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Trump calls for expanded U.S. nuclear weapons capability | Reuters

PALM BEACH, Fla./WASHINGTON U.S. President-elect Donald Trump called on Thursday for the country to expand its nuclear weapons capabilities until the world “comes to its senses” – a signal he may support costly efforts to modernize the aging U.S. nuclear arsenal.During the next decade, U.S. ballistic missile submarines, bombers, and land-based missiles – the three legs of the nuclear triad – are expected to reach the end of their useful lives.Maintaining and modernizing the arsenal is expected to cost at about $1 trillion dollars over 30 years, according to independent estimates. [nL2N1C21ED]”The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” Trump said in a post on Twitter.

Trump, who is at his Florida resort for the Christmas holiday, gave no details about what prompted his tweet. Representatives for his transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Trump, who won election on Nov. 8 and takes office on Jan. 20, campaigned on a platform of building up the U.S. military, but also pledged to cut taxes and control federal spending.

Trump met on Wednesday with a dozen Pentagon officials involved with defense acquisition programs, as well as the chief executives of Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) and Boeing Co (BA.N), the country’s two largest defense contractors. Trump said he talked with the CEOs about lowering costs for two high-profile programs: Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jets and Boeing’s replacement 744-8s for the presidential Air Force One plane.

Defense stocks were little changed after Trump’s tweet, but shares of small uranium miners including Uranium Resources Inc (URRE.O) and Uranium Energy Corp (UEC.A) rose sharply. [nL1N1EH15P] (Reporting by Melissa Fares in Palm Beach, Florida and Lewis Krauskopf in New York; Writing by Susan Heavey and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Frances Kerry)

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

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 23:37 IST

Odisha, Chhattisgarh express concern on Polavaram design flood

“In an inter-state meeting held on June 2 convened by OSD, Ministry of Water Resources, the Governments of Odisha and Chhattisgarh expressed concerns on design flood, back water calculations etc,” said MoS for Water Resources Ministry Balyan <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Odisha and Chhattisgarh governments have expressed concern over design flood and back water calculations of the Polavaram project, Lok Sabha was informed on Thursday.Design floods are hypothetical floods used for planning and floodplain management investigations. It is defined by its probability of occurrence.”In an inter-state meeting held on June 2 convened by OSD, Ministry of Water Resources, the Governments of Odisha and Chhattisgarh expressed concerns on design flood, back water calculations etc,” Minister of State for Water Resources Sanjeev Kumar Balyan said during Question Hour, amid continued sloganeeering by Opposition members, many of whom were in the Well. Balyan said the Andhra Pradesh government shared relevant details again with the governments of Odisha and Chhattisgarh. “There is no further response/query from either of the states as per information provided by the Polavaram projects authority,” he said.The Minister said Odisha and Chhattisgarh have already accepted the reservoir operation schedule through Inter-State agreement between Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa on April 2, 1980.

Uma Bharti says govt to come up with a model act to conserve ground, rain water

New Delhi: The government will soon come out with a draft model law to conserve ground, surface and rain water and increase use of treated water for non-potable purposes, Union Minister Uma Bharti said on Tuesday.

Water being a state subject, the act will, however, not be binding on states for implementation.

Addressing the inaugural session of ‘Bhujal Manthan – 2’ in New Delhi, Bharti said a committee will also be formed to suggest ways to conserve fast depleting groundwater levels through aquifer recharge, particularly in drought-hit areas such as Marathwada and Bundelkhand.

Secretaries of Water Resources, Rural Development, Environment and Agriculture will be part of the committee, which is expected to submit its report in a month, she said.

File photo of Uma Bharti. PTI

File photo of Uma Bharti. PTI

“We are going to come out with the draft model act aimed at conserving ground, surface and rain water and one which stresses on using treated water optimally. 62 percent of water used by Israel is treated water. Why can’t we too do that? We too can do it,” Water Resources Minister Bharti said.

The Minister said the act will focus on using waste water for infrastructural and industrial activities, while recycled sewage water will be used for irrigation purpose.

Special secretary in the Water Resources Ministry, Amarjit Singh, seconded the Minister and stated that 80 percent to 85 percent drinking water is sourced from underground across the country.

Around 60 percent to 65 percent of water used for irrigation is fetched from underground, he added.

“Countries like China use less ground water than us, only to the extent of 30 percent of what can be recharged in that country annually. So, we need to make sure the withdrawal is sustainable (through the proposed act),” he said.

Bharti said the government also plans to complete aquifer mapping across the country over the next three years.

At the same time, she said, the government plans to recharge groundwater on priority basis across 1066 blocks (which could either be a district/taluka/mandals) where groundwater is “hugely exploited.”

“The Marathwada, Bundelkhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat and now even the Uttarakhand…the trees atop mountains in Uttarkhand which used to hold water have been cut. Hence, we will have to give priorities to these areas and recharge ground water,” she said.

Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who too addressed the event, said his ministry will contribute to the purpose by creating recharge structures through Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

“The purpose is to see village water is stopped in the village itself,” he added.

Secretaries of Ministries of Water Resources and Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shashi Shekhar and Parameswaran Iyer respectively, also addressed the event.

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 16:26 IST

Maharashtra tells Bombay HC it will bring its own rules on child adoption

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra government has informed the Bombay High Court that it intends to introduce its own rules on child adoption but until they are brought into force, the existing model rules framed by the Centre shall be operative in the state.This was stated in an affidavit filed by the state government on November 24 before a bench headed by Chief Justice Dr Manjula Chellur, which was hearing a petition filed by Santosh Digambar Honkarape and others. According to the state government, the Centre had its own set of rules on child adoption but Maharashtra intended to frame its own rules by bringing about modifications in the Central rules.The Centre had told Bombay High Court in May this year that within two months it will frame model rules for the states to follow before Central Adoption Resources Authority (CARA) brings out new guidelines for adoption and added that in the meanwhile, 2015 guidelines issued by CARA will continue.Thereafter, the Centre framed its own rules on child adoption and informed this to the high court which in turn asked the state government whether it would accept this or bring its own rules.Now that Maharashtra has decided to frame its own rules, it would set into motion the process for introducing this by seeking approval of both the houses of legislature, said the state government affidavit. CARA had earlier come out with guidelines after being directed by the Supreme Court in a similar case.Meanwhile, the high court, on November 24, directed CARA to come out with a set of guidelines once again so far as the adoption procedure contemplated in the 2015 Act. The matter has been posted for hearing on January 13, 2017.

Maha govt tells HC it will bring its own rules on child adoption

Mumbai: Maharashtra government has informed the Bombay High Court that it intends to introduce its own rules on child adoption but until they are brought into force, the existing model rules framed by the Centre shall be operative in the state.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

This was stated in an affidavit filed by the state government on November 24 before a bench headed by Chief Justice Dr Manjula Chellur, which was hearing a petition filed by Santosh Digambar Honkarapeand others.

According to the state government, the Centre had its own set of rules on child adoption but Maharashtra intended to frame its own rules by bringing about modifications in the Central rules. The Centre had told Bombay High Court in May this year that within two months it will frame model rules for the states to follow before Central Adoption Resources Authority (CARA) brings out new guidelines for adoption and added that in the meanwhile, 2015 guidelines issued by Cara will continue.

Thereafter, the Centre framed its own rules on child adoption and informed this to the high court which in turn asked the state government whether it would accept this or bring its own rules. Now that Maharashtra has decided to frame its own rules, it would set into motion the process for introducing this by seeking approval of both the houses of legislature, said the state government affidavit.

Cara had earlier come out with guidelines after being directed by the Supreme Court in a similar case.

Meanwhile, the high court, on 24 November, directed Cara to come out with a set of guidelines once again so far as the adoption procedure contemplated in the 2015 Act. The matter has been posted for hearing on 13 January.

First Published On : Nov 27, 2016 11:18 IST

Ex-Teri chief RK Pachauri allowed to travel abroad again

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Saturday once again granted permission to former Teri chief RK Pachauri, accused in a sexual harassment case, to travel abroad.

Pachauri, currently on bail, was allowed to travel to Dominican Republic from 22 November to 5 December by Metropolitan Magistrate Shivani Chauhan, after he moved an application.

The court allowed the application, filed through Pachauri’s counsel Ashish Dixit, noting that the probe was complete and charge sheet has already been filed in the case.

A file image of ex-Teri chief RK Pachauri. IBNLive

A file image of ex-Teri chief RK Pachauri. IBNLive

“The investigation is complete and charge sheet has already been filed. The accused has been granted permission to travel abroad on several earlier occasions and has complied with the directions given by the court.

“In these circumstances, the accused is permitted to travel as per his itinerary… subject to furnishing a local surety of Rs 2 lakh to the satisfaction of this court,” the court said and directed him to give an undertaking that he shall appear in court in person or through counsel and not dispute his identity at a later stage.

It also asked him to file a copy of his travel tickets and intimate the court after his return or any changes in his travel itinerary.

The court had on 11 July granted regular bail to Pachauri and allowed him to travel abroad after he appeared in pursuance to summons.

Pachauri has been allowed by the court to travel over a dozen times to various countries including USA, UK, China, Japan, France, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, Kuwait, Mexico, Somalia and Saudi Arabia, during pendency of probe and proceedings.

The former Teri chief was summoned as accused by the court after it took cognisance of the charge sheet filed against him for allegedly sexually harassing an ex-colleague.

The court, while taking cognisance of the charge sheet, had said there was sufficient material to proceed against him under sections 354A (sexual harassment), 354B (assault against woman with intent to disrobe), 354D (stalking), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult modesty of woman) and 341 (wrongful confinement) of the IPC.

The charge sheet, filed by Delhi Police on 1 March last year, had arrayed 23 prosecution witnesses, many of whom are present and former employees of The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri). Pachauri was granted an anticipatory bail in the case on 21 March last year and an FIR lodged against him on 13 February last year.

First Published On : Nov 19, 2016 16:24 IST

Land conflict: 32 lakh face severe hardship

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Land conflicts, largely related to infrastructure projects, have impacted an estimated 32 lakh people in the country and land disputes have stalled 5,780 projects as of October 2016, two new reports on land related disputes revealed on Wednesday. One report related to land conflicts and the other one related to land disputes and stalled investments, analysed 289 ongoing land conflicts and found that it covered an area of 12 lakh hectares and were spread across 185 districts of the country.The 5,780 projects stalled are those that were ones announced after 2000. The proportion of stalled projects where the investment is greater than Rs 100 crores is 17 per cent. The reports were prepared by Rights and Resources Initiative, Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Bharti Institute of Public Policy. Ground research, government records and the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy were the major sources for the report.As per the report, several districts across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Uttarakhand have more than 10 stalled projects whose worth is Rs 10,000 crore.

Severe drought looming over Kerala

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There has been a sharp decrease of rainfall to the tune of 34 per cent during the south-west monsoon, according to figures released by the Indian Meteorological Department here.From June 1 this year to September 30, Kerala received 1352.3 mm rains against the normal rainfall of 2039.7 mm, a deficiency of 34 per cent.There has been no rain in October and if this situation continues, there will be drought-like situation, IMD, Thiruvananthapuram Director S Sudevan, said.”If the North East Monsoon fails then there will be problems in different sectors– Agriculture, Power etc”, he said.Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has also said that the state was heading for a “severe” drought as Kerala had received deficient rains in the south-west monsoon.Though the north-east monsoon was yet to set in, the state had not received pre-monsoon showers, he said.”A huge danger is lurking in the state in the form of drought as the south west monsoon was deficient”, Vijayan had said at a function yesterday.”If this situation continues, the state is heading for a severe drought. We need to take precautions,” he had said.To tackle the situation, the government was also keen to encourage rain water harvesting, he said.There has been an average reduction of 22 per cent water in the state’s dams when compared to the water storage in September last year.The state was also gearing up to take measures to tackle scarcity of drinking water which is likely to be faced by the state due to deficient monsoon, according to Water Resources Minister Mathew P Thomas.The government also has plans to rejuvenate at least 10,000 private temple ponds of the total 40,000 in the state.The Chief Minister had convened a high level meeting on Oct 13 to work out plans to meet the impending drought situation.Kerala is now pinning all hopes on the north east monsoon which is yet to set in, he said.

Relationship with India is strong and diverse: US

We welcome both bilateral and multilateral discussions about effective counter-terrorism procedures, processes, tactics, policies, the expenditure of resources, US said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>America’s relationship with India is very strong and diverse, the US on Saturday, said even as it welcomed the recently concluded BRICS summit. The Obama Administration is approaching with its bilateral relationship with India “which is very strong and diverse,” State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters at his daily news conference. “We had terrific discussions with India down in Kigali, and we got a very aggressive amendment now. And India’s active participation in those negotiations really got us there,” Kirby said. In his response to a question, Kirby welcomed the recently held eighth BRICS Summit in Goa. “The second point on the BRICS nation, we welcome both bilateral and multilateral discussions about effective counter-terrorism procedures, processes, tactics, policies, the expenditure of resources; all that’s to the good if it can be done in a truly collaborative way that has results. So we certainly welcome that kind of multilateral discussion,” he said.

India close to become ‘water scarce’ country: Uma Bharti

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India is close to being categorised as “water scarce”, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti on Friday said, citing increasing demand, uncertain availability and over-exploitation of rivers as the causes. She made the remarks at the World Sustainable Development Summit in New Delhi where the Centre signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on water resources development and management with the European Union.”The holy rivers of India are getting exhausted of their natural ability to sustain themselves due to pollution from various sources. The per capital water availability in India has been on continuous decline which has put our country in water stressed category and is close to being categorised as water scarce. The vagaries of climate change are expected to exacerbate the situation,” Bharti said.Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission, was present during the occasion. The Union Cabinet had approved the MoU on October 5.Vella said the agreement may not solve all the issues but it was a step in the right direction and one way of implementing water partnership through exchange of technological, scientific and management experiences.

Spoke to PM Modi on Cauvery issue: Deve Gowda

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda on Sunday said he had a “brief” telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Cauvery river water dispute, but did not divulge the details of it.”Prime Minister Modi had called me up and spoken for a brief while on the Cauvery dispute,” he said after garlanding the portraits of Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri here on their 147th and 112th birth anniversaries respectively. Gowda, a former chief minister of Karnataka, however, did not divulge the details of the conversation.Earlier, he had expressed disappointment with the prime minister’s “reluctance” to intervene in the dispute and said he was awaiting the outcome of tomorrow’s one-day session of the state legislature. “I have full confidence in both Modi and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. I will wait for the outcome of the one-day legislature session. Let me see, what decision the elected leaders take,” he had said.The Supreme Court, on September 30, had asked Karnataka to discharge 6,000 cusecs of water from October 1 to 6, while warning that “no one would know when the ‘wrath of the law’ would fall on it”. It had also ordered all the stakeholders in the dispute — Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry — to give the names of their representatives to be included in the board which would be headed by Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti.

PM Modi holds meeting over Cauvery row

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday held a meeting to discuss the Cauvery river water sharing issue over which Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads. Some ministers and officials were present in the meeting where various options were discussed to resolve the matter.A meeting convened by the Centre to iron out differences between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on the impasse had failed on Thursday to achieve any breakthrough. At the meeting convened by Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, Tamil Nadu refused to accept Karnataka’s proposal that an expert committee be sent to the river basin to assess water availability.Tamil Nadu has been demanding release of its share in the river water which has been rejected by neighbouring Karnataka citing its requirements for drinking and irrigation purposes. The Tamil Nadu government has been insisting on implementing the Supreme Court’s September 27 order to release 6,000 cusecs of water in three days and setting up of a Cauvery Management Board.At Thursday’s meeting, Tamil Nadu accused upper riparian Karnataka of treating with “utter contempt” Supreme Court’s orders on river water sharing and defying them “deliberately and systematically”. It alleged that Karnataka has not released the stipulated annual water quantum of 192 TMC ft, as ordered by Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in its final order in 2007, in any of the years, “except when the reservoirs in Karnataka could not hold the surplus flows”.

Cauvery row: Don’t know when the wrath of law will fall upon Karnataka, says Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking Karnataka to task for its repeated “defiance” by flouting its orders for release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, Supreme Court on Friday asked it to discharge 6,000 cusecs water from Saturday till October 6, warning no one would know when the “wrath of the law” would fall on it. The apex court gave the last opportunity to the Siddaramaiah government to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from October 1-6, despite a unanimous resolution passed by both house of Assembly.”Karnataka despite being a state is flouting the order and creating a situation when the majesty of law is dented. We would have proceeded to take steps for strict compliance of the order but we have directed Cauvery Water Management Board to first study the ground realities and submit a report,” a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit said.”Karnataka shall not be bent upon to take an obstinate and stand of defiance as one does not know when wrath of the law will fall upon them,” the bench said while directing the Centre to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board by October 4. It ordered all the stakeholders – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puduchery – to give names by 4 pm tomorrow of their representatives to be included in the board which would be chaired by the Union Water Resources Minister.”We assume that Karnataka being a part of the federal structure of the country shall live upto the occasion and not show any deviancy till report of ground reality is submitted by the Cauvery Water Management Board,” the court said. The bench reminded Karnataka that it is bound by Article 144 of the Constitution and “aid in compliance” of the order of the Supreme Court.”On plain reading of Article 144, it is clear as crystal that all authorities are bound to work in aid of Supreme Court and they are bound to obey the orders of Supreme Court but unfortunately Karnataka being a state is flouting the orders of the court,” the bench said.At the outset, senior advocate F S Nariman, representing Karnataka, referred to the communications between him and the Chief Minister Siddaramiah. Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, expressed anguish on behalf of the state saying Karnataka has already made up its mind that it is not going to comply with the apex court directions. Naphade said “they (Karnataka) have consciously decided to defy the orders of Supreme Court. We have been treated shabbily in this matter. We don’t want to say anything and the court may pass any order it wants”. On other hand, Nariman said Karnataka Chief Minister has called an all-party meeting after the Supreme Court passed its order on September 27. The meeting reiterated that the “will of the people of the state should be respected” and no water can be released, he said.Referring to the contents of his letter to the Chief Minister, Nariman told the bench that he has unequivocally said he would not argue for Karnataka till the orders of Supreme Court are complied with. He said today he will not make any submission on behalf of Karnataka, a move which was hailed by the bench which said Nariman’s stand of “unhesitatingly beholds the right tradition of the bar”.During the hearing, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Centre, gave details of the meeting between Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaia and Tamil Nadu PWD Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy. He said no consensus was arrived as Tamil Nadu stuck to their stand that they needed water, while Karnataka said they were helpless in this matter. The bench asked the AG how far the Centre has proceeded in setting up the Cauvery Water Management Board as directed by the court. AG said it could be constituted in 4-5 days and the apex court orders will be complied.”The management of Cauvery water has to be done by the Board. We are doing some arithmetic calculation on how much water to be released and when to be released with the regard to the award of tribunal,” the bench said.The apex court directed that once the Cauvery Water Management Board is constituted by the Centre, a team shall visit the sites to take a prima facie view of the ground reality and submit a report. It directed that communication to the three states and the Union Territory should be sent by today so that they send the names of their representatives by tomorrow.On September 27, the apex court had asked Karnataka to release 6,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu till today despite its assembly resolution, but had called for a political solution to the impasse by convening of a meeting of Chief Ministers of the two states and the Centre.

Cauvery issue: Sharing water with Tamil Nadu detrimental to our needs, says Siddaramaiah

New Delhi: Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on sharing of Cauvery water, Karnataka Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah on Thursday said the state cannot spare any quantum of water for Tamil Nadu as it will be detrimental to drinking water requirements of its people.

Speaking to the media after a meeting on the issue between the two states convened by Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati, he noted the state’s demand to send a central expert team to assess the ground reality has been turned down by Tamil Nadu.

A file photo of Siddaramaiah. PTI

A file photo of Siddaramaiah. PTI

“We explained the ground situation at the meeting. We told that no further releases from our reservoirs can be made. We need water for drinking, while Tamil Nadu wants it for Samba crop,” Siddaramaiah said.

On “defiance” of the SC order, he said, “It is not defying the order. The National Water Policy says the first priority should be given to drinking water and then to irrigation and other purpose. This is what we are demanding,” he said.

He said, “We have highest respect for judiciary and rule of law. We don’t want to defy the SC order. We have complied with earlier SC order and released 12,000 cusecs of water. Now, our situation is that we don’t have water.”

The Chief Minister said the next course of action would be decided after going back to the state. He termed as “baseless” allegations made by Tamil Nadu that Tamils staying in Karnataka were being targeted post-SC orders. “We have maintained law and order and will continue to give protection.”

Seeking to drive home a point that Tamil Nadu is in a comfortable position than Karnataka, he said his state only has 27.6 TMC of water for drinking purpose.

“Tamil Nadu is in a comfortable position as the neighbouring state has 43 TMC of water in Mettur dam, 20 TMC of ground water and it would receive north east rains in October-December,” he said, and noted that Karnataka gets only south-west rains and not north east monsoon rains.

In the meeting, the Chief Minister suggested sending a central expert team to assess the ground reality. “They should have had agreed, but they did not,” he rued.

“We told that a central expert team should visit both the states to assess water level, inflow and outflow, and crop situation in both states and then submit a report. On the basis of that report, it would be easy to take a decision,” he added.

The Tamil Nadu government insisted on implementing the Supreme Court 27 September order to release 6,000 cusecs of water in three days and setting up of a Cauvery Management Board, the Chief Minister added.

Karnataka had deferred release of water as directed the apex court awaiting the outcome of Thursday’s meeting.

Madhya Pradesh court issues arrest warrant against Uma Bharti in defamation case

Bhopal: A non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against Union Minister Uma Bharti by a local court today for not appearing before it in connection with a 13-year-old defamation case filed against her by Congress leader Digvijaya Singh.

Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Bhubhaskar Yadav said senior police officers should execute the arrest warrant, while dismissing the Union Water Resources Minister’s application, moved by her lawyer Harish Mehta, seeking exemption from appearance during court hearing today due to an important engagement.

File photo of Uma Bharti. PTIFile photo of Uma Bharti. PTI

File photo of Uma Bharti. PTI

Mehta pleaded that his client be exempted from the hearing on ground that she was engaged in a meeting regarding the Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in view of Supreme Court’s order.

CJM Yadav dismissed the plea saying that Bharti is not turning up to record her statement in connection with the defamation case since October 2015 and enough time has been given to her in the 13-year-old case.

Earlier in February, the then CJM Pankaj Singh Maheshwari had asked Bharti and Digvijaya Singh to be present at a mediation centre on its premises along with their lawyers to resolve their differences, but it didn’t work.

The senior Congress leader had filed the case against the then BJP chief ministerial candidate Bharti in the run-up to the 2003 Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls after she alleged that a scam running in crores of rupees had taken place during Singh’s tenure as the state’s chief minister between 1993 and 2003.

Cauvery issue: Uma Bharti convenes meet of Karnataka, TN ministers to resolve dispute

New Delhi: In line with the Supreme Court’s fresh order, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has convened a meeting of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu ministers on Thursday to find a political solution to the “impasse” over Cauvery water dispute.

The apex court had yesterday asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to facilitate a meeting of the executive heads of the two warring riparian states with the Centre over the next two days to find a solution to the dispute.

It has also asked Karnataka to discharge 6,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu till Friday despite its Assembly resolution.

According to an official source, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is scheduled to attend the trilateral meet, while his Tamil Nadu counterpart J Jayalalithaa, currently recuperating at a Chennai hospital, will depute state PWD Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy to represent the state in the discussion.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti to chair a meeting on Thursday on Cauvery with CM of Karnataka and PWD Minister of Tamil Nadu,” tweeted Union Water Resources Ministry spokesperson Samir Sinha.

Ministers in charge of water resources departments and chief secretaries of the two states will also be present in the meeting.

The Union minister will attempt to resolve the issue “amicably” keeping in view the series of protests and violence which erupted in the two states last month after the Supreme Court’s orders on the issue, an official source said.

The Karnataka government has been expressing its inability to release the quantum of water as directed by the apex court, saying its four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin do not have adequate storage and is struggling to even meet its own drinking water requirement.

Meanwhile, Congress MPs from Karnataka have demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s intervention in this matter and also urged him to ensure the Cauvery Water Management Board is not constituted as directed by the apex court.

They had also staged protest in Parliament complex on Tuesday over the issue.

Earlier in the day, opposition parties in Karnataka had asked the Siddaramaiah government not to release the 6,000 cusecs of water tomorrow for Tamil Nadu as per the apex court’s latest order.

Cauvery committee asks Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs water daily from Sept 21 to Sep 30

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Under the Supreme Court’s mandate, the Cauvery Supervisory Committee (CSC) on Monday directed Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs of water daily from its reservoirs to Tamil Nadu from September 21 to September 30. The CSC meeting was chaired by Shashi Shekhar, secretary, Ministry of Water Resources and included top bureaucrats from both states as well as top officials from the Central Water Commission.Shashi Shekhar said that there was in-depth discussion on the claims of both states and Karnataka’s officials vehemently opposed release of water owing to the shortage of drinking water. “There was no consensus during the meeting, but as per SC’s mandate, taking into account interest of both parties, the rainfall deficiency, daily inflow, drinking water requirements and needs of summer crops in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka was directed to release 3,000 cusecs of water,” said Shekhar.Monday’s meeting was convened exactly a week after the CSC met on the request of Tamil Nadu. During the meeting last week, both states were asked to provide comprehensive data of the last 29 years on rainfall, flow of river and abstraction of water to arrive at a decision on scientific information.Even as the CSC has ordered release of 3,000 cusecs of water, Karnataka is not in agreement with the decision. The state government has the option of appealing against CSC’s order as it is not a judicial pronouncement. While CSC has directed release of water between September 21 and September 30, SC had ordered September 12 that Karnataka should release 12,000 cusecs of water till September 20.Shekhar added that during scrutiny of last month’s rainfall data, it was known that rainfall is 65 per cent below normal in the Cauvery basin. Further, for a long-term solution to the water sharing dispute, both states agreed that a real-time water level monitoring system should be devised. “Our proposal for real-time monitoring of rainfall, water flow and use was acceptable to both states. Central Water Commission will prepare proposal for this system which will be taken up for approval in the next meeting in October. Also, the CSC has decided to meet every month from February onwards,” added Shekhar.Following SC’s September 5 order directing Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu, the state witnessed rasta roko’s, arson, violence and targeting of vehicles and also individuals hailing from Tamil Nadu. The protests also saw death of two persons in Bengaluru during police firing.

Cauvery Supervisory Committee to meet on Monday in Delhi to decide quantum of released water

New Delhi: The Cauvery Supervisory Committee is meeting in Delhi to decide on the quantum of the river water to be released to Tamil Nadu and other states by Karnataka.

The supervisory committee, in its previous meeting on 12 September, had failed to arrive at any decision for want of adequate information which was to be made available by the river basin states.

It had asked them to provide the information by 15 September.

Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had submitted to the committee data about withdrawal of water, its utilisation, variation in rainfall and its impact on the actual run-off over a period of 29 years in their respective Cauvery basin areas, according to a source.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Besides Shekhar, chief secretaries of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry and Central Water Commission chairman are members of the Committee, formed to implement final award of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

The Supreme Court had on 5 September asked Tamil Nadu to approach the committee, headed by Union Water Resources Ministry Secretary Shashi Shekhar, over the issue.

On that day, the apex court had asked Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water per day for a period of 10 days to Tamil Nadu to ameliorate plight of farmers there.

The interim order led to protests in parts of Karnataka, especially in Mandya district, considered as the hotbed of
Cauvery politics.

Meanwhile, Karnataka, which is the upper riparian state, approached the Supreme Court on 11 September seeking modification of its order.

A day later, the court modified the order, reducing the quantum of water to be released to Tamil Nadu and other states to 12,000 cusecs per day until 20 September, when the SC will hear the matter again.

Cauvery Supervisory Committee to meet today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Cauvery Supervisory Committee is meeting on Monday to decide on the quantum of the river water to be released to Tamil Nadu and other states by Karnataka. The supervisory committee, in its previous meeting on September 12, had failed to arrive at any decision for want of adequate information which was to be made available by the river basin states.It had asked them to provide the information by September 15.Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had submitted to the committee data about withdrawal of water, its utilisation, variation in rainfall and its impact on the actual run-off over a period of 29 years in their respective Cauvery basin areas, according to a source. Besides Shekhar, chief secretaries of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry and Central Water Commission chairman are members of the Committee, formed to implement final award of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.The Supreme Court had on September 5 asked Tamil Nadu to approach the committee, headed by Union Water Resources Ministry Secretary Shashi Shekhar, over the issue. On that day, the apex court had asked Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water per day for a period of 10 days to Tamil Nadu to ameliorate plight of farmers there. The interim order led to protests in parts of Karnataka, especially in Mandya district, considered as the hotbed of Cauvery politics.Meanwhile, Karnataka, which is the upper riparian state, approached the Supreme Court on September 11 seeking modification of its order. A day later, the court modified the order, reducing the quantum of water to be released to Tamil Nadu and other states to 12,000 cusecs per day until September 20, when the SC will hear the matter again.

Smriti Irani targets Rahul Gandhi in his constituency Amethi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Targeting Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Union minister Smriti Irani on Sunday alleged that the “elected representative” from the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency has failed to address the issues of its people, and promised that she will look into their grievances.”The elected representative may not resolve people’s issue but I, as a central minister, will look into them,” she said.The minister was on a visit to Pipri village in the constituency, where an embankment on Gomti river will be built to prevent it from overflowing. “The project has been sanctioned by the Union Water Resources Ministry. The villagers boycotted the 2014 Lok Sabha polls…The Union government is undertaking the project to save people from floods,” she said.Irani also inaugurated a health camp in Haliapur village in the Jagdishpur assembly segment.

Centre may bring in legislation to clean Ganga in consultation with states

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that there was a need to follow a policy of “zero discharge of effluents” to clean the Ganga, the Centre on Saturday said that it was considering bringing in a legislation in this regards in consultation with the states through which the river flows.”The Narendra Modi government has always maintained that it was committed to cleaning the river Ganga. To achieve this goal, it is important to ensure that there was zero discharge of effluents in the river.”We are working in the direction of bringing in a legislation to ensure that no effluents, be it sewage or industrial waste, is discharged into the Ganga.”The legislation will be brought in after due consultation with all the states through which the Ganga passes,” Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti said.She was addressing a conclave, on the outskirts of the city, attended by collectors and other administrative officials of more than 50 districts spread across five states where gram pradhans of more than 1000 villages situated along the Ganga were also present.Among others who were present on the occasion included Union Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water and Sanitation Narendra Singh Tomar.Tomar said the government was working to ensure that the country was rid of open defecation “within a year” and that the Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan was a big step in that direction.In the morning, the ministers also paid floral tributes to revolutionary freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad.Bharti also congratulated badmintion player PV Sindhu, who won silver medal at the Rio Olympics, saying “her achievement has brought glory to the women of the entire country.”

Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti admitted to Aiims following chest pain

New Delhi: Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti was on Friday admitted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (Aiims) after she complained of “chest pain”.

The minister was admitted in the new private ward under the supervision of Dr Rajesh Malhotra who heads the orthopedic department there, said a senior doctor at Aiims.

File photo of Uma Bharti. PTIFile photo of Uma Bharti. PTI

File photo of Uma Bharti. PTI

Uma Bharti was rushed to the hospital after she complained of chest pain,” Ministry spokesperson Samir Sinha said.

A source close to the Minister said she developed pain in the chest at around 6 p.m when she was at her official residence at 6, Akbar Road.

When asked, a senior doctor at Aiims said “she was admitted on Friday evening. She has suffered sprain in the back and also has pain in the knee. Because of the sprain in the back, she may have felt pain on the walls of the chest. A team of experts is monitoring her condition.”

India will stand like a rock with Afghanistan: Sushma Swaraj

India is committed to security and economic prosperity of Afghanistan and will stand like a “rock” with it, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said.”We want to convey this to the people of Afghanistan through Osmani Sahab (Afghanistan Minister) that India will stand like a rock with them. We are committed to your economic prosperity and security,” she said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Swaraj made the remarks at an event organised by the Water Resources Ministry to felicitate its personnel and workers who successfully completed the construction of India-Afghan Friendship Dam in Herat province.Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti and Afghanistan’s Energy and Water Minister Engineer Ali Ahmad Osmani also attended the event.Swaraj noted the dam was built in “very difficult and hostile” conditions by WAPCOS Ltd, a public sector undertaking under the Water Resources Ministry, even as Indian nationals were attacked in Afghanistan. She likened the “valour and determination” shown by the personnel working on the project to that of soldiers guarding country.Referring to the recent bomb blast in Afghanistan in which two Indians were killed, Swaraj said the Indian Consulate, rest houses and Indian nationals were attacked 16 times and 24 Indians have so far been killed in such attacks.”This is not an ordinary dam…attacks keep taking place on our consulate there, blasts occur…amid such a situation, if an organisation like WAPCOS says it will construct the dam, it reflects the determination and valour which our soldiers show…several Afghan security forces personnel too were killed, but they were determined,” she said.Lauding the tradition of Chishti Sufism, she said it came to India from where the dam has been built in Afghanistan. The Minister said the dam, funded entirely by the central government, will contribute heavily to the economic growth of Afghanistan.Bharti described the dam “as an example of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts aimed at pushing development agenda at international-level too”.”Before Modiji became Prime Minister, there used to be politics of division. But he made a pitch for development. Internationally too, he is pushing the agenda of development. This dam is example of that,” she said.The dam was built keeping in mind the needs of local people. It will help irrigate swathes in Afghanistan and generate electricity, she said.Osmani said his country received a lot of funds over the past 15 years from international donors but India’s cooperation was “very effective” and hoped other countries will follow India’s model. He lauded India for supporting development activities in Afghanistan and constructing the dam at a time when “some countries are supporting terrorism” in his country.”Surely, the history and the people Afghanistan will remember these two types of actions. This time terrorists and their supporters were disappointed. We proved that friendship succeeded and terrorists failed. The completion of the dam shows terrorists cannot stop our development,” he said.Special Secretary in Water Resources Ministry Amarjit Singh, WAPCOS CMD R K Gupta and other government officials, Sufi saints from Afghanistan were also in attendance at the event. Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani had on June 4 jointly inaugurated the Rs 1775-crore dam.The multipurpose project, constructed on Chist-e-Sharif river in Heart province of Afghanistan, is expected to irrigate 75,000 hectares of land and generate 42 mega watt power, besides ensuring water supply and other benefits to local people. Funded by Indian government, the project work was completed in over 10 years by 1,500 Indian and Afghan engineers and other professionals.

Files related to ‘fodder scam’ in Bihar go missing

Important files related to the Bihar Animal and Fisheries Resources Department office in Patna have reportedly gone missing.According to sources, the missing files are said to be linked to the mid-1990s fodder scam. An FIR has been registered at the old secretariat police station in this regard.Meanwhile, BJP leader Nitin Naveen raised serious objections to the way Nitish Kumar-led grand alliance government in Bihar is functioning and questioned whether attempts were being made to protect RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Nitish Kumar should tell how why he is protecting Lalu Yadav. The files that have gone missing are linked to Lalu Yadav. Nitish Kumar’s action is affecting the future of Bihar,” he said.The fodder scam involved the embezzlement of about Rs. 9.4 billion from the government treasury of Bihar.The fodder scam relates to fraudulent withdrawal of around 1,000 crore rupees by Animal Husbandry department from various districts when Lalu was the Bihar chief minister from 1990 to 1997.

Sri Sri extravaganza: Uma Bharti thanks AOL for turning Yamuna bank into ‘much cleaner site’

Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti on Sunday “thanked” Sri Sir Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living (AOL) Foundation for turning the site along Yamuna Bank, where it held ‘World Culture Festival’ in March, into a “much cleaner site” and even suggested the place be turned into a garden for people. “The Sri Sri event was discussed so much… I had seen this site in the past too, it was in a poor state, but now it has become much better than what it was. It is a result of Sri Sri organising the event here. “This site has become cleaner, has turned into a levelled ground, trees here have not been cut, while stretch of bushes have been cleared, which required to be cleared,” she told reporters during her visit to the site. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lauding the spiritual guru, Bharti said he has set “very big example before the country by cleaning dirtiest site in Delhi”. “We should thank Sri Sri for improving the ground which was inaccessible. This will give relief to people of Delhi. I thank him for that,” she added. Bharti suggested both Central and Delhi Government “can make good use of the site, if they want” and turn it into a public amusement facility and said she will convene a meeting to discuss ways to make the site “beautiful”. The Union Water Resources Minister’s statement, interestingly, comes in the wake of the National Green Tribunal two days ago directing the AOL to deposit an environment compensation of Rs 4 crore, imposed on it for damaging Yamuna’s biodiversity during its three-day festival. On asked by reporters about NGT observations, Bharti said the green body has a right to do so. “But I am sure the committee appointed by the NGT itself will brief it of the reality. I am here I can see the reality. Earlier, the site was inaccessible. Let lakhs of Delhi people come here, gardening work be initiated here,” she said. The NGT had on June 3 directed Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living (AOL) foundation to deposit the compensation amount with Delhi Development Authority (DDA) by yesterday (June 4). Held between March 11 and March 13, the AOL event was marred by controversy with the Foundation being charged of hurting the biodiversity of the river passing through the national capital.

Head constable posted at Uma Bharti’s residence attempts suicide

A Delhi Police Head constable deployed at Union Minister Uma Bharti’s residence in New Delhi allegedly attempted suicide by shooting himself with his service gun on Sunday night.The incident took place around 10.30 PM, following which police teams were rushed to the residence of Uma Bharti, the Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation in New Delhi’s Ashoka Road.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The official, identified as Head Constable Brijpal of Delhi Police’s security unit, was still breathing while being rushed to the nearest hospital, a senior police official said adding that the reason why he took the extreme step could not be ascertained yet. The head constable allegedly shot himself with his official gun which has been recovered from the spot.”His condition is critical,” DCP (New Delhi) Jatin Narwal said.Prima facie the official shot himself sitting inside his personal car parked inside the premises of Bharti’s bungalow.

Don’t regularise odd-even, it will reduce its impact: TERI

New Delhi: Regularisation of the ‘odd-even’ scheme will “reduce” its impact and it should only be used as an emergency measure, a green body said on Tuesday, underlining the need for implementing alternative measures like “congestion pricing” to lessen the number of vehicles on roads to tackle air pollution.

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) which released an impact assessment study on the two-phases of odd-even scheme observed that as private cars have limited contribution in the PM2.5 levels, the scheme yielded only “marginal” reductions (4-7 percent) during both the phases.

TERI observed that the impact of the scheme with respect to traffic counts, average speeds and air quality declined during the second phase in comparison to the first phase and the decline could be probably due to people opting for “second cars with alternative number plates, installations of CNG kits or enhanced use of taxis”.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“The results of the two phases of odd-even scheme in Delhi suggest that it is useful only when high pollution episodes are expected. We do not see merit in regularising the scheme.

“A more sustainable approach for dealing with air pollution not only in Delhi but also in other metropolises would be congestion pricing, which is a far more effective option,” Director General of TERI Ajay Mathur said.

Congestion pricing is based on a ‘pay-as-you-use’ principle with an aim to reduce the number of vehicles and in turn encourage modal shift by charging vehicles on entry in restricted zones and times. This can be complemented by providing exemptions to higher-occupancy vehicles.

TERI said that such a model has proved to be successful in cities such as Singapore, London, Sweden, Rome, Durham, Seoul, San Diego etc.

The congestion pricing scheme can be first tried out in different ways including, all across congestion pricing, identification of low-emission zones and road-wise congestion pricing, TERI said.

TERI also urged the government to ensure the earliest possible introduction of BS-VI vehicle and fuel quality norms, real-time monitoring and reporting of industrial emissions in NCR and the need for business models to convert agricultural wastes into energy using biomass gasification technologies.

Sumit Sharma, fellow at TERI, said that the measures, which were taken, were more to control particulate matter rather than Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx). “We need multi-sectoral measures for the whole NCR to effectively reduce air pollutant levels, which calls for regular air quality management plans based on scientific studies,” he said.

While TERI acknowledged that the scheme was successful in raising public awareness on air pollution as well as in improving traffic speeds, it also cautioned against the regularization of this scheme, saying the rule should at best be used as an emergency measure.

The body said that during phase II of the scheme, the general variation of PM 2.5 concentration due to daily changes in local emissions, meteorology and background concentrations (influences from outside Delhi) was 42 percent.

The reduction achieved from the scheme during this phase seems too small (4 per cent) to be captured among the other more dominating factors.

TERI said that as in the case of other cities in the world that have tried out the scheme, people could look for alternatives by purchasing new or old cars which would, over a period of time, neutralise and negate the positive impacts.

“This is likely to happen as the public transportation system is not reliable and attractive enough to encourage the car users to shift to public transport.

“Hence, the odd-even scheme should be used only as an emergency measure when the pollution levels are expected to be very high like winters. Regularizing it or its frequent use may only reduce its impacts, unless public transportation is improved and sales of alternative vehicles are checked,” it said.

TERI emphasised that air quality management plans should be based on scientific studies that are updated every three to five years and air-quality targets must be defined for each year and strategies must be enforced to achieve them in line with these plans.

TERI said that during phase-II of the scheme, the averaged PM2.5 concentrations at five locations were 1.4-4.3 times higher than prescribed 24-hourly standard, NO2 concentrations were 0.6–1.36 times the prescribed standard while PM10 levels were 1.8–4.0 times above the prescribed standard.

Air India offloads adivasi rights’ activist from New Delhi-London flight

Air India offloaded an activist from its New Delhi to London flight on Monday morning, May 9, 2016 stating that his passport needed verification as it was impounded in 2013. Gladson Dungdung, however says that his fight for the rights of adivasis his what led to him being deplaned from the AI 115 by the state-run carrier. In a Facebook post, Dungdung said, “I was going to attend the Workshop on Environmental History and Politics of South Asia to be held in the University of Sussex, UK on May 10th. The reason told to me is that my passport had been impounded in 2013, therefore, they will send it back to RTO, Ranchi for verification.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, he continues, that after his passport was impounded, it was returned to him after thorough verification in 2014. Since then, the activist has attended a couple of international conferences in Denmark and London in 2014 and 2015 without facing any issues.
ALSO READ Air India pays pending allowance dues to over 800 pilotsDundung said, “I m sure that this is a clear impact of my book “Mission Saranda: A War for Natural Resources in India,” he said. “My fight for the Adivasis’ ownership rights over the Natural resources, Adivasi identity, Human Rights, Ecology and against unjust development processes will continue till they take away my right to life forever. Jai Adivasi!” he concluded.
ALSO READ Air India withdraw strike call after payment of duesAir India is yet to reply to the questions sent. The story will be suitably updated.

Our schemes show Modi Government is "pro-poor": Bandaru Dattatreya

Claiming that 71 lakh people have benefited under the NDA Government’s social security schemes and another six lakh under the Mudra Bank programme, Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya on Saturday said the achievement showed the BJP-led ruling coalition at the Centre is “pro-poor”.”In Telangana, under the Mudra Bank, last year they sanctioned Rs 4,557 crore and approximately six lakh poor people benefited. This year they are going to give more than Rs 6,000 crore (as loans to small entrepreneurs) and we are expecting eight lakh people to benefit,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Nearly 71 lakh people are benefiting under social security schemes… This is the greatest achievement. People are asking `what Narendra Modiji did?’ Just in Telangana, 71 lakh people are getting social security benefits.How many are benefiting in the country! This shows that this Government is a pro-poor Government,” he told reporters here.The Minister of Labour and Employment was speaking after holding a meeting with state-level bankers.Against an agriculture loan disbursement target of Rs 27,800 crore last year, Rs 22,376 crore was distributed, said Dattatreya.The banks are ready to disburse Rs 40,350 crore in the current fiscal, he said.The Union Minister urged the Telangana Government to release funds for the third instalment of farm loan waiver programme.The Lok Sabha MP from Secunderabad said he will post the check list for availing Mudra Bank loans on his social networking site page for the benefit of people in his constituency.A ‘loan mela’ would be organised in the Khairatabad Assembly segment in the city for disbursing Mudra Bank loans, he added.On the ongoing row between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh over irrigation projects, Dattatreya said he would speak to Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti if the two States are ready to follow the Centre’s advice to resolve the matter.Andhra Pradesh has objected to construction of new irrigation projects on Godavari and Krishna rivers by Telangana Government in “violation” of the AP Reorganisation Act-2014.

Ganga to be cleaned by July 2018, says Uma Bharti

Government on Thursday exuded confidence in Lok Sabha that Ganga would be cleaned by July 2018 and said the return of aqua life in the river would be the biggest benchmark to prove that it has been rejuvenated and efforts towards its cleansing have succeeded.Responding to a series of supplementaries during Question Hour, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said she would announce in the House in July 2018 that the river has been cleaned and rejuvenated. She said the return of river dolphins, turtles and gold fish in the Ganga aqua life system would be the biggest benchmark to prove that the river has rejuvenated.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharti said the cleanliness of a river cannot be established in a lab where quality of packaged drinking water is established.Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav suggested that the drainage system of cities should be reworked to ensure that the waste goes to the fields and not rivers. He said it would provide farmers with fertiliser and save rivers from pollution.At this, the Water Resources Minister asked the SP leader to ask his son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister to issue no- objection certificates to two of her ministry’s projects in Mathura and Vrindavan. She said she has not been able to get an appointment with Akhilesh Yadav and the SP chief should ensure that she gets one on Friday.Bharti rejected suggestions that the government was not serious about Ganga rejuvenation and said what could not be achieved in the past 29 years after spending Rs 4000 crore, was taking place now.

Drought: Centre puts onus on states

Under attack over dealing with the drought that has hit 10 states, the Centre on Wednesday put the onus of addressing the situation on states while insisting that it is doing its bit to provide relief to those affected.”We should not fight between Centre and the state. The role of Centre and state is different. It is clearly defined in the Rules. We can’t change it. The Centre’s role is to monitor and the state’s role is to provide assistance and help the affected people at ground level,” Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said in Rajya Sabha.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The central government does its bit, but every state governments should also do their best” in addressing the drought situation, he said.Singh was replying to a short duration debate on drought situation during which opposition members criticised the central government, saying it was not doing enough, including in the context of releasing adequate funds.Members of Congress, JD(U), SP and BSP staged a walkout, expressing dissatisfaction over the minister’s reply.Earlier, Singh insisted that farmers are a priority for the central government.”I don’t know if we are facing the consequences because of previous government but we know the prevailing situation and are taking adequate measures,” he said.”We come from different states. We are all concerned about farmers. …We should also try to see what we can do in our own states to tide over the situation,” he said.Talking about the steps taken by the Centre, he said it has eased norms for providing relief and even the allocation for State Disaster Response Fund has been raised.Singh said the Met Department has forecast above normal Monsoon this year and hoped for better agriculture production in 2016-17 crop year (July-June).Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, during her intervention in the debate, said almost 30 crore people are facing the brunt of summer heat and drinking water problem.The problem has aggravated due to consecutive drought in last two years, which has brought down the water level in 91 reserviors, she said.As per the Central Water Commission (CWC) data, the availability of water in 91 major reservoirs in the country is lower by 11 million cubic meters at present, she added.

IPL 2016: Rajasthan HC issues notice to BCCI, state govt over shifting of matches to Jaipur

In fresh trouble for BCCI and IPL, the Rajasthan High Court on Thursday issued notices to the state government and the Board of Cricket for Control in India ( BCCI) while hearing a PIL. The Court has asked why IPL matches are being shifted to Jaipur from Maharashtra at a time when the state was also reeling from water shortage. Click here for the full coverage of the IPL 2016, including commentary, fixtures, scorecards and more<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Notices have been issued to Public Health Engineering department (PHED) Water Resources Department, Sports and Youth department and Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) also, reports Hindustan Times. They have to file the reply by April 27. A PIL was filed on Wednesday before Rajasthan High Court questioning the decision to shift IPL matches. Earlier Bombay HC instructed that all matches post April 30 have to be shifted out of Maharashtra owing to severe water shortage in the drought-hit state. Later, the match between Rising Pune Super Giants and Mumbai Indians scheduled for May 1 was allowed to be held in Pune .

NIT Srinagar students to stage protest against HRD ministry at Jantar Mantar on April 20

The students of National Institute of Technology (NIT), Srinagar, will stage a protest at Jantar Mantar in the national capital on Wednesday against the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD)’s handling of the NIT row.The students will gather at the Jantar Mantar at around 2.00 pm on April 20, during which they will burn effigies of MHRD and Joint Secretary of MHRD. The students are of opinion that MHRD is not in favour of NIT students community and that their demands are not being addressed well by MHRD.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 2,000 non-Kashmiri students earlier left the NIT in a mass exodus, following the state of unrest in the campus after clashes broke out between local and outstation students post India’s defeat in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup.The situation worsened last week when the outstation students tried to take out a march outside the campus, but were stopped eventually leading to baton-charge by the police.

To deal with water crisis, Uddhav Thackeray wants water for breweries to be stopped

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said Maharashtra government should stop water supply to beer manufacturing units in the drought-hit Marathwada region to tackle acute shortage of drinking water.”Water supply to beer units should be stopped in view of the drought,” Uddhav said at Aurangabad, where the breweries are located.However, a BJP minister in the Devendra Fadnavis-led government on Saturday said cutting off water supply to breweries won’t be such a good idea.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If beer units are using drinking water, it should be stopped. But discontinuing supply of water reserved for them as industrial units is not alright,” Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde said in Beed, also in the Marathwada region.s.Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan said he has sought a report from the Aurangabad Divisional Commissioner and other senior officials on the requirement of water for liquor companie”If needed, we will not hesitate to stop water supply to these units,” he said.

Indian nationalism pluralistic, not domain of any religion: Shashi Tharoor

The idea of Indian nationalism emerged from ancient civilisation and youngsters should strive to preserve pluralism which is essential for “survival” of the country, senior Congress leader and former minister Shashi Tharoor said in Mumbai on Friday.”The magic of Indian nationalism is that its not based on a particular language, a particular geography, a particular religion or even a particular ethnicity. Indian nationalism is an idea emerging from ancient civilisation, united by a shared history and sustained by our pluralist democracy. As young Indian and future leader you must aspire to preserve this pluralism, which is so essential for India’s survival,” he said while addressing a convocation ceremony at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) in suburban Vile Parle.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tharoor said India is fast becoming an “entrepreneurship- driven economy” which has changed its perception on global stage.”India is increasingly becoming an entrepreneurship- driven economy. Indians abroad have already proved themselves in a number of start-ups they have helmed in places like Silicon Valley. And I know that there is a place not too far from here being called Powai Valley for increasing number of start-ups that are located there. All these have gone on to change our outlook of world,” the Thiruvananthapuram MP said.He told students that they have abundant opportunities in present era compared to the 1970’s.”I remember very few options were available to graduating students in India of 1970s. In early 1970s, our economy was still very close, sociologist protectionist, international exposure was limited and the word ‘globalisation’ had not even been heard. But today world is smaller and the opportunities are far greater. Today’s graduates have a wide variety of choices in India or outside,” Tharoor added.A total of 349 students of MBA, MBA (Pharmaceutical Management) and MBA (Human Resources) were conferred degrees on the occasion while remaining 347 students will be getting them tomorrow.

JNU and HCU have perform ‘quite well’ in ranking of Indian educational institutions

The Jawaharlal Nehru University and University of Hyderabad are learnt to have performed quite well in ranking of Indian educational institutions, which will be released on Monday.Sources in Human Resources Development Ministry said that nearly 3,500 institutions will be ranked in six categories. It is learnt there will be separate categories for technical institutions, management institutions and universities.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Research is one of the significant yardsticks in the ranking process and both the JNU and University of Hyderabad have performed quite well, the sources said.The University of Hyderabad and JNU were in the news recently over the death of Rohith Vemula and sedition row, respectively.

Bihar: Uma Bharti challenges CM Nitish Kumar to ban foreign liquor too

A day after she welcomed Bihar assembly’s passage of a bill providing for partial ban on manufacturing-trading of illicit liquor in the state, Union Minister Uma Bharti on Friday asked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to “show courage” and ban foreign liquor too.”What happened Nitishji? You banned country-made liquor, but allowed sell of foreign liquor. Show courage and ban foreign liquor too,” Bharti tweeted.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Thursday, the Union Water Resources Minister had termed the passage of the bill as a “very good” step and urged Kumar to “keep up” with the work.The Bihar assembly had on Wednesday passed unanimously a bill providing for capital punishment to those manufacturing or trading in illicit liquor. The assembly had also adopted a resolution that its members will not consume liquor.In the first phase, there will be a complete prohibition in rural areas besides a complete ban on country-made liquor across the state while Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) will be sold in limited areas of the state i.e. municipal corporations and councils.

Now, a European woman accuses RK Pachauri of harassment

In more embarrassment for former TERI boss R K Pachauri, a European woman who claimed to be his former secretary, has now accused him of sexual harassment, after two women who worked at the environment think tank levelled similar charges against him.LIVE INDIA vs WEST INDIES 2nd semi final T20, ICC World T20In a letter to well known advocate Vrinda Grover, who is representing the complainant in the sexual harassment case against the eminent environmentalist, the woman said she had worked at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) as Pachauri’s secretary in 2008. She had contacted Grover in February 2015 after she came to know of an FIR against Pachauri in a sexual harassment case.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When contacted, Pachauri refused to comment but his lawyer Ashish Dixit termed it as a “conspiracy” to defame his client and questioned why every time such a case came up it was Grover who gave statements and there were no police complaints.
ALSO READ RK Pachauri denies sexual harassment charges; says his emails were hackedGrover sent to media houses the statment of the woman who said, “I remember that in the third week of February 2015, I had read some news reports which said that an employee of TERI had filed a criminal complaint against R K Pachauri for sexually harassing her. On reading these news reports, I was 0 percent surprised. I can very much relate to what the other women wrote in her statement.”The woman, who claimed she was 19 when Pachauri harassed her, will be represented by Grover and another lawyer Ratna Appnender. Appnender said that although the police was informed about the statement and told that the woman was ready to present herself before them, they did not make any effort to contact her.The woman, whose exact nationality was not revealed, said she noticed a “big difference” in the way Pachauri behaved with her and Indian men with whom he maintained a “polite distance”.When contacted, Pachauri said, “Please talk to my lawyer Ashish Dikshit. My lawyer will speak on the subject.” Dixit said, “It is a conspiracy by Vrinda Grover to defame Pachauri. Everytime a woman is said to make allegations, it is only to press, not to police or court.”Why is that every woman comes and reports to Vrinda Grover. There is some conspiracy. It only happens when there is some court hearing. There is a matter coming up. To prejudice the judges these types of reports are aired,” he said.”The serious question is why every girl who has no identity approaches Grover and she is the one who gives statement to media. Is there no police or no court,” he said.The woman alleged that the “tipping point” came when Pachauri asked her to join him at his summer residence outside Delhi which is when she spoke out and asked him to be more professional towards him after which she was transferred to another department of TERI.”I left New Delhi a few weeks after that. During these weeks I spoke quite openly about my experience and I found out from many sources that this was nothing new and that Pachauri has been involved in many similar situations,” she said.She said that her contract, which was for a period of one year, was abruptly terminated after a period of just 4 months and, after the termination, she did not think there was any point in contesting it. “I also felt very relieved that I would not have to face Pachauri’s sexual harassment any longer. I left New Delhi a few weeks after this and returned to Europe,” she said.Amid mounting outrage over Pachauri’s conduct following allegations of sexual harassment by a TERI woman employee, in connection with which he is facing a court case, another former employee of the think tank had in February made similar accusations against him.Pachauri quit as chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change after the case was registered against him. There is “sufficient evidence” against Pachauri that he sexually harassed, stalked and threatened his former woman colleague, the Delhi Police had said in its charge sheet filed before a court early this month.

Israel to partner with India in water management, confirms envoy Carmon

New Delhi: After agriculture and defence, Israel is all set to cooperate with India in the area of water management, Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon said on Wednesday.

“If you take the concept of collaboration in defence adaptive to other areas like we did in agriculture, the next big thing we would like to do would be in water,” Carmon told media persons here ahead of the India Water Week from April 4 for which Israel has been chosen as the partner country.

Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon PTI

Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon PTI

“We are already doing. We already have some success stories here in India,” he said.

“But the potential is so big and the need is so big and the interest of both countries is so big that we should and we can do much more.”

Carmon said that when President Pranab Mukherjee visited Israel in October last year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered to share his country’s expertise in the areas of water management, recycling, desalination and irrigation.

He said that Israel was closely following the various programmes of the Indian government in the area of water.

“Since we have encountered pretty similar challenges in Israel, since over the years we have faced acute water shortage… I can share with you that a few years ago there was a water crisis in Israel,” the ambassador said.

He said that Israel gets about 500-600 mm of rainwater in a year “which is nothing when you compare to the need.”

“We have a development laboratory in which we have research and development, in which we have developed technologies,” he said.

“Water is definitely one area in which we have developed so many new technologies.”

Carmon said that Israel would love to share its expertise in water in areas indicated by India and would encourage Israeli companies to work in India in these areas.

He said that Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel would lead an Israeli delegation, including experts in water technologies, for the India Water Week during the course of which a number of seminars and meetings have been planned.

Ariel, along with union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, will jointly inaugurate an exhibition and the Israeli pavilion at Pragati Maidan here on April 5.

The next day, the visiting minister will leave for Ladwa in Haryana where he will inaugurate a centre of excellence in agriculture that has been built with Israeli assistance.

Stating that agriculture and water were closely linked in terms of food security, Carmon said that Israel was a leader in drip irrigation technology.

He said that there was vast scope for cooperation between India and Israel in the area of water.“

“For example, here in India there are eight plants where Israeli technology desalinates water from the sea,” Carmon said.

“Eight is nothing. We could have 800 plants,” he said.

YSR Congress gives privilege notices against Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu, three ministers

The opposition YSR Congress on Friday issued separate notices for moving privilege motions against Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and three ministers for making “unparliamentary” comments against the Leader of Opposition YS Jaganmohan Reddy in the assembly.The three Andhra Pradesh ministers against whom notices were moved are Devineni Umamaheswara Rao (Water Resources), K Atchannaidu (Youth Affairs) and Kamineni Srinivas (Health). “We would like to raise a privilege motion under Rule 168 against Leader of the House (Naidu) for making unconcerned, unwarranted and unparliamentary remarks against Leader of Opposition on March 9, 2016 during the Chief Minister’s reply to the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address.” “He (Naidu) also used unparliamentary language on March 14 during the discussion on no-confidence motion against the government,” the YSRC MLAs said in the notice issued to the Andhra Pradesh Legislature Secretary. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the notice against K Atchannaidu, the YSRC MLAs said the Youth Affairs Minister used unparliamentary language on March 14. The Health Minister made unparliamentary remarks on March 9 while the Water Resources Minister made the comments on the 14th, the YSRC said in the notices. The YSRC’s move comes against the backdrop of the ongoing political fight between the ruling and the opposition parties in the AP Assembly over the year-long suspension of MLA R K Roja from the House and the privilege proceedings currently underway against four other MLAs of the Jagan-led party. The Privileges Committee of the Assembly is scheduled to meet at 3 pm tomorrow to discuss the motions against the YSRC MLAs based on the enquiry report submitted by a committee headed by Deputy Speaker Mandali Buddha Prasad.

Amid water crisis, Maharastra CM directs corporations to stop water supply to swimming pools

In a major decision, Maharashtra government has asked municipal corporations not to supply water to swimming pools in cities. Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis issued orders to all municipal corporations in view of the severe water scarcity the state is facing after last year’s extremely poor rains.The Marathwada region in Maharashtra, which generally receives poor rainfall, is the worst affected and is left with just 5% water in its dams. Other regions, too, have hardly any water left before the onset of this year’s monsoon which is at least two and a half months away.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mumbai, Thane and adjoining areas are reeling under the scarcity situation too. The Navi Mumbai region is facing water cuts as high as 60% while Mumbai is most likely to see water cut to ensure city has enough water to last till the rains.Rain dance, pool parties at hotels, which are usually the norm during the Holi festival coming up later this month, have been banned. In Thane, hoteliers have decided to serve just half a glass of water to avoid wastage. It has been decided that patrons will be served more water only if asked.”We can play dry Holi. Use less water. I do not say don’t play Holi. I appeal that everyone in the state celebrate the festival as dry Holi,” Fadnavis said at a water awareness programme in Mantralaya in Mumbai. On the occasion, Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan told reporters that all municipal corporations in the state have been directed to shut down swimming pools in their respective limits till the onset of the monsoon. He said all civic bodies have also been requested to make drinking water a priority and not provide water to theme parks till monsoon arrives in the state.Mahajan also said orders have been issued to civic bodies not to provide water tankers for revellers and organisers of ‘rain dance’ during Holi and Rang Panchami festival on March 23 and 24, respectively.”Rain dance has to be stopped. Likewise, water cannot be supplied to theme parks when in other places people have to walk for several miles to get drinking water. Municipal Corporations have thus been requested to ensure water is not wasted in theme parks,” he said.With PTI inputs.

RK Pachauri sexual harassment case: Delhi HC rejects plea seeking cancelleation of anticipatory bail

Delhi High Court dismissed a woman’s plea seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to TERI’s Executive Vice Chairman R K Pachauri, accused in a sexual harassment case, observing there was “no manifest error” in the trial court’s order granting the relief. Justice S P Garg noted that the trial court’s March 21, 2015 order granting anticipatory bail to Pachauri, was based upon “fair appraisal” of materials and all relevant aspect of the matter were “considered minutely”. It observed that the petitioner, a former female research analyst of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), has failed to impress as to why Pachauri’s custodial interrogation was required. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court said while granting relief to Pachauri, the trial court had already imposed stringent conditions on him.”The impugned order dated March 21, 2015 is based upon fair appraisal of the materials and all the relevant aspects of the matter have been considered minutely,” the court said, adding, “this Court finds no manifest error in the matter of grant of bail by the trial court.”The court noted that the State had not approached it for cancellation of anticipatory bail and during the arguments on the plea moved by the women, the investigating officer had not pressed for custodial interrogation of the accused.The court also said that “very cogent and overwhelming circumstances” were necessary for an order of cancellation of bail which has already been granted.Referring to certain instances raised by the complainant with regard to alleged interference by Pachauri in the probe, the court said, “…it can’t be inferred that he (Pachauri) had influenced the investigation or had attempted to interfere with it in any manner.”The court passed the order on the women’s plea in which she had alleged that “free and fair investigation” cannot be carried out if Pachauri was “allowed to roam around freely”.Pachauri had contended there was “nothing on record” to suggest he had influenced witnesses or any other person related to the case or interfered in the probe.Recently, police had filed a charge sheet in the case against Pachauri before a trial court for the alleged offences under several sections including 354 (outraging woman’s modesty), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman). Pachauri has denied all the allegations levelled against him.

Tamil Nadu political leaders oppose Sanskrit in schools

The Union government’s attempt to make three languages in school mandatory has not found approval with the political leaders in Tamil Nadu. Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani had recently made an announcement that Sanskrit would be made available as a third language in all the CBSE and ICSE schools in India.According to The New Indian Express, DMK leader Karunanidhi has stated that the Modi government has been trying to impose Sanskrit in schools since it came to power in 2014. In a statement, he said, “Having discussions only at the ministerial-level regarding decisions like this of national importance involving non-Hindi speaking states is condemnable and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should intervene and ensure that linguistic diversity is preserved.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss has also denounced this, said the daily. He reportedly said that a third language should remain optional and it should be up to the children to learn a language, like how it was currently. He also stated that the MHRD ministry had been trying to impose Sanskrit through various ways including Sanskrit week celebrations, making it part of the university syllabus, etc. He felt that students would suffer.The report adds that GK Vasan of the Tamil Manila Congress has also opposed this move. He felt that the MHRD has several other issues to be resolved like improving college infrastructure, preventing commercialisation of education and filling up teacher vacancies. He asked that the Centre retract the decision.

Govt to have ‘grand’ Yoga Day celebrations this year: Ayush

The international Yoga Day will be celebrated on a “grand scale” this year with the government issuing an “improved” common protocol of asanas, besides holding other events to attract people specially students.Ayush Minister Shripad Yesso Naik on Friday said the Ministry of Human Resources Development has also been asked to organise a Yoga Olympiad to popularise the practice among students.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Ayush Ministry has decided to celebrate the International Yoga Day on a grand scale as compared to last year. A 45-minute common yoga protocol has been developed by experts committee of the yoga gurus, which is an improved version of last year’s event. We are requesting various yoga institutions to provide necessary technical support and guidance to the state for the event,” Naik said.He was addressing the ministers and senior bureaucrats of states and Union Territories. June 21 is celebrated as the World Yoga day.”In addition, we have also requested Ministry of Human Resources Development to organise a Yoga Olympiad involving school children,” Naik said.Anil Kumar Ganeriwala, Joint Secretary in the Ministry, said “we are requesting important yoga institutions to provide technical guidelines to a group of states within their states so that there will be collaboration between the state governments and yoga institutions.”The Centre for Support for Yoga and Naturopathy will give funds to NGOs in each district of the country to organise a one-month training programme.

Exclusive: Smriti Irani plays irate headmistress to VCs, raps them for dozing off at seminar

By Shishir Tripathi

It isn’t just students who are getting it from the BJP. The party has decided to badger the vice-chancellors of all Indian central universities as well. Union Human Resources Development minister Smriti Irani today roundly lambasted the 42 VCs gathered at a closed-door meeting in Surajkund, Haryana on Thursday, during which she scolded, castigated and played headmistress to some of the country’s senior-most academics. As part of her tirade, Irani ticked off a few VCs who fell asleep during the proceedings and ordered a faculty member to leave the hall for attempting to click her picture.

Smriti Irani. PTI

Smriti Irani. PTI

The three universities that are in the news – JNU, Jadavpur and Hyderabad – were among those present.

Irani delivered a 30-minute soliloquy that doubled as a harangue – she demanded that the VCs emerge from their “comfortable cocoons” and “do what you are expected to do”. The minister snapped at the academics for keeping “posts vacant on the pretext that eligible candidates [to those positions]”.

“Remember you are at the mercy of tax payers’ money. Do not enjoy this as a fully tax-free paid holiday,” she scolded those in the conference hall. “Search your soul when you go back from here and appraise your own work.” Most vice chancellors were taken aback at being admonished like school-going children.

That this day-long session, organised to address gender-sensitisation and revision of academic curricula, would turn into an extended exercise in the HRD minister reprimanding educationists who run some of the country’s premier institutions became apparent early in the day, when a member of the faculty that organised the event attempted to take Irani’s picture. The minister ordered the (unidentified) man to leave the hall. Later, when proceedings began and the minister discovered that a few VCs had fallen asleep during University Grants Commission chairman Ved Prakash’s speech, she thundered: “How could you doze off in the midst of an important meeting and teach people discipline?”

Irani then demanded to know what exactly the VCs did for a living and how many times they had involved themselves in revising university curricula. The minister switched from the stuff of text books to the running of universities, alluding to the recent dismissal of Visva-Bharti University VC, Sushanta Dattagupta, the first ever sacking of the head of a central university. “Don’t become the VC just to get a lal batti (red beacon) fitted on top of your car,” she told those assembled.

Sources who were present told Firstpost the VCs received her censure meekly, and remained subservient throughout.

42 central universities and vice-chancellors

Siachen avalanche: Bodies of three soldiers brought to Bengaluru

The mortal remains of two soldiers from Karnataka and one from Tami Nadu, who were buried alive by an avalanche in the Siachen Glacier, were brought here today.The bodies of Sepoy Mahesh from Mysuru and Subedar Nagesh from Hassan, along with that of one soldier from Krishnagiri in neighbouring Tamil Nadu were brought onboard an IAF aircraft at the HAL Airport this evening.Bengaluru city in-charge minister K J George along with leaders from political parties and defence officials received the bodies with military honour. The bodies will be taken to their home town by road from the airport, Defence officials said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Of the nine soldiers lost their lives in the Siachen tragedy Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad , Sepoy Mahesh and Subedar Nagesh are from Karnataka. Hanumanthappa, who was the lone survivor when rescued fromSiachen, died on Thursday in the Army hospital in New Delhi after almost a week-long battle.The Karnataka government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 25 lakh along with land and job for the kin of the deceased. Meanwhile, last rites of gunner Sahadev Maruti More, killed in an encounter with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, was performed at his native village in Vijayapura district today with full military and state honour.Water Resources Minister M B Patil, IT Minister S R Patil, several political leaders and officials were present as More s father lit the funeral pyre. The army killed five suspected Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants while losing two soldiers, including More, during an overnight encounter that ended on Saturday in Kupwara district bordering Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.It was a tragic end for More as he was scheduled to return next week to his native place for his marriage. He had delayed the wedding to allow his bride to complete her education.

#PachauriHatao: Why TERI refuses to sack its executive vice chairman and why it’s important it does

By Dinesh C Sharma

Environment scientist Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, who is at the centre of a snowballing sexual harassment case, is one of the oldest serving heads of any academic institution or think tank in India. When I asked a former senior employee of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) as to why the institution is not parting ways with him even after serious criminal charges, he said “because TERI is synonymous with Pachauri. You can’t think of one without another.”

The institution is seen as a baby of the former locomotive engineer who has headed it for close to 35 years, for most part of its existence. Though conceived and established by Darbari Seth, who was chairman of several Tata group companies, it is Pachauri who is widely credited with transforming TERI from a small research group into a global energy and environment think tank.

Most senior researchers and scientists in TERI owe their careers to Pachauri as he is the only director they have worked with. Over the three decades, Pachauri built a loyal base of supporters within the organization, maintaining a rapport even with non-technical staff such as security guards and lift-men. This is the reason protests from within the organization have been rather muted, and coming only from lateral entrants or former employees.

RK Pachauri. ReutersRK Pachauri. Reuters

RK Pachauri. Reuters

As an institution, TERI appears reluctant to disassociate with its tainted head because it was Pachauri who has been the prime mover behind major projects of the institute. TERI mainly works with central government ministries in power, energy and environment sectors. Funds from the government have continued to flow to TERI irrespective of party in power.

A second major source of projects and income of TERI comes from international multi-lateral agencies such as the World Bank and UN agencies. In both the sectors – national and international – it was the clout of Pachauri that gave TERI an edge in bagging contracts.

“If a project leader faced any hurdle from any ministry, they would just go to him who would pick up the phone and speak to joint secretary concerned,” an employee said. Hiring retired secretaries of ministries concerned as Fellows also helps the institute maintain close ties with important government departments.

Pachauri expanded his network internationally in the 1990s, culminating in his appointment as Chairman of the UN’s Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, which further added to his clout. The high point of his career was when he collected the Nobel peace prize on behalf of IPCC.

He even got a second term at IPCC, despite a storm over inaccuracies is some reports of IPCC and allegations of his connections with the fossil fuel industry. It was his IPCC connection that got him a top job in Yale University. But he had to resign from the climate change panel, soon after an FIR was lodged in the sexual harassment case.

Continued association of Pachauri with TERI has begun to dent the brand image of the institute. The first casualty has been TERI’s annual high profile event – Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) for 2016, which has been postponed. It is usually held in February and is marketed as a follow-up forum for climate change talks that end in December every year.

The event in the past decade has been attended by UN secretary general, presidents, prime ministers, Nobel laureates and corporate bigwigs. No new dates have been announced for DSDS 2016 till now. Logically speaking, TERI should have gone ahead with the summit without Pachauri if the event has developed a brand of its own in the past 15 years.

It is for the first time in his career that Pachauri is facing continued bad weather. He was successful in warding off the controversy about IPCC reports and conflict of interest issues raised in Western media by blaming climate skeptics and anti-environment lobbies for the same. He even won a defamation suit in the UK. However, this time around he is in a tight spot and solely banking on support from the institute and its handpicked governing council.

Given the seriousness of the charges, it would be better for TERI if it ends its long association with Pachauri right away.

Protests grow against RK Pachauri; Teri students refuse to take degrees from him

Amid fresh allegations, protests against RK Pachauri appear to be growing. A group of students from the 2013-2015 batch of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) have now refused to accept their degrees from Pachauri at their convocation to be held in March this year.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite allegations of sexual harassment by a former colleague, RK Pachauri was on Monday appointed as the Executive Vice Chairman of TERI, after Ajay Mathur had taken over the charge of Director General from him.According to a report in a leading daily, 20 former students from MSc, MTech, MA and MBA courses wrote in a letter addressed to Rajiv Seth, acting vice-chancellor, making it clear that they were not in a position to accept their degrees from Pachauri at the convocation.
ALSO READ #dnaEdit: RK Pachauri’s return to TERI sets bad precedent”We reiterate the trajectory that the university is taking is dangerous and grossly inconsiderate, and as alumni, we sincerely hope that Teri University’s board of management seriously re-evaluates Pachauri’s continuing role as chancellor…,” the report says, referring to the letter.According to another report, the letter also accuses Pachauri of using all his political clout, media influence and networks to stall the judicial process and intimidate witnesses.
ALSO READ RK Pachauri’s promotion shameless, made my flesh crawl: ComplainantMeanwhile, a group of former TERI employees condemned the appointment of Pachauri as Executive Vice Chairman of the green body, saying that it was a “slap” in the face of those fighting against gender discrimination and demanded deferment of his elevation till the case comes to an end legally.”This latest appointment of Pachauri as the ‘superboss’ of TERI, comes across as a slap in the face of all those (women and men) who have ever tried to stand up against gender discrimination or sexual harassment at workplace,” the group under the banner of ‘A few concerned ex-TERI employees and members of TERI University Alumni network’ said in a statement.

Centre-Maharashtra to soon discuss river interlinking project

Maharashtra Water Resources minister Girish Mahajan on Wednesday said a high-level meeting will be held soon in the metropolis to discuss and resolve issues plaguing the Nar-Par-Tapi-Narmada river-linking project. Mahajan, who attended the eighth meeting of the Special Committee for interlinking of rivers in Delhi on Monday also said that in the meeting, he stressed that excess water from the Nar-Par-Tapi-Narmada basin must not be allowed to go to Gujarat. Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Uma Bharti had chaired the meeting. “In the meeting, we discussed the hurdles in the water inter-linking project, which will pass through various states,” he said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have a dispute with Gujarat over the share of water from the Nar-Par-Tapi-Narmada basin. We do not want to let water of our share go to the neighbouring state,” he said. He added that though Maharashtra is possessive over its share of water, it is not possible to lift water from the basin at a height of 600 to 800 meter and divert it in some other part of the state. “The scheme is not viable and impossible to implement. Hence, instead, we are demanding an equal share of water from Tapi river to Maharashtra from Gujarat. But, Gujarat is opposing the solution. This was raised in the meeting and Uma Bharti intervened in the issue,” he said.He further said that according to her instructions, a high level meeting will be held in Mumbai. “It was decided to meet on February 16, but it may be changed by a day or two as Uma Bharti has called a meeting in Bhopal on the same day. Union Secretaries along with officials from state water resource department will attend the meeting,” he said.The proposed Par-Tapi-Narmada river interlinking project, aimed at diverting “surplus” water from parts of west flowing rivers like Par, Nar, Ambika and Auranga basins in Maharashtra, is all set to become a major cause of conflict between Gujarat and Maharashtra. Maharashtra has made it clear to Gujarat that it does not have “any water to spare”.

Fifty Shades of Grope: RK Pachauri’s lecherous mails, texts and messages to his TERI colleague

The reinstatement of RK Pachauri in TERI with the post of executive vice-chairman — a designation carved out specially for him — has rightly been lambasted and ridiculed in equal measure.

Reproduced below are the email, SMS and WhatsApp exchanges in which Pachauri indulged with his colleague.

LiveIndia has published a collection of electronic messages allegedly sent by Rajendra Pachauri to an unnamed woman who has filed a police complaint against him alleging sex assault, harassment, and stalking. These messages appear in a 14-page police document known as a First Information Report (FIR) and have been cut-and-pasted here. Their content has not been altered.

However, formatting has been added by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Days of the week have been inserted in purple type. The Pachauri messages are in black type. The complainant’s are in blue. Line numbering has also been added. The complainant is a 29-year-old woman who began working at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in September 2013. Pachauri, aged 74, has led TERI for more than 30 years.

The final two pages of this document (Appendix) contain a short statement from a second woman, who worked at TERI a decade ago.

Pachauri Allegations Formatted

Jitan Ram Manjhi now points fingers at Centre in Rohith Vemula’s suicide case

BJP ally Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi on Friday raised fingers at the Centre for reportedly reinstating the Vice Chancellor of Hyderabad University.”Vice Chancellor Appa Rao, an accused in the suicide of Hyderabad Dalit student Rohith Vemula and who had gone on leave in the wake of the tragedy, has been reportedly reinstated by the Human Resources Development Ministry,” Manjhi said at a press conference.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Union Government’s intention does not appear clean in the incident,” Manjhi, former Chief Minister of Bihar and a prominent Dalit leader, said.”We strongly condemn this,” Manjhi, whose party HAM is a partner of BJP in the NDA coalition, said.”If the Prime Minister is sensitive towards Dalits, he should intervene. VC Appa Rao should not be reinstated till the probe is over. If he is found innocent, than he can be appointed anywhere,” Manjhi added.The HAM leader, who is the sole MLA of his party in the current Assembly, also attacked the Nitish Kumar government for non-payment of scholarships to SC, ST and OBC students.

1,600 villages along Ganga to be made filth free, says Union Minister Uma Bharti

The Centre will implement a four-pronged programme in which as many as 1,600 villages along the Ganga stretch will be made filth free by October, Union Minister Uma Bharti said today.The government will implement the package in 1,600 village panchayat headquarters along the river banks within the next six months and complete the first phase of Ganga cleaning by October this year, she said.The second phase will be attained in four years after that in which 6,000 villages will be taken up for the programme, the Water Resources Minister said. Bharti was speaking on the sidelines of ‘Swachh Ganga- Gramin Sahbhagita’, a national-level consultation programme organised for heads of villages located along the river banks.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The event, considered to be the first attempt to rope in villagers in the ‘Clean Ganga’ mission, saw participation of around 1,200 panchayat heads. “There is a need to take care of four things for cleaning villages along the Ganga. Those are…where will sewage water go? How to divert drains flowing into the river? “How to convert waste generating from the villages into fertilizers, and how to generate employment by cultivating medicinal plants along the river?” she said.The Water Resources Ministry also inked MoUs with HRD, Shipping, Rural Development, Sports, Tourism, Ayush and Youth Affairs and Sports Ministries for carrying out various activities under the ‘Namami Gange’ programme. As per the MoUs, all institutes affiliated to HRD along the river stretch will join the mission and old water bodies located along the Ganga and the Yamuna will be restored.Government is also planning to initiate organic farming along Ganga banks to generate jobs for local youth.Bharti said several celebrities and renowned personalities, including spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and film actor Amitabh Bachchan, have expressed desire to be part of the mission. Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Birender Singh, Sarbananda Sonowal, Mahesh Sharma and Sanwar Lal Jat also attended the event. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, eco-activist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal and ayurveda exponent Acharya Balkrishna also attended the event, along with around 1,200 panchayat heads.

NUEPA designs teacher training curriculum for better handling of on-campus crises

National University of Educational Planning and Research (NUEPA) designs curriculum for empowering teachers teaching in the higher education sector. Unlike the existing courses that only work as refresher models, NUEPA’s one year program will help university teachers not just brush up their academic curriculum, but will also enable them to handle administrative crises and build a better connect with students.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Faculty working at NUEPA also feels that adequate administrative understanding would have helped Hyderabad University handle Rohith Vemula’s suicide case with more sensitivity.The university is designing a one-year diploma course for teachers. This online program aspires to enable faculty members understand the importance and powers of the autonomous university set up. It will also help teachers understand traditional and modern teaching techniques and will emphasise the social, psychological and economic contexts of learning.Currently there are 66 academic staff colleges affiliated to the University Grants Commission. These colleges offer orientation, refresher and short term courses to teachers.The Human Resources Development ministry has also set up the Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Training Centre at Banaras Hindu University campus. The institute aims at providingqualified faculty to fill in the vacant posts across universities. The scheme also aims at developing centres of excellence for curriculum and pedagogy.The new curriculum being designed by NUEPA, however, aims at providing learning and teaching skills to teachers, to make them aware of the university system and to make them recognise their rights as facultyas well as duties towards the students and their institution.”Young professionals entering as teachers are just out of student life. Scientists or researchers entering teaching have had a long sabbatical from teaching and teaching techniques. Both these teachers learn the art of teaching in due course,” explained a NUEPA professor.”The idea of this diploma is to give a head start to the teachers, instead of letting teachers struggle with the system to learn teaching methodologies and do refresher courses,” added the professor.The faculty working on the project also feels that incidences like the suicide by a Dalit student at Hyderabad University could have been avoided and could have been dealt with more maturity had the teachers possessed a sound knowledge of the university traditions. “Not all teachers are actively involved in political activities on campus. But they must be aware of the university culture, the needs of the education society and their duties towards the students and the system outside the classrooms,” explained the professor.

Assam Govt spreading ‘misinformation’ on NEIPP: Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday took accused Assam’s Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government of spreading ‘misinformation’ on the North East Industrial Promotion Policy, initiated by the UPA-1 government in 2007.Asserting there has been a lot of misinformation spread by Assam Congress regarding the policy, Sitharaman said, “To begin with, NEIPP as a policy has several loopholes. It was an open ended scheme with no limit on the number of proposals to be accepted from the industries. However, very limited budget was allocated for it.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gogoi had earlier accused the Narendra Modi government of suspending registration of business under the policy. Speaking at the Assam Nirman’s Inaugural Conclave in Guwahati hosted by the BJP state unit, the Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry said, “Only approx Rs 700 crore was earmarked for NEIPP in the 11th Five Year Plan. To put it in contrast, the disbursement in a single year of 2014-15 has been more than that. The NEIPP has resulted in uneven sectoral growth with most of the benefits going to only a few sectors like cement industry. There is a need to rationalise this before reopening the scheme for fresh proposals.”Asserting that the NDA government was committed towards economic development of the state, the Union Minister said a new industry promotion scheme for the North East was being considered by the Ministry of Finance whereby future funding could be re-routed through the DoNER Ministry using its Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR-Central Scheme).’Assam Nirman’ is an effort on part of the BJP’s state unit to reach out to intellectuals and civil society for participatory agenda setting for the state.

PM Modi suggests his ministers to meet every month for a comprehesive review of schemes

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday laid thrust on quicker delivery of the government’s developmental agenda as he embarked on a comprehensive review of the ongoing schemes in a first of its kind meeting of the Council of Ministers.Modi is also learnt to have expressed concern over the soaring price of pulses in the over three-hour-long meeting during which the status of projects of some ministries were reviewed. It was also decided to hold such meetings every fourth Wednesday of each month during which similar review of other ministries would be carried out, sources said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reviewing the progress of schemes of ministries including Agriculture, Rural Development, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Chemical and Fertilizer and Water Resources, Modi emphasised the need to take the government’s initiatives to people. He also asked ministers to be well-versed in all subjects so that they can highlight the government’s achievements effectively when they communicate in public.Noting that the schemes launched so far for cleaning of river Ganga have failed to bring effective results, he called for out of box ideas to ensure greater participation participation of people for the success of his pet Namami Gange project, the sources said.Modi also sought suggestions for improving various schemes and their effective implementation.A key highlight of the meeting was the Prime Minister’s focus on how to increase the production of pulses in the country. The issue of soaring pulse price had been used by the Opposition to corner the government repeatedly including during the Bihar Assembly polls.The discussion on pulses saw Modi talking about long term measures required to be taken to increase their production and to create sufficient buffer stock. He also stressed on the need to take measures against hoarding. All these ministries are related to day to day needs of the people, especially farmers.The meeting also saw a discussion on rural jog flagship scheme MNREGA. The issue of direct release of wages to workers for its better implementation and empowerment of the states also came up for discussion.

Commission to probe Rohith Vemula’s suicide, sensitisation programme proposed

New Delhi/Hyderabad: The union human resource development ministry on Friday decided to set up a judicial commission to probe the circumstances which led to the suicide of Rohith Vemula of the Hyderabad University.

The commission will submit its report in three months.

The ministry took this decision based on the findings and observations of a fact-finding committee constituted to conduct an inquiry. The two panels submitted their reports to the ministry.

“Based on its observations and findings, the ministry decided to constitute a judicial commission to review the entire sequence of events and the circumstances; and to establish the facts and correctives in the context of the university,” an official statement said.

Rohith Vemula. File photo. Image courtesy: FacebookRohith Vemula. File photo. Image courtesy: Facebook

Rohith Vemula. File photo. Image courtesy: Facebook

“The commission will submit its report within three months,” it added.

Union Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani on Friday also spoke to the mother of Rohith Vemula over phone and extended her condolences.

The ministry, according to the statement, also took a few other decisions to address the issues faced by the students from disadvantaged social, economic and educational backgrounds in higher educational institutions comprehensively and to prevent such unfortunate incidents in future.

A programme will be launched for sensitising academic administrators about understanding and handling problems faced by socially, educationally and economically disadvantaged students.

All wardens, administrative staff and registrars would be compulsorily put through this orientation programme and a special module will be prepared for this.

A special mechanism would be set up at the ministry for receiving the grievances from these students and taking expeditious action on them.

IANS

There are attempts to mislead people about the efficacy of odd-even scheme: Gopal Rai

Alleging “misinformation” campaign over the efficacy of the ‘odd-even’ scheme, Delhi government on Monday claimed that it had a “definite” and visible impact in bringing down pollution in the city.Transport Minister Gopal Rai said that the AAP government was “upbeat” about the road rationing regulations and hoped that the people will follow the measures when imposed in the next round.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There were attempts to mislead people of Delhi on the effectiveness of the scheme. A misinformation campaign was going on but our reports suggest the scheme had a visible impact in bringing down the pollution level,” Rai told reporters.Rai cited reports released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Supreme Court appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), green bodies that have suggested that the scheme has had a positive impact.”Certain sections had said the scheme will be a failure but people responded wholeheartedly to the initiative proving the critics wrong,” Rai said.However, IndiaSpend, a data-driven portal, that has installed low cost sensors across Delhi said in a report that pollution levels (PM 2.5) rose 15 % during the odd-even period over the previous 15 days.When contacted, Samar Halarnkar of IndiaSpend said that the portal has merely reported the findings of its sensors and that it has no “political interest”.”We are just a data-driven public interest website and the information we disseminate is for public knowledge,” he said.In its report, the portal said that with four-wheelers accounting for “no more than 10 %” of Delhi’s overall vehicular pollution load, according to an IIT-Kanpur study, the need for other measures is obvious. The Delhi government had earlier claimed that the vehicular restrictions had managed to arrest the rise in peak pollution levels and that the overall reduction was no less than 25 %.

NGT slams Centre over pollution in river Ganga; says slogans are contrary to actions

The National Green Tribunal on Monday slammed the Centre and UP government over pollution in river Ganga in Varanasi and said their slogans are contrary to actions.”It is really very unfortunate that such things are going on. Why don’t you do something about this? Your slogans are very contrary to your actions,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.The green panel pulled up the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Ministry of Water Resources and UP government while asking them to look into the matter and deal with it expeditiously.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The observation came after advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal mentioned before the bench that bodies of humans and animals were being dumped in river Ganga and the authorities were allegedly not taking any action on the same.On January 15, the bench had directed Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand government to identify seriously polluting industries located on the banks of Ganga and apprise it about “quantity and quality” of discharge generated by them in the river.The green panel had also ordered a joint inspection by a team comprising officials from Central Pollution Control Board, UPPCB, UPCB and a representative from Environment Ministry at points where tributaries of river Ganga from Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh meet the Ganga.Earlier, the Tribunal had directed the Centre not to release funds for cleaning the river from Gomukh to Kanpur without its nod, chiding the two states for failing to identify the seriously polluting locations.