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Former Union Home Secretary Anil Baijal likely to be new Delhi LG

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Career bureaucrat Anil Baijal looks set to become the next Lt Governor of Delhi, a post which has fallen vacant after sudden resignation of Najeeb Jung.A 1969 batch IAS officer, Baijal had served as Union Home Secretary under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government besides holding key positions in other ministries. 70-year-old Baijal, whose appointment papers have been sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for his approval, had retired from service in 2006 as Secretary, Urban Development Ministry. He is a former vice chairman of Delhi Development Authority.Baijal was actively associated with the designing and roll-out of Rs 60,000 crore Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) launched by the Manmohan Singh government. The former bureaucrat was also on the executive council of the think-tank Vivekananda International Foundation, several of whose former members have been appointed to senior positions by the Modi government including National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.Jung had submitted his resignation on December 22, ending a nearly three-and-half-year-long eventful tenure, mostly marked by bitter confrontation with AAP government. Meanwhile, the government today recommended to the President, who on his annual winter sojourn at Rashtrapathi Nilayam in Secunderabad, acceptance of Jung’s resignation.

Sheena Bora murder case: Indrani Mukerjea performs post-death rituals for father

Mumbai: Indrani Mukerjea, prime accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, on Tuesday performed the post-death rituals for her father at Brahman Seva Samiti hall here and returned to the Byculla Women’s prison in the evening.

The special CBI court in Mumbai had last week granted her permission to perform the rituals anywhere in Mumbai. The court, however, had rejected her plea for interim bail to visit her hometown, Guwahati, for the purpose, following her father Upendra Bora’s death on 15 December.

Indrani Mukherjee arrives to attend the post-death rituals of her father in Mulund, Mumbai on Tuesday. A special CBI court had last week granted Indrani the permission to attend the rituals anywhere in Mumbai . PTIIndrani Mukherjee arrives to attend the post-death rituals of her father in Mulund, Mumbai on Tuesday. A special CBI court had last week granted Indrani the permission to attend the rituals anywhere in Mumbai . PTI

Indrani Mukherjee arrives to attend the post-death rituals of her father in Mulund, Mumbai on Tuesday. A special CBI court had last week granted Indrani the permission to attend the rituals anywhere in Mumbai . PTI

Indrani left jail at around 7.30 am today with a police escort for Brahman Seva Samiti hall in Mulund. After
performing rituals there till 4.30 pm, she visited a nearby temple for prayers for an hour, a police officer said.

Judge HS Mahajan had said in his order that she shall not speak to media during the time she was out of the prison.

She shall be brought back to jail by 7 pm, the judge had said.

CBI had opposed Indrani’s request for interim bail to visit Assam. It had produced an e-mail sent by her son
Mikhail, which said he did not want her to visit Guwahati.

Indrani’s intention was to influence prosecution witnesses and there was also a possibility that she would try
to escape, CBI said.

Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyam Rai are accused of killing Sheena, her daughter from an earlier relationship, in April 2012. Her husband and former media baron Peter Mukerjea too has been arrested in the case for being party to the conspiracy.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 22:19 IST

Real empowerment of women possible only through education: President Mukherjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said real empowerment of women would be possible only through education, encouragement of economic self-dependence and provision of opportunities enabling the unfolding of one’s full potential. The President praised the leading role played by the Mahila Dakshata Samiti in women’s empowerment and recalled the contributions of the Samiti’s founding members such as Suman Krishankant, Prof. Pramila Dandavate and Smt. Mridula Sinha, the Governor of Goa.”The only long lasting solution is to create cooperative structures comprising the government and private stake holders as well as civil society. In fact, the developmental goals of health, education, livelihood etc. cannot be achieved by the government alone. Such co-operative structures are relevant for all of them,” President Mukherjee said at the inauguration of the Bansilal Malani College of Nursing established by the Mahila Dakshata Samiti in Hyderabad on Saturday.Speaking on the occasion, the President expressed concern over the deficiencies in the health infrastructure of the country. The President said there is a phenomenal shortage of about 2.4 million nurses in our country and a decrease in the number of nurses from about 1.65 million in 2009 to about 1.56 million in 2015. “This indicated a worry-some trend. At the same time, our infrastructure also comprises of just 1.53 lakh sub-centres, 85000 PHCs and about 5000 Community Health Centres in a nation of 130 crore people living in more than 5000 towns and 6.4 lakh villages. It is essential to look for models wherein all stake-holders participate rather than the government alone,” he added.The President said it is unfortunate that today when average overall literacy in India was 74%, women’s literacy is less than 65%. He said a society which does not empower its women will end up as a loser and called for renewed efforts in this direction.

President Mukherjee arrives in Hyderabad on ten-day southern sojourn

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee arrived in Hyderabad on Thursday on a ten-day, annual southern sojourn. Governor ESL Narasimhan, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and his cabinet colleagues besides Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and senior officials received him at Hakimpet Airforce station.The President will stay at Rashtrapati Nilayam in Hyderabad, a former Nizam palace built in 1860 which stands on a sprawling 90 acres of grounds and now serves as a presidential retreat. Mukherjee will attend convocation at the Army College of Dental Sciences in Secunderabad on Friday. He will also address centenary celebrations of the Federation of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.On December 24, he will inaugurate Mahila Dakshata Samiti and Bansilal Malani College of Nursing in Hyderabad. The next day he will visit Bengaluru to inaugurate 89th annual conference of Nikhil Bharat Banga Sahitya Sammelan, an official release said.On December 26, the President will attend the convocation of Maulana Azad National Urdu University here and on December 29, he will inaugurate the 77th session of Indian History Congress in Thiruvananthapuram. He will then travel to Mysuru where he would inaugurate the 17th National Jamboree of Bharat Scout and Guides.On December 30, the President will inaugurate Sri Shankara National Centre for Cancer Prevention and Research and Adamya Chetana Seva Utsav-2017 in Bengaluru. He will also host `At Home’ reception at the Rashtrapati Nilayam for senior dignitaries of the state, Ministers, officials and journalists.

PM Narendra Modi to hold bilateral discussions with Kyrgyzstan President today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold bilateral discussions with President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev in New Delhi on Tuesday.President Atambayev will be accorded an ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan today morning. Atambayev arrived in New Delhi on Sunday on a four day state visit to India. He is leading a high-level delegation comprising ministers, senior officials and business leaders. This is his first visit to India as President.President Pranab Mukherjee will host a dinner banquet in his honour this evening.Bolstering existing defence cooperation, enhancing trade ties and exploring surface connectivity projects will be high on the agenda of talks between the two leaders.The Kyrgyz President’s visit comes after the successful visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the central Asian country in July last year.India and Kyrgyztan share excellent relations in all areas including defence, economy, commerce, education, human resource development, culture and tourism.The trade between the two countries was $27.99 million during the last fiscal, with India’s exports to Kyrgyzstan amounting to $26.20 million. Apparel and clothing, leather goods, pharmaceuticals, and tea are some of the important items in India’s export basket to the country.About 4500 Indian students are studying medicine in various medical institutions in Kyrgyzstan. President Atambayev’s visit is expected to further strengthen the cordial relations between the two countries. He is also scheduled to attend a Joint Business Forum tomorrow.

India and Tajikistan faced by growing threat of terrorism, oppose the menance: Pranab Mukherjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee has said that both India and Tajikistan are opposed to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. “As neighbours with a shared vision of peace and stability in our region, we both desire to strengthen our defence and security co-operation in order to effectively address our concerns. The world and particularly our region, is, today, faced by the growing threat of terrorism. Both India and Tajikistan are opposed to this menace in all its forms and manifestations,” President Mukherjee said on Saturday in his banquet speech hosted in honour of Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon.Asserting that development and progress of India’s utmost importance, President Mukherjee said the people of the nation as secular and pluralistic societies, desire to live in peace. “For us, development and progress of our nations is of utmost importance. We are also committed to assist our mutual friend and neighbour, Afghanistan, to realise the goals and aspirations of its people – through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process,” he added.Welcoming the President of Tajikistan to India, the President said his visit to the nation is on the eve of the 25th anniversary of India-Tajikistan diplomatic relations. “It bears testimony to the abiding friendship between the two nations and the value that we attach to our bilateral relations. India was among first countries to recognise emergence of Tajikistan on dissolution of the former Soviet Union. Over the last 24 years, we have had a fruitful co-operation,” he added.
ALSO READ PM Modi, Tajikistan President Rahmon hold bilateral talks, agree to work together on trade through Iran’s Chabahar PortPresident Mukherjee said India recognises the Tajikitan President’s role in ensuring peace and stability in Tajikistan which has a similar salutary effect in the region. Subsequently, in his banquet speech, President Mukherjee said India appreciates the close co-operation that we have in the United Nations and other international organizations. “India is grateful for Tajikistan’s support for her rightful claim to a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and its membership of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation,” he added.

PM Modi meets Tajikistan President Rahmon, to hold bilateral talks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon was on Friday accorded ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan.He also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will hold delegation level talks with him later on in the day. The duo will discuss bilateral relations and issues of mutual interests.After the talks, the two sides are expected to sign agreements in various fields. President Rahmon arrived in New Delhi yesterday after visiting Kochi. The visiting dignitary is on a five day visit to India from December 14.President Rahmon will also meet President Pranab Mukherjee and the President of India will host a banquet today for the visiting dignitary. This will be the sixth visit of President Rahmon to India.During his last visit to India in 2012, the two countries elevated their bilateral relations to the level of a long-term strategic partnership.Bilateral relations span cooperation in a wide spectrum of areas – political, economic, health, human resources development, defence, counter-terrorism, science and technology, culture and tourism.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Modi’s jibe at Congress over demonetization, Pentagon asks China to release its drone; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. NDA govt did what Congress should have done in 1971: Narendra ModiPM uses the BJP parliamentary party meeting platform to take on the Opposition on demonetization, an issue which had stalled the Winter Session. Read more.2. It is clearly marked as ours’: US asks China to return seized drone immediatelyChina seized US underwater drone in South China Sea. Read more.3. Rahul Gandhi’s ‘bomb’ explodes: Why the Opposition split ahead of meeting with PM ModiOpposition parties accused Rahul of breaking an understanding by going alone to meet the PM and fixing an appointment with President Pranab Mukherjee in his own name. Read more.4. Demonetization: Supreme Court says it will not ‘interfere’ in govt’s decisionThe SC’s order came in response to a petition filed on November 10, against the government’s November 8 announcement of demonetizing Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. Read more.5. IND vs ENG: Kohli as good as Ajinkya Rahane in slips – R SridharThe value of Ajinkya Rahane in slips for the spinners is realised when he is absent from the team. Read more.

Dalai Lama spiritual leader: India to China

“Recently in disregard of China’s strong opposition, India insisted on arranging for the 14th Dalai Lama’s meeting with President Mukherjee,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India on Friday dismissed China’s objection to the meeting between exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and President Pranab Mukherjee. Mukherjee hosted the Dalai Lama and other Nobel Peace laureates at a conference on children’s rights on Sunday.“Recently in disregard of China’s strong opposition, India insisted on arranging for the 14th Dalai Lama’s meeting with President Mukherjee,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said.Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup responded: “His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a respected and revered spiritual leader. It was a non-political event organised by Nobel laureates dedicated to the welfare of children,” he said.

India must respect ‘core interests to avoid disturbance in bilateral ties’: China on Dalai Lama’s meeting with President

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China took strong exception to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama’s meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan on Friday during a children’s summit, saying India must respect China’s “core interests” to avoid “any disturbance” to the bilateral ties.”Recently in disregard of China’s solemn representation and strong opposition, the Indian side insisted on arranging for the 14th Dalai Lama’s visit to the Indian Presidential palace where he took part in an event and met President Mukherjee,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang told a media briefing here. “The Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to that,” he said, replying to a question on the Dalai Lama’s presence in the opening session of the ‘Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit’, organised by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s Children’s Foundation on December 10. “The Dalai Lama is in political exile and is long been engaged anti-China separatist activities with the attempt of separating Tibet away from China under the cloak of religion,” Geng said.The Chinese side firmly opposes any form of contact between officials of the other countries with him. “We urge the Indian side to see through the anti-China separatist nature of the Dalai Lama clique, fully respect China’s core interests and major concerns, take effective means to remove the negative impact caused by the incident to avoid any disturbance to China-India relationship,” Geng said.Responding to China’s reaction Vikas Swarup, MEA, said, “India’s position is consistent.​His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a respected spiritual leader. It was a non political event which he attended.”China routinely protests world leaders meetings with the Dalai Lama. This is the second time that China objected to the Dalai Lama’s activities in India in recent months. Beijing in October this year objected to India’s permission to the Tibetan spiritual leader to visit Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as part of southern Tibet.Early this month, China also objected to the visit of prominent Tibetan religious leader, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to Arunachal Pradesh, hoping that India would abide by consensus and refrain from taking any action that might complicate the boundary dispute. India also came under the criticism from Chinese official media over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Mongolia following which Beijing was accused of imposing a blockade of the land-locked country.While China besides criticising Mongolia for permitting the Dalai Lama reportedly blocked movement along the Mongolia-China border, Beijing was also livid over the Mongolian Ambassador to India Gonchig Ganhold’s appeal to New Delhi to help Mongolia to deal with China’s countermeasure against Ulaanbaatar.India has said Mongolia can avail the US $1 billion aid, which one of the Chinese newspaper Global Times termed it as a bribe. An article in the daily also warned Mongolia that it is “politically harebrained” to ask for New Delhi’s support as it will further complicate bilateral ties.

Demonetisation: Govt responsible for no debate on note ban, alleges Opposition

New Delhi: Blaming the government for not allowing Parliament to work over demonetisation, some Opposition parties led by the Congress on Friday urged President Pranab Mukherjee to intervene.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

A host of Opposition leaders including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Trinamool Congress lawmaker Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal United met Mukherjee and submitted a memorandum.

“Because of the government’s attitude, no debate on crucial issue of demonetisation was possible during the winter session of Parliament,” the memorandum said.

“We made best efforts to ensure that the demonetisation issue is discussed but the government did not allow our adjournment motion,” Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told the media later.

“This government has endeavoured to break every principle of democracy and the entire responsibility of not allowing Parliament to function lies with the government,” he said.

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 15:51 IST

China protests Prez’s meeting with Dalai Lama, warns of disturbance to ties

Beijing: On Friday, China took strong exception to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama’s meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan during a children’s summit, saying India must respect China’s “core interests” to avoid “any disturbance” to the bilateral ties.

“Recently in disregard of China’s solemn representation and strong opposition, the Indian side insisted on arranging for the 14th Dalai Lama’s visit to the Indian Presidential palace where he took part in an event and met President Mukherjee,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang told a media briefing in Beijing.

“The Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to that,” he said, replying to a question on the Dalai Lama’s presence in the opening session of the ‘Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit’, organised by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s Children’s Foundation on 10 December.

“The Dalai Lama is in political exile and is long been engaged anti-China separatist activities with the attempt of separating Tibet away from China under the cloak of religion,” Geng said.

Dalai Lama. PTIDalai Lama. PTI

Dalai Lama. PTI

The Chinese side firmly opposes any form of contact between officials of the other countries with him.

“We urge the Indian side to see through the anti-China separatist nature of the Dalai Lama clique, fully respect China’s core interests and major concerns, take effective means to remove the negative impact caused by the incident to avoid any disturbance to China-India relationship,” Geng said.

China routinely protests world leaders meetings with the Dalai Lama.

This is the second time that China objected to the Dalai Lama’s activities in India in recent months.

Beijing objected in October this year to India’s permission to the Tibetan spiritual leader to visit Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as part of southern Tibet.

Early this month, China also objected to the visit of prominent Tibetan religious leader, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to Arunachal Pradesh, hoping that India would abide by consensus and refrain from taking any action that might complicate the boundary dispute.

India also came under the criticism from Chinese official media over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Mongolia following which Beijing was accused of imposing a blockade of the land-locked country.

While China besides criticising Mongolia for permitting the Dalai Lama reportedly blocked movement along the Mongolia-China border, Beijing was also livid over the Mongolian Ambassador to India Gonchig Ganhold’s appeal to New Delhi to help Mongolia to deal with China’s countermeasure against Ulaanbaatar.

India has said Mongolia can avail the USD one billion aid, which one of the Chinese newspaper Global Times termed it as a bribe.

An article in the daily also warned Mongolia that it is “politically harebrained” to ask for New Delhi’s support as it will further complicate bilateral ties.

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 15:21 IST

Provide jobs to youth to prevent unrest and disturbances: President

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee said on Wednesday that government and industry should work together to provide jobs to youth to avoid unrest and disturbances.”India’s population is 130 crore. Half of this population is below 25 years of age, and in working age group of 15-59 years, this population is 62 per cent. If you keep these numbers in mind and think for a while what would happen if such magnitude of people do not have their vocation and opportunity of maintaining their livelihood in a decent way,” Mukherjee said. The President was speaking at annual day celebration of CII’s skill training centre here.He said that the agriculture sector is over saturated now and it can support very low number of people. “These workforce is going to be an asset to us … but if we cannot provide job to them what will happen. There will be unrest, there will be frustration. There will be difficulties, disturbances,” Mukherjee said. He said that there are 36,000 colleges producing graduates but a large number of passouts are unemployable. It is estimated by the World Economic Forum that two-thirds of children who now enter a school will work in jobs that cannot be imagined right now.Mukherjee said India will have the scope for employment generation but lacks skilled workforce. The President said that a Skills Development Council was created in 2010 and target was fixed by 2020 to create large number of skilled workforce. “Unfortunately not much progress was made in that direction. As a result in 2014 with change of government, when new Prime Minister came he established to focus on this issue with Department of Skill Development. “A minister was entrusted with the job to focus and a programme was created over a larger period of time that by 2030 at least 500 million people are provided appropriate skill so that they get job anywhere in the world,” he said.The President said more than 60 lakh people are working in West Asia and Gulf countries alone which are sending large number of remittances back home which is helping India build foreign exchange reserves.He said that the average age in Europe and North America is increasing and India has the opportunity with its young population. “That (skill development) is the reason I have come to Chhindwara for fifth time and why I am participating in the programme of CII to celebrate their annual day of skill development. This is the programme that country needs the most,” Mukherjee said.He lauded efforts of local MP Kamalnath for setting up skill development centres in his constituency. CII President Naushad Forbes said that the industry body has not been able to set up skill development centres in any part of the country like the ones set up here. He said that CII in coming days will make effort to set up such centres in all districts of the country.

May there always be peace & prosperity: PM Modi greets nation on Milad-un-Nabi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday greeted the nation on Milad-un-Nabi, which is the birthday of Prophet Mohammad, with the message that may this occasion further strengthen the spirit of harmony and unity in our society.”May this occasion deepen the spirit of harmony & unity in our society & may there always be peace & prosperity,” he said taking to Twitter.President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari have also greeted the people on the occasion.In his message, the President hoped that the Holy Prophet’s message inspires everyone to work towards universal brotherhood, compassion, and tolerance.He also said everyone should recall the life and ideals of the Prophet and re-dedicate themselves to the service of humanity.Vice President Ansari said the Holy Prophet showed humanity the righteous path of compassion and universal brotherhood, adding that he hoped that the Prophet’s eternal message continue to guide in building a peaceful and harmonious society.

President Mukherjee and VP Ansari greet nation on Milad-un-Nabi, spread message of universal brotherhood

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari greeted people on the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi on Sunday, the birthday of Prophet Mohammad, and appealed to them to recall his message to work towards universal brotherhood, tolerance and well-being of all. “On the auspicious occasion of Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday of the Holy Prophet, I extend my heartiest greetings and best wishes to all my fellow countrymen, in India and abroad,” Mukherjee said in a message on the eve of Milad-un- Nabi.”May the message of the Holy Prophet inspire us to work towards universal brotherhood, compassion, tolerance and the well-being of all. Let us on this day recall the life and ideals of Hazrat Mohammed Saheb and re-dedicate ourselves to the service of humanity,” the President said.Vice President Hamid Ansari, in his message, said the Holy Prophet showed the humanity the righteous path of compassion and universal brotherhood. “Convey my warm greetings and best wishes to the people of our country on the auspicious occasion of Milad-un-Nabi/ Id-E-Milad, celebrated as the Birthday of Prophet Mohammed,” Ansari said in his message.The Holy Prophet showed the humanity the righteous path of compassion and universal brotherhood, he said. “May His eternal message continue to guide us to building a peaceful and harmonious society,” Ansari said.

Parliament logjam | ‘Jan Sabha’ better platform for me than Lok Sabha: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Holding the opposition responsible for not letting him speak in parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said he will now speak in the “Jan Sabha”.”Government has always said we are ready to debate. I am not being allowed to speak in the Lok Sabha, so I am speaking in the Jan Sabha,” said Prime Minister Modi while inaugurating dairy plants in Deesa.The Prime Minister said he is sharing his thoughts with the opposition, not from the Lok Sabha, but from the land on which he is standing. “From the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, I want to share something with my friends in the opposition,” Modi said.Categorically stating that government has always maintained its stand of having discussion in parliament, and it is the opposition which is not letting it function, Modi said, “Parliament is not being allowed to function.”Expressing his distress over President Pranab Mukherjee’s statement regarding recent parliament disruptions, the Prime Minister said it compelled a politically experienced leader to intervene and remind the Members of Parliament (MPs) to “do their work”.”Happenings in Parliament anguished our President, who has tremendous political experience,” he said.The winter session of parliament has only witnessed adjournments so far, with no substantial discussions taking place. With only three working days of parliament left, government has urged the opposition to let both the houses function by having proper debate. Watch the PM’s speech at Deesa:

Demonetization: BJP demands apology for Parliament logjam, Congress blames govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday accused the opposition of hampering proceedings in parliament and demanded an apology from the latter for the ruckus created over demonetization. “The opposition is responsible for the deadlock that has been created in parliament. They are the ones who demanded a debate in the name of demonetization, but have always tried to escape from talks,” BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain told ANI.Hussain further said that the TMC and Congress should apologies to parliament and the president for creating a ruckus in its proceedings and added that this kind of behaviour does not favour anyone.Congress, however, responded that the logjam was the government’s fault. “If there is uproar or logjam in Parliament, it is entirely of the government’s creation… it’s their duty to make it work,” Abhishek Manu Singhvi told ANI. “There is no logic in saying that the opposition is obstructing the Parliament, the demands are legitimate,” he said.Parliament was adjourned till Monday after the opposition described the government as anti-farmer and anti-poor government. The opposition raised slogans such as “Kisan Virodhi, Gareeb Virodhi, Yeh Sarkar Nahi Chalegi” (We will not accept this government which is anti-farmer and anti-poor).Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said the demonetization was ruining the lives of farmers. President Pranab Mukherjee had on Thursday said, “For God’s sake, do your job. You are meant to transact business in Parliament,” he said.

Lok Sabha again witnesses disruptions over demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Lok Sabha was adjourned twice this morning in quick succession as members of the treasury benches and opposition sparred over frequent disruptions and the government seeking an apology from opposition for paralysing the proceedings for 16 days.As soon as the House met for the day, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan welcomed a delegation from Vietnam’s National Assembly. As the Lok Sabha will not meet on December 13, she referred to the Parliament attack of 2001 and recalled the courage of 8 Delhi Police, CRPF and Parliament Security Service Personnel who had died defending the people inside the Parliament complex.As soon as she announced taking up the Question Hour, Congress Leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge rose apparently to raise the issue of demonetization.But before he could speak, BJP members shouted to remind him of the remarks of President Pranab Mukherjee who had said the House is not a place for dharnas and disruption which amounts to “gagging of majority” by the minority.Soon, a verbal spat broke out between the two sides and the Speaker adjourned the House till 1130 hours.When the House met again, Kharge said the Opposition was ready for debating demonetization and has been continuously requesting for it. “We are ready for debate on demonetization and its repercussions,” he said.However, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar immediately shot back saying the Opposition has disrupted the House for 16 days by holding it into ransom and they must tender apology.”For 16 days they have disrupted the House and held the House hostage. Majority wanted to debate. But Congress, TMC and Left members are not allowing the House to function. The situation has reached such a stage that the President had to speak against the disruption. They must tender apology to the people of the country,” he said. BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said for protests and sit-ins, as suggested by the President, Jantar Mantar is the best place and not the Parliament and hence the Opposition must apologise. As the pandemonium continued, the Speaker adjourned the House till noon

Will debate on demonetization fallout take place, finally?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The question whether the parliament finally will have a conclusive debate on the fallout of demonetization or not, remains a riddle even as the winter session inches towards the end.Caught in the web of their own making, the Opposition parties, especially the Congress and TMC, are looking at ways to have at least some debate on the fallout of demonetization. “We have prepared extensively and are equipped with facts to put the government on the mat. We want the debate anyhow,” said a young Congress MP.Moreover, President Pranab Mukherjee’s strong rebuke of their disruptive behaviour has also put the onus on the opposition to get into the debate instead of get into a no holds barred slugfest with the treasury benches. But the problem that opposition parties may encounter is that with Monday and Tuesday declared as holidays by the Speaker, they barely have four days at hand. Bulk of time on December 9 and December 16, both being Fridays, will be spent on Private members bills that leaves only two working days in hand. And with treasury benches not ready to climb down on either of their demands – presence of Prime Minister throughout the debate and discussion to be held under Rule 184 that entails voting – the opposition is now working out how to engage in the debate without being seen as giving up their hard stand. The opposition parties, apparently, had raised the stakes to not to allow debate in the initial phase of demonetization as they wanted the ill effects of cash crunch to cross the threshold to make the most of public ire. Some opposition parties, particularly the Congress and the Left, are also apprehensive that the government may prorogue the session sine die on December 15 itself as it now is feeling the heat of demonetization and wants to scuttle the debate.However, some informed sources said, a via media has been worked out for the debate to take place in Lok Sabha, according to which the Speaker on Friday will agree to start the debate without any preconditions and the opposition parties will take back their notices to have the discussion under Rules that entail voting.But how the logjam will be broken in Rajya Sabha still remains a riddle.

For God’s sake, do your job: President admonishes MPs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the logjam in Parliament continued into the third week of the Winter Session, President Pranab Mukherjee — a seven-time parliamentarian himself — came down heavily on members in both Houses and said “for God’s sake, do your job.”His admonition came even as both Houses adjourned for the day again on Thursday amidst the Government-Opposition face off on demonetization. The Supplementary Demands for Grants, discussed for less than an hour in Lok Sabha, was passed in the din by a voice vote. Mukherjee, who was delivering the Defence Estate Day Lecture on “Reforms for a stronger Democracy”, used the opportunity to take on parliamentarians over both Houses being stalled ever since the session began on November 16. He expressed concern that disruption had become a “practice”.“Disruption means you are gagging majority. Majority never participates in this disruption. Only minority comes to the well, shouts slogans, stops proceedings and creates a situation in which the Chair has no option For but to adjourn the House. This is totally unacceptable,” he said. There are just four sittings left of the session, which ends on December 16.“For God’s sake, do your job. You are meant to transact business in Parliament. Disruption of Parliament is not acceptable at all,” the President said. Asking MPs to debate issues of public importance in Parliament, he said dharnas can be organised anywhere else.With demonetization completing a month, the Opposition had organised a “black day” and held a protest at the Gandhi statue. His remarks came a day after senior BJP leader LK Advani’s outburst before parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar saying neither he nor the Speaker were running the House and that the House was running on its own.On Thursday, Advani had a five minute meeting with Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. Sources said Advani conveyed to her that his anger was not directed at her but over the way Parliament was stalled. The Speaker, according to sources, told him that she understood his anguish. Advani had also spoken to Kumar on Wednesday night and told him that it was not his intention to undermine him and that he was concerned about the way things were in Parliament with a few members holding it to ransom, the sources said.The veteran leader was also seen talking to Kumar after the House adjourned for the day on Thursday and asked if the supplementary demands for grants had been passed. After Advani, who is understood to have told union minister Venkaiah Naidu that if MPs did not do work, they should not draw salaries. Now, another BJP veteran Shanta Kumar has expressed a similar sentiment in a letter to the Speaker. Shanta Kumar asked the Speaker to take stern disciplinary measures like suspending their salaries and allowances and even go to the extent of expelling members for the session. He said some members were “crossing all limits”.He said the kind of sloganeering in the well of the House was shameful and it diluted the dignity of democracy. “The entire country is concerned. Sometimes, the school children in the visitors gallery look at us and smile. What example are we setting,” he said.The leader from Himachal Pradesh told the Speaker that she had shown a lot of patience but it was time for her to take action against members who went into the well of the house and shouted slogans despite her instructions.

President Mukherjee talks about EC’s recommendations to hold simultaneous elections

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Backing electoral reforms in the Indian political system, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday asked the government to come up with necessary amendments and hold public debates on a set of recommendations proposed by the Election Commission to hold simultaneous elections in the country. Acknowledging that the administration is feeling the pinch due to frequent elections hampering the developmental works, he said, “Many of you would aware that frequent elections are a costly affair, putting stain on the administrative resources and drainage of financial resources for holding and conducting elections. But we are ready to pay this price for the democracy, but it should not be at the cost of development in a developing economy like ours.”He was delivering a lecture on the 4th Defence Estates Day in the national capital. “I do feel that these do not affect the electoral process to that extent that voters would be influenced by the announcement. This is some sort of illusion with which the political activists believe. And here the Election Commission and the government can sit together with political parties to have discussion,” he added.The President also said that President’s Rule should be extended to more than a year in a state if general elections are around the corner. “As per the present constitutional amendment, after 44th amendment of the Constitution, president’s rule is only confined to one year subject to the ratification of both Houses of parliament at every 6 months. And if a consensus develops around simultaneous elections, there can be consensus on that as well,” he said.”During general elections, it is imperative that the President’s Rule should be extended beyond one year so that it can synchronise with the general elections of the parliament,” he added.President Mukherjee also pressed for the increase in the number of Lok Sabha seats in concomitant with rising population in the country. “We have 543 members in Lok Sabha, our electors are more than 800 million, a country of having a population of 1.28 billion which is going to much larger very soon, we must think whether we can have larger number of seats and for that constitutional amendment for delimitation is needed. We shall have to think especially under electoral reforms,” he said.The President also raised concern over women’s participation in Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies, and called for passage for of the Women’s Reservation Bill. “Women’s population is almost 50% whose representations is abysmally low which is totally unacceptable and with the experience of 16 Lok Saha elections it is being said that whatever be the reason, political parties are not magnanimous enough to give adequate number of representations to the woman in parliament,” he said.

For God’s sake, do you job: President Pranab Mukherjee slams Opposition for ‘gagging majority’ in Parliament

New Delhi: In a stinging attack on the opposition over Parliamentary paralysis, President Pranab Mukherjee today said the House is not a place for dharna and disruption which amounts to “gagging of majority” by the minority.

He told Parliamentarians that they are meant to discuss and transact business and not to disrupt.

A file photo of Pranab Mukherjee. PTIA file photo of Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

A file photo of Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

“Disruption is totally unacceptable in Parliamentary system. People send representatives to speak and not to sit on dharna and not to create any trouble on the floor,” he said speaking on “Electoral reforms for a stronger democracy” on the occasion of Defence Estates Day Lecture in New Delhi.

Himself a veteran Parliamentarian before he became the President, Mukherjee said, “Disruption means you are hurt, you are gagging majority. Majority never participates in this disruption. Only minority comes to the well, shouts slogans, stops the proceedings and creates a situation in which the Chair has no option but to adjourn the House. This is totally unacceptable”.

Mukherjee’s sharp attack on Parliamentary disruption comes in the midst of paralysis of Parliament for over a fortnight over the issue of demonetisation.

The President noted that Parliament is in session for only a few weeks in a year.

“For demonstration, you can choose any other places. But for God’s sake, do your job. You are meant to transact business. You are meant to devote your time for exercising the authority of members, particularly Lok Sabha members over money and finance,” he said.

Maintaining that he is not targeting any single party or individuals, he said the responsibility is of everyone.

“Fact remains that this (disruption) has become a practice which should not be acceptable at all. Whatever be the differences, we have the opportunity, to speak our mind, to speak freely and no court can interfere in what I say on the floor of the House,” he said.

Mukherjee said that even if a member is levelling an allegation against someone, no court can prosecute him because he has said so on the floor of the House.

“This type of freedom should not be misused by causing disruption,” he said.

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 17:22 IST

This photo of the President travelling to attend Jayalalithaa’s funeral is taking social media by storm

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A photo of President Pranab Mukherjee travelling in an India Air Force (IAF) plane to attend late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s last rites has taken social media by storm.Mukherjee on Tuesday flew to Chennai to pay his last respects, even as the plane he was travelling in had to return mid-way to Delhi due to a technical snag, before heading back to Chennai.In a photo posted by the Rashtrapati Bhavan on its official Twitter handle, Mukherjee can be seen seated on a sideways-facing bench-seat.According to reports, the President had to shift to IAF Mi-17, which is primarily a transport helicopter, to fly to Marina Beach.Even though some Twitterati wondered why the President had to travel in such discomfort, many praised Mukherjee’s noble gesture and the effort made to attend Jayalalithaa’s last rites.Earlier, remembering J Jayalalithaa from the early days of his political career, President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday expressed his condolences and called her a fighter with a wonderful mastery over facts and theories.

Top national leaders hail Jayalalithaa for pro-poor politics, call her ‘most iconic Indian politician’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Top national leaders have paid rich tributes to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and hailed her for being powerful voice for the weaker sections.The 67-year-old leader, who suffered a massive cardiac arrest on Sunday evening, passed away at 11:30 pm on Monday, after battling for life for 75 days, the Apollo Hospitals said in a statement.President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Ministers, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, and various other top leaders tonight condoled Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s demise and paid glowing tributes to her.”Deeply saddened at the passing away of Jayalalithaa; her demise has left a huge void in Indian politics,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”I will always cherish the innumerable occasions when I had the opportunity to interact with Jayalalithaa ji. May her soul rest in peace,” he said.President Pranab Mukherjee said, “Heartfelt condolences on the sad demise of Ms. Jayaram Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.””One of India’s most charismatic and popular leaders, Ms. Jayalalithaa was a visionary and able administrator. Her life was dedicated to the socio-economic transformation of Tamil Nadu and its people,” the President said.Congress President Sonia Gandhi, while condoling Jayalalithaa’s death, said, “I am deeply grieved to learn the passing of Selvi J Jayalalithaa.”Selvi Jayalalithaa lived her entire life with the same indomitable courage with which she battled her illness. As the leader of AIADMK and four-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, she had a unique and deep empathy with the needs and hopes of the people, and put in place policies that immeasurably improved their lives.”Whether it was her welfare schemes for the rural and urban poor, her swift relief measures in the aftermath of tsunami, or her vision of Tamil Nadu’s industrial development, her leadership qualities and administratively abilities were truly outstanding,” Sonia said.”Saddened by the demise of Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa ji. I extend my deepest condolences to her party and followers in this hour of grief,” BJP President Amit Shah said.Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said she created Brand Amma, a different kind of pro-poor politics.”Jayalalithaa was very popular leader, able administrator. Her connect with people was enormous and unique She created “Brand Amma”, a different kind of pro poor politics. My heartfelt condolences,” he said on twitter.Also read: Live updates | Amma no more: Mortal remains kept at Rajaji for public homage, PM Modi to visit Chennai​Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said he felt as if he had lost her sister and expressed his admiration for her courage, conviction, dynamism, wisdom and bold administration.​”I express my grief and deep sorrow on the demise of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa,” Union Minister and former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari said.Also read: Jayalalithaa (1948-2016): A life called Puratchi ThalaiviHome Minister Rajnath Singh said Jayalalithaa was a powerful voice for the weaker sections of the society.”She always worked for the benefit of the poor and needy. She has left an indelible mark in Tamil Nadu politics with her enduring legacy. Selvi Jayalalithaa was one of the most iconic political figures of India who had an enormous impact on the people of Tamil Nadu,” he tweeted.Jayalalithaa, hospitalised since September 22, suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday and passed away late Monday night.

Crowds throng Apollo hospital; prayers, speedy recovery messages pour in for Jayalalithaa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A large crowd, along with AIADMK cadres, thronged Apollo hospital praying for the speedy recovery of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, fondly called ‘Amma’ (mother) by her supporters, after she suffering a cardiac arrest on Sunday evening.Anxious AIADMK cadres stayed put outside the hospital, which has been covered in a thick blanket of security. Worried party supporters continued to pray for her recovery.Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, who is also the Governor of Maharashtra, airdashed to the city from Mumbai and visited Apollo Hospital.President Pranab Mukherjee, DMK leader M Karunanidhi, his son and opposition leader K Stalin, Union Ministers, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Chief Ministers and a host of leaders have expressed concern over Jayalalithaa’s health condition and wished her speedy recovery.”I wish Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa completely recovers soon,” M Karunanidhi said in a tweet.DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Opposition Leader M K Stalin said, “I desire that the intensive treatment being given to the Chief Minister yields fruit and that she recovers soon.”

Mamata Banerjee links presence of soldiers in state with ‘coup’; army calls allegation ‘misleading’

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continued to stay put at the state secretariat today protesting against army presence at toll plazas in several parts of the state and asked whether it was an “army coup”.

Army personnel, however, had left the toll plaza near the secretariat on Thursday night. Speaking to reporters late night on Thursday at ‘Nabanna’, the state secretariat, she said, “I will stay at the secretariat to guard our democracy”. “Is this a military coup,” she asked.

mamatabanerjee pti

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

She said that army personnel were there in different districts like Murshidabad, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, North 24 Paragans, Burdwan, Howrah, Hooghly etc. “The army is deployed without informing the state government. This is unprecedented and a very serious matter”, she had said.

The TMC leadership has decided to raise the issue in both the houses of Parliament and also inform President Pranab Mukherjee about the incident.

“We are talking to all political parties. We are planning to raise the issue in Parliament today. Lets see,” TMC national spokesperson Derek O’ Brien told PTI. A senior TMC leader on condition of anonymity said, “We are planning to meet President Pranab Mukherjee and inform him about the incident.

The entire country should know, how BJP is engaged in vindictive politics,”. The senior TMC leader said they have spoken to Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and discussed how to counter this issue jointly. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel had called up Banerjee in the morning and inquired about the incident.

A defence spokesperson had said that the army conducts bi-annual exercise throughout the country with an aim of getting statistical data about the load carriers that could be made available to the army in case of a contingency.

“There is nothing alarming about this and it is carried out as per government orders”, Wing Commander S S Birdi had said. The Army had said they were conducting routine exercise with full knowledge and coordination with West Bengal Police.

Derek O’Brien, however, said the army claim that the exercises were conducted in coordination with police was “incorrect”. “All respect for army, but must set record straight 1) Data is already available 2. Cannot do vehicle check, not authorized to do so.

Saying exercise by @easterncomd was coordinated with police is absolutely incorrect. Also, troops were moved into districts even after midnight. Bengal CM kept watch from Secretariat overnight. She is still there,” Brien said on twitter.

Major General Sunil Yadav, while briefing the media said that “The deployment was a routine exercise and is being carried out in nine other states as well, the operation will end tonight.” When asked if the army had informed the state officials about the exercise, he asserted that “It was communicated to the state police on phone that this exercise will be conducted.” Also he added that such an exercise was also conducted last year, from 19 to 21 November with a troop of the same size and strength. He categorically denied the allegations put by TMC.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 2, 2016 11:43 IST

SYL row: Punjab and Haryana representatives meet President to plead their case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Council of Ministers led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday met President Pranab Mukherjee and urged him not to accept any advice on the SYL canal issue that violates basic Riparian rules.The delegation apprised Mukherjee that acceptance of such advice would irretrievably prejudice the dictates of justice and fair play and handed over a memorandum in this regard. It urged the President that nothing should be done to deprive the people of Punjab of their legitimate rights regarding waters of rivers of the state in violation of the universally accepted Riparian principle. Any advice or decision which violates the Riparian principle would run against the dictates of constitutional framework of the country, it said.Seeking justice from the President as the custodian of the Constitution which fully respects the Riparian principle, the delegation impressed upon him to keep in view that the Punjab government has already filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging Section 78-79 of the Punjab Reorganization Act 1966 and seeking a decision on the river waters in accordance with the nationally and internationally accepted Riparian Principle.Badal, his deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal, and other Cabinet colleagues informed the President that “a highly volatile situation” has arisen in Punjab following the opinion of Supreme Court upon the Presidential Reference on this issue. This, he said, has given rise to extreme public reaction and severe unrest and anger among the residents including the farmers arising out of.”The opinion of the Supreme Court has further caused immense stir and fear of sustained losses on all socio-economic parameters among the people of Punjab who have consistently faced the challenges of partition, the brunt of the wars with Pakistan and the period of social unrest,” the delegation said. A Punjab government statement said the state has been constantly making endeavours to meet the challenges of water scarcity, depleting water table and lack of availability of potable water. The new development has delivered a big blow to residents of the State as they reel under the fear of non-availability of sufficient water resource. Haryana all-party team meets President An all-party delegation of Haryana led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today called on President Pranab Mukherjee here for considering Haryana’s appeal for implementation the Supreme Court verdict in Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal case. After hearing them out, Mukherjee assured to sympathetically consider Haryana’s appeal on SYL issue after the delegation urged him for implementation of the order at the earliest.After meeting the President, the Chief Minister said Haryana should get its due share of water.The State is asking for its rightful share and not Punjab s share, he said. Khattar said while both states had been allotted equal share of 3.5 Million Acre Feet (MAF) water under the water sharing agreement, Haryana was getting only 1.62 MAF. Since 1981, Punjab has been utilising 1.88MAF water that rightfully belongs to Haryana. He said the Supreme Court had already dismissed the proposal of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha to terminate the agreements.Khattar said that the people had complete faith in the Constitution, and the people of the State believe that Haryana would get its rightful share of water so that maximum food grains could be produced and they could get adequate drinking water. Ministers and leaders of other parties in the State also appealed to the President to consider favourably the interests of the people of the State.The delegation included top BJP Ministers from the state and Congress leaders Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who is a former chief minister, state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar, CLP leader Kiran Choudhry, State INLD President Ashok Arora, Leader of Opposition Abhay Singh Chautala and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA Tek Chand Sharma. Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma, Finance Minister Abhimanyu, Agriculture Minister OP Dhankar, Health Minister Anil Vij, Urban Local Bodies Minister Kavita Jain and State BJP President Subhash Barala were also present.

Nitish Kumar explains why he’s backing PM Modi in demonetization debate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday said he has taken a principled stand on demonetization as he is convinced that the step will help fight black money and laughed off reports of his meeting with BJP President Amit Shah as background to his support.”I support demonetization as I’m convinced that it will help in the fight against black money,” Kumar said addressing a function to mark Prohibition Day in Patna. With political meaning being derived from his stand on demonetization which is different from those of Congress, RJD and other non-BJP parties, Kumar said he has taken a principled stand as in his opinion scrapping of high value bank notes would help in diluting black money.”Is this the first time that I have taken a principled stand which might be politically different from others on an issue on which I’m convinced?” Kumar, who had reminded the media on Friday that he had supported Pranab Mukherjee for presidentship despite being a member of NDA. “Will those hoarding black money be able to deposit the entire volume in bank accounts? Reserve Bank could issue new notes against a quantity of black money which would not find way to banks during the current drive,” he said expressing views on demonetization raging in national politics.
ALSO READ Demonetization: Nitish Kumar calls it ‘courageous step’, dismisses fissures in coalitionKumar, who is also JD(U) National President, laughed at reports appearing in a section of media in Patna which attributed his support to demonetization to his secret meeting with BJP chief Amit Shah at a farmhouse recently. “Had the reporter who gave this news taken me to the farmhouse where I met Amit Shah?” he said and lamented over such “baseless news which hitherto was prevalent only in social media platform”.Kumar, who has described the Centre’s demonetization decision as “sahshik” (courageous), said in addition to scrapping of higher denomination currencies, attack on benami properties and prohibition could lead to creation of “kala dhan mukt Bharat” (black money free India). He said when he spoke of benami properties it includes real estate as well as stocking of gold and diamonds with the help of ill-gotten wealth. “I will urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi that this is the right time to immediately hit at benami properties as well clamp liquor ban for better results against black money,” he said. Kumar, who has taken prohibition in a mission mode in Bihar, said it is well known that people involved in liquor trade have amassed huge benami properties.

17 announcements since demonetization shows Centre’s ‘perfect planning’: TMC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that the Centre has made a string of announcements and statements since it unleashed the radical scheme of demonetization, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Tuesday emphasised that this was exactly the opposite of the government’s assertion of ‘perfect planning’.”It has been 15 days now and the Finance Minister has assured that this was 100% perfect planning. If the planning was that perfect, then why has the Centre made 17 different announcements which are all to do with tinkering,” TMC spokesperson Derek O’Brien said.Calling on all factions within the society to speak up against demonetization, he further said that this was not just about politicians fighting for the poor people but a much larger issue as the national economy at the moment was a complete mess.”Everyone needs to speak up including civil society and student. We as politicians are doing everything we can, but the corporate India needs to speak up because the economy is in a complete mess and this is a financial emergency,” O’Brien said.Alleging that the Indian economy has already lost Rs 3,50,000 crore of GDP, he further said that demonetization will affect each and every citizen within the nation.Meanwhile, the Opposition is set to go all out against the Centre in its battle against demonetization by taking their case to President Pranab Mukherjee.The decision was made today in the meeting called by all Opposition parties and a time and date for the meeting with the President was sought. This new assault plan comes after the Opposition announced that it will protest on Wednesday outside the Parliament in front of the Gandhi statue. “Opposition parties jointly decided that around 200 MPs will hold dharna in front of Gandhi statue on Wednesday,” O’Brien said.Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today chaired the crucial Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Parliamentary meeting, where a resolution was passed in favour of demonetization..In the meeting, the Prime Minister Modi was lauded for the scheme and he asserted that his government had come in power for the service of the poor. The opposition has been clamouring for the Prime Minister’s presence in the Parliament, saying that he has a moral obligation to answer the common man whose life has been thrown in turmoil because of demonetization.

Jugaad is the way we invent and the way we work: Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and Israel could work more towards ‘Make in India and Make with India’ together which can bring “magic to the world”, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said on Sunday. The President further said he fell in love with the word ‘jugaad’ when he visited India, saying “jugaad is the way we invent and the way we work”.Rivlin was addressing the gathering in Chandigarh at CII Agro Tech 2016, where he was the Guest of Honour at the four-day event. President Pranab Mukherjee, who was present on this occasion, formally inaugurated an international agriculture fair ‘CII Agro Tech 2016’ here. “It is no wonder this friendship between India and Israel and between two countries is so strong, already amazing,” the Israeli President said. “I believe that together we can do even more to make in India and Make with India. We can make between future for next generation and we can bring magic to the world,” he said.Sharing his love for the word ‘juggad’, the Israeli President said he “quickly fell” in the love with this word which means a clever solution borne out of trouble. “During my visit to India I learnt a new word called ‘jugaad’. For my friends from Israel, I would say jugaad means a clever solution borne out of trouble. If you know Israel, you can guess how quickly I fell in love with this word jugaad,” he said.”Just imagine, a small nation spread across the world, suffering from being different, looking for a peace…the state of Israel is jugaad. Jugaad is the way you think, way we invent, the way we work,” he said.The Israeli President who arrived on November 14 on an eight-day visit to the country said India taught Israel that food security was the greater challenge today. “We always have been concerned about security and home land security but India taught us is that the greater challenge in today’s world is food security. “And this is why we are here today. …We both know building a home means being able to provide food for your family and building a nation means to being able to produce and provide food for all, now and next generation. It is about taking care your home and your people,” he said. “Food security is not only about surviving and it is about feeding,” he said.The President also shared details about his visit to Gharaunda in Karnal on November 18 where Centre of Excellence for vegetables had been set up with the assistance of Israel. “Few days ago, I visited Karnal where India and Israel is developing a new kind of cherry tomatoes which are Israeli invention…they are doing magic together. When Indian experts and Israeli experts place solar panels on the roof of trucks so that solar energy will keep the food inside the truck fresh and prevent food waste, they are doing magic together.”Where Israeli companies and Indian farmers create professional and financial network to help farmers, they are doing magic together, said the President. Rivlin said Israeli companies are bringing their experience and technology to this partnership.

Indore-Patna Express derailment: President Pranab Mukerjee condoles loss of lives in train accident

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday condoled the loss of lives due to derailment of Indore-Patna Express near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

“I am sad to learn about the accident in which many have lost their lives and a number of persons are injured when Indore-Patna Express ran off the tracks near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

File photo of President Pranab Mukherjee. Reuters

File photo of President Pranab Mukherjee. Reuters

“I am sure that the state government is providing all possible assistance to the bereaved families who have lost their near and dear ones as well as medical aid to the injured,” Mukherjee said in a message to Ram Naik, Governor of Uttar Pradesh.

The President conveyed his condolences to the family members of the deceased.

“I pray to the Almighty to give them the strength and courage to bear this irreparable loss. I wish speedy recovery to the injured persons,” he said.

Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu expressed anguish at the loss of lives.

“It is extremely unfortunate. I am pained at the death of citizens in the accident. I pray for the bereaved families and the injured passengers,” Naidu said.

Over 100 passengers were killed and many seriously injured when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed near Pukhraya in Kanpur dehat district in the wee hours on Sunday.

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 14:53 IST

Indore-Patna Express derailment: Murli Manohar Joshi says tragedy ‘may be a plot against Centre’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing condolences to the bereaved family members of the deceased in Patna-Indore Express derailment tragedy that left 100 dead and over 150 injured, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran Murli Manohar Joshi on Sunday demanded a probe into the incident while stating that it may be a plot against the Centre. Joshi said, “The reason behind 14 bogies getting turtle could be many because at times one or two bogies derail due to some jerk or due to some default in connecting link. But, in a go, if 14 coaches are being derailed then this creates a doubt that whether the incident happened because the railway tracks were broken or someone did it to defame the Railways Ministry of our country, whatever can be the reason, we demand a probe into the matter.”?And if the tracks are broken then the Railways Ministry should pay attention and get the tracks repaired or changed as soon as possible,” he added.President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have also offered their condolences to the bereaved kin of the victims.The Railways have released helpline numbers for the people- Ujjain – 07342560906, Ratlam – 074121072, Orai – 051621072, Jhansi – 05101072, Pukhrayan – 05113270239, Varanasi – 05422503814.A help desk has been set up at the Patna railway station to assist the family members of those onboard.

President Mukherjee hands out Indira Gandhi National Service Scheme Awards

Sat, 19 Nov 2016-03:22pm , New Delhi , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday presented Indira Gandhi National Service Scheme Awards for 2015-2016 at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Saturday.The Awards were instituted by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports during 1992-93 for giving recognition to outstanding work done under the National Service Scheme (NSS).The NSS, one of the flagship programmes of the government, aims at developing of personality and character of students through voluntary community service.

President Mukherjee launches website in honour of Indira Gandhi’s birth centenary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To mark the 100th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday launched a website devoted to her and set up by the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust at Gandhi’s former residence on 1, Safdarjung Road, in New Delhi.Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi were prominent among the guests present on the occasion. President Mukherjee will also deliver the “Indira Gandhi Centenary Lecture” organised by the Indira Gandhi Centenary Commemoration Committee on Saturday.Indira Gandhi was born on November 19, 1917, in Allahabad to India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal and Kamla Nehru. Indira Gandhi was India’s third prime minister from 1966 to 1977 and then again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984 by her bodyguards. She survived party in-fighting and emerged as a popular leader. Ousted from power in 1977, Gandhi was re-elected as Prime Minister in 1980.

Shiv Sena, Trinamool take battle to President

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Embarrassing the BJP-led NDA government, its oldest ally and partner in the government the Shiv Sena on Wednesday joined a march led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to protest against the inconveniences created by scrapping of the currency notes of Rs1,000 and Rs500. Leaders of the J&K National Conference and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also joined the march from Parliament. They later submitted a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee, urging him for an immediate withdrawal of the demonetization as it has badly hit every section of the society.The Shiv Sena, however, did not sign the memorandum and opted to submit a separate memorandum, stressing that it is not against the demonetization, but it is concerned over the great inconvenience caused to the people. It sought redressal of the people’s harassment by extending the period for exchange of the old notes, its MP Gajanan Kirtikar said.Those in the march included former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Shiv Sena MPs Anand Rao Adsul and Kirtikar and AAP MP Bhagwant Mann.Mamata told reporters after an audience with Pranab Mukherjee that “we had a successful meeting with the President during which we discussed the issue and he assured to look into the matter. She told him that the situation arising out of demonitisation has triggered a sort of constitutional crisis. She said the party would be moving an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. Earlier in the day, the Trinamul Congress MPs held a demonstration in the Parliament premises demanding rollback of the demonetization and raising slogans on how it has ruined lives of the people.In its two-page memorandum, signed by seven MPs, the Shiv Sena demanding removal of the ceiling on withdrawals by people from their own bank accounts. It also sought permission to the district cooperative banks to accept the old scrapped notes up to December 30 as permitted to other commercial banks and post offices. It also pleaded for making available the necessary currency notes of Rs 10, 50, 100 and 500 immediately to give relief to the harassed people, put to truamatic conditions.The memorandum signed by Shiv Sena MPs Chandrakant Khare, Anandrao Adsul, Gajanan Kirtikar, Arvind Sawant, Ravindra Gaikwad, Sadashiv Lokhande and Krupal Tumane protested that the district cooperative banks were stopped from carrying on their business in respect of demonetization after allowing for three days. “More than 14,000 villages do not have the branches of the nationalised banks while the farmers have their accounts in the district banks and avail every facility of the government schemes through the district banks. Not allowing them to exchange the old currency note has caused severe inconvenience to the farmers,” the memorandum said.

Demonetization : Mamata Banerjee asks President Mukherjee to prevent ‘constitutional crisis and anarchy’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Seeking immediate withdrawal of demonetisation exercise, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met President Pranab Mukherjee along with leaders of National Conference, AAP and NDA ally Shiv Sena and submitted a memorandum voicing serious concern over the crisis arising out of ban on Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency notes. Banerjee led a march to Rashtrapati Bhavan from Parliament alongwith TMC MPs, AAP MP Bhagwant Mann, Shiv Sena MP Harshul, NC leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah among others.”We had a successful meeting with the President during which we discussed the issue. And the President said he would look into the matter,” she said, after emerging out of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.She said the situation arising out of demonitisation has triggered a sort of constitutional crisis.Speaking about her next move on the issue, she said “Our party will move adjournment motion in Lok Sabha”. Expressing concern over the problems being faced by the people after the demonetisation move, she said “We have requested the President to speak to the government and decide on this and bring back normalcy in the country. President was once the Finance Minister and knows country’s situation better than anyone else, he will take appropriate action.” Leaders of the other opposition parties including Congress, Left parties, SP and BSP did not took part in the protest march.Describing as “dictatorial and draconian step” the government’s demonetisation move, the memorandum has sought its immediate suspension.”Stop harassment of the common people by lifting of all sorts of restrictions recently thrust upon them,” the five-page memorandum said, and added “ensure that supply of essential commodities in adequate quantities be restored in the markets forthwith.”Before beginning the march from Parliament, Mamata said “The march is to save common people from disaster.” Mann said the ban has affected the normal functioning of the household as there is no money available.However, the Shiv Sena differed on the issue and insisted the government to extend the deadline of accepting the old currency notes.”We welcome the demonetisation move. But we are against the inconvenience caused to people due to it. We have not signed the memorandum (that will be presented to the President Pranab Mukherjee).”We are going to submit a separate memorandum seeking redressal of the inconvenience caused to people. We also want the period to be extended,” said Gajanan Kirtikar of Shiv Sena who took part in the march. Mamata also said “Those with black money have been supported, but taxpayers are suffering”, and added that the situation arising out of demonetisation has triggered a sort of constitutional crisis and financial emergency.Seeking the intervention of the President in the “interest of common people to alleviate the untold suffering, helplessness and financial insecurity that they are facing now”, the memorandum said “withdraw this draconian demonetisation measure immediately.” Pitching for a broader campaign against demonetisation, involving various political parties, Mamata yesterday met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Both the leaders discussed the crisis for about 40 minutes but Kejriwal reportedly expressed his reservation to come along with Shiv Sena on a same platform.However, AAP MP Bhagwant Mann, suspended from Lok Sabha for uploading a video of Parliament premises on social media, participated in the march. Mamata had approached other parties, including Congress and Left, to join the march against the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes, saying “common people are suffering because of it.” However, Congress and Left though opposing the demonetisation move preferred not to join the rainbow platform created by Mamata against the government.Undeterred by the absence of major political parties she marched ahead.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin arrives with big team, bigger agenda

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Israeli President Reuven Rivlin arrived here on Monday on an eight-day visit. He is accompanied by a large delegation of businessmen, academics and defence honchos. While nine MoUs on education tie-ups have been lined up, there will be discussions on areas of cooperation in agriculture and water. Confirming that Israel has plans for fresh joint ventures and technology transfer in developing weapons systems and also becoming first country to implement Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative in this sector, Israeli envoy Daniel Carmon, however, refused to give more information.Israeli President’s visit — the first by an Israeli President in nearly 20 years — will also prepare ground for much-awaited travel of Modi to Tel Aviv. The last Israeli President to visit India was Ezer Weizman in January 1997.Asked about Modi’s proposed visit to Israel, he said it will be a very important trip. It was being decided by the two governments when it will happen, the envoy said. Even though the two countries don’t agree on many issues related to West Asia, particularly on Palestine, the Israeli President said, “Friends may not always see eye to eye on everything, and as friends we can agree to disagree with respect and understanding.”India is Israel’s largest buyer of military hardware and the latter has been supplying various weapons systems, missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles over the last few years. But the transactions have largely remained behind the curtains. In non-defence sector, the trade between the two countries has increased from $200 million (Rs 1358 crore) in 1992, when they set up full diplomatic relations, to $6 billion (Rs 40731 crore) a year in 2015.Rivlin will travel to Agra, Karnal, and Chandigarh, besides touching Mumbai on the last day of his visit to pay tributes to the victims of 26/11 terrorist attack. In Agra, he will take a look at an adjacent Israeli water treatment plant called “Aqwise”. In Karnal, he will visit the Centre of Excellence in Agriculture set up with Israeli assistance. He will also travel to Chandigarh, along with President Mukherjee to jointly inaugurate Agro Tech 2016.

Opposition calibrates strategy to corner BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition parties have started carefully calibrating their strategy to corner the Modi government both inside and outside the parliament on the “disastrous impact” on common man of the “ill timed” demonetization move and other issues — aftermath of surgical strikes and continuing Kashmir unrest.The sudden impact of demonetization brought even the arch rivals CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) on the same page, at least for the time being, as their leaders — Derek O’Brien and Sitaram Yechury — shook hands at the meeting called by Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.Leaders from RJD, JD(U), CPI, JMM, and YSR Congress were also present at the meet. Opposition parties will held the meeting again on Tuesday to discuss the strategy further in the presence of Samajwadi Party, Mayawati’s BSP and AMIM that could not attend the meeting on Monday.Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan also held a meeting with MPs of all parties where she discussed smooth functioning of the Lok Sabha where passage of important bills can face hurdles because of disruptions.TMC’s O’Brien proposed other parties to join their protest march from parliament to the President’s house on the opening day of the parliament session on November 16 against the government’s demonetization move but was yet to get a firm response from other parties, including Left parties and Congress.CPI(M) party sources said that while they could join hands with TMC in parliament on this issue, but would not like to be seen with it outside as the party’s West Bengal state unit is not happy with the idea. Congress also is weighing the pros and cons of such a move.”We have decided to march down and meet the President against the anti-people move of the Central Government and would be happy if other parties join it,” a TMC leader said.TMC is trying to gather 100 opposition MPs to march and petition President Mukherjee against the government’s notes ban.While some parties want to take the Modi government head on, others don’t want to be seen as opposing the larger “anti-black money” discourse among the people.Mayawati attacksHoping that popular sentiment may soon turn against BJP because of sheer logistics crisis to implement demonetization, BSP supremo Mayawati launched a scathing attack on PM Narendra Modi for ‘imposing economic emergency’ on the country through his Nov 8 decision. BSP is expected to join united opposition meet on Tuesday to plan out strategy against the demonetisation move in Parliament.

Nation remembers Jawaharlal Nehru on his 127 birth anniversary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying tributes to country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on his 127th birth anniversary on Monday.”Tributes to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on his birth anniversary,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet.Besides Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress vice President Rahul Gandhi and Delhi’s former chief minister Sheila Dikshit paid floral tributes to Nehru at his memorial ‘Shanti Van’ here.At the end of the ceremony, the dignitaries released tricolour balloons in the air amid playing of bands and patriotic songs by school children.Nehru was born to Motilal Nehru and Swaroop Rani on November 14, 1889, in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh and his birthday is celebrated as Children’s Day in the country as he was fond of children. He remained in office until his death in 1964.

Kolkata: Clashes, chaos abound as ATMs run dry and cash in banks run out

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Clashes and chaos marred the third day of currency exchange following demonetisation in Kolkata on Saturday, as ATMs ran dry and cash stocks in banks ran out. While people thought that the currency exchange initiative by the banks over the weekend might bring them relief, they were left waiting for hours in long queues. According to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, most of the ATMs remained closed. “People are facing a harrowing time following the demonetisation. As many as 2 lakh ATMs are not working. Those ATMs which are working do not have sufficient cash to dispense,” said Banerjee at the state secretariat – Nabanna. In West Bengal’s Asansol, bank account holders clashed with bank staffers after cash stocks ran out. In one of the districts of Bengal – Hooghly – an infuriated mob broke the window panes of a bank after it discontinued the currency exchange for the day. “The bank suddenly closed down operations for the day. They were supposed to continue operations till 5 pm, but the officials said that cash has been exhausted. We waited for five hours and now have to return home without the purpose being served,” said a resident, Biswanath Karmakar. The scene in Kolkata was no different, with some people having to miss office just to deposit and withdraw cash from the bank. On the other hand, bank officials had to face the heat of angry customers failing to carry out their transactions. Earlier in the day, Mamata Banerjee visited three banks in South Kolkata – Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Ashutosh Mukherjee Road and Sarat Bose Road and ATMs to take stock of the situation. She also spoke to distressed people waiting in line and advised them to ask bank officials to give them Rs 100 notes instead of the Rs 2,000 currency notes. Later, Banerjee even spoke to a bank official, who highlighted that the banks did not have sufficient cash to dispense following the demonetisation.

SYL canal issue | Parkash Singh Badal seeks time from President Mukherjee, to meet with Council

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has sought time from President Pranab Mukherjee as the state government decided in the cabinet meeting on Thursday night that entire Council of Ministers would meet the President to request him not to accept the verdict of the Supreme Court about water distribution and construction of Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal.In the letter written to President Mukherjee, Badal said that the Punjab Government respects the court and the Constitution. In the letter, it is noted that Punjab has constitutional and legitimate right on its waters. The Chief Minister said water is lifeline of everybody and Punjab’s agricultural land will go barren without water and industry will also be affected.Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) sources said the government wants to meet the President before the Special Session of Punjab assembly convened on 16 of this month to discuss the situation in the wake of the verdict.
ALSO READ SYL Verdict | Water is our lifeline, we will not let it go: Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal Congress will not participate in the session as all its 42 MLAs have submitted their resignation to the Speaker on Friday.The Supreme Court’s verdict on the SYL canal on Thursday came as a huge setback to the Punjab Government, as it set aside Punjab government’s order repealing water sharing agreement with Haryana. The apex court ruled that the legislations passed by the Punjab Government on the SYL canal dispute stood null and void as a bilateral agreement couldn’t be tampered with by one party alone.

Kolkata ATMs run dry, Mamata says willing to even work with Left to attack Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee upped the ante against the Centre’s move of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes on Saturday and said that she was ready to work with all opposition parties, including the CPI(M), against the Centre. Serpentine queues were witnessed in front of banks as harassed people waited for hours to withdraw money, even as ATMs ran dry on the second day after ATM withdrawal was allowed following a two-day moratorium. Despite efforts by banks to ease the situation, people complained that ATMs were running dry within hours of re-opening and timely refilling was not being done in the metropolis or in the districts.“The Centre cannot scare us. We are not afraid of them. I appeal to all opposition parties to come together, including CPI(M) to put up a protest against the demonetisation of currency notes,” said Banerjee while addressing reporters at the state secretariat – Nabanna, adding “We thank the parties who have opposed the note ban. There should be more protests. Will Emergency be imposed next?” she asked. Banerjee lashed out at the Central government and termed it ‘anti-poor’. “This anti-people, anti-poor government has no moral right to continue in power. This is a dictatorship. People will teach the BJP a lesson in future elections. I don’t care if I am jailed for voicing my opinions. Are they going to get army to shoot us? I will speak for common people. I supported them on GST. But this is a disaster. There should be a judicial inquiry on the economic loss in the country due to note ban in the last few days. This is not a surgical strike on black money but complete financial surgical anarchy,” said Banerjee. Earlier in the day, Mamata visited some banks and ATMs in South Kolkata to take stock of the situation. She visited three banks at – Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Ashutosh Mukherjee Road and Sarat Bose Road and spoke to people who had been waiting in line for hours. She advised customers who had been waiting in the queue to exchange currency or withdraw cash to ask for Rs 100 notes instead of the Rs 2,000 notes. Later, Banerjee even spoke to a bank official, who highlighted that the banks did not have sufficient cash to dispense, following the demonetisation. (With Agency Inputs)

India, UK need to cooperate more on counter-terrorism: President Pranab Mukherjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and the United Kingdom need to cooperate more on countering terrorism which is the “biggest menace” to world peace and tranquillity, President Pranab Mukherjee has said. Talking to British Prime Minister Theresa May, who called on him last evening, the President said India sees the UK as a key partner in its growth and economy.”India would encourage more companies from the UK to partner in its national programmes like Make in India, Skill India, Digital India etc,” the President was quoted as saying by the Rashtrapati Bhawan spokesman in a statement today. “Terrorism is the biggest menace to world peace and tranquillity. It is a scourge that knows no territorial or ideological boundaries. “India and UK need to cooperate more on counter-terrorism. The international community must show determination in fighting against terrorism,” he said.The President also stressed that there was an immense scope to further enhance trade exchanges both in goods and services between the two countries. Bilateral trade between India and the UK in goods stood at $14 billion in 2015-16.Welcoming the UK Prime Minister, Mukherjee expressed happiness that she has chosen India for her first bilateral visit outside the European Union and said both the countries share common prospective on many international issues. “There is strong economic and financial engagement, growing defence and international security partnership and close people to people linkages. India appreciates the UK s support for its candidature for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council,” he said.May warmly reciprocated the President’s sentiments and said that her visit reflects the strength of the relationship as well as UK’s keenness to build for the future. There were many existing opportunities in terms of mutual investment and trade. The UK is looking to forge a key bilateral partnership with India which would be to the advantage of both sides, the spokesman said quoting the British Prime Minister.

Arms haul in JNU campus: Pistol, cartridges found in abandoned bag

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid existing high tensions within the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus, an abandoned bag was found on the university grounds with two local pistols and seven cartridges in it. The bag was discovered last night when security guards were patrolling the area near the north gate of JNU campus.The police were informed immediately and a case was registered under the Arms Act. An investigation has been launched into the matter.Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has launched a manhunt to trace student Najeeb Ahmed, whose disappearance has become a major political issue. Upon the intervention of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, President Pranab Mukherjee has sought a report from the Delhi Police and the MHA over the missing student.Najeeb went missing on the intervening night of October 14 and 15 after allegedly being beaten up by a mob of 20 students comprising ABVP members, who had gone campaigning to his room for hostel elections.

Maithripala Sirisena to be the special speaker for anti-tobacco conference hosted by India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will arrive in India on Sunday to take part in the global anti-tobacco conference being hosted in the national capital. During his two-day visit, President Sirisena will take part in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which is being participated by 180 countries as well as regional economic integration organisations like the European Union.The Sri Lankan President will address the convention as a special speaker on the inaugural day on Monday. Sri Lankan President, who served as the Minister of Health during the previous government, is a strong advocate of tobacco control and successfully implemented laws to display pictorial warnings up to 80% on both sides of cigarette packets.President Sirisena will also meet President Pranab Mukherjee and discuss bilateral relations between the two neighbours. The Sri Lankan President had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of BRICS and BIMSTEC meeting in Goa last month.His visit comes a day after a high-level delegation led by foreign ministers of the two countries met in New Delhi to sort out the fishermen issue, where it was decided to set up a joint working group and hotline between the two coast guards to better deal with the issue.

JNU missing student protest: Delhi police explains why Najeeb’s mother was detained

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi Police on Sunday detained the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), who were staging protesting the authorities at the India Gate here for not taking firm steps to locate their missing colleague Najeeb Ahmed. Najeeb’s sister Sadaf Mosharraf, who was also among those detained by the police, vented her ire at the men in uniform. ‘‘We were protesting very peacefully but the Delhi Police detained us without any reason,’ she said. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday alleged that the Centre was adopting ‘dictatorship’ policy and violating the constitutional right of an individual by adopting such measures.Delhi CM Arvind Kerjiwal meanwhile went to the police station where Najeeb’s mother was reportedly held. Meanwhile, in a statement the Delhi Police said: “JNUSU had given a call today for demonstration and sit in dharna at India Gate. Delhi Police requested in writing not to assemble near India Gate as prohibitory orders u/s 144 crpc in force. NSUI, CYSS and others also joined the call They were advised to assemble at Jantar Mantar. But in various groups they started assembling around India Gate despite the advisory. Delhi Police at various locations stopped the protesters, dissuaded them to move towards India Gate and were taken to Police Stations.” Arvind Kejriwal addressing JNU students: ‘Why is the Prime Minister afraid of protests’ If one student is missing since the last 22 days then other students have the right to protest. This is their constitutional right and the government is trying to snatch their rights from them,’ said Kejriwal. Commenting on the Delhi Police’s move to summon nine people in connection with this case, Kejriwal said that the men in uniform have just done a formality in the name of investigation. ‘The BJP is ruling the nation and Delhi Police is afraid of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). So, they didn’t have the courage to call the ABVP people from past 22 days and just for formality they called few ABVP members for interrogation yesterday,’ he said.Earlier today, Kejriwal met President Pranab Mukherjee to seek his intervention into the matter. Speaking to the media here after meeting with the President, Kejriwal pinned the blame on Delhi Police, accusing them of refusing to take action after coming under political pressure. The Chief Minister further said that President Mukherjee had assured him of seeking a report both from the JNU administration and the Delhi Police as well.Last week, Kejriwal had made a beeline to the JNU campus along with other party leaders to take on the Centre over the missing student. “The way the country has progressed in the last two years is of grave concern. Today Najeeb is missing. Tomorrow my son can go missing,” Kejriwal then said. Najeeb went missing on the intervening night of October 14 and 15 after allegedly being beaten up by a mob of 20 students comprising of the ABVP members, who had gone campaigning to his room for hostel elections.With inputs from agencies

Missing JNU student: After police detain Najeeb’s mother, Kejriwal accuses Modi of adopting ‘dictatorship’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> After the Delhi Police stopped the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students from staging protest at the India Gate over missing student Najeeb Ahmed, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday alleged that the Centre was adopting ‘dictatorship’ policy and violating the constitutional right of an individual by adopting such measures. Due to Chaat celebrations, Section 144 had been imposed at India Gate. ‘Why is the Prime Minister afraid of protests’ If one student is missing since the last 22 days then other students have the right to protest. This is their constitutional right and the government is trying to snatch their rights from them,’ said Kejriwal. Commenting on the Delhi Police’s move to summon nine people in connection with this case, Kejriwal said that the men in uniform have just done a formality in the name of investigation.’The BJP is ruling the nation and Delhi Police is afraid of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). So, they didn’t have the courage to call the ABVP people from past 22 days and just for formality they called few ABVP members for interrogation yesterday,’ he said. Earlier today, Kejriwal met President Pranab Mukherjee to seek his intervention into the matter.Speaking to the media here after meeting with the President, Kejriwal pinned the blame on Delhi Police, accusing them of refusing to take action after coming under political pressure. The Chief Minister further said that President Mukherjee had assured him of seeking a report both from the JNU administration and the Delhi Police as well. Last week, Kejriwal had made a beeline to the JNU campus along with other party leaders to take on the Centre over the missing student. “The way the country has progressed in the last two years is of grave concern. Today Najeeb is missing. Tomorrow my son can go missing,” Kejriwal then said.Najeeb went missing on the intervening night of October 14 and 15 after allegedly being beaten up by a mob of 20 students comprising of the ABVP members, who had gone campaigning to his room for hostel elections.

JNU missing student protest: Delhi police detain Najeeb Ahmed’s mother and others

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Sunday, many JNU students protested the government over missing student Najeeb Ahmed near India Gate in New Delhi. Najeeb Ahmed, a first-year MSc student at the School of Biotechnology in JNU reportedly went missing on October 15 after allegedly being beaten up by a mob of 20 students comprising ABVP members, who had gone campaigning to his room for hostel elections. The Delhi police reportedly detained JNU students who were protesting the lack of action taken by the authorities. Najeev’s mother Fatima Nafees was also detained. The JNUSU had been protesting for the last 20 days. Student leaders have also accused the ABVP of being involved in the incident. The Delhi police have refuted such accusations and claimed they are trying to trace Najeeb. The police have also announced a Rs 2 lakh award for anyone with credible.THe police have reportedly imposed Section 144 at India Gate, which prohibits unlawful assembly. Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday met President Pranab Mukherjee to seek his intervention in the matter of the missing student from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and was assured of all help possible. Speaking to the media here after meeting with the President, Kejriwal pinned the blame on Delhi Police, accusing them of refusing to take action after coming under political pressure. ‘Najeeb has been missing for the past 23 days, ever since he got into a scuffle with some ABVP students and was even beaten up in the presence of wardens. It is clear as day that the Delhi Police is not taking any action in the matter due to political pressure.Those who were involved in the brawl were questioned for the first time in 23 days yesterday and that too as a formality,’ Kejriwal said. The Chief Minister further said that President Mukherjee had assured him of seeking a report from the JNU administration and the Delhi Police as well.Last week, Kejriwal had made a beeline to the JNU campus along with other party leaders to take on the Centre over the missing student. “The way the country has progressed in the last two years is of grave concern. Today Najeeb is missing. Tomorrow my son can go missing,” Kejriwal said. Hitting out at ABVP, he added, ‘The message is clear. Whoever opposes ABVP, BJP and RSS will be considered as anti-national. The party is not of Hindus, not Muslims, neither of their fathers. I went to Gujarat. They have killed Patidars, they have killed dalits. Instead of consoling the family of former armymen, police beat up the family members.”With agency inputs

OROP row: Basic pension of ex-servicemen increased 2.57 times, says President Mukherjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The basic pension of ex-servicemen of the Indian Army has increased by 2.57 times as compared to pension of December 31, 2015, President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said here while addressing ex-servicemen of the Gurkha regiments in the Indian Army.Mukherjee, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, lauded the valour and discipline of the Gurkha soldiers in guarding the borders of India.Mukherjee, who is on a three-day state visit to Nepal, visited the Pension Office for Gurkha ex-servicemen here in the last segment as large number of these soldiers live here after retirement.The scenic Pokhara Valley, nestled in the shadow of towering snowcapped peaks of Dhaulgiri, Machapuchare, and Annapurna is home to a large number of soldiers of the famed Gurkha regiments in the Indian Army.The President received a warm welcome here with people dressed in traditional clothes carrying flags of India and Nepal had lined up the roads from airport to hotel where he stayed briefly and then from hotel to pension office of the Gurkha regiments ex-servicemen.People stood there throughout the stay of the President who was in the city for nearly an hour playing drums, dancing and waving as his convoy passed through the streets of Pokhara city.”According to the seventh Pay Commission the basic pension has increased 2.57 times under the One Rank One Pension scheme as compared to basic pension on December 31, 2015,” Mukherjee said.He said being the supreme commander of the Indian defence forces, it was a matter of great satisfaction and pride that all the welfare schemes of ex-servicemen are being implemented in Nepal on time.The President said there are 32,000 Gurkha soldiers in Indian Army besides 1.26 lakh ex-servicemen from the community. Mukherjee said India will never hesitate to take all possible steps for the welfare of ex-servicemen.”Every year about Nepalese Rs (NPR) 3,100 crore of pensions is being distributed in Nepal. In the current financial year, the target is to distribute about NPR 4,000 crore of pension as per One Rank One Pension and Seventh Pay Commission,” he said.

GST Council meet: Consensus eludes on jurisdiction of assessees

New Delhi: For the second time in as many weeks, the Centre and states today failed to reach a consensus on who will control which set of assessees under GST, a disagreement that threatens to derail the April 1 target for rollout of the new indirect tax regime.

A labourer prepares to unload sacks of potatoes from a truck at a wholesale vegetable and fruit market in New Delhi July 2, 2014. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee/File Photo - RTSM8GGA labourer prepares to unload sacks of potatoes from a truck at a wholesale vegetable and fruit market in New Delhi July 2, 2014. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee/File Photo - RTSM8GG

A labourer prepares to unload sacks of potatoes from a truck at a wholesale vegetable and fruit market in New Delhi July 2, 2014. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee/File Photo – RTSM8GG

After nailing a four-tier rate structure of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent, the second-day of the all-powerful GST Council failed to reach a consensus over which category of assessees should be governed by the Centre and which by states.

The November 9-10 meeting of the Council has been called off. It was to finalise the draft law and supporting legislations for subsuming an array of central and state
levies including excise duty, service tax and VAT. The finance ministers of states will now meet informally on November 20 to evolve a political consensus on the sticky issue.

The next meeting of the GST Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, has been scheduled for November 24-25.

Jaitley, who had previously stated that he hoped for all modalities for the GST to be finalised by November 22, was still hopeful of getting the supporting legislations during the ensuing Winter Session of Parliament from November 16.

“That’s the effort. I am endeavouring to do that,” he said when asked if the CGST and IGST legislations will come before Parliament in the upcoming session.

“When in the month of August we passed the Constitution amendment, it appeared too challenging because the time was very short. As of today, I am more confident than I was in August. Let me say this because bulk of the spade work has been done. Most of the decisions have been taken. Only one key decision remains,” he said.

Differences on the issue of cross empowerment to avoid dual control arose with states demanding control over 11 lakh service tax assessees, and Centre proposing to do away states having exclusive control over all dealers up to an annual revenue threshold of Rs 1.5 crore — an issue which was settled in the first meeting of the GST Council.

No decision could be arrived at the end of the third meeting of the Council on October 19.

Jaitley said the draft CGST, IGST, SGST and compensation laws will be sent to states after November 15 and the GST Council in November 24-25 meeting will approve them.

He said all pros and cons have to be weighed before deciding on the issues of cross empowerment to ensure single interface under GST, which will subsume excise, service tax, VAT and other local levies.

“In order to resolve it we will have an informal meeting of the ministers, in order to find a political solution to this problem, and we will try and thrash out a solution on the November 20 between these options or may be a hybrid option of this,” he said.

“But whatever option is we don’t want to take it in a hurry because it has to be a well thought out decision, because administratively, any mistake on this front could be chaotic. So we are going slowly and systematically on this,” he added.

In the last meeting of the Council, 5 proposals were discussed, but today the Council has arrived at an option of two proposals– horizontal division and vertical division.

‘Horizontal Division’ would mean tax payers would be divided both for administrative and audit purposes based on a cut off turnover. Those with a turnover over Rs 1.5 crore would be administered both by the Centre and states, while those with below Rs 1.5 crore would be administered solely by the state.

The ‘Vertical Division’ based on ratios assigns tax payers to a tax administration, Centre or state, for a period of 3 years for all purposes including audit. Tax payers could be divided in a ratio which would balance the interest of the Centre and the state, both with respect to revenue and spread of numbers.

Jaitley said the matter is complex and hence the Centre and states do not want to rush through with the final answer as the consequences of this are unforeseen. “You can have neighbouring shopkeepers being assessed by different authorities and therefore what will be the consequence of that?”

According to sources, the Centre feels that horizontal division would be lopsided as 93 per cent of Service Tax assessees and 85 per cent of the VAT tax payers have a
turnover below Rs 1.5 crore.

The GST Council also felt that distinction between goods and services cannot be maintained as works contract, construction contract, restaurants — all these have VAT and Service Tax and it is not possible to disintegrate them.

Police now intervenes in Ashoka University matter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police has initiated action against those who were a part of a petition in Ashoka University, supporting plebiscite in Kashmir. Haryana police has sought details about the email through which the petition was circulated and those who were involved in signing of the petition. The alumni member who initiated the petition is also being kept a watch over by the police. The police officials from Haryana’s Sonepat district visited the campus recently and submitted a letter to the Vice Chancellor seeking a report on the issue. “We have sought information on what was the e-mail that has been circulated and the action that has been taken on the students on the basis of the mail. Once we get the reply to the mail, we will take further action on its basis,” a senior police officer from Sonepat district said. “An ex-student had started the petition. We are keeping a watch on the student and those who are related to him,” the official added. A petition signed by 88 members of the university, addressed to the J&K government and the central government that condemned the violence after militant Burhan Wani’s death got circulated on social media. Following this, two members of the administrative staff quit the university, even as they cited personal reasons for this, the petition was being cited as the reason. Meanwhile, amidst fears of a clampdown of free speech in the university, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Rudrangshu Mukherjee in an internal communication to the students and faculty members reiterated: “Ashoka University is committed to free speech and the question of diluting this commitment does not arise”. “I would like to clarify that no staff or faculty have been dismissed for expressing their opinion by signing a petition,” he added. He also added that the “Kashmir petition’’ expressed the views of a very small group within the Ashoka community.

Diversity should not be converted into uniformity, says President Mukherjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India should celebrate diversity and must not artificially try to convert it into “uniformity”, President Pranab Mukherjee said in Gandhinagar on Sunday. Observing that the country’s economy is growing at very fast pace, Mukherjee said it was not an accident or an achievement of one or two years. “Today, we have 1.25 billion people on land. We have 1,800 dialects, 200 languages used in every day life, have seven religions, three major ethnic groups,” Mukherjee said at a function of Bapu Gujarat Knowledge Village, a college run by senior Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela.”It’s possible because of our cultural liberalisation. It’s because of our spirit that we must celebrate our diversity. We must not try to remove diversity and artificially try to convert diversity into uniformity,” he said.Mukherjee said this is the teaching of our ancient saints, philosophers and leaders. Many septics have expressed their doubts over makers of Indian constitution that it is a poor country, illiterate, diseased. How could any highly sophisticated parliamentary constitutional mechanism be established there… “One of the personal friends of (Jawaharlal) Nehru, Sir Frank, who later became the Prime Minister of England, said Constitution was your idealism. However, after successful conduct of two general elections, the same person said it (Constitution) is most significant, magnificent, Magna Carta (a significant document in British history) of socio-economic transformation,” he said.The President said the country had embarked on the road of socio-economic transformation through the Constitution. He said Indian economy has been growing at a very fast rate which is a result of sustained efforts.”Indian economy is growing very fast and this is not accident or the achievement of one or two years. Over last one-and-a-half decades, our GDP growth has been more than 7.5 per cent.”(For) couple of years, we had 8.5 per cent (growth).Yes, we have left behind us the age when one of the noted economist jokingly told us that 3.5 per cent was Hindu growth rate of economy,” Mukherjee said. He warned of a “demographic explosion” if India fails to provide necessary skills to the youth for securing jobs. “By 2030 or within 14 years from now, India will have the largest working population but this won’t pay us dividend and may turn into demographic explosion if we do not give them necessary skills required for jobs,” Mukherjee added.

I’m a Gujarati at heart, says President Pranab Mukherjee

Sun, 23 Oct 2016-09:10pm , Bharuch , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said he feels he is a “Gujarati at heart”, though he may not speak the local language. Mukherjee, who is on a two-day visit to the state, said he has been a Rajya Sabha member from the state in the past.”I am not new to Gujarat in the sense that I had the privilege … they (political leaders) helped me to get elected from Gujarat to Rajya Sabha for full six years… in that way I can claim to be a Gujarati but unfortunately I cannot speak (the language)…. I am not claiming it, but still at heart I am a Gujarati,” he quipped after inaugurating the Sardar Patel multi-specialty and heart hospital in Bharuch district.Earlier, he also visited the renovated ‘Sevashram’ hospital in Bharuch and unveiled statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The President lauded “the two great sons of India and Gujarat” for not only ensuring the country’s independence but also placing strong foundation for its future. He also praised the initiative of Congress MP Ahmed Patel for making the dream of the first super-specialty hospital in Bharuch come true as he called this work “noble”.

Global conference to strengthen arbitration, enforcement begins in New Delhi today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver the valedictory address of the first ever global conference to strengthen Arbitration and Enforcement in India at New Delhi today. Today is the third and last day of the ongoing Global Conference.The conference which began on Friday, titled ‘National Initiative on Strengthening Arbitration and Enforcement’ is being held to change the face of dispute resolution in India.For the first time, six leading international arbitral institutions and all major industry associations have come together to drive this initiative.The conference aims to provide impetus to commercial arbitration in the country, which is fast gaining pace across the world.During the inauguration of the conference on Friday, President Pranab Mukherjee had called for institutional reforms to strengthen arbitration framework in India saying that courts need to devise a mechanism to handle such matters separately and avoid delays arising from judicial intervention.In his address at the inaugural session, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had pitched for making India an important commercial arbitral centre, saying that efforts are being made to revive the arbitration centres in Mumbai and the national capital with a view to expedite contractual dispute resolution at a lesser cost.On Saturday, the conference’s second day , discussions were held Indian Arbitration Act, Case Management of Arbitration, setting up an world class autonomous arbitration institution and court support for arbitration during different sessions.On Sunday, an interactive session will also be held on the future of international arbitration where Chief Justices from six countries across the world will participate.

AAP delegation to meet President Mukherjee over illegal appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) delegation led by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia will meet President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday to discuss the issue of illegal appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries in various states.Besides Sisodia, other AAP leaders Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh, Gopal Rai and Kapil will also be present during the meeting at 6:15 p.m. Last year, President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected the Delhi government’s bill to exclude the post of Parliamentary Secretary from the ‘Office of Profit’ definition. Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has given 21 AAP legislators time till October 17 to explain why they should not be disqualified from the assembly after their appointment as Parliamentary Secretaries. After coming to power in February 2015, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government appointed 21 party lawmakers as the Parliamentary Secretaries, stating that it would facilitate smooth functioning of the government and ensured that it would not be a burden on the exchequer. However, the Delhi High Court in September quashed the appointment of 21 Parliamentary Secretaries.

Odisha Congress seeks President’s intervention in Mahanadi river water dispute

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress in Odisha on Friday sought President Pranab Mukherjee’s intervention to resolve the ongoing dispute between the state and Chhattisgarh over the Mahanadi river water.”We urge you to wield your constitutional mandate to protect the interest of multitude of cultivators, instruct the Chhattishgarh Government to desist from the unilateral construction immediately,” the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) said in a memorandum to the President.A CLP delegation led by its leader Narasingha Mishra met the President in New Delhi and apprised him of the situation following Chhattishgarh government’s “unilateral” construction of projects on upstream of Mahanadi. “We also urged the President to instruct the Union Government to share all information with the state of Odisha as regards any change in adverse inflow of water to this state and constitution of an Inter-State River Water Dispute Tribunal immediately so that the matter may be referred to,” Mishra told reporters after meeting the President.Stating that the reduction in inflow of water in Mahanadi will have a serious bearing on the fragile eco-system enveloping the water bodies like Chilika, the largest lagoon of India, the CLP mentioned in the memorandum that wildlife census showed how it was a perfect host to Siberian and similar aviaries of rare species.Ornithologists have already predicted the extinction of many rare varieties of aviaries in no distant future.”Further, it (reduction in flow of water in Mahanadi) will have serious impact on the mangrove forest of the Mahanadi delta which has acted as a barrier to high tides and super cyclones. Environmentalists have already predicted the threat of extinction of rare species of alligators in Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary and turtles in Gahirmatha/ Bhitarkanika sanctuary in the river in case of serious reduction in the intake of water in the water bodies,” the memorandum said.

Gandhi a racist, say Ghana university academics; govt wants to relocate statue

Was Gandhi a racist?

That’s the question the Ghana government is basing its decision on, to relocate a statue of Mahatma Gandhi off a university campus, after professors launched a petition claiming that he was “racist”.

The institution in question is the University of Ghana and interestingly enough, the statue was unveiled in June at the campus in Accra by President Pranab Mukherjee, symbolising a close tie between the two countries.

A petition was launched in September by a group of professors who called for the removal of the statue. They said that Gandhi was racist and besides, the university should be giving importance to “African heroes and heroines, first and foremost”.

“It is better to stand up for our dignity than to kowtow to the wishes of a burgeoning Eurasian super-power,” said the petition, which quotes passages written by Gandhi that say Indians are “infinitely superior” to black Africans.

A statue of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi in Accra, Ghana, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. Professors at a university in Ghana's capital are campaigning for the removal of a new statue of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.(AP Photo/Christian Thompson)A statue of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi in Accra, Ghana, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. Professors at a university in Ghana's capital are campaigning for the removal of a new statue of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.(AP Photo/Christian Thompson)

Statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Accra, Ghana. Image from AP

Ghana’s ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement that it has followed the controversy with “deep concern” and that it wants to relocate the statue. “The government would therefore want to relocate the statue from the University of Ghana to ensure its safety and to avoid the controversy,” it said.

“While acknowledging that human as he was, Mahatma Gandhi may have had his flaws, we must remember that people evolve,” said the ministry, emphasising that Ghana and India have “championed the struggle for the liberation of oppressed peoples around the world”.

“Mahatma Gandhi may have had his flaws.” This is just one of the many sentences that have egged on the debate of Gandhi’s legacy.

In an interview with Gouri Chatterjee for Firstpost, Indian historian Ramachandra Guha, perhaps one of the very few to have explored the Mahatma’s life in great detail, said that “Gandhi was a racist”, but only in 1983 when he “first reached South Africa”. It would be pertinent to note that Gandhi was in his early 20s and filled with the prejudice of “his Indian and British upbringing. He then thought Africans inferior to Indians and whites, and said so in public,” according to Guha.

As Ghana’s ministry of foreign affairs then insightfully notes, Guha echoes a similar viewpoint: that people gradually overcome their prejudices and flaws and that Gandhi

slowly shed these prejudices. He came to appreciate the quality of African life, to admire their moral sense, and the beauty of their languages and culture. By about 1908 or so, he was advocating the equality of all races.

However, Guha was quick to point out that Gandhi’s views changed after he returned to India, asking Indians in South Africa to unite with the Africans against the white regime. The historian said that those who still consider Gandhi a racist are those who are “cherry-picking from Gandhi’s own writings” and those who are “judging the 19th century by the canons and values of the 21st century”.

Those in Ghana or elsewhere who damn Gandhi as a racist are misguided and misinformed. That said, I do not think the Government of India should be funding and installing statues of Gandhi in other countries. That is patronising; besides, would it not be better for the Government to honour and practice Gandhian principles at home?

Ambedkar_AFPAmbedkar_AFP

Ambedkar is the icon when it comes to emancipating Dalits, not Gandhi. Image from AFP

Perhaps the South African academics do have a point. Soutik Biswas, writing for the BBC, says that the authors of The South African Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of Empire (also South African academics, but of Indian origin) believe so. The duo spent seven years researching for the book and observe that Gandhi was unconcerned about the plight of the Africans, held a firm belief that power should be with the whites and also addressed the Africans as ‘kaffirs’, which is a derogatory term.

The duo wrote that Gandhi, in 1904, wrote to a Johannesburg health officer, feeling quite strongly about the mingling of the “Kaffirs with the Indians”, referring to a slum known as ‘Coolie Location’.

Another BBC report mentioned that the hashtag #Ghandimustfall was being circulated on social media in South Africa, during April 2015, as was a statute vandalised by a group bearing placards that read: Racist Gandhi must fall.

But before we look outwards, we must look into our own backyard first.

The Dalit movement, which is gaining momentum in the country, has given fuel to the debate of Ambedkar vs Gandhi. The debate isn’t a new one though, as Arundhati Roy wrote in The Caravan, in a long-winding essay titled, The doctor and the saint.

Both men were their generation’s emissaries of a profound social, political and philosophical conflict that had begun long ago and has still by no means ended… Ambedkar was Gandhi’s most formidable adversary. He challenged him not just politically or intellectually, but also morally.

Even though Gandhi famously campaigned against untouchability — professor Mridula Mukherjee, who criticises Roy’s view, was quoted by The Guardian as saying that Gandhi devoted his life to fighting prejudice, and being a social reformer bringing about social transformation — it’s Ambedkar we look to when we talk about caste annihilation. (It’s a shame that Tamil Nadu’s own EV Ramaswamy Naicker, popularly known as Periyar, is lesser known, even though he was Ambedkar’s contemporary. But that’s a topic for another day.)

Guha, in the interview to Chatterjee, has a fitting reply to why when it comes to emancipating the Dalits — who have politically suppressed and culturally oppressed and marginalised in India — Ambedkar is the icon and not Gandhi. He says,

It is just and inevitable that Ambedkar should be the great icon of the young Dalits today. He was their emancipator. At the same time, it is a mistake to discount Gandhi’s own lifelong fight against caste discrimination. Upper caste Indians should take inspiration from it, since caste prejudice is still so prevalent today.

— With inputs from AFP

Haj pilgrimage to now be managed by Minority affairs ministry

Haj pilgrimage to now be managed by Minority affairs ministry

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New Delhi: The management of Haj pilgrimage will now be done by the Minority Affairs Ministry instead of the External Affairs Ministry. President Pranab Mukherjee has given assent to new rules in this regard.

The management of Haj pilgrimage, including administration of the Haj Committee Act, 1959 (51 of 1959) and the rules made will be under the Minority Affairs Ministry, the new rules issued by the Cabinet Secretariat said. Earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was looking after administration of the Haj Committee Act.

The MEA will be looking after pilgrimages to places outside India and the Indian Pilgrim Ships Rules, 1933, and pilgrim parties from India to shrines in Pakistan and vice versa excluding the administration of the Haj Committee Act, the new rules said.

Gandhi Jayanti: PM Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee pay tribute to the Mahatma

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee paid tribute the Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of his birth anniversary early Sunday morning. They were at Rajghat along with several top party leaders to pay respects to the father of the nation.In his message to the nation on Saturday evening, Mukherjee said, “Gandhiji’s ideals of non-violence, freedom, equality and religious tolerance have eternal value.”Gandhiji taught us the value of harmonious co-existence and mutual respect. He displayed a rare constellation of abilities and showed how individuals can advance social and political change. He had an exemplary passion for justice and an indefatigable spirit of service to mankind.”Prime Minister Modi had said cleanliness and sanitation were very close to the heart of Mahatma Gandhi and it was the social responsibility of every citizen to help fulfill Gandhiji’s vision of Clean India.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Vice President Hamid Ansari, BJP leaders LK Advani, M Venkaiah Naidu, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also paid their respects at Rajghat.

PM Modi to brief President Mukherjee about surgical strike across LoC

Sat, 1 Oct 2016-04:30pm , New Delhi , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday and brief him about the surgical strike carried out by the Indian Army across the Line of Control (LoC) on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday.According to sources, the Prime Minister is also expected to brief President Mukherjee about the current security situation in the country. The surgical strike was carried out across the LoC to neutralise the terrorists, who would have otherwise infiltrated into the Indian territory. According to reports, around 50 militants have been reported to be killed and two Pakistan army soldiers have also lost their lives.

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