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Romulus’ love for the King

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An American by birth and an Indian by heart, 73-years-old Romulus Earl Whitaker is a herpetologist and a wildlife conservationist. Because of his efforts, talks are on to establish the world’s first conservation reserve for King Cobras in Karnataka.One of deadliest species of snakes, King Cobras are widely found in South Asia and mostly in India’s Agumbe rainforest of Western Ghats, Karnataka. This region also records the second highest rainfall in the country.Who is Romulus?This Emmy award receiver is the founder of the Madras Snake Park, the Andaman and Nicobar Environment Trust (ANET), and the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust. In 2005, he bagged Whitley Award for his work in environment conservation. After receiving this award, he founded Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS) to study the habitat and behavioural patterns of King Cobra.The first encounter that Romulus had with a King Cobra was in 1971. He noted that Agumbe natives regarded the snake with reverence and care, although its one venomous bite can kill almost 20 people. He realised then that this was the perfect spot to set up a research centre.A research centre & a safe havenAnup Prakash, field director at ARRS said, “Functionally, the amount of respect and attention people here give to King Cobras compared to anywhere else in the world make it a sanctuary. However, officially there’s no such status designated as such but we are hoping that will be so soon. We have applied to the concerned authorities.” Discussions on sanctuary tag is on with stakeholders and forest departments, after which the proposal will be sent to the chief minister, who will need to sign it to make it official.According to Dhiraj Bhaisare, research administrator at ARRS, they have learnt the impacts and effects of translocation of the King Cobras. Apart from this they have observed, the reptiles’ feeding habits, scavenging & diving behaviour. “Besides this, we have followed their movement after dark when we found them feeding or hunting as late as two in the morning,” adds Dhiraj.(Have a story to tell? Write to us at [email protected])ARRS performs rescue operations tooARRS on an average receives two calls per day for rescue operation, often led by expert Ajay Vijay Giri, education officer.

Medallist swimmer dances for a living

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>27-years-old Vishwas KS raised his leg to turn the water tap. He is about to take the mandatory shower before entering the pool. For this young man who lives all by himself in Bengaluru, having no hands has never been a hindrance — whether it be winning medals at world swimming championships or performing his day-to-day chores.Yet this international-level swimmer has to perform at dance shows to earn his bread and butter, and pay for his training which costs Rs 1.5 lakh a year. Vishwas has won three medals in 2016 Speedo Can Am Para Swimming Championships held in Canada. He won two silver, each in breaststroke and backstroke as well as a bronze in butterfly, this after winning three silver medals at Belagavi’s National Level Para-swimming Championship.His trip to Canada was arranged by NGO Astha and although the championship fetched medals, it brought him no prize money. A sum promised by the Karnataka government on his return, is yet to see the light of day.Tough past, a tougher presentVishwas lost his father in a mishap, and in the same incident he lost both his limbs when he was 10-years-old. After the accident, his family moved to Bengaluru where he went on to complete his graduation and took up odd jobs to make ends meet.While swimming training continued, Vishwas took up dancing. As word spread, he started getting more and more offers to perform. This is his primary source of income today. The Rs 6,000 pension the family receives after his father’s death is divided among all siblings, leaving hardly anything for Vishwas.Apart from NGOs which offer financial help, Vishwas performs at shows and concerts to pay his rent. He performs in almost 15 to 20 shows a year, including participating in one episode in the famous Kannada show ‘Maza with Sruza.’ Every morning though, he goes back into the pool back to his passion. A run to the podium against all odds Tamil Vanan D, Vishwas’s coach claims that he has learnt a lot from Vishwas. “At one point of time, I was shocked to see him swim all over the place, lacking proper training and skills. Today, he teaches new moves to me. Students of every age group get inspired,” Tamil says.It was only after intensive training for three years that he was finally ready as a professional swimmer. Vishwas trains every morning, starting at 5 am and practises for four hours and for two hours in the evening at Vijayanagar Aquatic Centre, Bengaluru.This swimmer, who can beat any average abled person in the sport, dreams of participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. “It is my aim to get a chance to swim in Paralympics and 2018 Commonwealth Games,” concludes Vishwas.

Karnataka: 14 co-op banks in I-T net for abetting tax evasion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income Tax department has initiated action against 14 cooperative banks in Karnataka for holding back information amounting to abetting tax evasion in respect of deposits as it came across Rs 7,636 crore of amount in 80 banks in searches during this year.I-T Director (Intelligence and Criminal Investigation) Ravichandran Ramaswamy told reporters in Bengaluru that the department during 14 searches conducted on banks, especially cooperative banks, during the year so far, found an amount of (deposits) Rs 7,636 crore.”We have, as of today, found out an amount of Rs 7,636 crore in 14 searches conducted on banks, especially cooperative banks in current year across Karnataka… We have taken action against 14 cooperative banks as they have been exposed to prosecution for holding back information, which amounts to aiding and abetting tax evasion,” he said.Replying to a query, Ramaswamy said out of the 285 banks in Karnataka, 80 banks have not been providing information by way of annual returns. “They will have to face penalty of Rs 500 every day,” he said.He further said the department had also issued as many as 2,300 letters to the depositors, asking them to pay up taxes on their deposits. “We have already got 800 people coming forward to declare their income and paying up taxes and penalty,” he said.Ramaswamy said the department has also intimated the Reserve Bank of India to conduct inspections on banks which were not disclosing information (about deposits). “We have also written to Registrar of Karnataka Cooperative to take action,” he added.

I-T seizes Rs 48 cr worth undisclosed assets in Karnataka, Goa post demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Undisclosed assets worth Rs 48 crore, including Rs 22 crores in new currency notes, had been unearthed during searches conducted by the Income Tax department in Karnataka and Goa since the Centre announced demonetization of high-value notes, a top official said on Wednesday.”We have seized an undisclosed amount of Rs 34 crores in cash and Rs 14 crores in bullion, and out of which Rs 22 crores were in new currency notes, post-demonetization,” Principal Chief Commissioner of I-T, Karnataka-Goa, Nutan Wodeyar told reporters in Bengaluru.Giving figures of seizures made by I-T this year so far, Wodeyar said the department conducted 48 searches and seized Rs 116 crores worth undisclosed assets compared to Rs 27 crores during the corresponding period in the previous year. “Compared to 14 searches conducted last year, this year 48 searches were made,” she said.The department also conducted 36 surveys as of Wednesday compared to 38 last year and found a concealment amount of Rs 393 crores compared to Rs 140 crores during last year.Replying to a query, Wodeyar said the department so far this year had initiated 15 prosecutions and expect the numbers to go up. She, however, declined to reveal the names of those facing prosecution.

Karnataka man detained at Goa airport with Rs 4.76 lakh in Rs 2000 notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A passenger, hailing from Karnataka, was detained at the Goa airport by the Customs and Central Excise officials, for allegedly possessing Rs 4.76 lakh cash in the new Rs 2,000 notes.”The passenger was found with the cash during the checking at the departure gate. He had hidden 238 Rs 2,000 currency notes in the jeans in his hand baggage,” a senior Customs and Central Excise official told reporters in Vasco.The identity of the passenger is yet to be revealed. “The passenger, hailing from Bhatkal, was on his way to Sharjah on a flight during morning hours when he was detained,” he said, adding investigations were on.

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah caught getting his shoelace tied by man: Yet another instance of VVIP elitism

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was caught on camera getting his shoelaces tied by a man. A video tweeted by ANI shows the chief minister getting his laces tied and even offering his second leg to the man who was tying his shoelaces.

#WATCH: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah caught on camera while getting his shoelaces tied by a person, in Mysuru. pic.twitter.com/HSgIysInkz

— ANI (@ANI_news) December 25, 2016

Meanwhile, the media adviser to the Siddaramaiah has clarified in a tweet that the man seen tying the shoelaces is not his staff or employee but his relative.

It is hereby clarified that the person tying CM Siddaramaiah’s shoelaces is not his staff but his relative: Media Adviser to Karnataka CM

— ANI (@ANI_news) December 25, 2016

The video generated considerable interest among Twitterati who were appalled by the chief minister’s actions. And, General Secretary of BJP in Karnataka, CT Ravi tweeted that it showed the “arrogance of a pseudo socialist.”

Arrogance of Pseudo Socialist @CMofKarnataka has no limits. Absolutely disgusting that Siddaramaiah gets his shoes fitted by an assistant. https://t.co/c6LWgJEq3h

— C.T.Ravi (@CTRavi_BJP) December 25, 2016

This faux pas comes from Siddramaiah just days after his Twitter page erroneously wrote Siachen instead of Sichuan and his team took almost 30 hours to correct the error.

Such VIP elitism isn’t new. Earlier this year, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan came under fire after he visited a flood hit district in Madhya Pradesh but he was carried by others.

Panna: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan visits flood affected areas in the state. pic.twitter.com/Q4HcBuEyOJ

— ANI (@ANI_news) August 21, 2016

Pankaja Munde, the minister for rural development, women and child development in Mahrashtra also got into a bit of trouble after a member of her staff was seen carrying her slippers during her recent tour of drought-affected regions in the state. During her visit to Sonpeth in Parbhani district, Munde took her slippers off seeing a muddy road ahead; while she walked bare-feet, a man picked up her slippers which the news channels showed.

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 15:29 IST

Kannada excluded from NEET, political fight breaks out

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A political blame game has erupted between ruling Congress and opposition BJP in Karnataka over non-inclusion of Kannada among the languages for holding the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for admission in medical colleges for the academic year 2017-18.As Chief Minister Siddaramaiah sought to put the onus on the Centre, Union Minister Ananth Kumar hit back citing the state government had written to the Centre suggesting that the exam be held in English.”Our government had written a letter stating that NEET exams should be held in Kannada also, still it has not been done. I have asked the Chief Secretary to write a letter,” Siddaramaiah said.Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, he said, “It is wrong. We have written a letter, but what are our BJP ministers (at the Centre) and MPs doing? Don’t they have the responsibility? They have won from Karnataka… what are they doing?” The Union Health Ministry on December 21 had said NEET exams for admission in medical colleges will be held in eight languages – Hindi, English, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.Taking strong exception to Kannada being left out, the Chief Minister said, “Omitting Kannada… is a wrong thing, we are writing a protest letter also.”However, Ananth Kumar held the state government responsible for it. Speaking to reporters in Delhi, he said, “When the Centre asked the states about the language for NEET exams in their respective states in November, Karnataka government’s medical education department had clearly said in writing that the exams be held in English.””It is only three days ago that they have awakened and sought that the exams be held in Kannada,” he added. The Kannada Development Authority (KDA) has called the move to exclude the language a “great injustice” to seven crore Kannadigas. Karnataka is considered to be the home for highest number of medical colleges in the country.

DMK seeks special assembly session to discuss Cauvery issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK urged the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu to convene a special session of the state assembly to discuss the Cauvery water issue and the situation faced by farmers in the delta region.Party Treasurer and Leader of the Opposition MK Stalin alleged that because of the ruling AIADMK’s “confrontational approach” toward the upper riparian state Karnataka, the state could not get its due share of water from the inter-state river for the past six years.In such a situation, some farmers in the Cauvery delta region had died unable to bear the losses suffered due to failure of crops or had committed suicide, he claimed. Farmers’ associations, besides DMK, had staged a series of protest on the Cauvery issue, but the government had so far neither held any talks with the ryots on the matter, nor has it provided any relief to them, he said in a statement here.With Karnataka not releasing water, the delta region was “dry” he said, adding, the lawmakers, should therefore discuss the “critical” situation of farmers.Further, with the Centre proposing to establish a single tribunal to look into all inter-state water disputes, he doubted if the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) will be constituted in the near future and sought confidence boosting steps from the government for the farmers. “Therefore, a special session of the Assembly should be convened to discuss the critical situation of farmers. Further, a resolution should be adopted for constituting the CMB and declaring Tamil Nadu as drought-hit and it should be sent to the Central government,” he said.

No need to go on defensive, Amit Shah tells party leaders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a time when demonetization overshadowed the debate inside and outside Parliament, BJP chief Amit Shah is understood to have cautioned his party against going on the defensive or allowing political opponents to set the agenda.In a meeting with leaders of various departments of his party recently, Shah, according to sources, asked the party to go on the offensive and flaunt the Modi regime’s achievements such as OROP, Jan Dhan yojna and the fight against corruption through demonetization. He said the BJP should be setting the agenda while expressing concern that “despite all the work done by the government”, it was the rivals who were managing to do that, the sources said.He is believed to have said that the BJP had a resounding majority in Lok Sabha, an ideology and a strong organisation while Congress, with just 45 MPs in the Lower House at present, had none of these. Despite that, the Congress had managed to stay in power for decades, he said.The government-Opposition face-off over a debate on demonetization in Parliament had stalled the Winter Session, which was mid-way when Shah held the meeting. He, along with General Secretary (Organisation) Ram Lal, was taking stock of the progress made by the 19 departments he had announced around a year ago.After the assembly elections in UP, Uttarakhand and Punjab early in 2017, Shah and Ram Lal are likely to spend three days in every state to take stock of the functioning of the various departments, the sources said. Shah has been emphasising on strengthening the organisation,as part of a long-term political strategy. He said with some election or the other every year, the party should be battle-ready to face them.Shah told the media department to ensure positive coverage by generating a debate on burning issues. He asked how many editors or senior journalists it had interacted with after government took major steps like OROP. He said literature, data and fact sheets should be prepared so that the media is kept informed, according to the sources.Turning to the legal cell, he said despite several corruption cases surfacing in Congress-ruled Karnataka, it had not filed any PIL, according to sources. He said the members should find out what was happening on the ground and accordingly respond.The party president, who had been monitoring the functioning of the various party departments and getting regular feedback, however, said the intention of the exercise was not to criticise anybody.

Karnataka: Congress govt mulls 100% job reservation in private sector for Kannadigas

Bengaluru: The Congress government in Karnataka is mulling 100 percent reservation for Kannadigas in all private sector industries in the state, barring IT and biotechnology firms, which avail concessions under the state industrial policy.

The draft amendments to the Karnataka Industrial Employment (Standing orders) Rules, 1961, providing for 100 per cent “horizontal reservation” for Kannadigas has been thrown open to the public for objections or suggestions.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddharamiah. PTI

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddharamiah. PTI

Also, the draft amendments call for providing not less than five per cent of employment to persons with disabilities to get government incentives.

“Every industrial establishment which has obtained  concession of land, water, electricity or tax rebate or  deferment of tax as per state industrial policy shall provide  horizontal reservation of 100 per cent in employment to local people (Kannadigas) in case of workmen classified in sub- clause (a),(b),(c),(d),(e),(f) and (g) and above,” the  notification on the draft rules read.

“Every industrial establishment shall provide not less than five per cent of employment to persons with disabilities in case of workmen classified in sub clause (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) and above in order to get incentives from government,” it added.

Official sources, however, said IT/ITeS/BT/start-ups/ knowledge-based industries are exempted from the applicability of Karnataka Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Rules for five years.

According to the notification, local people or Kannadiga means any person born in Karnataka or who has lived in the state for not less than 15 years and knows to read, write, speak and understand Kannada.

A person with disabilities means any person with disabilities as defined in the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

The rules that may be called Karnataka Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) (Amendment) Rules, 2016 shall come into force from the date of their final publication in the official gazette.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 16:42 IST

Bengaluru: Toxic lake froth propels citizens to rise against civic authorities

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Residents of areas around Bengaluru’s Varthur and Bellandur lakes have complained of foul smell and pollution emanating from these frothing water bodies post-Cyclone Vardah.A local group has written to the civic authorities, saying the matter requires immediate attention, especially as the city is expecting a dry summer. “There is nothing new but now pollution has increased as the lake smells bad, which is going to be harmful and something should be done,” a resident said. “The lake stinks and causes diseases. Civic authorities are yet to take any action, but a few students are seen trying to clean the lakes sometimes,” a local resident said.The toxic froth is caused by allowing untreated sewage water to flow into the lakes. It has spilled over onto roads and into drains around the lakes in the last two days.This has also led to poor visibility on roads, and motorists risk skidding while riding. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board had sent a tanker to sprinkle water and bring down the froth’s intensity.A local group, ‘Whitefield Rising’, has written to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) to take cognizance of the issue. “This matter needs more attention, especially since we are looking at a dry summer,” a member of Whitefield Rising said. “Wasting a resource as precious as water and dealing with health and safety issues alongside is not good.”The lake must also be desilted and cleared of weeds like hyacinth to allow sun light to penetrate. The BBMP and BWSSB efforts to check frothing by spraying chemicals have failed.Municipal authorities need to install a sewerage treatment plant at Varthur Lake. The water body is supposed to be desilted every year, but the last time this was done was in 1970.

Waiting for Rahul Gandhi’s earthquake revelation, mocks BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reacting to Congress vice-President’s ‘Modi-made disaster’ remark, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said on Sunday that Rahul Gandhi is yet to make ‘earthquake’ like revelations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”I expected Rahul Gandhi to explode his earthquake statement in Belgaum, but I did not see any of it. Some of the Congress spokesperson were claiming on Friday that Rahul Gandhi will speak about it. What happened where is he going to explode that bomb,” BJP leader S Prakash.He said that making hollow and sensational claims is a very but it is difficult to prove them as is the case with Gandhi.”A person of his calibre should weigh every word before commenting or claiming something against the Prime Minister. Today, his reputation has been completely tarnished and his image is dented. So, he should bother about the disaster he has created for himself,” added Prakash.Yesterday at a rally in Belgaum, Karnataka, Gandhi dubbing demonetization as a “Modi-made disaster” and alleged that Prime Minister Modi would write off Rs. eight lakh crore loans of the 50 rich families who funded his election campaign from the money people have deposited in banks after the note ban.

Cauvery row: Karnataka to release 2000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu till Jan 4

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the interim order of court on Cauvery Water Disputes would continue till January 4, 2017 and Karnataka would have to release 2000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu. Earlier on December 9, the top court upheld its constitutional power and right to hear appeals filed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala against the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal final award in 2007.A three-judge Bench headed by Supreme Court Justice Dipak Misra rejected the Centre’s stand that the apex court had no jurisdiction to hear the Cauvery river dispute. The Centre had argued that the parliamentary law of Inter-State Water Disputes Act of 1956 coupled with Article 262 (2) of the Indian Constitution excluded the Supreme Court from hearing or deciding any appeals against the Cauvery Tribunal’s decision. The Centre claimed the tribunal award was final.The Centre said it was left to the government to frame a scheme for implementation of the tribunal award, and the scheme, once prepared, would be placed before both Houses of the Parliament for approval.The tribunal in its final award had determined the usable quantum of water of the Cauvery at 740 tmcft. Karnataka is entitled to 270 tmcft, Tamil Nadu to 419 tmcft, Kerala 30 tmcft, Puducherry 7 tmcft, and 14 tmcft is meant for environmental purposes, the tribunal had said.All three states have opposed the Centre’s stand, contending that a parliamentary law cannot stop the Supreme Court from exercising its constitutional power to hear appeals.The bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar had on October 19 reserved its order on maintainability of appeals filed by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala against the 2007 award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT).In its review petition, Karnataka said “grave miscarriage of justice” has been caused to it pursuant to the three apex court orders of September 20, 27 and 30, by which it was directed to release 6000 cusecs of water till October 6 and the Centre was to constitute the Board by October 4.

Massive raids across country unearth big black bucks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government’s crackdown on black money continued with a series of raids all across the country on Wednesday. From Pune to Delhi, to Bengaluru to Panaji, raids conducted by the CBI, Income Tax, ED, and police officials, unearthed large sums of money all across the country.In the national Capital, a raid carried out by the Crime Branch and the Income Tax department recovered over Rs 3.25 crores in old currency in denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 from a budget hotel in the Karol Bagh area of Delhi. Five people have been arrested in conjunction with this raid.Officials said the accused had arrived in the Capital on Monday via a flight from Mumbai. They had received the cash from a Delhi-based hawala operator, identified as Vinod. The accused were supposed to then carry the black money back to Mumbai where it would be converted into white.Investigators said the accused had taken great pains to conceal the money. The cash had been kept in different suitcases and a cardboard box. Specialists had then been hired to pack the notes so that the money could not be detected by the airport scanning machines. The money was also packed with special tapes and wires to cheat X-ray machines, police sources said.In another raid, police entered the residence of one Sukhbir Shokeen. Shokeen works as a real estate agent and is the director of a company named Shokeen Real Estate. In his home, police officials found unaccounted for cash worth Rs 64,84,000 out of which Rs 11,34,000 was in denominations of Rs 2,000. Jewellery worth Rs 1,06,57,235 was also recovered from Shokeen’s residence. Police officials say that raids are also being conducted at his office premises which is said to be located in Rangpuri in south west Delhi.In Bengaluru, the IT department also seized Rs 2.93 crore in total with a large amount being recovered from a flat guarded by two ferocious dogs. IT officials told DNA that they had received a tipoff that an apartment in the Yeshwanthpur locality had some cash but they could not execute the search on Tuesday as the old lady living in the flat refused to cooperate with them.Finally, IT officials, along with the help of the local police, entered the flat on Wednesday upon which they found a locked room. “The locked room was opened and unexplained cash to the tune of Rs 2.89 crore, which included Rs 2.25 crore of new Rs 2,000 notes, was found. The cash has been seized and further investigations are on,” the IT department said in a statement.Meanwhile, in Goa’s capital Panaji, the IT department seized Rs 67.98 lakh in new notes of Rs 2,000 from a person who met the officials. Acting as decoy customers in desperate need of cash, the officials arrested the man and confiscated the cash “The seizure was made from a place called Banda on the Maharashtra-Goa border,” an official said.Post demonetization, the department’s investigative wings of Karnataka and Goa have seized a total of Rs 29.86 crore, with Rs 20.22 crore in new notes, 41.6 kg bullion and 14 kg jewellery so far. Officials in the investigative departments of these two states said that they have detected unaccounted income worth Rs 1,000 crore in these two states, so this is just the tip of the iceberg. So far, 36 raid operations have been carried out in both states.Other parts of India too saw raids with over Rs 2 crores, mostly in new notes, being seized in Chandigarh on Wednesday. And in a surprise incident, IT officials nabbed two men driving a two-wheeler which was carrying new notes worth up to Rs. 67 lakh, in Panaji. IT officials have now seized the cash, and are analysing the mobile phone data of the arrested men. The phone allegedly has details of those who are involved in money-laundering.The large amount of illegal cash being unearthed through raids, carried out by officials in the past few weeks, shows the government’s bid to unearth black money may be working. But officials continuously have to keep a sharp eye out as more and more innovative methods are being employed to smuggle out black money. In a recent instance, customs officials at the Delhi airport caught a couple returning from Bangkok, who were trying to smuggle 16 kg gold into the country. The gold had been placed in diapers.CBDT Tightens Rules for Revised ReturnsThe Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has warned taxpayers against misusing provisions for filing revised tax returns by manipulating earlier years’ figures of income, cash-in-hand, profits etc. with an intention to manipulate the current year’s undisclosed income.The CBDT stated that the provision to file revised returns of income u/s 139(5) of the Act has been stipulated for revising any omission or wrong statement made in the original return of income. It asserted that revision provisions cannot be used for resorting to making changes in the income initially declared so as to “drastically alter the form, substance and quantum of the earlier disclosed income.”Such manipulation in the amount of income, cash-in-hand, profits etc. and fudging of accounts may necessitate scrutiny of such cases and may also attract penalty/prosecution in appropriate cases as per provision of law.

Delhi: Over Rs 3 crores in old notes seized during raid on hotel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income Tax (IT) Department and Delhi Police on Tuesday night conducted a raid on a hotel in Karol Bagh area, and seized over Rs 3 crore in banned currency notes.Based on secret information, the Crime Branch conducted a joint raid with Income Tax officials at Taksh Inn in Karol Bagh and found five persons in two rooms of the hotel carrying a total amount of Rs 3.25 crore, said Ravindra Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime).The five men are carriers and have been identified as Ansari Abuzar, Fazal Khan, Ansari Affan, Ladu Ram and Mahaveer SinghThe recovered amount was kept in different suitcases and cardboard box. It was found during interrogation that the money belongs to some Mumbai-based hawala operators, said the officer.”They had hired packaging specialists who pack these notes in such a manner that they are even undetectable by airport scanning machines. Experts in packaging are using some tapes and wires which pass through X-ray,” Yadav said.A day ago, unearthing a racket involved in the illegal conversion of demonetized notes, the ED arrested seven alleged middlemen and seized Rs 91.94 lakh in new currency in Karnataka as part of its money laundering probe.Officials said the agency arrested the accused, including the brother-in-law of a state government official, under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Demonetisation: Narendra Modi’s 50-Day deadline for re-monetisation set to fail

By Sahil Kini

We are 17 days away from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 50-day deadline to end the worst effects of the scrapping of 86 percent –by value–of India’s currency. In the chest-thumping, hand-wringing and controversy that has ensued since the announcement on November 8, 2016, there has been an absence of facts on the question of re-monetising India.

An extrapolation of 2016 Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data on the capacity of Indian printing presses and currency distribution indicates that, at current rates, the Prime Minister’s deadline will not be met. Getting adequate money to banks and ATMs nationwide will depend on how many bank notes the government wants to put back into circulation.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

If the government wants to introduce Rs 9 lakh crore ($135 billion)–or 35 percent less money than it pulled out–it will take up to May 2017, and if it wants to reintroduce the entire Rs 14 lakh crore ($210 billion) that it withdrew, that could take up to August 2017.

The crux of the problem is change, specifically the Rs 500 note, which India’s presses cannot, currently, print in adequate number.

Here are the facts:

The RBI has four presses at: Dewas (Madhya Pradesh), Nashik (Maharashtra), Salboni (West Bengal), and Mysuru (Karnataka).
The printing capacity of these presses is roughly 2,670 crore (26.7 billion) notes a year, according to the RBI’s 2016 annual report (page 90). Or roughly 7.4 crore (74 million) notes a day.
If the presses worked three shifts a day instead of two, their daily production capacity could be raised to 11.1 crore (111 million) notes a day.
However, less than half of the machines in the presses have the ability to print the security features required for high-value notes (Rs 500 and above).
This means that even if all the machines that print high-value notes in all four presses printed only Rs 500 rupee notes 24 hours a day, we would at best be able to print 5.56 crore (55.6 million) Rs 500 notes every day.
This translates to about Rs. 2,778 crore ($418 million) in value printed every day in Rs 500 notes.
Before the announcement of demonetisation, the government had already arranged for the printing of 200 crore (2 billion) Rs 2,000 notes, or roughly about Rs 4 lakh crore ($60 billion) in value. So, these were the first set of notes to be circulated. This is why there are so many pink notes in circulation.

Let’s explore the time to disburse in the two scenarios we mentioned:

Scenario 1: Rs 9 lakh crore (or roughly two-thirds the total Rs 14 lakh crore that was demonetised) needs to be returned to the system.
Scenario 2: Rs 14 lakh crore (full amount) needs to be recirculated
For this amount to be liquid, a key condition needs to be met: Rs 2,000 notes can, at most, account for half the total amount to be circulated. The logic: If we do not have enough change, then the Rs 2,000 note will always be hard to “break” into smaller denominations, which is the situation nationwide today.

The other half needs to be available in lower-denomination notes. The total value of Rs 100, Rs 50, Rs 20, and Rs 10 notes is Rs 2.19 lakh crore ($33 billion), according to the RBI’s annual report.

If we put this in a math equation where t is the total value of Rs 2,000 notes and f is the total value of Rs 500 notes, we end up with this equation:

total value of 2,000s (t) = total value of 500s (f) + total value of 100s and below

or

t = f + Rs 2.19 lakh crore

This means the requirement of Rs 500 notes is as follows:

In Scenario 1 (Rs 9 lakh crore disbursal):
t+f = Rs 9 lakh crore Solving for f, the value of Rs 500 notes needed is 681 crore (6.81 billion) notes X Rs 500 = Rs 3.405 lakh crore
Scenario 2 (Rs 14 lakh crore disbursal):
t+f = Rs 14 lakh crore Solving for f, the value of Rs 500 notes needed is 1,181 crore (11.81 billion) notes X Rs 500 = Rs 5.905 lakh crore

As on November 30, 2016, less than 10 crore (100 million) Rs 500 notes were printed and ready (or two days worth of printing), according to an RBI source, quoted in Mint.

We arrive at the crux of the problem: India needs to print at least 681 crore (6.81 billion) Rs 500 notes. In Scenario 2, the Rs 500 requirement is for 1,181 crore (11.81 billion) notes. However, the peak printing capacity of the presses is 5.56 crore (55.6 million) notes a day–or 0.8 percent of what it should be.

At this rate, we will take anywhere between 122 days and 212 days to print enough Rs 500 notes. Given the fact that the RBI started printing Rs 500 notes in earnest after November 30, 2016, printing all the required 500s will be completed only on March 10, 2017 (Scenario 1), or July 8, 2017 (Scenario 2).

Taking into account the time taken for cash transportation and the speed at which banks can push out the money, calculations indicate that complete disbursal of Rs 9 lakh crore can happen in early April 2017.

In Scenario 2 (Rs 14 lakh crore), it could take until mid-July for the cash to be fully disbursed.

(Kini, a B Tech from IIT Madras, is a Principal at Aspada, a venture capital firm that supports entrepreneurs building businesses for India’s underserved markets. He is also an active volunteer with the IndiaStack, where he helps frame policy, while evangelising its impact at various industry events.)

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 08:54 IST

ED arrests 7 in Karnataka, seizes Rs 91.94 lakh in new notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Unearthing a racket involved in the illegal conversion of demonetized notes, the ED has arrested seven alleged middlemen and seized Rs 91.94 lakh in new currency in Karnataka as part of its money laundering probe.Officials said the agency arrested the accused, including the brother-in-law of a state government official, under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The seized cash, the agency said, is in the form of Rs 2,000 notes. The case emerges from a December 1 seizure made by the Income Tax department here of Rs 5.7 crore in Rs 2000 notes. The Enforcement Directorate had booked a money laundering case against a number of people including S C Jayachandra, a Project Officer of State Highway Development Project, and others based on a CBI FIR in the case. Jayachandra was later arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). “Based on his (Jayachandra) revelation during the course of investigation, seven persons including G Prashanth, brother-in-law of Jayachandra, who were supplying new currency in exchange of demonetised notes have been arrested and Rs 91,94,000 (4597 notes of Rs 2000) has been seized,” the agency said in a statement.The modus operandi adopted by the alleged middlemen, officials said, was unearthed after ED officials launched a special operation and themselves posed as “customers” looking to get old currency exchanged illegally after paying commission to the said middlemen. The accused had set up a “systematic” network for supplying new currency notes in exchange of old/demonetised currency to various persons who had hoarded demonetised currencies. The customers could get their notes exchanged by paying 20-35 per cent commission.”The said accused had supplied new currencies on many earlier occasions to Jayachandra through Prasanth and they fell into trap while making one such effort to supply new currency on December 4. The said new currencies were sourced from various parts of Karnataka,” the agency said. The role of a few bank officials and entry operators is also under the scanner, they said. Officials said the agency suspects that there is a chain of middlemen involved in converting black money into white.

Demonetisation: ED arrests 7 middlemen; seizes Rs 93 lakh new notes in Karnataka

Bengaluru: Unearthing a racket involved in illegal conversion of demonetised notes, the ED has arrested seven alleged middlemen and seized Rs 93 lakh in new currency in Karnataka as part of its money laundering probe.

PTIPTI

PTI

Officials said the agency placed the seven, including the relative of a government official, under arrest late yesterday under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Rs 93 lakh in new notes of Rs 2000 have been seized in the case, they added.

Officials said the action was taken as part of a probe in a case where the Income Tax department had recently seized Rs 5.7 crore cash in new currency and the Enforcement Directorate had booked a money laundering case against a government engineer and others based on a CBI FIR in the case.

The modus operandi adopted by the alleged middlemen, officials said, was unearthed after ED officials launched a special operation and themselves posed as ‘customers’ looking to get old currency changed illegally, after paying commission to the said middlemen.

Officials said the probe by the agency found that these alleged middlemen were reportedly charging a commission between 15-35 per cent and were executing the racket of
illegal conversion of new notes in alleged connivance with bank officials.

They said the agency suspects that there is a chain of middlemen involved in converting black funds into white even as they added that the probe in continuing.

The accussed are expected to be produced in a local court here for further custody.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 11:38 IST

Bhopal jailbreak: CISF to conduct security, fire safety audit of Indore, Jabalpur, Gwalior jails

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A security audit report by the CISF on Bhopal Central Jail, from where eight SIMI operatives pulled off a daring jailbreak, has been submitted to the Madhya Pradesh government with suggestions to bolster manpower and technical surveillance at the high-security facility.An exhaustive report has been prepared by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) experts for the jail in the state capital recommending “augmentation of human resource, and infusion of latest gadgetry and technology was suggested for making the jail security foolproof”, a senior official said.The proposed security features include enhancing perimeter security, deployment of more CCTV cameras and strict monitoring of entry and exit in the prison premises. The eight SIMI under-trials had escaped from the high- security Central Jail on the intervening night of October 30- 31 after killing a guard, before they were gunned down in an alleged encounter by police on the outskirts of the city on October 31 morning.The state government, the force said, has further asked the central paramilitary to similarly conduct a security and fire safety audit report of three other jails in the state in Indore, Jabalpur and Gwalior. “Appreciating the consultancy services rendered by our experts to the Bhopal Jail, the state government has now requested us to further provide the same expertise to three other jails located in Madhya Pradesh. Our teams will soon conduct the audit of these jails too,” CISF Director General OP Singh said.The force has a special consultancy wing within its establishment that conducts audit of critical installations and establishments, in government and public domain, by way of suggesting them the required access-control, deployment of watch towers and sentry posts, usage of gadgets and positioning of security personnel and surveillance gadgets to enhance protection.The force does this job on a government-approved fee and has provided consultancy to a total of 134 organisations till now. Some of the important clients of CISF security consultancy services are TISCO Limited, Bangalore Metro, the National Security Guard (NSG) headquarters in Delhi, Allahabad High Court, Tirumala Tirupati and Devsthanam in Tirupati, British High Commission in the national capital and assemblies of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Rs 5.7 crore recovered in new notes from bathroom in Karnataka; 28 kg of gold also found

Bulk seizures of new currency rose on Saturday, with four more incidents being reported, including one in which the Income Tax department recovered Rs 5.7 crore cash in new notes secretly stashed inside bathroom tiles of a hawala dealer in Karnataka’s Chitradurga district.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Another fresh seizure of Rs 24 crore cash in new notes was also made by the Income Tax (IT) department in Chennai, adding to the biggest haul of cash and gold post-demonetisation, in which over Rs 142 crore unaccounted assets were recovered in tax operations so far.

In one incident, CBI recovered Rs 65 lakh of new currency in Rs 2,000 denomination from the senior superintendent of post
offices, Hyderabad, in connection with its probe in the note exchange racket.

In another recovery, an amount of Rs 82 lakh, including Rs 71 lakh in new Rs 2,000 currency, was seized at Kothur near
Hyderabad, the police said. Two persons, allegedly involved in exchange of money on commission basis, were nabbed by the police.

While giving details of the incident in Karnataka, officials said the IT department seized the alleged undisclosed assets, as part of its raids against black money hoarders post-demonetisation, from the residence of the said hawala operator who is yet to be identified.

The Challakere town, about 40 km from district headquarters of Chitradurga, is popularly known as the “oil city” due to number of edible oil mills being present there. Officials said the taxman raided the premises based on intelligence inputs about the presence of huge cash and the sleuths were startled to find a cleverly-hidden stainless steel safe, above the wash basin, inside the tiled walls of the bathroom.

The cash stash of Rs 5.7 crore, all in new Rs 2,000 notes, 28 kg of bullion (gold biscuits), 4 kg of other gold and jewellery was stuffed inside this bathroom safe, which was kept sanitised against termites using hundreds of mothballs.

The assets were recovered after the department’s investigation wing in Panaji on Friday began searches against casino and bullion traders in Hubballi and Chitradurga districts. A good number of documents and another Rs 90 lakh cash (Rs 100/Rs 20 notes) have been seized after the searches on the said hawala dealer, they said. “The searches in this case are still going on at various places and the valuation of the bullion and jewellery is being conducted,” they said.

Regarding the incident in Tamil Nadu, officials said the fresh seizure of new currency, in Rs 2,000 notes, was made by the sleuths from a car in Vellore on the insistence of the accused presently being interrogated in the case. With this amount, the total seizure in the case has now gone upto Rs 166 crore in a single case.

The department had seized Rs 142 crore undisclosed assets — that includes about Rs 10 crore in new notes and gold bars weighing 127 kg — during searches at multiple locations in Chennai, for the last two days, to check tax evasion. This largest seizure of new currency notes after the old Rs 500/Rs 1,000 notes were scrapped on 8 November, took place after raids were launched on Thursday on eight premises of a group engaged in sand mining in Tamil Nadu.

In a statement, the CBI said K Sudheer Babu, senior superintendent of post offices, had kept the amount of Rs 65 lakh as his commission for allegedly exchanging over Rs 3.75 crore of old currency with the new one. “The money seized was the commission of K Sudheer Babu, as he kept it aside as his share, out of Rs.3.75 crore, which he misappropriated by fraudulently exchanging old currencies for new currencies from the post offices falling under his division. So far CBI had seized Rs 92.68 lakh of new currency in Rs 2000 denomination, in these cases,” it said.

First Published On : Dec 10, 2016 22:00 IST

Cauvery row: ‘Jayalalithaa’s efforts have been rewarded by SC,’ says TN PWD Principal Secretary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Supreme Court upholding the maintainability of appeals filed by states including Tamil Nadu against a 2007 tribunal verdict on Cauvery water sharing, the state government said on Saturday it was “grand victory for the untiring efforts” of former chief minister Jayalalithaa.PWD Principal Secretary SK Prabakar said the water dispute had been going on for a long time between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and recalled that the two states besides Kerala had earlier moved the apex court against the 2007 award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal on sharing the river water. He recalled the efforts by Jayalalithaa on the Cauvery issue, including “waging a legal battle” to get the 2007 final award published in a Central gazette in 2013, thus “upholding Tamil Nadu’s rights”.Her government had moved the apex court again in August, seeking direction to Karnataka to release Tamil Nadu’s share of water, following which it gave regular directions to the upper riparian state on this matter, he said. “Today, a three-judge bench had held all appeals maintainable, while holding that its interim order on releasing 2000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu continues till further orders,” he said in a statement. “This is a grand victory to the untiring efforts of Puratchi Thalaivi Amma (Jayalalitha),” he added.
ALSO READ Cauvery water dispute: SC upholds maintainability of appeals by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, KeralaThe three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra had said all appeals filed by the south Indian states against the tribunal’s award were maintainable, though the Centre had asserted that the apex court had no jurisdiction to hear appeals against the award of the tribunal. “We hold all the appeals maintainable. Interim order to continue. List the matter for further hearing on December 15,” the three-judge bench had said.On October 18, the apex court had directed Karnataka to keep supplying Tamil Nadu with 2,000 cusecs of water till further orders. DMK welcomed the apex court holding that its interim order on releasing 2000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu will continue and expressed happiness over Supreme Court saying that the appeals against the 2007 verdict were maintainable. Party Treasurer and Tamil Nadu Opposition Leader MK Stalin urged the state government to press the Centre on immediately constituting the Cauvery Management Board.

Demonetisation in Himachal Pradesh: Gloom in Lahaul Valley as daily life suffers

Keylong (Himachal Pradesh): Locals in this landlocked town and nearby villages in the picturesque Lahaul Valley, known worldwide for growing virus-free seed potatoes, are worried.

They say the demonetisation of high-value currency has made them cashless, literally. This means the cash crunch may dampen their spirit of celebrations, gambling, knitting, drinking and making merry in the harsh winter months.

What’s more, they are yet to complete procurement of sufficient rations as a moderate spell of snow any time now will close all road links and they will remain cut off from the rest of the world at least for four months.

“It’s almost a month now that we are not getting sufficient cash from the banks to stock enough foodstuff and household items for the next three months ahead of the shutdown of the local road network linking us to the rest of the state,” Suresh Kumar Kardo of Kardang, a village near Keylong, told IANS.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

He said most of the important local festivals and rituals fall in winter. Even the celebrations of a wedding solemnised in summer are held in these months.

“To buy rations for themselves and fodder for the livestock, a majority of the locals are returning to the barter system,” Kardo added.

Just 122 km north of the picturesque Manali tourist resort, Keylong, situated at an altitude of 10,354 ft on the main road to Leh in Jammu and Kashmir over the majestic Rohtang Pass, is the administrative centre of Lahaul-Spiti district.

The Lahaul Valley, comprising over two dozen small, scattered villages in the district, remains cut off from the rest of the world for over four months from December onwards owing to heavy snow accumulation at Rohtang Pass (13,050 feet) — the only road link with Manali in Kullu district.

It re-opens once the snow starts thawing after mid-April.

Nand Lal, a government teacher posted in Keylong, said though the government has stocked sufficient supply of firewood, ration and LPG, the real problem is the cash crunch.

“Each government employee posted in this remote area gets six-months’ salary in advance. There is sufficient cash in the bank account, but there is no cash in hand,” he said.

It doesn’t help that the locals are not very financially literate.

“A majority of locals, especially the women, are conservative and they are still withholding certain amounts of the banned currency notes. They normally keep a certain amount of cash to handle any exigency. They need to be educated and motivated to get it replaced,” said another resident, Tashi Negi.

During snow-marooning, the locals can relish only peas and potatoes, the local cash crops grown in summer.

Tilak Raj, a shopkeeper at Keylong, said owing to the currency crunch, some of the shopkeepers prefer to exchange locally grown vegetables with cereals, pulses and other grocery items.

Octogenarian Sonam Negi of Jispa village said every woman in the village usually stitches clothes, weaves “daris” or rugs and knit woolens for the next winter.

“During summer, we are busy in tilling land. This is the time to socialise by weaving ‘daris’ and knitting woolens in groups. This time we don’t have sufficient cash to buy wool and thread,” she said.

“Without knitting we can’t even socialise,” she added.

The entire district is populated mainly by tribals. The climatic conditions of the district are harsh as much of the land falls in what is a cold desert where the mercury drops below minus 20 degrees Celsius in winter.

The Lahaulis, as the local people are called, are mostly farmers and grow mainly peas and potatoes. The valley’s seed potatoes are in great demand in states like West Bengal, Bihar and Karnataka.

“Chollo” or gambling is a popular form of entertainment in winter. Most of the menfolk begin their day with consuming “arah”, a local liquor extracted from barley, and even end the day with it.

Tara Chand, a grower of exotic vegetables in Sissu village, said a major local festival, known as Halda, is celebrated in the second and third week of January.

“Halda is one of the major festivals when the entire village gathers and celebrates. Such celebrations continue for days together. Normally, each villager stores enough rations in his household before the onset of snowfall,” he said.

This Buddhist-dominated district in the Himalayan terrain attracts globe-trotters not only for nature-based activities but also to ancient monasteries like Tabo and Dhankar.

First Published On : Dec 9, 2016 13:10 IST

Cauvery water dispute: SC reiterates order asking Karnataka to release 2000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court has reiterated that the order to release 2000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu will stand till further orders.The apex court has also upheld the maintainability of appeals filed by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala against the 2007 award of Cauvery water dispute tribunal.The Centre had opposed it stating that plea filed by Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu was not maintainable.The next date of hearing in the matter in Supreme Court is December 15.The top court also said that its interim orders on the issue will continue.On September 30, the apex court had directed Karnataka to discharge 6,000 cusecs water from October 1-6, warning that no one would know when the “wrath of the law” would fall on it.In his reply in the Karnataka Assembly, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah gave strong indications of complying with the order of the Supreme Court to release water to Tamil Nadu, while assuring the people that government would make all efforts to meet drinking water needs and to save standing crops. Siddaramaiah said the state had never defied the court orders and noted that “we are in a federal set up”.

Demonetization: After lavish weddings, BJP urges caution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Amid reports of the lavish wedding of Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s daughter in Nagpur, a BJP spokesperson said public representatives need to be “little cautious” when common people are facing inconvenience, apparently in the wake of demonetizationof high value notes. “As I have said, whether it is a minister, a businessmen, an employee..as long as they use accounted money, there is no question to be asked. But yes, at a time when people are experiencing inconvenience, generally we expect all public representatives to be little cautious,” GVL Narsimha Rao, National Spokesman of the BJP said responding to a query on the wedding of Gadkari’s daughter. Referring to the controversy surrounding the wedding of former Karnataka minister Janardhan Reddy’s daughter last month, Rao said Reddy is not part of the BJP anymore. Ketki, youngest of three children of Gadkari, tied the knot with Facebook professional Aditya Kaskhedikar on December 4. A galaxy of political leaders, including Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu, BJP president Amit Shah, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had attended the function. Rao said, “Let me make it clear that there is no ban on anyone’s spending genuine, hard earned money on any event. Somebody has lot of money no one questions it. But if people are using money through illicit means or unaccountable manner, this is the matter of concern and this has already been taken (up).”Congress had alleged crores were spent on the wedding of Gadkari’s daughter and demanded BJP should make public details of expenses made.When asked about the pompous marriage of Reddy’s daughter in Bengaluru last month, he said, “He (Reddy) is not part of party anymore…you are referring to big fat wedding that happened in Karnataka…It has already been raided..Inquiry is on…anybody who dares to spend unaccounted money in this manner is only inviting troubles for themselves.”The ostentatious marriage marked by opulence has raised a firestorm of controversy against the backdrop of cash crunch, and allegations of money laundering are flying thick and fast. On the scrapping of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month, the spokesman said, “In this country, any move which is a pro-people measure instantly gets public support and anything which you consider anti-people definitely results into electoral disaster.” Dismissing speculations that demonetizationexercise will hurt the saffron party in the upcoming elections, Rao said, “demonetizationhas greatly helped the poor and poor people today believe and the honest people believe that it pays to be honest and cost to be corrupt.” He conceded that the surprise move has caused “inconvenience” to people.”This had to be a surprise move and not meant to be announced in days or months in advance with preparations.Therefore people are supporting it despite the inconvenience they are facing because they have understood the spirit of it and they have understood why the PM took this bold move, and they are blessing it,” Rao added.

Bellary: Driver’s suicide note accuses Janardhan Reddy of laundering Rs 100 crore black money

Former BJP minister in Karnataka Gali Janardhan Reddy has been accused of laundering black money of over Rs 100 crore in a suicide note left by Ramesh Gowda, the driver to special land acquisition officer Bheema Nayak in Bengaluru. The cause of suicide was consumption of poison. Gowda died in Maddur.

Gowda in his suicide note claimed that he was receiving regular death threats because he had information on how Reddy had converted Rs 100 crore of black money into white.

Representational image. Janardhan Reddy

Representational image. Janardhan Reddy

Janardhan Reddy had recently come under criticism for the extravagant spending on his daughter’s wedding. The lavish wedding is estimated to have cost Rs 100 crore. Over 50,000 guests had attended the wedding with some big names in Karnataka politics but many from BJP didn’t attend the event, according to The Indian Express. Reddy is a former BJP minister and had faced arrest in the 2012 illegal mining case. He was released on bail last year. He had been actively preparing for his daughter’s wedding soon after released on bail.

The high-cost wedding came under criticism as it was held a little over a week after the demonetisation decision by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many leaders were told to keep away from the wedding. According to a report by News18Reddy, who is known as the mining-baron, spent Rs 500 crore on the wedding. The Income Tax department had visited Reddy’s residence in Bellary after the wedding.

Former Karnataka Chief Minister has said that he doesn’t know anything and that inquiry will reveal the truth.

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 16:01 IST

Driver’s suicide note claims he knew how Janardhan Reddy laundered Rs 100 crore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accusing Karnataka mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy and Karnataka Administrative Service’s (KAS) officer of harassing him, a driver has allegedly committed suicide on Tuesday, reported CNN-News18. The driver, Ramesh Gowda, was working for Bengaluru land acquisition officer Bheema Nayak.Gowda claimed in his suicide note that he was receiving constant death threats as he knew how Reddy had converted his black money into white— the Rs 100 crore used for the opulent wedding of his daughter held recently.In exchange, Bheema Nayak is said to have received a 20% cut of that amount as well help to get a ticket to contest the 2018 Karnataka elections.The suicide note also claims that before the wedding, Reddy and BJP MP Sriramulu met Bheema Nayak several times in Bengaluru.After the “100-crore wedding”, the Income Tax department visited Janardhan Reddy’s house in Bellary and asked him to produce details of the income for the money spent on the wedding.

Timeline: A chronicle of J Jayalalithaa’s life

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa passed away in Chennai on December 5, a day after she suffered a cardiac arrest while admitted in Apollo hospital. ‘Amma’ as she was fondly addressed, had been in the hospital since September 22 after she complained of a fever and dehydration. She was later treated for sepsis and her condition was said to have improved before she went into cardiac arrest on Sunday. The last rites of the chief minister will be performed in Chennai on Monday evening. Biographical TimelineJayalalithaa Jayaram, an Indian actress-turned-politician, was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu and General Secretary of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party. She was sworn in as the chief minister on May 23, 2016, her sixth term, a record. She was only the second female chief minister of Tamil Nadu. Her followers fondly call her “Amma”, meaning mother, and “Puratchi Thalaivi”, meaning revolutionary leader. Jayalalithaa was a famous South Indian film star before she joined politics in 1982.She had appeared as a lead actress in various films in Tamil, Kannada and Telugu languages. She even acted in one English and a Hindi film. She was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1984 and served in this post till 1989. Personal LifeJayalalitha was born in Mysore (now in the state of Karnataka) at a place called Melukote on February 24, 1948. She hails from a Tamil Iyengar family. Her father Jayaram, a lawyer by profession, passed away when she was just two years old. Consequently, Jayalalithaa and her brother Jayakumar had to shift to Bengaluru along with their mother. Her mother, Vedavathi, started working in Tamil cinema with the screen name Sandhya.
ALSO READ AIADMK chief & Tamil Nadu’s beloved Amma J Jayalalithaa passes away‘Jaya’, meaning ‘victorious’, was a prefix commonly used in their family — Jayalalitha; her brother, Jayakumar; father Jayaram, and many other in the family. This indicated the family’s association with the Wodeyar Dynasty of Mysore, which dates back to 1880-1920 when Jayalalithaa’s grandfather, a surgeon by profession, used to serve the Mysore Kingdom.Jayalalithaa completed her schooling from Bishop Cotton Girls’ High School, Chennai, and Sacred Heart Matriculation School, also popularly known as Presentation Church Park Convent, in Chennai. She was a very good student and received scholarship for higher studies from the Government of India after completing her matriculation in 1964. However, she took up films shortly after that. Her career saw her working in films of different languages, including English, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu.
ALSO READ RIP Amma | From PM Modi to President Mukherjee: India bids adieu to J Jayalalithaa She is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and has proficiency in other dance forms like Kathak, Mohiniyattam and Manipuri as well. She has also lent her voice as a singer in some of her films. She has proficiency in English, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam. Her brother, Jayakumar, passed away in the early 1990s. Jayalalithaa’s Disproportionate Assets CaseShe was acquitted in the infamous 18-year-old disproportionate assets (amounting to Rs 66.65 crore) and corruption case by the Karnataka High Court on May 11, 2015. A trial court had convicted and sentenced her to four years of jail as well as a fine of Rs 100 crore on September 27, 2014. Jayalalitha filed an appeal challenging the decision in the Karnataka High Court. These charges were held “not sustainable” by the special bench of the Karnataka High Court. Earlier, the five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was held guilty by a special court in Bengaluru in a disproportionate assets case and had to vacate her post as a consequence. The charges were levelled by Dr Subramanian Swamy in 1996. She was convicted under IPC 109 and 120 (b) along with 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
ALSO READ Jayalalithaa’s demise has left a huge void in Indian politics: PM ModiJayalalithaa’s professional background before entering politicsAt the behest of her mother, Jayalalithaa started working in films at the age of 15 when she was still in school. Here’s a chronicle of her acting career:► Her first film, ‘Epistle’, was in English language and released in 1961.► In 1964, under the direction of BR Panthulu, she made her debut in Kannada film ‘Chinnada Gombe’ as the lead actress.► In 1965, she made her debut in Tamil film ‘Vennira Aadai’, which was directed by CV Sridhar. Jayalalithaa was the first heroine in Tamil films in the mid-1960s to appear in short-sleeved dresses, skirts, gowns and woollen suits.► In 1966, she made her debut in the Telugu film ‘Manushulu Mamathalu’.► Jayalalithaa acted opposite Shivaji Ganesan in the film ‘Pattikada Pattanama’ in 1972, which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil.► In 1973, she received three Filmfare Awards for Best Actress for her performance in the films ‘Pattikada Pattanama’, ‘Suryakanthi’ and ‘Sri Krishna Satya’.► The first Tamil film that India submitted for the Academy Awards in the category ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ was ‘Deiva Magan’. It featured Sivaji Ganesan and her.► The 1960s and 1970s saw a number of successful films with Amma opposite MG Ramachandran.► ‘Izzat’, one of her notable Hindi films, saw her paired opposite Dharmendra.Jayalalithaa’s journey in Indian politics► In 1982, Jayalalithaa became a member of the AIADMK, a party founded by MG Ramachandran. It marked her entry into politics.► She gave her first public speech, Pennin Perumai (the Pride of Women), at the conference of the party that year.► She was made the Propaganda Secretary of the AIADMK in January 1983. As was chosen by Puratchi Thalaivar MGR, Jayalalitha conducted her first election campaign in February, 1983, for the party as a candidate in the by-election from the Tiruchendur Assembly Constituency.► Jayalalithaa was elected for the first time as a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1984 and she retained the seat till 1989.► In 1984, MGR fell ill and moved to the US to undergo medical treatment. In his absence, Jayalalithaa came to the forefront during the elections to the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assembly in Tamil Nadu in December 1984. That year, the alliance of Congress (I) and AIADMK secured a massive victory.► Puratchi Thalaivar MGR expired in 1987, after which the AIADMK was split into two parties. The election symbol of the party, “Two Leaves”, was frozen by the Election Commission of India.► Jayalalithaa was elected as a member of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly in 1989 from the Bodinayakkanur constituency.► Jayalalithaa was the first lady to become the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu.► The two factions of the party reunited in February 1989 under the leadership of Jayalalithaa, who was unanimously elected as the General Secretary of the united AIADMK.► The election symbol of the AIADMK party, ‘Two Leaves’, was restored by her in 1989.► Jayalalithaa directed the Congress (I) and AIADMK alliance to a historic victory in the 1989 General Elections to the Lok Sabha in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu.► Under her leadership, the AIADMK secured victories in all the subsequent by-elections from the constituencies of Peranamallur, Madurai East and Marungapuri to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.► A landslide victory was secured by Jayalalithaa in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections held in 1991, when the party and its alliance won 225 out of the total 234 seats. She contested from two constituencies, Kangeyam and Bargur, and won both the seats comprehensively.► On 24 June 1991, she became the youngest ever and the second female Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. She held the position till May 12, 1996.► She swept the 1991 General Elections by securing a complete victory for the AIADMK and its alliance partner INC in the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, thus creating history.► The 1998 general election of the Lok Sabha saw the AIADMK and its alliance securing 30 out of 40 seats.► The 2001 Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections saw her leading the alliance to a win of 195 seats out of the 234 and her party, the AIADMK, alone secured 132 seats.► On 14 May 2001, Jayalalithaa became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the second time and held the post till September 21, 2001.► In February 2002, she was elected from the constituency of Andipatti.► She remained the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu from March 2, 2002 to May 12, 2006.► The AIADMK alliance won 69 seats in the 2006 Legislative Assembly elections and Jayalalithaa served as the Leader of Opposition.► Again in the 2011 Legislative Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK and its allies bounced back, winning 203 seats out of 234, with the AIADMK securing 150 seats on its own. The new government was formed on May 16, 2011 and Jayalalithaa became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the fourth time.► Jayaram Jayalalitha had to step down from her post of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in September 2014 when a trial court in Karnataka held her guilty in an 18-year-old disproportionate assets (amounting to Rs. 66.65 crore) and corruption case. The court had sentenced her to a four-year jail term with a fine of Rs 100 crore, but she challenged this verdict in Karnataka High Court.► On May 11, 2015, the Karnataka High Court acquitted Jayalalithaa in the Disproportionate Assets case.► J Jayalalitha was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for a record-equalling fifth time on May 23, 2015.► On April 25, 2016, she filed her nomination papers in RK Nagar ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.► She created a history of sorts by becoming the first chief minister since 1989 to return to power for a second consecutive term.► She took oath as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for a record sixth time on May 23, 2016.Awards and honours won by Jayalalithaa► In 1972, the Government of Tamil Nadu honoured her with the Kalaimamani Award.► A degree of Doctor of Literature (LittD) was conferred upon her by the University of Madras in 1991.► A degree of Doctor of Science was conferred upon her by Dr MGR Medical University in 1992.► A degree of Doctor of Letters was conferred upon her by Madurai Kamaraj University in 1993.► A degree of Doctor of Science was given to her by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in 2003.► A degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris causa) was conferred upon her by Bharathidasan University in 2003.► She was invited by the House of Lords, London, in 2004 to receive the “Woman Politician of the Decade” Award from the Asian Guild Awards.► The Golden Star of Honour and Dignity Award was conferred upon her in 2004 by the International Human Rights Defence Committee recognising her services in protecting the weaker section of society and in the field of gender equality in Tamil Nadu and India.► In 2011, a resolution was passed by the New Jersey General Assembly to appreciate her exemplary excellence and dedication as a leader and in service to the people of Tamil Nadu.

Beating plastic with plastic

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The world’s annual consumption of plastic materials has increased from around 50 lakh tonnes in the 1950s to nearly 10 crore tonnes today. According to the Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated in India every day, out of which 9,000 tonnes is collected and processed, while 6,000 tonnes is not collected. It was this problem faced by ordinary citizens that disturbed Ashwath Hegde, a Mangalore-born but now Qatar-based NRI entrepreneur.In order to beat the plastic woes plaguing the world, Hegde, through his company EnviGreen, developed a biodegradable plastic bag made out of natural starch and vegetable oil derivatives — products that are non-toxic and can consumed by plants and animals. The bags can dissolve in room temperature water in 24 hours and dissolves in 15 seconds if placed in boiling water. The bags also take 180 days to biodegrade, which means people can discard them without worrying about the environment. However, the bags are still not available in India, although they are being distributed in Qatar and Abu Dhabi. The price of the bag is Rs 3. In contrast, a plastic bag is Rs 2, while a cloth bag is anything between Rs 20 and Rs 70.In previous interviews with various media organisations, Hegde has said that he wants to set up enough manufacturing facilities before the bags are distributed to customers and kirana shops. “We have already started supplying to corporate retail chains like Metro and Reliance, which will start using the bags from December this year,” says Hegde.According to The Better India, Ashwath has now set up a factory in Bengaluru that produces 1,000 metric tonnes of bags every month. “We had this unique idea of empowering farmers in rural Karnataka by sourcing all our raw materials from them. We are also planning to distribute seeds to help them produce the amount of materials required to make the bags,” he says.

‘Most men are terrified of me’: Watch J Jayalalithaa’s heart warming interview with Simi Garewal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state of Tamil Nadu came to a virtual standstill as J Jayalalithaa, affectionately called Amma by the faithful, breathed her last at Apollo Hospitals on Monday. She had been hospitalised for over two months with a lung infection and had suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday night.Despite being one of the most prolific leaders in modern India, J Jayalalithaa made it a point to keep the press out of her life. Her distrust of the media was legendary, but there’s one Amma interview that stands out – her interaction with Simi Garewal. It’s ironic that a Bollywood talk-show host beat all political journalists but perhaps because she wasn’t looking to score any brownie points, Garewal’s interview stands out as the one time where we got to see the human face of the lady they called Iron Butterfly.In the interview, Jaya explains that she had a lot of ‘will power, self-control’ and said: “When you are a leader you learn to control your emotions, you learn to keep them in control. I keep my emotions to myself. I have never lost my temper in public, I have never wept in public.”She talks about her childhood, growing up without a father and a mother whose work schedule meant she was often led to her own devices. She also revealed: “When I was about five, and she had come to Bangalore to see us, I always used to cry whenever she left, so she used to put me to sleep and I always used to sleep clutching her sari pallu in my hands. I used to wind it tight around my hand. So, my mother used to find it impossible to get up and leave. So, leaving the edge of the sari in my hand, she used to gradually unwind the sari from herself, and she used to make my aunt drape the sari around herself and lie down beside me so that I wouldn’t notice her leaving. And then of course when I got up and found that Mother was gone, I would cry and cry and cry, I used to be inconsolable for about three days. But after that there was school and other things and I would get over it. But throughout those four years when I was in Bangalore, I was pining for my mother every minute, every second.”Garewal even coaxed her to talk about her crushes which included the legendary Shammi Kapoor and she even sings Aaja Sanam Madhur Chandni from Mein Hum. Showing her smug side, she told Garewal: “Nowadays most men I meet are terrified of me. Politics can do without women. And they tried really hard to make it happen without women.”Watch the interview below: Part 1Part 2J Jayalaithaa ObitJayalalithaa, tinsel town heroine who practised politics on her own terms to remain one of the main poles of Tamil Nadu politics for three decades, was a feisty leader with a lot of grit and determination staging remarkable comebacks despite setbacks on account of corruption cases.A teen starlet, who acted with the who’s who of Tamil cinema in the sixties and seventies, Jayalalitha went on to become a five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu, effortlessly inheriting the mantle of her mentor and superstar MGR.Practitioner of adulatory politics, she has often been criticised for the public display of unswerving loyalty of her senior leaders and cadre, but nothing deterred her from what she sought to achieve in her own way.Born in a Brahmin family in Mysore in Karnataka, Jayalalitha quite often had the better of her arch-rival M Karunanidhi, a stalwart and one of the earliest products of the Dravidian movement that was founded on an anti-Brahmin platform.After her formal initiation into the politics in 1982 when she was inducted into the AIADMK, she displayed enormous political skills in shouldering the task of running the party after the death of M G Ramachandran in 1987.68-year-old Jayalalithaa had to quit twice over corruption cases, but managed to stage dramatic comebacks on both occasions.While the journey of actor Jayalalithaa started in 1965 in ‘Vennira Aadai,’ (The White Dress), she assumed her political avatar in 1982 after MGR made her the Propaganda Secretary the next year.The charismatic actor-politician was made a Rajya Sabha member in 1984 by Ramachandran, with whom she had paired opposite in 28 films, and led the party’s charge in the 1984 Assembly and Lok Sabha polls when he could could not go on a campaign trail following illness.But her moment of reckoning came a few years later when Ramachandran died in 1987, with AIADMK at crossroads.The leader was humiliated as MGR’s body was lying in state in the heritage Rajaji Hall when a DMK leader tried to push her from the rostrum.She faced intense and protracted struggle to eventually head the AIADMK overcoming the animosity of rival camps led by the leaders like senior minister in the MGR cabinet R M Veerappan.AIADMK split into two factions then, famously called AIADMK (J) and AIADMK (Ja) after Jayalalithaa and Janaki, wife of Ramachandran.Jayalalithaa successfully contested the Tamil Nadu Assembly election in 1989 from Bodinayakkanur and became the first woman Leader of Opposition in the House.This period saw some challenges in her political and personal life, with Jayalalithaa alleging she was harassed and attacked by ruling DMK in the House even as she met with a deadly accident.She unified AIADMK in 1990 which had split following thedeath of Ramachandran and led her party to a superb victory in 1991 with a massive majority.However, the five-year period turned out to be her undoing as corruption charges, display of pomp during her foster son’s marriage and non-performance led to her defeat in the 1996 elections at the hands of arch rival DMK.Soon after, a slew of cases including the disproportionate assets case were filed against her.She had to quit twice following court cases, once in 2001 and later in 2014.For nearly six months, starting September 2001 she was out of office after she was unseated by Supreme Court vis-a-vis electoral disqualification in the TANSI case.Between September 29, 2014, and May 22, 2015, she was out of office again after she was disqualified as a legislator and consequently lost chief ministership following her conviction in a graft case by a trial court in Bengaluru which was later set aside by Karnataka High Court.Twice she went to jail, once after the DMK government registered a corruption case in 1996 and the second time after her conviction in 2014.But Jayalalitha took legal recourse to stage terrific comebacks on both the occasions.Altogether, she was sworn in as CM five times-1991-96, May-Sept 2001, 2002-06, 2011-14, 2015-16.Hailed as ‘Puratchi Thalaivi’ (Revolutionary Leader), Jayalalithaa proved wrong all calculations of DMK retaining power in 2011 when she led her party to a fantastic victory by forming a rainbow coalition comprising DMDK and Left parties.She retained power in 2016, scripting history after three decades to ensure that a party won a successive term.Jayalalithaa is credited with introducing innovative schemes and projects, including 69 per cent reservation in education and employment, freebies and a host of brand Amma initiatives like water, cement and subsidised canteens.Jayalalithaa’s only trusted aide for long was Sasikala Natarajan who stayed with her at her Poes Garden. Sasikala was briefly expelled from the party for a couple of times but the two reconciled quickly on those occasions.

Remembering Amma: The Life and Times of J Jayalalithaa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Six-time Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, fondly known as ‘Amma’ passed away in Tamil Nadu on December 5, after suffering a cardiac arrest a day before. She had been admitted in Apollo Hospitals since September when she had first collapsed at her residence in Poes Garden. She was initially diagnosed with fever and dehydration, and was later being treated for sepsis. BirthJayalalithaa was born on February 24, 1948, at Mysore, Karnataka.FamilyShe belonged to a Tamil Iyengar family. Her father, Jayaram, a lawyer by profession, passed away when she was young. Consequently, Jayalalithaa had to shift to Bengaluru first and then to Chennai with her mother, Vedavathi (known as Sandhya in the South Indian film industry), and brother. AcademicsShe completed her matriculation in 1964 and took up a career in films, following her mother’s footsteps, after that.
ALSO READ Jayalalithaa (1948-2016): A life called Puratchi ThalaiviFilm Career► She acted in 130 films between 1964 and 1980.► In 1964, ‘Chinnada Gombe’, her first film (in Kannada) was a major hit.
ALSO READ AIADMK chief and Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa passes away► In 1965, she made her debut in the Tamil film ‘Vennira Aadai’ directed by CV Sridhar.► Tamil actor Maruthur Gopala Ramachandran (popularly known as MGR) was her mentor. They acted in 28 films together. MGR founded the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam​ (AIADMK) in 1972.► Her last film was ‘Nadhiyai Thedi Vandha Kadal’ in 1980. Jayalalithaa had also acted in a few Bollywood films during the span of her film career.Political Career► She joined the AIADMK in 1982, at the age of 34 years, and quickly rose through the party ranks. In 1983, she was made the propaganda secretary of the party, and was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1984. She completed her five-year term in the upper house.► After the death of her mentor MGR in 1987, the AIADMK was split into two, with one faction supporting MGR’s widow, Janaki Ramachandran, and the other, Jayalalithaa who claimed political legacy of MGR.► However, the two factions of the party reunited in February 1989 after Janaki left politics. Later, Jayalalithaa was unanimously elected as the General Secretary of the AIADMK.► In 1991, Jayalalithaa became the chief minister for the first time. She won her second term in 2001, third in 2011. And in 2016, she broke the three-decade pendulum swing of voters alternately choosing the AIADMK and the DMK, by winning 134 of 232 seats.Controversies► December 7, 1996: Jayalalithaa was arrested on charges of corruption, including accumulation of disproportionate assets, follows. These charges were levelled by Subramanian Swamy in 1996, when he accused her of amassing wealth worth Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to her known sources of income during 1991 and 1996. ► April, 1997: DMK Government sets up three special courts to try 47 corruption cases against Jayalalithaa, her former cabinet colleagues and others. Prosecution was launched against Jayalalithaa, her close friend Sashikala, and two others a Chennai Court in DA case. ► In 1999, she was discharged in coal import deal case by special court; Upheld by Madras High Court. ► She was convicted in the Pleasant Stay Hotel case in February 2, 2000, related to permission granted for construction allegedly flouting rules.► In October, 2000, a special court in Chennai convicted her in the TANSI land deal case.► On September 27, 2014, a trial court convicted and sentenced Jayalalithaa to four years in jail along with a penalty of Rs 100 crore in the 18-year-old disproportionate assets case. She challenged the decision in the Karnataka High Court and was acquitted of all the charges in May 2015. Awards and Honours► The Government of Tamil Nadu honoured her with the Kalaimamani Award in 1972.► The University of Madras conferred her with the Degree of Doctor of Literature (LittD) in 1991.► Dr MGR Medical University conferred her with the Degree of Doctor of Science in 1992.► Tamil Nadu Agricultural University conferred her with the Degree of Doctor of Science in 2003.► Honoured with the Golden Star of Honour and Dignity Award by the International Human Rights Defence Committee, Ukraine in 2004.► She was invited by the House of Lords, London, to receive the ‘Woman Politician of the Decade’ award from the Asian Guild Awards in 2004.► The New Jersey General Assembly passed a Resolution commending her service and exemplary dedication to the people of Tamil Nadu, in 2011.Trivia► Jayalalithaa was fluent in English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Hindi.► She was trained in classical dance forms like Bharatnatyam, Mohini Attam, Kathak and Manipuri.► She is said to have been the first to wear skirts on screen in Tamil films.► She was an avid reader and had a large private library with a huge collection of books.(With agency inputs)

Karnataka suspends bus services to Tamil Nadu after incident of stone pelting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) on Monday temporarily stopped the bus services to Tamil Nadu after an incident of stone pelting on their bus near Tiruvannamalai.Meanwhile, with the streets of Chennai thronging with anxious people as Chief Minister Jayalalithaa remains critical following a cardiac arrest, the state traffic police has blocked all roads lead to Apollo hospital where she is currently admitted to avoid traffic congestion.There is heavy police deployment outside the Apollo hospital. Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is on high alert after Jayalalithaa suffered cardiac arrest last evening.Security has been stepped up across the city to attend any eventuality and buses plying out of Chennai have been reduced tonight and security in the capital has been tightened.”With all blessings she will come out of this situation, being treated by the medical team,” a Tamil actor told ANI.Vasuki, supporter of AIADMK said, “Amma is our Rani of Jhansi, and has achieved what others cannot. All praying for her speedy recovery.”Earlier, Chief Operating Officer of Apollo Hospital Dr Subbaiah Viswanathan said Jayalalithaa suffered a cardiac arrest yesterday evening and she is being treated and monitored by a team of experts and critical care specialists.Apollo Hospital’s Joint Managing Director Sangita Reddy in a tweet last night said the Chief Minister is critical and a multi specialty team is trying everything possible.

WhatsApp messages led to arrest of Base Movement operatives

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>WhatsApp messages sent by one of the suspected Base Movement operative to Kochi Police officer had led the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to crack down on the Base Movement, a relatively new outfit inspired by al-Qaeda. The new outfit had threatened to carry out blasts across the country.Dawood Suleiman, an alleged member had sent WhatsApp messages to Kochi Police threatening to carry out blasts. The Base Movement operative also allegedly sent a video message to an official number used by Kochi Police which now is being examined by the NIA. The video message too had a threatening message for local authorities, officials said.According to sources the threat was that the group will target eminent persons or top government officials prompting local police to trace the numbers. However when local police in Kerala carried out investigation it was found out that the threat messages sent from multiple numbers used Wifi in public spaces.Officials privy to the investigation said that local police had more than 20 phone numbers through which the messages were being sent, the latest message was sent on November 1. When local police hit a barrier to crackdown on the individuals using the numbers, the NIA was roped in.The probe agency, on November 28 arrested three men, for allegedly carrying out series of blasts that took place between April 2016 to November 2016 in various south Indian states. The men were identified as Abbas Ali, Dawood Suleiman and Samsum Karim Raja. Subsequent investigation led the agency towards two more accused named Mohammed Ayub Ali and Shamsudeen.Sources said that it was messages sent by 23-year-old Dawood that finally led the probe agency to crack down on the group. Dawood, a native of Madurai, has done B Tech in an engineering college in Erode and is now being seen as the leader of the Base Movement cell, which had taken responsibility for the low intensity blasts in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka.Officials believe that Base Movement is a result of regrouping of an Islamist outfit by the name al Ummahm Nagapattinam native Abu Bakr Siddique, 51. He is one of the mastermind in the Bangalore blast at the BJP office in 2013 is believed to be the leader behind Base movement. Siddique was absconding between 1999 and 2011 and police is investigating if he like some of the al Ummah members left to join the jihad in Afghanistan.The Base Movement claimed responsibility for at least three low-intensity blasts that took place in the court premises of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala by dispatching a letter to the authorities bearing a map of India and a photo of slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Demonetization: Karnataka suspends two senior govt officials after over Rs 5 crore seizure

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two senior Karnataka government officials were suspended on Friday in connection with the searches conducted by the Income Tax Department on their premises as part of the country-wide operation that has resulted in the biggest-ever seizure of cash in new currency.Bowing to the Opposition demand in the Karnataka Legislative Council, now in session in Belagavi, Home Minister G Parameshwara announced the action against senior engineers T N Chikkarayappa and S C Jayachandra who had come on the radar of tax sleuths along with two contractors.Chikkarayappa is Managing Director of Cauvery Neeravari Nigama (irrigation corporation) and Jayachandra, Chief Project Officer of the State Highway Development Project. The government would decide on the next step after a probe and getting information from the IT Department, Parameshwara said, adding, none would be protected and the guilty would be punished according to law. He also said it was not proper to link one official as being close to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and the other to Public Works Minister H C Mahadevappa, pointing out that they had worked for previous governments also. Over 50 I-T sleuths and police personnel had conducted the operations and searched premises in Bengaluru, Chennai and Erode (Tamil Nadu) with the Department on Friday saying the seizure of cash in new currency was over Rs five crore.IT officials on Friday said the cash found, after searches were launched on Thursday on the premises of two engineers and two contractors, has risen to Rs 5.7 crore and these notes are in the denomination of the new currency of Rs 2,000. “Total admission of unaccounted income by the group stands at Rs 152 crore. Investigations are on,” they said in New Delhi.Parameshwara said it was puzzling as to “from where Rs 4.7 crore came (in cash in new currency). It must have come from the bank only. How did they get it … from which bank.” He said the IT department should now find out as to how “so much money reached them” and take action after completing the relevant process. As the Council met, Opposition BJP and JD(S) members rushed to the well of the House alleging that government was protecting corrupt officers by not suspending them forthwith.Opposition BJP leader K S Eshwarappa raised the issue and said the state government had not taken any action against the two officials though the matter had come to the fore and demanded their immediate suspension pending inquiry. JDS’ Basavaraj Horatti also insisted on their suspension. Parameshwar later told the House that he had discussed the matter with the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary and announced the suspension.

Demonetization carried out in ‘haphazard’ manner, alleges former PM Deve Gowda

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, who had implemented a Voluntary Disclosure Scheme (VDS) to unearth black money during his tenure, today said the present government had carried out demonetization in a “haphazard” manner causing “unimaginable sufferings” to the people.The JD(S) chief said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have spoken on demonetization in Parliament “so that we could reply”. “The best thing would have been that the Prime Minister should have made a statement in the House on the very first day of the ongoing Winter session” regarding the decision which he had already announced on November 8 when Parliament was not in session, Gowda told PTI here. “We are not against efforts to curb black money. But in my opinion, the Prime Minister announced demonetization without any preparation. It was done in a haphazard manner,” said the Lok Sabha member who has been waiting to speak on the issue in the House but could not due to its non-functioning.Gowda said 22 days have already passed since the announcement was made by Modi in a nationally-televised address but people, particularly the farmers and the labourers, continue to go through “unimaginable sufferings”. Noting that the Prime Minister had asked people to “tolerate” the difficulties for 50 days, he questioned, “How long does this government want the people to suffer?” The senior leader from Karnataka said in his state, banks do not have enough cash and they close down as early as noon, leaving people high and dry.”It was a hasty decision by the Prime Minister without proper assessment which has put the country in an awkward situation,” he emphasised. 83-year-old Gowda, who was Prime Minister from June 1996 to April 1997, recalled the VDS implemented by him during his tenure which had unearthed Rs 96,000 crore rpt Rs 96,000 crore of undisclosed money. Referring to the regular alterations being made in the implementation of demonetization scheme with regard to withdrawal caps and other aspects, Gowda asked, “How many amendments, modifications, changes have been made every day? Changes are still going on.” Finding faults with the government, he said it had first introduced gold bonds, which “did not yield any results”.Then it brought Income Declaration Scheme during which about Rs 65,000 crore were disclosed, Gowda said, even then the government failed to recover the “so-called black money” entirely. “Now suddenly another idea flashed the Prime Minister’s mind…Who gave him the advice? Did he consult any colleague,” he questioned. “Now the government has pushed the Income Tax amendment bill also,” he added.Talking about problems being faced by the people, he criticised the cap on withdrawals, questioning why should even a salaried person not be able to take out as much money as he requires. “I have salaried account but I cannot withdraw money as there is a cap of Rs 24,000 on withdrawals per month,” he said.Turning to Modi’s comment that he wants to unearth black money amassed during last 70 years, the former Prime Minister said he was “hurt” by the remark which painted all former governments negatively. “Who created this black money? Are we all included? Is Atal Bihari Vajpayee also included? Are we all responsible for this creation of black money? This remark hurt me,” he said.He said the Prime Minister should not have made a general remark against all those who have run the country with regard to black money generation. On Modi’s campaign to make India a cashless society, Gowda said, “I don’t know whether the dream of the PM will come true.

World AIDS Day: Faulty blood transfusions behind 14,774 HIV cases in India

A laboratory assistant examines a blood sample in the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri. Over the last seven years, 14,474 cases of HIV through blood transfusion have been reported in India even as the state governments and the central health ministry deny the crisis or are clueless, an RTI-led investigation by IndiaSpend shows. Reuters

A laboratory assistant examines a blood sample in the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri. Over the last seven years, 14,474 cases of HIV through blood transfusion have been reported in India even as the state governments and the central health ministry deny the crisis or are clueless, an RTI-led investigation by IndiaSpend shows. Reuters

By Nikhil M Babu

New Delhi: Tall, lean and dark, Jaiprakash was an average 11-year-old who loved gully cricket and chips. Then, to his parents’ dismay, the peppy fourth-grader from Junagadh in western Gujarat started falling ill frequently. Finally, he had to drop out of school.

On a December morning five years ago, Jai started bleeding from his nose and mouth. Doctors at the nearest government hospital referred him to another hospital in Rajkot, about 100 km away.

He died the next morning.

It turned out that Jai, who was a Thalassemic patient since he was just a year old, had contracted HIV through blood transfusion at the Junagadh Civil Hospital. And it wasn’t just him; 35 other Thalassemic children being given transfusion at the same hospital had become HIV-infected.

Of them, eight died.

“All our happiness died with our child. Who do we live for now?” said 50-year-old Rafeeq Ranava, Jai’s father, a daily-wage labourer in Junagadh.

Jai’s parents show a framed photograph of the 11-year-old at their one-room rented house in Junagadh, Gujarat. A Thalassemic patient since he was just a year old, Jai had contracted HIV through blood transfusion at the Junagadh Civil Hospital.

Jai’s parents show a framed photograph of the 11-year-old at their one-room rented house in Junagadh, Gujarat. A Thalassemic patient since he was just a year old, Jai had contracted HIV through blood transfusion at the Junagadh Civil Hospital.

An IndiaSpend investigation, through a series of Right to Information (RTI) requests, has revealed that 14,474 cases of HIV through blood transfusion have been reported in India over the last seven years. It also revealed that the Indian government has yet to order a study or inquiry into this medical crisis that puts millions of lives at risk.

Not just that, there has been a 10% rise in the number of such cases over the last one year–from 1,424 in 2014-15 to 1,559 in 2015-16–according to documents obtained, through the RTIs, from that National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), the apex government body dealing with India’s HIV/AIDS control programme. (The second of this two-part series will explore the reasons behind this crisis.)

The 10% increase in 2015-16 numbers is significant because it has reversed the near-consecutive decrease in cases in the five preceding years. NACO, however, has downplayed the rise in its report on blood banks: “Due to concerted and active efforts, the prevalence of TTIs (transfusion transmission infections) has come down significantly over the years.”

NACO’s data are based on self-reporting by people at its Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres spread across the country. Referring to this, Sobhini Rajan, additional director general, blood safety, NACO, maintained that the data are “based on responses received from people and it is (sic) not scientifically corroborated”. She also added that the “figures have come down–from around 15% in the 1990s to less than 1% now”.

Image courtesy: Indiaspend.org

Image courtesy: Indiaspend.org

Developed countries rarely report such cases now. Canada, for instance, hasn’t seen a single case of blood transfusion-related HIV since 1985, and the US, since 2008.

While in India, one in every 100 HIV patients could be a victim of infected blood transfusion, the tally in the US is one in 300,000 cases, according to data shared by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a US national health agency.

This means that the chances of an HIV patient in India having contracted the virus through a blood transfusion are 3,000 times higher than in the US.

The data shared by the CDC said it diagnosed 312,860 HIV cases in the US between 2008 and 2014. Only one of them, in 2008, was the result of blood transfusion.

Is the government unaware of its own numbers?

The government, meanwhile, seems to be denying its own findings.

“No,” was the minister of state Anupriya Patel’s answer to the question as to whether the “government is aware that a large number of persons across the country have been infected with HIV while getting blood transfusions”, asked in the Lok Sabha in August 2016.

Patel also denied a rise in the number of cases of HIV through blood transfusion, contrary to NACO data.

Separate RTI responses from 22 states and union territories confirmed that none of them have conducted any studies on HIV transmitted through blood transfusions.

The Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society completely denied having such cases within its purview: “In Karnataka, there are no reported cases of HIV being transmitted through blood transfusions. The blood banks in Karnataka are regularly inspected.”

But an RTI response from the NACO has revealed that Karnataka has reported 976 cases of HIV through blood transfusion in the last seven years, and 94 cases in 2015-16 alone.

Some states such as Chhattisgarh replied that “no study on HIV through blood transfusion has been conducted”, while others such as Jharkhand stated that “no such information is available”.

“It’s important that the government conducts a study in this regard so that it can understand what is going wrong. People also need to become more conscious during blood transfusions,” said Sanjeev Sharma, a counsellor at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Delhi, who has been working with HIV patients for the past 18 years.

On the other hand, developed countries such as the US take reported cases very seriously. “Although reported cases of transfusion-transmitted HIV infection are extremely rare, CDC investigates every reported case to gather as much information as possible to ensure the multi-layered system designed to prevent blood contamination is effective,” said Rachel Wingard, a spokesperson for the CDC.

Gujarat reported most cases

Gujarat reported the highest number of HIV infections through blood transfusion in India–2,518 cases–followed by Uttar Pradesh (1,807) and Maharashtra (1,585).

Gujarat reported the most HIV infections through blood transfusions

Image courtesy: Indiaspend.org

The victims of the transfusions at the Junagadh Civil Hospital filed a case in the Gujarat High Court and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was instructed to probe the incident. But the agency filed a closure report in 2014 terming it a case of “negligence” on the part of the hospital. The case is now being re-investigated after the victims and their families protested.

“Most of the victims were poor and could only afford a government hospital,” said Paresh Vaghela, the group’s advocate.

It wasn’t just the infection that victims had to deal with; there was also the social isolation. Once the word was out that Jai was HIV-infected, he barely interacted with anyone. “He loved to go out and play, but in the last few months of his life, he hardly stepped outside the house,” said Ranava.

Tushar, a ninth-grader, who was among the children left sick after the Junagadh transfusion, is still fighting the infection. Rupesh, his father, said that the family keeps the disease a secret. “If people come to know about it, my son will be discriminated against,” he said.

Compensation–either rare or delayed

Cases such as those of Jai and Tushar are hardly rare in India. In May this year, a three-and-a-half-year-old boy was found HIV positive in Assam after blood transfusion, and in August, a four-and-half-year-old boy in Odisha contracted the virus through blood transfusion.

“We’ve come across many such cases in Delhi, but I’ve never heard of anyone getting compensation from hospitals,” said Sharma.

In June 2016, a Maharashtra woman who became HIV positive and lost her newborn after blood transfusion during her pregnancy was compensated after a two-decade-long legal battle.

Meanwhile, Junagadh victims and their families are despondent. “We thought the CBI would help us but now we’re starting to lose hope,” said Rupesh.

At his rented one-room house in Junagadh, about 400 km from the state capital, Ranava makes only one demand: “We need justice for our son.”

( Names have been changed to protect identities of victims)

First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 09:54 IST

Indians are protesting more and students in literate states are leading the charge

By Prabhpreet Singh Sood and Prince Singhal, IndiaSpend.com

Bengaluru: States with higher literacy levels report more protests, and nearly half of these protests were led by political parties, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of police data over six years.

The sharpest rise in unrest came from student-led agitations (148 percent) between 2009 and 2014, the period covered by the analysis, show the data, gleaned from the Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPRD), a national police agency.

Karnataka reported the most student protests (12 percent), despite a statewide ban on student unions in colleges. A high literacy rate and a concentration of educational institutions in the state could be the reason, said Venkatesh Nayak, coordinator, Access to Justice Programme with Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, an advocacy.

Up to 75.6 percent of Karnataka is literate (national average: 74 percent) and the state’s capital, Bengaluru, has more colleges (911) than any Indian city.

Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra together account for more than 50 percent of all protests recorded by the police between 2009 and 2014. Except Madhya Pradesh, all other states have literacy rates higher than national average.

Protests rise across India over five years, 200 every day

Between 2009 and 2014, 420,000 protests were held across India — an average of 200 protests every day nationwide (Table 1), and a 55 percent rise over five years.

The increase was mainly driven by Tamil Nadu and Punjab which, between them, registered nearly half the increase in protests nationwide.

Unrest grew across the country for varied reasons — communal (92 percent), government employee grievances (71 percent). political (42 percent) and labour (38 percent), our analysis shows.

Tamil Nadu leads the unrest on the streets

With almost 25 percent of the total number of protests, Tamil Nadu reported more agitations than any other state in the country. This is almost three times the number witnessed by the state that came second on the list, Punjab.

Agitations are the collective expression of dissatisfaction with government authorities, and social, political and economic establishments. They could relate to an array of issues–from education, essential services and transport facilities to wages, dalit issues and rights of women.

A protest gets recorded by the police either when prior permission is sought for holding it or when officials take suo-moto cognisance, based on information they gather.

Tamil Nadu has a history of high-profile agitations: From anti-Hindi agitations in the pre-Independence era to public expression of solidarity with the Tamils in Sri Lanka and marches against the Kudankulam nuclear plant.

MG Devasahayam, a former bureaucrat who was also actively involved in the Kudankulam protest, was of the view that this could be because governance in Tamil Nadu is not democratic enough.

“But there are also small parties that simply need to show their presence. So, on the Cauvery issue, there were hundreds of agitations,” said Devasahayam. “Everyone wants their name to appear in the media.”

Delhi, the country’s capital, was seventh in terms of number of protests–it reported nearly 23,000 in the period under study (Table 1). The city has designated demonstration sites, the best-known being Jantar Mantar, Ramlila Maidan and India Gate. Protests are a daily affair at these venues. These range from retired soldiers’ demand for “one rank, one pension” to protests that followed the Nirbhaya rape case in December 2012 and Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement.

The less empowered are less likely to agitate

Underdeveloped states, such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar — with 25 percent of India’s population collectively–accounted for less than 1 percent of agitations during 2009-14. These states are numbers one and three respectively on India’s population chart and have literacy rates much below the national average (Bihar has the lowest).

Similarly, undivided Andhra Pradesh, fifth in terms of all-India population ranking but with a literacy rate of only 67 percent, recorded only about 1.55 percent of all the agitations that took place in the country in the period.

The outliers and why they seem quiet

Kerala, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, and the northeastern states defy the link between protests and literacy. But that could be explained on the basis of their small populations.

In Kerala, the high court imposed a ban on bandhs — as protests are called colloquially — in 1997, which could also be one reason why protest numbers remain relatively low.

The northeastern states are generally considered to be politically volatile. But it is likely that in at least one state, Manipur, the absence of public protests can be attributed to the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which enforces curfew-like situation in the state, said Nayak.

Assam reported the most protests in the northeast: 17,357. The Bodoland issue — a long-simmering movement for a separate state for an ethnic tribe called the Bodos — the question of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and the diverse agendas of the many ethnic communities could be reasons.

Politics parties drive most stirs

Political parties and their affiliates are behind 32 percent of the protests recorded in the country. And if you add their student bodies and labour unions, the percentage goes up to 50 percent.

Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu together accounted for more than 60 percent of the political agitations held across India in six years. This is despite the fact these states had governments that had completed their five-year tenures during the period.

In Maharashtra, the number of demonstrations staged by political parties was large but their scale and intensity were not as high, said former state police chief Rahul Gopal. Political protests are often triggered by the need to be noticed by the electorate, he added.

Crowd control and how it varies across states

While 48 percent of 3,929 protests in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) were quelled by force, less than 0.1 percent of 109,548 demonstrations in Tamil Nadu — the state with the largest number of agitations — were similarly tackled.

Up to 45 percent of protests that attracted police force were in J&K alone. The agitations in the wake of the killing of Burhan Wani in July, 2016, were dealt with using pellet guns, a move criticised for mass blindings and other injuries it caused. (Table 3)

Over the last six years, the government has used police force to check less than 1 percent (3,972), according to the BPRD data.

Most instances of police force were reported from J&K, West Bengal, Manipur and Rajasthan. Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal have also seen a flurry of demonstrations against major developmental projects that caused displacement of native populations, said Nayak. (Table 2 & 3)

Force of any kind, especially firing, is resorted to only when there is a chance that the protest might turn into a riot, said Gopal.

“Bullets are the last resort,” he said. “Batons or just the presence of a high number of police personnel is enough to make sure that protests do not get out of control in most cases.”

The Supreme Court had observed in August, 2016, that while maintaining law and order is necessary, care has to be taken not to use force beyond what is “absolutely essential”. The apex court had issued the warning while hearing a petition alleging police brutality at a demonstration in support of Jammu migrants in 2007.

Dissent comes at a price

Agitations do lead to losses–both in terms of human casualties and damage to the economy and businesses.

The Bharat Bandh held two months ago, to focus attention on labour reforms, cost taxpayers about Rs 18,000 crore, said news reports. Ten days later, riots erupted in Karnataka over the Cauvery river row and resulted in a loss of Rs 22,000-25,000 crore, according to trade body ASSOCHAM.

Earlier in the year, violent agitations by Jats in Haryana cost northern states about Rs 34,000 crore, the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.

Karnataka, which stands sixth in the list of states with most agitations since 2009, made headlines globally when curfew had to be imposed for a few days owing to rioting over Cauvery water. Bengaluru, which hosts offices of tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Infosys, came to a standstill.

CNN, BBC and Wall Street Journal reported the water war to their audience and media houses back home ran stories with headlines that said the episode had sullied the IT hub’s image.

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Indiaspend.com is a data-driven, public-interest journalism non-profit

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 09:33 IST

Sagarmala Project proposes 14 coastal economic zones across India

The most talked after Sagarmala Project, envisaged by the Ministry of Shipping, proposes fourteen Coastal Economic Zones (CEZ) across major and non-major ports of India in a comprehensive plan to support the BJP-led government’s Make in India initiative.

The proposal comes at a time when India is lagging far behind in port-led industrialisation than China – its key economic competitor. The CEZs are expected to increase India’s merchandise exports by 110 billion by enhancing industrial competitiveness.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The CEZs to be built as per a comprehensive plan for port-led industrialisation will embrace 12 industrial clusters those will require up to Rs 8 lakh crores of industrial investment and Rs 15,000 crores of investment in basic infrastructure.

The plan says that twelve major clusters across three broad sectors – energy, material and discrete manufacturing – have been proposed in the CEZs on the basis of suitability of ocean mode of transportation for imports of raw material or exports of finished products.

The proposed port-led development is expected to not only reduce logistics costs by optimising movement of cargo, but also impact competitiveness in availability or raw materials, skills, supporting infrastructure and existing industrial agglomeration.

As per the plan, coastal states will have one or more CEZs. The industrial clusters within these zones will enjoy the benefit of lower cost of movement by waterways. It has been observed that EXIM containers in India travel 700 to 1,000 kilometres between production centres and ports. The plan attempts to decrease it substantially by facilitating port-led industrialisation.

Three energy clusters to meet the future power requirements of the country have been planned in proposed Poompuhar CEZ in Tamil Nadu and North Konkan CEZ in Maharashtra.

Two refining clusters in proposed Mannar CEZ in Tamil Nadu, Soth Konkan CEZ in Maharashtra or in Poompuhar CEZ in Tamil Nadu.

The plan also proposes four petrochemical clusters in proposed CEZs to be built up in Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha and Tamil Nadu.

Furthermore, it aims to enhance steel and cement production by 40 MTPA each by 2025 by creating coastal capacity and thus reduce logistic cost by Rs 1,000 per ton and make domestic manufacturing more competitive.

As per an analysis, six discrete manufacturing sectors – food processing, automotive, electronics, apparel, leather products, footwear and furniture – will be set up. Separate industrial clusters are also proposed in the CEZs to be built in the coastal states of the country.

The proposed Coastal Economic Zones are named Kachch, Suryapur and Saurashtra in Gujarat, North Konkan and South Konkan in Maharashtra, Dakshin Kanara in Karnataka, Malabar in Kerela, Mannar, VCIC South and Poompuhar in Tamil Nadu, VCIC North and VCIC central in Andhra Pradesh, Kalinga in Odisha and Gaud in West Bengal.

The plan admits that there is a gap in demand and supply of skilled manpower to implement the project successfully in the coastal districts and required to be plugged using special skill development program. The Sagarmala Project proposes a massive  training drive among the people in the coastal regions to meet the requirement.

Sagarmala project aims to invest Rs 70,000 crore in facilitating economic growth by enhancing coastal shipping of goods.

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 21:55 IST

NIA arrests 2 more al-Qaeda sympathisers in court bomb blast case

New Delhi: Carrying out with its probe in the blasts outside court premises in South India since April this year, NIA on Tuesday arrested two more persons for allegedly being involved in the conspiracy to carry out bomb explosions by a group sympathising with terror outfit al-Qaeda.

With Tuesday’s arrest, the number of people arrested in the case has gone upto five. The NIA, along with police forces from Tamil Nadu and Telangana, had arrested three persons on Monday for the five bomb blast cases in court premises of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka since April.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Among the arrests effected today was Mohammed Ayub Ali, who had been detained last night. Ali (25) of Madurai, who works as a public liaison officer for a hearing aid company, was placed under arrest today, NIA spokesman said.

The other person arrested was Shamsudeen, 25, a resident of Madurai after his name cropped up during interrogation of others arrested by the NIA.

The cases relate to blasts inside a vehicle at a parking place at district court complex, in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh on April 7; in a parking area of CJM Court Complex at Kollam in Kerala on June 15; inside court complex at Mysuru on 1 August, in Nellore of Andhra Pradesh on September 12 and inside a toilet complex of judicial court, Malappuram in Kerala on 1 November.

The NIA had arrested Abbas Ali, Suleiman and Samsum Karim Raja, all residents of Tamil Nadu.

The NIA spokesman had claimed that the arrested accused “during sustained interrogation confessed to their involvement in these blasts.”

Ali, a school dropout, was working as a painter and also ran a library in the name ‘Darul Ilm’ at Madurai. Raja is a Commerce graduate and runs a chicken broiler shop at Kannimara Koil street in Madurai.

Suleiman was working in a software firm. He was the main leader of the terrorist group which was influenced by the ideology of Osama bin Laden.

The group had claimed responsibility for these blasts and circulated pamphlets, pen drives and CDs in the name of “The Base Movement”, translation of the word al Qaeda.

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 15:51 IST

Al Qaeda plot: NIA arrests 2 more sympathisers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Carrying out with its probe in the blasts outside court premises in South India since April this year, NIA arrested two more persons on Tuesday for allegedly being involved in the conspiracy to carry out bomb explosions by a group sympathising with terror outfit al-Qaeda.With today’s arrest, the number of people arrested in the case has gone upto five.The NIA, along with police forces from Tamil Nadu and Telangana, had arrested three persons yesterday for the five bomb blast cases in court premises of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka since April. Among the arrests effected today was Mohammed Ayub Ali, who had been detained last night. Ali (25) of Madurai, who works as a public liaison officer for a hearing aid company, was placed under arrest today, NIA spokesman said.The other person arrested was Shamsudeen, 25, a resident of Madurai after his name cropped up during interrogation of others arrested by the NIA. The cases relate to blasts inside a vehicle at a parking place at district court complex, in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh on April 7; in a parking area of CJM Court Complex at Kollam in Kerala on June 15; inside court complex at Mysuru on August 1, in Nellore of Andhra Pradesh on September 12 and inside a toilet complex of judicial court, Malappuram in Kerala on November 1.The NIA had arrested Abbas Ali, Suleiman and Samsum Karim Raja, all residents of Tamil Nadu. The NIA spokesman had claimed that the arrested accused “during sustained interrogation confessed to their involvement in these blasts.”Ali, a school dropout, was working as a painter and also ran a library in the name ‘Darul Ilm’ at Madurai. Raja is a Commerce graduate and runs a chicken broiler shop at Kannimara Koil street in Madurai. Suleiman was working in a software firm. He was the main leader of the terrorist group which was influenced by the ideology of Osama bin Laden.The group had claimed responsibility for these blasts and circulated pamphlets, pen drives and CDs in the name of “The Base Movement”, translation of the word al Qaeda.

Demonetisation day 20: Jan Akrosh Divas, or the ‘Bharat Bandh’ that wasn’t?

The panning out of the Jan Akrosh Divas, a ‘nationwide bandh’ against the demonetisation by the Narendra Modi government, announced by the Opposition, took place on Monday.

Both the Congress and the TMC had quelled rumours about a bandh on Saturday itself, clarifying that parties have only planned protests, and JD(U) in Bihar was consistent with its earlier stance of supporting the demonetisation of higher denomination notes.

According to an article by Akshaya Mishra of Firstpost, not too much should be read into the joint action of the Opposition parties, as it is neither reflective of any index of opposition unity, nor of a building political formulation against Narendra Modi and the news updates of day 20 go to show how the protest gradually became the bandh that wasn’t.

Left Front no show in Bengal

The state-wide 12-hour strike called by the Left parties to protest demonetisation failed to evoke much response in Bengal. Government and private buses, trams and other private vehicles were seen plying on the road while most of the shops and markets were open. Train services of Eastern Railway in Sealdah and Howrah sections, besides Metro Rail services were also normal, Railway sources said, in a PTI report.

The strike called by the Left Front has been opposed by the ruling TMC in Bengal and the state government has ordered all its employees to attend offices on Monday and Tuesday. Exceptions would be made only in case of bereavement, maternity leave, hospitalisation and other ‘genuine reasons’, a circular issued by the state finance department said. Transport Minister and senior Trinamool Congress leader Suvendu Adhikari said his department is plying 3,000 more buses to maintain normalcy.

Andhra Pradesh, Telangana give mixed response

The bandh evoked a partial response in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed in some areas while there was not much impact elsewhere.

Activists of Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), Congress and YSR Congress Party staged sit-in at RTC (Road Transport Corporation) depots. However, the employees union stayed away from the shutdown, and the bus services by and large remained unaffected. Main opposition YSR Congress and Congress clarified that they have not called for ‘Bharat Bandh’ but were only participating in protests against the people’s sufferings due to demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Bihar’s partial response

Workers of RJD, Congress and Left parties disrupted train services at many places, but offices and schools registered normal attendance. Road traffic was as usual as well.

The protest had its echo in both Houses of the Bihar legislature where legislators of Congress, RJD and CPI-ML raised slogans. BJP legislators countered them by raising slogans against them. JD(U), a member of the ruling alliance, kept away from the stir in view of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s consistent support to demonetisation of high value notes to fight black money in the economy.

Kerala paralysed

The shutdown called by Kerala’s ruling LDF on Monday appeared to be total as only private vehicles plied, offices registered minimal attendances, and normal life was crippled. However, even though it was a state-wide shutdown, the organisers have left tourism activities and also the banking establishments out of the ambit of the call. They have also sought the pilgrims to the famed Sabarimala temple to be left unaffected by the shutdown.

The Congress-led opposition, however, expressed strong reservations over the shutdown. Following the demonetisation move, normal life has already turned upside down in the past 20 days and to further strain it would not be an answer to the woes, Congress was quoted as saying.

Life as usual in Karnataka

The ruling Congress party in Karnataka held protests and rallies throughout the state. The protest affected the functioning of both the Houses of Karnataka Legislature as they did not sit today in line with the decision taken by the Business Advisory Committee (BAC). However, life in Bengaluru and elsewhere remained normal with commercial establishments, educational institutions, banks and private offices working as usual and public transport and Metro maintaining their regular services.

Official reports said barring protests by Congress, the situation in the entire state, including the districts of Mysuru, Gadag, Haveri, Belagavi, Kalaburgi, Chamrajanagar, Dharwad, Uttara Kannada and Kolar, was normal. ‘Jan Aakrosh Diwas’ did not strike chord as expected as the state has seen five days of bandhs, protests and strikes in the last four months, including one on Cauvery water issue with Tamil Nadu which was marked by large-scale violence.

With inputs form PTI

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 17:44 IST

Kerala: 35-year-old Japanese tourist raped in Kovalam, accused arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 35-year-old Japanese woman was allegedly raped by a man from neighbouring Karnataka at nearby Kovalam, police said on Saturday.The accused, identified as Teja (25), was arrested on Saturday based on the woman’s statement. His family runs a handicrafts shop at Kovalam, police said. A case was registered against him under section 376 (punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code. The incident is alleged to have taken place on Friday night, they said.The woman, who was injured and bleeding in her hotel room, was rushed to the government SAT Hospital by the staff, police said. After being tipped off by hospital authorities about the incident, police collected information from the woman and arrested the man.The woman had arrived in Kovalam on Friday, police said.

Congress seeks CAG probe in surge in deposits of Jan Dhan accounts post demonetisation

New Delhi: With reports of surge in deposits in Jan Dhan accounts with as much as Rs 21,000 crore being parked in them following demonetisation, Congress on Thursday sought a CAG probe into the entire issue saying the country is being taken for a ride.

“This whole Jan Dhan business, I have always believed from Day 1, that there is more to it than meets the eye. We hope the CAG will do a quick inquiry into this whole Jan Dhan issue,” Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

He said, “the entire country is being taken for a ride on the Jan Dhan issue.”

Jan Dhan Accounts have seen a huge surge in deposits, with Rs 21,000 crore being parked in such accounts following demonetisation announced earlier this month, with maximum being in West Bengal and followed by Congress-ruled Karnataka.

In the last 13 days, banks have been flooded with deposits in Jan Dhan accounts that have touched Rs 21,000 crore, sources said.

On 8 November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a surprise move announced demonetisation of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes and since then, long queues before banks and post offices are seen to deposit or exchange these currencies.

Mamata Banerjee-ruled West Bengal leads the pack of states which has seen the highest deposits so far followed by Karnataka.

Following the currency withdrawal, the total balance has crossed Rs 65,000 crore to Rs 66,636 crore. As of 9 November, the balance in about 25.5 crore such accounts was Rs 45,636.61 crore.

With a view to increasing banking penetration and promoting financial inclusion and with the main objective of covering all households with at least one bank account per household across the country, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY) was launched on August 28, 2014. Such accounts have a deposit limit of Rs 50,000.

First Published On : Nov 24, 2016 22:08 IST

Jan Dhan accounts richer by Rs 21,000 crore in 15 days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A massive sum of Rs 21,000 crore has flowed into accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) in the two weeks since the government withdrew Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.On November 9 – the demonetization came into effect at 12 midnight following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on the evening of November 8 – the balance in about 25.5 crore such accounts was Rs 45,636.61 crore. It has since jumped an estimated 46 per cent to Rs 66,636 crore, finance ministry sources have revealed.West Bengal leads the pack of states which has seen the highest deposits so far, followed by Karnataka, they added.The surge in deposits has given rise to suspicion that black money hoarders could be using their staff and other poor people as mules to launder their cash.One Jan Dhan account holder told DNA on condition of anonymity that 20 per cent commission was being offered to those willing to deposit money into their accounts. With the government declaring that deposits up to Rs 2.5 lakh would not be questioned, there are instances of Jan Dhan account holders being enticed to put the money and keep a percentage when they finally withdraw it.Launched on August 28, 2014, Jan Dhan accounts can have deposits up to Rs 1 lakh a year. Those accounts that don’t adhere to Know Your Customer norms have a lower limit Rs 50,000.Of the 25.51 crore Jan Dhan accounts, 23.27 per cent had no money in them – amounting to 5.86 crore zero-balance accounts.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that the government is looking into money that has “popped up” suddenly into the zero-balance accounts. “We are getting some complaints that suddenly monies have popped up in the Jan Dhan accounts, so there is a misuse…,” he had said.Income tax sources said they are monitoring unusual deposits in all accounts, including Jan Dhan accounts. All Jan Dhan accounts which have deposited more than Rs 50,000 in the last 15 days are on the radar.However, there is also the view that the Jan Dhan account holder can get away by saying that the amount represented his/her life savings that were kept at home.During his recent Agra rally, the Prime Minister had asked the poor to not allow the misuse of their accounts.
BLACK TO WHITE: HERE’S HOW THEY’RE DOING ITPaying a commission, about 20%, to a Jan Dhan account holder for depositing the black moneyDonating to a temple, then collecting it after paying the priest a commissionBack-dated fixed deposits in cooperative banks and credit societiesApproaching the banknote mafia to collect at least 50% backPaying four-five months salaries in advanceBooking and cancelling air/train ticketsProfessional money laundering firmsUsing farmers as agri income is not taxed.Using political parties as donations up to Rs 20,000 is permitted

Sadananda Gowda feels heat of demonetisation as Karnataka hospital refuses to release brother’s body

Union minister Sadananda Gowda had to face the heat of the note ban on Tuesday in a very tragic situation.

Gowda’s brother DV Bhaskar Gowda passed away after a brief illness on Tuesday at a private hospital in Mangaluru and the administration declined accept the payment in old currency notes. The hospital declined to release the body until the payment was made in an alternative form.

DV Sadananda Gowda. PTI.DV Sadananda Gowda. PTI.

DV Sadananda Gowda. PTI.

Union Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation, and former Karnataka Chief Minister felt the pinch of the demonetisation scheme launched by his own government when Kasturba Manipal Hospital (KMC) in his hometown denied to accept the full and final payment of Rs 48,000 in old currency notes. The minister, who had rushed to his hometown after hearing of his brother’s demise, finally had to write a cheque to clear the payment and get the body released, according to News18

The minister, miffed at the treatment meted out to his family first pleaded with the hospital administration to process the payment. But when the administration denied to release the body, he took a written declaration from the hospital staff that they have refused to accept old currency notes for the payment.  He has asked the local BJP functionary to submit a report on the inconvenience caused to public as private hospitals refused to take notes.  “If this is how you behave with a central minister, what happens to the common man who comes for treatment at a private hospital like KMC?,” a report in India Today quoted him as saying.

Gowda has also reportedly written to the prime minister to apprise him of the situation on ground and the problems faced by him, according to CNN-News18. 

The hospital staff also confirmed the incident to The Indian Express, stating that their action was in compliance with the RBI guidelines. However, a media executive for the minister denied that any such incident occurred, claiming that the minister’s family never tried to settle the bill in old notes, the newspaper reported.

Bhaskar Gowda, 54, was a lawyer by profession and was admitted to the Kasturba Manipal Hospital 11 days ago, suffering from severe jaundice, according to The Times Of India. The minister broke the news of his demise through a tweet.

First Published On : Nov 23, 2016 16:36 IST

Odisha: 12 lakh seized from the house of recruitment agent

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In two separate incidents, Odisha Police arrested a youth on charge of circulating fake Rs 2,000 notes and recovered Rs 4.8 lakh stocked in the newly-introduced denomination post the Centre’s demonetization move.Madhusudan Meher of Jharsuguda was arrested while he was trying to use the fake currency at petrol pump in Sunarimunda, a senior police officer said. The petrol outlet staff handed him over to the cops. “The note is a colour photocopy of an original Rs 2,000 currency. A case has been registered at the Jharsuguda police station and investigation is underway,” Sub-divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Jharsuguda, Bijay Nanda said.Meanwhile in Bolangir district, police seized over Rs 12 lakh from the house of a recruitment agent of migrant labourers, popularly known as ‘dadan sardar’ on charge of stashing huge amount of cash. The police raided the house of Khirasagar Bag, a dadan sardar at Tingra village under Saintala police station limits last night and seized Rs 12,75,900, Bolangir SP Asish Singh said.
ALSO READ Demonetization | Businessman detained with Rs 12 lakh cash at Goa-Karnataka borderSingh said though they raided house of Bag on a tip-off about fake notes but the police could not find any. Out of the total amount recovered, Rs 2,000 notes were also stored which totaled upto Rs 4.8 lakh, he said. “The police were investigating as to how Bag could arrange so many Rs 2,000 notes while people stand in lines to get cash from banks and ATMs,” Singh said.Police suspected that the man was using local people to get demonetised notes exchanged for new the Rs 2,000 notes in different banks. Bag, however, he could not be arrested as he absconded before the raid took place, police said.

Demonetization | Businessman detained with Rs 12 lakh cash at Goa-Karnataka border

Mon, 21 Nov 2016-08:24pm , Panaji , PTI

The Margao-based businessman was carrying Rs 12 lakh in cash, some of it comprising scrapped Rs 500 and new Rs 2,000 notes. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Margao-based businessman was detained at Keri village bordering Karnataka on Monday after he was found possessing Rs 12 lakh in cash, some of it comprising scrapped Rs 500 and new Rs 2,000 notes, police said. “Shahabaz Husain Muzawar was detained during the regular police check at Keri outpost on the Goa-Karnataka border while he was returning from Belagavi (Belgaum). He was found to be in possession of huge cash,” Inspector Dipak Pednekar said.Muzawar was carrying Rs eight lakh in denomination of Rs 100, Rs 500 (old notes) worth Rs three lakh, Rs 1.74 lakh in new Rs 2,000 currency and remaining was in Rs 50, 20 and 10, the officer said. Police have decided to hand over the suspect to Income Tax Department for further inquiry. Police have been keeping a strict vigil on the state border in the wake of the recent demonetization exercise by the Centre.

Babus to visit states to assess demonetization drive

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior bureaucrats working in central departments have been asked to visit states for on-the-spot assessment of demonetization drive and to provide their feedback.A total of 32 teams of nearly 70 senior officers–of the level of Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary– and those working as Director or Deputy Secretary have been formed by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).”The officers have been deputed to undertake field visits in various states for making on-the-spot assessment of the situation and to provide feedback thereon,” an order said. The officers have been drawn from various central government departments.Teams of three officers each would visit Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, it said. Two-member teams would visit Telangana, Kerala, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Goa and Assam. Whereas, teams of one official each would visit Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur, Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and Sikkim. “Department of Economic Affairs will decide the dates/ duration of the field visits as well as the terms of the reference for the same,” the DoPT said.The Centre had on November 8 demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in order to check black money, corruption, money laundering, terror financing as well as counterfeiting of currency notes.Large number of people are queuing up at banks since then to exchange old notes and withdrawing money as ATMs are also being calibrated by the government to dispense newly-introduced Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 denomination notes.

Water level in 91 reservoirs dips to 68%: Government

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Water level in 91 major reservoirs in the country has plunged to 68% of their total capacity from 70% last week, the government said on FridayAccording to Water Resources Ministry, 107.449 billion cubic metre (BCM) of water was available in these reservoirs for the week ending on November 17.The stock was 127% of the storage reported during the corresponding period last year, while it is 98% of the decadal average, the Ministry said in a statement. Last week, the stock available in these reservoirs was 110.097 BCM. The total capacity of the reservoirs is 157.799 BCM.The states which have recorded less storage vis-a-vis the corresponding period last year are Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, while the water levels in reservoirs in Karnataka are equivalent to those reported last year.Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have reported better stock compared to last year.

Demonetisation: Printing units need 6 months to replenish Rs 500 notes

New Delhi: Will new notes which replace the demonetised currency find itself in circulation soon? Unlikely, if the capacity of all the currency printing presses in the country is taken into account.

The latest calculation, based on capacities of the currency printing presses, shows that replenishment would take around six months. This is particularly true for the new Rs 500 notes, whose printing, presumably, started after 10 November. Till those are replenished in adequate numbers, the “currency pain” would not go away since Rs 2,000 notes are difficult to exchange for lower denominations.

However, enough of the new Rs 2,000 notes may already have been printed, calculations show.

The central government had demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes on 8 November, sending the whole nation into a tizzy. Long queues outside banks have been a daily occurrence since then because enough currency notes are not available with them.

New information gleaned from public sources show that the government may be too optimistic in claiming that “adequate amount” of money would soon be in circulation.

That’s because of the limited capacity of the printing presses in the country for such a sudden, huge job.

Rs 500  Note

There are four currency presses — one each in Nashik (Maharashtra), Dewas (Madhya Pradesh), Salboni (West Bengal) and Mysuru (Karnataka).

The first two are owned by the central government through the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd. According to information available in the Finance Ministry’s latest annual report, the yearly currency printing capacity of these two presses is around 40 per cent of the total in the country.

The other two presses — in Salboni and Mysuru — are part of the Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Pvt. Ltd. (BRBNMPL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). These two, comprising 60 per cent of the total capacity, can print 16 billion notes in two shifts per year, according to information available on BRBNMPL’s website.

In essence, it means that total capacity in the country would be 26.66 billion notes in two shifts. If all three shifts run, as the government says is happening now, the four presses would be able to print 40 billion notes a year, irrespective of the denomination.

Now, according to the government, the total money in circulation — before Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were declared illegal — was Rs 17.54 lakh crore or Rs 17,540 billion. Of this, 45 percent was in Rs 500 denomination — equivalent to Rs 7.89 lakh crore or Rs 7,890 billion and 39 percent in Rs 1,000 notes amounting to Rs 6.84 lakh crore or Rs 6,840 billion.

In other words, there were 15.78 billion notes of Rs 500 denomination in circulation and 6.84 billion notes of Rs 1,000. But if they are going to print Rs 2,000 notes equivalent to value of the Rs 1,000 notes declared illegal, that is, worth Rs 6.84 lakh crore, they would have to print only half, or 3.42 billion notes.

If the printing started in early September, as has been claimed by some printing press officials, they would need only a little over two months to meet the full requirement, even at 50 per cent capacity. In other words, they should have printed all the replacement needs of Rs 2,000 notes till now.

Further, how long will they need to print Rs 500 notes, now that the machines would not be printing Rs 2,000 notes? Assuming an 80 per cent run (remember Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 comprised 84 per cent of all currencies), the time taken for the new Rs 500 notes, which began printing, presumably, on November 10, would be: 5.9 months.

The rest of the 20 per cent capacity could be used for the lower denomination notes from Rs 5 to Rs 100. So, by April-end, one would presume, all the new notes would be in circulation. And, of course, the pain would be longer than the 50 days that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has mentioned.

First Published On : Nov 17, 2016 18:33 IST

Demonetisation: As mad scramble for indelible ink begins, black money holders have the last laugh

After the government s decision to use indelible ink to curb exchanging of notes by same person, banks seem to be in a mad scramble to procure the product.

The company producing the ink is gearing up to meet the demand by increasing the production of the ink but banks, for the time being are using alternatives, says a report in the Indian express.

Representative image. ReutersRepresentative image. Reuters

Representative image. Reuters

The shortage of the ink is giving more time for black money holders to whiten their ill-gotten wealth.

However, there is only one recognised producer of the indelible ink in India, according to the Indian Express. The Karnataka government-run Mysore Paints and Varnish Ltd (MPVL), said that it had received orders for 2.9 lakh 5-ml bottles, each costing Rs 116, from various banks by Wednesday evening. “We will be producing ink at the rate of 37,000 bottles per day for dispatch to banks. The total cost of around Rs 3.45 crore will be borne by the banks,’’ said C Harakumar, general manager, MPVL.

The company is unable to execute such a large order in a short time and so the banks have been advised to use ‘dhobi’ ink — used by laundries to tag clothes and owners– as it does not come off easily. Banks have been sent images on how to apply the ink with instructions: Please buy DHOBI INK till you get it (original indelible ink) from Mysore (Mysore Paints)… mark to be placed on skin, bank managers said anonymouly, according to the IE.

Procuring ‘dhobi’s ink’ is also turning out to be a herculean task, according to bank employees. They are also apprehensive whether the ink which has chemical properties and is only used on cloth would have reactions when used on skin, the IE report said.

Banks accept multiple ID cards such as Aadhaar card, Driving Licence, Voter ID card, Passport, NREGA Card, PAN card, and ID cards issued by government departments and public sector units to their staff to identify customers while exchanging notes. People with multiple ID cards, though, were found exploiting a loophole to exchange old currency, the IE report said.

While announcing the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes on late November 8, 2016, the PM had initially set a limit of Rs 4,000 for exchange of the annulled notes which was subsequently raised to Rs 4,500.

On Tuesday (15 November), Shaktikanta Das, Secretary, Economic Affairs, announced that indelible ink would be used on the index finger on the right hand of the customer to stop repeat money exchangers thronging banks with invalid currency notes.

As per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for exchanging notes, concerned bank branches and post offices would put indelible ink mark on the right index finger of the customer so as to identify that he/she has exchanged the old currency notes once

State Bank of India and a few other banks in Delhi have started using indelible ink. As per the government statement, 11 branches of SBI are using the method to weed out customers queuing up again and again to exchange invalid currency notes.

This is the biggest crackdown on black money, corruption and counterfeit currency by the Modi government.

First Published On : Nov 17, 2016 07:29 IST

Demonetisation: ‘Tough day’ for the common man, but we all know who’s having ‘sleepless nights’

The ‘stupid common man’ is happy about the cleaning and with a masochistic smile, sipping the ‘strong tea’, to which in any case, he has become accustomed over the years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing a rally in Ghazipur (Uttar Pradesh) on Monday, said, “My decision is a little harsh. When I was young, poor people used to ask for ‘kadak’ (strong) tea but it spoils the mood of rich.”

The prime minister has indeed served very strong tea to the people. But it is essentially spoiling the taste buds of those who had in many ways legitimised the illegitimate. While the stories of people struggling in long queues have made the headlines, those who were never part of these queues are intelligently concealing their pain. After all, their expression of dissent is illegitimate.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

When did we last find a top ranking bureaucrat, a politician of some standing, a celebrity or a Porsche-driving businessman standing in the queue for an ATM? It was not that their absence ever made the news, rather it was the other way round.

It was always the common man who was seen standing there, in those long queues. Why is it that the ‘harassed’ lot who are smilingly bearing the brunt of the sudden demonetisation — with great dignity for the greater good — are projected as victims, when they are acting like dutiful soldiers in this battle against corruption?

Why instead we are not talking about those who are having sleepless nights, those who are calling their relatives and friends with generous offers of depositing Rs 2.5 lakh in their bank accounts.

While these people might not be profiled like the ‘60-year-old man who fainted standing the queue’, their numbers are no fewer.

Consider this:

Case 1: On a WhatsApp group of a family from Uttar Pradesh, with most of the members in white collar jobs and one in the civil services (details of the group were shared by one of the non-confirming members), a discussion progressed on 9 November around the topic of demonetisation. While most of the members discussed both pros and cons of the move, one among them was all resentful and dissenting. He was the one who wore the white collar with all ‘civility’. The reason was clear to all the members but no one spoke of it.

Case 2: A marriage venue was shifted from a fancy and expensive heritage site in Rajasthan to a modest banquet hall in Delhi. Nobody asked the reason for the change but everyone who was informed about it could not help a wry smile.

Case 3: At an upscale eating joint in Central Delhi, a man swiped his cards many times and the beads of sweat increased on his forehead with each declined transaction. He had heard the very same morning that the income tax (I-T) department had been instructed to monitor bank accounts and report any ‘abnormal’ transaction. He called a friend and informed him about declined transaction and asks him to ‘do something’.

These are the people who are finding this attack on their accounted wealth absurd.

These are the people who are hit hardest, but then they are using all their sophistication to hide their angst.

In a country where upari kamaai is seen as an achievement and ‘just salary’ is frowned upon, who in his right senses can argue against the existence of huge amounts of black money?

In August last year, CID officials raided a flat in Bengaluru owned by a Karnataka cadre IAS and found cash worth Rs 4.37 crore. Last year in a raid at the premises of former Noida chief engineer Yadav Singh, CBI sleuths found, along with documentary proof of 38 properties, Rs 10 crore in cash. A long list of such cases can be put forward to stress how corrupt government officials and politicians have hoarded crores of rupees in cash, by selling out the entire system.

The common man might be having a tough day in dealing with the cash crunch, but it is the corrupt who are having sleepless nights. And it is evident in memes and jokes on demonetisation doing the rounds on WhatsApp and Facebook.

The best humour is often designed by sad realities.

On 8 November, former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag supported Modi’s decision and tweeted:

In this context, it is fairly ironic that the real victims are not talked about. Sehwag’s wonderful homour was designed by the reality that the corrupt were having a gala time till 8 November.

Abhishek Waghmare, an analyst with IndiaSpend, in an article published on Firstpost,wrote, “The sudden announcement will directly affect black money hoarded by Indians, and will possibly present them two alternatives: either deposit the money after identifying themselves to banks, or exchange the money by 24 November, 2016. According to basic calculations, with a daily limit of Rs 4,000 a day, a maximum of Rs 60,000 can be exchanged by a person, in 15 days from 10 November to 24 November. From 24 November onwards, the exchange process will be eased for convenience, meaning the exchange limit will be increased. However, there is no limit on deposits”.

He added, “As the deadline for Indian individuals to declare undisclosed income — the Income Declaration Scheme — ended on 30 September, 2016, no ‘unaccounted for’ money can be declared now. It ceases to be money; instead it will be a ‘worthless piece of paper’, as (Modi) termed it in his speech”.

The extent of unaccounted wealth and black money is vast and it is no secret. Given this fact, just focusing on the problems faced by the people in the implementation of the demonetisation, and calling for its withdrawal is a perfect case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 13:01 IST

50 days for a new India: PM

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

Ban cash donations to political parties: Former SC judge Santosh Hegde

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lauding the move to abolish high-currency notes, former Supreme Court Judge N Santosh Hegde said the government should now take steps to bring back black money stashed in foreign banks, and ban cash donations to political parties.”I fully agree with Government of India decision. Every decision will cause some sort of a hardship to the people (in the short-term) but that cannot be a ground to say that we should allow to keep the black money in circulation,” he said.”At the time, I wish they (the government) should do something more in bringing the money in the foreign banks which was their (BJP’s) election manifesto actually,” said Hegde, who was a key figure in the Anna Hazare-led India Against Corruption movement a few years ago.Demonetising 500 and 1,000 rupee notes is as important as bringing back the black money stashed abroad, the former Solicitor General of India argued. “Huge amount of money is there outside the country, I am sure either equal or more than that in India”, he told PTI. Real estate transactions, in particular, do have large portions of black money in them, he said. “And this (the demonetisation) is good move and our financial security should improve by this. I fully appreciate this step”, added the former Karnataka Lokayukta. “They (the government) should take some steps (to bring back black money stashed abroad). I heard the Prime Minister as saying they have taken steps, shortly they may get it back but it’s two years since they came to power,” he said.According to him the demonetisation move would definitely affect political parties in the coming round of Assembly elections, including in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab Hegde termed banning of cash donations to political parties as a “very good idea”, and favoured government making it mandatory for such donors to share their PAN or Aadhaar number. “It will (then) be easy to cross-check with Income Tax Department whether such a person could have made that much of a donation. Then it becomes extremely difficult for them to give false names and give donations. Some such radical step should be taken to see that this type of black money transactions are stopped,” he said.Hegde said the effort should be to see that black money “totally becomes useless”.

Karnataka edu minister says porn was WhatsApp forward, opened it ‘accidentally’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karnataka’s primary and secondary education minister Tanveer Sait was found watching pornographic photographs on his mobile phone on Thursday during the Tipu Jayanthi celebrations in Raichur. On Friday, he told ANI that he had not been looking at the photos intentionally. “I did not open that picture (porn) intentionally, it was on a WhatsApp group and it opened accidentally,” Sait said.A media channel ran footage of the minister viewing photographs of skimpily-clad girls on his phone while on the dais during the celebrations organised as a tribute to Tipu Sultan, the ruler of erstwhile Mysore kingdom who fought against the British. The minister is seen browsing photographs of the girl while other speakers are lauding Tipu Sultan.Though the minister and the Congress are yet to react, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been criticising the government for organising Tipu Jayanthi, has demanded the minister’s resignation. BJP leader KS Eshwarappa said: “He has no moral authority to continue as a minister, he should resign immediately.”This is the second such scandal that has surfaced in Karnataka in the recent times. In 2012, two BJP ministers were caught viewing porn on their mobile phones inside the legislative assembly.

‘Maastigudi’ tragedy: Body of second Kannada film stuntman found

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After three days of intense search, body of the second stunt actor who drowned during a Kannada film shoot was recovered on Thursday from the murky waters of Tippagondanahalli lake near here.The body of Anil, who jumped into the water from the helicopter during the climax action scene for Maastigudi film on Monday, was fished out in the early hours by the National Disaster Response Force-led search team, police said.After the post-mortem, the body was handed over to the family members and brought to his house where several Kannada actors, including Duniya Vijay and Puneet Rajkumar and large number of his fans paid their respects.Body of Uday, another stuntman who drowned with Anil, was pulled out of the murky waters of the lake yesterday, 20 feet from where they the two had taken the fatal leap from the helicopter. Uday’s last rites were performed on Thursday.Over 100 personnel from the state and Central teams, including Navy divers, and a drone were deployed for the massive search operation, with both bodies recovered amid chaotic scenes as hundreds of people gathered on the banks. Duniya Vijay had a narrow escape after he was rescued by a fisherman when he jumped with the two stunt actors from the helicopter into the lake in a horrific scene caught on camera.The film unit has been hit by allegations that it did not take even elementary safety measures, made worse by the rescue boat that remained immobile facing a technical glitch. With the film unit coming in the line of fire, Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday directed Duniya Vijay, director Nagashekhar and stunt director Ravi Varma not to involve themselves in any film-related activity till “further orders”.