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Uttarakhand sticks to Bhagirathi ESZ plan despite being temed ‘destructive’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite being termed as “destructive” for water resources by the union ministry, the Uttarakhand government has stuck to its zonal master plan of the Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) that proposes to open up the fragile area for hydropower projects above 2 MW, mining, and roads. The last pristine stretch of Ganga flows through this ESZ.At a meeting on Thursday with the union ministry for water resources, and union ministry for environment and forest, a posse of Uttarakhand officials justified these projects and objected to water ministry’s reservations.The meeting was convened as per National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) directions which asked water resources secretary Shashi Shekhar to sit down with Uttarakhand government and environment ministry to find a way ahead on the contentious zonal master plan. Members of the ESZ expert monitoring committee and two environment ministry officials were also present during the meeting. The Tribunal is hearing a plea on effective implementation of the Bhagirathi ESZ and on compensation for victims of 2013 Uttarakhand disaster.During the meeting, Uttarakhand chief secretary S.Ramaswamy and power secretary Umakant Panwar submitted to Shashi Shekhar that they were not in agreement with the water ministry’s opposition to the hydropower projects and riverbed mining as it will hit investments. According to sources present at the meeting, Uttarakhand officials said that there was little anthropogenic pressure on the resources and even population density was low, thus making it ideal for hydropower projects.They argued that small hydropower projects are ‘white’ projects that are non polluting in nature. The state government wants Centre to allow ten hydropower projects of 82MW total capacity. In August, the environment ministry agreed to consider these projects for approval and also allowed riverbed mining up to 2m depth and road construction on steep slopes.But, DNA reported last week that these decisions were termed “disastrous” by Shashi Shekhar in a letter to the secretary, environment ministry, as they were against the provisions of the ESZ notification.Pointing out to the restrictions on road building on steep slopes and riverbed mining, the officials also said in the meeting that “special rules” were being applied to Uttarakhand, sources added. To this, expert committee member Ravi Chopra said that the restrictions were in place since the stretch of Ganga between Gaumukh and Uttar Kashi is sensitive.Responding to the state government’s submissions, water resources secretary Shashi Shekhar said that in the present form the zonal master plan is in violation of the ESZ notification and any amendments could only be done only with the approval of the union cabinet and the Parliament. Interestingly, the environment ministry, which has agreed to consider Uttarakhand government’s proposal to allow ten hydropower projects in the ESZ did not make any submission during the meeting.”The zonal master plan violates the ESZ notification and the Uttarakhand government never wanted to prepare this master plan. There is no rationale in studying the impact of hydropower projects as the notification does not allow for such kind of development,” said Mallika Bhanot, member, ESZ expert monitoring committee.

Outgoing Delhi L-G seeks CBI probe into AAP appointment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Outgoing Lieutanant-Governor (L-G) of Delhi, Najeeb Jung, asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the appointment of Soumya Jain, daughter of state health minister Satyendar Jain, as advisor to the mission director of the Delhi State Health Mission. Jung alleged that it was a case of “nepotism” saying that she came from an architectural background and had no experience in the health sector.The letter, accessed by DNA, was written to the CBI by the vigilance department of the Delhi government on December 22, the day Jung resigned. It states that the L-G has directed the matter to be referred to CBI for a detailed investigation into the irregularities in the appointment of Soumya Jain.Incidentally, Soumya, 26, was at helm of AAP’s mohalla clinic project in Delhi and was also allegedly given a huge office and staff in the Delhi secretariat.”The selection process in the government cannot be reduced to favouritism and it must offer opportunity to all concerned to apply and compete so as to attract the best talent around. The recruitment process in the government or government owned/controlled bodies must be with the tune with Article 14 of the Constitution,” the letter stated.The development is expected to further escalate confrontation between the Delhi and central governments.Satyendar Jain has defended Soumya’s appointment. When she resigned in July, the health minister had said that her daughter was not being paid any money for the job. He also stated that she had skipped her admission to IIM Indore earlier this year and chosen to work for the Delhi government instead.The letter further states that an “advisor can influence the decision of the government with the consequential bearing on finances and hence the selection process needs to be neutral”.During an inquiry, the L-G’s office found that Soumya’s appointment was in response to her request and not as a result of selection through an open and transparent process. “She offered her services without any financial consideration. The information furnished by the administrative department, however, reveals that an amount of Rs 1.15 lakh was spent on her tour and training,” the preliminary inquiry stated.Soumya had participated in a state-sponsored leadership development programme for senior management in the health sector conducted at IIM-Ahmedabad in June this year. She was the only non-medico who participated in the programme aimed at improving management efficiency in Delhi government hospitals. The rest were all doctors, who head different medical institutions run by the government.The letter also states that the proposal regarding “her appointment is silent about the existence of the post of the advisor to Mission Director at the relevant time”. Soumya was appointed on April 18, 2016, in response to her application dated April 1, 2016. Interestingly, the mission director gave approval on May 10, 2016. She had resigned in mid-July this year after allegations of nepotism in her appointment were levelled against the AAP government.

Census: More married women go out for work than unmarried women

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More married women in comparison to unmarried women go out for work in the country and such working ladies seem to prefer to have less children than those who are married but not working.According to the 2011 Census data, released recently, in the child-bearing age group, 41% married women go out for work in comparison to 27% of unmarried women. Interestingly, half of the married women in rural areas work while in urban areas just 22% go out for jobs. In urban areas, fertility rates have dropped drastically with women main workers having just two children on an average compared to 3.1 for their rural counterparts.The total fertility rate or average number of children born to a woman over her full child-bearing years has dipped to 2.9 for working women from 3.3 a decade ago. On the other hand, the fertility rate is higher at 3.1 among non-workers — marginally down from 3.2 in 2001. In both cases, the sex ratio of children born in the last year is falling, but more so among working women from 912 girls against 1000 boys in 2001 to 901 girls among 1000 boys in 2011.Among non-workers, the sex ratio of children born to them fell from 901 girls against 1000 boys to 894 girls against 1000 boys. Marginal workers women who have irregular or casual jobs for less than six months in a year show that the fertility rate is still high among them at 3.4 though down from 3.7 a decade ago. But the sex ratio has slightly improved from 911 girls against 1000 boys in 2001 to 914 girls against 1000 boys in 2011. Side by side, sex ratio among rural women has suffered a decline from 936 girls against 1000 boys to 906 girls against 1000 boys for them, the biggest decline among all economic groups. P

In new world map, India is banana republic

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a new interactive map that is made up from data collected from the World Bank and the United Nations amongst other sources, each country is given a unique characteristic that best describes it. According to the map, India is the best country for bananas.The map was created by David McCandless from InformationIsBeautiful.net and is divided into nine categories (commodity, psychology, ecology, gastronomy, economy, nicety, humanity, technology, and nasty). The map gives each nation a unique characteristic. It, however, excludes smaller countries in the study.While India is famous for bananas, Pakistan is famous for gay porn, China for jailed journalists, the United States for spammed emails and Australia for data breaches. Interestingly, Rwanda has the most women representatives in parliament, while Zambia has most female entrepreneurs. It’s also worth mentioning that the values are either “mostly per capita” or “per cent of the population”.

Interactive map shows India is best at bananas! Find out what it reveals about other countries

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a new interactive map that is made up from data collected from the World Bank and the United Nations amongst other sources, each country is given a unique characteristic that best describes it. According to the map, India is the best country for bananas.The map was created by David McCandless from InformationIsBeautiful.net and is divided into nine categories (commodity, psychology, ecology, gastronomy, economy, nicety, humanity, technology, and nasty). The map gives each nation a unique characteristic. It, however, excludes smaller countries in the study.According to the map, while India is famous for bananas, Pakistan is famous for gay porn, China for jailed journalists, the United States for spammed emails and Australia for data breaches. Interestingly, Rwanda has the most women representatives in parliament, while Zambia has most female entrepreneurs.It’s also worth mentioning that the values are either “mostly per capita” or “per cent of the population”. Here’s the full map:

Cyrus Mistry claims moral victory even as TCS shareholders vote to oust him

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) shareholders voted to remove Cyrus Mistry, the ousted chairman of Tata Sons, as a director, according to the results of an extraordinary general meeting on Tuesday.

About 93 percent of TCS shareholders, who cast their vote, were in favour of removing Mistry, TCS said in a regulatory filing.

Cyrus Mistry. ReutersCyrus Mistry. Reuters

Cyrus Mistry. Reuters

His ouster comes as no surprise given Tata Sons majority stake in the company, about 73 percent as of September end, according to Thomson Reuters data.

TCS, India’s biggest technology services firm by sales, contributes the bulk of the group’s revenue and profit.

About 43 percent of TCS’s institutional holders who voted were against the removal of Mistry, according to the filing. Interestingly, 78 percent of voting shareholders who were not promoters or institutional holders were against Mistry’s ouster.

The divisions within the minority shareholders on the contentious issue were out in the open with a few minority shareholders voicing support for Mistry. As many as 38 shareholders spoke at the 150-minute long EGM. Even though a bulk of them voiced support for Tata, those handful who affirmed their support to Mistry were applauded.

Mistry’s office, meanwhile, issued a statement late in the night, claiming moral victory.

“Almost 20 percent of shareholders of TCS that accounts for more than 70 percent of non promoter shareholders supported Cyrus by voting against the resolution or abstained (expressing their disapproval of the promoter actions),” said the statement.

In a bitter boardroom coup in October, Mistry was ousted as the chairman of Tata Sons, the holding firm for the $100 billion steel-to-software conglomerate, and group patriarch Ratan Tata returned to the helm temporarily.

A public power struggle has since ensued between the two sides. Mistry, however, still sits on the boards of several group companies. Tata Sons has called shareholder meetings at these companies over the next few days to vote on his removal.

Indian Hotels Co Ltd, Tata Steel and Tata Motors will hold their shareholder meetings next week.

“The fight is a matter of principle rather than facing the foregone outcome (of this meeting),” Mistry said ahead of the TCS shareholder meet in an indication that he had expected to be ousted given Tata Sons’ majority shareholding in TCS.

“The very future of TCS hinges on good governance and ethical practices. In the past several weeks, we have seen good governance being thrown to the wind in every sense of the term, replaced by whims, fancies and personal agenda,” he said.

Since his ouster from Tata Sons, Mistry has attacked the group’s corporate governance standards several times, saying that his efforts to establish stronger guidelines contributed to his removal.

“Whatever be the decibel level of the voice that would drown your vote, I call on you to vote with your conscience and send a signal that catalyses a larger discussion on governance reforms,” Mistry said.

Independent director Aman Mehta, who officiated the meeting after interim chairman Ishaat Hussain recused himself, said Mistry had lost “the trust and confidence” of the promoter group (Tata Sons and Tata Trusts) which had nominated him and it was in best interest of TCS that he leave now.

Asserting that the core issue goes far beyond the “performance or competence”, Mehta said, “It seems to me that the real issue here is one of trust and confidence of the promoter group in its nominated chairman.”

“Independent directors of TCS have met separately and have reviewed the whole issue in some details. It is clear to all of us that the current issue can have some materially negative effect on the functioning of the company,” he said.

With Reuters and PTI

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 07:45 IST

Teen girl with no social media presence becomes Internet star

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When a self-effacing 18-year-old student sang a Punjabi song during a college study tour, little did she know that this was going to be her stairway to stardom. Isha Andotra, BA (second year) student of Kathua district of Jammu, has become an Internet singing star after an amateur video of her Punjabi number became a chart buster notching 8.4 million views and 2.37 lakh shares on Facebook. Interestingly, the new queen of the social media has no cell phone, and therefore no WhatsApp account, and no presence on the social networking sites.If this was not enough, the singing offers galore and producers’ emissaries are making a beeline to woo her for upcoming next project. Unfazed by the new found popularity, Isha has refused all the offers because she wants to focus on her studies.“We had gone to Purthu to visit Grassland for our Environmental Sciences project. During the trip my friends insisted I sing a few lines. I sang from my heart and all my friends and our staff members recorded it on their mobile phones. I don’t know who uploaded the video on Facebook, and on YouTube. It has become so popular that I am getting calls”, Isha told DNA.The 18-year-old and her elder sister have been singing in school and college functions since childhood. But they never considered professional singing till Isha’s video went viral. Isha and her sister have not received any formal training in music from any school or institution. “My sister and I have been singing together in school and college events. Since my sister is now pursuing her Masters in Social Work, I am singing solo”, she said.“A secretary of a Patiala-based music company visited our home and offered to train me professionally for one and half years before launching me in the industry. But I sought more time to think. I want to complete my education before making a foray in the industry,” she said.Isha’s parents are proud, but they want her to complete her education. “It feels great to see and hear about her popularity. My suggestion to Isha is to complete her studies first and then see how things shape up”, said Krishna Devi, Isha’s mother.

Heart of Asia: Pak PM’s foreign advisor exchanges pleasantries with PM Modi, no clarity over bilateral meeting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the midst of heightened Indo-Pak tensions, Pakistani Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz arrived this evening to attend the Heart of Asia conference amid speculation about whether the two sides will have bilateral talks on the sidelines of the conclave to break the ice in ties. Hours after his arrival, Aziz attended a dinner where he exchanged pleasantries with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Aziz was earlier scheduled to arrive here tomorrow but came a day early due to prevailing weather condition. Almost the entire northern India has been affected by thick fog for the last two days, delaying flights and train operations. Aziz advanced his visit after he was informed about the weather condition, sources said. There was no clarity on whether there will be a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the conference. Interestingly, in a goodwill gesture, Aziz sent a bouquet to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, extending his “sincere good wishes for her full and speedy recovery” from illness. Swaraj, undergoing treatment for renal failure, is not attending the Heart of Asia conference and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will head the Indian delegation at the Ministerial deliberations.Aziz, who arrived here on a special flight, was received at the airport by Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit. Pakistan and India had held a meeting during last year’s Heart of Asia Summit in Islamabad during which both countries had agreed to start a ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ which was to cover all outstanding issues. The resumption of the dialogue could, however, not take place due to the Pathankot terror attack in January this year.Earlier this week, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit had said Pakistan was ready for unconditional resumption of dialogue if India was ready.India has made it clear it will never accept continued cross border terrorism as the ‘new normal’ in bilateral ties with Pakistan and that talks cannot take place in an atmosphere of “continued terror”. Tension between the two countries escalated after the cross border terror attack on an army base in Nagrota. During tomorrow’s proceedings at the conference, India is likely to step up its efforts to corner Pakistan diplomatically by mobilising support for concrete action against state-sponsored terrorism. Afghanistan, which has also been witnessing increased attacks from terror groups operating from Pakistani soil, is set to push hard for a regional counter-terror framework with binding commitment at the annual HoA conference, a platform set up in 2011 to assist the war-ravaged country in its transition.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Govt’s new guidelines on cash withdrawals, Jayalalithaa’s health & more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Demonetization: Govt issues new guidelines on cash withdrawals; says no need for panic, not to hoard currencyTo ease the burden of demonetization on the common man, the government on Thursday went on an overdrive and brought in more measures, allowing families preparing for marriages to withdraw up to Rs 2.5 lakh, and reducing the existing limit of Rs 4,500 for exchange of old notes to Rs 2,000. Read moreCBI gets 34 requests to probe Indians wanted abroadIn a recent move, the Centre has designated the CBI as the nodal agency to probe and prosecute Indians who have committed a crime in a foreign country, but cannot be extradited. So far, the CBI has received 34 requests from various countries to investigate Indian nationals who have been taking refuge in India after committing a crime abroad. Read moreDemonetization: 2500 petrol pumps to dispense cash up to Rs 2,000In a bid to ease cash crunch, the government on Thursday allowed dispensing cash of up to Rs 2,000 through debit card swipe at select petrol pumps. The facility will be available at 2,500 petrol pumps. Read moreHow Atal Bihari Vajpayee undid a Cabinet decisionWhen Yashwant Sinha, the finance minister in 1998, went to meet the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to tell him about the need for re-introduction of Rs1,000 notes, he heard him and said ‘zaroor kijiye’. Interestingly, Vajpayee was undoing the decision of the Union Cabinet, of which he was a part, in 1978. Eighteen years later, another BJP Prime Minister has undone a decision by abolishing Rs1,000. Read full storyJayalalithaa breathing without respiratory support, may be discharged any day: AIADMKTamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s lung infection has been cured and she is breathing without respiratory support and may be discharged from hospital any day, her party AIADMK said on Thursday. Read more

Why expats think India is better than China and US: 5 takeaways from HSBC survey

India is indeed shining, when it comes to expat life.

A survey conducted by HSBC has found that India is better placed for expats than China and even the US with respondents praising its economy, political stability and even entrepreneurial environment.

As per the survey held among nearly 27,000 expats from 190 countries and territories, India’s overall rank stands at 26, higher than the US’s 30 and China’s 34.

The survey has thrown up some interesting points that paint a rosy picture of India.

startup-team-shutterstockstartup-team-shutterstock

The survey found India is a popular destination for expat entrepreneurs. ShutterStock

The ranks were decided taking into account mainly three parameters — economics, experience and family. All the three are captured in league tables and ranked separately as per other sub-parameters.

While in the overall ranking Singapore has emerged the topper for the second year in a row, Switzerland leads the economics league table, New Zealand the experience league table and Sweden the families league table.

However, it is interesting to note that India is considered better than the US and China on many of these parameters.

Here are a few takeaways from the recently released survey:

1) Indian economy better than China, US: In the economics league table, India is ranked 23, while the US is at 20 and China 21. In the sub-parameters, India is at 26 in personal finances as against China’s 10 and the US’s 20. Interestingly, local economy looks better in India (rank 10) than China (20) and the US (16). When it comes to working life, India is ranked 24 between China’s 26 and the US’s 19. Not surprisingly, the survey found that expats have high levels of confidence in the country’s political and economic stability. “Nearly two thirds (64 percent) of expats are confident in the Indian economy, above the expat average of 52 percent across Asia-Pacific. More than half (53 percent) of expats in India also have confidence in the political stability of the country, above the average of 48 percent across Asia-Pacific,” the survey said.

2) Family relationships better in India: This should come as a big boost for the desi brigade: when it comes to family India is ranked much higher (at 24) than the US (37) and China (38). In relationships, India’s score is a higher 15, while the US is at 28 and China 33. Surprisingly, it is so even in education and child care, where India is ranked 16 with the US at 34 and China 30. Raising children is also better in India (28) than the US (34) and China (a lowly 41).

3) India good for career progression: The survey found that expats are all praise for India as a good destination to progress a career. “Three in five (60 percent) expats believe their experience in India will improve their future job prospects, compared with 43 percent of expats across the (Asia-Pacific) region,” the survey said. Also as many as 51 percent of expats in India believe the country is a good place for them to progress their career (42 percent across Asia-Pacific_ and 57 percent feel they have a better chance to acquire new skills here than they did in their home country (44% across Asia-Pacific).

4) India good for entrepreneurship: The country is a popular destination for expat entrepreneurs. “More than one in ten (11 percent) expats in the country moved there to set up a business, more than twice the average of 5 percent across Asia-Pacific,” says the survey. India also draws more expat entrepreneurs than countries in the Middle East, such as Bahrain (7 percent) and the UAE (5 percent). “Almost half (46 percent) of expats report that India is a good place to start a business, more than in both China (39 percent) and Oman (32 percent), and above the Asia-Pacific average of 39 percent,” the survey said.

5) India helps achieve long-term financial goals: Nearly two in five (38 percent) expats in India say their time abroad has accelerated their progress towards saving for their children’s education, above the average of 29 percent in Asia-Pacific. Expats in India are also able to save more, with 44 percent saying that living there has accelerated their progress towards making long-term savings and investments, compared with 39 percent across the (Asia-Pacific) region.

Chhagan Bhujbal in land-lease defaulters’ list in south Mumbai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Plots worth thousands of crore or equivalent to 12 times the size of Oval Maidan await renewal of lease with the city collectorate. One of the 639 defaulters is imprisoned Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Chhagan Chandrakant Bhujbal. If these leases are renewed, it will make the collectorate richer by over Rs 3,000 crore. All of these land parcels are in south Mumbai.There are also many other plots within south Mumbai whose renewals are due, but they fall under the jurisdiction of either the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)or the Mumbai Port Trust.Under the collectorate’s ambit, in south Mumbai, there is a total land area of10,95,222.14 sq m. Of these, the BMC alone occupies 10%. Bhujbal’s plot in Mazgaon is spread over 38.46 sq m. Though he was home minister and deputy chief minister, he did not renew its lease, due from January 1, 1973. In the same year, he was elected as corporator from Mazgaon on a Shiv Sena ticket. Till 1984, he was leader of opposition in the civic body.In the collectorate’s records, even the then Royal Indian Navy, now Indian Navy, is a defaulter (7,416.17 sq m). So are the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority, Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking, Western Railway etc. Interestingly, even the first citizen of the state – the Governor – finds mention in the list of defaulters. As per records, “Governor of Maharashtra”, with an area of 325.44 sq m, too, hasn’t got the lease renewed after it got expired on September 30, 1988.In the recent past, only nine leases, accounting for 10,765.37 sq m, have been renewed. “Though leases of gymkhanas have expired, since a policy for them is yet to be formalised, those survey numbers (details) are not mentioned,” said Dr Ashwini Joshi, collector, Mumbai city. There are over 8 gymkhanas in south Mumbai, including the Bombay Gymkhana.According to her, the defaulters have to apply for lease renewals within a month. “As per a government resolution, notices to all leaseholders have been sent, but since their responses were inadequate, a public appeal had to be made,” she said.Earlier, the state government had the powers to renew leases and collect the revenue, but from December 2012, collectors have been entrusted with this task. “We expect a huge amount through these renewals. I cannot state a specific figure,” said Joshi. If there is an illegal transfer, a different charge will be applicable. This fee varies from case to case.Top defaultersBrihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (1,10,477.73 sq m)Acworth Leper Asylum at Wadala (68,768.75 sq m)The Bombay Xaverian Corporation Ltd at Mahim (44,272.54 sq m)Shapoorji Bomanjee Billimoria KT at Mazgaon (38,816.89 sq m)Rustum Behramji Colah Minoo Murzaban Dalal at Mazgaon (25,506.89 sq m)His Highness Sultan Mahomed Shah Ali Aga Khan (20,332.94 sq m)Total defaulters 639Total renewals 9

In wake of Uri attack, Israel offers solution for beefing up border security; Indian officials tread cautiously

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Israeli military expert credited for developing solutions for securing borders has said that an integrated approach coupled with a maze of initiatives can only prevent cross-border strikes on Indian installations. In the wake of Uri attack, killing 18 soldiers and an earlier terrorists striking the Pathankot airbase , Col (rtd) Ram Dor, a cyber security expert said replicating the Israeli experience starting from procurement of intelligence to putting up sensors, cameras and UAVs linking them with a single command and control centre having direct control over the special forces could the answer to effectively plug borders and prevent infiltrations.The former military officer, who has served at key positions in Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), said his country, famed for its prowess in developing innovative solutions cyber security was, willing to partner India to thwart cyber threats, protect borders, create safe and smart cities and also devise homeland security technologies and solutions.In the wake of the Uri and Pathankot terror attacks, allegedly carried out by Pakistan-based JeM terrorists after crossing the border, the issue of ensuring zero infiltration is on top of mind of security establishment. Interestingly, in November 2014, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had visited one of the border outposts in Gaza and was “greatly impressed” by the technology used in the highly sophisticated border security system of Israel which includes high-quality long-range day cameras along with night observation systems employing third generation thermal imagers. The Fence is also fitted with electronic touch and motion sensors as well as underground sensors which use seismic systems to detect any tunnelling attempts below the fence for intrusion.The Israeli border fencing along West Bank, Gaza and Egypt also consists of latticed steel, topped and edged with razor wire, extending at least two metres below ground and in some sections reaching seven metres above the ground. In certain “dark areas” where fencing was not possible, Israel is using radars and UAVs which transmit directly to the command and control centre, manned round the clock by Israeli military lady officers, who are in constant touch with special forces on ground.“As a small country, Israel’s existence depends on its vigilance and its ability to provide an effective, measured response to evolving domestic and foreign threats. Innovative systems and solutions have been created in order to meet these goals. Today, these advanced, fully-developed and tested capabilities are also securing many of Israel’s allies and partners throughout the world,” he told dna.Stating that having faced the issue of safeguarding its borders for many years now, he said that Israel has developed the technological expertise for this. “We started in the north with Lebanon with a simple fence with very minor sensors,” Dor said. “Then we developed the second stage when we developed our border between Israel and Jordan-Sumeria and on the Gaza Strip,” he stated. Following this, he said, the third layer was developed which he described as “the most advanced one”, which was with Syria. “We have three layers starting with intelligence trying to bring in an alert whenever there is an attack coming in, going into the level that we can cover as much area as we can with all types of sensors,” Dor said.Despite accounting for one-tenth of one percent of the world’s population, Israel has attracted some 20% of the global private investment in cyber security. While addressing the UN General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country was punching a whopping 200 times above its weight. “So Israel is also a global cyber power. If hackers are targeting your banks, your planes, your power grids and just about everything else, Israel can offer indispensable help,” he said.Echoing his prime minister, Col Ram Dor said Israel is experiencing some 1.5 to 5 million attacks every day on its cyber space, which includes fishing, virus etc. But a strong system has been thwarting them constantly.Indian officials are, however, treading cautiously to Israeli offers, with the Home Ministry here having burnt fingers in procuring 32,766 telescopic night vision devices (NVDs) for the paramilitary forces during previous UPA government soon after 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), a prestigious public sector undertaking which had bagged the contract, claimed that it had developed a state-of-the-art NVD based on XD-4 technology, in technical collaboration with Prizmatech, a subsidiary of Star Defence Systems, Israel. But they failed to give desired results at the trials conducted by the BSF in Gurgaon.

Mulayam Singh Yadav appoints Amar Singh as SP General Secretary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amar Singh, who survived the recent “outsider” storm in ruling Samajwadi Party, was on Tuesday appointed SP General Secetary by party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav.”You have been appointed general secretary of Samajwadi Party. I hope in the coming days you will strengthen the party in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections,” Mulayam said in a handwritten letter to Amar. he brief letter in Hindi signed by Mulayam on his Lok Sabha letter head was sent to media from state SP chief Shivpal Yadav’s official e-mail id. Though SP big wigs were strongly opposed to Amar Singh, often described as an “outsider”, Mulayam threw his weight behind him, first by making him a Rajya Sabha member some time back and now allotting him an important party post. Interestingly, during the feud between Mulayam’s brother Shivpal and son Akhilesh Yadav, Amar Singh was seen as the one who had engineered it. Akhilesh, while apparently referring to Amar Singh, had recently said that “people from outside the household” keep interfering in the Samajwadi Party’s affairs. Mulayam’s cousin Ram Gopal Yadav also had made a veiled attack on Amar Singh during the feud, saying they have no love for the party and hence are creating trouble. Commenting on that Amar had said, “Akhilesh is like a son and Mulayam like a brother.”Once the public face of the party, Amar was seen as Mulayam’s closest aide when he had the ear of “Netaji”. Amar along with his close associate Jaya Prada were expelled from the Samajwadi Party in February, 2010 and he floated his own political party, Rashtriya Lok Manch, in 2011. He fielded a large number of candidates in 2012 assembly polls but none won.He had joined the Rashtriya Lok Dal and contested the 2014 Lok Sabha poll from Fatehpur Sikri but lost. More than six years after it expelled Amar, the Samajwadi Party made him its Rajya Sabha candidate a few months back, setting the stage for his return to the party. Amar had recently hosted a party for independent Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra and the guests included Mulayam and his brother Shivpal Yadav, much to the chagrin of Akhilesh, who shunted out Chief Secretary Deepak Singhal, who too attended the dinner.He also divested Shivpal of his plum portfolios. Taking strong exception to the move, Mulayam within hours replaced Akhilesh as the party’s UP chief, with rivals in the SP accusing Amar of having influenced Mulayam.Amar Singh’s discomfiture grew with Akhilesh becoming more assertive and it was reflected in his statement last month that those close to Mulayam were being “insulted” in the party and he is being made to sit on back benches in the Rajya Sabha.He alleged he was being insulted, kept on “mute” and sidelined. But, backing Amar to the hilt, Mulayam said he stood by him in his hard times. Mulayam made the statement to defend Amar on the charge that he had triggered the family feud in Yadav clan.

Rajasthan Women’s Commission member Somya Gurjar resigns after clicking selfie with rape victim

On Thursday, Somya Gurjar, the Rajasthan Women’s Commission member, who posted a selfie with a rape victim, resigned after facing flak on social media platforms and in political circles for her actions. According to a report by NDTV, Gurjar was also reprimanded by Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

The selfie clicked by Gurjar with the rape victim courted controversy, prompting the chairperson of the commission to seek a written explanation. Interestingly, the chairperson Suman Sharma is also in the selfie, along with Somya Gurjar.

Photo credit: Twitter @CNNnews18Photo credit: Twitter @CNNnews18

A file photo of Somya Gurjar clicking a selfie with the rape victim. Photo credit: Twitter @CNNnews18

The selfie was clicked by Gurjar on Wednesday, when she along with Sharma had gone to meet the victim in Mahila police station (Jaipur North).

“I was talking to the victim when the member of the commission clicked these selfies. I am not aware when she (Somya Gurjar) clicked. I do not favour such act and has sought a written explanation from her. She has been asked to submit the explanation by tomorrow,” Sharma said.

Interestingly, two pictures, in which Gurjar is seen clicking the selfie, went viral on WhatsApp. Both Gurjar and Sharma are in the frame of the selfie, and pictures (of the selfie) were clicked by someone standing near them in the chamber of the police officer.

In the pictures, Gurjar is seen holding the mobile device, while the chairperson, who is also in the frame (of the selfie) is seen holding the hand of the victim.

In an incident at Alwar district, a 30-year-old woman was allegedly raped by her husband and his two brothers who tattooed expletives on her forehead and hand for not giving Rs 51,000 as the dowry.

On Monday, an FIR was registered under sections of 498-A (Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act), 376 (punishment for rape) and 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) of IPC and an investigation in the case has been initiated.

With inputs from PTI

Rajasthan women commission member clicks selfie with rape victim

Jaipur: A selfie clicked by the member of Rajasthan State Commission for Women with a rape victim courted controversy prompting the chairperson of the commission to seek a written explanation. Interestingly, the chairperson Suman Sharma is also in the selfie, along with the member Somya Gurjar.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The selfie was clicked by Gurjar on Wednesday when she along with chairperson had gone to meet the rape victim in Mahila police station (Jaipur North). “I was talking to the victim when the member of the commission clicked these selfies. I am not aware when she (Somya Gurjar) clicked. I do not favour such act and has sought a written explanation from her. She has been asked to submit the explanation by tomorrow,” Sharma told PTI.

Interestingly, two pictures, in which Gurjar is seen clicking the selfie, went viral on WhatsApp. Both Gurjar and Sharma are in the frame of the selfie and the pictures of the act were clicked by someone standing near them in the chamber of the police officer.

In the pictures, Gurjar is seen holding the mobile device and the chairperson is also in the frame (of the selfie). In a shocking incident in Alwar district, a 30-year-old woman was allegedly raped by her husband and his two brothers who tattooed expletives on her forehead and hand for not giving Rs 51,000 as the dowry.

On Monday, an FIR was registered under sections of 498-A (Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act), 376 (punishment for rape)and 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) of IPC and an investigation in the case has been initiated.

Companies asked to take up cleanliness drive as ‘Swachhata Pakhwada’ by Corporate Affairs Ministry

Taking forward its agenda for Swachh Bharat, government has asked corporates to carry out cleanliness drive for a fortnight as well as take pledge in this regard.Corporate Affairs Ministry, which is implementing the Companies Act, has asked firms and other stakeholders to carry out activities related to cleanliness for a fortnight as part of the ‘Swachhata Pakhwada’. Officials associated with the initiative said it is a voluntary exercise aimed at promoting cleanliness.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>’Swachhata Pakhwada’, started on June 16, would be on till June 30. Each day, the Ministry is suggesting a particular activity like ‘always keep your table clean’ to ensure cleanliness. The three apex institutes of chartered accountants, cost accountants and company secretaries along with industry bodies — FICCI, CII and Assocham — are part of the ‘Swachhata Pakhwada’. The Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs and National Foundation for Corporate Governance (NFCG) have also joined hands with the Ministry for the initiative.
ALSO READ Swachh Bharat Mission: Govt plans to come up with 100 model ‘Swachh Tourist Destinations”Swachhata Pakhwada’ is based on the theme ‘corporate volunteering by private organisations and corporate entities’ and coincides with the United Nations Public Service Day on June 23. Interestingly, users now have to take the Swachh Bharat pledge online to access the Corporate Affairs Ministry website. ‘I will devote 100 hours per year that is two hours per week to voluntary work for cleanliness’ and ‘I will neither litter nor let others litter’ are part of the pledge.In 2014-15, companies shelled out more than Rs 42 crore towards ‘Swachh Bharat Kosh’ as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. The funds were used for achieving the objective of improving cleanliness levels in rural and urban areas, including schools.
ALSO READ After Swachh Bharat, PM Modi’s ‘Make In India’ initiative faces numerous challenges: BMI ResearchUnder the new companies law, certain class of entities are required to spent at least 2% of their three-year annual average net profit towards CSR activities. As many as 460 companies spent a little over Rs 6,337 crore for CSR activities in 2014-15. This included 51 PSUs which spent Rs 2,386.60 crore.Swachh Bharat is a pet project of the Narendra Modi-led government, which has been making various efforts to improve cleanliness as well as sensitise people about it.

Army tribunal rules triple talaq ‘unconstitutional’

In an order which could well serve as a precedent for dealing with triple talaq cases in the armed forces, the Lucknow bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has ruled that declaration of oral triple talaq is unconstitutional. However, some legal experts opine otherwise saying personal law is not open to judicial review.”Women of every religion are protected by the Constitution of India and no person has the right to go against the constitutional spirit in the shadow of personal law,” the AFT order said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>But, senior lawyer and UP’s additional advocate general Zafaryab Jilani is livid. “This order has no legal standing and will be struck off by the appellate court. Muslim Personal Law is derived from the Holy Quran and courts cannot sit in judgment over its edicts.”The order can be challenged only in the Supreme Court now. Interestingly, the apex court is already dealing with a much-publicised case over the vexatious issue.With this ruling, the AFT has declined to grant any relief to the applicant (an army man), rejecting his original application against payment of maintenance to his wife allegedly divorced under the Muslim Personal Law. The AFT said his wife was entitled to payment of maintenance as per the order passed by the Army along with arrears of maintenance. The tribunal directed the Army authorities to enforce the order.A Lance Naik / tailor in the Army Mohammad Faroor alias Farooq Khan of Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh had filed the application in 2012 as he was aggrieved with the order for payment of maintenance to his wife, divorced under Muslim Personal Law.

Delhi: Police bust Nigerian-led racket conning women from Nagaland

Police have busted a criminal gang led by a Delhi-based Nigerian man which cheated gullible Naga women of over Rs 35 lakh by falsely promising cheap i-phones and prize money for winning lotteries.The racket was recently busted by Nagaland police with the help of their Delhi counterparts after a number of women filed multiple complaints at a police station in Dimapur about having been defrauded of their hard-earned money by a “foreigner” who contacted them over the internet, willing to sell them high-end electronic gadgets at a cheap rates and promising them prize money for lotteries they were told they had won. Investigators claim, while probing the case, they came across a smart modus operandi as part of which the gang used multiple bank accounts “sold” by locals to the Nigerian. He used to ask his victims to deposit the money in these accounts to claim the prize and later withdrew it from various ATMs.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modus operandi
ALSO READ 8, including 4 Nigerians, held in online fraud caseA Nagaland police team, which recently travelled to Delhi to go deeper into the case and arrest the kingpin identified as C Nwaneri (34), has filed at least three FIRs and found so far these women have been duped of over Rs 35 lakh. Nwaneri was assisted in the crime by three locals, including a chef working at an eatery in a popular Delhi Mall, all of whom “sold” their accounts to the foreigner for Rs 22-25 thousands. “We have seized 42 SIM cards, nine ATM cards, six phones, five bank passbooks and a laptop after searches were carried out at the residence of Nwaneri who lives in Bawana area of Delhi. It looks to be gang operating to dupe people, especially innocent women from Nagaland, with the help of multiple people from places like Delhi and nearby areas,” Investigating Officer (IO) of the case and IPS probationer Dinesh Gupta said.Investigation
ALSO READ Mumbai, Delhi on alert after terror intel; 6 IS trained Nigerians trying to sneak into India from PakistanGupta said since the initial part of the case was cracked, more women from Nagaland have come forward to complain about having been cheated the same way. “The investigation is taking us to many cities in the country and is building up,” he said. All the women victims, officials said, were allegedly befriended by the Nigerian and his associates over social media posing as foreigners from a western country seeking “friendship” with them using names like ‘John Smith’ and others and fake profile photos.Con incidents
ALSO READ Two Nigerians held in Rs 43 lakh cyber fraudOfficials said after a laptop belonging to the Nigerian was “cracked open” to obtain information, they were shocked to find over 500 emails of individuals from various parts of the country and fake copies of official logos of the RBI, Income Tax department, banks and international bodies like UN and others being allegedly used by the gang to send luring “prize winning” emails, posing as official agencies. “Interestingly, these con incidents were being reported from major urban centres till now, but getting such complaints from women in far off Nagaland is surprising,” they said, adding a “daily check book” was also recovered from the laptop where the kingpin had marked the activity against each person he tried to con.”In some cases, it was written that the con email has been sent to the person but no response received, while against some names it was indicated that the person has agreed and will deposit the money sought in the given bank account and has to be collected now,” they said.Investigators said Nagaland police have collected CCTV footages from various ATMs from where the Nigerian used to withdraw the money which were deposited in the accounts that he had purchased from locals.ChargesPolice have slapped charges under various IPC sections like 420 (cheating), 419 (impersonation), 422 (dishonestly or fraudulently preventing debt being available for creditors), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC and provisions of the Information Technology Act.

Maharashtra: Spotting of Amur falcon near Nagpur sends a wave of joy among birdwatchers

The recent sighting of the migratory Amur falcon at the Umred Karhandla wildlife sanctuary near Nagpur has enthused the wildlife aficionados and birdwatchers. A massive conservation effort is on to protect the raptor, which was threatened due to indiscriminate hunting in the north-east.Prafulla Sawarkar, an education officer with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), said last week that he saw an Amur falcon in the early hours at the sanctuary. “Soon after entering the park, I saw the bird sitting on a tree and clicked a few snaps. It flew away immediately,” said Sawarkar, who undertakes environment education activities and training programmes in the protected area for students, youths and women.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He added that the bird was a rare sight in the region. Before this, a raptor was spotted in the Pench tiger project in 2015.Birdwatcher Dr Anil Pimplapure, who is also the founder member of the Maharashtra Pakshimitra Sanghatana, said Amur falcons traversed through Vidarbha and central India region. “The number of sightings is rising as conservation efforts have led to a reduction in hunting,” he said.Amur falcons breed in Mongolia, northern China and southeastern Siberia. Traversing a long and perilous route, they migrate to South Africa via northeastern states such as Nagaland to spend the winters. The massacre of the bird for food in Nagaland had sparked off concerns, leading to poaching being banned in 2013. Three Amur falcons – Naga, Pangti and Wokha – were tagged with satellite chips in 2013 to track their migration routes.”This individual is an adult female, supposed to be on its return migration from southern Africa to their breeding grounds in China and Mongolia (Amur region). Amur falcons are only passage migrants in India. They only stop for a short while in northeast India, especially Nagaland and surrounding regions, in tens of thousands to feed and fuel up for their journey towards southern Africa,” said Mumbai-based avid birder and naturalist Saurabh Sawant, adding that the bird was briefly also seen sporadically around Mumbai.”Interestingly, not much is known about the migration, ecology and behaviour of these falcons, and great scientific efforts such as satellite tracking, have to be undertaken to understand the nuances. All this makes sightings like these extremely important for our understanding of these falcons and the necessary conservation efforts,” he said.

Why this Indian woman is using ‘blackface’ as solidarity

Why is this Indian woman painting her face black?

PM travels around the world, but has no time for Marathwada: Kanhaiya Kumar

Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) leader Kanhaiya Kumar on Saturday said that with aggressive campaigns against casteism, capitalism and fake nationalism, he offers an alternate politics which the country is currently looking for.Seeking to unite people from across the country in his “fight” against the “saffron ideology”, Kumar who held a student and youth meet in Mumbai, presented himself as a seasoned politician. “We hereby present the alternate politics which people of this country are currently looking for. Fake nationalism, casteism, Brahminism, capitalism is all what has been offered to us by the RSS and Modi till now. If people support us, we will uproot the BJP government from the centre in 2019 polls,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Using his trademark sarcasm, Kumar targeted Modi and the BJP’s parent organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) throughout his hour-long speech which appeared like a soft launch of his political career. Kumar mentioned Sant, Tukaram, Savitri Phule, Jyotiba Phule, Marathwada drought many times.He said that people want RSS and Modi-mukt Bharat now. “They often talk about sending those people to Pakistan who don’t support right wing politics. We wonder, when people would oust them, the RSS people can’t even go to Pakistan. Even US is unlikely to give them a visa,” said Kumar.He also said that contrary to the perception, he and other students are not working for the UPA-3. “I am not a film producer who makes sequels,” he said. To prove his point, he took jibes against the congress’ policies also reminding Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.Taking a jibe at the PM, he questioned: “Modiji travels around the world but has no time to see the people of Marathwada who are facing drought. When 25% of Indians are facing drought, PM is busy with his wax statue.”Interestingly, Maharashtra legislators like Kapil Patil, Vidya Chavan (NCP) also attended this event and stayed put till Kanhaiya’s speech got over. He also alleged that Modi and the BJP were only seeking to appropriate Dalit votebank by showing “fake love” for Dr BR Ambedkar while they are far away from the Dalit icon’s thoughts and idea of social justice. “We will force them to follow the Ambedkar’s thought also,” says Kumar.Targeting RSS, Kumar said: “They often ask people who don’t support right wing thoughts to go to Pakistan.” Students’ leaders like Shehla Rashid (JNU), Richa Singh (Allahabad University students union chief), Activist Teesta Setalvad, film producer Anand Patwardhan also addressed the people extending their support to the youth leaders.The event was held under heavy police security at Adarsh Vidyalaya in Chembur, a last minute arrangement when Mumbai police denied them permission to hold the meet in Worli. The meet was attended by over 600 people most of whom had come only to listen to the youth leader Kumar, who shot to fame after being jailed in Tihar over charges of ‘anti national activities’ followed by his widely watched speech in the JNU campus soon after he was released on bail.

Bizzare car-elevator incident kills 14-year-old, driver

In a freak, yet shocking incident, two persons, including a 14-year-old boy, died, after their car fell into the car-elevator pit of their plush residential building situated in Nagpada on Wednesday afternoon. The incident, which came to light after a six-hour search, left everyone including the police shocked.Describing the sequence of events, police said that on Wednesday around 12 pm, 14-year-old Hafiz Patel, who stays in the 23-storey Iqbal Heights in Nagpada area of Central Mumbai with his family, left the house with his driver Javed for second floor, where their car is parked.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the police, first three floors of the building are the parking lots. Interestingly, the building has car-elevators to ferry the car from the ground floor to their respective parking spaces.Based on preliminary information, the police have found out that Hafiz and Javed got into their black-coloured Toyota Etios car on the second floor and headed towards the car-elevator. The CCTV footage of the parking lot, scrutinised by the police, indicate that the car sped towards the car-elevator and dashed on the closed elevator doors on the second floor parking lot. “At that moment, the car-elevator was on the third floor,” said a police officer.The impact of the car colliding headlong into the elevator door was such that it forced open the elevator doors and the car’s momentum carried the car further ahead. “The car fell in the empty pit and hit the ground floor upside down,” the officer said. The car-elevator, meanwhile, got stuck on the third floor.Interestingly, no one in the building came to know about it and the Hafiz and Javed lay in the elevator pit till his family came searching for him.When there was no response from both Hafiz and Javed, and they were untraceable, the family had approached the Nagpada police and registered a missing complaint.”Based on the missing complaint, we started tracing both Hafiz and Javed’s mobile phone locations. Our investigations revealed that the last location of both the phones was in the building premises itself,” said deputy commissioner of police (DCP – Zone 3) S Jayakumar.When a police team reached the building and started inspecting the surroundings, they found out that the elevator door on the second floor of the parking lot was damaged. “This made us suspicious and we decided to look in the pit. A close inspection revealed the car lying turtle in the pit,” said a police officer from Nagpada police station.

Hard to say we have normal relationship with Pakistan until we are able to address terrorism issue: Jaishankar

New Delhi: The Pathankot terror strike has once again reinforced centrality of terrorism in Indo-Pak ties and it will be hard for India to treat the relations as normal unless Pakistan addresses the issue effectively, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said on Wednesday.

“Until we are able to address the issue (terrorism) effectively, obviously it is hard for us to say that the relationship is normal. Because this is what puts Pakistan in a different category than our other neighbours,” he said during an interaction.

However, the Foreign Secretary maintained that given the “challenge” of the relationship with Pakistan, India has “fared well” in keeping the focus firmly on the central issue of terrorism.

Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. IBNLIVEForeign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. IBNLIVE

Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. IBNLive

“If you see the interactions, I think, one change has been the centrality of addressing the issue of terrorism to dialogue… That was reflected when the two Prime Ministers met in Ufa. It was underlined when the two NSAs met in Bangkok.

“If you see the reconstituted dialogue that we have, the comprehensive bilateral dialogue, the salience of terrorism (is there). Because this is not a point of argumentation. It is taking into account about what is happening on the ground,” he said.

He was asked about the Modi government’s policy towards Pakistan, particularly in the aftermath of the Pathankot attack.

Talking about India’s ties with neighbours, Jaishankar said “Pakistan, of course, is a category by itself.

“But given the challenge of the relationship we have fared well in keeping the focus firmly on the central issue of terrorism in maintaining an engagement that factors in the complexity of that polity and in enhancing the global understanding of our approach.

“That said, we also look beyond to a more normal relationship featuring economic cooperation and people-to-people ties.”

The Foreign Secretary said India’s quest towards becoming a leading power rests first and foremost on its success in expanding the economy.

In that pursuit, the role of diplomacy in attracting foreign capital, technology and best practices is significant, he said.

“Persuading key partners that it is in their strategic interest that the Indian economy is strengthened, both qualitatively and quantitatively, is one of the core objectives of our current diplomacy,” Jaishankar said.

He said forging an international consensus on a difficult issue like terrorism is a test that still awaits India even if there has been progress in this respect.

Observing that focusing diplomacy on domestic development has to be a generational effort, he said major initiatives have been taken to improve India’s standing globally.

“It is difficult to win friends and influence people – even on global issues – without steady and continuous engagement. Interestingly, since this government has come into office, we have had ministerial level visits to about 130 nations, a level of intensity in our engagement that sends its own message,” he said.

Talking about the “neighbourhood first” policy, he said it articulated a comprehensive vision of India’s broader neighbourhood that reflected growing capabilities and confidence.

“It is posited on the belief that whatever our past, the realisation of shared prosperity can be our goal. To achieve that we will not only have to sharply raise levels of cooperation and connectivity, but also bring to bear a new mindset.

“Where India is concerned, it could itself drive regional cooperation, rather than be driven by it. In fact, we should be pursuing our own goals purposefully, without letting them be overly influenced by the limitations of our partners, or diverted by difficulties of the day,” he said.

Jaishankar said a new energy was infused into Saarc which was visible since the Kathmandu Summit of 2014.

“When SAARC has worked, we are happy to forge ahead. Where there are difficulties, we are equally open to working plurilaterally or even sub-regionally. The intent is to get the region to be serious about cooperation within.

“The degree of attention being devoted to our neighbours today is probably unprecedented,” he said, adding level of cordiality in engagement with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka has gone up significantly.

With Myanmar, he said India has navigated the transition with delicacy and are well poised to engage the incoming government.

“Admittedly, in Nepal and Maldives, there have been challenges that arose from their domestic politics. But even here, patience and perseverance are making their impact,” he said.

On Afghanistan, he said the country was going through a difficult period and India’s reputation for reliability has only been strengthened by the broadening ambit of bilateral cooperation.

He said India’s ties with the Middle East and major powers like the US, Japan and Russia have improved significantly 10 besides with ASEAN and African continent.

Tribal population saw 500 fold rise in some areas

The enormous tribal certificates’ scam, thriving in Maharashtra for the last five to six decades as exposed by dna, has some astonishing revelations.One of the three parallel inquiries – being conducted by the SIT, police and SDM Kinwat – reveals that not only 1.5 lakh bogus tribals exist in Nanded district, but most of them strangely belong to one single tribe, Kolam.The census figures of the district which shares border with Telangana suggest that the population of this primitive tribe increased in a dramatic way in the past few decades.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In 1961, the total scheduled tribe population in Nanded was 40,497. It grew to 1.4 lakh by 1991 which further reached to 2.8 lakh in census 2011. This is around 7-fold jump in 50 years.Meanwhile, the Kolam population in Nanded, which was nearly 3,600 in 1971, grew to nearly 50,000 in 1991 census. Interestingly, the same tribe saw a decline in numbers in other districts like Thane, Jalgaon and Yavatmal. Tribe-wise figures are not available for 2001 and 2011.Across the state, Kolam population increased by three-fold (56,000 to 1.4 lakh) between 1971-1991.”This virtually means, that in 50 years over 2.3 lakh fake people have been included in tribes in Nanded only, ie a near 550% rise. That is quite surprising and even impossible in scientific terms,” says the probe by SDM Kinwat Dr Rajendra Bharud.”According to census data, it will take a minimum of 35 years for population to double at a fertility rate of 2.1 (average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime). There is no recorded evidence of mass migration also. This clearly suggests that tribal figures are inflated,” Dr Bharud told dna.The probe also tracked down population figures till taluka level and found more startling facts. “In some talukas the tribal population went up by 500 times, clearly indicating a fraud.”Compared to three-fold increase in the Kolam population between 1971 to 1991, other primitive tribes like Madia-Gond and Katkari saw population increase of only 1.25% and 1.18% respectively in the same period.Kolam tribe, strangely, spread to other districts of Marathwada also (Delete this-in the past few decades), show census figures.How Fraudsters targetted Kolam and Mahadeo Koli tribesThe probe reveals that Mannerwar community members which are under economically backward class could have taken advantage of similarity in name with scheduled tribe Mannerwarlu, a surname of kolam. The fraudsters got benefeciaries add ‘lu’ suffix to their community name. Similarly, several Kolis (OBC) too have also obtained tribal certificate by just adding Mahadeo before Koli.Kolam/Mannerwarlus yet to benefitEven after enjoying reservation for last so many decades, Mannerwarlus, scheduled as ‘primitive tribe’, continue to remain backward. There are only 22 Kolampod in Kinwat-Mahur tahsil and their population is below 5,000. Only two persons in this community are graduate till date.

Specially abled kids find place in Limca Book of Records

Amongst all the hustle-bustle of the Make In India stood two proud women; Bhavana Bheda from Mumbai, who made place for herself in the Limca Book of Records (LBR) for making a 108 sqft 3D rangoli and Ashwini Angadi, a 26-year-old visually impaired girl from Karnataka who made a residential school for 30 visually-impaired children.In fact, such was their feat and achievement that LBR felt no one more capable of releasing the book at Make In India Centre than Ashwini herself. She released the book along with Venkatesh Kini, president, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, Arthy Singh, senior editor of Limca Book of Records.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The new edition celebrates the ‘Specially Abled’. They were judged on the five principles that Limca stands for: passion, ambition, excellence, belief and tenacity.Passion and tenacity, in case of Ashwini, was unending when dna spoke to her. “I am looking to have a school that goes on to serve the needs of not just visually impaired but other special children too,” said Ashwini whose achievements have been recognised by “Queen of London” and the “United Nations”.Bhavana, who was lot shy, said, “she was happy to be part of Limca records.” Flaunting her achievements, her husband, Haresh said, “I am sure Bhavna is going to make it to Guinness Records too,” adding, “If all women should be given opportunity to pursue their talents, this country will have many such records.”Commending on the achievements of the records holders, Arthy Singh said, “Just read their stories and you too will feel motivated, it is phenomenal even after being special, they’re willing to do so much more than ‘normal’ people.”Venkatesh Kini said, “Much like the ‘Make in India’ week, LBR too instills a great sense of pride, encourages and drives people to dare, dream, imagine and showcase their talent. This year, we have chosen to celebrate the ‘Specially Abled’- for their determination and passion to rise above the ordinary.”He added, “Make in India showcases the both soft and hard power of India to the world and LBR too showcases the real power of India – its people. The unsung heroes, who have risen despite all challenges and achieved unimaginable feats. We recognize the synergies and the singularity in thought of both these properties and that is how LBR now makes its debut at MIIW.”Interestingly, prime minister Modi too features in it for his tweets. There were three records to his credit that included PM with most twitter followers, first PM to take a twitter mirror, most re-tweeted Indian tweet.Seven records of the current union government such as social media link for govt-citizen connect, most followed foreign minister on twitter, largest yoga class, most foreign nationals at a yoga event, largest rural connectivity project, first total broadband-connected district and most bank accounts opened were among them.

Bengaluru’s racist profile: The attack on the Tanzanian woman should worry all of India

Last week, a Tanzanian woman was assaulted in Bengaluru. The tepid response of the political leaders and cops does not bode well for the city and the country. Interestingly no one is talking about this kind of intolerance. The state home minister who belongs to the Congress-run government told mediapersons that she was “stripped but not molested”. A few policemen have been suspended but the expat students remain in fear of further attacks.

In the last few years, instances of Africans being assaulted, molested and intimidated by local people have shown a sharp rise. They are subjected to racist remarks and asked to leave Bengaluru.

Bengaluru, India’s IT capital, was known for its inclusive character that allowed people from different parts of the country and world to make it their home or place of work. Amidst good publicity and word-of-mouth goodwill, Bengaluru transformed itself from a city of pensioners to a vibrant capital that attracted people from all over. The growth of the IT industry made the city a magnet for all those who sought new opportunities and sought to contribute to its economy. Transformation of Bengaluru has made the city a major economic centre in Karnataka contributing over 65 per cent to state’s GDP.

Protests after the attack. PTIProtests after the attack. PTI

Protests after the attack. PTI

Bengaluru’s pleasant weather through the year and thriving educational institutions has attracted people not only from different parts of India but also 45 foreign countries, including students from Iran, Afghanistan and African countries. Over 3,000 foreign students study in Bengaluru’s colleges (30,000 across India) and over two lakh people from north-east India work across sectors, including the BPO sector, where their English-speaking skills make them more eligible than people from some other parts of the country.

The city has always had a tag of being safe and secure for everyone that gave people, including women a sense of freedom that no other city in India can boast of. According to data from the union government, Bengaluru hosts one-third of expat students in the country.

While enjoying the benefits that a commercially thriving urban area brings to its people, old timers would not hesitate to complain about the growth in population, traffic and noise.

The economic boom saw a parallel rise of fringe groups and lumpen elements, who, in the name of Kannada identity were regularly seen damaging property, demonstrating outside IT companies like Infosys demanding jobs for Kannada speaking youth, and physically attacking people. All political parties including the Congress Party indulged them, and they were allowed by the police to vent their frustration every few months and then stay quiet.

However, there was little or no effort by political leaders to address the larger issue of inclusiveness. Why were “local” people feeling threatened? Why were ‘outsiders’ from north-east India or Africa targeted?

Every incident was treated as an act of some lumpen elements and ignored after a couple of arrests. Every political party that formed a government in Karnataka followed this principle.

A weak political response and police action has led to the growth of such incidents. In 2014 there was an exodus of people of the north-east from the city after incidents of attacks and intimidation. Similar attacks on African students who are also subjected to racist abuse have brought shame on Bengaluru’s image. But, there has been a pattern of such attacks that elicited a weak administrative response.

Over 2,000 African students from countries as diverse as Gabon, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Cameron, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda study and live in the city. Some of them study under ICCR-funded scholarships.

The government of India starting with the Manmohan Singh-led UPA and more aggressively under Modi’s leadership is currently trying to woo African countries away from the expanding Chinese footprint in their continent. The education sector has always been an area which attracted foreign students to India, and Bengaluru was seen as an ideal destination because of its image of a liberal, safe and inclusive culture. A growing sense of insecurity among African students in Bengaluru can damage not just the city’s image but that of India which seeks to position itself as a peer of China.

In a telephonic chat, an African student from the Association of African Students in India who didn’t want to be named said that the local police tend to take such attacks lightly. He said, for the last three-four years, there has been a steady rise in instances of attacks on African students in the IT city and there are also racist comments that they are daily subjected to. He said that Africa knows India as the land of Mahatma Gandhi, but such incidents dent India’s image back home.

He went on to state that Indians in Africa do not face such treatment. They are respected, he said.

Such comments do no good for India and her image. The Karnataka government must ensure that those involved in the assault get stringent punishment. The external affairs ministry led by Sushma Swaraj must take all steps to ensure that the state government walks the talk and punishes the guilty. Else, India’s outreach to Africa could suffer.

The writer was BBC’s South India Correspondent based in Bengaluru from 2004-06

Conduct judicial inquiry in Vemula’s suicide: Susheel Kumar

Susheel Kumar, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) leader from Hyderabad University on Friday demanded a judicial probe in the suicide of Rohith Vemula.The ABVP leader and his group stated that they were taking press conferences across country to clear the air that ABVP is not against Dalits.”Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal and others have made this into a Dalit v/s non-Dalit issue. Rohith was not the kind of person to commit suicide. Our ideologies did not match but we were friends. There should be fair probe. It can be a judicial probe or CBI,” said Kumar. Kumar also added that Vemula and his organisation Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) had “violent tendencies”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”ASA had beaten up students from other organisations including Dalit Students Union. They had the tendency of entering hostel rooms in the night and fighting,” claimed Kumar who stated that the appendicitis operation he had to undergo was due to the pressure caused after the scuffle between him and ASA.ABVP distributed print out that claimed Dalit Students Union had also slammed ASA’s violent ways by putting a picture and post where in they criticsed ASA. Interestingly the said information was not mentioned on DSU’s facebook page. Kumar also circulated pictures of the protest he claimed were undertaken by ASA that were considered against nation. These included Namaaz-E-Janaaza for Yakub Menon where in Kumar claimed that members of ASA carried posters which stated that “Tum Kitne Yakub Maroge, Har Ghar Se Yakub Niklega”. The ABVP which calls itself “patriotic students of nation” said that they did not want “another Yakub to be produced”. The pictures, however, are not on the facebook page anymore. “They have been deleted,” claimed Kumar. Claiming to be the one at the receiving end, He even showed a video claiming that in fact it was Kumar’s mother who was abused inside the vice-chancellor’s chamber, when they had gone to complain the scuffle.Kumar reiterated his statements made in Delhi that questioned why no one got to know that Vemula was in depression and how despite being moved out was in his hostel. “What made him get into depression also needs to be probed,” said Kumar. While criticising Rahul and Kejriwal’s visit, Vemula defended intervention from Bandaru Dattatreya, the union minister who wrote several letters wanting to know the action taken on ASA students. “I do not see anything bad when national leaders intervene,” said Kumar of the leader whose intervening has come into severe criticism.

Land worth crores allotted to Hema Malini, for just Rs 70,000

An RTI enquiry has revealed that a land that is valued in crores currently, has been allotted to veteran actress and BJP MP Hema Malini just for Rs 70,000. The land measuring 2000 sq metres in Mumbai’s Oshiwara area, has been alloted to the actress at Rs 35 per sq mtrs, reveals an RTI reply recieved by RTI activist Anil Galgali. Hema Malini is yet to return previously owned land as well as fulfil the financial compliance for the new one. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Interestingly, earlier Congress MP and current IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla too had been benefitted in a similar way which had created a huge ruckus. Ultimately, Shukla’s BAG company had to returm the alloted plot.Recently, it was reported that the land was sanctioned to Hema Malini to set up a classical dance school almost 20 years after she had approached the State for a plot. The actress had first approached the state govt with a request for the plot in 1996 which was sanctioned by late Bal Thackeray. However, later the plot was marked under CRZ and she sought for another plot which has now been sanctioned to her. The RTI enquiry also reveals that while the proposed cost by the Dance Academy was over Rs 18.40 crores, the govt had asked it to submit a certificate stating how it would get the funds required. The Academy in its response had intimated that it has Rs 3.50 crores available while the balance will be raised through bank loans.

Dog on Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport runway throws air traffic operations out of gear

A dog got more than its 15 minutes of fame at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) on Sunday. The stray intruded into the runway and ‘took control’ of air traffic for 20 minutes.Four flights, which were on queue to land, were asked to hover around by the Air Traffic Control (ATC). There was no runway closure.The intrusion at 3:39 pm, interestingly, was not spotted by the airport’s staff or the ground crew of any airline. The alert came from the pilot of an aircraft that was about to land.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One of the four flights was SG 454, a SpiceJet flight from Goa. Interestingly, this is the second instance in the recent past of dogs showing an affinity for SpiceJet flights. In the previous incident, on December 22, a stray dog crossed the path of a Delhi-Ahmedabad flight at Ahmedabad airport. Not just dogs, other animals, too, have exhibited a special liking for SpiceJet.On December 4 last year, 53 people, including 49 passengers, on board a SpiceJet flight from Mumbai to Jabalpur had a close shave after a herd of wild boars came across the aircraft just as it landed at the Jabalpur airport. Prior to that, in November 2014, a Surat-New Delhi SpiceJet flight was hit by a buffalo while it was about to take off.At CSIA on Sunday, the dog was finally caught after 20 minutes and taken to a kennel in the airport premises.”Once a dog is caught, we take it to a kennel in the airport premises and alert civic authorities. Till the civic team takes it over from us, we feed it well,” Prumal Nadar, one of the dog scarers at CSIA, had told dna in July.”On offer will be chicken, milk, biscuits and other stuff of their liking,” he had said. It’s not known whether the civic authorities have taken over the dog on Sunday or it is enjoying the sumptuous airport food.Animal menace at airports is serious business, literally. It involves big money. After the buffalo hitting incident of 2014, SpiceJet reportedly sought compensation worth crores of rupees from the Airports Authority of India (AAI). AAI manages most of the airports in India.A conservative estimate by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), scheduled airlines in India suffered losses of over Rs25 crore in 2014 due to bird/animal hazard. Globally, it is estimated that financial losses due to direct and indirect effects of bird hits /animal hazard stood at over $1.2 billion per year.In fact it’s so serious that last month, the AAI, in a notification to all airport directors warned that in case of claims arising from airlines due to an accident with an animal, the compensation will be cut from their salaries.

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