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After PM Modi mocks Rahul’s ‘earthquake’, Congress VP says ‘answer me’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A combative Rahul Gandhi hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for mocking his speech wherein the Congress vice president had accused him of having taken money from corporate groups, saying he could make fun of him but needed to answer the charges of personal corruption levelled against him. At a ‘jan aakrosh rally’ in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, the Congress vice president told the Prime Minister that he could make fun of him as much as he can but should answer the questions raised by him. “The charges have not been levelled by me alone but by the youth of India who feel cheated as you had promised them jobs,” an aggressive Rahul said.Waving sheets of paper which purportedly contained details of charges against Modi having allegedly accepted money from Sahara and Birla groups when he was Gujarat Chief Minister, the Congress vice president asked the Prime Minister to tell whether the documents were correct or not. Sticking to his guns, he alleged Modi as the Gujarat Chief Minister had taken Rs 40 crore from the Sahara group in nine instalments spread over six months in 2013 and 2014.Coming down hard against note ban, he insisted that the Prime Minister came out with the surprise decision not to help the poor but the “super rich 50 families of India”.Taking a dig at the Prime Minister, Rahul dubbed him as a “super event planner” who had made “perfect planning” to take the money from the poor to help the rich who owe as much as Rs 8 lakh crore to the banks.”Suck the money from the poor and feed the rich. Take the money from 99 per cent and give it to one per cent,” he said adding that this was the essence of the note ban and not to weed out black money and help the poor as claimed by Modi.”I will repeat the same question to the PM…Congress wants to eradicate corruption and if the NDA initiates any step in this direction it will be extended full support but this note ban decision is not against corruption or black money.”Modiji said those standing in bank queues are thieves.Today, I saw people standing in front of the banks. Modiji they are not thieves but honest poor,” he said, adding that there was not a single rich or “suited, booted” person who is seen on the Prime Minister’s aircraft when he goes abroad, standing in the lines.Earlier, Rahul took to Twitter to attack the Prime Minister. “Modiji first tell us what was contained in the ten packets from Sahara,” the Congress Vice President tweeted in Hindi.Along with the tweet was posted a document purportedly with the Income Tax Department of nine entries from October 2013 to February 14 detailing “cash payments made to Modiji”.His comments came close on the heels of the Prime Minister, at a function in Varanasi, ridiculing Rahul’s remarks about creating an “earthquake” with accusations of corruption against him.Modi ridicules Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan SinghRidiculing Rahul Gandhi’s remarks about bringing an “earthquake” with accusations of corruption against him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said he is happiest since the Congress leader has “learnt” to speak as he has unwittingly admitted the “failure” of his party’s reign.”They have a young leader who is just learning to give speeches. Since the time he has learnt to speak, there is no limit to my happiness. In 2009, you couldn’t even tell what is inside this packet and what is not. Now we are finding out,” Modi said without naming Gandhi.”He had been going around threatening that when he will speak, there will be an earthquake. If he hadn’t spoken, there could have been an earthquake. It would have been an earthquake that people would have had to deal with for 10 years.”There is no chance of an earthquake now that he has spoken. We can be rest assured that there is no danger of the natural calamity in sight,” the PM said, a day after Gandhi’s accusation against Modi of taking money from Sahara and Birla groups when he was Gujarat Chief Minister.BJP had rejected the Congress leader’s allegations as “baseless, shameful, and mala fide”.Accusing the Government of not allowing his to speak in Parliament, Gandhi had earlier said that “an earthquake will come” if he speaks and had gone on to claim that he had knowledge of “personal corruption” by Modi.The Prime Minister, who was on his first tour of his Lok Sabha constituency after Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were demonetized on November 8, was speaking today at a function organised inside the Banaras Hindu University campus.He also took potshots at Gandhi’s assertion that payments through cards, online transfers etc. would face hurdles in the country due to low literacy levels, saying, “I hope he does not say that I had indulged in some sort of black magic to make illiterate those who knew how to read and write.”He never thinks before he speaks and he may not have realized that he has admitted the failure of the long reign of his own party,” the PM said adding his detractors have been forced “to admit, even if unwittingly, their failures”.He said a cleanliness campaign has been launched and the “stink” raised during cleaning of garbage which is scattered everywhere is the same that the country is feeling now.Modi said he is happy that note ban has “exposed the ‘kala dhan’ (black money) as well as ‘kale mann’ (ill-intentions) of many”.Taking a jibe a former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said poverty is his legacy adding Singh’s image is clean but a number of major scams had taken place during his tenure.Reacting to his predecessor’s assertion in Parliament that a cashless economy was not feasible for the country where nearly 50 per cent of people were poor, the Prime Minister said, “I wonder whether he (Singh) was giving his own report card by admitting the dismal situation.”After all, he has not just been the Prime Minister for two terms and a Finance Minister previously. Since the 1970s he has been holding key positions.”

Kejriwal party do: Twitter reacts to Najeeb Jung’s resignation as Delhi LG

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a sudden move, Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung resigned today, ending a nearly three-and-half- year-long eventful tenure, mostly marked by bitter confrontation with AAP government on a range of issues that virtually brought governance to a halt on many occasions. Without citing reasons for the decision, 65-year-old Jung, who had taken charge in July 2013, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his help and cooperation and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his “association”.In a brief statement, Jung’s office said he has submitted his resignation to the Government of India and that he would be returning back to academics, “his first love”. Sources close to him told PTI that his resignation has nothing to do with his acrimonious relationship with the AAP government and he was contemplating to quit for last few months. “His decision to quit was not at all related to his relationship with the AAP government. It was purely a personal decision which he was mulling over for quite some time,” they said. Reacting to Jung’s resignation, Kejriwal said the decision surprised him. “Sh Jung’s resignation is a surprise to me. My best wishes in all his future endeavours,” he tweeted.

Rahul Gandhi hits back at Modi, says mock me, but answer questions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday hit back at Narendra Modi for ridiculing his remarks about bringing an ‘earthquake” and said that the Prime Minister did not answer his questions, but mocked him.”Yesterday, I had asked PM Narendra Modiji 2-3 questions on corruption, but instead of answering, he made a joke of me. You can mock me, but answer the questions,” said Rahul Gandhi addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh.”Everyday our farmers are committing suicide, we went to the PM with these problems, but the PM did not say even one word. How many black money holders have been put in jail by Modiji? Not even one. He instead made Modi (lalit) and Mallya run away,” Rahul added.Meanwhile, Rahul also took to twitter and said, “Modiji first tell us what was contained in the ten packets from Sahara.”Earlier in the day, commenting on Rahul Gandhi, the Prime Minister said his speech held no relevance. “Since the time he has learnt how to speak, there is no extent to my happiness. Till 2009, there was no clue as to what is inside the packet (Gandhi). Better that he started speaking, at least we came to know that there is no scope of earthquake occurring,” said Modi.The Prime Minister, who was on his first tour of his Lok Sabha constituency after Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were demonetized on November 8, was speaking today at a function organised inside the Banaras Hindu University campus.

Manipur economic blockade: Mary Kom urges PM Modi to intervene, resolve crisis

New Delhi: Distressed by the economic blockade that has crippled her home state Manipur, five-time world champion boxer and Rajya Sabha MP MC Mary Kom has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and resolve the crisis.

File photo of Mary Kom. AP

File photo of Mary Kom. AP

The blockade has been imposed by United Naga Council to protest the state government’s decision to form seven new districts. The UNC claims the districts in the Naga-dominated hill areas will affect land holdings of Naga tribes settled in these areas.

The blockade which has surpassed 50 days now has crippled normal life in Manipur with scarcity of essential goods being a major concern apart form violence.

In a letter to Modi, Mary Kom, an Olympic bronze-medallist, urged him to try and resolve the issue at the earliest.

“It is to bring to your notice that the state of Manipur is going through the toughest of time with unrest situation. The whole section of communities, both in hills and valley, residing in Manipur are suffering due to the economic blockade and counter-blockade and have now turned into ugly consequences of greater destruction and if not intervened in time, there are possibilities of untoward happenings and the people are so insecure,” she wrote.

“Irrespective of the causes and reasons, I strongly recommend and request you to consider this prevailing situation in Manipur a serious matter and kindly intervene at the earliest for peaceful solution and the state be brought back to normalcy. This act will remain a great achievement and the people will remain in owe towards your kind intervention,” she said.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 15:32 IST

Manmohan Singh exposing his own misdeeds, says PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday took a potshot at the former prime minister Manmohan Singh for his disagreement over demonetization, saying that by raising objections, the latter is exposing his own misdeeds.”When I said things can be managed without cash in the pocket, the former prime minister said how can this be implemented in a country where 50 percent of the people are poor?Now tell me, if he is showing me his report card or mine? This legacy of poor has been provided by whom? I am happy that he has shown his own report card,” said Prime Minister Modi while speaking at the foundation ceremony of Mahamana Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya Cancer Centre here.The Prime Minister then shifted his focus towards former finance minister P. Chidambaram and sarcastically said the latter believes a cashless economy cannot come into form as more than 50 percent of the Indian villages do not have electricity, adding that this was doings of the former regime.”Chidambaram said in 50% of our villages there is no electricity, so how will a cashless economy take shape. Now tell me, have I de-electrified the villages. While criticising Modi, they are presenting their own report card,” said Prime Minister Modi.Commenting on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, the Prime Minister said his speech held no relevance.”Since the time he has learnt how to speak, there is no extent to my happiness. Till 2009, there was no clue as to what is inside the packet (Gandhi). Better that he started speaking, at least we came to know that there is no scope of earthquake occurring,” said Modi.The Prime Minister opined that the opposition’s criticism is actually benefitting them, because by doing so they re exposing themselves and the ‘black heart’ of people is coming to light, in front of people.”Even they don’t know what they are doing. But it is good, because somebody’s black money is getting exposed and somebody’s ‘black mind’ (kaala mann) is uncovered.”Appreciating the support extended by the common man during the period of cash crunch, the Prime Minister said, “I want to tell the leaders of the nation, that we believe in the power of the 125 crore citizens. It is an exemplary example that the citizens are suffering so much, not for their own benefit, but for the nation’s development.”Lashing out at those who criticised the surgical strike and raised questions on the integrity of the armed forces, Prime Minister Modi said the army makes the nation proud, but still people doubt their bravery.”The soldiers go to Pakistan keeping their lives at stake and come back alive but some people have problem with even this,” he said.”Is it good to view institutions like this,” he added.

Rahul Gandhi is now trying to be new Kejriwal: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday took a jibe at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi over his allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he is now competing with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal just to be relevant in the media.BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli also took potshots at Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav for backing Gandhi. “Look at the jungle raj earlier in Lalu Yadav’s regime and its return now. If he supports Rahul Gandhi then Rahul should think about it. Whether this is the kind of support he relishes because his politics has also undertaken a turn,” Kohli said.”He is now trying to be the new Kejriwal, any kind of allegation, nothing to do with evidence, no substantiation. Just make an allegation and be relevant in the media. His competition with Kejriwal is as who will occupy the top spot of this kind of politics. He is happy with Lalu Yadav’s support on his issues then it is good for him,” he said.Another BJP leader Sambit Patra also mocked Gandhi, saying the latter is making desperate attempts to become the supreme power within the Congress Party. “One has to remember that the Supreme Court is supreme and Rahul Gandhi is smaller than that. Rahul Gandhi is maybe trying to become the supreme power within the Congress Party (and) even in that he has not succeeded,” Patra said.”The Supreme Court has categorically observed that the papers provided by him are not authentic. The people of this country are intelligent, they know the Supreme Court is to be respected and not Rahul Gandhi,” he added.Earlier in the day, the RJD chief backed Gandhi’s assertion that corporates paid crores as bribes to Prime Minister Modi in 2013-14 and demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the same.Lalu said that Prime Minister Modi, who is now completely trapped, owes an explanation to the nation. “Rahul Gandhi has alleged Aditya Birla and Sahara Group had given Rs 40 crores to Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister is completely trapped and now he will have to give an explanation. If any BJP spokesperson comes up with justification on his behalf then that would be unfair,” he added.The RJD chief further stated that the Congress vice-president wouldn’t have made such allegations against the Prime Minister without any proof. “Without proof, Rahul Gandhi won’t say this…or any leader won’t accuse the Prime Minister of this. It proves that the Prime Minister was involved in corruption. I demand a Supreme Court-monitored probe in this regard,” he added.Speaking in Gujarat’s Mehsana on Wednesday, Gandhi alleged that in the records with the Income Tax, there were notings of Sahara officials’ claims that they paid Prime Minister Modi nine times between October 2013 and February 2014 and that the total amount was Rs 40 crore.He also alleged that according to documents with the IT department, the Birla Group too paid Rs 12 crore to the Prime Minister.Seeking an independent inquiry, Gandhi said that he was raising the issue “on behalf of the country”.

PM Modi should follow Advani’s lead and resign: Kejriwal after Rahul’s Sahara-Birla bribe allegations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi step down till his name is cleared of alleged charges of graft and sought a probe into the allegations by a Supreme Court monitored committee. The Supreme Court should take “suo motu” cognizance of the matter, Kejriwal told a press conference here, hours after Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi alleged that Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had taken money from Sahara and Birla groups.Kejriwal, who had levelled similar charges against Modi in November in the Delhi Assembly, said the Congress was only “following” the Aam Aadmi Party in this regard and also in terming demonetization as a “scam”.”The Prime Minister should resign till his name is cleared of the charges. The matter should be probed by a Supreme Court-monitored Special Investigation Team. Agencies like CBI are in any case controlled by Modi and Amit Shah,” Kejriwal said.The AAP chief said BJP patriarch LK Advani had set the “right example” by quitting when his name had surfaced in the Hawala scam.”Narendra Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister whose name has cropped up in raw print. This is a very grave matter but it is being suppressed and has been suppressed over the last two years by attaching officers of their convenience to the case,” he said.Kejriwal wondered why the PM was “evading a probe” if he was innocent. The country has been “cheated against”, he said.The Delhi Chief Minister said he will send the “Income Tax appraisal reports” in this regard to Prashant Bhushan who has filed a petition in the Supreme Court. These documents have not yet been submitted in the Court, Kejriwal said, displaying few voluminous reports.”We had raised the same issue on November 15 in the Delhi Assembly.It is good that whatever we are doing the Congress is following. We had termed demonetization a scam, then a month later Rahul said the same thing and today he finally mustered the courage to raise this issue,” he said.Kejriwal also sought to know the reason behind Rahul’s delay in making the allegations after promising an announcement. “Was he trying to strike a bargain? Congress and BJP have setting. In fact, all the leaders who figure in the papers should be probed,” Kejriwal said. The Left parties today demanded a thorough probe into Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s allegations that Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had taken money from Sahara and Birla groups. Targeting Modi, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the “personal-political corruption” charges against the Prime Minister while he delivers “sermons” on combating black money and corruption is his “trademark hypocrisy”.”Sahara Diaries and the allegations against Modi, when he was Gujarat CM, are very serious and must be investigated,” he said.”Whether Vyapam, Lalit Modi, GSPC or now Sahara Diaries, they reveal the sleazy, crony capitalism of BJP state govts.Thorough probe needed (sic),” he tweeted.CPI too demanded high-level probe into Gandhi’s allegation.”It’s a case which deserves high-level probe so that people get to know the truth,” CPI national secretary D Raja said in Hyderabad where the party is at present holding its three-day national council meeting.Earlier in the day, the Congress vice president alleged that Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had taken money from Sahara and Birla groups and demanded an independent inquiry into it.Addressing a rally in Mehsana in the Prime Minister’s home state, he alleged that in the I-T records there are notings of Sahara officials’ claims that they had paid nine times to Modi between October, 2013 and February, 2014.Similarly, as per documents with Income Tax department, the Birla group also paid Rs 12 crore to Modi when he was Chief Minister, Gandhi added.

Modi graft charge: Rahul Gandhi warns of a quake but survey shows it might be a tremor never felt

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had warned last week, as Parliament was going for its winter recess, that he would drop a bombshell regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi if allowed to speak in the House. A survey of 1,235 people has revealed that his grandiose statements were a little too weak to cause an “earthquake”, as he threatened would happen.

According to a CVOTER survey, conducted on 19 and 20 December in 24 states, 57.7 percent of the total respondents believed that Gandhi’s allegations about Modi’s corruption were baseless. This group of respondents refused to trust Gandhi, the survey said.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTICongress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The survey was conducted to find out what the nation thinks about Gandhi’s claims that he would expose Modi’s graft.

Rahul Gandhi‘s charges came at the end of a stormy week in Parliament, which also saw many sharp and personal attacks from both sides. They were all reactions to the demonetisation exercise announced by the Modi government on 8 November. While the Centre attempted to weed out black money from the country, logistical bottlenecks and shortsightedness in implementing the scheme meant the country was pushed into an unprecedented cash flow situation, with banks running out of currency within a night. The ensuing confusion caused by a plethora of announcements, both written and verbal, and a slew of contingency measures came too little too late, and allowed Modi’s political opponents, particularly the Congress, to go out all guns blazing against the prime minister and his party for maximum political mileage.

CvoterCvoter

However, despite all the aggression from the Congress camp, it didn’t quite succeed in hurting the BJP or the prime minister’s image. The CVOTER survey said the advantage enjoyed by the BJP was quite clear, and cutting across demographics.

Among the 57.7 percent who did not believe Rahul Gandhi’s allegations, 62.8 percent respondents were in the age group of 45-60, while 56.5 percent were below 25 years of age and 57.9 percent were between the age group of 25-45. When looked from a locational break-up, 53.3 percent were from an urban background and 67.6 percent from a semi-urban set-up; 58.8 percent of respondents came from rural India, and refused to believe the Congress’ second-in-command’s claims on Modi.

Ironically, even among those who thought Rahul Gandhi to be trustworthy enough, a huge majority of respondents didn’t back his claims about Modi; just 7.6 percent of people thought there was substance to his claims. Finally, only a paltry 9.8 percent among Gandhi’s supporters thought that his claims on Modi’s alleged corruption are true, while another 3.9 percent backed these arguments though they don’t necessarily support the Congress party.

The survey, which covered 419 Lok Sabha and 897 Assembly constituencies respectively, also covered different income groups to get an impression of what they reckon about the Congress leader’s assertion.

In the higher income group, 81.9 percent respondents in the middle-income group, 78 percent and in the lower income group, and 86.2 percent respondents in the higher income group considered the corruption against Modi are baseless.

In contrast, the CVOTER survey said, 18.1 percent respondents in the higher income group and 22 percent among the middle-income group thought the corruption charges against the Prime Minister are serious. In the lower income group, 13.8 percent of the respondents believed that the charges against Modi are grave.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 22:12 IST

Rahul Gandhi accuses Narendra Modi of taking cash payments | Reuters

By Rupam Jain
| NEW DELHI

NEW DELHI Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s Bharatiya Janata Party denied allegations by Congress politician Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday that Modi had accepted $6 million in suspicious cash payments in the months before winning a 2014 general election.Gandhi, heir apparent to the leadership of the Congress party that has governed India for most of its seven decades of independence, levelled the allegations at a rally in Modi’s home state of Gujarat.He has threatened for weeks to cause an “earthquake” by exposing what he called Modi’s personal corruption. The ensuing row paralysed parliament and caused its winter session to be one of the most acrimonious and unproductive on record.Yet when Gandhi finally went public with the details it turned out that they were known, and were part of a case now before the Supreme Court that was filed by Prashant Bhushan, a lawyer known for pursuing corruption cases.Bhushan’s case rests on evidence recovered during income-tax raids on two business houses, Aditya Birla Group and Sahara that he alleges contains evidence of cash payments to Modi. Spokesmen for both companies could not be reached when called on their mobile numbers after working hours on Wednesday.One recipient of alleged payments in late 2013 and early 2014 totalling at least 400 million rupees ($5.9 million) is listed in the records as “Gujarat CM”. Bhushan alleges this refers to the chief minister of the western state who was Modi at the time.

Modi has not commented either on the Bhushan suit or Gandhi’s allegations but his law minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, denounced them on Wednesday.”I condemn the irresponsible, baseless and shameless allegations of Rahul Gandhi,” Prasad told a hastily convened news conference in New Delhi.The heated and increasingly personal exchanges come as Modi faces growing public anger over a six-week-old crackdown on “black money” that seeks to purge the economy of the proceeds of crime, corruption and tax evasion.

Modi’s cancellation of high-value banknotes worth 86 percent of the cash in circulation last month has caused disruption to the daily lives of people and businesses and could affect elections in key swing states next year.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demonetisation is not a surgical strike on black money, but against the poor and honest people of the this country,” Gandhi said in Gujarat, one of the states that goes to the polls next year.The tax authorities did not pursue investigations at the time because they concluded the entries related to a local company.

“We have proof to show that it is a clear case of personal corruption and the court must investigate the payments made by Sahara and Birla to Modi,” Randeep Surjewala, a spokesman for Gandi’s opposition Congress party, told Reuters.Surjewala, addressing a separate news conference, said Modi should come forward and “say whether he took money” from the two companies, and subject himself to an investigation if necessary.Bhushan, the lawyer, confirmed to Reuters that Gandhi’s allegations were based on the evidence he had provided to the Supreme Court. ($1 = 67.8989 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Rupam Jain; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 21:01 IST

PM Modi pure as Ganga, no one takes Rahul seriously: BJP on Sahara-Birla bribe allegations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP strongly dismissed as “utterly baseless” and “shameful” Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s allegations that Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had taken money from Sahara and Birla groups and said the Prime Minister is as “pure” as the Ganga.Hitting back at Gandhi, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the allegations reflected the Congress leader’s frustration and were an attempt to divert attention from the AgustaWestland probe in which the names of Congress leaders and the “family” were coming up.”The allegations levelled against the Prime Minister are baseless, false, shameful and mala fide and they reflected Rahul Gandhi’s frustration in leading his party to disastrous defeats in state after state,” he told a press conference at the BJP headquarters.Addressing a rally in Mehsana in Gujarat, Gandhi alleged that Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had taken money from Sahara and Birla groups and demanded an independent inquiry.Wondering why Gandhi did not raise voice against UPA government’s massive scams, Prasad said people of the country do not take the Congress Vice President seriously.”There is no expectation from Rahul Gandhi who has demonstrated himself as the biggest partner of corruption during the 10-year rule of the UPA… Why he did not utter a single word when crores of rupees were being looted during Congress rule,” asked Prasad.”Our Prime Minister is as pure as the river Ganga,” he said, adding even the Supreme Court had observed that there was no basis in the allegations. He was referring to the Supreme Court rejecting a plea for a probe by a special investigation team against Modi on allegations that two companies paid Rs 65 crore to him ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Party spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said Gandhi was immature and was just indulging in bluff and bluster because people are not taking him seriously.”People of India have stopped taking him seriously. Rahul Gandhi is just bluff and bluster. There is no substance in what he says. He is just showing his and his party’s incompetence,” he said. Reacting to Gandhi’s allegations, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in New Delhi that the charges are “baseless, false, shameful and mala fide” and an attempt to divert attention from the AgustaWestland probe as names of Congress leaders and the “family” are coming up.Party spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said Gandhi was immature and was just indulging in bluff and bluster because people are not taking him seriously.”People of India have stopped taking him seriously. Rahul Gandhi is just bluff and bluster. There is no substance in what he says. He is just showing his and his party’s incompetence,” he said.Gandhi said he was raising the issue on behalf of the country which needs answers over the questions raised against the Prime Minister.”PM Modi takes bribes and then shamelessly foists Demonetisation on Indians under the garb of ‘fighting Black Money,” Congress tweeted after the rally quoting its Vice-President Rahul Gandhi.”Rahulji asks if Modiji received this money from Sahara or not? If this document is with Income Tax, will Modi now investigate it?,” tweeted party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. (MORENGO Common Cause had filed a PIL on the issue in theSupreme Court and a bench headed by CJI-designate Justice J S Khehar last week had refused to take up the matter saying there was no evidence but only allegations against the Prime Minister.The bench then asked lawyer Prashant Bhushan to provide evidence before it could decide on whether it could admit the petition.Gandhi alleged that the I-T records show Sahara officials’ claims of having paid Rs 40 crore to Modi on various dates between October, 2013 and February, 2014.”You (Modi) did not allow me to speak in Parliament. I did not know why you did not wanted to face me in the House. I tell you the reason. Any business entity keeps record of its transactions. On November 2014, Income Tax department conducted raids on Sahara, a very large corporate house,” he said.”During that raid, I-T department found some documents, which are on record. I want to share with you the contents of those documents. There were several entries in those documents, which I am reading out before you,” he said.He then alleged that another record suggests that Birla Group gave Rs 12 crore to ‘Gujarat Chief Minister’.”This record is with I-T department since last 2.5 years.I-T even recommended to conduct an inquiry in this issue. I want to ask you why no such inquiry was done? We want to know whether it is true that money was given to you nine times by Sahara?” Rahul asked.”You doubted the honesty of citizens, their hard-earned income, and made them stand in the queues. Now, on behalf of citizens, I am asking you whether the information is true or not. And if it is true, then when you will set up an inquiry,” said Gandhi.

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat is next army chief: Govt did what it thought right, it’s time to end row

Appointment of Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat as the next Chief of Army Staff superseding Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi and Lieutenant General PM Hariz has got the self-appointed social media critics going ballistic on the internet. It has also given enough to feed the monstrous hunger that the media has for breaking news. Many writers have mentioned that there has been precedence of such supersession. Having known all the three officers closely, one is at a loss to explain one’s feelings. Lieutenant General Bakshi is an intellectual, straight shooter, dynamic and a thoroughly professional officer who is a dear friend and a course mate.

Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat. File photo. Getty ImagesLieutenant General Bipin Rawat. File photo. Getty Images

Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat. File photo. Getty Images

Lieutenant General Hariz is again a very competent officer and a junior in service but became the author’s boss due to residual service requirements. A mature and simple officer, he conducts himself with dignity. Lieutenant General Rawat, took over the command of the corps from this author. He is a humane, mature, professionally sound and a second generation officer. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet would have had a tough time picking one among them as the next COAS of the Indian Army. Since the supersession issue mainly pertains to these three officers, other officers considered are not mentioned here.

Be that as it may, the procedure followed is very simple and has been alluded to by some writers. A panel of all eligible army commanders and vice chief of army staff is sent to the defence ministry by the army headquarters. The defence minister makes his recommendations and sends it to the Appointments Committee of the cabinet. Previously, the appointments committee of the cabinet used to comprise of the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Foreign Minister, Defence Minister and the Finance Minister. Under this government, it has been simplified and reduced to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister. A thorough 360-degree review of the individual is carried out for all promotions to and above the rank of Major General. Similarly, in this case too such a review would have been done. One is confident that all three would have been above board. After the panel is drawn and recommendations are made by the defence ministry it is purely the call of the appointments committee of the cabinet to make the selection of the next Chief of Army Staff. Needless to say that it is the prerogative of the government of the day to select the COAS of its choice.

A quick glance at the selection procedure of other democracies would be highly perceptive at this time. The organisational structure of many of the advanced countries is different from that of our country. The USA follows a theatre commands system whose commanders directly interact with the Secretary of the State for Defence and the President. In the USA, a Chief of Staff is considered to be the equivalent of the Chief of Army Staff in India. UK follows the system of a Chief of Defence Staff who has an advisory role and a Chief of General Staff who commands the army directly. Australia has a Chief of Defence Staff and a Chief of Army. Pakistan also follows a system of a Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and a Chief of Army. Sri Lanka follows a similar system to ours. One cannot compare China and other communist countries with India on this subject as “political correctness” plays a major role in such selections and the system is different.

In the USA, the selection of Chief of Staff (COS) is governed by the rule “10 US Code 3033 – Chief of Staff”. Unlike the COAS of the Indian Army, the Chief of Staff of the Army is an administrative position and does not have operational command authority over the army. The COS is recommended by the Secretary of the Army, nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. In the UK, the equivalent of the COAS is the Chief of General Staff. The Ministry of Defence headed by the Secretary of State for Defence, recommends the names for Chief of General Staff and he is nominated by the Prime Minister. By the exercise of Royal Prerogative Powers, powers to appoint the senior leaders of the services is vested in the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Defence. The Queen, remains the ultimate authority. A similar system is followed in the Australian Army. In Germany, the Army Chief is designated as the Inspector of the Army (Generalinspekteur derNationaleVolkarmee). In peacetime, and in a state of tension, command of the Armed Forces is vested in the Federal Minister of Defence. It is only in a state of defence, which can be declared only with a two-third majority in the Bundestag (Lower House), that the power of command over the Armed Forces is passed to the Federal Chancellor.

While the systems may differ in various countries, the underlying principle in appointing the Chief of Army remains the same. That is, the political dispensation holds the privilege of choosing the person it likes to have as the Chief of its Army.

There has been disappointment and anger in some quarters about the supersession particularly those who are close friends of Lieutenant General Bakshi and Lieutenant General Hariz. This is but natural. Once the dust on this issue settles down and it dawns on people that the civilian government’s supremacy is to be respected, things will return to normal. Already, it has appeared in the media that things have reverted to normalcy and Lieutenant General Bakshi is back to his regular work schedule. Nothing less would have been expected from the true soldier that he is known to be. Similarly, Lieutenant General Hariz can also be expected to do the same. If these two generals who were directly affected have behaved in a manner befitting their stature and reputation, it behoves on all others to behave in a like manner. There are also rumours making the rounds that they will be accommodated as Permanent Chairman of Chief of Staff and Vice Chancellor, Indian National Defence University respectively. Again, it is required to keep in mind that it is the prerogative of the government to take a decision on these appointments. There is also a need to have confidence in the government that it will take the decisions in the best interests of the country.

This author has closely watched two of the COASs functioning and is convinced that every COAS works hard for the army. Therefore, we should hold the hands of Lieutenant General Rawat and support him in all his endeavours to take our famed army to higher glory.

The author is a retired lieutenant general of the Indian Army.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 19:20 IST

After another flip-flop, Rahul Gandhi compares Modi govt to ‘confused traffic signal’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Modi government is behaving like a “confused” traffic signal exhibiting different colours at the same time, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said on the ‘repeated’ changes in the rules regarding deposit of old currency notes in banks. He posted the picture of a huge traffic signal showing red, yellow, blue and a few other colours at the same time, on Twitter with the caption, “Government orders after demonetisation.”The Congress leader had yesterday likened the repeated changes in the rules to Modi’s changing of “clothes” and had said that the message going out was that the Prime Minister’s words were “hollow”.He was commenting on the new decision of the government under which an amount more than Rs 50,00 in scrapped currency can be deposited only once per account till December 30.Earlier, the Prime Minister, while announcing the demonetization decision on November 8, had said old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes could be deposited in banks till December 30 without any questions asked. Party chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala was equally critical of the latest order, with him giving RBI the sobriquet of “Reverse Bank of India.”In a series of tweets, he said, “Unfortunately, Reserve Bank of India has become ‘Reverse Bank of India’!” Surjewala also posted two cartoons stating “the rules of RBI are like weather, which keeps on changing and therefore, requires hourly bulletins to inform people.” “Daily ‘headline management’ is the norm for Modi Govt.If Ind. owner has a choice to pay in cash or cheque, futile to amend the Wages Act,” he said in response to the government bringing an ordinance to amend the Payment of Wage Act for allowing business and industrial establishments to pay salaries through cheques or by using electronic modes.”2ndly, it reflects massive shortage of currency with Modi Govt. Instead of admitting it, it is forcing daily wage earners to stand in bank queues,” he said.Surjewala also latched on to the remarks of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, who after supporting demonetisation initially, did a volte face and said the move has created many troubles for the common man.”AP CM, NDA ally & head of #DeMonetisation Committee is breaking his head over the mess. Do u need more proof Modiji?”, he said.Ahmed Patel, Political Secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, was equally caustic.”50 days, 60 rules #DeMonetisation,” he said in a tweet.

Demonetisation: Bank officer’s union to protest investigative role being thrusted on banks

New Delhi: All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC) has registered a protest to RBI on bank officers being assigned investigative role for customers depositing in excess of Rs 5,000, and demanded complete withdrawal of the order as the staff are facing public wrath.

Even as RBI partially modified its deposit guidelines, the union will be holding demonstrations all over the country in front of Reserve Bank of India offices later on Wednesday to press for withdrawal of the notification.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The RBI on Wednesday modified guidelines saying KYC compliant account holders can deposits more than Rs 5,000 in old currency notes without being questioned by bank officials.

Earlier this week, the RBI issued a notification directing banks to conduct due diligence of customers who wish to deposit more than Rs 5,000 in old currency till 30 December.

“The credit in such cases shall be afforded only after questioning tenderer, on record, in the presence of at least two officials of the bank, as to why this could not be deposited earlier and receiving a satisfactory explanation,” RBI had said.

“The instructions issued vide the RBI communication dated 19 December must be withdrawn forthwith as the banker shall not carry out the duties of CBI/ED/IB at the busy counters,” AIBOC General Secretary Harvinder Singh said in a representation to RBI Governor.

No accountability should be fixed on the bank officers in this respect as they are thrust with a role not expected of them, it added.

“Having demanded this, we strongly feel that withdrawal of the instruction itself will only confirm the Prime Minister’s statement to the public on November 8 and improve public confidence in the banking system and reduce the hardships faced by the officers at counters,” it said.

Pointing out that the banking system itself is losing credibility because of frequent changes in RBI/Government policies, Singh said customer dissatisfaction is increasing because of chaos and confusion created in implementation of the scheme.

“Bank Officers are being subjected to the anger, anguish and wrath of customers or general public due to short supply of currency notes to the banks, particularly to Public Sector banks,” it said.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 14:53 IST

Modi only leader who has taken steps to ensure safety of women: Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the only leader who has taken steps to ensure the safety of women, preserving their “very existence”.She said no government since Independence took steps to ensure safety and well-being of women except the Modi-led government which initiated schemes like Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao to save the girl child. “Modi has done what the previous Congress governments have failed to do. He has ensured the safety of women. He has ensured that when a girl child grows up she is able to stand on her own feet and has preserved the very existence of women,” she said addressing a gathering of party cadres during BJP Mahila Morcha Sammelan here.Lauding the development works carried out by the BJP-Akali coalition in Punjab, Sadhvi Jyoti appealed to the people to give another chance to the combine for a prosperous state.Sadhvi also hit out at Congress saying, “Vice President Rahul Gandhi is today sympathising with farmers but he should know that only his party is responsible for their pathetic condition. On the other hand, the Modi government allotted the biggest budget ever for the farming sector and ensured their survival.”She claimed that Congress was agitated due to the demonitisation decision because it was the most affected.On the occasion, Punjab BJP president Vijay Sampla said by voting for BJP in the Chandigarh municipal corporation polls, people vindicated the stand of the Prime Minister and expressed confidence that BJP will achieve a similar feat in Punjab as well.Sampla said BJP was the only party which brought 33 per cent women to the political mainstream.Pathankot MLA and former state party president Ashwini Sharma too spoke on the occasion and termed the women wing as the soul of the party.The conference was attended by BJP Mahila Morcha chief Vijaya Rahatkar, vice-president Latika Sharma, state president Mona Jaiswal.

When I was treated with suspicion for depositing my mother’s rainy day savings: An open letter to Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dear Mr Jaitley,When PM Modi asked citizens of the country to give him 50 days, we supported him because he claimed that we would get a better future. We were led to believe that there was a proper plan in place, and we’d be able to deposit our old notes without too much of a hassle. Time and again, we were assured that we had till December 30. Of course, given the number of rule changes till this point, it was optimism to the file of foolishness. On Monday morning, RBI announced that an amount exceeding Rs 5,000 can be deposited in the bank accounts only once till the December 30, quite contradictory to your earlier announcement. Later the same evening, you clarified that “No questions will be asked if any amount of junked currency is deposited in one go,” and we believed in you again.
ALSO READ Inquisition for Rs 5000: Why Modi govt is making it very hard to support demonetizationHowever, reality was a little different as I realised when I went to deposit my mother’s savings. Like any other Indian woman she liked to keep some money aside for a rainy day and hoped to deposit the money once the queues had thinned. Upon hearing the Dec 19 announcement, she freaked out and asked me to deposit the money as soon as possible. As much as I hated waiting in queue to deposit some cash whose existence my mom didn’t remember for ages now, I was mentally prepared to come across at least 40-50 other hassled people who would have come to deposit their ‘old currency’.
ALSO READ Govt will come with structured response: RS Prasad goes into damage control over Rs 5000 deposit announcementHowever, to my surprise there wasn’t a long queue, with only 5-7 people waiting to deposit and withdraw cash. I thought that the process would be fairly simple when the security guard handed me a form to fill and directed me towards the queue. In the form, I just had to fill basic information such as my account details and the value of currency (I didn’t even need to fill my PAN card details because the amount was less than Rs 50,000). I thanked my stars that I won’t have to wait in the queue till the end of the year.
ALSO READ New Rs 5000 deposit rule an influential step to curtail misuse: MoS Finance Gangwar I had assumed I would be done in 10-15 minutes. However, that wasn’t the case. Mr Jaitley, I am sure you’re trying your best to help all the individuals out there, but I must say that the ground reality is slightly different.Firstly, the person at the deposit counter was already hassled because he hadn’t found time to have lunch till 4.30 PM, and then he had to deal with a person who didn’t have stamp on his cheque and me and the person behind me who had old currency of the value more than Rs 5000.He asked me if I had made a deposit yesterday, I denied and stated that this is my first deposit in all the days. I further went on to explain that you had assured that we can deposit more than Rs 5000 without being questioned, he told me I could deposit a ‘huge amount such as Rs 6,500’ only if I submitted an acknowledgment and presented an original identity proof.I was then asked to meet one of his seniors, who asked me to fill another form wherein I had to give my account details, details and a copy of identity proof along with an address proof and the reason for depositing the amount late. The senior checked all the original identity proofs and signed the acknowledgment, and called his colleague to do the same, who choose to sign it ‘later’.To add to it, the colleague mocked me for finding Rs 6,500 in a purse. He even thought I was the most innovative of the lot he had met ever since morning.Unfortunately, by the time I was done, the deposit counter was shut but since I was in queue earlier, they were kind enough to let me deposit the money. What was truly galling during the entire process was the fact that I was made to feel like a petty criminal.Why do I need to explain where the money came from? Rs 6500 isn’t a huge amount,. Both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister of the country had assured me that I had all the time in the world to deposit my money. Does the FM and PM’s words have no value at all?But I guess I should soldier on, because all this is for the betterment of the country? Isn’t feeling frustrated for 45 minutes, being late for office, being treated like a petty criminal to deposit a small amount of my mother’s savings all justified for the greater good of nation? Of course, we are willing to soldier on because we believe, but it’d nice if we weren’t treated like criminals. Thank you,Another citizen waiting for ‘acche din’

Demonetisation: This explanation by Yogendra Yadav for delayed cash deposit is bang on

Political activist and academic Yogendra Yadav has given an explanation to his bank that many harried customers, now hurrying to the bank, would want to give to their banks for making delayed deposits.

In the hard hitting declaration he submitted while making a “small deposit”, Yadav has said that he was waiting for the queues to end to approach the bank and that he saw no reason to offer any special explanation for his decision.

“I see no reason to offer any special explanation for the same [for making the deposit now]. I normally like and wait for the queues to end. I was assured by the Prime Minister,the Finance Minister and the RBI that there was no need to rush to the banks and that I had till 30 December for making any deposit. I believed them,” Yadav has said in his crisp letter.

Yadav’s explanation comes a day after the finance ministry and RBI brought out a notification saying that the customers can make deposits worth more than Rs 5,000 of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes only once until 30 December now and that they will also have to explain why they did not do so before hand.

Yogendra Yadav. PTIYogendra Yadav. PTI

Yogendra Yadav. PTI

Later on Monday finance minister Arun Jaitley had clarified that the customers need not give explanations if they are making the deposits in one go. He said bank officials will question only if a customer is making deposits repeatedly.

Explaining the rationale behind the move, the finance ministry had said the decision was taken as “it is expected that, by now, most of the people would have deposited such old notes in their possession”. However, one reason, which was not mentioned in the release but is widely known, is the government’s suspicion that a few tax evaders may be laundering their ill-gotten wealth before the deadline ends by using proxies to make deposits in banks.

There is also assumption that the government may be trying to reduce deposit gathering at banks after the demonetisation, which has already surpassed all estimates. Going by the pace of deposit accrual, there are fears that the final number may prove the entire demonetisation exercise a futile one as a higher-than-expected figure would mean return of the black money into the system.

The latest directive, however, came as a shock to many as it goes against the promise that Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave while making the demonetisation announcement on 8 November. He had then said that nobody needs to panic as there is time until 30 December to make deposits of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. This promise was repeated in many government advertisements and also by other ministers to calm down the public.

Those honest customers who waited patiently until the queue shortens at the bank branches are now at the receiving end of the new directive. Read in this context, Yadav’s explanation is bang on.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 17:22 IST

India, Kyrgyzstan to work against terrorism and extremism: PM Modi

New Delhi: India and Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday pledged to work together to prevent youths from falling prey to the common challenges of terrorism and extremism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

Modi was addressing a joint media conference with visiting Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, who arrived in India on Sunday, leading a high-level delegation comprising of ministers, officials and business leaders.

Modi and Atambayev held talks at the Hyderabad House as the two countries signed a number of agreements to enhance their defence and economic ties.

PM Modi. PTIPM Modi. PTI

PM Modi. PTI

“We discussed how we could work together to secure our youth and society from common challenges of terrorism, extremism and radicalism,” Modi said.

“We agreed on the need to overcome these challenges for the common benefit” of the two countries, Modi said.

Modi described Kyrgyzstan “a valuable partner in our common pursuit of making Central Asia a region of sustainable peace, stability and prosperity”.

The Prime Minister said the two countries would encourage better engagement in healthcare, tourism, IT and agriculture, mining and energy and build on bilateral cooperation, including “capacity building and training”.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 15:16 IST

Chandigarh poll results show people are in favour of demonetization: Rajyavardhan Rathore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Opposition charges that demonetization has caused substantial public inconvenience and not delivered on the economic front as argued by the government. How to do you see the charge?See the amount of corruption which existed in the country. See the position we were ranked. Everything was being affected by the parallel economy which was running, which included getting into educational institutions. The taxation circle was small and a large number of people weren’t paying taxes. The question is whether we want short term effort, which already existed. This measure is for a larger majority and that’s why it’s getting the support from people.When do you expect the public inconvenience to end? Because the economic measure has acquired a political life.Prime Minister has sought 50 days. Things are easing down. ATM machines have been tweaked. Liquidity has increased. I understand that there is anxiety in the people but a strong decision has been taken. The issue is that people are also hoarding currency but I’m sure that this anxiety will and should ease, and there is no restriction in spending in cash. Off course, we are supporting transactions online but cash use is not prohibited. Those who cannot handle mobile phones, people can spend cash. Worldwide there is a balance between cash and digital transactions. We were spending 80% in cash in India and we would like to change it.A lot of tweaking has taken place. Is it because the government wasn’t prepared or new issues and realities came in and the Centre had to respond to it?The preparation was done but it has been a mix of both. Be it business or military, you prepare but sometimes you need to change things. I admit that it was a mix of both. You need to be flexible. Eventually, you have to see how the situation is so that people aren’t burdened and if you find that people are trying to cut corners, then system has to respond to it. The objective isn’t politics but strength to the country.Demonetisation as an economic exercise has acquired political repercussion. Do you expect it to impact forthcoming assembly elections?My constituency is Jaipur Rural. I meet people every day and I’m telling you that people are very happy. Look at the results which came from Chandigarh. Out of overall 26 seats, we won more than 20. Look at the results. We have done well. Such decisions aren’t done for political goals. A decision like this impacts the country in many ways and is meant for changing the direction of the country so that things change. Like the Prime Minister said the other day, a time should come when it shouldn’t take more than 6 minutes for people to take loans from the bank. Once things are accounted, then what is the worry of accounting for things? He has already said that there will be no witch hunt and people can adopt new methods. It will ensure that benefits pass down to the last man standing, like provident fund.Opposition says that methods have become very intrusive, like now Rs 5,000 and above can only be deposited once without scrutiny?A very small fraction is trying to subvert the mechanism whereas the larger majority isn’t doing so. The only thing which is being done is that people are being asked to deposit cash in one go and not in batches and it has to be communicated to people fairly.Are you saying that the step will help eventually, like in lessening the queue?The point is that it is being done, that we have an India which is digital and accounted for.

Instead of trolling Rahul Gandhi, learn from him: Congress to BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that the Congress Party has always maintained its dignity and followed protocol in politics, the grand old party on Tuesday hailed its vice-president Rahul Gandhi, saying the way he stopped theOpposition from raising slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi showed how great a personality he was, adding that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should learn a lesson instead of trolling him.”Rahul Gandhi has always asked us to follow protocol and morality in politics. He has always been of the opinion that one should not use foul language. Whenever we talk about the Prime Minister, we talk in a very decent manner. This is the reason, when slogans were raised against the Prime Minister, Rahul Gandhi, instead of encouraging them, said that such sloganeering should not be done. This elevates the stature of Mr. Rahul Gandhi and the people of BJP who are busy trolling him should learn a lesson,” said Afzal.Also, holding the BJP responsible for stalling parliament, Afzal said the party did not let function Parliament because it was under the fear of getting exposed by Rahul Gandhi.”It was the BJP which stalled parliament during the last days of the session. The party did not let Rahul Gandhi speak on the floor, because it was afraid that he might reveal something explosive.”Rahul Gandhi, on December 14 alleged the government was not letting him speak in parliament because he had personal information about the Prime Minister’s corruption.”The way their Parliamentary Affairs minister criticised the Congress, it shows that democracy holds no value in the eyes of this government,” he added.Shifting his focus towards demonetization, the Congress leader reminded the government of pointing out the loopholes in the scheme which they ignored, but were facing the same now.”The government, till now, has made 125 rules related to demonetization. When we pointed out that the government has announced the move without any preparedness, they didn’t consider it and now they are coming up with new rules every single day. This proves that the government did not take anything into consideration. They inflicted pain on 125 crore people, out of whom many even died.”Commenting on the recent development over Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), reducing its interest rate from 8.8% to 8.65 %, Afzal said the government was not ready to spare anybody.”Till now, the workers, labourers, the poor were in distress, but now the service class is on target. This attack is very shameful. They are not ready to spare anyone,” he said.

Robert Vadra mocks Modi govt for turning banks into interrogation offices

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Opposition joining hands against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s decision to demonetize high-denomination currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law, Robert Vadra on Tuesday joined the onslaught and launched a twin attack over demonetization and the recent Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announcement on deposits.”It is sad to see people suffering due to the whims & fancies of the government. I feel for the people and their difficulties they have and are facing,” Robert Vadra said in a post on his Facebook account.Regarding the recent announcement by the RBI allowing deposits of old notes exceeding Rs. 5000 only once till December 30 after a satisfactory explanation, Vadra mocked the government for turning banks into interrogation offices.”Now, deposits of more than Rs. 5,000 of demonetized currency notes will be allowed only once till December 30 & that too with an explanation. It has turned financial institutes into interrogation offices,” he said.

Rohith Vemula aftermath: 12 recommendations from HRD ministry and Podile stays on as V-C

A year ago, on 18 December 2015, Rohith Vemula — Dalit PhD scholar from the University of Hyderabad — wrote a letter dripping with sarcasm to the vice-chancellor of the university, V Appa Rao Podile, about the discrimination being meted out to Dalit students.

He wrote, offering a ‘solution for the Dalit problem’:

1. Please serve 10mg Sodium Azide to all the Dalit students at the time of admission. With direction to use when they feel like reading Ambedkar.
2. Supply a nice rope to the rooms of all Dalit students from your companion, the great Chief Warden.

As we, the scholars, PhD students have already passed that stage and already members of Dalit Self-Respect movement unfortunately, we here are left with no easy exit, it seems. Hence, I request your highness to make preparations for the facility “EUTHANASIA” for students like me. And I wish you and the campus rest in peace forever.”

A month later, on 17 January, 2016, Rohith Vemula committed suicide. The suicide rose to national importance as it shed light on a deeply disturbing, yet ignored facet of Indian universities: Caste discrimination. The February 2016 protests in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) sparked important and much needed debates on freedom of speech and the right to dissent. The two incidents awoke a new political consciousness among students — spreading across various universities and campuses, students took to the streets in the national capital demanding justice for the Dalit scholar and an adequate response to the JNU crisis.

A file photo of Rohith VemulaA file photo of Rohith Vemula

A file photo of Rohith Vemula

While the goal should have been to introspect, what was achieved was nothing material — it was probed whether Rohith Vemula was in fact a Dalit, his mother was questioned.

He was a Dalit.

Then, he was not.

Then again, he was — mere distractions from addressing the elephant in the room. Political mileage was gained, Vemula’s name was on the Opposition’s lips hoping to score brownie points and Vemula’s name probably occupied a larger corner in the minds of those running the government.

Why are we going over these tiresome details of case forgotten? Didn’t we move on to other news? The National Anthem directive, perhaps? (no, we seem to be over that one too). These tiresome boring details must be revisited to address the people who haven’t forgotten, those who feel wronged by a system that perhaps isn’t there to support them in the first place.

What has come out of the Vemula suicide and the subsequent political storm?

One, a 12-point recommendation from the Ministry of Human Resources and Development on how to prevent campus suicides. The HRD ministry added six points to Roopanwal Commission’s six recommendations to curb campus suicides. The measures suggested by the ministry include a “strong induction programme  for better acclimatisation and establishing a local guardian system for outstation students,” “grievances of students should be discussed and dispensed with on weekly basis and vice-chancellors should hold monthly meetings.”

Two, Appa Rao Podile’s continued tenure as the the vice-chancellor of the University of Hyderabad. On Sunday, Dontha Prashanth, Seshaiah Chemudagunta and Vijay Kumar (Pedapudi), Vemula’s friends, fellow Dalits and PhD students who were also suspended along with Vemula from the University of Hyderabad wrote a letter to the President of India, urging him to remove Podile as the vice-chancellor of the university. He was reinstated even while protests were in full-swing, just a few months after the suicide. If the idea was to allay the burgeoning anger amid students, why wasn’t a man with sub-par academic qualifications, especially one with a history of unethical academic practices such as plagiarism allowed to continue as the university’s vice-chancellor?

Students asking for Podile’s removal is not new, such demands have been made earlier by the student body of the University of Hyderabad. Prashanth, Chemudagunta, Pedapudi had earlier written an open letter to the Prime Minister of India in August this year:

What action was taken after a committee appointed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development brought out the institutional lapses that led to Rohith’s suicide? Why did you not speak, Mr Prime Minister, when Smriti Irani spoke utter lies in Parliament? What happened to the Judicial Commission appointed by HRD Ministry which was supposed to submit its report by 1 August, 2016?

The anger in the University of Hyderabad has been simmering for a long time. 189 academics had written a letter to the President of India, seeking his intervention in the Rohith Vemula, asking for the dismissal of the vice-chancellor. JNU’s Kanhaiya Kumar and the face of the Indian student politics for well over a year wrote a dramatic letter to Smriti Irani about Vemula (and the state of Dalits in the country).

The three other students will perhaps continue writing letters because everything else has been done, yielding little to nothing. Simmering anger, growing resentment and disappointment make for powerful ink, but what if the system ends up being illiterate?

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 10:20 IST

Congress has no moral right to criticise Centre on demonetization: Venkaiah Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking on Rahul Gandhi for his criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on demonetization, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting M. Venkaiah Naidu said the Congress Party has no moral right to do so since it was under their previous regime that a parallel economy laden with black money was allowed to function in the country.”Let them further up the ante, they have no credibility, not even one person is going to believe what the Congress says because they have ruled the country and ruined the country. All this is happening in the country because of the misrule of the Congress and what have they done to unearth black money,” Naidu told ANI.”What is it you that have done to unearth the black money, why have you not acted on the Supreme Court guidance to form the SIT on black money, the order came in 2012, and how this parallel economy has been going on years together. It was the Congress rule that provided for all scams and scandals. You have pushed the country into a cesspool of corruption,” he added.He further asserted the Congress has no moral authority to raise questions on the Prime Minister.”In the two years, Prime Minister Modi has repaired the economy enhanced the image of the country and has earned the respect of the country and international community and what have we inherited? We inherited fiscal deficit, trade deficit, current account deficit led by great economist Dr. Manmohan Singh,” Naidu said.Naidu said the Congress is now getting frustrated as their election prospects are on the down swing and their presence in parliament is diminishing.”From last 20 days, Congress and its friends prevented parliament from functioning. You gave a call for bharat bandh which was a flop. You called for aakrosh rally it fissile out. You wanted a debate, we started, but you ran away from it,” he added.Recalling Prime Minister Modi’s remark, Naidu said demonetization is a bitter pill for a long term ill while adding that will benefit people in the long term.”It is a revolutionary and transformatory move in every transformation. There will be some problems and affects, but after affects it will be good that is why people showing monumental patience, they have confidence in leadership of the Prime Minister and feel that this step is a moral step,” he said.

PM Narendra Modi to hold bilateral discussions with Kyrgyzstan President today

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

PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi take battle to UP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi took the political battle around demonitization to poll bound Uttar Pradesh (UP). In Kanpur, Modi attacked Opposition for not allowing Parliament to function.In Jaunpur, Gandhi alleged that the note ban had punished the poor with cash crunch. Modi hit back, saying the Opposition was defending the corrupt by opposing the ban on 500 and 1,000 rupee notes aimed at eliminating black money.In Delhi, the Congress lashed out at the government for its two recent orders, alleging that the banks have been turned into police stations.Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said Modi government has conducted a dual surgical strike on the employees, industrial work force by reducing the interest rate from 8.8per cent to 8.65per cent for all Employee Provident Fund contributors, and also banning deposit of more than Rs 5,000 in demonetized notes. He said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had promised that anyone can deposit scrapped notes in banks up to December 30 and in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) till March 31 by filling up a form.Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh wrote a strong letter to the PM amid a sense of disappointment among opposition leaders over Rahul Gandhi’s reluctance to reveal the information about “personal corruption” of the Prime Minister. Rahul made a scathing attack on the Prime Minister at his Jaunpur rally in Uttar Pradesh but avoided making any reference to his explosive threat In his letter, Singh confronted Prime Minister for his charge on the Opposition fighting to protect the corrupt. In a letter to the PM, he asked why it was soft on BJP leader Janardan Reddy who spent hundreds of crore on his daughter’s marriage? Why are you not acting swiftly on Lokpal, Whistle Blower Protection Act, Benami Properties etc?”The party also released a list of as many as 125 orders issued by the government since the demonetiszation. Surjewala said the government has really made everyone cashless, be it the people, banks or ATMs while only the e-wallet companies licensed by the Modi government in 2015 are flourishing under the PM’s call for digitisation of the economy.The e-wallet companies are making 2.5 to 5 per cent profit which means a 100-rupee note exchanged 20 times becomes zero as these companies make Rs 100 on 5 per cent commission they charge, the Congress spokesman explained.

Purpose of note ban was to extract from the poor and help the rich: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a direct attack on the Prime Minister, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Monday alleged that Narendra Modi visits the US and China “using” the aircraft of his wealthy “friends” and has “made fun” of 99 per cent honest people through demonetization.”Maximum wealth lies with 50 families… Modi goes to America and China with their family members, using their aircraft,” Rahul said at a ‘Janakrosh Rally’ here. This was his first rally in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh after the Winter Session of Parliament was washed out over demonetization. Last week, Rahul had threatened to “expose personal corruption of Modi” while claiming that he was not being allowed to speak in Parliament as it would lead to an “earthquake”.Insisting that “All cash is not black and all black money is not in cash”, the Congress leader said, “94 per cent black money is stashed away in foreign banks, real estate and investment in land deals and gold. But why is PM running after only the rest 6 per cent?” He said only one per cent people have 60 per cent of the country’s wealth and that “Modi has made fun of 99 per cent honest people through demonetization”. Rahul alleged that Modi had waived Rs 1,200 crore loan of Vijay Mallya and Rs 1.10 lakh crore taken by 50 wealthy families, but did not care about writing off farmers’ loans.The Congress leader, who had undertaken a ‘Deoria to Delhi’ padayatra to highlight the plight of farmers, said he had met the Prime Minister to seek waiver of farmers’ loans but the latter was non-committal.The purpose of note ban was “Garib ka khincho, Amir ko sincho (extract from the poor and help the rich)”, he said. Interestingly, at the rally, when some workers shouted slogans against Modi, Rahul asked them to desist from making personal attacks. “Our fight against Narendra Modi is political, please don’t raise ‘murdabad’ slogans against him…such language is used by fascists and RSS, not Congress,” he told them.

Demonetization: Mamata Banerjee slams PM Modi, terms govt as ‘deaf and dumb’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee fired fresh salvos at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that all the countrymen except PM Modi have realised that demonetization was a bad move, causing tremendous hardship and eventually lead to a crisis.“By the time the Prime Minister realises the down side of demonetization it will be too late, leaving the country in doldrums,” she said, addressing a public meeting at Fulkusma in Bankura district.Mamata termed the Modi government as “deaf and dumb” and oblivious to the suffering of the common people. “Farmers are in deep trouble. People don’t have cash to buy essential commodities. Businesses are incurring losses. MNREGA workers are being deprived of wages,” she said.She also cited the example of Venezuela and said that it had rolled back its decision of demonetization when it realised that it would spell disaster. “One cannot withdraw one’s own money, even if one’s salary is Rs 15,000. How can the government dictate terms and conditions on the way people should spend their own money? Why should the poor be forced to use Paytm from which the Centre is getting a commission? Before the polls he said he was a chaiwala. Now he has become a Paytm wala,” she said.She also said that there was a divisive force in the country which was trying to create communal tension by even naming a road accident as a clash between members of two communities. “There is peace in Junglemahal and the administration will ensure that it remains like that,” she said.Commenting on Mamata’s comments in Bankura, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said that it was peaceful according to the definition of the TMC. Meanwhile referring to today’s decision of the capping of bank deposits, Bose said, “It has been an economic emergency. Since demonetization, they have been changing their position and decisions. All this indecisiveness is causing problems to the middle class. Those who are part of the mall culture are hardly affected,” he said.

Earlier Opp blocked Parliament to expose corrupt, now disrupting to defend dishonest: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Scaling up his attack on Opposition over demonetization issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleged Parliament was not allowed to function as opposition parties were trying to defend the dishonest and were running away from a debate on the issue of corruption and black money. Addressing BJP’s ‘parivartan rally’, he also said some politicians tried to “provoke” people standing in ATM queues, but their designs were not allowed to succeed as the common man was patient and understood that larger interest of the country was at stake.Modi said at an all-party meeting convened before the Winter session of Parliament, he had suggested a debate on simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies and donations to political parties.But Parliament was not allowed to function for a month as the opposition parties were not interested in a discussion on the two issue, the Prime Minister said.He said earlier, the opposition used to disrupt Parliament as they wanted to expose the corrupt, bring out scams. But this time, Parliament was disrupted as opposition wanted to defend the dishonest and hence were running away from debate, he alleged.”Our agenda is to fight for a country free of corruption and black money. But their agenda is to close (disrupt) Parliament…I am puzzled,” Modi said.Singling out Congress, he said its leaders have often claimed that lat Rajiv Gandhi brought computer and mobile phone to the common man in India.”But now when I say mobile phone can be used as a bank, they say the poor do not have cell phone…they said people do not have bank accounts. Now they claim poor went to the bank, but there was no money…they are spreading lies.” Modi said Congress has always shied away from being accountable to the people and recalled a saying about then AICC Treasurer Sitaram Kesri to drive home the point.”Na khata, na bahi, jo Kesri kahe wahi sahi”, he said implying that Congress never believed in accounts and ledgers when it came to its funding.The Prime Minister told the gathering that the decision to demonetize Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency notes has shown that there are two sides in the country — one consisting of a “handful” of people who have been defending those who exploit the middle class and snatch the right of the poor and the other comprising of those who are fighting corruption and the scourge of black money.He also hailed the efforts of the Election Commission to get rid of black money from electoral system and said the BJP welcomes it.Attacking the Akhilesh Yadav Government in Uttar Pradesh, Modi alleged that goons are troubling the people openly as they have the blessings of those in power in the state. He hoped that people of the sate will “vote for change” in the assembly polls due early next year.The PM asked people to spread the word that government is beginning a lucky draw scheme for people using cards and e wallets for purchases and merchants accepting digital payments.He said only those who buy anything between Rs 50 and Rs 3000 will be eligible for the draw as it is meant to encourage the common man and not the rich.

Demonetization like World War 2 fire-bombing on poor people: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a direct attack on the Prime Minister, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today alleged that Narendra Modi visits the US and China “using” the aircraft of his wealthy “friends” and has “made fun” of 99 per cent honest people through demonetisation.”Maximum wealth lies with 50 families… Modi goes to America and China with their family members, using their aircraft,” Rahul said at a ‘Janakrosh Rally’.This was his first rally in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh after the Winter Session of Parliament was washed out over demonetisation.Last week, Rahul had threatened to “expose personal corruption of Modi” while claiming that he was not being allowed to speak in Parliament as it would lead to an “earthquake”.Insisting that “All cash is not black and all black money is not in cash”, the Congress leader said, “94 per cent black money is stashed away in foreign banks, real estate and investment in land deals and gold. But why is PM running after only the rest 6 per cent?”He said only one per cent people have 60 per cent of the country’s wealth and that “Modi has made fun of 99 per cent honest people through demonetisation”.Rahul alleged that Modi had waived Rs 1,200 crore loan of Vijay Malya and Rs 1.10 lakh crore taken by 50 wealthy families, but did not care about writing off farmers’ loans.The Congress leader, who had undertaken a ‘Deoria to Delhi’ padayatra to highlight the plight of farmers, said he had met the Prime Minister to seek waiver of farmers’ loans but the latter was non-committal.The purpose of note ban was “Garib ka khincho, Amir ko sincho (extract from the poor and help the rich)”, he said.Interestingly, at the rally, when some workers shouted slogans against Modi, Rahul asked them to desist from making personal attacks.”Our fight against Narendra Modi is political, please don’t raise ‘murdabad’ slogans against him…such language is used by fascists and RSS, not Congress,” he told them.The Congress vice president also asked Prime Minister Modi to look into the problems of the poor people post demonetisation. Gandhi further said that Prime Minister Modi doesn’t want to hear or listen to anyone. The Congress vice president has been strongly opposing demonetization. He has claimed that he had some ‘information’ of the PM’s ‘personal corruption’ which he will only reveal in the Lok Sabha and termed demonetization as ‘Modi-made disaster’.PM Modi attacks oppositionScaling up his attack on Opposition over demonetization issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleged Parliament was not allowed to function as opposition parties were trying to defend the dishonest and were running away from a debate on the issue of corruption and black money.Addressing BJP’s ‘parivartan rally’ here, he also said some politicians tried to “provoke” people standing in ATM queues, but their designs were not allowed to succeed as the common man was patient and understood that larger interest of the country was at stake.Modi said at an all-party meeting convened before the Winter session of Parliament, he had suggested a debate on simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies and donations to political parties.But Parliament was not allowed to function for a month as the opposition parties were not interested in a discussion on the two issue, the Prime Minister said.He said earlier, the opposition used to disrupt Parliament as they wanted to expose the corrupt, bring out scams. But this time, Parliament was disrupted as opposition wanted to defend the dishonest and hence were running away from debate, he alleged.”Our agenda is to fight for a country free of corruption and black money. But their agenda is to close (disrupt) Parliament…I am puzzled,” Modi said.Singling out Congress, he said its leaders have often claimed that lat Rajiv Gandhi brought computer and mobile phone to the common man in India.”But now when I say mobile phone can be used as a bank, they say the poor do not have cell phone…they said people do not have bank accounts. Now they claim poor went to the bank, but there was no money…they are spreading lies.”With inputs from PTI and ANI

PM Modi to lay foundation of nation’s maiden Indian Institute of Skills

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Monday will lay the foundation stone of the country’s first ever Indian Institute of Skills in Kanpur, the idea of which was conceptualized by him during his visit to Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education.The institute will be opened by the Skill Development Ministry in partnership with the Institute of Technical Education, Singapore.The Prime Minister will also inaugurate the Kaushal Pradarshani (Skill Exhibition) for the youth.The Exhibition will showcase state-of-the-art vocational training practices of various sectors.Prime Minister Modi will also launch a number of skill development initiatives including Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras and Drivers Training Institutes.Later in the day, he will also address a Parivartan rally in Kanpur. This will be the sixth Parivartan Rally to be addressed by Prime Minister in Uttar Pradesh.Earlier, the Prime Minister had addressed rallies at Ghazipur, Agra, Kushinagar, Moradabad and Behraich. There are four Parivartan yatras taking round across the state which were initiated by BJP nationalpresident Amit Shah from Saharanpur.These Yatras will cover almost 17 thousand kilometer journey across all 403 Vidhan Sabha segments in the state.

Congress brands Centre’s demonetisation drive a ‘Fair and Lovely’ scheme

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress Party on Monday called the Narendra Modi government’s demonetization-cum-remonetisation drive a ‘Fair and Lovely’ scheme which would only help the corrupt turn their black money into white.”Modi government’s new policy of asking corrupt people to pay 60% fine on your black money and convert it into white is only a ‘Fair and Lovely scheme’. So this ‘suit-boot’ government is only for the suit boot people and not for the common people,” Congress spokesperson Shobha Oza told ANI.Oza added that party vice president Rahul Gandhi will address a rally on Monday in Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, where he will highlight the ‘real objective’ behind demonetization.Earlier, Gandhi had said at a rally in Belgaum, Karnataka, that demonetization is a Modi-made disaster.”As there is a man-made disaster, similarly demonetization is a Modi-made disaster,” he said.He further said that Prime Minister Modi had attacked the economy by announcing demonetization.”More than 100 people have died because of demonetization drive and PM Modi is responsible for it,” Rahul said, adding that Narendra Modi government has been attacking the poor people for last two-and-a-half years.”Nothing will happen in 50 days. The Prime Minister will give your money to the rich. Modi wants to waive off bank loans,” he added.He further said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has mocked farmers and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), which is the backbone of the farmers.Earlier, he claimed that he had some ‘information’ of the PM’s ‘personal corruption’ which he will only reveal in the Lok Sabha.The Congress vice president has been strongly opposing demonetization ever since its announcement.

CPM veteran to give Modi’s digital economy campaign a hand up

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Controversial politician and former CPM strongman from East Midnapore, Lakshman Chandra Seth, 70, has raised eyebrows as he has jumped ship to become the face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a digital and cashless economy in West Bengal.”Our PM has given a call for going cashless and I’m trying to follow it. I have got a new smart phone which I am learning to use effectively. I will take the help of my younger son who is a computer engineer to help me with mobile banking and pay for my expenses through various apps,” he told DNA.Asked about his aligning with the BJP, Seth said no party is ‘untouchable’ in today’s world and there was no such thing as Left or Right.”Parliamentary democracy has broken the wall between what was previously called the Left and Right groupings. What matters is your contribution towards addressing key issues such as development, unemployment, health, education and inflation, and helping weaker sections of the society,” he said.Seth, an MP for 13 years—from 1996 to 2009—is also alleged to have been the mastermind of the infamous Nandigram violence in March 14, 2007, which had led to the death of 14 persons in police firing.The stain has led some state BJP leaders to question his induction into the party. A senior state BJP leader on condition of anonymity said, “Seth would be a liability to the party.” However, others seem to have welcomed the veteran politician with open arms. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh and vice-president Jayprakash Majumder claim that Seth’s name had not been mentioned in the charge-sheet filed by CBI regarding the Nandigram violence.”The BJP’s network is not very strong in East Midnapore and his (Seth’s) resources could be used to make inroads in the district,” said Majumder.A look into Seth’s past shows that the veteran’s career has been marked by controversies. Reportedly expelled from CPM in 2014 for ‘anti-party activities’ he maintained that he had quit the party. “CPM has become a party of sycophants. Party leaders have an authoritarian attitude and overlook the issue of development. That is why I had quit,” he added.After severing ties with CPM, Seth tried to float his own political party—Bharat Nirman Party (BNP), in August 2014—without much success. In 2015, BNP had contested the civic elections in East Midnapore district. It fielded six candidates from Tamluk, three from Egra, and one from Contai, but managed to win in only two from Tamluk. Later in the 2016 Assembly elections BNP had pitched about 20 candidates, including 16 from East Midnapore, but failed to win any.Seth later admitted that floating BNP was not a good idea and said it would be a wiser option to join one of the two national parties—BJP and Congress—and wiser still to join the one which was in power. Predicting doom for the Congress, he said the party has lost its foundation in Bengal.

Lack of preparedness by Finance Ministry led to cash crisis: Subramanian Swamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy on Sunday attributed the prevailing cash crunch to lack of preparedness by the Finance Ministry before demonetizing high value currencies.”The Finance Ministry should have taken precautionary measures before demonetizing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes,” he told reporters here.”The government had decided to go for demonetization in 2014 itself and the Finance Ministry ought to have done contingency plans. They have not done any preparation and the Prime Minister had announced (demonetization), assuming that the things will be a smooth,” he said. Moreover, the size of new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 currencies was small to accommodate in the ATMs, which was another reason for the problem, he pointed out.”Along with demonetization, the committee headed by me on the issue in 2014 had recommended abolition of income tax, so that the people get relief,” Swamy said. On stalling of Parliament proceedings, the BJP leader said, “We are not responsible for this, it is Congress which is responsible.”

Cong says Rahul would have exposed PM, BJP leader asks where is he going to explode bomb

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday said that if Rahul Gandhi would have been allowed to speak in Parliament, the Prime Minister would have been “exposed”.”Well he (Rahul Gandhi) was not given the opportunity as he wanted to say something on the floor of the House. Had he been given the opportunity to speak in the Parliament, he (Prime Minister) would have been exposed,” the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha told reporters here.Azad said that if there was nothing to hide, then why the government and the MPs of the ruling party did not allow Rahul Gandhi to speak.”(It was) because they did not want him (Prime Minister) to be exposed (by Rahul Gandhi),” Azad said.Azad, who is also the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, blamed the BJP for the five-month long unrest in the Valley, stating that BJP being part of the government did not go well with the people of the state.Meanwhile, reacting to Congress vice-President’s ‘Modi-made disaster’ remark, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that Rahul Gandhi is yet to make ‘earthquake’ like revelations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”I expected Rahul Gandhi to explode his earthquake statement in Belgaum, but I did not see any of it. Some of the Congress spokesperson were claiming on Friday that Rahul Gandhi will speak about it. What happened, where is he going to explode that bomb,” said BJP leader S. Prakash.He said that making hollow and sensational claims is a very but it is difficult to prove them as is the case with Gandhi.”A person of his calibre should weigh every word before commenting or claiming something against the Prime Minister. Today, his reputation has been completely tarnished and his image is dented. So, he should bother about the disaster he has created for himself,” added Prakash.On the issue of Robert Vadra’s Bikaner land row, Azad said that the BJP government in order to hide its own failures was “befooling” the people of the country by raking up “non issues”.”Let me tell you whenever there has been an attack on the BJP or its corruption or misdoing (is exposed) they will try to divert the attention by saying this has happened and that has happened,” he said.On the Augusta Westland issue, Azad said, “Sometimes they raise Augusta. Same Augusta thing which was discussed for six hours in the Parliament and we had said about Augusta there was nothing and whatever deal was struck it was not concluded the government came to the conclusion that there was something fishy and it was the UPA government which initiated the CBI enquiry.”

Rahul Gandhi would have exposed PM in Parliament: Ghulam Nabi Azad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday said that if Rahul Gandhi would have been allowed to speak in Parliament, the Prime Minister would have been “exposed”.”Well he (Rahul Gandhi) was not given the opportunity as he wanted to say something on the floor of the House. Had he been given the opportunity to speak in the Parliament, he (Prime Minister) would have been exposed,” the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha told reporters here.Azad said that if there was nothing to hide, then why the government and the MPs of the ruling party did not allow Rahul Gandhi to speak.”(It was) because they did not want him (Prime Minister) to be exposed (by Rahul Gandhi),” Azad said.Azad, who is also the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, blamed the BJP for the five-month long unrest in the Valley, stating that BJP being part of the government did not go well with the people of the state.”As far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned we had warned the Prime Minister earlier that BJP government will not go well with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The situation which prevailed in Kashmir in the past five to six months, the main reason was the BJP forming the government in the state,” Azad said.On the issue of Robert Vadra’s Bikaner land row, Azad said that the BJP government in order to hide its own failures was “befooling” the people of the country by raking up “non issues”.”Let me tell you whenever there has been an attack on the BJP or its corruption or misdoing (is exposed) they will try to divert the attention by saying this has happened and that has happened,” he said.On the Augusta Westland issue, Azad said, “Sometimes they raise Augusta. Same Augusta thing which was discussed for six hours in the Parliament and we had said about Augusta there was nothing and whatever deal was struck it was not concluded the government came to the conclusion that there was something fishy and it was the UPA government which initiated the CBI enquiry.”

Several politicians have become beggars after demonetization: Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday claimed that several politicians have become beggars after the demonetization move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”Some people had made it their business to loot Goa.After the surgical strike by (Narendra) Modiji in which he demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, several politicians turned beggars,” Parrikar said addressing BJP’s Vijay Sankalp rally in Ponda constituency. He claimed that one of the politician even suffered heart attack and had to clarify that the attack had no relation to the demonetization. “That politician went on sending messages to the people that his heart attack was not due to demonetization,” the Minister further claimed.Parrikar said during his tenure as Goa chief minister some people had approached him with the fear that a bridge was not getting completed. “There was one bridge in the state whose foundation stone was laid three times by earlier governments. When I became chief minister, I took up the work of constructing the bridge,” he recalled.”I announced that I will complete the bridge in six months but people did not believe me. Next day some people met me and said it is good that the bridge should be completed in time, but we had heard that the bridge is not getting completed as it requires ‘narbali’,” Parrikar said. “I asked people to just stop thinking that way and said if they want they can sacrifice chicken,” the Minister added.

Demonetization will meet fate of Congress’ ‘Nasbandi’: Lalu Prasad Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> RJD president Lalu Prasad on Saturday said demonetization would meet the fate of ‘Nasbandi’ of the Congress rule and announced protest across Bihar on December 28.During a day-long meeting of RJD MPs, ministers, legislators and office-bearers, Prasad and other leaders of the party highlighted people’s woes following the scrapping of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes. Addressing the RJD leaders, Prasad criticised the move and said, “It will meet the fate of ‘nasbandi’ (forced sterilisation) during the Congress rule in the past.” Prasad and his party have been on the forefront of protest against the demonetization decision inside and outside Parliament.Several prominent RJD leaders had shared dais with TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamafta Banerjee during her demonstration against demonetization in Patna on November 30, though Prasad himself was not present. Asked how he saw Nitish Kumar getting praise from Centre on demonetization, Prasad, whose RJD is a partner in the grand alliance government, said, “Nitish Kumar’s approach is similar to our’s…all of us are standing together against hardship caused to masses due to high-value currency invalidation.” Nitish Kumar and his party JD(U), which has supported demonetization, had kept away from Banerjee’s demonstration.Economist Mohan Guruswamy, who was advisor in the NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was also invited to speak on adverse impact of demonetization. Guruswamy gave a detailed slide presentation with the help of data and charts to tell RJD leaders how demonetization would cause a drop of 2.5 per cent in the country’s GDP by the end of the current fiscal. In the meeting Prasad, Tejaswi Yadav, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, who is the finance minister in the Nitish Kumar government, and a host of senior leaders spke on the woes of poor people and farmers standing outside banks and ATMs for withdrawal of cash. Prasad said, “After the December-28 dharna, leaders of all the parties, national as well regional, would be invited to a rally later in Patna.” He said the date of the rally would be announced later.Making a scathing attack at the Prime Minister, the RJD chief said “after seeing that demonetization is failing, the PM has shifted the issue now and is talking about cashless, PayTm.” “On the one hand the PM talks of going ahead of China and on the another hand he is favouring a company (PayTm) in which the Chinese have a major share,” he said. During over half-an-hour of presentation, Guruswamy said though former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had predicted a fall of two per cent in the GDP due to demonetization, his view is that the decline would amount to about 2.5 per cent by the end of the financial year.Guruswamy claimed, “22 crore daily workers have been adversely affected by the demonetization.” He said of the total amount of unaccounted money, only 4 per cent is in the form of cash while major chunk of 46 per cent is invested in land and building, 26 per cent in jewellery and 24 per cent is parked abroad. “Modi is after only this 4 per cent of the black money which is in the form of cash which could not bear any result other than causing miseries to common people, especially the daily wagers,” he added.”Approximately Rs 30 crore of black money is expected to be unearthed through the demonetization. A total of Rs 42,000 crore would be spent in reprinting this volume of scrapped notes,” Guruswamy, who taught Economics at Harvard University, said. Handing over a pamphlet with views of Guruswamy on note scrapping, Prasad told RJD workers to hold “jan jagran” (public awareness meeting) at grassroots level from December 20-26 to make them aware of truth of demonetization.

Sharad Pawar slams PM Modi for dragging Indira Gandhi into demonetization debate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> NCP president Sharad Pawar on Saturday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for dragging Indira Gandhi into the demonetization debate, asking why other premiers after her, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee, did not take the note ban decision.The NCP veteran said Modi was trying to project himself as a bigger leader than Gandhi by making such a statement. “According to him (Modi), Indira Gandhi did not go in for demonetization as suggested by her Finance Minister Y B Chavan. So even PMs after her, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and even Finance Minister in the BJP regime Yashwant Sinha or the then Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani did not take such a decision,” Pawar told a press meet here. Modi had yesterday trained guns at the former PM Indira Gandhi, claiming that she overlooked a suggestion in 1971 for demonetization by the then Finance Minister Y B Chavan.Pawar said, “It is not right to say nothing has happened in the country in past 70 years. In the 70 years, Congress has not been in power all the time. Modi himself was chief minister of a state for 13 years.” “All leaders including Pandit (Jawaharlal) Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Vajpayee, Morarji Desai and Charan Singh have contributed to the country’s development. How can one say nothing has happened in 70 years and development is taking place only since last two years,” he said. Pawar said he had supported the decision of demonetization as it was good for eradication of black money. But, its implementation has been flawed and the central government is responsible for the hardships faced by the common man.”The central government is guilty of not putting in place an alternative system like pumping in enough lower denomination notes after the scrapping of high denomination currency notes,” he said. He said when people are standing in queues for their own money, several people have been caught with bundles of new currency notes in searches across the country.”From where have people got this amount of cash … it is from the banks which are under the control of central government,” he claimed. The NCP supremo said agriculture sector has been badly affected as farm produce is not getting a good price and small scale industries and labourers were also hit. Claiming that in Uttar Pradesh, potato prices have crashed to Rs 6-7 per kg from Rs 18-20 per kg in last one month, he said, “No steps have been taken to ease the hardships faced by the people.” Asked if the Opposition plans an agitation against the government over demonetization, Pawar said, “If necessary, agitation can be launched, but people will suffer because of such protests.” He warned that the long-term impact of the decision would be lay-off of employees by corporates.The former Union Agriculture Minister was also critical of the curbs imposed on the district cooperative in the wake of demonetization. “They were not given new currency and not allowed to accept old notes. I am being told that just because district cooperative banks are held by politicians such a negative approach was adopted. It shows the central government’s attitude towards the district banks and credit societies which are the backbone of rural economy,” said Pawar.He also referred to the negative reaction of District Central Cooperative Bank Association (DCCB) head Dilip Sanghi, who served as a minister in Modi government in Gujarat. “Even Sanghi who was minister when Narendra Modi was Chief Minister has criticised the decision of the central government to impose restrictions on DCCBs post-demonetization,” said Pawar. He rejected the BJP’s contention that its success in the local body polls in Maharashtra was an endorsement of demonetization. “We know more than them how to win local body polls. Only now we don’t have that power,” Pawar said.The NCP leader said he had supported demonetization as an action against black money. “It is like saying that the operation was done but the patient died because of lack of post-operative care,” he said. On being criticised for sharing dais with Modi, Pawar shot back saying, “Is Modi PM of Pakistan?”. “In a democratic set up, one has to interact with leaders cutting across party lines. Didn’t the Congress delegation meet the PM yesterday?” he asked. Pawar, who served as Defence Minister from June 1991 to March 1993, also voiced concern over terrorist attacks on security forces in Jammu and Kashmir and criticised the government for its “failure” in tackling the situation along borders. “Between February 4 and December 9 this year, there have been 162 attacks by terrorists out of which 104 have been on security forces. As many as 57 jawans and officers have been martyred. This has never happened before,” he claimed.He said the people in the border areas have been living a difficult life. They have to stay awake all night. The central government has failed to tackle this situation. “When in Opposition, Modi had criticised the then government of going soft on terrorism and people of the country felt that the ’56 inch chest’ would do wonders if voted to power,” he added. Pawar said the need of the hour is to strengthen the security forces and their morale. “After the surgical strikes, people were made to understand that terrorism will end, but infact, there have been more incidents (of terror strikes),” he said.

Demonetization a ‘Modi-made disaster’, PM sparing the 1% super-rich : Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Escalating his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi on Saturday trashed demonetization of high value currency notes as a “Modi-made disaster” and charged that he had attacked the economic system of the country to benefit the one per cent “super rich.” “For the first time in the history of India, Prime Minister has attacked the poor people of this country. Usually the Prime Minister works for the country. They work for the economy, but Narendra Modi has attacked our economic system,” Gandhi alleged at a Congress rally here in north Karnataka.”As it is said a man-made disaster, in the same way demonetization is Modi-made disaster,” the Congress Vice-President said as he targeted the Prime Minister squarely blaming him for the hardships post-demonetization.More than 100 people had died, he claimed, adding, “Fidel Castro (Cuban revolutionary) was remembered in the Parliament and we stood in silence for two minutes as a mark of respect to him, but BJP leaders did not have two minutes time for these hundred people.” “Who is responsible for their deaths? Narendra Modi is responsible….In the last two and half years Narendra Modi government has been attacking the poor,” he said.Accusing the Modi government of trying to divide India, he said on the one side, there were one per cent super rich who have private aircraft, flashy vehicles and big businesses and on the other, there were 99 per cent of people who are honest like farmers, labourers, small traders and middle class who toil every day for the sake of the country and their lives. “In the last two and half years, one per cent super rich in this country have amassed 70 per cent of India’s wealth and if you look deep into this one per cent, only 50 families have major portion of India’s wealth.” “You know their names; these are the people who travel with Narendra Modi to America, Japan, and Australia,” Gandhi said. “Congress wants to get rid of corruption from India and whatever step the BJP government takes whether it is big or small if it is against corruption we will give it full support,” he said.Asserting that demonetization was not against the rich but against the poor, middle class, farmers, labourers and small traders, Gandhi said “all black money is not cash, and all cash is not black money.” “Who has black money, it is with those 50 families, and it is with one per cent super rich in this country..,” he said. “…All the black money is not in cash, India’s thieves are clever, and as soon as they get money they invest it in land, real estate, gold or in foreign bank accounts like Swiss bank.” According to government figures, he said six per cent of black money is in cash, 94 per cent in real estate, big buildings and in foreign bank accounts.Claiming that the Swiss government had given a list of Swiss bank account holders’ names to Indian government, he said the Congress had been asking the government to table the names of “these thieves” in the Parliament for the last two and half years.”Why is it not being tabled? Why is Modi protecting them?” “Why are Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya sitting in London? Why are they not in India? Why didn’t you get them back? “Vijay Mallya is India’s thief. After demonetization why did you waive Rs 1200 crore loan of this man? Answer me why did you feed him a toffee of Rs 1200 crore?” Gandhi said Modi knows that most part of black money is in Swiss bank, real estate and in huge buildings, “but I don’t know for what reason instead of going after 94 per cent black money, he is after the six per cent. Instead of going after one per cent super rich he is behind 99 per cent.” “He is not after thieves, but behind poor farmers, labourers,” Gandhi said.

India, Tajikistan to work on trade links through Chabahar Port: PM Modi

New Delhi: India and Tajikistan will work closely on developing trade and transport links through the Chabahar Port in Iran, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday after the signing of agreements with the Central Asian nation on enhancing economic ties and curbing double taxation, money laundering and terrorism.

“We will work on trade and transit linkages through Chabahar Port in Iran,” Modi said after his talks with visiting Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon here.

Modi emphasised that he and Rahmon had agreed to increase the “scope and scale of our economic engagement especially trade and investment traffic” between the two nations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tajikistan President Emomalih Rahmon during the joint statement at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi and Tajikistan President Emomalih Rahmon during the joint statement at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tajikistan President Emomalih Rahmon during the joint statement at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

He described Tajikistan “a valued friend and strategic partner” of India and said the two countries face multiple-security challenges in their extended neighbourhood, including in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister said India and Tajikistan have decided to strengthen cooperation in fighting terrorism and radicalism in the region by way of exchange of information between the security agencies of the two countries.

“We agreed that peace in Afghanistan is very important for the region,” Modi said.

Modi appreciated Tajikistan’s role in the Central Asian region “as a mainstay against the forces of extremism, radicalism and terrorism”.

Rahmon, who is visiting India from 14-18 December, was earlier accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said it was “a special Saturday for Indian diplomacy” after President Rahmon received the welcome.

First Published On : Dec 17, 2016 17:07 IST

Set up commission to probe source of political parties’ funds: Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday demanded setting up of a commission to probe source of funding of political parties. He also questioned the central government’s decision to exempt political parties from paying income tax while depositing old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.He sought to link the Centre’s tax exemption decision to the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Friday, suggesting the announcement was outcome of the parleys between the two. “Common people are being investigated if they deposit Rs 2.5 lakh individually. But if political parties are not going to be investigated even if they deposit Rs 2,500 crore following the decision, then it is wrong. We demand setting up of an independent commission to probe into bank accounts details of political parties over the past five years, to investigate into their sources of funding,” Kejriwal said at a press conference.He also asked the Centre to make public details of money deposited by all political parties post-demonetization and sought removal of the “less than Rs 20,000 donation cap” for tax exemption, saying “each paisa the parties receive should be declared”. “The income tax returns filed by AAP right from its formation until now are being enquired into. We are presenting each of the receipts and vouchers to the income tax department. We are not scared, what other parties, BJP, are scared of? Why they too should not be probed?” he asked.
ALSO READ Rahul doesn’t have guts to expose Modi because PM will arrest Vadra: Kejriwal Kejriwal, a bitter critic of Modi, accused the latter of helping political parties — the “biggest hoarders of black money” — to convert it into “white” at a time when common people have been forced to queue up outside banks and ATMs to withdraw their hard-earned money. “Ye desh ke sath dhokha hai (it is a big fraud played on the country),” Kejriwal said.Stating it was “surprising” that the tax exemption decision came after Gandhi led a Congress delegation to meet Modi, Kejriwal demanded that the Congress Vice President make public details of Modi’s corruption as he claimed to have supporting documents. “He is not sharing details of Modi’s corruption, is only talking about it… Then he meets the PM and seals a deal. I will insist Gandhi to make public the evidences and that he stops entering into deals with Modi. Or else, the country will not forgive him,” Kejriwal said.Hitting out at the Prime Minister, Kejriwal alleged Modi’s intentions were “bad” right from the day he announced demonetisation on November 8. Meanwhile, Kejriwal also denounced the decision to hike petrol and diesel prices, which he saw as a repercussion of demonetisation and sought its immediate reversal. “We oppose the hike in fuel prices. This is direct result of demonetisation. The rupee has become weak in international market post-demonetisation, leading to hike in the fuel prices. This should be rolled back immediately,” he said.To a question, the chief minister said the AAP is “not affected” by demonetisation. He reiterated demonetisation is an “unconstitutional” move and likened it to dacoity by the Prime Minister on bank accounts of people as they are not being allowed to withdraw their hard-earned money.Referring to a case pending before the Supreme Court with regard to demonetisation, Kejriwal hoped it takes cognisance of concerns and declares the move as “unconstitutional”.

Will not accept any changes to Indus Water Treaty, says Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has firmly stated that it will not accept any alterations or changes to the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) after India had said that it is ready to engage in further consultations with Islamabad on the matter of resolving current differences over the Kishenganga and Ralte projects under the Indus Water Treaty.”Pakistan will not accept any modifications or changes to the provisions of the Indus Water Treaty. Our position is based on the principles enshrined in the treaty. And the treaty must be honoured in…letter and spirit,” the Dawn quoted Special Assistant to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Tariq Fatemi, as saying.Islamabad has argued that India was buying time to complete its two disputed water projects and then insisting that since the project was already complete, it could not be modified.Pakistan is raising its objection to building of the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric plants by India saying that it violates the provisions of the treaty.Tensions increased over the water dispute when Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month threatened to block the flow of water into Pakistan. World Bank had earlier asked both the countries to consider alternative ways to resolve their disagreements over the Indus Water Treaty Dispute 1960. The World Bank had said that it was temporarily halting the appointment of a neutral expert as requested by India, and the Chairman of the Court of Arbitration, as requested by Pakistan, to resolve issues regarding two hydroelectric power plants under construction by India along the Indus Rivers system.The treaty which was signed in 1960 by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President Ayub Khan gives India control over the three eastern rivers of the Indus basin, the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej while Pakistan has the three western rivers, the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum. As per the provisions in the treaty, India can use only 20% of the total water carried by the Indus River.The Indus Water Treaty 1960 is seen as one of the most successful international treaties and has withstood frequent tensions between India and Pakistan, including conflict. The treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of the rivers, known as the Permanent Indus Commission which includes a commissioner from each of the two countries. It also sets out a process for resolving so-called “questions”, “differences” and “disputes” that may arise between the parties.

New Pak Army chief Gen Bajwa has close links with the Hafeez Saeed’s JuD, reveals report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan’s 16th Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, is said to be not only a very proud Muslim and a follower of the Sharia, but unknown to most, seems to have close links with the fundamentalist Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which is led by 26/11 mastermind Hafeez Saeed.According to a report published by Roznama Dunya, a venture of Dunya News, Pakistan’s leading news and current affairs channel, the JuD appears to have endorsed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s selection of General Bajwa as army chief, describing him as a ‘religious man’ who while simple and humble in approach, possesses the grit of a soldier who can firmly convey Pakistan’s message to its immediate neighbours (read India) as well as to the rest of the world.Recently, Amir Hamza, one of the central leaders of the JuD, which India has held responsible for the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai that claimed over 160 lives and left more than 300 others injured through its militant wing, the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), extolled the special qualities and virtues of General Qamar Bajwa, and said that it was to the Pakistan government and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s credit that they had selected a simple yet religious man to head the country’s all-powerful army.Globally, the JuD has been widely acknowledged as the front of the militant Lashkar-e-Toiba. On December 11, 2008 the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on the JuD, declaring it a global terrorist group. Hafiz Saeed had then declared that he would challenge the sanctions imposed on his group in all forums, as he has repeatedly maintained that his outfit is only involved in charitable works.On June 25, 2014, the United States said that several LeT affiliates, including the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Al-Anfal Trust, Tehrik-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool, and Tehrik-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awwal needed to be added to the list of foreign terrorist organisations.Hamza said, “It is the mercy of Allah that such a noble and humble religious man has become the head of the army”. Hamza further suggests that while General Bajwa may not be the traditional and proverbial in your face Pakistani general in so far as issues with India are concerned, he possesses the ability to send across the right message at the right time.To substantiate this claim of his, Hamza recalls General Bajwa’s recent message to India – “That if the right to self-determination is given to Kashmiris, then there is ‘Qamar’, i.e. moon light, (and) if not given, then India won’t rest in peace.”In the article published in the Roznama Dunya, Hamza, claims that he believes that General Bajwa is a follower of the ‘Hadith’ (a collection of traditions containing sayings of Prophet Mohammad which act as a major source of guidance for Muslims apart from the Koran).Hamza, in his article, recalls one of the prophet’s sayings. The prophet has said should a person commit a sin and his mother is not alive for atonement and forgiveness, that person should go to his maternal aunt, behave well with her, and he will be forgiven by Allah. He (Hamza) says a ‘pious’ General Bajwa did the same thing when he was announced as Pakistan’s next army chief. He went first to his mother’s grave, raised his hands, prayed and cried, and thereafter, paid a visit to his childless maternal aunt ‘Safiya Begum’ and made her feel that he was her child in the absence of his mother.”Thus, the General salutes his important relatives after becoming Army Chief,” says Hamza in his article.Emphasizing that General Bajwa is a man who follows protocol, but knows when to keep it aside, Hamza recalls that when the former was formally declared Chief of Army Staff, superseding several of his seniors, he was particular about not making them feel awkward, and categorically told two of them, Lt Gen. Asfaq Nadeem and Lt. Gen. Javed Iqbal Ramday, that they need not follow protocol and resign, but should continue as Corp Commanders and complete their respective tenures.Both commanders were told by General Bajwa that life is short and protocol should not be allowed to come in between them.

NDA govt did what Congress should have done in 1971: Narendra Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Just hours before the tumultuous Winter Session was adjourned sine die, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled instances from history to counter the Congress and the Communists.Modi spoke from the BJP parliamentary party meeting platform castigating the Opposition for “getting together to support the dishonest” and disrupting the House. Amidst the standoff on the debate on demonetization, the Winter Session was a near washout.He went back to 1971 twice — once in the context of the India-Pakistan war and the second on the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi turning down the advice to demonetize. Referring to the Wanchoo Committee report, which had recommended demonetization of certain currencies to curb black money, Modi said it was a necessity felt at that time. “By not doing so for so many years, you have caused damage to the country,” he said.Quoting from Madhav Godbole’s book “Unfinished Innings: Recollections and Reflections of a Civil Servant”, Modi said that when the then finance minister YB Chavan went to meet Indira Gandhi and proposed implementation of demonetization, she asked Chavan “are no more elections to be fought by the Congress party”. The suggestion was shelved.Modi then went on to ask “dal bada hai ki desh (is party bigger or country)?…For the Congress it was the party, but for us it is the country.” He said that if the measure had been taken in 1971, there would not have been “so much damage”.He also took on another Congress leader — former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — who had launched a scathing attack on demonetization describing it as “organised plunder and legalised loot”. Modi cited Singh’s remarks in 1991 about taking strong measures against tax evaders, and said his language has changed now.In 1988, the Congress had made a law against benami assets but did not notify or frame rules for it, Modi said, adding his government will take steps to ensure its implementation.Recalling remarks made by Communists—Jyotirmai Basu and Harkishen Singh Surjeet—on demonetization to curb black money, the Prime Minister said the Communist parties have compromised with their ideology.Modi, who dubbed the face off in Parliament as that of the Opposition resisting the government’s battle against corruption, said this “fall in political values was cause for concern.”In an apparent reference to disruptions in Parliament when the BJP was in Opposition, he said the hurdles in the House were caused because of corruption cases that had surfaced against the government. “This is the first time that treasury benches are taking steps against corruption and opposition is getting together to support the dishonest… Some have had the courage to speak openly in favour of the corrupt.”The Prime Minister has spoken of demonetization in every weekly meeting with his party MPs during the Winter Session.Modi also made a reference to the Opposition’s approach to the surgical strikes across the LoC, saying on December 16, 1971, the Opposition had not sought any proof from the government about the action of the Armed Forces.He said despite several being against the BJP or NDA, there were several “with us” and thanked Bihar and Odisha chief ministers—Nitish Kumar and Naveen Patnaik for their support in the fight against corruption.While the Congress and Left have not opposed demonetization, they have attacked the government on the inconvenience caused to people after the announcement was made.Modi recalled “Panchari Niti” to say that wealth acquired through dishonest means can survive only for ten years and gets destroyed in the 11th year, an apparent reference to the Congress which had ruled from 2004-2014.Describing the decision to ban notes of 500 and 1000 as a “step and not the final goal”, he said the government needed to take tough decisions in the interests of the common man. Modi also talked about his government’s push for digital India saying “digital is a process to change the way of life and economy. It will benefit everyone.”Speaking on the benefits of a cashless economy, he said loans would be sanctioned for traders within 6-10 minutes. “Under the Digi Dhan Yojna, merchants and traders can get loans within 6 minutes.”.The PM said 15,000 rewards will be handed out beginning this Christmas. “We want to incentivise the use of digital transactions,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi’s ‘bomb’ explodes: Why the Opposition split ahead of meeting with PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A steady and unified Opposition that derailed almost all official business during the Winter Session of Parliament —for the past 20 days— came to a cropper on the last day, when Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.Opposition parties accused Rahul of breaking an understanding by going alone to meet the PM and fixing an appointment with President Pranabh Mukherjee in his own name.Speaking to DNA, a senior Left party leader revealed that a day ahead of the session of Parliament, it was decided that no one would be the leader of the coordinated Opposition programmes and even while marching towards Rashtrapati Bhawan and during sit-ins, the leaders would form a horizontal row to give equal prominence to all leaders.Protesting at the Congress’ conduct, the Left, DMK, AIADMK, SP, BSP and the NCP, at the last minute, dropped out of the protest march. That left Congress president Sonia Gandhi to lead a whittled-down Opposition delegation of 15 parties to meet the President.Among prominent parties only JD(U) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) joined the delegation. While the Congress said that the meeting with the PM was fixed to raise the issue of farmers in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Punjab and hand over thousands of signatures collected by the party for waiving loan arrears and seeking other reliefs, other Opposition parties were not impressed.”We will never know what transpired at the meeting since it was between the Congress leaders and the PM. It was a clear violation of understanding,” said P Karunakaran, CPI(M) member from Kerala. NCP leader Praful Patel said: “We were together in Parliament. It would be better if they would have taken everyone along. Outside the house, everyone has a different role.”Sources said that it was decided at a meeting that all Opposition leaders would meet Modi over the issue of farmers, since the SP and the BSP were primary stakeholders in UP. BSP chief Mayawati and SP leaders later expressed their anger over Rahul meeting the PM alone.CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury said that there was no use knocking on the doors of the President. “Our strategy was deferred as we felt the President could do nothing in the matter and we should have gone to the public instead,” he said.The Left and other parties were firmly behind Rahul Gandhi when he declared two days ago that he has information on the “personal corruption” committed by PM Modi, a claim that was dismissed by the BJP as “the joke of the year.”Rahul delayed his flight to Goa in order to first meet Modi. In a memorandum to the PM, the Congress highlighted an acute agrarian distress and the plight of the farmers suffering for the last two years due to two consecutive droughts, unseasonal rains, and floods.As a relief, he sought halving the farmers’ electricity bills and asked the PM to fulfil its promise to provide higher Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for the crops.During the meeting, the Prime Minister told Rahul: “We should always meet like this.” Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge responded by saying, “Even if our hearts don’t meet, we can at least cooperate and shake hands.”In a memorandum to the President, Congress and other smaller parties asked his intervention to save parliamentary democracy, which they said was being destroyed by the Modi government by preventing a debate on demonetization.

Telangana is the number one state when it comes to cashless transactions: K Chandrasekhar Rao

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that Telangana is the number one state in cashless transactions, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Friday said demonetization will curb black money, terrorism, corruption and fake currency, adding it is good for nation building.”Telangana is the number one state when it comes to cashless transactions. Siddipet will be completely cashless. Demonetization will curb black money, terrorism, corruption and fake currency. Good for nation building,” Rao said while speaking on the first day of the Winter Session of Telangana Assembly.After the successful implementation of cashless payments system in a village in Siddipet district, Rao had earlier said the project would be implemented in the entire Siddipet Assembly constituency. He has directed the officials to open bank accounts for everyone in Siddipet and provide them with debit cards. Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government announced the demonetization move earlier on November 8.

Split in opposition? Some parties pull out out of Cong-led meeting with President

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leaders of some opposition parties led by Congress met President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday, apprised him of the problems caused by demonetization and complained that the government did not allow Parliament to function and “stifled” the opposition voice. While leaders of Trinamool Congress, RJD, JD(U) and AIUDF and some other parties joined the Congress-led delegation, NCP, DMK, Left parties, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party stayed away.The fissures in the opposition unity cropped up at the last minute after a Congress delegation met the Prime Minister separately in Parliament House on farmers’ issues and demanded loan waiver for farmers. The delegation, led by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, party Vice President Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, with a host of leaders from various opposition parties being part of it, later handed over a memorandum to the President. “We are extremely pained by this trampling of our democratic rights and the suppression of our right to present our views and make our voices heard in Parliament. We are deeply concerned that our parliamentary democratic system itself is under severe threat.”The demonetization decision has brought about a disastrous situation in the nation. We beseech you, as the protector of the Constitution, to kindly intervene to save the people from economic disaster,” the memorandum said.Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the leaders apprised the President of the situation arising out of demonetization and the problems being faced by them. “We told President that we wanted a discussion on demonetization in Parliament and on problems faced by farmers, small traders. We wanted debate in Parliament but the government flouted all democratic values and blocked it,” he said.Speaking on the manner in which the winter session of Parliament functioned, he said, “The government completely failed in running the proceedings in Parliament. Ministers holding placards did not allow Parliament to function.”

’45 years after creation of Bangladesh, Pakistan is unable to accept that it lost 1971 war’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The India-Pakistan War of 1971, the anniversary of its conclusion that India is observing on Friday, would be remembered as the war of the century. The war, which commenced on December 3, and concluded on December 16, ended in a crushing defeat of the Pakistan armed forces. It saw the surrender of 92,000 Pakistani troops in East Pakistan and in the creation of Bangladesh out of what was then East Pakistan. As the Public Relations Officer for the Army, I had the opportunity to disseminate information about the operations regarding the India-Pakistan War of 1971.The 1971 war was the result of a crackdown by Pakistan on its eastern wing when there was an uprising there following the refusal of the military rulers to hand over power to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who won the parliamentary elections with 167 of the 169 seats in East Pakistan and secured a simple majority in the 313 lower house of the Pakistan Parliament. He should have been made the Prime Minister of Pakistan.Pakistan’s then martial law administrator General Yahya Khan ordered the military to launch a crackdown in Dacca against the Awami League and Mujibur Rahman was arrested and taken to West Pakistan in the month of March. General Yahya Khan sent Lt Gen Tikka Khan to put down the disturbances in East Pakistan. In the crackdown that followed, hundreds of thousands of innocent people were massacred and over ten million fled to India to save themselves. People of East Pakistan raised the Mukti Bahini to liberate themselves from this oppressive rule.India’s then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi expressed her full support to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for his struggle for freedom. She launched a diplomatic offensive to make the world aware of the “demographic aggression”, against India and entered into a twenty -year treaty of friendship and cooperation with the Soviet Union.Meanwhile, on the advice of the Indian Chief of Army Staff, General SHFJ Manekshaw, she deferred action on the East Pakistan border till the Himalayan hills were closed by snow. India a responded to this ‘demographic aggression’ by supporting the ‘Mukti Bahini’, and the war between India and Pakistan broke out when the Pakistan Air Force carried out attacks on India on December 3.The war, which lasted for 12 days, concluded quickly following the airdrop of surrender documents which assured Pakistani soldiers that they will safely evacuated out of East Pakistan and returned to their country. The Indian Army secured the surrender of the Pakistan Army. The surrender documents were signed in Dacca by Lt Gen AAK Niazi and Lt Gen J Arora, India’s eastern army commander.Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, invited Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, her counterpart from Pakistan, for talks in Shimla in July 1972. It was agreed at Shimla that the prisoners of war would be returned to Pakistan; captured territories along the Western border, except in Jammu and Kashmir returned; the cease-fire line would be converted as the Line of Control and Pakistan would take steps to convert it into an international border, with the hope that peace would prevail in the subcontinent. The hope melted away with the army taking over power again. In the power struggle that followed in Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was arrested and sentenced to death.General Zia-ul-Haq, who assumed power in 1979, became an ally with western powers following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In the years that followed he was instrumental in executing the ‘proxy-war’ techniques in Afghanistan.India has to accept that Pakistan will continue its ‘proxy war’ against it, carry out terrorist attacks, even though the terrorists have been destabilizing that country itself.Even after 45 years of the creation of Bangladesh, Pakistan is unable to accept that it lost the 1971 war because it refused to make Shiekh Mujibur Rehman the Prime Minister of Pakistan and killed millions of its own citizens in the eastern wing. It is determined to conduct a proxy war against India.The country on Friday paid tribute to those brave soldiers who fought in what strategic experts refer to as the “war of the century”.Paying his tributes to the bravehearts, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Vijay Diwas is a fitting reminder of the valour & sacrifice of all those who fought courageously in the 1971 war. Tributes to them.” On the occasion, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar along with Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba and Air Force Chief Marshal Arup Raha laid wreaths and offered respects to the Martyrs at Amar Jawan Jyoti on Friday.The Defence Minister informed that announcement of the next army chief would be there very soon. Led by Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, a 72-member delegation of war veterans and Mukti Jodahas from the neighbouring country will participate in Vijay Diwas celebrations there.(The writer, Mr I Ramamohan Rao is a former Principal Information Officer of the Government of India)

PM Modi pays tributes to armed forces on Bangla Liberation Day

Fri, 16 Dec 2016-07:50pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the occasion of Bangladesh Liberation Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday paid tributes to the armed forces for their valour and sacrifice in the 1971 war with Pakistan.”Vijay Diwas is a fitting reminder of the valour & sacrifice of all those who fought courageously in the 1971 war. Tributes to them,” he said.On this day in 1971, Pakistan’s army had surrendered before the joint forces of ‘Mukti Bahini’ of Bangladesh and Indian soldiers who fought side by side for the liberation of 750 million people of Bangladesh at that time.

Watch: ‘Congress puts party’s interest before that of country,’ says PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accusing Congress of putting its interests above the country’s, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tore into the Oppposition on Friday, saying unlike earlier when opposition parties stalled Parliament against scams, Congress- led parties are now doing so against government’s steps to curb black money and corruption.He also targeted the Left, accusing them of compromising with their ideology as he recalled comments of late communist leaders Jyotirmay Basu and Harkishan Singh Surjeet in support of demonetization to hit out at them for siding with Congress. With the Winter Session turning out be a virtual washout following political impasse over demonetization, Modi projected criticism of the decision by rival parties as an evidence of their support for the “dishonest and corrupt”.In his address at the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting, he also attacked former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had called demonetization “organised plunder and legalised loot”. Modi quoted his comments made in 1991 to say that he once used “language of threat” against tax evaders but his voice has completely changed now. “Why? Because he is worried about his party not country,” Modi said of Singh.The Prime Minister also cited the Supreme Court’s observations against the UPA government over lack of action against black money to make his point. “In our country, ruckus in Parliament or not letting it function had happened earlier too. It was a little longer this time. But there is an essential difference. Earlier, ruckus and disruptions happened because of massive scams and graft and the opposition would unite and fight on the principle of honesty. This is the first time when treasury benches have taken a step against corruption and many in the Opposition have come together to support the dishonest,” he said.Political values have fallen so much that opposition parties are brazenly speaking in favour of the dishonest, something that used to be done earlier secretively, he said. Amid reports that continuing hardships faced by the masses in withdrawing money from banks and ATMs have dented the early public support for the measure, Modi told party leaders that they have to fight to rid the country of corruption and black money with confidence.He asked them to popularise the government’s thrust on digital transactions as a “way of life”, saying those who are aware of the exercise should be made to use it.Noting that the Wanchoo Committee in 1971 had recommended demonetization, he cited a book to say that when the then Finance Minister YB Chavan went to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and supported the exercise, she asked, “Only one question. Are no elections to be fought by the Congress party?” “Tell me,” Modi wondered, “if the party is bigger or the country,” as he accused Congress of putting its interests before the country’s. BJP puts the country’s interests before the party’s, he said.Painting Congress as a votary of corruption, he said it had made a law against benami assets in 1988 but never notified it or framed rules and regulations, ensuring that the legislation never came into force. Though Congress followed by the Left were at the receiving end of his scathing attack, the Prime Minister made few references to regional parties like SP, BSP and TMC which have been targeting him over the decision. Lamenting the lack of debate in Parliament, Modi said it would be good had the government’s critics shown strength to start a discussion on merit.He also expressed gratitude to Odisha and Bihar chief ministers Navin Patnaik and Nitish Kumar for their “open support” to the demonetization decision despite their ideological differences with BJP. The decision to declare Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes as invalid is an important step in his government’s fight against black money but is not the final destination, he said. If the middle class is to be rid of exploitation and the poor to be restored their rights, then “courageous decisions” will have to be taken to remove black money and corruption, he added.His government, Modi asserted, will take action against benami transactions and then Congress will again shout that it is a “very hasty” decision. He told party MPs that it is their primary responsibility to push digital transactions and suggested that demonetization was a part of the gamut of decisions he has planned in this regard to curb black money. “We do not think in parts. There is a full scale design. It is only that we show our cards gradually,” he said, reiterating that people’s woes will gradually begin to ease out after 50 days since demonetization was announced.Facing criticism that a slew of measures taken by his government will give unbridled power to bureaucracy, he said he would not allow ‘afsarshahi’ (rule of bureaucrats) and has asked authorities to do no “postmortem” of people’s transactions prior to November 8 when the note ban decision was taken as they shift to the digital mode.Referring to reward schemes announced by the government as “Christmas gift” to customers and traders shifting to online platforms, he asked party leaders to promote them. Quoting ‘Chanakya Niti’, he said light-heartedly that the money collected through unfair means goes waste in the 11th year, a reference to the UPA’s 10-year-rule before he took office.On a day that marks the anniversary of Bangladesh’s liberation, Modi also targeted the opposition over its remarks on the army’s surgical strikes. The Opposition in 1971-72 did not seek evidence of the army’s valour unlike that of today, he said.

Indira Gandhi sold out India by ignoring Chavan’s call for demonetization in 1971: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said Indira Gandhi rejected suggestions for demonetization in 1971, saying she wanted to win elections, but that resulted in poor economic condition in the country. Alleging that Indira Gandhi sold out India by ignoring advice to demonetize, Prime Minister Modi said, ‘She told her finance minister Y.B. Chavan: are no more elections to be fought by Congress’’ Stressing that the implementation of demonetization policy was required in 1971, but it was implemented now, the Prime Minister, hitting out at the opposition at the BJP Parliamentary Party meet, said, ‘For the Congress, party is bigger than nation; but for us, the nation is above the party.’As the nation observed Vijay Diwas , offering respect to the soldiers, who laid down their lives during the 1971 India-Pakistan war that resulted in the birth of Bangladesh, Prime Minister Modi said ‘The opposition in 1971 did not ask for a proof of the army’s valour, but today’s opposition does.’ He criticised the opposition for demanding the proof of a Surgical Strike carried out by the Indian armed forces that dismantled seven terror launch pads across the border on September 28-29 as retaliation to the Uri terror attack. Stating that demonetization is the first step to curb black money and corruption, but not the last, the Prime Minister said, ‘Corruption is our main target and it will not be long before normalcy returns after the 50-day period.’ He also thanked Chief Ministers of Odisha and Bihar for supporting demonetization. PM Modi rips into Parliament logjam Prime Minister Narendera Modi ripped into the Opposition over Parliament logjam, saying unlike earlier when opposition parties stalled the House against scams, Congress-led parties are now doing so against government’s steps to curb black money and corruption. Modi’s remarks at the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting came on the last day of the Winter Session, which has been a washout due to impasse over demonetization.Targeting Congress, the Prime Minister alleged that it has always put its interest over that of the country while for BJP the nation’s interests are supreme.He again pitched for digital economy as he appealed to the masses to adopt it as a “way of life” to rid the society of corruption and black money.Attacking former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has been unsparing in his criticism of demonetization, Modi said he advocated strong measures against corruption and black money but did “nothing” during his rule of 10 years.He also cited late Left stalwart Harkishan Singh Surjeet to support his government’s action.”Earlier the ruling side, especially Congress, would commit scams like 2G, coal-gate, Bofors and the Opposition would then unite and fight against it on the principle of honesty.”But now the ruling side, the BJP-led NDA, has started a campaign again black money and corruption and opposition parties are standing against it,” he said.Modi also noted that the Wanchoo Committee in early 70s had recommended demonetization when Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister, recalling that the then senior Left leader Jyotirmoy Basu had demanded its quick implementation, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters following the meeting.”The Wanchoo committee had said it will boost economy. Now after 45 years we have done demonetization but Congress is opposing it. The Left has also joined hands with Congress,” he said.Painting Congress as a “votary of corruption”, he said it had made a law against benami assets in 1988 but never notified it or framed rules and regulations, ensuring that the legislation never came into force.”For us, the country’s interests are always above the party’s. For Congress, party’s interests are above the country’s,” the PM said.On a day that marks the anniversary of Bangladesh’s liberation, Modi also targeted the opposition over its remarks on the army’s surgical strikes.The Opposition in 1971-72 did not seek evidence of the army’s valour unlike that of today, he said.With inputs from PTI and ANI

Rahul doesn’t have guts to expose Modi because PM will arrest Vadra: Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said Rahul Gandhi does not have the “guts” to expose Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the Congress vice president feared action would be taken against his brother-in-law Robert Vadra. “Rahul does not have guts to expose anything against Modi ji. The day he does it, Modi ji will arrest Robert Vadra,” he said.The chief minister was reacting to Rahul’s remarks that he wants to present detailed information about “personal corruption” by Modi in the Lok Sabha but is not being allowed to do so by the PM.Two days ago, Kejriwal had dared Gandhi to “expose” PM Modi if he has documents at his disposal, saying Congress and BJP indulge in such “friendly matches” but do not make any disclosure.The AAP supremo also lashed out at the CBI for registering a case on a complaint made by e-wallet company Paytm.”Modi ji has come into Paytm advertisements. He is in Paytm’s wallet now. CBI does not have the guts to refuse Paytm’s order,” Kejriwal tweeted.CBI has registered an FIR against some customers of Paytm on a complaint by the company that it has allegedly been cheated to the tune of Rs 6.15 lakh by customers based here.It is rare for the agency to take up such cases unless they have been referred by the Central Government or directed by Supreme Court or one of the High Courts. Earlier, Rahul Gandhi and a host of Congress leaders met the PM to demand relief for debt-ridden farmers. Rahul Gandhi told the media: “‘Prime Minister accepted that the situation of farmers is critical, But he did not say anything about waiving off their loans, he only heard the matter.” He further added that the farmers are committing suicide all over the country and the removal of import duty on wheat by the government is a devastating blow. Earlier in the day, a delegation of senior Congress leaders met Prime Minister Modi to demand relief for debt-ridden farmers and to express their apprehension at not being allowed to speak in parliament.Following this, opposition leaders would call on President Pranab Mukherjee at 12.30 p.m. These meetings come even as the ruckus continues in parliament over several issues, including demonetization and corruption.Earlier, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy claimed that Rahul Gandhi was ‘duty bound by law’ to report any instances of corruption to the police. Swamy said: “He (Rahul Gandhi) is bound by the law, criminal procedure code, to report it to police station or to a court of law and not to doing so carries a punishment of three years.” Gandhi had alleged he has detailed information on “personal corruption” by the Prime Minister which he wants to present in Lok Sabha but he was not being allowed to speak in the House. “The Prime Minister is personally terrified of me being allowed to open my mouth inside Lok Sabha because I have information about the Prime Minister that is going to explode his balloon. And I am not being allowed to speak in the House,” the Congress leader had said.

Rahul-Modi meet | PM heard us but did not commit to anything: Congress VP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Rahul Gandhi-led Congress delegation met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday to highlight the plight of farmers in the country and demanded a loan waiver for them. During the meeting, which came in the backdrop of Gandhi’s fierce attack on the Prime Minister over demonetization, top Congress leaders presented a memorandum to Modi on demands of farmers including loan waiver, reducing power bills to half and remunerative MSP for farm produce.The delegation included Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, deputy leaders in both Houses Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh and UP Congress chief Raj Babbar.After the meeting, the Congress Vice President said that Modi heard them patiently but did not commit to anything. “We, Congress party delegation, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the plight of farmers of this country. Every single day, a farmer is committing suicide in Punjab. Farmers are committing suicide all over the country. The government has removed the import duty on wheat. This is a devastating blow. So we went to the Prime Minister to request him on behalf of farmers of this country to waive their loans,” he told reporters.He said the Prime Minister accepted that the situation of farmers is serious but did not say anything on loan waiver.Sources said the Prime Minister gave the delegation a patient hearing and told Rahul Gandhi to “keep meeting him”.Gandhi has been targeting the Prime Minister often, with his latest offensive being on demonetization. He claimed on Wednesday that he had information about alleged “personal corruption” of the Prime Minister, but the BJP dismissed it as a “joke”.Gandhi had raised the farmers issue during his recent Deoria to Delhi yatra in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. The Congress has collected over 2 crore “Kisan maang patras” from across Uttar Pradesh and over 34 lakh from Punjab which also goes to polls early next year.

Demonetisation: Opposition blocking govt’s efforts against black money, says Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday ripped into the Opposition over Parliament logjam, saying unlike earlier when opposition parties stalled the House against scams, Congress-led parties are now doing so against government’s steps to curb black money and corruption.

Modi’s remarks at the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting came on the last day of the Winter Session, which has been a washout due to impasse over demonetisation.

Targeting Congress, the Prime Minister alleged that it has always put its interest over that of the country while for BJP the nation’s interests are supreme.

He again pitched for digital economy as he appealed to the masses to adopt it as a “way of life” to rid the society of corruption and black money.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Attacking former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has been unsparing in his criticism of demonetisation, Modi said he advocated strong measures against corruption and black money but did “nothing” during his rule of 10 years.

He also cited late Left stalwart Harkishan Singh Surjeet to support his government’s action.

“Earlier the ruling side, especially Congress, would commit scams like 2G, coal-gate, Bofors and the Opposition would then unite and fight against it on the principle of honesty.

“But now the ruling side, the BJP-led NDA, has started a campaign again black money and corruption and opposition parties are standing against it,” he said.

Modi also noted that the Wanchoo Committee in early 70s had recommended demonetisation when Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister, recalling that the then senior Left leader Jyotirmoy Basu had demanded its quick implementation, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters following the meeting.

“The Wanchoo committee had said it will boost economy. Now after 45 years we have done demonetisation but Congress is opposing it. The Left has also joined hands with Congress,” he said.

Painting Congress as a “votary of corruption”, he said it had made a law against benami assets in 1988 but never notified it or framed rules and regulations, ensuring that the legislation never came into force.

“For us, the country’s interests are always above the party’s. For Congress, party’s interests are above the country’s,” the PM said.

On a day that marks the anniversary of Bangladesh’s liberation, Modi also targeted the opposition over its remarks on the army’s surgical strikes.

The Opposition in 1971-72 did not seek evidence of the army’s valour unlike that of today, he said.

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 14:42 IST

Demonetization | PM Modi has not committed to waive off farmers loans: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a demand to provide relief for debt-ridden farmers, the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the former has accepted that the situation of farmers is critical in the country, but did not commit anything on waiving off their loans.”Prime Minister accepted that the situation of farmers is critical, But he did not say anything about waiving off their loans, he only heard the matter,” said Rahul.He further added that the farmers are committing suicide all over the country and the removal of import duty on wheat by the government is a devastating blow.Earlier in the day, a delegation of senior Congress leaders met Prime Minister Modi to demand relief for debt-ridden farmers and to express their apprehension at not being allowed to speak in parliament. Following this, opposition leaders would call on President Pranab Mukherjee at 12.30 pm. These meetings come even as the ruckus continues in parliament over several issues, including demonetization and corruption.On Thursday, Azad said, “It is for the first time in history of India that the ruling party is not letting the House to function,” he said. Azad gave a notice in the Rajya Sabha on the “hardships faced by farmers due to demonetization”. “I have given notice so that the debt of the farmers is forgiven. The BJP is not in the support of the farmers,” he said.Both Houses of Parliament had to be adjourned for the day eventually.

Chhattisgarh: 8,582 villages declared ‘open defecation free’, more encouraged to build toilets

Raipur: As many as 8,582 villages have so far been declared ‘open defecation free’ in Chhattisgarh, which is targeting to becoming an ODF state by October 2018.

The state government has also announced 4,869 gram (village) panchayats, 33 development blocks and two districts (out of 27) as open defecation free (ODF).

“The Prime Minister’s ‘Clean India Mission’ (rural) is yielding exciting results in the state. Within just about two years of launch of the drive, we have made two districts along with 33 development blocks open defecation free,” a senior official from Chhattisgarh’s Panchayat and Rural Development Department said on Friday.

The state has 10,971 gram panchayats. While 8,582 villages under 4,869 gram panchayats have so far been declared as ODF, the aim is to cover remaining 11,127 villages of 6,102 gram panchayats by 2 October, 2018, he said.

File photo of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh. PTI

File photo of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh. PTI

Bedsides, of the 90 Vidhayak (MLA) Adarsh Grams (adopted by legislators in their constituency to develop into model villages), 67 villages were declared as ODF. Similarly, 15 model villages under Saansad (MP) Adarsh Gram scheme have also been made open defecation free, he said.

“Notably, the Centre has set the target under ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ to declare the entire country as ODF by 2 October, 2019, but Chief Minister Raman Singh is expecting to achieve the target a year before in 2018 in the state, keeping in view the enthusiastic response from people towards the mission,” the official said.

As per official statistics, toilets have so far been constructed in at least 15,79,102 households (in rural areas) under both ‘Clean India Mission’ and the MNREGA scheme.

Around Rs 497.53 crore have been spent in the current and previous financial years for the purpose, he said.

All the concerned departments, including school education, health, women and child development and public health engineering, besides panchayat and rural development officials, have been asked to work in coordination to scale the target within the stipulated time, he said.

Moreover, public awareness campaigns are being held continuously in villages to encourage the people to build toilets in their houses, the official added.

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 10:59 IST

Congress adopting ‘spit and run’ tactic to divert attention from real issues in Parliament: Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Blaming the opposition for disruptions in Parliament, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday that the Congress was adopting “spit and run” tactic to divert attention from the real issues. “Everybody is sad. The way Parliament is not being allowed to function, every countrymen is sad. We are also sad. But what to do if some people deliberately and continuously not allowing Parliament to function. It is a known fact who is rushing to the Well of the House,” Naidu told reporters outside Parliament.He was asked to comment on BJP veteran LK Advani’s comment in the Lok Sabha, “I feel like resigning”, after a virtual washout of the winter session of Parliament over the demonetization issue. “Being a senior party man, Advaniji is also feeling like that,” Naidu said.On the AgustaWestland chopper scam, the Union minister said, “It is a serious issue and should be discussed in the House. Many MPs have given notices in both Houses for discussion on the issue because it is related to the nation’s security. But Congress is not ready. They are bringing new issues to divert the attention from this.” On Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s claim about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged corrupt practices, Naidu said, “If your allegations have substance, then discuss it in the House. It is a spit and run tactics. One day PM’s name, next day Kiren Rijiju.”The opposition targeted Union Minister of State for Home Affairs for his alleged involvement in a Rs 450 crore scam in a power project in Arunachal Pradesh. Accusing the opposition of indulging in “dirty political tactics”, he said, “Before this, they have made allegations against Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje Scindia, MP CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan. Now Prime Minister. These are all dirty political tactics. There is no substances in it.””From day one, we are saying let’s have debate. We also said PM will be present and intervene in the discussion and FM will offer solutions. Debate started in the Rajya Sabha. Three Congress MPs spoke, Left also participated. JD(U) also participated,” he said.”Now they are saying discuss farmers’ plight. Who stopped you from discussing on the farmers issue all these days? I wanted to ask BSP and Sharad Yadav (of JD-U) that since the last 20 days why you did not raise farmers issue. Since elections are round the corner, you remember farmers now. All countrymen are watching it and people are not taking them seriously because of their strategy is to spit and run,” he said.

Bureaucrats provoked by PMO, LG to revolt against Delhi govt: CM Arvind Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that IAS officers in the city were being “threatened” and “provoked” by PMO and Lt Governor to revolt against him, even as he asked the bureaucrats to “fall in line”.He told a press conference that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was using Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and the bureaucrats as “pawns” to take revenge against the AAP government. The AAP leader also took on the IAS Officers Association, which had recently passed a resolution against “misbehaviour” by political executives in the Delhi government, saying “it has turned into a forum that only shields the corrupt and the inefficient.” “They (IAS officers) are being threatened with ACB, police and CBI. They are being provoked to revolt against me. I know who all are taking money. IAS officers are being forced to meet and speak out against the Delhi government. LG is getting it done on the prodding of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO),” he said. When asked what action he would take against the ‘erring’ officers, Kejriwal said they will “fall in line” once the Supreme Court gives power to the elected government or the Anti-Corruption Branch comes under its jurisdiction.The Aam Aadmi Party chief accused the Prime Minister of shooting off from the shoulders of the LG and the bureaucrats, saying, “Modiji does not do politics directly”.Accusing the Health Secretary of not showing up during a recent inspection in LNJP hospital despite the orders, Kejriwal said strong action should be taken against him, so that no officer shows such “insensitivity” in the future.The IAS association has put a blot on the entire IAS service by shielding corrupt and inefficient officers. Have they ever discussed the hurdles put up by the LG on mohalla clinics or unorganised colonies? Have they discussed any issue concerning public interest? “They have nothing to do with the public. They are content with their cars and bungalows. When I had joined the service, it was about serving the country. Stealing and defending it audaciously won’t be tolerated,” Kejriwal, a former IRS officer, said.The AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa- Mizoram and Union Territory)-cadre IAS Officers Association and DANICS Officers Association had jointly passed a resolution on December 13 against “misbehaviour” by political executives in the Delhi government.

Subramanian Swamy questions Rahul Gandhi’s credibility over his ‘corrupt’ PM Modi comment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Questioning Rahul Gandhi’s credibility over his ‘corrupt’ comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Thursday said how can the Congress vice-president, who is himself involved in case of corruption, be believed.”Who is Rahul Gandhi to speak on this issue, when he himself is out on bail, after being arrested in a corruption case,” said Swamy.Saying that Gandhi’s statement does not carry any substance, Swamy said his statement is not God’s statement. “Is his statement some Veda or statement of God or saint? At least, he should make a statement on some basis,” he said.Meanwhile, taking a jibe at the Centre, Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury asked if the government had taken the Vyapam scam seriously. “Did they take Vyapam scam seriously? They don’t have manners and lack etiquette. They only know how to mislead people. This public only will now give them an answer,” Chowdhury said.Believing that the people will give the government a befitting reply after getting exposed by Gandhi, Chowdhury said, “When Rahul Gandhi will tell the truth, public will believe us. It is enough for us that public takes us seriously. We don’t want a certificate of belief from them (BJP).”The Congress vice-president yesterday said that he had “detailed” information about Prime Minister Modi’s “personal corruption”.”That information is personal information about Narendra Modi which I want to place in Lok Sabha. It is personal corruption of the prime minister… the PM is not allowing us to speak,” Gandhi said at a press conference along with NCP, Trinamool, RSP and DMK leaders after the Lok Sabha was adjourned.”The PM is personally terrified of me being allowed to open my mouth inside Lok Sabha because I have information…that is going to explode his balloon,” he added.However, Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir rubbished the claim saying, “Nobody takes Rahul Gandhi seriously, because he himself is not serious.”

Arvind Kejriwal rakes up issue of PM Modi’s degrees again

Thu, 15 Dec 2016-02:25pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal raked up the issue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s degrees on Thursday yet again saying he was not able to grasp the “devastating consequences” of demonetization due to “less education”.Addressing a press conference, he said it was essential that the “truth” about Prime Minister’s degrees is disclosed as it is the “fundamental right” of people.”People believe since Modiji is less educated he has taken the decision to demonetize currency without discussing it with anyone. Now that it has jeopardised the lives of people he is not being able to tackle the situation,” Kejriwal told reporters at his residence here. The AAP chief, who had earlier sought rollback of the note ban measure, also demanded that the money deposited by people be used to waive the loans of farmers and small traders.

Collected black money must be deposited in accounts of poor: Mayawati

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Attacking the government over its note ban implementation, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati on Thursday said that even after 37 days of demonetization, the people who are suffering the most are the poor, ‘labourers and farmers’.She told the media that the black money that the government has collected must be deposited in the accounts of the poor and the government must waive farmers’ loans and stop feeding big businessmen.”Since the government has taken the decision on demonetization, we have been getting reports from various places that farmers are the most affected by this decision. Even after 37 days of demonetization the people who are suffering the most are poor, labourers and farmers,” he said.Lashing out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mayawati said the government’s controversial move to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1000 will backfire on the BJP in the crucial Uttar Pradesh election.”Modi has brought in demonetization because he is scared of losing Uttar Pradesh. From the very first day we were against black money and corruption but the decision the Central government took without anyone’s consent was because there motive was not to sweep black money but because they were scared of losing,” she added.Meanwhile, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, gave a notice in the Rajya Sabha on the “hardships faced by farmers due to demonetization”.Speaking in the Upper House, he said, “I have given notice so that the debt of the farmers is forgiven. The BJP is not in the support of the farmers.”Merely two days are remaining for the Winter Session to wrap up, but both the Houses showed absolutely no concern for the fact that the session has been a complete washout until now.The Lok Sabha got adjourned within minutes of commencing and Rajya Sabha a few minutes after. Both Opposition and BJP sparred over the issue of demonetisation and Rahul Gandhi’s jibe at Narendra Modi on Wednesday.Earlier in the day, senior BJP ministers, including Venkaiah Naidu and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the session and the Opposition parties met with President Pranab Mukherjee.

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