as per reports collected at 10.30 a.m. on October 5, 2016 from across hospitals, 25 percent beds dedicated to fever patients are lying vacant. The CEO (DJB) too informed of the additional pumps deployed by them to remove sewage surcharge. The CEO (Delhi Cantonment Board) informed of the awareness programmes and the anti-larval measures undertaken by them. The DMRC was told by the Lt. Governor to ensure that no water collects in their construction sites and adequate sprinkling is done to check breeding of mosquitoes. Finance Member (DDA) informed the Lt. Governor of the inspections being carried out by the DDA teams in their colonies/markets, as also checking of water being collected in parks/nurseries etc.General Manager (Northern Railway) informed of the fogging operations in Railway colonies, as also about the mosquito terminating train with mounted spraying machine being run by them on the railway tracks. The Lt. Governor asked the GM (Northern Railway) to increase the frequency of the mosquito terminating trains on the tracks, since people living alongside the railway tracks are particularly vulnerable.Union Health Secretary CK Mishra informed the Lt. Governor of the meetings held with Health department, GNCTD and MCDs in the last six months, which focused primarily on larva control, ensuring adequate supply of drugs and testing kits, proper hospital management to take care of the rush of fever patients, including running of mobile fever clinics etc. Special Director General of Health Services stated that a Control room has been set up in Nirman Bhawan to take stock of the situation. He highlighted the importance of proper reporting of cases and of continuing fogging in the days to come as well.Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendra Jain informed the Lt. Governor that hospitals are equipped to handle fever cases and currently 355 fever clinics are running, including on Sundays.The meeting ended with the Lt. Governor insisting that all concerned must continue to put in their best efforts and in fact intensify them further, especially in the wake of recent rains in the city. The Lt. Governor insisted on making the awareness programme more robust since mosquito breeding has still not abated. He asked the health minister to hold a review once a week.

Juvenile Justice Act to be applicable to person offering tobacco to minor

Guwahati: CID of Assam Police has issued a directive that the Juvenile Justice Act was applicable to any person offering or selling tobacco products to any minor.

Under Section 77 of the amended Act, if any person, other than a qualified medical practitioner, gives tobacco products or intoxicating beverage or any other narcotic or alcoholic products, he or she will be liable for imprisonment up to seven years and fine up to Rs 1 lakh.

Representational image. Getty images.Representational image. Getty images.

Representational image. Getty images.

According to a circular issued by DIG (CID) Rounak Ali Hazarika, those selling tobacco products to minors, those promoting the use of tobacco products by minors in any manner will also be liable to face criminal proceedings.

Particular attention should be paid against such offenders within 100 yards of any educational institutions.

Action should be taken against such offenders and the matter included in the Monthly Crime Review (MCR) reporting of The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA).

All Deputy Commissioners of Police of Guwahati and Superintendents of Police of all districts of the state have been directed to implement the provisions of the Act, an official release said on Monday.

Hazarika has also instructed that one police officer in each police station should be designated as a child welfare officer under Section 107(1) of the Act.

On an average, every day 140 children start tobacco use in Assam with 39.4 per cent people in the state having tobacco addiction.

Terrorism in Bangladesh will also impact India: Indian envoy to Dhaka

Agartala: Any incident of terror taking place in Bangladesh has implications for India as well, says Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

“Although there is not sufficient evidence of cross-border terror activity, consequential effect of a horrific incident taking place in Bangladesh can be on India as well, as we share a long land boundary with that country,” Shringla told IANS during a visit to Agartala.

He, however, expressed satisfaction that the Bangladesh authorities have now realised that terror activities could take a serious turn in their country, and they have met with some success in dealing with the recent acts of terror on their soil.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The Indian envoy said, “Ever since the Bangladesh security forces have taken some pro-active steps, the situation in that country has improved a lot. Bangladesh has been mobilising the people of all sections to deal with the situation emerging from the recent terrorist attacks.”

Referring to the Home Minister-level meeting held in July in New Delhi, Shringla said that India and Bangladesh would fight terrorism jointly, as agreed upon during the meeting, also because it is in their interests.

“The Home Ministers of India and Bangladesh, during their last meeting in New Delhi, decided to tackle terrorism jointly, in the common interest of the two neighbours,” he added.

The Indian diplomat maintained that if Bangladesh faces a threat, its potential impact on India can’t be ruled out. “Bangladesh is very responsive to our security concerns. Both countries are helping each other in dealing with the threats and the situation currently prevailing there.”

Shringla, who joined as the High Commissioner in Bangladesh in January 2016, was in Tripura as part of his visit to the five Indian states along the Bangladesh border. He met Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Chief Secretary Yashpal Singh and various other officials and dignitaries and discussed India-Bangladesh issues.

“Bangladesh security forces’ actions against the militants holed up in northeast India were instrumental in securing peace and stability in India’s northeastern region. Most of the camps (on Bangladesh land) of militants active in the Northeast have been busted and their infrastructure demolished,” he said, and added that the Bangladesh government has also handed over several militants and their leaders to the Indian authorities.

The Indian High Commissioner also hailed the Bangladesh security forces for deft handling of the situation and nabbing terrorists after the deadliest terror attack in Dhaka on 1 July that killed 20 hostages, mostly foreigners, in the capital’s diplomatic zone.

“Bangladesh security forces were more or less successful in finding the blueprint of the recent terror activities in their country. We believe Bangladesh would be successful in containing terror activities and threats from that country,” he added.

“The Bangladesh government has involved people and all stakeholders, including Imams, to deal with terrorism and arrested many terrorists and their collaborators. In fact, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has personally interacted with the authorities and stakeholders in the 64 districts across the country to handle the situation,” Shringla said.

The District Magistrates and Deputy Commissioners of the border districts of India and Bangladesh are meeting regularly to ease out border-related issues of the two countries, according to him. “Both New Delhi and Dhaka have delegated various powers to district-level officials to handle issues that can be sorted out at their level.”

“India is fencing its borders with Bangladesh to check crimes, terrorists’ movement, cross-border harmful activities and infiltrations. Over 75 per cent of 4,096-km India-Bangladesh borders have already been fenced and remaining portions are being fenced in a phased manner,” the High Commissioner added.

Talking about the attacks on minorities in that country, Shringla said that some isolated incidents of attacks did take place, but the Bangladesh Government has taken appropriate actions immediately and addressed the issues.

“A number of perpetrators of attacks on minorities were either arrested or killed by the Bangladesh security forces,” he added.

Five states of India — West Bengal (2,216km), Tripura (856km), Meghalaya (443km), Mizoram (318km) and Assam (263km) — share longest 4,096-km border with Bangladesh.

Accused of ‘intimidation’, Manish Sisodia says he will ‘surrender’ before PM Modi

After the president of the Ghazipur Vegetable Market Association submitted a complaint against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, accusing him of intimidating the businessmen during his official visit there, Sisodia, in a sign of protest, said he would march to the residence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and surrender himself on Sunday.Sisodia said that PM Modi should arrest him but not stop the government’s work for Delhi. “We are going to 7 RCR to surrender before PM today,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Complaint filed against Manish Sisodia yesterday. Manish will go to 7, RCR today to surrender himself before PM,” Kejriwal too tweeted this morning with a copy of the complaint filed against Sisodia.However, the Delhi Deputy CM and AAP MLAs were stopped by police near Tughlaq Road, on their way to 7 RCR. ANI reported that Section 144 was imposed at 7 RCR and that Race Course metro station had been closed.After the complaint was filed yesterday, Sisodia, quickly turned to Twitter to stating that the Prime Minister may turn the complaint into a case of extortion, violence and molestation and use it as an excuse to arrest him. He also alleged that the people who filed the complaint were indulging in illegal activities in the market, where he had gone for a surprise inspection.SBK Singh, Special Commissioners (Law & Order), however, said that no police action has been initiated yet regarding this complaint. “Ghazipur Vegetable Market Association yesterday gave a letter at Ghazipur police station saying that that Manish Sisodia adopted a dictatorial attitude on hearing their grievances during his visit at Gazipur Mandi, said Singh.According to reports, the police had said earlier that they have received a complaint from the president Surender Goswami, but no FIR would be registered as no cognizable offence was committed by Sisodia.

Election Commision proposal to protect poll body members put on backburner

The government has put in cold storage a proposal of the Election Commission to give equal constitutional protection to all members of the poll body with regard to their removal, saying it would require amending the Constitution.The Law Ministry is learnt to have informed the Election Commission that a political consensus needed to be evolved before section 324(5) of the Constitution could be amended to provide equal protection to the Election Commissioners in the event of their removal. A senior government functionary said that the Supreme Court had also upheld the present provision that the Election Commissioners and the Regional Commissioners once appointed cannot be removed from office before the expiry of their tenure “except on the recommendation of the CEC” which “ensures their independence”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners after the Law Ministry initiates the file for their appointment. The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through impeachment by Parliament. The President can remove the ECs based on the recommendation of the CEC.At a meeting between Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and top Law Ministry officials here on January 5, the poll body had said it wants the government to adopt the same removal procedures for the two Election Commissioners as in case of the Chief Election Commissioner. Besides other senior officials, the CEC was accompanied by Election Commissioner OP Rawat at the meeting.Reference to the provisionsAt a follow-up meeting later, senior officials of the Law Ministry were learnt to have informed the Commission that the demands for equal protection to the two ECs needed amendment to Constitution for which political unanimity was required. The officials are also understood to have referred to the 1995 Supreme Court judgement in the TN Seshan, Chief Election Commissioner of India Vs Union of India case in which the apex court had also examined Article 324 (5) of the Constitution dealing with appointment and removal of CEC and fellow Commissioners.The provision states that “any other Election Commissioner or a Regional Commissioner (RC) shall not be removed from office except on the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner.” “The scheme of Article 324 in this behalf is that after insulating the CEC by the first proviso to clause(5), the ECs and the RCs have been assured independence of functioning by providing that they cannot be removed except on the recommendation of the CEC. Of course, the recommendation for removal must be based on intelligible and cogent considerations which would have relation to efficient functioning of the Election Commission.””That is so because this privilege has been conferred on the CEC to ensure that the ECs as well as the RCs are not at the mercy of political or executive bosses of the day. It is necessary to realise that this check on the Executive’s power to remove is built into the second proviso to clause (5) to safeguard the independence of not only these functionaries but the Election Commission as a body,” the apex court order had said.In its report on electoral reforms submitted in March last year, the Law Commission had also proposed extending constitutional protection to the two ECs. “When Constitution says that the ECs may be appointed as the President may decide from time to time, how can we give them Constitutional protection,” he maintained.The senior functionary also pointed out that even Article 324 (2) talks of CEC who will be the chairman of the Election Commission and that “the Election Commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners, if any, as the President may from time to time fix.”From Chief Election Commissioner to CEC and two Election CommissionersElection Commission is a permanent Constitutional body which was established in accordance with the Constitution on January 25, 1950. Originally the Commission had only a Chief Election Commissioner. It currently consists of Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.For the first time two additional Commissioners were appointed on October 16, 1989 but they had a very short tenure till January 1, 1990. Later, on October 1, 1993 two additional Election Commissioners were appointed. The concept of multi-member Commission has been in operation since then, with decision making power by majority vote.

Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Election Commission defers poll in Aravakurichi constituency to May 23

Noting that the electoral process in Aravakurichi Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu has been ‘seriously vitiated’ due to unlawful activities of candidates and political parties by “bribing” voters, the Election Commission tonight decided to defer the polls there.Using its power under Article 324 of the Constitution, the Election Commission, in an order said that election in the constituency will now be held on May 23 instead of May 16.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu, along with Kerala and Puducherry is going for a single phase assembly election on May 16.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu elections 2016: EC issues show cause notices to Jayalalithaa, KarunanidhiThe EC said the counting of votes for the Aravakurichi constituency will take place on May 25.The order signed by Chief Election Commissioner Naseem Zaidi and fellow Commissioners A K Joti and O P Rawat said FIRs have been lodged and Income Tax raids carried out at the residences and other premises of various political leaders show that unaccounted money and gift items have been distributed to voters to vitiate the electoral process.
ALSO READ Rs 570 core cash seized in Tamil Nadu, EC says investigations are on”…the irresistible conclusion is that all the above seized monies and gift items were meant for distribution to electors as illegal inducement to them.”The Commission is satisfied that the current electoral process in Aravakurichi assembly constituency has been seriously vitiated on account of unlawful activities of the candidates and political parties and their workers in bribing the electors,” the EC said in its order.

Govt plans to amend 145-year-old pension law

New Delhi: The Centre is considering amending a 145-year-old law that provides security to the pensioners against the attachment of pension.

There are about 58 lakh central government pensioners.

The matter to Pensions Act, 1871 has been under consideration for past some time in accordance with the policy of the central government to repeal obsolete laws.

However, this Act had to be excluded from the list of the obsolete laws to be repealed, as some of its provisions provide security to the pensioners against attachment of pension.

Representational image. Thinkstock.Representational image. Thinkstock.

Representational image. Thinkstock.

A meeting was recently called by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions to elicit views of select ministries, on the proposal to amend the rules regulating various types of pension administered by them to ensure continuance of shield as provided under the 1871 Act, according to minutes of the meeting.

The move to call the meeting was to facilitate repealing of the old Act, it said.

The representative from Department of Financial Services (DFS) suggested that instead of amending a large number of Acts and rules to secure those pensions against attachment, the existing Pensions Act, 1871 may be amended to repeal only those provisions in the Act which have since become irrelevant or redundant.

This proposal was supported by representatives of ministries of Home, Labour, Rural Development, Defence, Ministry of Railways and Department of Personnel and Training.

Under the old law, no pension granted or continued by government on political considerations, or on account of past services, present infirmities or as a compassionate allowance, and no money due on account of any such pension or allowance, shall be liable to seizure, attachment or sequestration by process of any court at the instance of a creditor,for any demand against the pensioner, or in satisfaction of a decree or order of any such court.

It was then decided that this suggestion will be placed before the competent authority for taking a decision in the matter, the minutes read.

During the meeting, the DFS officials mentioned that the existing Pensions Act is applicable to pensions admissible under a large number of rules and Acts of Parliament.

He said that the pensions of President, Vice President, Ministers and Member of Parliament etc. are regulated by the Acts of Parliament. Similarly, the pensions of Supreme Court, High Courts Judges, Central Vigilance Commissioners, Central Information Commissioners, Members of Union Public Service Commission, etc. are also granted pension under the Acts regulating their service conditions.

These Acts of Parliament also do not contain provisions securing the pension against attachment, assignment etc, it said.

Therefore, if the Pensions Act was to be repealed, then necessary amendments would need to be made in relevant laws of Parliament along with the other rules regulating various kinds of pension like Freedom Fighter Pension etc. being administered by concerned Ministries, the minutes of the meeting said.

Did someone say ‘clarification’? Row around PM Modi’s degrees is only getting further muddled

Aren’t we more confused about Mr. Modi’s academic performances after all these announcements and pieces of scrappy paper which have been flung around? I saw that photo of a scribbled name in a register and I guess in the pre-computer age the records looked like that.

Scruffy is the word that comes to mind. His academic ranking has absolutely no significance because the ledger doesn’t show any mark-sheet.

While no one doubts Gujarat University Vice-Chancellor M N Patel and his painstaking statements of the exact marks Mr. Modi got in his first class Master’s degree, why not share the documents that prove it instead of just saying it sans proof? There is no marksheet, and while Delhi University is still acting coy over the bachelor’s degree, so far no paper has emerged to indicate or confirm that certificate one gets (what’s it called—that fancy thingee with a seal and that calligraphy on the borders and that odd English?)

All the hush hush dealings  about is only creating more murkiness and giving folks like Mr. Kejriwal an opportunity to grandstand over an issue that is almost passe.

Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi. File photo. PIBArvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi. File photo. PIB

Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi. File photo. PIB

But old Kejriwal and his agenda aside, why is it ballooning into such a major controversy? The Prime Minister must have put forward his educational qualifications when he became the Chief Minister of Gujarat. He must have done the same when he stood for Prime Minister. Surely, if common folks have to get their certificates verified and stamped and confirmed and reconfirmed for jobs, visas, applications to jobs abroad and passports and stuff, the need to keep it a state secret seems excessive, even if Mr. Modi is not obligated to respond to every demand.

But the Prime Minister of India has to be judged by a different measure. Didn’t he attach the educational material when he wanted to go to the States and his visa was rejected?

The Times of India, Ahmedabad is being widely quoted as having solved the mystery. Until we see the marksheet, my dear Watson, the mystery stays just that.

What could be easier than simply showing it instead of setting the nation this mathematical puzzle of 237/400 and 262/400 with an aggregate of 499/800 and end this matter.

The quixotic Chief Minister than can turn his attention to his glass house where his former service the Indian Revenue Service has dressed him down for saying he was an IT commissioner. Liar,liar pants on fire.

Of course, one is compelled to write like this, seeing as how leaders insist on clowning. Read the letter from the revenue reps as quoted extensively by the media.

“Contrary to your claims, you have never worked as Commissioner and your batch has still not been promoted to (the rank of) Commissioners of Income Tax.”

Kejriwal’s comment: “As Commissioner, I could have made crores and traveled in a car fitted with a beacon light. But I left the service and decided to serve the nation”.

Reaction: “The statements being attributed to you cast aspersions on the whole of the department.

“The association wishes to remind you that no department or organisation is corrupt or honest, it is the individuals who may be so.”.

“In these circumstances, we request you to desist from making such statements in public and in the print and electronic media, otherwise we will be constrained to take steps to protect our image.”

Hey, Arvind, you just cheated all your colleagues, man, what were you thinking?

45,000 people affected in first wave of floods in Assam

Around 45,000 people have been affected across four districts of Assam in the first wave of floods, the state disaster management authority said.So far over 1,018 hectares of crop area has been inundated by flood water, while Burhidihing and Desang Naglamuraga rivers were flowing above the danger mark in Sivasagar, Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said.Nearly 45,000 people were suffering in Lakhimpur, Jorhat, Sivasagar and Charaideo districts, ASDMA said in an official release.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Army, the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) teams have been deployed in Charaideo for search and rescue operations, it said.Chief Secretary V K Pipersenia held an emergency flood review meeting this morning with various heads of the departments concerned where Deputy Commissioners of flood affected districts also joined through video conferencing and apprised them about the situation.The Chief Secretary instructed the DCs to keep close watch on the overall situation and to contact ASDMA authorities in case of any emergencies.Late last night the engine of New Delhi-Silchar Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express was derailed near Lumding due to heavy rainfall and landslide.The Northeast Frontier Railway spokesperson said continuous heavy rainfall in the region has triggered landslides dumping boulders on the tracks.No injury was reported in the incident and the train left for its destination this morning after clearing of the tracks, he added.

SC asks Centre to clarify stand on bringing back Kohinoor

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the government to clarify its stand on a PIL seeking return of Kohinoor diamond in the country. A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur, which did not issue notice on the PIL, asked the Solicitor General to seek instructions in the matter within a week.”Everybody is claiming the Kohinoor. How many countries are claiming Kohinoor? Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and even South Africa. Somebody here is also asking for the Kohinoor. Do you know about it,” the bench asked the Solicitor General.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said he was unaware about it and would need time to seek instructions and get back.During the hearing, the bench, also comprising Justices R Banumathi and U U Lalit, said there has been a press report attributing statements to the British Prime Minister quoting him as saying, “if we were to accept such demands, British Museums would be empty”.”Why don’t you approach the government? Hasn’t the government taken up the matter? Government has done something. They have done whatever it could,” the bench told the petitioner.The apex court was hearing a PIL filed by All India Human Rights & Social Justice Front seeking directions to the High Commissioner of United Kingdom for return of the diamond besides several other treasures.The PIL has made Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Culture, High Commissioners of UK, Pakistan and Bangladesh as parties in the case. It has also sought return of the “ring and talwar of Tipu Sultan and other treasures of Tipu Sultan, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Rani of Jhansi, Nawab Mir Ahmad Ali Banda and other rulers of India.”

Haryana govt to award 3 districts for improved sex ratio

Chandigarh: The Haryana government will confer state-level award for year 2015-16 to district administrations of Narnaul, Bhiwani and Jhajjar for efforts to improve sex ratio.

Representative image. AFPRepresentative image. AFP

Representative image. AFP

The awards would be given away by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar at a state-level sports meet and Mahila Samman Samaroh’ (women’s felicitation programme) to be organised at Rajiv Gandhi Khel Parisar, in Panipat district on 9th March.

The function will be organised by the Women and Child Development department to mark the International Women’s Day, an official release said here on Saturday.

Cash awards of Rs 5 lakh, Rs 3 lakh and Rs 2 lakh would be given away to districts of Narnaul, Bhiwani and Jhajjar, respectively, Women and Child Development Minister Kavita Jain said.

These districts have been selected on the basis of improvement in sex ratio between 1st January 2015 and 31st December, 2015, as per the report of Health department and strategies adopted by the Deputy Commissioners concerned.

She said that during this period, the sex ratio in Narnaul had improved by 73 points from 745 to 818 girls per 1000 boys.

Similarly, in Bhiwani, the ratio went upto 870 from earlier 834, and in Jhajjar, it had improved by 28 points from 824 to 852.

“The award money would be utilised by the districts for strengthening initiatives to tackle female foeticide, promotion and development of women and girl child, changing mindset and perception about gender and the status of women in the society,” Jain said.

“It would also be utilized to organise educational camps to generate awareness, distribution of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material, broadcast of educational messages and covering the gaps in health services to be provided to expecting women,” the Minister said.

PTI

Jat agitation: Haryana govt releases Rs 12.42 crore compensation

Haryana government on Wednesday cleared an interim assistance of Rs 12.42 crore to 809 people affected by violence during the Jat quota agitation.The last date to receive the claim is March 5, 2016. All claimants are requested to file their claim to the concerned Deputy Commissioners by March 5, an official spokesman said.Full settlement will be made to claimants after verification by assessment committee within 15 days. The interim assistance would be released to the claimants within four days of filing the claim, he said. He said this amount is being released directly to bank account of claimants through RTGS. A financial assistance of Rs 12,31,50,044 has been given to 785 persons in Rohtak district and a sum of Rs 10,99,399 to 24 persons in Sonepat district.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state government has already released an interim assistance of Rs 4.57 crore to 355 persons.

Delhi Police Commissioner Bassi among Information Commissioner contenders

Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi is one of the contenders for the post of Information Commissioner in Central Information Commission (CIC).Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led selection committee is likely to meet soon to decide on names for three vacant posts of Information Commissioners in the transparency watchdog, official sources said.Bassi, who is due to retire this month-end, is one of the applicants for the post of Information Commissioner, they said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>His name was shortlisted last November by a search committee headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha. Bassi is a 1977 batch IPS officer of union territories cadre. There is a vacancy of three Information Commissioners against its total strength of 10.Besides him, former Secretary of Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) Shyamal K Sarkar, Anup K Pujari, the then Secretary of Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and former Information and Broadcasting Secretary Bimal Julka were also shortlisted then.Bassi had applied for both the post of Information Commissioner and Central Information Commissioner against the government’s order issued in September last. The government had in December appointed former Defence Secretary R K Mathur as head of the transparency panel. Mathur has tenure as CIC till he attains the age of 65 on November 25, 2018.

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