Yuva Sai Sagar

Online news channel!

Tag: newstracker

Modi speech live: PM rolls out slew of reforms, schemes to benefit rural poor

Dec 31, 2016

Highlights

  • 20:31(IST)

  • 20:30(IST)

  • 20:19(IST)

  • 20:15(IST)

  • 20:05(IST)

  • 19:59(IST)

  • 19:55(IST)

  • 19:51(IST)

  • 19:47(IST)

  • 19:45(IST)

  • 19:44(IST)

  • 19:41(IST)

  • 19:37(IST)

  • 19:36(IST)

  • 19:34(IST)

  • 19:31(IST)

  • 19:24(IST)

  • 19:24(IST)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on Saturday, in which he is expected to spell out the roadmap ahead after the expiry of the 50-day period for depositing of demonetised notes. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address the nation before dawn of the New Year,” sources told PTI.

This will be his second address to the nation since his announcement in a similar address on 8 November to scrap Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes.

While announcing the landmark decision, he had asked the people to give 50 days for rolling it out.

Against this backdrop, the Prime Minister may speak about the roadmap ahead, especially on the steps to ease the cash flow that has been a major problem ever since demonetisation took place.

He may also speak on the steps to deal with the problems the economy faces after the demonetisation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

The prime minister in his public meetings in the last few weeks has been urging the people to bear with the pain following the government’s decision and that it would start easing gradually once the 50-day period is over.

Modi also accused the Congress leadership of “desperation” in the face of his “tough” demonetisation decision and said it was the first time that a concerted effort was made by the Opposition to “openly” protect the dishonest through disruptions in Parliament.

He also slammed Manmohan Singh, who had described demonetisation as a “monumental mismanagement” and an “organised loot”, and sarcastically said that his predecessor might have been referring to the “unending string of scams” like 2G, CWG and coal block allocation “under his leadership”.

Modi said while the honest will not be harassed, those with black wealth have “only a few days to hide” and will not be spared.

“I pity a few of our opponenets, especially the Congress leadeship, for the desperation they have been exhibiting…Congress leaders are entirely pre-occupied with only one thing – elections.”

“There is nothing political in the demonetisation decision…It was a tough decision taken to clean up our economy and our society. If I were guided by short term electoral politics, I would have never done so,” he told India Today in an interview.

With regard to the washout of the recent Winter session due to disruptions over demonetisation, the Prime Minister said the government tried its best to keep Parliament functioning.

“I was keen to speak in both Houses. Yet, there was a concerted attempt by the Congress to derail the functioning of the Houses rather than have a proper debate. While opposition in Parliament is understandable, this is the first time it is being used to protect the dishonest and that too so openly,” he said.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 20:00 IST

Jharkhand mine collapse: Death toll rises to 13, as rescue operations continue

Godda (Jharkhand): The death toll climbed to 13 in the coal mine collapse at Lalmatia open cast coal mine of Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL), with the recovery of two more bodies on Saturday.

RR Mishra, officiating CMD of ECL, a Coal India subsidiary told PTI, “We have recovered two more bodies. We are carrying on the rescue operation in a systematic manner so that the situation does not aggravate as the debris is too much and it should not fall.”

Thirteen bodies have been recovered from the collapsed mine in Jharkhand. AFPThirteen bodies have been recovered from the collapsed mine in Jharkhand. AFP

Thirteen bodies have been recovered from the collapsed mine in Jharkhand. AFP

Danger zones have been declared around the place of incidents to restrict the entry of people there. Moreover, the district commissioner has also stationed police and CISF officials to restrict entry of people in the danger zone, Mishra said. “We have also called experts from outside to help us in the rescue operation. We have fully ensured that the rescue operations are done with proper safety measures. We have also come up with standard operating procedures which would help us in proper operations so that there is no loss to lives.”

Heavy machinery was deployed as rescuers, including those from the NDRF, toiled through the day extricating bodies and looking for survivors. Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDIL), the consultancy arm of Coal India Ltd, has deployed magneto meters along with imaging system for locating magnetic and conductive material up to a depth of 80 metres, the statement said.

Mishra said the incident occurred at around 7.30 pm on Thursday, when excavators were working there following which rescue operations was launched immediately. Senior officials of Director General of Mines Safety (DGMS) have arrived at the site and launched an inquiry.

Thirteen excavators and dump trucks which were swamped under the debris have been recovered. The All India Trade Union Congress has condemned Ministry of Power and Coal India for ignoring mine safety norms in open cast mine of ECL in Godda district.

This is the first big open coal mine disaster due to utter negligence of safety norms, it said. The mining was being operated by a contractor to whom Coal India had outsourced mining operations of the area, the union added. AITUC has demanded thorough inquiry and adequate compensation to the families of killed workers and observance of proper safety norms.

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 19:00 IST

Rahul Gandhi submits charter of demands to Modi, wants all restrictions on cash withdrawals gone

New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi put forth a charter of demands to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to lift restrictions on cash withdrawals immediately and pay Rs 25,000 to every family below the poverty line.

Rahul Gandhi. PTIRahul Gandhi. PTI

Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Gandhi took to Twitter to highlight his demands ahead of Modi’s second television address to the nation on Saturday, after his surprise 8 November announcement, where he announced the demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and old Rs 500 currency notes.

The Congress vice-president, a staunch critic of the government’s decision to demonetise the notes, listed out his eight demands to Modi as the 50-day period asked by the prime minister to normalise the situation expired on Friday. and there still isn’t seem to have some issues with the availability of notes.

He has dubbed the move the single most arbitrary decision in the history of the world affecting 1.3 billion people. Besides asking Modi to “lift restrictions on withdrawal of money with immediate effect”, Gandhi demanded the prime minister to deposit Rs 25,000 in the account of one woman in each Below Poverty Line (BPL) family.

He advocated immediately abolishing charges on digital transactions and called for income and sales taxes rebate of 50 percent to small-scale shopkeepers and businesses. Gandhi demanded the prime minister to compensate all bank account holders with special interest rate at 18 percent per annum for the “time restrictions are in place”.

He also urged doubling of number of guaranteed workdays and wage rate under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) for a year and a special one-time bonus of 20 per cent over and above the Minimum Support Price
(MSP) of all rabi crops.

Another of his demands was that rate of ration under public distribution system (PDS) be halved for a year under the provision of Food Security Act. In one of his tweets, Gandhi said, “Destroyed in the last 50 days: trust in the Prime Minister’s word. Weekly cash withdrawal limits must go.”

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 17:30 IST

Indian army prepared to meet any challenges, says General Dalbir Singh Suhag

Indian army prepared to meet any challenges, says General Dalbir Singh Suhag

‘);
FB.XFBML.parse();
*/
});

By

New Delhi: Indian army is prepared to meet any challenges, Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag who superannuated as Army chief said today.

He also thanked the government for providing a free hand and implementing OROP.

He said that infiltration attempts had increased during the year and the number of terrorists killed too was nearly double the previous year.

The Indian army is prepared to meet any challenges, he said, adding that the force had focused on operational preparedness during his tenure.

Suhag said that when he had taken over he had said that the response of Indian army to any action against our interest would be immediate, adequate and intense.

Indian army has done that in the last two-and-half years, he said.

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 13:53 IST

Comment using Disqus

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

LIVE New Zealand Vs Bangladesh Live Score

NZ vs BAN | Dec 31st, 2016

NZ 239 2 41.2

RUNS

WKTS

OVERS

Cricket Scores

Pakistan seeks US support on implementation of Indus Waters Treaty with India

Islamabad: Pakistan has sought support of the US on the implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) with India, as Secretary of State John Kerry called for an amicable settlement of the issue by New Delhi and Islamabad, media reported on Saturday.

The development came after Pakistan was irked by the World Bank pause in mediation to resolve differences over construction of two water projects by India.

The Express Tribune reported that Kerry made a phone call to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday night and discussed the row over the IWT implementation and the role of the World Bank (WB), which had brokered the treaty in 1960.

After Kerry’s call, US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale also met Dar in Islamabad at the Finance Ministry.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The back-to-back contacts highlight the importance of the water issue, which can potentially endanger regional stability if the situation slips out of control, according to sources at Finance Ministry.

“The US would like to see an amicable solution to this (water) issue,” a Finance Ministry statement quoted Kerry as saying.

Kerry told Dar that the WB president had informed him about Pakistan’s complaint against India on the IWT.

The water dispute has catapulted the US back into Pakistan’s economic picture.

The American civilian and military assistance to Pakistan has drastically come down in recent months and its implications on Pakistan’s fiscal situation have started emerging in the shape of a larger-than-anticipated budget deficit.

Independent analysts argue that Washington may not play an effective role in resolving the water dispute, as the Obama administration is preparing to hand over the White House to Donald Trump next month.

“Senator Dar indicated that the US support on the principles and legal position of Pakistan will be greatly appreciated,” stated the Finance Ministry.

Early this month, the WB had announced a pause in playing its legally binding role of mediator in the IWT implementation.

In October, Pakistan had approached the WB seeking appointment of the Chairman of Court of Arbitration to resolve a dispute over construction of two mega hydropower projects by India in violation of the IWT.

The Finance Minister told Kerry that the IWT was an international commitment and it was the WB’s responsibility to make sure India honoured the treaty and the water rights of hundreds of millions of Pakistani people were protected, said the finance ministry.

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 13:03 IST

Mumbai youth who joined Islamic State killed in Syria, terror outfit calls him ‘martyr’

In an official acknowledgment, the Islamic State on Tuesday confirmed the death of Aman Tandel, the Kalyan youth who left for Syria to fight for the Islamic State, a report published in DNA said.

The Islamic State paid tribute to Tandel on Telegram, a social networking site. While hailing him a “martyr”, the message added that he died in Raqqah — a city under the control of the terror group, the report said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

A report published in The Hindu on Thursday said that security agencies confirmed the death of the Kalyan youth. “We cannot say when and how it happened, but on the basis of accounts provided by the family and other foreign agencies, it is confirmed that Tandel died in clashes in Syria,” the paper quoted an official as saying.

In November, the family of Aman Tandel received an unknown call from Turkey informing them of his death in an airstrike, reported Mid Day.

Tandel, an electrical engineer, along with two others, travelled to Iraq on the pretext of a pilgrimage in June 2014. He is the second India-born Islamic State fighter to be killed after Saheem Tanki — who is believed to have been killed in August 2015, The Hindu reported.

Meanwhile, a Mumbra-based youth Tabrez Tambe, who reportedly joined the Islamic State, came under the scanner of the Maharashtra ATS after the investigation agency refused to accept his claim that he is incarcerated in Libya, reported Mumbai Mirror.

Tambe reportedly called his brother Saud two weeks back and informed him of his arrest by Libyan authorities, the report added.

However, the ATS claims it has not yet received any report on his detention from Libya. The investigative agency believed that Tambe might be faking the story to avoid being arrested in India.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 17:23 IST

Agusta Westland case: Delhi High Court issues notice to SP Tyagi against bail given to him

The Delhi High Court on Friday, on the Central Bureau Investigation’s plea, issued a notice to ex-Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi against the bail given to him on 26 December. Tyagi was granted bail by a special court in Delhi which said that the CBI had failed to state the alleged bribe amount and when it was paid. The Delhi High Court on Friday sought the response of ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi on CBI’s plea challenging his bail claiming its probe would be “hampered” if he remains out. Justice Vipin Sanghi issued notice to Tyagi and listed the matter for hearing on 3 January.

Tyagi, who retired in 2007, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan were arrested on 9 December by the CBI in connection with a case which relates to the procurement of 12 VVIP choppers from the UK-based firm Finmeccanica, during the UPA-2 regime. The court would decide the bail pleas of Sanjeev Tyagi and Khaitan on 4 January.

Tyagi, 72, who was interrogated by the CBI in its custody for seven days, had been asked by special CBI judge Arvind Kumar to furnish a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh and one surety of like amount as pre-requisites for his release on bail.

The court had asked Tyagi not to leave the National Capital Region (NCR) without its permission and ordered him not to tamper with the evidence or try to influence the witnesses.

“CBI failed to state as to how much cash was paid to the accused and when it was paid. Admittedly, the CBI has seized the documents regarding properties in 2013 and more than three years and nine months have passed but could not conduct probe in this regard. Accused was arrested after about three years and nine months, LOC was withdrawn by CBI, his accounts were de-frozed after the agency gave ‘no objection’ and accused was allowed to travel abroad,” the court, in its 26 December order, had said.

File photo of SP Tyagi. PTI

File photo of SP Tyagi. PTI

It had noted that Tyagi had joined the investigation as and when CBI called him and it was not the case that he either tampered with evidence after registration of the FIR or influenced witnesses in the case.

“CBI’s apprehension that the accused may tamper with the evidence is without any basis… Accused has been a senior government servant. The correctness or otherwise of the allegation as to whether the accused has taken any kickbacks and in what manner he was connected with the same, can only be looked into during the course of the trial,” it had said.

While granting the relief, the court had taken note of Tyagi’s advancing age and his health conditions and had said no purpose would be served by keeping him behind the bars.

During the hearing, Tyagi’s advocate Manger Guruswamy had said that her client “could not be deprived of freedom if the investigation is taking time to complete”.

She had also claimed that in the last four years after registration of the FIR, the CBI has never been able to confront Tyagi with any incriminating evidence till date.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, had opposed the bail pleas of the accused, saying if set free, they might influence witnesses and hamper the “multi-layered probe by various agencies in more than one jurisdictions involving several countries”.

“We have evidence where the meetings unofficially took place for the purpose of crime. At this stage, please do not entertain their bail pleas. Let the probe be completed,” he had said, seeking dismissal of the bail pleas of all the three accused and adding the matter has “tarnished country’s name”.

On the court’s query whether the CBI had any material regarding SP Tyagi receiving money, the agency replied the former IAF chief had purchased several properties for which the sources of income were not disclosed by him and alleged that he had abused his official position.

Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey, counsel for Khaitan, had also countered CBI’s argument, claiming that the agency was trying to sensationalise the matter and there was no allegation that his client had not joined the probe or tried to influence it.

Sanjeev Tyagi’s counsel Manav Gupta had also opposed CBI’s contention saying there was no reason to claim that if granted the relief, his client would hamper the probe.

The accused had sought bail on the grounds that the evidence was documentary in nature and had already been seized by CBI and they have cooperated with the probe agency.

The court had on 17 December sent all the three accused to judicial custody till 30 December.

The CBI had said it was a “very serious” and “a very high-profile” case requiring interrogation to unearth larger conspiracy as the “interest of the nation was compromised”.

Tyagi’s counsel had earlier claimed that the decision to procure VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective” one and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was also a part of it.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 14:47 IST

Kashmir: Separatists call for strike against ID cards for West Pakistan Refugees

Srinagar: Normal life was affected in Kashmir Valley on Friday due to a strike called by separatists against the issuance of identity certificates to West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs).

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

Most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments in Srinagar — the summer capital of the state — were shut, while public transport was minimal, officials said.

They said there were very few street vendors visible in the city today due to the strike.

Reports of shutdown were also received from most of the other district headquarters of the Valley, the officials said.

Security forces were deployed in strength at sensitive places where barricades were also erected.

The separatists have also been calling for shutdown on Friday and Saturday every week after scaling down their agitation which followed the killing of Hizbul Mujahdeen militant Burhan Wani.

The more than five-month unrest in the Valley had left 86 people dead and thousands others, including 5,000 security personnel, injured.

The separatist groups — both factions of Hurriyat Conference and JKLF — on Thursday appealed the people to observe a complete shutdown on Friday and Saturday over WPR issue.

They alleged that the decision on issuance of identity certificates to WPR was aimed at changing the demography of Jammu and Kashmir.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 12:56 IST

Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia’s office burgled: Documents, computers allegedly stolen

New Delhi: Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s office was burgled late night on Thursday, the city police said.

File photo. PTI

File photo of Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia. PTI

“There was a robbery at the Patparganj office of Deputy CM late night on Thursday. The exact time is not yet known,” deputy commissioner of police (East) Omvir Singh said.

“The district forensic team has lifted finger-prints from the crime scene,” Singh said.

“The office was being shifted and most of the articles were already moved. However, some documents and two computers were stolen,” he added.

Aam Aadmi Party worker Pankaj Singh told IANS that the lock of the office was broken and some documents, including letterheads as well as CPUs of two computers, were missing.

“The burglers also turned away the CCTV cameras and took away the DVRs that had the recordings,” Upendra Kumar, who is in-charge of the party office, said. The police, along with a dog squad, came to Sisodia’s office on Friday morning to investigate the theft, he added.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 12:21 IST

Madhya Pradesh plans to develop 1,100 ‘climate-smart’ villages to help farmers

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh has embarked on an ambitious plan to develop 1,100 ‘climate-smart’ villages with an aim to prepare farmers to manage the climate change risks timely and ensure good productivity.

“The government has been planning to develop 1,100 villages as climate-smart villages in a period of next six years,” state Farmer Welfare & Agriculture Development Department Principal Secretary Dr Rajesh Rajora told PTI.

He said 100 villages in each of the 11 agro-climatic zones of the state would be taken up under the plan, which would incur a cost about Rs 150 crore every year.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan. PTI

Shivraj Singh Chouhan. PTI

“The work is being taken up under the National Agriculture Development Programme (NADP) and Indian National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture,” he said.

In these villages, the farmers would be encouraged to go for short duration variety of crops, in addition to using drought-resistance seeds.

“The focus would be on integrated agriculture, which comprises animal husbandry, fisheries, in addition to traditional farming. Agro-forestry would also be adopted in these villages,” Rajora said.

Agro-forestry conserves and protects the natural resources as it helps water retention and stops soil erosion.

He said integrated nutrients management would also be implemented to help in soil fertility and plant nutrients supply through optimisation of all possible sources of organic, inorganic and biological components.

“In addition, the integrated pest management, zero tillage, raised bed gardening techniques and micro-irrigation would also be introduced in the climate smart villages. This would help farmers to increase the productivity amid all challenges of climate change,” he said.

Zero tillage technique is a way of growing crops time and again without disturbing the soil through ploughing, another agriculture expert said.

“The micro-irrigation systems like drip and sprinklers would not only reduce the water use but also lessen the use of fertilisers and energy,” he said.

Rajora said the state government would seek help of International Crops Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), an international NGO working in the field of agriculture, and Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a global agriculture research partnership.

“The Centre has set ICRISAT, the UN organisation, as nodal agency for developing the climate-smart villages. We would also seek expertise from scientists of two agriculture universities at Jabalpur and Gwalior in addition to state government’s scientists in various district headquarters,” he said.

According to agriculture department officials, various equipment and sensors would also be used in these villages to help the farmers.

The state government has already announced to open a soil testing laboratory at the block level. A plan is also on the anvil to provide soil health cards to farmers under state government’s efforts to double farmers’ income in five years.

To ensure sustainable agriculture growth, MP has also constituted a ‘Krishi (agriculture) Cabinet’ for the purpose.

The cabinet includes ministers of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, fisheries, cooperatives, water resources, Narmada valley development, energy, panchayat, rural development and SC/ST welfare departments.

MP had also received Krishi Karman award for 2014-15, the fourth during past five years, for increasing the food grains production and productivity by 254 lakh tonnes and 1,719 kg per hectare, respectively.

The state government also claimed to have increased the irrigated agriculture area to 40 lakh hectares from 7 lakh hectares in 2003.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 11:17 IST

India’s first transgender college principal resigns citing ‘non-cooperation’ from staff

Krishnagar: India’s first transgender college principal Manabi Bandopadhyay has submitted her resignation after about one-and-a-half years in office, expressing frustration at “non-cooperation” of a section of teachers and students of her institution.

Nadia District Magistrate Sumit Gupta on Thursday said he had received her letter of resignation from the post of Principal of Krishnagar Women’s College in the district on December 27 and forwarded it to the state Higher Education department on Wednesday.

Manabi Bandhopadhyay. Image courtesy: FacebookManabi Bandhopadhyay. Image courtesy: Facebook

Manabi Bandhopadhyay. Image courtesy: Facebook

Manabi alleged that she started facing non-cooperation from a section of teachers soon after she took over as the principal of the well-known women’s college on 9 June, 2015.

On the other hand, the teachers also levelled the same allegation against the principal, resulting in a standoff.

A four-member team, led by Joint Director of Public Instruction (DPI) RP Bhattacharjee, visited the college recently on a fact-finding mission and talked to the principal and teachers.

Manabi said, “All of my colleagues went against me. Some of the students went against me. I tried to bring back discipline and an atmosphere of education in the college. Most probably, that is why they went against me. I always got co-operation from the local administration, but never got it from my colleagues and students.”

She went on to say that she had been under tremendous mental pressure and could not take it anymore, forcing her to resign.

“I feel tired due to the agitation and gherao by the students and teachers. I faced a lot of legal notices from their end. I had come to this college with new hopes and dreams but I was defeated…,” she said.

Manabi (51), whose earlier name was Somnath, underwent a series of operations in 2003-2004 and became a woman. In 1995, she published the country’s first transgender magazine, Ob-Manab (sub-human).

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 09:30 IST

Demonetisation ordinance: Minimum Rs 10,000 fine for holding old notes, no jail term

New Delhi: Government has made holding of more than 10 junked Rs 500/1000 notes a penal offence punishable with a minimum Rs 10,000 fine, but the harsher four-year jail term has been dropped.

The Specified Bank Notes Cessation of Liabilities Ordinance, approved yesterday by the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, allows individuals to hold no more than 10 notes of the old currency. It allows 25 such currencies to be held by research scholars.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

Top sources said the ordinance, which will be sent to the President for his assent shortly, will come into effect from December 31.

It provides for making holding of old 1,000 and 500 rupee notes after March 31 a criminal offence that will attract a fine of Rs 10,000 or five times the cash held, whichever is higher.

Furnishing wrong information while depositing the old currency between January 1 and March 31 — a window provided only for exigencies — will attract a fine of Rs 5,000 or five times the amount, whichever is higher.

The ordinance also provides for amending the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act to provide legislative support for extinguishing the demonetised banknotes that are not returned. The 50-day window for depositing the old notes in bank accounts and post offices expires tomorrow.

While the high-denomination currency ceased to be a legal tender from midnight of November 8, 2016, a mere notification was not thought to be enough to end the central bank’s liability and avoid future litigations.

Currency notes carry RBI’s promise to pay the bearer the amount of the value of the note, a pledge that can be nullified only by legislation after giving due opportunity to everyone to return old notes.

Sources said the proposal for a four-year jail term for anyone possessing large number of demonetised currency after March 31, 2017 was not approved.

The ordinance, which will have to be converted into proper legislation by passing of a law in Parliament within six months, makes possession, transfer or receiving an amount of over Rs 10,000 in the now-demonetised 500 and 1,000-rupee notes a punishable offence.

Sources said while the deadline for the deposit of old currency in bank or post office accounts expires on Friday, time till March 31 is available for doing so at select RBI counters with stiff conditions. This facility is for people who were abroad, armed forces personnel posted in remote areas or others who can give valid reasons for not being able to deposit the cancelled notes at banks till December 30.

While announcing the demonetisation of the old currency on November 8, the government had allowed holders to either exchange them or deposit in bank and post office accounts.

In 1978, a similar Ordinance was issued to end the government’s liability after Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 notes were demonetised by the Morarji Desai-led government.

Sources said the legal amendments are needed every time the government decides to scrap any legal tender to put an end to its promissory note.

Of the Rs 15.4 lakh crore worth of currency that was scrapped, about Rs 14 lakh crore has been deposited in banks or exchanged.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 19:43 IST

Note ban policy: RBI’s autonomy under threat, say experts

New Delhi: Has the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under its new governor, Urjit Patel, surrendered its hard-fought autonomy? Many experts feel so, particularly after the manner in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government has handled the demonetisation drive.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also a former governor of the RBI and a finance minister, lamented in Parliament recently that constant modifications in the country’s banking system following demonetisation was not good for the country or the RBI.

RBI Governor Urjit Patel. PTIRBI Governor Urjit Patel. PTI

RBI Governor Urjit Patel. PTI

“That reflects very poorly on the Prime Minister’s office, on the Finance Minister’s office and on the Reserve Bank of India,” he told the Rajya Sabha last month. “I’m very sorry the Reserve Bank of India has been exposed to this sort of criticism, which I think is fully justified.”

What is unclear in this whole exercise is how much say the country’s central bank — the apex monetary policy authority, established on April 1, 1935, following the enactment of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 — had in the policy decision.

“The government said the RBI has recommended the demonetisation. I do not know whether the government has forced the RBI to ask or the RBI took the call on its own,” RBI’s former Deputy Governor K.C. Chakrabarty told IANS over phone from London.

“I’ll not be able to say (on RBI’s views being valued) unless the minutes of the board meet is shown,” he added, alluding to some interference by the government, since RBI’s position has always been against demonetisation.

“That was the consistent view of the Reserve Bank in the past,” Chakrabarty said.

In a reply to Bloomberg, on a right-to-information query, the apex bank said that the decision to withdraw the legal tender character of the Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes was taken by the RBI board at 5.30 p.m. on November 8 — less than three hours before Modi announced it to the country.

Overnight, Rs 15.44 lakh crore or 86 percent of the currency in circulation was declared illegal. Norms were announced by the Prime Minister on how people could deal with such currency in their possession — which were subsequently changed on an almost daily basis.

Regarding autonomy, Chakrabarty said: “You must understand the autonomy that the RBI was getting from the government was because the government was to give the autonomy to the institution. If the government does not want to give anybody autonomy, the RBI cannot do anything.”

West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra was more direct.

“Most eminent people in India have been RBI governors, including the present governor (Urjit Patel). He is a good economist. Now the same autonomous institution has lost its teeth. It has been issuing notices and withdrawing notices as per government’s instructions,” Mitra told IANS.

“What is very dangerous regarding demonetisation has gone unnoticed. The deeper issue is that fundamental institutions of India of historic nature are being undermined and emasculated. Therefore, the faith in them by the people is under question today,” he added.

The money that was declared illegal is yet to be replaced in any substantial measure — at last count, the RBI said Rs 5.93 lakh crore of new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 have been issued. Since November 10, most ATMs across the country have remained shut and those which do open their shutters run dry of cash very quickly. Bank cash counters have the same woes, despite restrictions on the amount that individuals or companies can withdraw.

Many bankers too seemed to have lost faith on the towering apex institution.

“Yes, the RBI seems to have lost its autonomy in the issue of demonetisation which has been totally mismanaged,” a chief executive of a bank told IANS, declining to be named.

“The RBI should have advised the government on the ground reality about withdrawing 86 percent of the currency notes in circulation and the logistical issues,” he added, suggesting that the central bank should have stuck to its ground.

In fact, Duvvuri Subbarao, former RBI Governor and Finance Secretary, has been rather candid about his relationship with the government and the finance minister (P. Chidambaram at that time) when he was at the helm at Mint Street, the headquarters of the RBI in Mumbai.

“Both have the same objective of growth, but RBI looks at long-term growth and the government looks at short term growth that results in different priorities for both. There is no way out,” Subbarao told IANS.

“It all depends on the chemistry between the finance minister and the governor,” he said.

But experts hope the question of autonomy could come under less pressure, now that a Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has been named and has started functioning — with three representatives each from the government and the RBI, and the veto power with the Governor.

“I support formation of MPC, though it will curtail the decision-making powers of the RBI Governor,” said Subbarao. “The Governor will discuss and listen to all stakeholders in the committee, so he will not be solely responsible for the decision on interest rates.”

But some domain experts like M.R. Sivaraman, former Union Revenue Secretary and former Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund, don’t think demonetisation exercise, at least, reflects loss of the RBI’s autonomy. On the contrary, they feel it is RBI that should have handled the situation better.

“Demonetisation will curb black money, eliminate fake currency and bring out unaccounted cash stashed away into the banking system,” said former Infosys board member T.V. Mohandas Pai, dismissing suggestions about loss of independence.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 19:26 IST

Nagrota attack: Terrorists’ strategy similar to Pathankot, militants used tree to enter army base

Security breaches in and around Indian Army camps, over the past year, have cost us the lives of many soldiers. From Uri to Pathankot and from Samba to Nagrota, militants have brazenly attacked the security forces at the heart of some strategic security bases on the Indian territory. However, security loopholes seem to have taken a toll on the preparedness of our forces.

Now it appears that the recent attack on an army unit, which is located just three km from the Army XVI Corps headquarters in Nagrota was staged on similar lines of the Pathankot attack on the Indian Air Force base, where the failure to secure the camp’s perimeter resulted in the massive security breach.

Security personnel at guard in Jammu's Nagrota district. PTISecurity personnel at guard in Jammu's Nagrota district. PTI

Security personnel at guard in Jammu’s Nagrota district. PTI

Seven army personnel, including two Major-ranked officers were killed in the 29 November Nagrota attack, in which three heavily armed militants stormed into the army complex and started indiscriminate shooting within the officers mess and residential quarters of the army men.

The militants behind the attack reportedly sneaked into the premises from the forest area in its rear, official sources told PTI.

In fact a report by The Indian Express said that the militants climbed atop a tree in the officers’ mess campus alongside the three-metre high perimeter wall to enter the premises.

Even in the case of Pathankot attack, it was revealed that the terrorists had managed to jump into the campus by climbing eucalyptus trees and then using a nylon rope to slide down the perimeter wall, according to The Hindu. Despite this, no thorough fortification of the boundary walls of strategic camps was conducted, The Indian Express report states.

Moreover, just like the Pathankot attack, in Nagrota too, failure to ensure preemptive action despite credible intelligence input is also among the many reasons that compromised security.

According to another report in The Indian Express, intelligence agencies had been targeting the movements of suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba militants in the Indian territory, since at least two weeks ahead of the Nagrota attack. Specific intelligence inputs, warning against an imminent strike on a high-value military target was issued just 10 days before the 29 November attack. Although, the LeT cell tracked by the intelligence agencies was not behind the attack, which was later blamed on Jaish-e-Mohammed, questions were raised as to what security measures were taken in response to the intelligence warnings.

However, responding to this, an army spokesperson told The Indian Express, “The reports generated by intelligence agencies were not specific and covered a large spectrum of targets and locations. Even with reference to intelligence regarding Nagrota attack, no such specific or actionable intelligence was received.” However, the report further claims that RAW further issued a warning just 72 hours ahead of the attack that suspected Jaish militants were active in the region. The warning, undoubtedly were generic and did not point out the specific targets on the radar of the militants, nonetheless, the inputs should have led bases to enhance security in the least.

Currently, the National Investigating Agency is probing the  attacks, while it has already filed a chargesheet against JeM cadres including its chief Masood Azhar in the Pathankot attack case, the agency is seeking to establish how did the terrorists creep into the Indian soil and sustained without detection for so long. Meanwhile, a likely theory floating after the preliminary investigation states that the terrorists could have crawled in through an 80-metre-long tunnel under farm lands to cross the International Border (IB) used for the Samba attack, which occurred on the same day.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 16:49 IST

2016 for MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan: Simi activists encounter, Hindutva politics dominated the year

Bhopal: 2016 saw Shivraj Singh Chouhan firmly in the saddle as he completed his 11th year as Madhya Pradesh chief minister though he had to grapple with the situation arising out of the controversial police encounter in which eight suspected Simi activists were killed.

Chouhan also managed to win back RSS’ confidence after all did not seem to be well following police allegedly beating up Sangh pracharak Suresh Yadav in September at Balaghat district over a WhatsApp message with communal overtones.

He was also upbeat after CBI, the prosecution agency in the multi-crore Vyapam admission and recruitment scam, told the apex court that the electronic evidence in the rip-off was not tampered with.

The Congress has been alleging that the electronic evidence in the scam were tampered with by the state police to save Chouhan and his family.

Cow vigilantes too were seen in action in the first half of the year and in one such case, two Muslim women were beaten up at Mandsaur railway station on suspicion of carrying beef in July.

The state witnessed communal unrest in some parts.

After the encounter killings of suspected Simi activists who had mysteriously escaped the highly-fortified central jail here on Diwali night allegedly killing a security guard, questions were raised but Chouhan’s defence was that the police action was taken “for public good”.

File photo of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. AFP

File photo of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. AFP

Minutes after the encounter, Chouhan, who seldom speaks to the media, hurriedly convened a press conference to dub the undertrials as “terrorists” who posed a serious threat to society after escaping from the jail.

After the encounter, Muslims huddled in a mosque, on being denied permission to hold a public meeting. They claimed the killing was stage-managed.

Earlier, the community had often found the moderate Chouhan in their midst on Eids, once wearing a Muslim skull cap which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had refused to don.

After initial resistance, the state government agreed to a judicial probe into the encounter after the outcry and criticism by media and public.

The month-long Simhasta-Kumbh mela in the ancient city of Ujjain in April-May too made a political splash when BJP chief Amit Shah took a holy dip with the Dalit seers.

This drew the wrath of seers who said they were being divided on caste line for the first time.

The event also took a political hue with Congress blaming BJP for hijacking the event for political gain and siphoning off crores of rupees from the state exchequer.

Besides, the mela, considered to be one of the biggest congregations of Hindus, saw the participation of eunuchs for the first time despite the reservation of Hindu clerics.

After police action on Suresh Yadav, local Sangh Parivar leaders took to the streets in Balaghat and a confrontation between the RSS and the Chouhan government seemed imminent.

To mollify the RSS, the state government booked Balaghat Additional Superintendent of Police and other policemen and charged them with attempt to murder. The accused policemen, still at large, were suspended.

But RSS apparently wanted more. Finally, the Chouhan government shunted out Inspector General of Police and Superintendent of Police from Balaghat to placate it.

As the lower rungs of Sangh Parivar were still frowning, Chouhan flagged off a 5-month-long yatra from Amarkantak in Anuppur district – the origin of river Narmada – on December 11 with RSS at the helm of the event.

The event, called Narmada Seva Yatra, ostensibly aimed at turning the river pollution-free and maintaining the sanctity of the water body considered to be holy in Hindu scriptures.

At the start of the yatra, RSS general secretary Bhaiyaji Joshi heaped praises on Chouhan for his deep faith and respect for the holy river.

Then on December 19, in an apparent endorsement, senior RSS functionary Alok Kumar said Madhya Pradesh was a laboratory of Sangh Parivar’s ‘ekathma manavad’ (integral humanism).

Twenty-eight people hailing from the state perished in the derail incident of Indore-Patna Express near Kanpur on 20 November.

After 32 years of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, victims of the world’s worst industrial disasters and the organisations helping them rejoiced on December 7 when a local court issued notices to the then district collector and the then superintendent of police for allegedly helping Union Carbide Corporation CEO Warren Anderson to escape from the state capital and criminal prosecution in December 1984.

Anderson who died last year was facing charges of criminal liability in the compensation case for the disaster.

BJP also won a number of by-polls in the state that were held during the year including Shahdol (ST) Lok Sabha seat and three assembly seats.

During the end of the year, Aam Aadmi Party national convenor Arvind Kejriwal held a public meeting here. AAP has already raised cadres in several parts of the state with an eye on the 2018 assembly polls.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 14:57 IST

Madras High Court judge raises doubts on Jayalalithaa’s death, wants health records made public

There couldn’t have been a better timing for the Madras High Court to raise questions on the mysterious conditions under which former Tamil Nadu chief minister and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam head, J Jayalalithaa passed away earlier this month.

A file image of new AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala with J Jayalalithaa's body. PTI

A file image of new AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala with J Jayalalithaa’s body. PTI

On the day the AIADMK appointed Jayalalithaa’s aide VK Sasikala as the next general secretary of the party, a post held by Jayalalithaa before her death, the high court observed that there are many unanswered questions surrounding her death and that the details of it should be made public.

Expressing doubts over the circumstances leading to death of former Tamil Nadu chief minister, a Madras High Court judge indicated that he may order exhumation of the body after a plea before the court sought a probe by an inquiry commission or a fact-finding committee.

According to ANI, Justice Vaidyalingam, who was heading a two-judge vacation bench, pointed at the doubts raised by the media and said that the mysterious conditions under which she died should be probed.

His observations came when the bench, also comprising Justice V Parthiban, was hearing the PIL filed by an AIADMK worker PA Joseph seeking an inquiry commission or a fact-finding committee to probe the circumstances leading to the death of Jayalalithaa.

“After the demise, everybody has a right to question. I personally have a doubt,” Justice Vaidyalingam remarked adding, “”One day it was told that she is walking, another day you said that she will come out and suddenly what happened. Even with regard to the health of late  Chief Minister MGR, video was released,” Justice Vaidyanathan said.

When a special mention was made before the bench by senior counsel KM Vijayan who argued on the plea, Advocate General Muthukumaraswamy said there is no mystery in the death.
Justice Vaidyanathan asked the AG, “What is that you say. Right to live is a Fundamental Right. Public should know what has happened.” “Even relations were not allowed to see and they are also
not before the court now. I personally find in case if I have doubt I may order exhumation of the body of deceased and you have not told anything when she was alive,” the judge said.

Turning to counsel J Madanagopala Rao, who appeared on behalf of Union Government, the Judge said: “You went there. You have not reported anything. You know everything. But not reported anything for the reasons best known to you. You kept quiet.” The bench said, “We also saw in newspapers that the chief minister was recovering, and that she was eating, signing papers and even conducting meetings. And then suddenly she was dead.”

“At least after her death now, the truth should be revealed,” the bench added.

The bench then recorded the acceptance of notice by counsel for Union Government on behalf of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministries of Home, Law and Parliamentary Affairs and CBI and posted the matter for further hearing to 9 January.

According to CNN-News18, the high court judge also asked why her body was buried and not exhumed. The bench, it said, has issued a notice to the prime minister, Central Bureau of Investigation and the Apollo Hospital, where Jayalalithaa was being treated regarding the same.

The PIL had sought a commission comprising retired Supreme Court judges to look into “questionable incidents”, including Jayalalithaa’s sudden hospitalisation, reported recovery and the cardiac arrest resulting in her death on 5 December.

The PIL listed the sequence of events since Jayalalithaa’s admission to Apollo Hospitals here on 22 September and claimed that the “secrecy” preceding her death gave rise to “grave doubts” in the minds of the people.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 12:23 IST

Kurla-Ambernath train derails near Kalyan, no reports of injury

Five coaches of an Amarnath-bound local from Kurla derailed near Kalyan on the Central line of the Mumbai suburban railways on Thursday morning, reports said.

The derailment took place between Kalyan and Vithalwadi station at 5.53 am, The Financial Express reported. However, no one is reported to have been injured.

Local train services on the Kalyan-Karjat route on the Central lines have been temporarily suspended and restoration work has already begun, various reports said.

AN NDTV report said that local train services between Ambernath and Karjat have been restored, and the Central Railway has requested the Kalyan Dombivali Municipal corporation to run extra buses between Kalyan and Ambarnath and CST-Kalyan to facilitate commuters during the peak hours.

The Central line of the Mumbai suburban railways has been struggling to match up with the increasing number of passengers with trains more than often running over capacity. The Central line had been in news recently, when on 7 December, commuters staged a rail roko at Titwala station protesting against a delay in the arrival of a train. A similar protest had been staged at Badlapur, another station on the Central line in August, The Times of India reported.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 08:52 IST

India to liberalise visa rules for Bangladeshis to promote tourism

Dhaka: In a bid to ease the procurement of Indian tourist visas for Bangladeshis, India will now allow those with confirmed travel tickets to submit their visa applications directly without prior appointments.

“As part of ongoing efforts to streamline, liberalise and ease the process of securing Indian visas, the High Commission of India will allow all Bangladesh travellers with confirmed air, train or bus tickets to submit their tourist visa applications without e-token or prior appointment dates from 1 January 2017,” the Indian High Commission here said in a press release on Wednesday.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“The date of journey should be after seven days but within one month of submission of the visa application form,” it said.

The Indian Visa Application Centre in Mirpur will receive walk-in tourist visa applications from confirmed travellers and senior citizens from 1 January.

Those who already have appointment dates can continue to submit their tourist visa applications in centres at Gulshan, Uttara, Motijheel, Mymensingh, Barisal, Khulna, Jessore, Rangpur, Rajshahi, Chittagong and Sylhet.

The mission also said that its pilot project started in October for allowing walk-in visa application facility for women travellers and their immediate family members has been “very successful”.

The Mirpur visa application centre will start taking those walk-in applications from 1 January instead of the centre in Uttara, it said.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 18:39 IST

Election Commission notifies five poll-bound states to prepare for schedule announcement

New Delhi: In an indication that assembly elections to five states could be announced anytime now, the Election Commission has asked the Centre and the state governments to implement the model code of conduct as soon as the schedule is out.

In a letter sent to the cabinet secretary and chief secretaries of the poll-bound states of Uttar Pradesh,
Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur and Punjab, the Commission has compiled a set of instructions issued in the past to drive home the point that model code should be implemented effectively with the announcement of poll schedule.

Poll time. ReutersPoll time. Reuters

Poll time. Reuters

The list of dos and don’ts issued by the Commission includes prevention of misuse of public place, avoiding use of official vehicles for campaigning, removing pictures of political functionaries from state government websites and bar on use of public money for advertisements to help the ruling party.

The poll panel has also reminded political parties to approach the Media Certification and Monitoring Committees at district and state level, for pre-certification of their political advertisements proposed to be issued in the
electronic media.

Sources in the Commission said assembly polls could be announced by 4 January to the five states.

Except Uttar Pradesh, which may go for a seven-phased election, the other states could have elections on a single day.

While the term of the Uttar Pradesh assembly expires on 27 May next, the terms of four state assemblies end in March next.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 17:09 IST

Dhulagarh riots: West Bengal town on the boil after communal violence

Dhulagarh, a town 25 kilometres west of Kolkata, has been simmering for the past fortnight, following communal clashes that saw people’s houses and shops being targetted and set on fire. A Times Now report said 65 people have been arrested, and the state administration has asked the DGP Surajit Kar Purakayastha to take prompt action against the culprits and to ensure peace.

The tension erupted on 12 December, when two groups clashed as a procession was brought out in the area last week. After the groups were not allowed to carry out the procession, the Times Now website reported, they hurled bombs at each other, and the angry mob also looted and torched people’s homes.

The next day, on 13 December, the occasion of Milad-ul-Nabi, there were further clashes in the area. A section of locals claim the clashes were unprovoked, according to a report in the DNA newspaper. Local residents claim that they had to flee with their children and elderly as soon as the mob hurled country-made bombs at their houses. Later, the mob allegedly looted the houses and fled with the money and jewellery, later also setting it on fire.

People's houses were targeted in Dhulagarh. Image courtesy: Twitter/@Leopard212People's houses were targeted in Dhulagarh. Image courtesy: Twitter/@Leopard212

People’s houses were targeted in Dhulagarh. Image courtesy: Twitter/@Leopard212

“Nothing is left. We are looted of all our belongings. They ransacked and vandalised our houses and eventually set them on fire. We could not save a single penny from our houses, only managed to save our children and ran for life,” said a local, Lakshmi Mallya.

The violence didn’t stop there, however. The next day, a Muslim mob allegedly attacked Hindu homes and shops and them ablaze, reported The Indian Express. “Policemen rushed to the spot and managed to diffuse the tension. But the next day, for almost two hours, there was a stand-off between the police and rioters from both communities. They were carrying bombs. We used tear gas shells. Finally, we had to call in reinforcements to bring the situation under control,” an officer said.

A case of rioting and breaking communal harmony was registered against members of both communities. “The situation is under control. Forces, including RAF, have been posted at Dhulagarh to maintain peace,” the newspaper quoted the officer as saying.

However, despite the heavy presence of police and armed forces in the area, things didn’t return to normalcy. A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) delegation — comprising party leaders Jagdambika Pal, Satpal Singh, state president Dilip Ghosh and national secretary Rahul Sinha, and several volunteers — was stopped at Ekabbarapur Road, about one kilometre away from the spot where the clashes had taken place a few days ago, reported The Quint.

Angered by this, the BJP delegation, along with thousand-odd supporters, blocked the road in protest. Alleging that there is no law and order in the state, Pal said the government was following “appeasement politics towards a particular community”. Ghosh alleged right-wing Muslim outfits and Simi activists have entered the area and were creating trouble. He also said BJP was not given prior any information about prohibitory orders being imposed in Dhulagarh. “We are surprised that police did not allow us to approach the people in the area to know about their plight of sufferings,” Ghosh said.

However, perhaps in an attempt to prove that they weren’t targeting one specific political party, the police also stopped a CPM delegation from entering the violence-scarred area. The CPM team comprised party general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Lok Sabha MP Mohammad Salim and MLA Sujan Chakraborty, among others, said another report in The Indian Express.

Having addressed a public rally at Dhulagarh Chaurasta (crossing) and appealed for peace, the CPM leaders tried marching to the locality where arson and clashes had occurred, but the police stopped them. “If we are not being allowed to enter even now, and there is Section 144 of CrPC imposed, it means the situation still hasn’t been brought under control,” Salim said. “Our demand is for the state government to bring normalcy immediately, and paying monetary compensation for those affected by violence.”

Under fire from various quarters, the state government imposed restrictions on the media regarding coverage of the Dhulagarh violence. According to The New Indian Express, the state government even went a step ahead and slapped a non-bailable offence against three employees of the TV channel Zee News, including editor Sudhir Chaudhary, West Bengal correspondent Pooja Mehta and cameraperson Tanmay Mukherjee under Section 153A (promoting enmity) of the Indian Penal Code. However, the Sankrail police didn’t confirm registering an FIR. “We register over 30 FIRs on a daily basis. We can’t distinguish which are related to Dhulagarh,” said a police officer at the Sankrail police station.

Chaudhary took to social networking site Facebook to call the action taken against his channel an example of the West Bengal government’s “intolerance”. “It’s another low point in our democracy to see a democratically elected govt using police force to curb media in an effort to suppress uncomfortable facts and reality. When you can’t manage media,use the state machinery to conquer the media only to conceal the failures of your administration. It shows the intolerance of a chief minister who is using the state machinery as her personal fiefdom and acting like a feudal lord,” he wrote.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 16:29 IST

Balochistan: In no hurry to set up ‘government in exile’, says Naela Quadri

Kannur (Kerala): As part of drumming up support for setting up a ‘government in exile’, Baloch International Women’s Forum leader Naela Quadri Baloch has said they were in no hurry for it.

Baloch, who arrived in Kerala on Tuesday night as part of her effort at garnering support across the country, will speak on Wednesday at a public meeting in Thalassery near here.

Naela Qadri Baloch. File photo.

Naela Qadri Baloch. File photo. Firstpost

The meeting is being organised under the aegis of ‘Brennen Vibrant’, an organisation of the old activists of the RSS’s students wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad at Brennen College in Thalassery.

“Our goal is to set up a government in exile and we are in no hurry for that. We all know that it’s a long way ahead and we are now laying the foundation for it,” she said.

“What has come as a joy for us is that the people of Varanasi have extended their support to us and we wish to set it up there. We are also seeking the support of the Indian government for it,” said Quadri.

Quadri has been travelling across India and by now she has already addressed meetings in Delhi, Mumbai, Nagpur, Chandigarh and Bengaluru.

“I should say that at all these places the response was overwhelming, especially from the youths. What we are basically doing now is to garner support for our movement. As Balochis, we are now also connecting to our people who are settled across the world. In all we are about 40 million,” she said.

Several Baloch leaders from Pakistan and from other countries have begun visiting New Delhi since Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day address on August 15 highlighted the Baloch issue.

Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province in terms of area, has witnessed a long-running insurgency for which Islamabad blames New Delhi.

Quadri, however, downplayed some reactions from her own people about her own role.

“I do not claim to be the leader. Our aim is to work together and at the moment we should not be wasting time on such things,” she said.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 13:37 IST

AMU students’ union now demands CBI inquiry into Najeeb Ahmed’s disappearance

Aligarh: AMU Students’ Union on Wednesday demanded a CBI inquiry into the mysterious disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who has remained untraced for 74 days.

In a memorandum sent to President Pranab Mukherjee, the union alleged that instead of trying to trace Ahmed, police was harassing the family of the missing student and shielding criminals.

Ahmed, an MSc Biotechnology student, went missing on 15 October after a scuffle, allegedly with ABVP affiliated students at his hostel inside the JNU campus.

JNU. Image courtesy News18

JNU. Image courtesy News18

His mother Fatima Nafees and sister Sadaf were detained by police when they along with scores of agitating students tried to take out a protest march to India Gate in New Delhi on 6 November. Fatima was virtually dragged into a bus by police along with other students.

The memorandum said the same forces which had compelled Dalit student Rohit Vemula to commit suicide in Hyderabad earlier this year were behind Ahmed’s disappearance.

AMU students led by their union president Faizul Hasan held a demonstration in Aligarh on Tuesday and threatened to intensify their stir if government did not fulfil their demand.

Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) has also asserted that they will continue with their protest on the issue.

Delhi Police has announced a reward of Rs ten lakh for information about Ahmed, while the Crime Branch is trying to trace him without any success so far.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 13:18 IST

Kashmir: Cashless villages remain offline as poor internet mars adoption

Demonetisation and “cashless” are currently the hot topics for discussions at the shopfronts in Kashmiri villages, where people gather every evening and morning to discuss and debate all sundry things.

The Kashmir Valley along with rest of India is still reeling from the aftereffects of demonetisation which Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on 8 November. Now, there are reports emerging from the region that some of the villages in the valley have gone completely cashless.

Manzigam is one such village which has been recently declared cashless in Kashmir. It is around 25 kilometres from the main town of Anantnag.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

On 20 December, the village of Manzigam received a team of state government officials from the Common Service Centers (CSC) e-governance division. As part of central government’s “Digital India” campaign, CSC provides various services, mostly electronic, to the general public along with training them on how to use those services. The CSC team trained about 20 villagers for cashless transactions and provided information on various digital payment systems.

But going cashless is a slow process, more so, because some habits are hard to change.

A week since the training, most people in the Manzigam village are yet to understand the idea of cashless payments. They are still carrying cash in their pockets and it is evident that there is no implementation of cashless transactions on ground.

In one of the morning gatherings at a shopfront, few of the villagers described their experience when the government team visited.

Most of the villagers still look confused when they hear about their village becoming cashless. Many have heard the term cashless, but they have no idea about what exactly it is. Yet, they are quick to point out its effects. “Now we have to carry ATM cards like we used to carry our identity cards in the early 1990s to prove our identity to the security forces,” said one of the villagers who got in the middle of the discussion to offer prayers in a nearby mosque. However, another man in the early 30s said, “It would be beneficial.” Many nodded.

Some have no idea what payment swipe machines are or what was taught in the training. While talking to Firstpost, a villager named Arif Ahmad said, “Shopkeepers have to submit some forms (not knowing what exactly) to get the machines. I was busy and couldn’t attend the training class.”

He said that only around 30 people among the 300 families in the village attended the CSC camp.

Shopkeepers are the key enablers for implementation of the cashless monetary system in any village. Manzigam has around 10 shops which are yet to install payment swipe machines. They have been told to open Current Accounts so that they can accept payments through the machines. But many are reluctant, so they are still insisting on cash payments.

These problems aside, there are other logistical challenges too.

Manzigam has few smartphone users, poor internet connectivity, fluctuating electricity and the only broadband internet connection is at the only Khidmat centre.

Hamid, a 20-year-old shopkeeper from Manzigam doesn’t have a 4G-enabled smartphone which is the foremost priority for using mobile wallets in Kashmir these days as prepaid 3G mobile internet services are yet to resume after the 8 July killing of militant commander Burhaan Wani.

“I don’t have the internet on my phone yet, as I have a 3G phone. I somehow connect to Wi-Fi hotspots of my friends’ phones to access the internet.”

Hamid is, however, optimistic of having his own internet as he is expecting that Reliance Jio, a 4G service provider, may introduce internet services on 3G phones in near future. When asked about the internet speed in his village, he is quick to answer: “There is a cellular network in our neighbouring village. We go in the fields for faster internet speed, otherwise, it is frustrating.”

It’s a similar story with Lanura village in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district, which was the first village in Kashmir to go cashless. Various media reports say that the village has only got the tag of cashless, but on the ground, its implementation is zero.

The story repeats in other such villages of Kashmir which were declared and tagged as cashless villages. There seems to be no solid sign of practical adoption of cashless payment mechanisms by the villagers so far.

Talking to Firstpost, district manager of the CSC, Rayees Ahmad admitted that it is not easy to make villages go cashless. “It’s really hard to say how much time it will take to go cashless. No one can say,” he said.

Ahmad also pointed out the problem of poor internet connectivity and ban on prepaid mobile internet services. “Mobile network is not that good. Reliance Jio has brought some relief. But everybody cannot afford a 4G smartphone. It is necessary to lift the ban on prepaid mobile internet for going digital,” he added.

Many Kashmiris are of the opinion that it is not easy to implement and promote cashless transactions in the Valley as long as internet access remains susceptible to the law and order situation in Kashmir.

Mohammad Ishaq who hails from Anantnag while talking to Firstpost said, “In Kashmir, where prepaid internet is banned for more than five months, how can the government claim to have cashless villages.”

“If it is possible to go cashless amid these prevailing circumstances, then it will take no time for the whole Kashmir to go cashless,” he remarked sarcastically.

The author is a freelance journalist based in Srinagar. He focuses on the socio-political issues of the Kashmir Valley.

(Firstpost is from the same stable as Reliance Jio)

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 13:10 IST

Kanpur Train Accident: Two killed, 26 injured in Sealdah-Ajmer Express derailment

Two passengers were killed and 26 injured when fifteen coaches of the Ajmer-Sealdah Express, train no 12987, derailed near Rura, around 70 kilometres from Kanpur, on Wednesday, PTI said.

Though initial reports claimed casualties, Kanpur IG Zaki Ahmed told PTI that two passengers have been killed in the accident which took place at around 5.20 am. According to reports, rail traffic between Etawah and Kanpur is affected.

The Kanpur train accident took place when the train was crossing a bridge overhead a dry canal in the area, Northern Central Railways PRO Amit Malviya said.

Speaking to ANI, Anil Saxena, ADG, PR Railway said, “No casualties have been reported so far. Ambulances are already on the spot and rescue work is in progress. A medical train from Kanpur has also arrived on the spot. All trains between Etawah and Kanpur are affected, and we are trying to divert them to an alternate route.” Saxena also told ANI that:

Ahmed told PTI that 13 sleeper coaches and two general coaches of the train derailed in the accident. The injured have been rushed to a nearby hospital. Rescue and relief operations have been started at the accident spot with the district health department dispatching 14 ambulances and relief teams from Kanpur and Tundla, he said.

Buses have also been plied to drop the stranded passengers from the spot to Kanpur railway station.

The Delhi-Howrah route via Kanpur has been temporarily closed and the Shatabdi express from Delhi to Kanpur has been cancelled, Malviya said.

As per local sources, a few of the bogies of the train also fell into a canal, travellers stuck in it were yet to be rescued soon till 8 am, Times Now said.

Meanwhile, railway minister Suresh Prabhu said has announced an ex-gratia to the injured, on Twitter. He said, “I have directed CRB, all senior officials to personally ensure best possible help,” he tweeted, adding that a thorough investigation will be carried out to ascertain the cause. He also tweeted:

According to local police, the railway authorities have not arrived on the spot. The reason for the accident is not known as yet.

The Indian railways has also announced that four trains — 12826/Jharkhand Sampark Kranti Express, 12382/Poorva Express, 12312/Kalka Mail, 12488/Seemanchal Express — have been diverted.

The Railways have issued the helpline numbers for Kanpur — 0512-2323015, 2323016, 2323018 and for Allahabad — 0532-2408149, 2408128.

More details awaited.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 09:38 IST

Raj Thackeray has an apt question: Why spend money on memorials when historical forts are in a state of neglect?

With the BJP and Shiv Sena busy bickering over who was “hijacking” the grand Shivaji Memorial for reaping “political gains”,  Raj Thackeray, leader of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), had something pertinent to say.

Barely two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed the ‘jal-pooja’ for the proposed memorial in the Arabian Sea — a Rs 3,600-crore worth of grand affair —  Thackeray questioned how the state government planned to finance it. “Where is the money going to come from? Do they have the money for the project? In the past, they have made many similar announcements, but the funds never came,” he said

Alleging that the state government keeps making such announcements, without planning the resources, he suggested that the money should be utilised for the development and maintenance of the scores of forts and palaces in Maharashtra, many built during the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Incidentally, this had been a long-standing demand of the MNS.

As the state government is busy basking in the glory of another multi-billion project to claim the legacy of the the 17th century warrior king, the 3oo forts that the Maratha war hero built and captured during some of Indian history’s most iconic wars are languishing in a state of neglect.

Here’s a look at Maharashtra’s most prominent edifices that are the legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj — an integral part of the Maratha pride.

Rajgad Fort

Aerial view of Rajgad Fort. Wikimedia commons

Aerial view of Rajgad Fort. Wikimedia Commons

The 14th century majestic edifice, built atop a hill near Pune, was the capital of the Maratha king and one of the most notable hill forts in the country. However, today, it remains callously ignored and is in dire need of fortified security measure as reports of thefts of historical artifacts from the fort have surfaced. According to a report in Pune Mirror on 12 Decembera piece of Shivaji’s sword disappeared that was a part of a well-known statue called Raj Sadar Sinhasan (the grand throne), at the fort. The report further states that the Maharashtra government has no paperwork to document the exact number and location of these artifacts, which makes it difficult for such thefts to be reported and documented.

From a tourism point of view also, the development of these forts remains far from satisfactory. Another report in The Times of India states that poor sanitation facilities at the fort and lack of a proper motorable road to the hill top are an impediment in harnessing the true tourism potential of the fort. The government, according to the report, is pushing for the historical site to be included among the World Heritage Sites maintained by the Unesco, but with shoddy upkeep, the Maratha heritage is unlikely to be restored to its past glory.

Sinhagad Fort

Sinhagad fort. Wikimedia

Sinhagad fort. Wikimedia Commons

The Maharashtra Tourism website boasts of the strategic fort’s grandeur in these words, “As one of the top military outposts during the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the fort of Sinhagad not only offers a fascinating peek into the history of the Maratha Empire but is also a perennial favourite… While taking in the panoramic view of the landscape below, you cannot help but wonder at the vision of those who built such imposing structures at such great heights.”

However, the structure sadly is in a dilapidated state and not much of it’s original structure has remained intact with time. According to The Times of India, parts of the structure are crumbling down due to lack of repair and restoration. The report also states that unmanouverable road, lack of security at the fort and garbage strewn across the place have further reduced its former glory. Vandalistaion is another problem, as visitors, in the absence of proper security carve out names and paint graffiti on the historical structure.

Sindhudurg Fort

Sindhudurg fort. Wikimedia Commons

Sindhudurg fort. Wikimedia Commons

Noted for its serene coastal beauty, the Sindhudurg Fort was built by Shivaji in 1664 AD off the Malvan coast. According to the Maharashtra Tourism website, it is believed that Shivaji personally chose the site for the construction of the fort, and it also has a temple dedicated to the warrior king, built by his son Rajaram.

However, this oceanic fort is also in a poor state, as the administration chooses to look the other way. As per The Times of Indiathe lashing waves from all sides have weakened the structure and its once impregnable boundary wall is crumbling in places. It’s well camouflaged and the sturdy gate has developed creaks because of which it cannot be closed anymore.

Walls of the Shivaji temple now has cracks. This temple has hosted many politicians who have wished to invoke Shivaji’s valour as a symbol of Maratha pride for making political gains.

Shramik Gojamgunde, the founder of Pune-based Sahyadri Pratishthan which is involved in spreading awareness about the conservation of forts in Maharashtra, rues at the terrible state of the over 350 forts dotted across Maharashtra. “The central government has 35 forts under their purview, while the state has 45. Who is responsible for the rest of the forts?” Gojamgunde is quoted in Mid-Day as saying. According to the report, frustrated by the lack of renovation and restoration initiatives, Gojamgunde’s organisation is taking up the work in its own hands and is involved in cleaning up a few forts. They have also installed information boards, where necessary, to inform the tourists about the glorious past of these monuments.

“The only reason we are taking on the responsibility is because the government shuns it. If we don’t do anything about these 2,000 year-old forts, they won’t exist 200 years down the line,” Mid-Day quotes him as saying. However, restoration and maintenance of historical structure should ideally be overseen by historians and the due authorities. The weathering and ageing of these structures is also an essential part which adds to their historical value. Unwarranted renovation work can damage the rustic beauty of these places. Installing newer and more lavish memorials to glorify the Indian history and heroes is a great idea but what is needed is the administration’s attention and support to protect the existing historical heritage.

With inputs from IANS

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 19:41 IST

Coming soon: ‘Amul girl’ merchandises to hit markets

New Delhi: The adorable Amul girl could soon find her way into living rooms and kitchens, beyond the topical ads on newspapers with the dairy major mulling over launch of merchandise based on her.

According to a top company official, once Amul takes a decision in the next 2-3 months, a range of items ranging from key rings to fridge magnets and polka dot frocks may be sold over its 8,000 Amul milk parlours across the country.

“We will consider to come up with merchandise based around Amul butter girl. We will take a final decision on this in next two-three months,” Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) Managing Director RS Sodhi said. GCMMF sells dairy products under the Amul brand.

Eustace Fernandes, the Amul girl.

Eustace Fernandes, the Amul girl.

“We can bring many merchandise like key rings, cups and frocks. We can sell these merchandise through our over 8,000 milk parlours across the country,” he said.

Sodhi was speaking at the book launch ‘Amul India 3.0’ in New Delhi on Monday. The book was launched by eminent advertising and media personalities Santosh Desai, Indrajit Hazra, Rahul Da Cunha and Jai Arjun Singh.

“We are known from the campaign. So we are happy,” Sodhi said, adding that the campaign, being run for last 50 years, has huge credibility.

“Amul girl has commented on everyone. Nobody has displayed anger. Amul girl is like daughter. We know what she is saying is correct,” Sodhi said.

Amul India 3.0, the third edition, is a unique take on 50 years of India’s history, the highs and lows, through the eyes of the adorable little Amul poppet.

Covering topical grounds and popular incidents from the contemporary context, this is the all new, comprehensively revised and updated edition.

The book has pieces by prominent writers, public figures and the subject of the hoardings themselves.

The writers, including Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Tharoor, Jug Suraiya, Indrazit Hazra, Jai Arjun Singh, Santosh Desai, Naresh Fernandes, Angello Dias, Arnab Goswami and Karan Johar, have looked at how the Amul girl has over the years covered the nation’s concerns and obsessions, specially politics, Bollywood and cricket.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 17:34 IST

US woman gangraped: Delhi court sentences four accused to two days of judicial custody

New Delhi: Four men, arrested for allegedly raping a US tourist in a 5-star hotel earlier this year, were on Tuesday sent to two-day judicial custody by a city court.

Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh sent the accused to Tihar Jail after Delhi Police moved an application seeking their judicial custody.

Yesterday, the police had arrested a tour guide, a driver, a cleaner and a hotel staff in connection with the alleged gangrape of the woman in April this year.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The US national arrived here a few days ago to join the probe and recorded her statement in front of a judicial magistrate where she reiterated that she was gangraped by five persons in a five-star hotel here.

Four accused were arrested after the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) issued a notice to Delhi Police asking them why the Rape Crisis Cell of the women’s panel was not informed when the victim’s statement was recorded.

Earlier, the complainant had said she was not “satisfied” with the probe and was ready to come to India to identify the accused.

The woman had alleged that she was raped by the men for two days and also threatened with dire consequences if she reported the matter to anybody.

She had also stated that the accused had made a video of the act and threatened to make it public if she reported the matter to anyone. She had also told the police that the accused had claimed to have sexually assaulted a couple of other female tourists as well.

A team of psychologists and psychiatrists have been assisting the lady in recalling the details of the incident. The team is also working with the police in their investigation to tie up loose ends.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 14:54 IST

Indus water dispute: Pakistan’s FM talks to World Bank chief, objects to pausing arbitration process

Islamabad: World Bank President Jim Yong Kim called Pakistani Finance Minster Ishaq Dar on phone to discuss the Pakistan-India water dispute, an official said on Tuesday.

The phone call on Monday was in relation with the latest dispute concerning two hydroelectric power plants — Kishan­ganga and Ratle — that India is building on the Indus river system, Dawn online reported.

Dar earlier wrote to Kim requesting him to help settle the water dispute between the two neighbouring nations.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

He said that delaying arbitration would seriously prejudice Pakistan’s interests and rights under the bilateral Indus Waters Treaty which was signed in 1960.

The letter explained that Pakistan was not withdrawing its earlier request to the bank to appoint the chairman of the Court of Arbitration and since this process had already been “inordinately delayed”, Islamabad wanted the bank to appoint the chairman as soon as possible.

Pakistan believes that further delay would hurt the country’s interests as India was working on completing the two projects. Dar said that once the projects are completed, it will be difficult to undo them.

The treaty distributed the Indus basin rivers between the two countries, giving India control over the three eastern rivers of Beas, Ravi and Sutlej, while Pakistan has the three western rivers of Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.

The treaty empowers the World Bank to arbitrate any water dispute between India and Pakistan.

Last week, Kim in a letter to the Finance Ministers of India and Pakistan, said he had decided to “pause” the bank’s arbitration and urged the two neighbours to decide by the end of January how they wanted to settle the dispute.

Pakistan asked the bank to appoint the chairman of the Court of Arbitration while India demanded the appointment of a neutral expert.

Kim said he was “pausing” arbitration to protect the Indus Waters Treaty, which has successfully resolved previous disputes between the two neighbours.

Tension over the water dispute intensified in November when Prime Minister Narendra Modi post the Uri attack which claimed the lives of 19 soldiers, said: “Blood and water cannot flow at the same time.”

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 14:35 IST

Income tax raids: Black money holders may have to pay up 137% in tax, penalty

There is more pain on the way for black money holders. The income tax department on Monday said they will have to bear taxes and penalties amounting to as high as 137 percent if they do not admit to or fail to explain the source of undisclosed income after being raided.

However, the total levy can touch 107.25 percent if the undisclosed income is admitted during search operations and that income substantiated, the department said in a release, adding the tax dodgers can come clean by paying 50 per cent on bank deposits post demonetisation.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

If one fails to admit his unexplained income during the course of search and in case, taxes are not paid and he does not substantiate the manner in which income is earned, then the tax incidence will be 137.25 percent, the tax department said in a release.

However, if undisclosed income is admitted during search, taxes are paid and return is filed before the specified date declaring this income and assessee substantiates the manner in which income is earned, then the tax rate will be 107.25 per cent, the release added.

“We are asking people to declare their undisclosed cash deposits in banks, post offices which have not been subject to tax earlier under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna, 2016 (the scheme),” Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (NWR) Rajendra Kumar said in Chandigarh on Monday.

This scheme which has come into effect on 17 December shall remain open for declarations up to 31 March, 2017, he said.

If the income is not admitted during search and the assessee is not able to substantiate the earning, it will attract 60 per cent tax, 60 per cent penalty, 15 per cent surcharge, 3 per cent education cess surcharge — amounting to 137.25 percent.

In case, the income is admitted during search and the assessee is able to substantiate the earning, it will attract 60 percent tax, 30 percent penalty, 15 per cent surcharge, 3 percent education cess surcharge — totalling to 107.25 percent.

The Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2016 has amended the penalty provisions in respect of search and seizure cases, the release said.

The existing slab for penalty of 10 per cent, 20 percent and 60 per cent of income levied under section 271AAB has been rationalized to 30 per cent of income, if the income is admitted and taxes are paid. Otherwise, a penalty at the rate of 60 per cent of income shall be levied, the department said in the release.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 07:42 IST

Demonetisation: Woman finds Rs 100 crore in Jan Dhan account, seeks PMO intervention

Ghaziabad: Shocked to find nearly Rs 100 crore in her Jan Dhan account in a Meerut branch of a state-run bank, a woman on Monday sought the PMO’s intervention after the bank officials did not attend to her complaint and kept asking her to come some other time.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

In the complaint to the PMO, sent by her husband Ziledar Singh, Sheetal Yadav said she maintained a Jan Dhan account in Sharda road branch of the State Bank of India (SBI). On 18 December, she went to draw money from the ATM of ICICI bank near their house and was shocked to see that her account stood at Rs 99,99,99,394.

Unable to believe it, she said she asked the person standing next to her in the queue to check it and he confirmed the same amount. She went to another ATM of YES bank nearby and found the same balance.

She continued to visit her bank for two days but the staff did not attend to her complaint and asked her to come after a day when the branch manager would assist her to rectify the matter. When she again went to the bank, she was sent back under another pretext.

Singh, who works in a transformer manufacturing company, said that his wife, working in the packaging department of a factory, draws a salary of Rs 5,000 per month while he also works on a meagre salary. They were shocked when this huge amount came into her account.

Frustrated over the local bank staff’s attitude, Singh said he asked an educated person to help them to send a mail to the PMO.

“We have posted a mail on 26 December to the PMO to help us in solving our problem from where about Rs 100 crore came into the account where the maximum limit of deposit is restricted to Rs 50,000 only,” he said, showing the ATM slips and bank passbook to the media.

No bank employee was available for comments.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 22:12 IST

Demonetisation: Govt mulling ordinance to penalise those holding junked notes beyond 30 December

New Delh: The government is understood to be mulling an ordinance to impose penalties on anyone possessing the junked Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes beyond 30 December when the deadline to deposit them in banks expires.

There was no official word on the move which is likely to come up before the Cabinet on Wednesday but sources said penalties may be imposed on anyone holding more than 10 notes each of the old currency after 30 December.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The ordinance may also extinguish the liability of the government and RBI towards the promise to pay the bearer of these notes their value because of a statutory requirement.

In 1978 a similar ordinance was issued to end the government’s liability after Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 notes were demonetised by the Janata Party government under Morarji Desai.

The government had while announcing the demonetisation of the old currency allowed holders to either exchange them or deposit in bank and post office accounts. While the facility to exchange the old notes has since been withdrawn, depositors have time till Friday to deposit the holding in their accounts.

For those depositing any accounted funds, or black money, it has offered them an amnesty provided they paid 50 per cent of it as tax and penalties and parked a quarter of it in a zero-interest bearing deposit for four years. Reports said that there could be a cap of holding no more than 10 notes of each after December 30 and violation of the rule could draw a fine of a minimum of Rs 50,000 or 5 times the amount in question — whichever is higher, but there was no confirmation.

Holders of such currency have an option to deposit them in RBI by March 31 but even that period may be curtailed, they said.

Out of the Rs 15.44 lakh crore worth of 500 and 1000 rupee notes in circulation on November 8, close to Rs 13 lakh crore have been deposited in accounts or exchanged for valid currency.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 21:50 IST

Daman and Diu: Bombay HC orders UT to pay compensation to scribe who was handcuffed, paraded

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has directed the Union Territory of Daman and Diu to pay a compensation of Rs four lakh to a journalist who was handcuffed by the police and paraded on the streets after he was arrested on the charge of extortion in 2009.

“The Administration of the Union Territory has violated the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution by illegally handcuffing and parading him on 2 July, 2009,” said the High Court in its ruling on 22 December.

Bombay High Court. News18Bombay High Court. News18

Bombay High Court. News18

A division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and AA Sayed directed the Union Territory to pay the compensation to Satish Sharma within two months. Sharma had moved the HC questioning police’s action of handcuffing and parading him. It was illegal and violated the right to personal liberty guaranteed by the Constitution, he said.

Maintaining that he was an honest journalist and the whole episode had tarnished his reputation, Sharma demanded a compensation of Rs five crore.

The HC said that while it was ordering the administration to pay Sharma Rs four lakh, he was free to file another suit to demand additional compensation. The Administrator of the Union Territory can take steps for recovery of the compensation amount from the erring officers through a due process of law, the judges said.

The court also ordered the Union Territory to pay an additional Rs 25,000 to Sharma towards litigation cost. Further, the Administrator of the UT shall initiate inquiry for fixing the responsibility for the illegal action of police, the court said.

Sharma, editor of the daily Savera India Times, was arrested by the police in Daman after a case of extortion and criminal intimidation was filed against him.

He alleged it was a vindictive action as his newspaper had exposed misdeeds of the then Administrator of the Union Territory, other officials and the police. The Administrator had filed a police complaint against him.

Sharma was arrested in Diu, brought to Daman by police in a bus, and forced to walk while handcuffed to the police station through a crowded market, according to the petition.

The Press Council of India had ordered an inquiry by a sessions judge into Sharma’s allegations. The judge confirmed that he was indeed handcuffed and paraded by the police.

Advocate MK Kocharekar, petitioner’s lawyer, cited several Supreme Court decisions to argue that handcuffing was illegal and amounted to a gross violation of fundamental rights.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 20:49 IST

Chennai I-T raid: Son of ex-TN chief secy P Rama Mohana Rao summoned in ‘tax evasion’ case

Chennai: Widening its probe, the Income Tax Department has summoned the son of former Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao in connection with its tax evasion investigation against sand mining operators of the state where one of the biggest seizures of cash and gold was made by the taxman in the aftermath of demonetisation.

Officials said while Rao’s son Vivek Papisetty was first summoned to join investigations last week, after searches were carried out against him and his family on 21 December, and now fresh reminders have again been sent to him in this regard.

They said Vivek has informed the Investigating Officer of the case that he would join the probe soon and has cited his wife’s illness as the reason for not being able to do so till now.

The department, it is understood, wants to confront and question Vivek regarding a number of seizures of documents made by the sleuths from his and his kins’ locations and from the premises of Shankar Reddy after searches were first carried out against the latter here earlier this month.

P Rama Mohana Rao. Wikimedia Commons

P Rama Mohana Rao. Wikimedia Commons

Reddy was arrested by CBI last week.

“Vivek has said he would be joining I-T investigations in a day or two. His questioning is vital in the case,” they said, adding that three other associates searched in the case are also being questioned by the department.

I-T officials had earlier claimed that Vivek had “admitted to a total unaccounted income of about Rs 17 crore”, a day after I-T raids were carried out at the top bureaucrat’s house and other premises linked to his kin.

Last week, the department had launched searches on atleast 15 premises related to Vivek and others and had claimed to have seized Rs 30 lakh in new currency and five kilogrammes gold.

The Tamil Nadu government, on the very next day of raids on 22 December, had replaced Rao from the top bureaucratic post and had appointed senior IAS officer and Additional Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan as the new Chief Secretary.

The I-T case emerges from the to biggest cash haul of new notes post demonetisation after the department raided some sand mining operators of Tamil Nadu.

Over Rs 142 crore unaccounted assets have been recovered so far by the department in this case apart from seizure of Rs 34 crore in new notes.

The total cash seizure in this instance was over Rs 170 crore and this has become the single largest case of disclosure of undisclosed assets post the note ban.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 18:50 IST

US woman gang-rape case: Delhi police arrests four, including driver and cleaner

New Delhi: Four persons have been arrested in connection with the alleged gangrape of a US national in a five-star hotel in Delhi earlier this year.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The four accused arrested include the tour guide, driver, cleaner and a hotel staff, said a senior police officer. The officer, however, refused to reveal the names of the arrested persons as police will be conduct an test identification parade.

The US national arrived in Delhi a few days ago to join the probe and recorded her statement in front of a judicial magistrate where she reiterated the charges she had made in her complaint.

Earlier, she had said that she was not “satisfied” with the probe and was ready to come to India to identify the accused. On 8 December , the tourist guide, accused of raping the woman, along with his accomplices, was questioned by police after his arrival from Nepal.

Police had identified the man and had contacted him while he was in Nepal. The tour guide had denied his “involvement” in the matter and told police that the victim had given him a “positive feedback” in the forms.

The woman had alleged that she was raped by the men for two days. They also threatened her with dire consequences if she reported the matter to anybody.

She had also stated that the accused had made a video of the act and had threatened to make it public if she reported the matter to                                                                                                                        anyone.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 18:48 IST

Watch: Father Tom, Indian priest abducted from Yemen, appeals to Pope, Centre to secure his release

Kochi: An Indian Catholic priest abducted from Yemen this year appealed to Pope Francis and the Union government through a purported video to secure his release from his captors.

“If I were a European priest, I would have been taken more seriously. I am from India. I am perhaps not considered as of much value,” said priest Father Tom Uzhunnalil in a weak voice in the video, aired by news channels in Kerala.

“Dear Pope Francis, dear Holy Father, as a father please take care of my life. I am very much depressed. My health is deteriorating,” he said in the video, a day after Christmas. Father Uzhunnalil, who looked very weak, appeared to be reading out from a text placed before him.

The veracity of the video, which was uploaded from You tube and Facebook, could neither be independently verified nor was the period when it was shot known.

Father Uzhunnalil, who hails from Kerala, was abducted in March by terror group Islamic State which attacked an old-age home run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in city of Aden in southern Yemen.

He claimed his captors have made many contacts with the Government of India — President and Prime Minister.

“I am very sad that nothing has been done seriously in my regard,” he said.

He said reports had said everything has been done to get his release, “but in reality nothing” has been done. Father Uzhunnalil said a news reporter abducted in the Middle East was released as she was from France.

“I am from India and not considered. Dear people, I pray you all, ask you all, beg you all to do your might to help me to save my life. I need hospitalisation soon. Please come to my help quickly,” he said.

The Union Government has said efforts are being made to secure Uzhunnalil’s release, but such attempts take time. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had informed Parliament that Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has spoken to various countries through which contacts can be established in Yemen.

Swaraj had said it takes more time to secure release of people who are held captive and asked the MPs to keep “faith” in government’s efforts to trace the abducted priest.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 18:31 IST

Sabarimala temple row: Activist Trupti Desai won’t be allowed inside, says Kerala govt

Sabarimala (Kerala): The Kerala government on Monday said that the entry of Bhumata Brigade chief Trupti Desai will not be allowed in the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, even as the activist plans to lead 100 odd women to the famous hill shrine.

There are restrictions for the entry of women between 10-50 years of age in the temple.

Trupti Desai. PTI file image

Trupti Desai. PTI file image

“The Sabarimala temple is administered by Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and its traditions and rules are applicable to everyone,” Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran told reporters in Sabarimala.

“The matter with regard to entry of women of all age groups is already before the supreme court. There will be no change in the tradition and customs,” until a decision is taken by the supreme court, he said.

The CPM-led LDF government’s stand comes after it had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court last month informing that it favoured the entry of women of all age groups in the Sabarimala temple.

Trupti Desai had recently stated that she would be visiting the Lord Ayyappa temple next month with 100 odd activists and there was no change in her plans.

Desai had earlier campaigned for the entry of women at the Shani Shingnapur, Trimbakeshwar Shiva temple and Haji Ali dargah.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 16:52 IST

Agni-V: India conducts successful missile test, President Pranab Mukherjee congratulates

Bhubaneswar: India on Monday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-V from the Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast in Balasore district.

This is the fourth and final test of the missile.

It was launched around 11.05 a.m. from a mobile launcher complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR), defence sources said.

“We are analysing the test launch after collecting information from radars. The report suggests it is a successful launch,” said an official source.

Representational image. Image courtesy News18

Representational image. Image courtesy News18

President Pranab Mukherjee congratulated the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the successful launch.

“Congratulations DRDO for successfully test firing Agni-V. It will enhance our strategic and deterrence capabilities,” Mukherjee said in a tweet.

The missile is developed by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program.

The Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Agni-V has the capability to strike targets anywhere in all of Asia and parts of Africa and Europe.

Agni-V is one of the most advanced missiles, which is capable of striking a target more than 5,000 km. It is about 17 metres long, 2-metre wide and has launch weight of around 50 tonnes.

The missile can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one tonne.

Once the Agni-V is inducted in the Indian military, India will join the super exclusive club of countries with ICBMs alongside the US, Russia, China, France and Britain.

The first test of Agni-V was conducted on 19 April 2012, while the second test was launched on September 15, 2013 and the third was on 31 January 2015.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 13:28 IST

NRI couple in Norway lose child’s curtody: Mother writes to govt; MEA to take action

New Delhi: The Indian woman, whose son has been taken away by the Norwegian authorities, has approached the Indian Embassy in Oslo seeking government’s intervention, following which the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it will now chalk out the future course of action in the case.

Gurvinderjit Kaur has approached the Indian government with the “formal written” request in this regard, BJP leader Vijay Jolly said.

Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. File photo. AFPUnion External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. File photo. AFP

Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. File photo. AFP

Kaur and her husband, who is a Norwegian national, have alleged that authorities in that country have taken away their 5-year-old son Aryan, also a Norwegian national, on a frivoulous complaint of abuse.

Confirming that Kaur has approached the government, MEA officials said they were now “empowered” to pursue the matter with the Norwegian authorities and they will chalk out the future course of action in the case.

The Indian couple had first sought Jolly’s help in getting back the custody of their child, after which he wrote to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who had said that India will provide them help.

In its response, the Norwegian Embassy here had asked for “restraint” in the case, assuring that it is being handled with “complete sensitivity and awareness”.

According to Jolly, the Indian Ambassador “is slated to meet highly placed Norwegian officials in Oslo on 27 December”.

Jolly also maintained that according to the mother, the child is being “daily served porridge and bread while he is fond of Indian food”.

This is the third case since 2011 when children have been taken away from their Indian-origin parents by the authorities in Norway on the grounds of abuse.

In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway. The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.

In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill treatment of their children, 7 and 2 years. Later, they were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 21:37 IST

Modi launches schemes to boost cashless economy: Full text of 2016’s final Mann Ki Baat

Vowing to carry forward the war against corruption and black money post-demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the government will soon operationalise a strong law to effectively deal with ‘benami’ properties and this was just the beginning.

Making his last monthly address this year in his “Mann ki Baat” programme, he defended the frequent changes in the rules of demonetisation, saying these have been done to reduce the people’s problems and defeat such forces who are out to thwart his government’s fight against black money and corruption. While on one hand, Modi noted the hardships faced by the common man due to the cash crunch, he also defended his government’s move and reiterated the benefits of a cashless economy.

The Prime Minister appeared hopeful that the nation will soon adapt to the digital mode of payment. With an eye on cashless economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also unveiled two schemes — Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi Dhan Vyapaar Yojana — for customers and traders alike to promote mobile banking and e-payments.

Here’s the English rendering of the full text of Prime Minister’s 2016’s final Mann ki Baat address.

My fellow countrymen, Namaskar, many felicitations and season’s greetings to you on the occasion of Christmas. Today is the day to give importance in our lives to service, sacrifice and compassion. Jesus had said – “The poor do not need our favours but our acceptance with affection.” In the Gospel According to Saint Luke, it is written that – “Jesus not only served the poor but also praised the service done by the poor,” and this is what real empowerment is. A tale associated with this incident is also very popular. It has been mentioned in that story that Jesus was standing near the treasury of a temple; many rich people came and donated bountifully; then a poor widow came and parted with only two copper coins. Now just two copper coins really do not amount to much. Thus it was natural that there was a lot of curiosity in the minds of the disciples gathered there. Then, Jesus declared that the widow was the greatest of those donors because while the others had donated substantially, that widow had given away all she possessed.

Today, 25th December, is also the birth anniversary of Mahamana Madan Mohan Malviyaji, who kindled resolve and self confidence in the psyche of the Indian people and gave a new direction to modern education. My most sincere and heartfelt tributes to Malviyaji on his birth anniversary. About two days ago, I had the opportunity to launch many a developmental work in Banaras, the sacred workplace of Malviyaji. I also laid the foundation stone of Mahamana Madan Mohan Malviya Cancer Centre in BHU at Varanasi. This Cancer Centre is going to be a boon for the people of not only eastern Uttar Pradesh but for the people of Jharkhand and Bihar also.

Today is also the birthday of Bharat Ratna and former Prime Minister Venerable Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji. This country can never forget Atalji’s contributions. Under his leadership, the country proudly grew in stature in the field of nuclear power also. Whether in the role of a party leader, Member of Parliament, a minister or the Prime Minister, Atalji always established an ideal. I salute Atalji on his birthday and pray to God for his good health. As a party worker I had the privilege of working with Atalji. Many memories emerge before my eyes. This morning when I tweeted, I shared a video, in which you can see for yourself how as a small party worker one had the fortune of having affection showered upon him by Atalji.
Today, on Christmas Day, as a gift the countrymen are going to get the benefit of two schemes. In a way it is the beginning of two new schemes. Throughout the entire country, be it villages or towns, the educated or the illiterate, there is an atmosphere of curiosity as to what is cashless, how cashless business can take place, how can one make purchases without using cash! Everybody wants to understand and learn from each other. To encourage this trend, to strengthen mobile banking and to inculcate the habit of making e-payments, the Government of India is launching from today encouragement schemes for consumers as well as traders. To encourage customers, the scheme is ‘Lucky Grahak Yojana’ and to encourage traders the scheme is ‘Digi Dhan Vyapaar Yojana’.

Today, on 25th December, as a Christmas gift, fifteen thousand people will get rewards through a draw system, whereby each of the fifteen thousand winners will have one thousand rupees into their accounts and this will be not for today only; starting today this scheme will continue for the next 100 days. Everyday fifteen thousand people are going to receive rewards of one thousand rupees each. In the next 100 days, lakhs of families are going to receive crores of rupees as gift, but you will be entitled to this gift only if you make use of mobile banking, e-banking, RuPay Card, UPI, USSD – such means and methods of digital payment. The draw for rewards will be done based on your use of such digital payment methods. In addition, there would be a grand draw once every week for such customers in which the prize money will be in lakhs of rupees and three months later on April 14th, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar, there would be a mega bumper draw where rewards would be in crores of rupees.
‘Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana’ is mainly for traders and businessmen. Traders should adopt this scheme themselves and should encourage their customers too in order to make their business cashless. Such traders will also be rewarded separately and there would be thousands of these rewards. The traders will run their business activities smoothly and will also have an opportunity to win rewards. This scheme has been designed keeping all sections of society in mind, with a special focus on the poor and the lower middle class segments. Therefore only those will get its benefits who make a purchase worth more than 50 rupees but less than three thousand rupees. Those who make purchases of more than three thousand rupees will not be entitled to rewards under this scheme.

Even the poor people can use USSD on simple feature or ordinary mobile phones to buy and sell goods as well as make payments and thus all of them can also become prospective beneficiaries of this reward scheme. In rural areas too, people can buy or sell through AEPS and they can also win rewards. Many will be surprised to know that now there are about 30 Crore, i.e. 300 million RuPay Cards in India, out of which 200 million RuPay Cards belong to poor families which have ‘Jan Dhan’ accounts. These 300 million people can immediately become part of this rewards scheme. I have confidence that the countrymen will evince interest in this system and if you enquire from the young people around you, they would surely be aware of these things and on your asking will tell you about these. Come on, if there is a child studying in 10th or 12th standard in your family, he or she will also be able to teach you well about this. It is as simple as sending WhatsApp messages on the mobile.

My dear countrymen, I feel delighted to learn that the awareness about how to use technology, making e-payments, making online payments is spreading very fast. During the past few days, the cashless transactions, or cashless trading has increased by 200 to 300%. To give cashless trading a big impetus, Government of India has taken a very major decision. The business community, our traders can well comprehend how momentous this decision is. Those businessmen who adopt digital transactions, who develop online payment process instead of cash transactions in their trade activities will get Income Tax rebate.

I congratulate all the states and union territories, who have promoted this campaign in their own way. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu is the head of a committee which is considering various schemes under this. However, I have seen that the governments also have initiated and implemented many schemes. I’ve been told that Assam Government has decided to grant a 10% discount on property tax and business license fee if payments are made through digital transaction. The branches of Grameen, that is, Rural Banks there getting 75% of their customers to make at least two digital transactions between January and March will get 50 thousands rupees rewards from the government. They have announced that under the ‘Uttam Panchayat for Digi-Transaction’, rewards of 5 lakh rupees will be given to villages doing 100% digital transaction till 31st March, 2017. Assam Government has decided to reward 5 thousand rupees to the first 10 farmers as ‘Digital Krishak Shiromani’, who will buy seeds and fertilizers entirely through digital payments. I congratulate Assam Government and also all those state governments who have taken such initiatives.

A number of organisations have also successfully carried out many experiments to promote digital transactions amongst the rural folk and poor farmers. I have been told that GNFC or Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers & Chemicals Limited, which primarily manufactures fertilizers, has installed a thousand PoS machines for sale of fertilizers for the convenience of farmers and in just a few days 35 thousand farmers were sold 5 lakh sacs of fertilizers on digital payment and this was accomplished in only two weeks! And the interesting fact is that compared to last year the fertilizer sales of GNFC have gone up by 27 percent.

Brothers and sisters, the informal sector occupies a major segment in our economy and in our pattern of life and mostly these people are paid wages for their labour and hard work in cash. They are paid their salaries in cash and we know that due to this, they are exploited also. If they are to receive 100 rupees, they get only 80 rupees, if they are to be paid 80 rupees, they are given only 50 rupees. They are deprived of facilities like insurance and those associated with health sector. But now the practice of cashless payment is being adopted; the money is being directly deposited into banks. In a way, the informal sector is getting converted into the formal sector, exploitation is coming to an end, the cut, which had to be paid earlier, has stopped now and it has become possible for the worker, the artisan, such poor persons to get their full amount of money. In addition, they are also becoming entitled to the other benefits due to them.
Our country is blessed with the maximum number of young people. Thus, we are favourably placed for using technology. A country like India should be ahead of everybody else in this field. Our youth have benefitted quite a lot from ‘Start-Ups’. This digital movement is a golden opportunity for our youth. They should impart to this as much strength as they can with their new ideas, technology and processes. But we must also connect with the drive to rid the country of black money and corruption with all our might.

My dear countrymen, I request every month before ‘Mann Ki Baat’ that you please give your suggestions, share your thoughts; and of the thousands of such suggestions received this time on MyGov, on NarendraModiApp, I can definitely say that 80 to 90% suggestions were pertaining to the war against corruption and black money, there was mention of demonetization. After I examined all the suggestions, I can say that these can macroscopically be roughly divided into three categories. Some have written in detail about people facing difficulties and encountering inconveniences. The other group of correspondents have stressed that this is such a good work being carried out for the welfare of the country, such a sacred task but they have also noted that in spite of this there are many scams being committed and new avenues of dishonesty are being explored. The third group is the one which has, while wholeheartedly supporting the action being taken, clearly stressed that this fight must be carried forward; corruption and black money must be completely destroyed and if this requires even more tough steps to be taken, those must be taken. We have many people writing this most emphatically.

I am thankful to the countrymen for helping me by writing these innumerable letters to me. Shriman Gurumani Kewal has written on MyGov – “This step of reigning in black money is praiseworthy. We citizens are facing some difficulties, but we are all fighting against corruption and we are happy that we are making a contribution in this fight. We are battling corruption, black money etc on the lines of Military Forces.” The sentiment behind Gurumani Kewalji’s text is being echoed in every nook and corner of the country. All of us are experiencing it. When the people face problems, undergo hardships, rare will be a fellow human being who will not empathise. I feel as much pain as you do. But when a task is taken up with a noble objective, to realise a lofty intent, with a clear conscience, the countrymen stay firm courageously amidst all these trials and tribulations. These people are the real Agents of Change, pioneers of transformation. I thank people for one more reason. They have not only braved hardships, but have also powerfully given a retort to those limited few who have been trying to mislead them.

So many rumours were spread, even the fight against corruption and black money was sought to be tainted with shades of communalism. Somebody spread a rumour that the spelling on the currency note was faulty, someone said salt prices had spiraled, someone proclaimed that the 2000 rupee note would also be withdrawn, even 500 and 100 rupee denominations notes were rumoured to be on their way out. But I have seen that despite rampant rumour mongering, citizens have stood firm with their faith intact. And not just that, many people came to the fore and through their creativity and intelligence, exposed the rumour mongers, brought out the falsity of the rumours and established the truth. I salute this great ability of the people also from the core of my heart.

My dear countrymen, I am experiencing one thing every moment. When a hundred and twenty five crore countrymen are standing by you, nothing is impossible. The people represent the will of the Almighty and their blessings become His blessings. I thank the people of this country and salute them for participating in this Mahayagya against black money and corruption with utmost zeal. It was my earnest wish that the ongoing campaign against corruption and black money, including the realm of political parties and political funding, be discussed extensively in the Parliament. Had the House functioned properly, there would have been comprehensive deliberation. Some people are spreading rumours that political parties enjoy all kinds of concessions. These people are absolutely in the wrong. The law applies equally to all. Whether it is an individual, an organisation or a political party, everyone has to abide by law and one will have to. People, who cannot endorse corruption and black money openly, resort to searching for faults of the government relentlessly.

Another issue which comes up is this. Why are rules changed time and again? This government is for the sake of the people. The government continuously endeavours to take a feedback from them. What are the areas of difficulty for the people? What are the rules that are creating hindrances? And what are the possible solutions? The government, being a sensitive government, amends rules as required, keeping the convenience of the people as its foremost consideration, so that citizens are not subjected to hardships. On the other hand, as I’d said earlier, on the 8th to be precise, this drive, this war is an extraordinary one. For the past 70 years, what kind of forces are involved in this murky enterprise of perfidy and corruption? How mighty are they? When I have resolved to wage battle against them, they too come up with new tactics everyday to thwart the government’s efforts. To counter these new offensives, we too have to devise appropriate new responses and antidotes. When the opponents keep on trying out new tactics, we have to counteract decisively, since we have resolved to eradicate the corrupt, shady businesses and black money.

On the other hand, many people have mentioned in their letters all kinds of wrongdoing which are going on; how newer wily ways and means are being devised. In this context, I offer my heartiest salutations to my dear countrymen for one very remarkable thing. These days you must be seeing on T.V. and newspapers, everyday many new people are being taken into custody, currency notes are being seized, raids are being carried out. Influential persons are being caught. How has all this been made possible? Should I let out the secret? The secret is that my sources of such information are people themselves. Information being received from common citizens is many times higher than that being obtained through government machinery. And we are by and large being successful in our operations on account of the awareness and alertness that the people have displayed. Can anyone imagine the level of risk, which the aware citizen of my country is taking to expose such elements! The information received has largely proved to be fruitful. For those of you wanting to share such information, you can send it on an e-mail address set up by the government for this purpose. You can also provide it on MyGov. The government is committed to fight all such wrongdoings and maladies. And when we have your active support, this fight becomes much easier.

Thirdly, there is another group of letter writers, also existing in large numbers. They say – Modiji, do not feel exhausted, do not stop and take the most stringent measures that you can. Now that you have chosen this path, the journey should culminate at its intended and logical destination. I specially thank writers of such letters, since their writing exudes a certain confidence, fortified with blessings. I sincerely assure you that this is in no way going to be a full stop. This is just the beginning. We have to win this battle and the question of feeling exhausted or stopping simply does not arise. Armed with the good wishes of a hundred and twenty five crore countrymen, there is no question of a retreat. You are possibly aware of a Law about Benami Property in our country which came into being in 1988, but neither were its rules ever framed, nor was it notified. It just lay dormant gathering dust. We have retrieved it and turned it into an incisive law against ‘Benami Property’. In the coming days, this law will also become operational. For the benefit of the Nation, for the benefit of the people, whatever needs to be done will be accorded our top priority.

My dear countrymen, I had mentioned in last month’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ that even amidst these hardships our farmers toiled tirelessly and broke last year’s record in sowing. It is a sign of good times for the agricultural sector. The diligent hard work by this country’s workers, and farmers, and youth has scripted a new chapter of success with flying colours. Recently India proudly inscribed her name in various sectors of the global economic scenario. It is solely on account of the tireless exertions of our countrymen that on myriad indicators, India has charted an upward trajectory in global rankings. India’s ranking has gone up in the Doing Business Report of the World Bank. We are trying our best to raise the level of the business practices in India to match the best practices in the world on equal footing. And we are succeeding in that. In the World Investment Report released by UNCTAD, India’s position has risen to third in the Top Prospective Host Economies for 2016-18. In the Global Competitive Report of the World Economic Forum, India has made a big leap upwards by 32 ranks. In the Global Innovation Index 2016, we have moved up 16 rungs and in the Logistics Performance Index 2016 of the World Bank, we have risen by 19 ranks. There are many reports whose evaluation indicate that India is taking rapid strides ahead.

My dear countrymen, this time the session of Parliament became the object of ire of our countrymen. Indignation was expressed everywhere about the activities in the Parliament. The President and Vice President also explicitly expressed their displeasure. But even in such a situation, sometimes good things also take place which create a sense of satisfaction in the mind. Amid the din in Parliament, an excellent task was accomplished, which has not attracted due attention of the country. Brothers and sisters, today with pride and joy I would like to mention that a bill in connection with my government’s mission on Divyangjan, that is, differently or specially abled people was passed in Parliament. For this, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all the members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. On behalf of millions of Divyangjan of the country I express my thanks. Our government is committed to the welfare of Divyaangs. Personally too, I have strived to lend momentum to this campaign. My intention was to ensure that the Divyangjan secure their due rights and also the honour and dignity that they are entitled to. Our efforts and our trust were fortified by our Divyaang brothers and sisters when they returned with 4 medals from the Paralympics. With their triumph, not only did they do the Nation proud, they pleasantly surprised many people through their capabilities and prowess. Our Divyaang brothers and sisters are an invaluable heritage, a precious endowment, just as every citizen of the country is.

Today I am immensely delighted that the passing of this Law for the welfare of the Divyaangjan will open up additional avenues of employment for them. In government jobs, the extent of reservation for them has been enhanced to 4%. Special provisions have been provided for in this Law for their education, facilities and also for grievances. The extent of sensitivity of the government towards the Divyaangs can be assessed by the fact that during the last two years, the central government set up 4350 camps for Divyaangs, spent 352 crore rupees for distributing implements to 5,80,000 Divyaang brothers and sisters. The government has passed the new law in consonance with the spirit expressed by the United Nations. Earlier there were seven Divyaang categories; now adding fourteen new categories this has been expanded to twenty-one categories. Many such new categories of Divyaangs have been included thereby providing them for the first time justice and opportunities. For example, categories like Thalassemia, Parkinson’s, or for that matter Dwarfism have been included.

My young friends, during the last few weeks, news items coming in from the world of sports have made all of us proud. Being Indians, it is but natural for us to feel elated. In the cricket series against England, India has triumphed 4-0. In this, the performance of some of the younger players deserves a special word of praise. The young Karun Nair scored a triple century and K. L. Rahul played a brilliant 199 run innings. Test captain Virat Kohli batted extremely well and also provided inspiring leadership. Indian Cricket team’s off-spin bowler R. Ashwin has been declared ‘Cricketer of the Year’ as well as ‘Best Test Cricketer’ by the ICC for the year 2016. My heartiest congratulations and many good wishes go to all of them. After a gap of 15 years, there was good news, in fact grand news from the hockey arena too. The Junior Hockey Team lifted the World Cup. This festive occasion came to us after fifteen years as the Junior Hockey team won the World Cup. Heartiest congratulations to these young players for this grand feat. This achievement is a very good omen for the future of our Hockey team. Last month our Women players too won laurels. Indian Women’s Hockey Team won the Asian Champions Trophy and just a few days ago in the under-18 Asia Cup, Indian Women’s Hockey Team secured the Bronze Medal. I congratulate all our Cricket and Hockey team players from the core of my heart.

My dear countrymen, may 2017 be a year full of joy and enthusiasm; may all your resolves be crowned with success; let us scale newer heights of progress; may the poorest of the poor get an opportunity to lead a better and fuller life of happiness and contentment; may 2017 be like this for all of us. For the year 2017, my best and brightest wishes to all my countrymen. Many, many thanks.

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 18:02 IST

PM Modi’s Mann ki Baat: Law against ‘benami’ properties to be operationalised soon

New Delhi: Vowing to carry forward the war against corruption and black money post-demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that the government will soon operationalise a strong law to effectively deal with ‘benami’ properties and this was just the beginning.

Making his last monthly address this year in his “Mann ki Baat” programme, he defended the frequent changes in the rules of demonetisation, saying these have been done to reduce the people’s problems and defeat such forces who are out to thwart his government’s fight against black money and corruption.

Modi sought the cooperation of public in making the “war on corruption” a success and said the wrongdoings of some are being caught only with the support of common people who are coming forward with concrete information about hoarders.

“I assure you that this is not the end. This is just the beginning in our fight against corruption. We have to win this war against corruption and black money. There is no question of stopping or going back in this fight,” he said.

The Prime Minister also lamented the logjam in Parliament that evoked displeasure from the President and the Vice President besides all-round public indignation and ire, saying he wanted a good discussion on this campaign as well as on political funding, had both Houses run properly.

He said some people who are spreading rumours that political parties enjoy all concessions and exemptions “are wrong and all are equal before law” and they have to abide by it.

“It was my earnest wish that the ongoing campaign against corruption and black money, including the realm of political parties and political funding, be discussed extensively in the Parliament. Had the House functioned properly, there would have been comprehensive deliberation.

PM Modi. APPM Modi. AP

PM Modi. AP

“Some people are spreading rumours that political parties enjoy all kinds of concessions. These people are absolutely in the wrong. The law applies equally to all. Whether it is an individual, an organisation or a political party, everyone has to abide by law and one will have to,” he said, adding that people who cannot endorse corruption and black money openly resort to searching for faults of the government relentlessly.

Giving a push to his plea for cashless economy, Modi also launched two new schemes for traders and customers that will dole out 15,000 prizes every day to those making digital transactions.

Defending the frequent changes being made in rules after demonetisation, Modi said “the government, being a sensitive government, amends rules as required, keeping the convenience of the people as its foremost consideration, so that citizens are not subjected to hardships.”

Terming this war against corruption as “an extraordinary one”, he said the forces involved in “this murky enterprise of perfidy and corruption” have to be defeated as they are devising new tactics to thwart government’s efforts every day.

“To counter these new offensives, we too have to devise appropriate new responses and anti-dotes. When the opponents keep on trying out new tactics, we have to counteract decisively since we have resolved to eradicate the corrupt, shady businesses and black money,” he said.

Lauding the public for their support in exposing the wrong-doings of some, who are devising “newer wily ways and means” to counter the fight against corruption, the Prime Minister sought more public support.

“Everyday many new people are being taken into custody, currency notes are being seized, raids are being carried out. Influential persons are being caught. The secret is that my sources of such information are people themselves.

“Information being received from common citizens is many times higher than that being obtained through government machinery,” he said, adding that people were taking risks to expose such elements. He asked them to share such information on e-mail address of the government as also on the MyGov App.

Modi also talked about the Benami Property law that came into being in 1988, but neither its rules were framed, nor was it notified and laid dormant for years.

“We have retrieved it and turned it into an incisive law against ‘Benami Property’. In the coming days, this law will also become operational. For the benefit of the nation, for the benefit of the people, whatever needs to be done will be accorded our top priority,” he said.

The Prime Minister, however, lauded both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for passage of the Disabilities Bill to secure the rights of disabled and also their honour and dignity. The new law, he said, is in consonance with the spirit expressed by the United Nations.

He also wished the people on Christmas and remembered former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on his birthday while wishing him good health and long life.

Modi also congratulated the Indian Cricket team for its emphatic 4-0 victory over England, as also the performances of some young players like Karun Nair who scored a triple century, K L Rahul for scoring a brilliant 199, besides the leadership provided by Captain Virat Kohli and off-spin bowler R Ashwin. He also complimented the Junior Hockey Team for lifting the World Cup and the Indian Women’s Hockey Team that won the Asian Champions Trophy.

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 13:41 IST

Mann Ki Baat highlights: Narendra Modi announces lucky draw schemes for digital payments

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday wished the nation on Christmas and said it was a day of service and compassion.

“I wish you all a Merry Christmas. It is the day when people should serve with compassion,” Modi said in his monthly radio addres ‘Mann Ki Baat’.

Modi said Jesus not only did serve the poor but he “has also appreciated the service done by poor, this is real empowerment”.

Lucky draw schemes for digital payments

He announced lucky draw schemes for people who use digital payment methods including e-banking, mobile banking and e-wallets.

In his monthly radio address to the nation ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Modi on the occasion of Christmas said 15,000 people who use digital payment modes will be given a reward of Rs 1,000 each by a lucky draw. This amount will be transferred to their accounts.

File image of PM Narendra Modi. PTIFile image of PM Narendra Modi. PTI

File image of PM Narendra Modi. PTI

“This scheme will last for 100 days (from Sunday). As such lakhs of people will get crores of rupees,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister said there will be one big draw every week with winning price in lakhs.

“On the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti — April 14 2017 — we will be conducting a bumper draw in which the winning price will be in crores.”

Thanks people for enduring demonetisation ‘pain’

Modi thanked people for enduring the “pain” caused by the government’s November 8 decision to spike 500 and 1,000 rupee notes that has caused an unprecedented cash crunch across the country.

“I congratulate people for not only enduring pain but also for giving appropriate answers to those who were trying to mislead them,” Modi said in his monthly radio address to the nation ‘Mann Ki Baat’.

The Prime Minister said people faced hardships and inconvenience but “answered back those who publicly tried to mislead them”.

The move to recall 86 percent of the total currency in circulation was ostensibly aimed at to curb corruption and black money in the country.

However, it has led to people in large number queuing up to withdraw or deposit cash in overcrowded banks and ATMs.

Lauds India’s sportsmen, sportswomen

He also lauded the country’s sportsmen and sportswoman who have “made us proud”.

Modi praised the Indian cricket team for its performance in a recently concluded Test series against England. “It has been phenomenal this year, congratulate the team for beating England 4-0.”

He also congratulated the junior hockey team of India for winning the hockey World Cup. “After 15 years, our junior hockey team has won the world cup. I congratulate all the young players.”

“Our sportsmen and sportswomen have made us proud,” Modi said in his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat.

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 12:27 IST

Demonetisation: Over Rs 51 lakh in 2,000 denomination notes seized in Kerala

Kannur (Kerala): Unaccounted cash to the tune of Rs 51.86 lakh, almost all of them in Rs 2,000 denomination, was seized on Sunday by Kerala Excise officials from two passengers of a bus coming from Bengaluru at nearby Irrity, in the second major haul of currency in the last three days in the state.

They found Rs 51.80 lakh in Rs 2,000 notes and Rs 100 notes for Rs 6,300 in the bags of Ranjith Salangi (24) and Rahul Adhik alias Rahul Ghatoo (22).

Representational imageRepresentational image

Representational image

The duo, in their early 20s and hailing from Maharashtra, were found carrying the cash without any supporting documents after which they were detained. The haul came just two days after police seized Rs 39.98 lakh in Rs 2,000 denomination at Tirur area in Malapuram district.

Excise officials said Sunday’s seizure was made when a special Excise squad, acting on a tip-off, intercepted the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus heading to nearby Payyanur around 3.30 am.

They were taken into custody and would be questioned by Income Tax officials in Kerala.

Busting a currency exchange racket involving Rs 2,000 notes, police had on Friday seized Rs three lakh from Shoukath Ali, already facing a hawala case, and, based on information provided by him, recovered Rs 36.98 lakh from the residence of a businessman.

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 12:13 IST

DRI sleuths seize Rs 2.60 crore in cash, 95 kgs of gold and silver from Noida-based firm

New Delhi: A total of Rs 2.60 crore in cash and 95 kg of gold and silver have been seized and four persons have been arrested by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in connection with its probe into alleged diversion of duty free gold worth about Rs 140 crore, imported under a special concession scheme, by a firm operating from a Noida-based SEZ.

Representational image. APRepresentational image. AP

Representational image. AP

The DRI sleuths from Lucknow zonal unit carried out the searches for two days on the premises of M/s Shri Lal Mahal Limited and the residences of company officials as part of their anti-black money operations after demonetisation, the agency said in a
statement.

Four people associated with the firm were arrested late evening after questioning, a DRI official said. “It is found that the unit has illegally diverted and sold 430 kg (valued at about Rs 140 crore) of duty free gold in the market. Cash amounting to Rs 2.60 crore (Rs 2.48 crore in old currency notes, and Rs 12 lakh in new notes) has been seized.”

“80 kg of unaccounted silver was found in the factory. Further, 15 kg of gold jewellery has been seized from the premises of the firm,” the statement added.

The DRI alleged that the firm had also “transferred huge amounts of money through RTGS (funds transfer through banking
channels) to a firm operating from their premises to purchase gold coins or bars of 24kg after 8 November (the day Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes were demonetised) from MMTC, India’s largest public sector trading body, also to sell in the market for old
demonetised currency”.

Earlier, the agency had said that directors of the firm were either admitted to the hospital or were avoiding investigations, and as a result, two persons had been detained for questioning.

First Published On : Dec 24, 2016 21:49 IST

Odisha: Maoists kill one, torch seven vehicles in Koraput

Odisha: Maoists kill one, torch seven vehicles in Koraput

Dec 24, 2016 14:38 IST

#Koraput #Maoist #NewsTracker #Odisha

‘);
FB.XFBML.parse();
*/
});

By

Koraput (Odisha): Maoists murdered the husband of a naib sarpanch in Odisha’s Koraput district and torched at least seven vehicles engaged in road works, police said on Saturday.

A group of Maoists attacked G Appa Rao’s house at Kotubu village, bordering Andhra Pradesh in Pottangi area late on Thursday night and dragged him out charging him to be a police informer.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

They then reached the road construction and set seven vehicles on fire, the police said adding Rao’s body was found on Friday.

Police recovered few Maoist posters of Koraput-Malkangiri-Srikakulam division of CPI (Maoist) in Odia and Telegu from the site.

The Maoists through the posters opposed the construction of a 4.5 km PMGSY road from Upper Goloru to Pedapadu in the area and warned three villagers of dire consequences if they supported the work.

Brushing aside allegations that the killed person was an informer, Koraput SP Charan Singh said probe into the incident is on.

First Published On : Dec 24, 2016 14:38 IST

Comment using Disqus

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Cricket Scores

Acid attack in Vellore: Woman constable suffers injury, search on for assailants

Acid attack in Vellore: Woman constable suffers injury, search on for assailants

A lady police constable was attacked with acid by unknown assailants in Vellore city of Tamil Nadu on Friday, reports said.

According to PTI, the incident took place at Tiruppattur in Vellore district. The constable, named Lavanya suffered injuries on her face and right hand, police said. She has been admitted to a nearby hospital.
A probe is on to ascertain the reason for the attack and nab the culprits. According to ANI the Tamil Nadu Police has formed a special team to nab the culprits.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 24, 2016 11:23 IST

Comment using Disqus

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Cricket Scores

India will provide help to the mother whose boy has been taken away by Norway: Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday said India will provide help on the request of the mother of the boy, who has been taken away by the Norway authorities even as Norwegian embassy here asked for “restraint” in the case, assuring that it is being handled with “complete sensitivity and awareness”.

Swaraj’s reaction came a day after she had asked the Indian Ambassador in Oslo to send a report on the allegations made by the couple that the Norwegian authorities took away their five-year-old child on frivolous complaint of abuse. While father and son are Norwegian nationals, the mother is an Indian citizen.

“I have received the report. Father and son are Norwegian nationals. We will represent on request of the mother, who is an Indian national,” Swaraj tweeted.

Reacting to the case, the Spokesperson in Norwegian Embassy said the mission is aware and understands “the concerns on the ongoing child welfare case involving an Norwegian/Indian family in Norway”.

File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

“The Embassy would like to reiterate that child welfare cases are handled in accordance to the Norwegian Child Welfare Act, which includes directions from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“The Act applies to all children in Norway, regardless of their background, residential status or citizenship. The basic principle of the Act is that the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

“Since child welfare cases are highly sensitive, the cases are therefore subject to a strict duty of confidentiality. The Embassy, therefore, requests restraint and assures that the Norwegian authorities are dealing with the case with complete sensitivity and awareness. When available and permissible, updates on the case will be provided to the media and the general public.”

This is the third case since 2011 when children have been taken away from their Indian-origin parents by the authorities in Norway on the grounds of abuse.

In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway. The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.

In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill treatment of their children, 7 and 2 years. Later, they were were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.

Later, briefing reporters, MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the Indian Embassy in Oslo is following up the matter.

“Our Ambassador has already established contact with the father who is a Norwegian citizen as is the child. The mother, however, is an Indian passport holder. Following the custody of the child by Norway’s Child Welfare Services (CWS), legal proceedings are currently underway regarding the continuation of such custody,” he said.

The ministry has been informed that the father has engaged a Norwegian lawyer to pursue the matter in the court, Swarup said.

“Given the seriousness of the issue, should we receive a formal representation from the mother, who is an Indian national, our Embassy remains fully prepared to engage with local authorities to impress upon them that this is a humanitarian issue and that the separation of a child from his parents is a matter of distress to the entire family,” he added.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 20:55 IST

Snapchatters from across the world save a 20-year-old pregnant Delhi girl from committing suicide

For her, it was the end of the world as she could only foresee a dark future for herself. When this 20-year-old Delhi girl became pregnant she became so distraught that she expressed her intention on social media to kill herself to guard the family’s reputation. Shocked at her intention, folks on Snapchat took it upon themselves to prevent a tragedy, emerge the girl out of depression and show her the bright path ahead. And, they did that successfully.

She posted an image on The Artidote’s Snapchat channel– it was curating a feed of responses from around the world—and she received supportive messages in response to her post that said she was on the verge of committing suicide due to an unexpected pregnancy.

Artidote/Facebook

The other Snapchatters who saw the post quickly responded with supportive messages and encouraged her to brave the storm.

Artidote/Facebook

People from across the world raised her spirits. In addition to empathising with her, some even offered to talk her out of the situation.

They tried different ways and persuaded her to refrain from taking the drastic step.

Artidote/Facebook

new delhinew delhi

Artidote/Facebook

Messages from Delhi, Kuwait and different parts of the world poured in and helped the Delhi girl gather courage and confront her mother.

Artidote/Facebook

kuwautkuwaut

Artidote/Facebook

After confronting her mother, she posted a picture that said she was going to see the gynecologist with her mother. She also replied to The Artidote and thanked everyone who instilled the courage in her, and “saved” her life.

responseresponse

Artidote/Facebook

finalefinale

Artidote/Facebook

This episode of kindness and humanity is proof that the power of Social media stands tall in the face adversities.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 20:22 IST

RBI truck carrying new notes penalised by RTO for overloading

Mumbai: A container truck hired by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to carry demonetised currency notes from Bhilai in Chhattisgarh to Nagpur, was stopped at Deori border check-post in Gondia district and penalised for overloading, by the Regional Transport Office (RTO).

The action was taken on Tuesday night and Rs 30,000 fine was collected from the driver, an RTO official said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“The container had the capacity to carry 16 tonnes of load, but we found that the it was carrying 21 tonnes. The vehicle was filled with scrapped notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination, which it was transporting to RBI’s currency chest in Nagpur,” Vijay Chavan, Deputy Regional Transport Officer of Gondia district told PTI on Friday.

The vehicle was stopped by local officials posted at Deori check-post.

“The vehicle papers and other necessary documents were verified. We received a communication from Transport Commissioner based in Nagpur that the vehicle can be released after the payment of fine,” Chavan said.

“As per the calculation, the driver was asked to pay a fine of Rs 30,000, as the container was carrying five tonnes above the permissible limit. The officials issued a receipt of the fine payment and the vehicle was let off,” he said.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 19:55 IST

Green Tribunal dismisses plea to ban Christmas tree, Santa Claus costumes

New Delhi: Communal issues cannot be raised in the garb of environmental concerns, the National Green Tribunal has said while junking a plea for banning the use of Christmas trees and prohibiting the making of Santa Claus costumes.

The green panel, however, asked the Delhi government to ensure that there is no violation of environment laws and no pollution is caused due to the festivities.

Representational image. Getty images

“We do not see any dispute arising about the relevant provisions of Environment (Protection) Act. Law is the same for everyone without any discrimination on basis of caste, creed or religion.

“However, communal colour is being given in the name of schedule-I Act to the apparent grievances raised in the present application. We hope and trust Delhi government shall ensure implementation of Schedule I of National Green Tribunal Act, 2010. Hence, dismissed,” a bench headed by Justice UD Salvi said.

The order came on a plea filed by a religious group Ojasvi Party seeking directions to the Delhi government to prohibit the use of Christmas trees to save the environment from degradation claiming it involved plastic. It had sought a ban on the making of Santa Claus dresses to save wool and cotton from being wasted.

The petition had also sought prohibition on noise pollution which may be caused due to bursting of crackers on the eve of New Year and the use of loudspeakers after 10 pm.

A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer like pine or fir or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 19:41 IST

Civil Aviation Minister Raju: Biometric systems for passengers at airports are a good idea

New Delhi: Fliers may soon be able to use biometric details for security checks at airports as the government works on putting in place such systems after receiving ‘good feedback’ for a pilot project.

Giving strong indications, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that having biometric systems for passengers at airports appear to be a good idea. The innovative idea, close on the heels of authorities doing away with tagging requirement of hand baggages at select airports, comes at a time when efforts are being made to ensure that aviation security procedures are more efficient and less intrusive. “Biometric access was experimented at Hyderabad (airport).

The feedback was good… Biometric system is appearing to be a good system security-wise,” Raju told PTI in an interview.

Without much fanfare, authorities have carried out a short duration pilot project using biometric system at Hyderabad international airport recently. The exact details on how it is used could not be immediately ascertained.

File photo of A Gagapathy Raju. PIB

File photo of Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju. PIB

When asked whether the project for biometric systems would be rolled out at various airports, Raju said a framework has been put up for the authorities concerned. “Modernisation is a continuous process and they will keep at it. I am not at BCAS or DGCA… We have to give them the policy frame (work). That is what we have done and we are working,” the minister said.

Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) is responsible for security of the sector while Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the sectoral regulator. Asserting that “safety and security” of the aviation sector can never be compromised, the minister said efforts on the cyber security front is a continuous process and keeps evolving.

“(With regard to) cyber security, what was acceptable a decade ago is not acceptable a decade later,” he noted. Airports Authority of India (AAI) has awarded a contract worth over Rs 110 crore to public sector undertaking BECIL for providing biometric access control system at 43 aerodromes.

This contract basically pertains to access for employees through biometric systems. As part of efforts to ensure hassle-free movement of air passengers, the trial run of non-stamping of baggage tag has started at various airports, including Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Kolkata.

On the initiative, Raju said it would be gradually extended to other airports. “We took time to convince our people…, world over, it is happening. On an experimental basis, they have started it in the country. There is no earthly reason why it should fail. That is why I think it will slowly go to all other airports,” he said.

Striking a cautious note, the minister said BCAS should also be comfortable in implementing the initiative. “Our security guys, the BCAS should be comfortable giving it. Like, if we keep overruling them, it does not make sense. So we need to take them along,” he noted.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 19:37 IST

2017 Punjab Assembly elections: Congress releases second list of candidates

2017 Punjab Assembly elections: Congress releases second list of candidates

By

New Delhi: The Congress on Friday released the second list of 16 candidates for the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections. The names announced by Congress General Secretary Madhusudan Mistry include Barinderjit Singh Pahra from Gurdaspur.

Pahra’s father Kartar Singh Pahra was an MLA from 1997 until 2002 and he has been working in the constituency for the last several years.

The Central Election Committee (CEC) of the Congress had on Tuesday finalised 25 candidates in the second round, but it announced names of only 16 of them.

The party announced the first list of 61 nominees for the Punjab polls last week.

In the first list, the party retained as candidates 31 of its 42 legislators.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 17:20 IST

Comment using Disqus

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Cricket Scores

Applying for Indian passport to get easier, as MEA announces new rules

Applying for Indian passport to get easier, as MEA announces new rules

On Friday, the Ministry of External Affairs announced a list of rules to be followed while issuing new passports. Here’s a full list of the updated rules, as reported by a press release on the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) website:

Minister of State for Home Affairs Vikas Swarup. Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndiaMinister of State for Home Affairs Vikas Swarup. Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

Vikas Swarup. Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

PROOF OF DATE OF BIRTH:

  • As per the extant statutory provisions of the Passport Rules, 1980, all applicants born on or after 26/01/1989, in order to get a passport, had to hitherto submit their birth certificate as proof of date of birth (DOB). It has now been decided that the applicants may submit any of the following documents as proof of DOB:
    (i) Birth Certificate (BC) issued by the registrar of births and deaths or the municipal corporation or any other prescribed authority that is empowered under the Registration of Birth & Deaths Act, 1969, to register the birth of a child born in India.
    (ii) Transfer certificate/school leaving certificate/Matriculation certificate issued by the school last attended and recognised by the educational board containing the DOB of the applicant.
    (iii) PAN card issued by the Income Tax Department with the DOB of applicant.
    (iv) Aadhar card/E-Aadhar having the applicant’s DOB of applicant.
    (v) Copy of the extract of the service record of the applicant (only for government servants) or the pay pension order (in respect of retired government servants), duly attested/certified by the officer/in-charge of the administration of the concerned ministry/department of the applicant, having his DOB.
    (vi) Driving licence issued by the transport department of the concerned state government, having the DOB of applicant.
    (vii) Election photo identity card issued by the Election Commission of India having the DOB of applicant.
    (viii) Policy bonds issued by the Public Life Insurance Corporations or companies having the DOB of the holder of the insurance policy.

REPORT OF THE INTER-MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE:

  • A three-member committee, comprising officials of the ministry of external affairs and the ministry of women and child development, was constituted to examine various issues pertaining to passport applications where the mother or child has insisted that the name of the father should not be mentioned in the passport, and also relating to passport issues of children with single parents and of adopted children. The report of the committee has been accepted by the minister of external affairs.The following policy changes have been made inter-alia on the basis of the recommendations of this committee:
    (i) The online passport application form now requires the applicant to provide the name of father or mother or legal guardian, ie only one parent and not both. This would enable single parents to apply for passports for their children and to also issue passports where the name of either the father or the mother is not required to be printed at the request of the applicant.
    (ii) The total number of annexes prescribed in the Passport Rule, 1980, has been brought down to nine from the present 15. Annexes A,C,D,E,J and K have been removed and certain annexes have been merged.
    (iii) All annexes that are required to be given by applicants would be in the form of a self-declaration on a plain paper. No attestation or swearing by or before any notary/executive magistrate/first class judicial magistrate would be henceforth necessary.
    (iv) Married applicants would not be required to provide Annexure K or any marriage certificate.
    (v) The passport application form does not require the applicant to provide the name of her/his spouse in case of separated or divorced persons. Such applicants for passports would not be required to provide even the divorce decree
    (vi) Orphaned children who do not have any proof of DOB, such as birth certificate or matriculation certificate or the declaratory court order, may now submit a declaration given by the head of the orphanage/child care home on their official letterhead confirming the DOB of the applicant.
    (vii) In case of children not born out of wedlock, the applicant for the passport of such children should submit only Annexure G while submitting the passport application.
    (viii) In case of issue of passport to in-country domestically adopted children, submission of the registered adoption deed would no longer be required. In the absence of any deed to this effect, passport applicants may give a declaration on a plain paper confirming the adoption.
    (ix) Government servants, who are not able to obtain the identity certificate (Annexure B) or no objection certificate (Annexure M) from their concerned employer and intend to get the passport on urgent basis can now get the passport by submitting a self-declaration in ‘Annexure N’ that s/he has given a prior intimation letter to his/her employer informing that s/he was applying for an ordinary passport to a passport issuing authority.
    (x) Sadhus and sanyasis can apply for a passport with the name of their spiritual guru mentioned in the passport application in lieu of their biological parent(s) name(s), subject to their providing of at least one public document such as election photo identity card, PAN card, Aadhar card, etc., wherein the name of the guru has been recorded against the column(s) for parent(s) name(s).
  • Necessary notifications would be soon published in the official gazette to confirm these changes. Instructions are also being issued to the passport issuing authorities in India and abroad on these revised regulations.
  • The ministry of external affairs expects that the above changes in passport rules would further ease the process for passport applicants in getting their passport. At the same time, it would enable this ministry to continue to deliver passport-related services to the citizens in a timely, transparent, more accessible and reliable manner, and in a comfortable environment through streamlined processes and committed, trained and motivated workforce.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 17:14 IST

Comment using Disqus

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Cricket Scores

China urges India to accept Pakistan’s ‘olive branch’, join CPEC

Beijing: China will strongly oppose any attempt to label Pakistan as “supporting terrorism”, Chinese official media said on Friday and suggested India to accept the “olive branch” extended by a top Pakistani military General to participate in the $46 billion economic corridor.

“Surprise aside (over General’s call), New Delhi should consider accepting the olive branch Pakistan has extended in a bid to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” said an article in the state-run Global Times.

The comments came after Lt Gen Riaz, Commander of the Pakistan’s Southern Command which is based in Quetta, this week reportedly said India should “shun enmity” with Pakistan and “join the $46-billion CPEC along with Iran, Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries and enjoy its benefits”.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“Such an opportunity could be transient. There is a possibility that the open attitude toward India joining the CPEC will quickly be overwhelmed by opposition voices from Pakistan if New Delhi does not respond in a timely manner to the General’s overture,” the article said.

“The best way to reduce hostilities is by establishing economic cooperation based on mutual benefits to put aside what cannot be reached by a consensus,” it said.

It said that India could boost its exports and slash its trade deficit with China via new trade routes that would be opened up by the CPEC. In addition, the northern part of India bordering Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir will gain more economic growth momentum if India joins the project, it said.

Another article in the same daily said “Riaz’s invitation, which came as a surprise to New Delhi, is mainly intended as a gesture. While he hinted at India’s intervention in the CPEC, he welcomed India’s participation in the project, demonstrating Pakistan does not want to exclude India.”

At the same time, it said, “if any country wants to label Pakistan as ‘supporting terrorism’ and discredit the country, then China and other countries who uphold justice will oppose such behaviour strongly”.

The article said that since President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan in April, 2015, the CPEC has advanced considerably.

“However, some international forces, and India in particular, are accustomed to look at the CPEC and the One Belt and One Road initiative from a geopolitical perspective.

On one side, this is relevant to the geopolitical competition mindset they insist on, on the other, this is because of their excessive speculation on the strategic implications of the CPEC and the Belt and Road,” it said.

“To ensure the smooth advancement of the CPEC, it is necessary for Pakistan to have a stable and peaceful domestic and periphery environment and a favourable profile,” it said.

On anti-terrorism, the Afghanistan peace process, and the peace and stability of Kashmir, Pakistan is making efforts to show international society its wish to pursue peace, it said.

“The CPEC is not only a bilateral cooperation, but also a multilateral project in the long-run, which aims at regional economic integration. So it’s open and inclusive, and China and Pakistan hope India, Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asian countries can participate and become stakeholders,” it added.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 13:32 IST

India-Pakistan ties: 439 Indian fishermen to return to home in January

Mumbai: Despite a complete halt to bilateral talks between India and Pakistan, 439 Indian fishermen languishing in Pakistani jails will return home in two batches, a pressure group said on Friday.

The move would bring good cheer to the fishing community as the first batch is scheduled to be home on Christmas.

Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) spokesperson Jatin Desai said that while 220 fishermen would be back on Sunday, the remaining 219 would return on 5 January 2017.

“The release is important as there is no bilateral talks and there is complete pause on the dialogue,” he added.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Desai said the PIPFPD has even urged the Indian government to reciprocate by releasing Pakistani fishermen languishing in Indian prisons.

Currently, there are 516 Indian fishermen nabbed and put in Karachi jails, while 80 Pakistani fisherfolk were put in prisons in Gujarat.

“The India-Pakistan Judicial Committee on Prisoners (IPJCP), set up in 2008 must meet urgently,” Desai said pointing out that both countries must pursue a ‘No Arrest Policy’ as far as fishermen were concerned.

They should also release all the confiscated fishing boats as it was their only means of livelihood, he added.

The IPJCP used to meet regularly every six months, but did not meet since the BJP-led government assumed power, Desai said.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 13:32 IST

Body of Delhi man to be brought back from Tokyo on Saturday: Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi: On Friday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the mortal remains of a man from Delhi, who died of cardiac arrest in Tokyo two weeks ago, will be brought back home on Saturday, days after his family sought government’s help citing financial constraints.

Last week, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) had sought Swaraj’s intervention after Radha Debi, wife of deceased Gopal Ram, approached it seeking help, saying his poor family was unable to bring the body back.

Responding to the request, Swaraj had said government will bring back the body without delay and bear the expense.

“The mortal remains will reach New Delhi by ANA flight from Tokyo on 24 December at 2400 hrs,” Swaraj tweeted on Friday.

Sushma Swaraj. AFPSushma Swaraj. AFP

Sushma Swaraj. AFP

The External Affairs Minister is known for her prompt response in addressing problems of distressed Indians abroad.

48-year-old Gopal Ram, a resident of Ambedkar Nagar, had gone to Tokyo in September last year looking for greener pastures.

He died of a cardiac arrest in the Japanese capital on 10 December.

“The family is severely distressed and needs your kind support. As we all aware you have been extremely pro-active in resolving such matters. Therefore, I am forwarding the representation along with this letter for your kind perusal. Hoping for your support in this matter,” DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal had said in a letter to Swaraj last week.

Gopal was working in Tokyo as a cook in a hotel and according to a family member he was fired within three months after which he started working in some local shop.

His financial condition was bad because of which he was in distress, he said.

On 10 December, the family received a call from a person who worked with Gopal, saying that he has passed away following a heart attack.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 11:54 IST

IT department identifies 67.54 lakh potential non-filers for 2014-15

IT department identifies 67.54 lakh potential non-filers for 2014-15

‘);
FB.XFBML.parse();
*/
});

By

New Delhi: The Income Tax Department has identified 67.54 lakh potential non-filers, who carried out high value transactions in 2014-15 but failed to file returns for the assessment year 2015-16, an official statement said on Thursday.

taxThinkstocktaxThinkstock

Thinkstock

“The Income Tax Department has conducted the fifth cycle of data matching which has identified an additional 67.54 lakh potential non-filers who have carried out high value transactions in the financial year 2014-15 but did not file return of income for the relevant assessment year 2015-16,” said a Finance Ministry statement.

The information relating to the identified non-filers has been made available in the ‘compliance module’ on the e-filing portal of the income tax department. The information will be visible only to the specific PAN holder when they log into the e-filing portal at https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in.

“The PAN holder will be able to respond electronically and retain a copy of the submitted response for record purpose,” the statement said.

“While the Government urges all tax payers to disclose their true income and pay taxes accordingly, the department would continue to pursue the non-filers vigorously till all the high potential non-filers are covered,” it added.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 19:49 IST

Comment using Disqus

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Cricket Scores

Major I-T raids since note ban: TN chief secy held; DRI seizes Rs 1.34 cr in new currency in Chennai

It has been more than a month since the Narendra Modi government decided to demonetise high-denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 and even though queues outside banks and ATMs might have shortened from how they used to be, income tax officials have been busy with several high-profile seizures of cash and gold. Some of the seizures reflect poorly on the government — in a few instances new currency notes were seized as well which in turn raises questions about the BJP government’s decision.

Since 8 November, the Income Tax department has detected Over Rs 3,185 crore of undisclosed income, while seizing Rs 86 crore worth of new notes, as part of its country-wide operations against black money hoarders. Official sources said the taxman carried out a total of 677 search, survey and enquiry operations under the provisions of the Income Tax Act since the note ban was declared on 8 November, even as the department has issued over 3,100 notices to various entities on charges of tax evasion and hawala-like dealings.

The I-T department, they said, has also seized cash and jewellery worth over Rs 428 crore during the same period.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The agency has also referred over 220 cases to its sister agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe other financial crimes like money laundering, disproportionate assets and corruption as part of their legal mandate.

Here are some of the biggest raids conducted by tax sleuths since the high-profile cleanup of the Indian economy began:

Kolkata businessman raided

Kolkata businessman Parasmal Lodha was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate for allegedly converting over Rs 25 crore in demonetised currency notes into new ones, reports News18. According to the report, Lodha has links with industrialist J Shekhar Reddy, who was arrested along with his associate K Srinivasulu on Wednesday.

Chennai airport raid 

In the latest development, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence busted a hawala gang and seized Rs 1.34 Crore in Rs 2000 notes & $ 7000 from five persons in early morning hours, near Chennai airport, reported ANI.

Tamil Nadu chief secretary, his son under taxmen scanner

The house and office of Tamil Nadu chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao was on Wednesday searched by Income Tax officials who claimed to have recovered Rs 30 lakh cash in new notes and five kgs of gold besides getting “disclosure” about Rs five crore of unaccounted income.

On Thursday, tax sleuths raided his son, Vivek Rao’s office in Chennai. Sources told NDTV that the taxmen are probing the source of funding for the six companies that Rao established in 2012.

Continuing raids in Chennai

On 20 November, taxmen raided the premises of a prominent engineering college after reports arose of the owner depositing Rs eight crore in unaccounted cash in the accounts of employees. IT officials later found that the amount was deposited in over 400 bank accounts.

According to The Indian Express, on 8 December, the IT department busted a money exchange racket in the Tamil Nadu capital, seizing Rs 90 crore in cash, of which 70 crore were in new notes, along with 100 kgs of gold.

The Income Tax officials on Monday seized demonetised currency notes worth Rs 10 crore and a few kilogrammes of diamond and gold jewellery during a raid in the house and showroom of a jeweller in Chennai.

BJP leader arrested with new notes

On 6 December, the Special Task Force arrested former West Bengal BJP leader Mahesh Sharma, after Rs 33 Lakh in form of Rs 2,000 notes was confiscated from him.

New notes found in ‘secret chamber’

In a surprise raid at a hawala operator’s residence in Hubballi led to the Karnataka and Goa taxmen unearthing Rs 5.7 crore in new cash, The Times of India reported. The stash of new cash, interestingly, was found in a secret chamber in the bathroom.

Post note ban Rs 30 crore seized in Maharashtra excluding Mumbai

Post demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the Income Tax department seized about Rs 30 crore in cash, including Rs 12.32 crore in new bills, from Maharashtra, excluding Mumbai.

The cash was seized during 57 surveys and search operation carried out since the decommissioning of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, I-T department said in a release in Mumbai.

CBI raid at Hyderabad post offices

The CBI conducted surprise raids after the note ban. During one such search at the Himayatnagar Post office, the invetigation agency found Rs 40 lakh. The raid took place on reports of irregularites in phasing out of old currency notes.

Bahubali producer raided in Hyderabad

The IT department raided the residences and offices of the producers of the multi-lingual blockbuster Bahubali, Business Standard reported. Shobu Yarlagadda and Prasad Devineni, the two producers, were at the recieving end of the taxmen, as Rs 60 crore worth of new notes were found during the raids.

G Janardhan reddy under IT scanner

On 21 November, within days after G Janardhan Reddy’s daughter’s lavish wedding grabbed headlines for its splendour, Income Tax Department raided the mining baron’s offices in Bellari.

A team of five I-T Department officials raided the former BJP lawmaker’s Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) offices.

NGO linked to Pakistan singer raided

On November 18, Delhi police and the IT department raided the offices of a NGO, Routes of Roots, run by the managers of eminent Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, after it recieved reports of illegal conversion of black money.

IT raids in Chandigarh college

The Enforcement Directorate on Monday seized Rs 50 lakh cash, including Rs 46.80 lakh in new notes, after raids at the premises of an educational institute’s owner. Acting on a tip-off, the ED sleuths swooped down on the premises of the owner of Swami Devi Dyal Group of Institutes in Chandigarh.

Over two crores seized from Meerut engineer

Cash worth more than Rs 2.67 crore in both old and new notes, and 30 kilograms of silver were seized from an engineer, working in the irrigation department, by the Income tax sleuths on Tuesday.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 14:26 IST

Asif Karadia to return to Pakistan? After spending 49 years in India, he might be deported

Asif Karadia, a 51-year-old Pakistani national, was denied long-term visa extension by the Bombay High Court on Wednesday. Karadia, whose parents are India, is not a tourist in the country, but has been living in India for the last 49 years.

File image of Bombay high court. IBNliveFile image of Bombay high court. IBNlive

File image of Bombay high court. IBNlive

According to Mumbai Mirror, Karadia was born in Karachi, and his mother is a naturalised Indian. Karadia had applied for an Indian passport in 2012, but the authorities rejected the application and asked Karadia to apply for a long term-visa. This was extended twice and it was valid till last December.

Karadia, 51, could face deportation after having lived in the country for 49 years as the court said that it would not be able to decide on renewing his visa. Karadia’s case has been postponed to 17 January and he has been denied interim relief by the division bench comprising of AS Oka and Anuja Prabhudesai.

Abbas Karadia, his father, was quoted by Mumbai Mirror saying: “We never thought this would become such a big issue…Asif has never been to Pakistan again and doesn’t want citizenship of that country.”

An Asian Age report claims that the court rejected Karadia’s application on grounds that Karadia did not have a Pakistani passport and a visa couldn’t be issued without a passport. According to a report in Hindustan Times, the court ordered a probe into how the central government had been issuing Karadia long-term visas for so many years without Karadia possessing neither an Indian not a Pakistani passport.

Karadia’s father Abbas and his wife Zaibunnisa were born in India. Karadia’s mother Zaibunnisa migrated to Pakistan with her family in 1947, therefore becoming a Pakistani national, but almost twenty years after that, she came back to India and married Abbas. Karadia was born in Karachi because his mother went to Pakistan for the delivery and at the time there was no system to issue a passport to the infant.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 11:23 IST

Parasmal Lodha arrested by ED for allegedly converting Rs 25 crore from old to new notes

Parasmal Lodha arrested by ED for allegedly converting Rs 25 crore from old to new notes

Kolkata businessman Parasmal Lodha was arrested at Mumbai arrested by the Enforcement Directorate for allegedly converting over Rs 25 crore in demonetised currency notes into new ones, reports News18According to the report, Lodha has links with industrialist J Shekhar Reddy, who was arrested along with his associate K Srinivasulu on Wednesday.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Reddy and Srinvasulu’s arrests were also in the context of illegally exchanging old notes for new ones and going against RBI guidelines.

News18 also points out that Lodha had earlier been detained from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport after it was discovered that the sum of Rs 13 crore seized from the office of lawyer Rohit Tandon in Delhi’s Greater Kailash area, belonged to Lodha.

He is not believed to be related in any way to builder and BJP leader Mangal Prabhat Lodha.

More details as they emerge.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 10:40 IST

Comment using Disqus

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Cricket Scores

India overtakes United Kingdom, economy ranks fifth in the world

India’s economy for the first time in more than a century has overtaken that of the United Kingdom, Forbes magazine reported.

Akshay Shah, a researcher at Tsinghua University, who wrote the article adds, “This dramatic shift has been driven by India’s rapid economic growth over the past 25 years as well as Britain’s recent woes, particularly with the Brexit.”

While India’s economy was expected to overtake the United Kingdom by 2020, the weakening of the Pound Sterling speeded up the process, the report said.

It is interesting to know that the UK-based policy group, Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), had predicted in December 2011, that India would become the fifth largest economy by 2020, but it has already crossed the landmark, The Times of India reported. 

According to Foreign Policy, the country’s economy now ranks fifth in the world. “India may have a large population base but this is a big leap,” Foreign Policy quoted Minister of State Kiren Rijiju as saying.

The Forbes report noted that the latest milestone implies the arrival of India on the world stage and might significantly change the power dynamics between New Delhi and the West.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 21:54 IST

© 2020 Yuva Sai Sagar. Theme by Anders Norén.