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From Kejriwal to Maken: Politicians react to Najeeb Jung’s resignation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a sudden move, Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung resigned on Thursday, ending a nearly three-and-half- year-long eventful tenure, mostly marked by bitter confrontation with AAP government on a range of issues that virtually brought governance to a halt on many occasions. Without citing reasons for the decision, 65-year-old Jung, who had taken charge in July 2013, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his help and cooperation and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his “association”.In a brief statement, Jung’s office said he has submitted his resignation to the Government of India and that he would be returning back to academics, “his first love”. Sources close to him said that his resignation has nothing to do with his acrimonious relationship with the AAP government and he was contemplating to quit for last few months. “His decision to quit was not at all related to his relationship with the AAP government. It was purely a personal decision which he was mulling over for quite some time,” they said.Reacting to Jung’s resignation, Kejriwal said the decision surprised him. “Sh Jung’s resignation is a surprise to me. My best wishes in all his future endeavours,” he tweeted. While BJP was guarded in its reaction, Congress said the Centre must explain why Jung was “unceremoniously removed and whether it was done to bring someone to the top administrative post who is ideologically close to the RSS.” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said despite several “bitter-sweet experiences, I can say that we have worked very well for Delhi with Jung. Good wishes for his future.” A 1973-batch IAS officer, Jung had assumed charge as 20th Lt Governor of Delhi on July 9, 2013, five months before the Delhi Assembly elections.The then Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had played a role in appointing Jung, who was serving as Vice Chancellor of Jamia Millia University, to the top post in the city administration. He had run the city for nearly one year after the AAP government had quit on February 14, 2014 after a short stint of 49 days.In the statement, his office also said “Jung also thanks the people of Delhi for all their support and affection, especially during the one year of President’s Rule in Delhi, when he got unstinted support from them and which in turn helped run the administration in Delhi smoothly and effortlessly.” Normally governors are appointed for a five-year term but there is no fixed tenure for the Lt Governors.Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said he came to know about Jung’s resignation from the media. “The LG met me day before yesterday but he did not give any indication of submitting his resignation. Another meeting of mine with the LG is scheduled for tomorrow…I have come to know about his resignation only from the media,” he said.Born on January 18, 1951 Jung has done his post graduation in History from Delhi University and later did MA in Social Policy and Planning from London School of Economics, UK. He had joined Indian Administrative Services (IAS) in 1973 and served in Madhya Pradesh government and at several key positions, including as joint secretary in the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, in the central government.A literary enthusiast, Jung had also worked with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies of Oxford University on Energy related issues. BJP leader RPN Singh said, “He did a good job and was performing on ground. He must have thought of something.” Delhi Congress Chief Ajay Maken alleged that Jung was unceremoniously removed and demanded that the Centre make public reasons behind the decision. “Was he removed to bring someone who is close to RSS? Was it done considering the upcoming municipal polls? Jung is an able administrator,” he said.Congress leader PC Chacko said BJP’s attitude towards Governors and LGs may be the reason behind Jung’s decision. “BJP never takes independent stand as per as the offices of Governors and LGs are concerned. BJP wants the Governors and LGs to act as per their political thinking. This is putting many Governors and LGs in difficulties. May be this is behind the resignation,” he said.The AAP alleged Jung worked under the “influence” of Modi dispensation and questioned whether the power tussle between the Centre and Delhi government will continue even after the appointment of a new LG. “Modi government promotes its people. We hope he gets a better posting after this. I am unhappy that his tenure was disgraceful. Now that he has gone, good luck to him. “Najeeb Jung’s behavior was not his. He was under the influence of someone. We hope the next LG gives priority to issues concerning people and does not work under anyone’s influence,” AAP’s Kumar Vishwas said.

Was Najeeb Jung removed to bring someone who is close to RSS, asks Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The resignation of Najeeb Jung as Lt Governor today caught Delhi’s political circle by surprise with the Congress terming the exit “unceremonious” and the BJP claiming he was “upset” with the AAP government.Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta said a BJP delegation had met the L-G yesterday over delimitation of municipal wards when Jung had “expressed” his displeasure with the Kejriwal government.”Even then (yesterday) he was upset with the AAP government stalling work. But we did not foresee this. He told us that he was going a week-long leave. Delhi needed him,” Gupta said.Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said Jung has a meeting scheduled with him tomorrow.”The L-G met me day before yesterday but he did not give any indication of submitting his resignation. Another meeting of mine with the L-G is scheduled for Friday (tomorrow)… I have come to know about his resignation only through media,” Mehrishi said.Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken sought the response of the Centre over Jung’s “unceremonious exit” while party leader PC Chacko suggested the resignation might be due to BJP’s pressure.”Was he removed to bring someone who is close to RSS? Was it done considering the upcoming municipal polls? Jung is an able administrator,” Maken told reporters.”BJP never takes independent stand as far as the office of Governor is concerned and this is putting many a Governors in difficulty. May be this is behind the resignation,” Chacko said.

President’s salary set to be raised from Rs 1.5 lakh to 5 lakh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Salary of President and Vice-President may go up to three times as the Union Home Ministry has prepared a proposal for raising the emoluments of the country’s two top functionaries.The move comes following the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission”s recommendations which has created an anomalous situation in which the salary of the President is Rs 1 lakh less than that of the country”s top-most bureaucrat, the Cabinet secretary.The proposal is expected to be placed before the Union Cabinet for its approval soon, official sources said.At present, the President gets Rs 1.50 lakh per month, the Vice-President Rs 1.25 lakh and Governor of a state Rs 1.10 lakh.As per the proposal the President’s salary may go up to Rs 5 lakh and Vice-President”s up to Rs 3.5 lakh, sources said.After the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission’s awards, the Cabinet Secretary, who is the top-most bureaucrat in the country, gets Rs 2.5 lakh per month and a Secretary in the Union government draws Rs 2.25 lakh per month.After the Cabinet gives its nod, Bills to this effect will be tabled in Parliament, possibly in the coming Winter session, for passage.Salaries of the President, Vice-President and Governors were last hiked in 2008 when Parliament had approved a three-fold increase.Till 2008, the President’s salary was Rs 50,000, the Vice-President”s Rs 40,000 and a Governor’s Rs 36,000.In addition, proposals are also expected to be moved for raising the pensions of former Presidents, spouses of deceased Presidents, former Vice-Presidents, spouses of deceasedVice-President and former Governors.

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.

India needs USD 1.5 trillion to fill up the infrastructure gap: Jaitley

Beijing: India needs over USD 1.5 trillion in investment in the next 10 years to bridge infrastructure gap as the government intends to connect seven hundred thousand villages with roads by 2019 as part of a massive modernisation plan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday.

“We have been able to sustain growth in the phase of global slowdown essentially on the strength of the infrastructure creation in India where the gap is huge,” Jaitley, who is in China to attend the Board of Governors of AIIB, said.

“Over the next decade, we require over USD 1.5 trillion in India alone to fill up the infrastructure gap. We also use the additional resource which is available with us as a result of falling prices because that regime helps us.

“In investing large public finance into infrastructure, for instance, we have seven hundred thousand villages in India. We intend to connect each of them by 2019,” he said while addressing a seminar on “Infrastructure and Global Economic Growth” organised by China sponsored Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) along with Finance Ministers of many countries.

He also spoke of massive rural sanitation programme as part of India’s current infrastructure programme.

A file photo of Arun Jaitley. PTIA file photo of Arun Jaitley. PTI

A file photo of Arun Jaitley. PTI

“In terms of highway construction this year alone our target is 10,000 kms. Our railway system is over 100 years old. We are going in for a massive modernisation,” he said.

Jaitley said the government is seeking private sector participation in converting railway stations into commercial hubs.

The government plans to build more airports, sea ports and generate more power, particularly renewable energy which is ecologically also better from all points view, he said.

“These are all the emphasis areas we have under taken,” he said.

About arranging funding for the massive development, he said “we realise that starting point is public finances. It is only when the public finances are put into it, you start attracting and the activity begins a lot of private funds”.

At the same time there are large number of developmental institutions like World Bank, ADB which put in lot of money because infrastructure funding also brings in long time returns on a sustainable basis, Jaitley said.

Jaitley said infrastructure development is key to halt the slowdown of the global economic slowdown.

Infrastructure is where inequalities exist and the requirement of large number of economies world over is to fill up this infrastructure gap, he said.

“Over the next decade the world needs trillions of dollars to fill up this gap. I think it is extremely important if the world is to pulled from the present slowdown phase, infrastructure development holds the key,” he sad.

“We have been able sustain growth in the phase of global slowdown essentially on the strength of the infrastructure creation in India where the gap is huge,” he said.

Projects succeeds when risks for investment in projects reduced and eliminated, Jaitley told the seminar.

He said “the risk element (for investments) has to be minimised  and virtually eliminated. It is only then the infrastructure creation can take place at a faster pace,” he said.

“The projects have to be bankable, there has to social acceptability of the fact that users must pay for infrastructure. Infrastructure does not come for free,” he said.

“So if it is a road, those who use it have to pay for. If it is an airport or sea port users must pay for it,” Jaitley said.

“Those who use power must pay the actual tariff. Concessional tariffs do not work beyond a particular point,” he said.

“They make infrastructure creation itself difficult. Therefore reduction and finally elimination of risk element will involve the social acceptability, where the society accepts the principle that the funding of infrastructure, eventually has to come from users themselves. That is how the projects becomes bankable,” he said.

“Otherwise the risk element will remain and projects will stop halfway, be incomplete,” he said.

Insight – Before massive Bangladesh heist, New York Fed feared such cyber attacks | Reuters

In the years before hackers stole $81 million from a Bangladesh central bank account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, senior Fed security officials examined the risk of such an attack – but judged the prospect unlikely, bank sources told Reuters.

The Fed managers worried that lax security procedures and outdated technology at some foreign central banks could allow cyber-criminals to commandeer local computers and breach foreign accounts at the U.S. central bank, according to interviews with seven current and former New York Fed officials and a former U.S. government official familiar with the discussions.

Over several years, New York Fed and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials discussed the risk of an attack made using the banking system’s communications network, known as SWIFT, according to Fed and government officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The New York Fed was concerned with lots of vulnerabilities,” said the former government official. “SWIFT was one of them.”

But the Fed focussed security resources on other priorities, such as preventing money-laundering and enforcing U.S. economic sanctions, officials with knowledge of the bank’s security operations told Reuters. Fed officials took some comfort in the fact that SWIFT’s security software had never been cracked, the officials said.

The immediate result of the breach for the New York Fed is a claim from the Bangladesh Bank for payment of lost funds and a potential lawsuit. Beyond that, the heist showed that the U.S. central bank long understood a potentially systemic risk to a vital global finance network, but was unable or unwilling to address it.

The New York Fed declined to comment on past security priorities or on whether it had made changes since the heist. SWIFT declined to comment.

Before the heist, some New York Fed officials considered the threat of fraudulent transfers ordered through SWIFT a “fat tail risk” – a statistical term for events with low probability but dire consequences, said one well-placed official with knowledge of the discussions. February’s theft from the Bangladesh Bank fit that definition – a bold cyber heist in which thieves attempted to withdraw nearly $1 billion in dozens of requests.

The crime rattled the banking industry because the conduit for the theft was the SWIFT network, an acronym for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. A cooperative overseen by 20 of the world’s largest central banks, SWIFT connects about 11,000 financial institutions globally that use it to order money transfers.

“What everyone is realizing right now is that no one has ever really appreciated the risk,” said the person with direct knowledge of the New York Fed’s deliberations.

SWIFT has said that the scheme involved altering SWIFT software on Bangladesh Bank computers to hide evidence of fraudulent transfers. Last week, SWIFT acknowledged that the Bangladesh Bank attack was not an isolated incident but one of a number of recent criminal schemes aimed at its messaging platform. SWIFT has declined to elaborate further.

Two Bangladesh Bank officials have told Reuters they believe both the New York Fed and SWIFT bear some responsibility for the failure to prevent the attack. The officials previously told Reuters that SWIFT gave Bangladesh Bank no prior warning about vulnerabilities, and the New York Fed failed to stop fraudulent orders when they reached New York.

The head of Bangladesh Bank is scheduled to meet next week with New York Fed president William Dudley and a senior executive from SWIFT to discuss the matter. SWIFT has said the attack was related to an internal operating issue at Bangladesh Bank, and the New York Fed has said it has no evidence that its systems were compromised.

Richard Dzina, head of the New York Fed’s wholesale product office, in remarks at a banking conference Tuesday said bank workers “acted properly” in releasing the funds. The system was penetrated, he said, because the hackers had acquired valid credentials to order the transfers.

$80 BILLION A DAY

The New York Fed holds trillions of dollars in funds for central banks worldwide. It processes about $80 billion in fund transfers in and out of their accounts each day, according to a New York Fed official.

Security is handled by the New York Fed’s Central Bank and International Account Services (CBIAS) division, a closely-guarded operation inside its fortress in lower Manhattan. CBIAS assigns risk profiles to individual countries and regions, assessing government stability, terrorism threats, and organised crime activity when deciding how to dispense cash to central banks and other official institutions, current and former Fed officials said.

In the months before the attack, the security unit was focussed on bulking up its anti-money laundering protections, an initiative driven by the Board of Governors at the Fed’s Washington, D.C. headquarters, according to two people familiar with the plan. Another priority was protecting the Fed’s own Fedwire payments system from cyber attacks, several current and former Fed officials said.

Most transfer requests are approved automatically after computer screening. Only a few of about 2,000 daily transactions are flagged for review by employees, according to a New York Fed official.

One of the officials said automated scanners used for SWIFT payments were effective for preventing money laundering and enforcing economic sanctions – but would not defend the bank against fraudulent money transfers.

“There is a balance here that has to be struck between allowing customers to make new payments and to conduct their business in a timely manner, and also to prevent really obnoxious or obvious cases of fraud,” said Shehriyar Antia, a former senior New York Fed policy advisor and analyst in the CBIAS unit.

The CBIAS system specifically checks for typographical errors – and it was a thief’s typo, along with an unusually high number of requests for payments to private entities, that alerted the Fed to February’s cyber attack, banking sources have told Reuters. Once alerted, the Fed suspended payments on most of the requests coming from the Bangladesh Bank, but not before the thieves extracted $81 million.

The Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh police and the FBI are investigating the attack.

A Bangladesh police official who heads the department’s forensic training institute previously told Reuters that SWIFT servers at Bangladesh’s central bank were vulnerable to hackers because of the absence of a firewall and a lack of basic security protocols.

LOOSE CONTROLS

Three former officials said that the New York Fed had recently focussed on loose controls over terminals and other access points to the SWIFT network at foreign central banks, where bankers often order withdrawals for hundreds of millions of dollars.

The concerns focussed on the possibility that banks would purchase computers implanted with malicious software or that attackers could steal or buy legitimate credentials from employees, said the former U.S. government official. An additional worry, according to two former Fed officials, was the possibility that a corrupt insider — possibly a bank employee — might have access to the SWIFT network and submit a fraudulent payment request.

Years of managing foreign central bank accounts gave some Fed officials concern that certain banks were ill-equipped to handle local security because of a lack of infrastructure investment and other procedural problems. But the Fed does not have the ability to audit the security protocols at correspondent central banks.

“The vulnerability is that central banks, even in developing countries, have a lot of money relative to their level of sophistication,” said the official with knowledge of the security concerns. “It’s not just Bangladesh.”

(Writing by David Greising; editing by Brian Thevenot and Edward Tobin)

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

Uttarakhand crisis: SC tests Centre’s true intent with 7 searching questions

The seven questions that Supreme Court framed for the Centre over President’s Rule in Uttarakhand read like seven commandments meant to ascertain the Union government’s commitment to upholding the Constitution.

Perhaps the BJP’s celebration of victory over the continuation of President’s rule in Uttarakhand is too premature. There are all indications that the questions posed by the top court are carefully designed to elicit the real intent of the Centre.

For instance, the Supreme Court asks if the Governor could have sent a message to Vidhan Sabha under Article 175 (2) to hold the floor test. This question assumes significance in view of the fact that in many states of the country, Governors resort to this method to ascertain majority in assemblies.

Similarly, the Supreme Court asks if the disqualification of legislators was genuine ground for imposition of President’s rule. In effect, the court has asked if the Centre intended to sit over the judgment on the Speaker’s action. Of course, the government has cited this as a cause for the breakdown of the constitutional machinery, leading to invocation of Article 356. The court has also sought answer from the Centre if proceedings of an assembly could be taken as ground for imposition of President’s rule.

Supreme Court. AFP

Supreme Court. AFP

The Uttarakhand assembly passed the Appropriation Bill through voice vote despite protests by the rebels. The court has asked the Centre if the bill could be passed only through President’s rule. It also questions the Centre’s contention that the delay in the floor test would lead to a situation where imposition of President’s rule becomes imperative.

The most critical question that emerged from today’s proceedings relate to the perception of destabilisation. The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to specify what exactly qualifies as perception of destabilisation. It has also asked if President’s rule is necessary if a section of rebel legislators switches loyalties.

Apparently, the Supreme Court has covered all aspects that the Centre has been citing as reasons for the imposition of President’s rule. If one goes strictly by the SR Bommai judgment, none of those arguments advanced by the Centre appears tenable. What is significant is the fact that the Supreme Court has downplayed the significance of horse-trading which came through a dubious sting operation in which Chief Minister Harish Rawat was shown to have offered money to buy support. Since the sting cannot be treated as evidence in court, the Supreme Court seems to have ignored the question of horse-trading.

Though President’s rule continues in the state, the Supreme Court’s final verdict, expected to be delivered before the summer vacation, would once again set the guidelines for its imposition. It is expected to put an end to the Centre’s tendency to misuse the article to further political ends. With the seven questions, the Supreme Court seems to be preparing for another version of Bommai judgment (Bommai 2.0).

Demands in LS: Repeal draconian AFSPA in North East

A demand was made in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday for repeal of the “draconian” Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the North-East, with a few members saying it was the biggest deterrent in integrating the youth of the region with India.Participating in a discussion on the Demands for Grants of the Ministry of North East Development, members in the House made a case for bringing in change of strategy and political will for progress of North_Eastern region.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”For 50 years we have clamped AFSPA on the region. Armed forces have killed 50,000 plus civilians in North-East. AFSPA has been the biggest deterrent of integrating NE youth with India… Remove AFSPA without any conditionality,” said BJD member Tathagata Satpathy.Thokchom Meinya (Cong) said demanded immediate repeal of AFSPA from Manipur, saying the Act has been “draconian and black law”. He said many agencies have said AFSPA should be repealed and the Centre should immediately repeal it.Satpathy said the government at the Centre will have to change its strategy to integrate the North Eastern people with the Indian culture. “It is a change in political will that is needed. It is not the BSF, armed forces who are at fault, it is politicians who are at fault,” he said.Flaying the attitude of successive Central governments towards North East, Satpathy said till 2008, Governors of the states in the region were retired armed forces personnel. He demanded Padma award for Irom Sharmila, who is fighting for repeal of the AFSPA in Manipur.”Iron Sharmila deserves to be given Padma award for her perseverence. I admire her personally. The kind of awardees we saw this year, she deserves to be given Padma award,” Satpathy said. He said the attitude of successive governments towards North East has been “convoluted or perverted”. “If Britishers had not come to India, then perhaps North East would have been put off to China”.

Don’t question our nationalism, say Jammu and Kashmir cops

National Institute of Technology (NIT) crisis has stirred a new nationalism debate with Jammu and Kashmir police officers taking to the social media expressing displeasure against the maligning of the force which has sacrificed over 1,500 men in the war against militancy.Jammu and Kashmir police has been facing flak for using cane charge against the students when they tried to lead a march to exit the main gate of the campus on Tuesday evening.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leading the charge are the non-local students who have gone hammer and tongs against the local police and even demanding their removal and deployment of the central forces on the campus.What added another dimension to the whole crisis were some voices questioning the nationalism of the force. This prompted some of the officers to take to social networking sites in a bid to silence the critics.”Many of my colleagues have been asking and many more must be thinking `whose war are we fighting?’…… All I can tell them is that, this is just another phase and will pass.. Further Jammu and Kashmir Police doesn’t need any certificate …” wrote Firoz Yahya, deputy superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police in the facebook post.Yahya noted that they must continue doing the good work within the ambit of law and nothing shall deter them. “Good common people who we serve may be alienated with us for reasons more than one and our good work shall certainly help us win their hearts”, he said.Joining the chorus, senior superintendent of police (Crime) Mubassir Latifi said Jammu and Kashmir Police doesn’t need any certificate of nationalism or impartiality from those whose valour doesn’t extend beyond their keypads. “J&K Police is a saga of sacrifice and courage and has brought this State out of a madness called terrorism,” he wrote on his facebook wall.War against terror has claimed the lives of over 5,500 security forces men and officers in the strife torn Jammu and Kashmir in the last 24 years. Of which more than 1,500 men and officers of Jammu and Kashmir police have sacrificed their lives fighting militants.Even as Jammu and Kashmir policemen tried to set the records straight, there were fresh protests in the NIT on Friday. Non local students tried to march towards the gate but they were not allowed. Later they dispersed peacefully. Students were pressing for the shifting of NIT out of Kashmir and other demands.Waking up to the crisis, Board of Governors (BOG) of NIT Srinagar has issued a public appeal urging students to help in restoring peace on the campus.”Friends I have been very distressed at the recent turn of events at the Institute. As I have said earlier, as chairman of BOG, my dream and my endeavour would be to see the institute improve its standard, excel at least in certain areas and improve its rating further among the engineering and technology institute of the country,” said Dr MI Zarabi, chairman BOG, NIT.Zarabi noted it is his dream that NIT Srinagar grows into an institution that serves as a leading example of amity among the people from different regions and faiths.”I sincerely appeal to all our students to help restore normalcy and peruse their academic career in right earnest and help the institute scale greats heights,” he saidOn the other side, local Kashmiri students too have submitted a memorandum to the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) team opposing permanently stationing of central or armed security forces, saying it will make the campus vulnerable to disturbance.”Let’s make this very clear. They are demanding the presence of armed security on the grounds of an educational institute. This is not acceptable here, or anywhere in the world. In the past, security forces used to reside in the hostel. This set a tone of hostility and fear amongst every student and parent,” read the memorandum.Chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir BR Sharma told dna that state government is trying its best to resolve the NIT crisis soon. “We are trying to do our best. We are hopeful to resolve the crisis soon,” he said.On some of the police officers taking to social media to silence the critics of the force, Sharma said he has not comments to offer on that. “The role (in fighting militancy) of J&K police is for everybody to see,” he said.

NIT Srinagar clashes: Protesting students seek shifting out of NIT campus from Srinagar

Tension prevailed at NIT here with outstation students on Wednesday making a slew of demands, including shifting the institute out of Kashmir and action against the policemen involved in lathicharge yesterday, as an HRD team rushed here from Delhi to resolve the crisis being witnessed since last six days.The developments at the prestigious engineering institute also triggered politicking even as the state government assured that safety will be ensured for the students hailing from other states at the campus where CRPF has been deployed to instill a sense of security. A day after lathicharge by local police on the agitating non-local students at the campus, the Union HRD Ministry rushed a three-member team — Sanjeev Sharma, Director (Technical Education) in the ministry, Deputy Director Finance Fazal Mehmood and Chairman of Board of Governors of NIT M J Zarabi — here this morning.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The team interacted with the outstation students who have been expressing a sense of insecurity at the campus. “Our first demand is that the NIT be shifted from here. We want to go home first and we will go wherever you shift us,” the students told the HRD Ministry team at the campus. The students said the police had taken away national flag from them during a clash on Friday last and demanded that it be returned to them. The students, who had assembled in a hall inside the NIT campus, also demanded strict action against police personnel including Deputy Superintendent of Police who resorted to lathicharge on them yesterday. “What J&K police has done, you have seen the videos. We want strict action be taken against them including the DySP Sajad. We also demand the DySP change his statement in which he has said that students hurled stones at police,” said a student, who was speaking on behalf of the rest. They said some of the staff members of NIT should resign so that “they do not play with anyone student’s career.” “We are not going to take any names here but we will provide a list in writing. They have to resign,” the student leader said.He also sought directions from the HRD ministry to allow the media inside the campus for interaction with the students. In Surat, HRD Minister Smriti Irani said she had spoken to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who assured her that safety of all students will be ensured. “My officers are in touch with the agitating students and their family members. One or two students said they wanted to go back home for which my ministry is making arrangements,” she said.”HRD officers are present in the campus. We have interacted with around 800 students. We have asked that all students who are worried should tell us, so that we can assist them,” Irani said.

Odd-Even rule: Delhi HC refuses to entertain plea agnst exemption to women

Delhi High Court on Friday rejected a plea against exemptions granted to women and two-wheelers in the odd-even car rationing scheme, scheduled to resume from April 15, terming it “premature”. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath observed that the plea was not for public interest but for “publicity interest only”.”This writ petition is premature. We cannot say this is for public interest. It is for publicity interest only,” the bench said, adding, “the petition is premature so we are not inclined to entertain it at this stage.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During the hearing, the counsel appearing for petitioner Karuna Chhatwal referred to media reports and said the Delhi Government has not considered the suggestions on not exempting two-wheelers and women in the odd-even scheme. “These are all newspapers reports. May be they (Delhi government) are considering it,” the bench said.When the counsel urged that the petition be heard, the bench observed, “Sorry, not at this stage. We are only saying that this writ petition is premature. If this was really a public interest litigation, we would not have done this.” Delhi-resident Chhatwal has approached the high court contending that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, in the second phase of the scheme, has exempted women and two wheelers which they should not have done.She submitted that two-wheelers emit pollutants and account for almost 60% of air pollution while cars constitute a part of the remaining air pollution. She said the scheme was introduced to control air pollution and exempting women drivers will defeat the very objective. The AAP government had announced that the second phase of the 15 days odd-even scheme will start for a fortnight from April 15.During the first phase of the scheme in January this year, the vehicles exempted from odd-even scheme included the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, Union Ministers and Governors and Chief Ministers, barring Delhi. Besides, women drivers, CNG vehicles, two- wheelers, ambulances, defence and embassy vehicles were also exempted. Chhatwal had said there was no constitutional provision to grant such exemption and the scheme was “infringing Right to Life of public at large, which is violation of fundamental right provided under Article 21 of Constitution of India”. She said the scheme was introduced to control air pollution and exempting women drivers will defeat the very objective.

Supreme Court vacates status quo, paves way for new government in Arunachal

Clearing the decks for formation of a government in Arunachal Pradesh, the Supreme Court on Thursday vacated its earlier order to maintain status quo on political developments in the state after being satisfied with the Gauhati High Court order staying the disqualification of the 14 rebel Congress MLAs.A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar, on perusing the records regarding disqualification of 14 rebel Congress MLAs, said, “Prima facie we are not inclined to interfere with the high court order, we are satisfied with it. Having seen the original records which are put before us by the Registrar General of Gauhati High Court, the order of January 7 calls for no interference at this stage.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Accordingly, the ad-interim order passed is vacated,” the bench also comprising Justices Dipak Misra, M B Lokur, P C Ghose and N V Ramana saidThe bench remanded the matter pertaining to disqualification of the 14 legislators from the single judge to the division bench of the high court and asked it to expeditiously decide the matter within two weeks.The bench, however, made it clear that any further action taken will be subject to the outcome of the matter pending before the high court.On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet had decided to recommend revocation of President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh, the apex court had ordered maintenance of status quo in the crisis-ridden state till it examined judicial and assembly records on disqualification of the 14 rebel Congress MLAs by former Speaker Nabam Rebia.The Governor had on January 26 dismissed the Chief Minister and his council of ministers even when the assembly was in suspended animation.”Governor cannot pass any such order during subsistence of proclamation,” the petitioner had said, adding that even the Gauhati High Court should not have stayed the disqualification of the 14 MLAs as Chief Whip of the party was not impleaded in the case.The apex court disposed off the application of Arunchal Congress leaders seeking to restrain Governor J P Rajkhowa from swearing in a new government and vacation of the interim order of the Gauhati High Court.It, however, asked the Arunachal Congress leaders to move Gauhati High Court and seek the remedy there, but made it clear that “what will happen and what will not happen will be subject to the outcome of the main petition before us.” The bench after perusing the records said that Speaker Nabam Rebia order disqualifying the 14 MLAs had said that notices were pasted at their houses but the fact is some thing different.”There were two things, first the summons were not served on the 14 MLAs and second the notice for removal were also not served which was against the principal of natural justice,” the bench said, adding that therefore, it was prima facie satisfied with the high court order staying the disqualification.The bench, is hearing a batch of pleas on constitutional powers of the Governors.—With agency inputs

Arunachal Pradesh crisis: The Governor wasn’t aggrieved party, says Supreme Court

Arunachal Pradesh Governor was not the aggrieved party, the Supreme Court said on Monday as it focussed on the decisions of Governor J P Rajkhowa to advance the assembly session and fix the agenda of the House.”In the facts of the case, the aggrieved party is either the Congress party or the MLAs (who had been disqualified by Speaker Nabam Rebia), then how does the Governor comes into picture, he is not aggrieved by anything,” a five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench did not agree with the submission that the Speaker was under clout and hence, Governor was justified in fixing the agenda that the House should first decide as to whether Rebia enjoyed majority support as the Speaker or not.”If Speaker was under clout, then these persons (disqualified MLAs) were also under clout. The Speaker had the complaints from the (Congress) Party and he acted on it,” the bench, also comprising justices Dipak Misra, M B Lokur, P C Ghose and N V Ramana, said.Senior advocate Ashok Desai, who represented 10 MLAs including the Leader of Opposition, said the Governor is not an aggrieved party but a “decision making authority” which has discretionary powers under the Constitution.During the hearing, the court wondered as to which of the two incidents — running a minority government or running the House by a Speaker who has lost majority support, was more harmful to the democracy.”We have to see which of these two incidents are more harmful to democracy, whether it’s running of the government which is in minority or the running of the House by the Speaker who has lost its confidence,” it said.The observation came after Desai justified the actions of Rajkhowa, saying he was compelled to act after the allegation against the Speaker came that he was “hand in glove with the Chief Minister and Congress party”.”There was an apprehension that the Speaker may disqualify the revolting MLAs who have expressed no confidence in him,” Desai said.The bench, hearing a batch of pleas on constitutional powers of the Governors, also observed during the hearing that it is in “dilemma” at this juncture as to who is correct.The bench said, “Here are 14 MLAs who are subject to disqualification, and on the other side is the Speaker who is also subject to disqualification. Action can be taken either way but at this juncture we don’t know.”The court further said it is also not very clear whether the Governor has the discreationary power to summon the House or not.”We are not very clear, whether he (governor) has the power to summon the House or was there an exceptional situation like a constitutional breakdown. We don’t know at this juncture as in that way he will be the legislative in-charge,” the bench said.Desai submitted that even if it is not mentioned in the Constitution, the discretionary powers of the Governor are recognised.”This is a power with the Governor which is not exercised regularly but it is available with him. Normal rule is that he acts on aid and advice of chief minister and council of ministers. Even if the power is not mentioned in the Constitution, it is recognised,” Desai argued and concluded his argument.To this, the bench observed, “the discretionary powers of the Governor cannot be blatant or absolute.”On February 11, the apex court had critically examined a decision of Arunachal Pradesh Governor J P Rajkhowa ordering maintenance of the party-wise position of MLAs in the assembly and said he had “no role to play” in it, as the anti-defection aspect fell under the domain of the Speaker.Observing that democracy was part of the basic structure of the Constitution, the bench had said, hence, any “undemocratic” decision would be open to judicial review.Senior advocate T R Andhyarijuna, appearing for Rajkhowa, had defended the Governor’s decisions saying when the Speaker was under clout and part of a conspiracy with the state government, the Governor exercised his discretionary power which is “undefined” in the Constitution.

Arunachal Pradesh crisis: Governor was not the aggrieved party, says Supreme Court

New Delhi: Arunachal Pradesh Governor was not the aggrieved party, the Supreme Court said on Monday as it focussed on the decisions of Governor JP Rajkhowa to advance the assembly session and fix the agenda of the House.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“In the facts of the case, the aggrieved party is either the Congress party or the MLAs (who had been disqualified by Speaker Nabam Rebia), then how does the Governor comes into picture, he is not aggrieved by anything,” a five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice JS Khehar said.

The bench did not agree with the submission that the Speaker was under clout and hence, Governor was justified in fixing the agenda that the House should first decide as to whether Rebia enjoyed majority support as the Speaker or not.

“If Speaker was under clout, then these persons (disqualified MLAs) were also under clout. The Speaker had the complaints from the (Congress) Party and he acted on it,” the bench, also comprising justices Dipak Misra, MB Lokur, PC Ghose and NV Ramana, said.

Senior advocate Ashok Desai, who represented 10 MLAs including the Leader of Opposition, said the Governor is not an aggrieved party but a “decision making authority” which has discretionary powers under the Constitution.

During the hearing, the court wondered as to which of the two incidents — running a minority government or running the House by a Speaker who has lost majority support, was more harmful to the democracy.

“We have to see which of these two incidents are more harmful to democracy, whether it’s running of the government which is in minority or the running of the House by the Speaker who has lost its confidence,” it said.

The observation came after Desai justified the actions of Rajkhowa, saying he was compelled to act after the allegation against the Speaker came that he was “hand in glove with the Chief Minister and Congress party”.

“There was an apprehension that the Speaker may disqualify the revolting MLAs who have expressed no confidence in him,” Desai said.

The bench, hearing a batch of pleas on constitutional powers of the Governors, also observed during the hearing that it is in “dilemma” at this juncture as to who is correct.

The bench said, “Here are 14 MLAs who are subject to disqualification, and on the other side is the Speaker who is also subject to disqualification. Action can be taken either way but at this juncture we don’t know.”

The court further said it is also not very clear whether the Governor has the discreationary power to summon the House or not.

“We are not very clear, whether he (governor) has the power to summon the House or was there an exceptional situation like a constitutional breakdown. We don’t know at this juncture as in that way he will be the legislative in-charge,” the bench said.

Desai submitted that even if it is not mentioned in the Constitution, the discretionary powers of the Governor are recognised.

“This is a power with the Governor which is not exercised regularly but it is available with him. Normal rule is that he acts on aid and advice of chief minister and council of ministers. Even if the power is not mentioned in the Constitution, it is recognised,” Desai argued and concluded his argument.

To this, the bench observed, “the discretionary powers of the Governor cannot be blatant or absolute.”

On 11 February, the apex court had critically examined a decision of Arunachal Pradesh Governor JP Rajkhowa ordering maintenance of the party-wise position of MLAs in the assembly and said he had “no role to play” in it, as the anti-defection aspect fell under the domain of the Speaker.

Observing that democracy was part of the basic structure of the Constitution, the bench had said, hence, any “undemocratic” decision would be open to judicial review.

Senior advocate TR Andhyarijuna, appearing for Rajkhowa, had defended the Governor’s decisions saying when the Speaker was under clout and part of a conspiracy with the state government, the Governor exercised his discretionary power which is “undefined” in the Constitution.

PTI

Do not only be fair but seen to be fair: President tells Governors

President Pranab Mukherjee yet again asked Governors to act within the framework of the Constitution and “they must not only be fair but also be seen to be fair”.In his concluding remarks in the two-day conference of Governors on Wednesday, he said that they have been charged with an onerous responsibility–to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.”It is, therefore, imperative that all their actions are within the framework of the Constitution and conform to the highest ideals enshrined in this living document,” Mukherjee said. He said as holders of high offices they must not only be fair but also be seen to be fair.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The President’s mention assumes significance amidst a raging controversy over the role of Governor J P Rajkhowa in Arunachal Pradesh that led to the imposition of central rule. Inaugurating the conference, he had yesterday said all those who hold Constitutional positions should maintain sanctity of the Constitution.”Governors, as the live-link between the centre and the states, can catalyse initiatives. Governors may take up smart solutions in their Raj Bhavans which can serve as technology demonstrators. They may also ask the universities to make use of the ‘Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan’ for developing smart villages. Governors can also sensitise states and union territories about adopting a well-knit strategy to achieve the objectives of the Make-in-India programme,” Mukherjee asked.He said strong monitoring, rigorous follow-up, and validation of progress are essential for the success of the Swachh Bharat Mission.The President said the Governors of eastern states, specially the North Eastern states, should become active participants of the Government’s ‘Act East’ policy.Connectivity of the North Eastern states must be improved by strengthening the road and rail network. There is need for a progressive policy for industrial investment and promotion in the hilly and mountainous states, he said.The entire North-East and the Northern region of the country is highly vulnerable to seismic disturbances. The building codes and regulatory mechanisms for new construction have to be enforced strictly, Mukherjee said.”It needs to be ensured that disaster management procedures are in place and regular drills are conducted,” he said.The President said laudable initiatives taken by some Governors should be replicated in other states. As Chancellors or Visitors of universities at the state level, Governors can play a proactive role in driving quality higher education.”Governors could also examine the possibility of conducting in-residence programmes in Raj Bhavans on the lines of what is organised at Rashtrapati Bhavan,” he said.The in-residence programme is envisaged to encourage the creative and innovative potential of people by helping them stay in specifically-built houses inside the President’s Estate. Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also addressed the concluding session of the conference which was attended by 23 Governors and two Lt Governors.Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, national Security Adviser Ajit Doval, among others also addressed the gathering.

Arunchal Pradesh crisis: SC questions Governor’s order to advance assembly session

The Supreme Court on Friday questioned Arunachal Pradesh Governor J P Rajkhowa’s decision to advance the assembly session to December last year from this January, asking what difference would it have made if the sitting was held as originally scheduled.”What would be the change or the difference if the assembly proceedings would have taken place on pre-scheduled January 14 instead of December 16,” a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar said. The poser came when senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for some rebel Congress MLAs, said there were serious corruption charges against then Speaker Nabam Rebia and the Governor was empowered under the Constitution to advance the assembly session and instruct that the issue of removal of the Speaker be taken up as first item of business.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There has to be some object to be achieved by the Governor by wanting to advance the date,” the bench, which also comprised Justices Dipak Misra, M B Lokur, P C Ghose and N V Ramana, said. Responding on a lighter vein to the assertion that the Governor can summon and advance the assembly session, the bench asked, “does it mean that whenever he feels bored, he can call the assembly to feel the excitement?” The senior lawyer said “the Speaker, who is under clout, cannot and should not be allowed to preside over the house” and added that there was a very limited scope of judicial review in matters where the Governor exercises his powers under the Constitution.The bench, however, agreed with the contention of Dwivedi that on some occasions, the Governor is not bound to act as per the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his council of ministers. “The governor is neither an agent nor an employee and is entitled to act on his own also,” the lawyer said. Yesterday, the court, which is examining the powers of Governors, had taken strong note of a submission that all decisions of the Governor are not open to judicial review.”If democracy is slaughtered, how can the court remain silent,” it had said when a counsel for a BJP MLA of crisis-hit Arunachal Pradesh referred to the powers of the Governors to drive home of the point that courts cannot “review” all the decisions of the Governor. Earlier, the bench had also summoned dispatch records, having details of correspondences of Arunachal Pradesh assembly from October to till date, on February 8 as it was not satisfied with documents produced by an official of the assembly. The bench wanted to ascertain certain communications between the office of the then Speaker, Nabam Rebia, and the Governor on issues like convening or advancing assembly session and disqualification of rebel Congress MLAs.The court would resume hearing on Monday on a batch of pleas filed by Rebia and other Congress leaders against the Gauhati High Court order in the case. Earlier, the bench had said that Governors are political appointees and their actions are open to judicial review as nowadays even judges are considered for such an assignment. BJP MLA Tage Taki had also questioned the delay on part of the Congress in moving the Gauhati High Court against the Governor’s decision to advance the assembly session.The Nabam Tuki government, which had initial support of 47 MLAs in 60 member house, allegedly lost the confidence motion by 33 votes in the assembly session held in a community hall in the state capital of Itanagar. The bench is also examining the authority of the Governor as to whether he can advance the assembly session without the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his council of ministers.Congress party, which has 47 MLAs seats in the 60-member assembly, suffered a jolt when 21 of its lawmakers rebelled. Eleven BJP MLAs backed the rebels in the bid to upstage the government. Later, 14 rebel Congress MLAs were disqualified.The Governor then called the assembly session, scheduled on January 14, on December 16 in which Deputy Speaker revoked the disqualification of 14 rebel Congress MLAs and removed Rebia from the post of Speaker. This sitting was held in a community hall. The court is also considering fresh pleas against imposition of President’s Rule in the state and would hear them on February 8

Arunachal Pradesh crisis: Can’t remain silent if democratic process is slaughtered, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, examining the powers of Governors, on Thursday took strong note of a submission that all decisions of the Governor are not open to judicial review and said it cannot be a mute spectator when democratic processes are “slaughtered”.”If democracy is slaughtered, how can the court remain silent,” a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar said when the counsel for a BJP MLA of crisis-hit Arunachal Pradesh referred to the powers of the Governors to drive home of the point that courts cannot “review” all the decisions of the Governor. The bench, meanwhile, summoned dispatch records, having details of correspondences of Arunachal Pradesh assembly from October to till date, on February 8 as it was not satisfied with documents produced by an official of the assembly.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench, also comprising Justices Dipak Misra, M B Lokur, P C Ghose and N V Ramana, wanted to ascertain certain communications between the office of Assembly Speaker Nabam Rebia and Governor J P Rajkhowa on issues like convening or advancing assembly session and disqualification of rebel Congress MLAs. Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for some rebel Congress lawmakers, supported the Governor’s decisions saying that summoning the assembly session cannot be termed “undemocratic” and does not frustrate “democratic process”.Rather, locking out the assembly building and shying away from it are undemocratic acts. “It is not compulsory for the Governor to take aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his council of ministers in summoning the assembly session,” he said, adding that certain constitutional schemes empower the Governor to act on his own in “exceptional” and “special” circumstances. By summoning assembly session, the Governor is “simply setting in motion the democratic process”, the lawyer said and asked how can it be termed illegal by those who lost majority support and shied away from the House. He said that the locking up of the assembly building was not a “simple and democratic” act.The court would resume hearing tomorrow on a batch of pleas filed by Rebia and other Congress leaders against the Gauhati High Court order in the case. Earlier, the bench had said that Governors are political appointees and their actions are open to judicial review as nowadays even judges are considered for such an assignment. Yesterday, BJP MLA Tage Taki had questioned the delay on part of the Congress in moving the Gauhati High Court against the Governor’s decision to advance the assembly session.If such a “grave” mistake was committed by the Governor then why did the then ruling party allow the matter to “precipitate” further and move the court at the last minute, senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Taki, had said. The Nabam Tuki government, which had initial support of 47 MLAs in 60 member house, allegedly lost the confidence motion by 33 votes in the assembly session held in a community hall in the state capital of Itanagar.The bench is also examining the authority of the Governor as to whether he can advance the assembly session without the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his council of ministers. The court would tomorrow resume hearing on the petitions seeking examination of powers of Governors. Congress party, which has 47 MLAs seats in the 60-member assembly, suffered a jolt when 21 of its lawmakers rebelled.Eleven BJP MLAs backed the rebels in the bid to upstage the government. Later, 14 rebel Congress MLAs were disqualified.The Governor then called assembly session on December 16 in which Deputy Speaker revoked disqualification of 14 rebel Congress MLAs and removed Rebia from the post of Speaker. This sitting was held in a community hall. The court is also considering fresh pleas against imposition of President’s Rule in the state and would hear them on February 8

Gogoi accuses BJP of trying to incite communal tension

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday alleged the opposition BJP and some other parties are trying to incite communal tension in the state ahead of the Assembly polls.”We have reports that BJP and other parties are trying to create communal tension in the state before the polls… The state government is fully prepared and we will not allow any communal disturbance to occur,” Gogoi told reporters at the sidelines of the February Session of the Assembly here. “BJP has again raised the Ram Janambhumi issue.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Creating communal tension is their main poll plank,” he said, claiming that even state Governors are talking on every issue as if they are agents of one party. In recent times, Governors of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have not forgot their “RSS ideology and behaved like RSS pracharaks”. Talking about the forthcoming Assembly polls, he said, “BJP is saying they will get 85 seats out of 126. Then why are they running after BPF, AGP and other smaller parties to form an alliance? They are not confident at all of winning this election.”He said the Congress is confident of coming to power for the fourth consecutive term and will form the government on its own. On Union Sports Minister and BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal, Gogoi said: “My fight is not against Sarba. My fight is against Modi government. He promised us many things and ‘achhe din’ before Lok Sabha polls, but he has done nothing.”The senior Congress leader also termed Sonowal as an “inefficient” minister as he had failed to bring any special package to the state during flood disaster in last two years.

Manipur celebrates Statehood Day with first international women’s polo tournament

To mark Manipur’s historic Statehood Day and promote women’s polo, the All Manipur Polo Association has organised an international women’s polo tournament for the first time in the state in association with the Department of Tourism.The first Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament 2016 was inaugurated on Sunday (January 17) by Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh at Mapal Kangjeibung (Polo ground) in Imphal. The five-day Tournament will conclude on January 21, the day which is observed as Manipur Statehood Day. Manipur was granted statehood on January 21, 1972.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four women’s teams from Manipur – Chingkheihunba Polo Club, Thoubal Polo Association Women’s team, Eastern Students Club Women’s team and Venture Fifteen Polo Club – and a team from USPA (United States Polo Association) are taking part in the tournament. Team USPA Women is the first international women’s polo team to come to India.Four young lady players Cristina Fernandez, Tiamo Hudspeth, Carly Persano, and Julia Smith are representing Team USPA. They are led by Steven Armour, Governor-at-Large of the National Board of Governors of the USPA. Team USPA is on a two week long trip to India.The polo tournament is also organised to commemorate the 60th (Diamond) Anniversary of the All Manipur Polo Association which was established under the patronage of Maharaja Bodhachandra of Manipur in 1955.Chief Secretary of Manipur, Oinam Nabakishore said that such tournament is not only a good opportunity to showcase Manipur’s women polo players, but it will also help create awareness to save the endangered Manipuri ponies and promote tourism in the state.On January 24, the Women’s Team USPA will play in a mixed India/US exhibition game hosted by the Rajasthan Polo Club and Rajasthan Tourism on the final day of the Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh Cup. Team India will feature two Manipuri women polo players.

President Pranab Mukherjee asks Governors to stick to Constitution

The President also asked the Governors to use their roles as Visitors of the Universities to motivate them to become institutions, to become smart campuses. “Through technology demonstration, they can also become the nucleus for inclusive development in their regions. You can impress upon these institutes to adopt at least five villages which they can help transform into model villages,” he said.

PTI
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