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Pakistan arrests 66 Indian fishermen for ‘illegal fishing’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sixty-six Indian fishermen have been arrested for alleged illegal fishing in Pakistani waters and a court here remanded them into custody on Saturday.The Indian fishermen along with five boats were arrested last evening for “illegally” fishing in Pakistan’s territorial waters and have been sent to jail by a judicial magistrate.The Maritime Security Agency had arrested the fishermen and seized five boats yesterday, a spokesman for the agency said.”The fishermen were arrested after they remained in Pakistani waters in the Arabian Sea despite warnings to move out of our territorial waters,” the spokesman said.Earlier on November 20, the Pakistani Maritime Security Agency had arrested 43 Indian fishermen for entering its territorial waters.Amin Marri, the station house officer of Docks police station, said the fishermen were booked under the Foreigner’s Act and the Fisheries Act and had now been sent to jail on court orders after being provided with clothing and food by a welfare organisation.Pakistan and India frequently arrest fishermen as there is no clear demarcation of the maritime border in the Arabian Sea and these fishermen do not have boats equipped with the technology to know their precise location.

UP Elections 2017: Ready to contest in all assembly seats, says Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress on Saturday said it was ready to contest all assembly seats in the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh, even as it chose not to comment on the internal affairs of Samajwadi Party.”We are working in all the seats … We have said we are ready to contest all the seats in the state and we are preparing for the polls,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. Asked about the fast-paced developments in ruling SP in UP, he said, “We don’t comment on the internal affairs of other parties. There had been a quarrel yesterday and today there was a patch up. It is a good thing. The family is together which is a good thing.”Speaking about the party’s campaign in the state, Surjewala said the Congress’ slogan is ’27 saal, UP behaal’ (27 years, UP in doldrums). Congress will contest the polls on the plank of development, rising above the caste and communal issues, he added.

Many questions remained unanswered, disappointed with PM Modi’s speech: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “disappointing” address, Congress on Saturday wondered why he did not mention how many “lakhs of crores” of black money the government managed to wipe out through demonetization in the last 50 days.Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said demonetization has paralysed the economy but the Prime Minister in his address did not answer many crucial questions. “Mr Prime Minister, people wanted to know how many lakhs of crores of black money did you wipe out in the last 50 days? Why didn’t you speak about it,” he asked. Surjewala said “We are disappointed with PM’s speech as many questions were left unanswered. His decision paralyzed economy; country can’t run this way.”The Congress once again asked Modi to withdraw the restrictions imposed on withdrawals post demonetization. Surjewala said the “so-called cleansing drive took 125lives of innocent Indians and put crores of people in severe difficulties. But the Prime Minister did not uttter a single word for those who died.” He said the 50 days the Prime Minister had asked for were over but there was no announcement on when he will take back the restrictions on withdrawal of cash.”The entire country was listening with curiosity that the Prime Minister will lift the restrictions on withdrawal of their hard earned money from banks. But people will still have to reel under this economic anarchy. “The Prime Minister said it will take time to improve the banking system in the new year. It means he believes in hitting headlines and not giving deadlines,” the Congress spokesperson added.Coming down hard on the Prime Minister, Surjewala said demonetization has taken away the jobs, hit the farmers and traders and made life difficult for every section of the society but there was no word of relief for them in PM’s address. “Who benefited from demonetization. Only a handful of 50 people who are Modiji’s friend. This is why he said yesterday that the deposits of the people in the banks would be used for strengthening banking system and infrastructure.The Congress Spokesperson said National Food Security Act already has special focus on women and entitles them to receive “maternity benefit of not less than Rs 6,000 and that there was nothing new in PM’s announcement of the financial assistance for them”.

Modi speech: PM thanks Indians for standing by demonetisation, rewards them with sops

Amid the celebrations to mark the beginning of a new year, what caught the fancy of the people in different parts of the country and kept them glued to their television sets and radios was Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s address to the nation.

The prime minister’s speech comes 52 days after his announcement of demonetisation, made in a similar address to the nation on 8 November.

Screenshot of PM Modi during his New Year's Eve addressScreenshot of PM Modi during his New Year's Eve address

Screenshot of PM Modi during his New Year’s Eve address

On Saturday evening, Modi thanked 1.25 billion Indians for the resilience they showed in bearing the problems that came with his demonetisation drive, and doing so with much dignity and patience.

Lauding Indians with a couplet “Kuch baat hai ki hasti mitti nahi hamari“, Prime Minister Modi said, “People of India have lived and proved this adage. What India has done will find no parallel in the world.”

Repeatedly thanking and applauding Indians for supporting the demonetisation decision, calling it a “shuddhi yagna”, Modi said that the evils of corruption and black money compelled even honest people to bend in despair, and made him feel “suffocated”. Modi said that these people wanted relief from such suffocation.

Dwelling more upon the resilience of the people, Modi said that on numerous instances — be during the Indo-China war or the Kargil war with Pakistan — people of India have displayed immense sacrifice and resilience. He added that they were all fights with outsiders, but after demonetisation, people were fighting to kill their inner evil, which was comparatively more difficult.

Talking about how people reacted positively to demonetisation, Modi said that a time will come when the country’s intelligentsia will discuss the fight shown by people in defeating their inner demons and deformities. He said the resilience shown by the people in the last 50 days was an epitome of sacrifice to defeat what was wrong.

“The events of 8 November told us how 1.25 crore Indians took the trouble and made the efforts to prove that honesty and virtuosity are most important,” Prime Minister added.

Accepting the pain that people have to face because of demonetisation, Modi said, “I know that to withdraw your own money, you had to bear pain. People shared their pain with me. But I realised that you considered me your own. You showed that you don’t want to be left behind in this fight against corruption.”

He added that the government’s top priority will now be to normalise the functioning of the banking system. Modi said that there will be renewed focus on every aspect of the sector, and especially on making things normal in rural areas.

Stressing on the fact that tax evasion has now become all-pervasive in the country, Modi said that as per official records, only 24 lakh people claim to be earning more than Rs 10 lakh, which is unbelievable given the opulence that is on display in most of the cities.

Sending a clear message to the “corrupt and dishonest” citizens of the country, Modi said that is very obvious now as to what will happen to them. “The law will take its own course. But government’s priority will be to ensure how the honest can be helped and be supported,” he said.

While lauding the efforts of the banking sector, who “worked really hard” in the last 52 days, he also made it amply clear that the people, including government officials, who have indulged in fraudulent practices, will not be spared.

Apart from stressing on demonetisation warning wrong doers, and applauding the honest, Modi also announced a slew of reforms and schemes to benefit the rural poor. Some of them were: An eight percent interest rate will be guaranteed on deposits of upto Rs 7.5 lakh for 10 years for senior citizens; interest will be paid monthly. Modi also announced a 4 percent interest rate cut against home loans of up to Rs 9 lakhs, and 3 percent against home loans upto Rs 12 lakhs for the year 2017.

While there will be detailed analysis of the reforms, the prime minister has sent out a clear message in his New Year’s Eve address: While the honest can expect ache din, it will surely be bure din (tough times) for the corrupt.

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 21:30 IST

From sops for senior citizens to affordable housing schemes: Top announcements by PM Modi on New Year’s Eve

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Addressing the nation on New Year’s Eve on the impact of demonetisztion and the roadmap ahead for the economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said India has gone through a massive cleansing process and purification drive (Shuddhi Yatra). In a 43-minute-long address to the nation, he said the citizens of the country were desperate to break free of corruption, but had never been given a chance to do so earlier, and had in fact gotten used to the idea of offering extra money to get their jobs done.Prime Minister Modi said India has set a new example for the world through this 50-day-long demonetisation exercise, adding that their commitment and discipline to tackle the cash crunch would be a living example for generations to come. ‘This is the first instance in India’s history when the government and the people have fought shoulder to shoulder. I got thousands of letters from the people who shared their pain, but they reaffirmed their resolve to stick with the process to root out corruption and black money,’ he said.He further stated that “125 crore Indians have proved that they are willing to wait in line at banks, but do not wish to be even one step behind in the drive against corruption.” He said that what would me most surprising to a majority of the citizens would be that, “Just 24 lakh Indians had admitted to having an income of more than Rs.10 lakhs,’, which was indicative of the very high level of tax eva sion being perpetrated by those not abiding by the law. Expressing confidence that the New Year would see lesser queues outside banks and things returning to normal, Prime Minister Modi said, ‘Banks have never before seen this sort of influx of cash’, and he would like to see personnel of these institutions focusing on helping the middle class and the poor.Here are the top highlights of speech: 8% interest rate will be guaranteed on deposits of up to Rs 7.5 lakh for 10 years for senior citizens; interest will be paid monthlyRs 6,000 to be put into accounts of pregnant women in 650 districts for vaccination and other medical useTwo new schemes under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana to provide 4% interest waiver on loan of up to Rs 9 lakh and of 3% on loan up to Rs 12 lakh.Banks have been asked to raise cash credit limit to small business to 25% from 20%Government to stand guarantee for loans up to Rs 2 crore from current Rs 1 crore, to small businesses3% interest waiver on loan up to Rs 2 lakh for construction of houses in rural India.Government to pay interest for 60 days on loans taken by farmers for rabi season from district cooperative banks and primary societies

I carry Amma in my soul, says Sasikala after taking reigns of AIADMK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pledging to take forward the legacy of Jayalalithaa, AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala on Saturday asserted that none other than party founder MG Ramachandran, Dravidian ideologue C N Annadurai and ‘Amma’ will be given prominence in the party.In her first formal address to functionaries after formally taking charge as party chief here, she said the AIADMK will continue to be run in the same way as during the time of Amma when it was administered with a level of “discipline as seen in the Army”.It will continue to follow in the footsteps of these great leaders who looked beyond caste and religion, she said. Her assertion comes against the backdrop of some murmur of protests against her taking over the post.Heaping encomiums on Jayalalithaa, she said, “let us follow like Vedas our Amma’s political lessons and her footsteps,” adding “this movement (AIADMK) which was shaped up by Amma is a people’s movement, this is people’s government, our journey will be in the path laid by Amma.” She said the “yardstick” followed by Jayalalithaa for elevation of cadres in the party organisation will continue to be the same and “we will not diverge even an iota from it.” Hailing Jayalalithaa for her courage, she said the late leader had stormed the male bastion of politics that has given confidence to women. “Today as a woman, if I have come forward to lead the party, a very important reason for it is the faith that crores of brothers and sisters will support me.” She said “no one can fill her (Jayalalithaa) vacuum even in another thousand years.””I carry Amma in my soul,” she said adding “we have assembled here to guard the confidence of Amma that it will be the AIADMK which will rule the State even for 100 more years …she was everything for me and for us all.” Thanking party leaders for unanimously naming her as party general secretary, Sasikala said she humbly accepted it out of a sense of duty. For the first time she publicly spoke on the death of Jayalalithaa amid demands for a probe by Opposition DMK.Sasikala said she had firmly believed that the former AIADMK chief would recover. “Although Amma’s health improved that facilitated her shift from Critical Care Unit to a private room, she had unfortunately passed away.”It was not thought of even in my dream and it was like a thunderbolt falling on one’s head(when she died)”, Sasikala said, adding her only wish had been Jayalalithaa’s well-being.

Demonstration against Sasikala’s appointment as AIADMK chief

Sat, 31 Dec 2016-04:04pm , Cuddalore , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A small group of AIADMK cadres and supporters of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s niece, Deepa Jayakumar, on Saturday staged a black flag protest here against appointment of VK Sasikala as party General Secretary.The protesters alleged that Sasikala was chosen to the top post against the party’s rules and regulations. No arrests were made, police said. Sasikala formally assumed charge as the AIADMK general secretary today.

Last minute patch-up in feud-ridden SP; Akhilesh Yadav, Ram Gopal back

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a massive show of strength by Akhilesh Yadav, who was expelled from SP by father Mulayam Singh Yadav, the party supremo on Saturday backed down revoking with immediate effect the expulsion orders of his son and brother Ram Gopal.After hectic confabulations involving Akhilesh Yadav’s warring uncle Shivpal Yadav, Mulayam and the Chief Minister, Shivpal tweeted that on the SP supremo’s directive, expulsion of Akhilesh and Ram Gopal Yadav from SP was being revoked with immediate effect. “I am coming after having met party chief Mulayam Singh along with CM Akhilesh Yadav. Netaji has given the order that the suspension orders of Akhilesh and Ram Gopal are terminated with immediate effect,” Shivpal said. “All of us together will fight communal forces and we will once again form a SP government in UP with full majority. These are my orders. We will hold discussions within ourselves and decide, and prepare for the upcoming elections,” he said. “All matters have been solved and we will fight the upcoming polls together. We will all sit togther with Netaji and I am sure all problems will be resolved,” he said. On a day of fast-paced developments, Akhilesh earlier in the day convened a meeting of SP legislators where over 200 of the 229 party MLAs turned up expressing their loyalty with the chief minister, a day after he was expelled from the party for indulging in “indiscipline”, pushing the ruling party to the precipice of a vertical split.Some SP MLCs and senior party functionaries loyal to Akhilesh also attended the meeting at the chief minister’s official residence at 5-Kalidas Marg.Senior SP leader and UP cabinet minister Azam Khan then arrived at the CM’s residence and after a brief stay, they drove to Mulayam’s bungalow at a stone’s throw distance.

Jharkhand mine collapse: Death toll climbs to 12 as one more body is recovered

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the recovery of one more body on Saturday, the death toll climbed to 12 in the coal mine collapse at Lalmatia open cast coal mine of Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL), the worst such disaster in over a decade.RR Mishra, officiating CMD of ECL, a Coal India subsidiary told PTI, “We have recovered one more body at 10.30 AM. The total bodies recovered so far are 12. We have also recovered one more machine. We are carrying on the rescue operation in a systematic manner so that the situation does not aggravate as the debris is too much and they should not fall.” Danger zones have been declared around the place of incidents to restrict the entry of people there. Moreover, the district commissioner has also stationed police and CISF officials to restrict entry of people in the danger zone, Mishra said. “We have also called experts from outside to help us in the rescue operation. We have fully ensured that the rescue operations are done with proper safety measures. We have also come up with Standard Operating Procedures which would help us in proper operations so that there is no loss to lives,” Mishra added.Heavy machinery was deployed as rescuers, including those from the NDRF, toiled through the day yesterday extricating bodies and looking for survivors. Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDIL, the consultancy arm of Coal India Ltd, has deployed magneto meters along with imaging system for locating magnetic and conductive material up to a depth of 80 meters, the statement said. Mishra said the incident occurred at around 7.30 PM on Thursday when excavators were working there following which rescue operations was launched immediately. Senior officials of Director General of Mines Safety (DGMS) have arrived at the site and launched an inquiry.All 12 excavators and dump trucks which were swamped under the debris have been recovered.

Day after expulsion, Akhilesh Yadav holds meeting, majority of MLAs present

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Setting the stage for a show of strength, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who was expelled from Samajwadi Party by his father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, on Saturday held a meeting at his residence where a majority of the 229 party MLAs were presentThough the exact number of those present at the meeting was not immediately known, insiders maintained that a majority of the 229 SP MLAs were present. Besides, some SP MLCs and senior party functionaries loyal to Akhilesh attended the meeting. Akhilesh is expected to meet his supporters and party workers later in the day to prove his strength.The chief minister’s 5-Kalidas Marg residence appeared to be the hub of high drama with youth supporters of Akhilesh assembling in large numbers to vent their fury over his expulsion and that of his uncle Ram Gopal Yadav.Political activities heated up right from the morning with a series of meetings planned during the day, when Mulayam will meet party candidates announced by him and state SP chief Shivpal Yadav, the warring uncle of Akhilesh.Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh today termed the crisis in the party as “unfortunate” and asked party members to support Mulayam in the family feud. “I appeal to the party members to stand with Netaji (Mulayam). Whatever is happening is very unfortunate,” Amar, who had recently made a comeback to the party after a long exile, said. Mulayam had yesterday expelled his son Akhilesh and Ram Gopal from SP for six years after they put up candidates against the official nominees and summoned a party meet tomorrow, pushing the ruling party to the precipice of a split just ahead of the UP Assembly elections likely to be announced any day now. Mulayam had said he took the action against Akhilesh and Ram Gopal to save the party which he had built through hard efforts. “We have to save the party. The party comes first. That is why we are expelling both Akhilesh and Ram Gopal ,” he said.He explained that the decision was taken after Ram Gopal , in his capacity as general secretary, called an emergency meeting of the party on January 1 and Akhilesh “supported” it.

Deadline to deposit banned notes ends today. Here’s a list of flip-flop in norms by Centre post demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The deadline to deposit old Rs. 500 and 1,000 currency notes ends on Saturday. However, the people will still have time to exchange the currency notes at designated Reserve Bank of India (RBI) counters till March 31 after giving valid reasons for not depositing defunct notes in their accounts by December 30. From today, it will be illegal to have the banned notes and one could be fined heavily for carrying them according to a new law.One can deposit old notes only in select branches of RBI after today’s deadline. Furnishing wrong information while depositing the old currency between January 1 and March 31 will attract a fine of Rs 5,000 or five times the amount. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address the nation this evening, and according to reports, is expected to spell out the post-demonetization roadmap. This will be his second address to the nation since his announcement to scrap 1,000 and 500 rupees notes on November 8. While announcing the landmark decision, he had asked the people to give 50 days for demonetization and getting accustomed to a cashless economy. In a television address to the nation on November 8, Prime Minister Modi said, “The magnitude of cash in circulation is directly linked to the level of corruption. Inflation becomes worse through the deployment of cash earned in corrupt ways.” He said to break the grip of corruption and black money, the government has decided that from midnight Rs. 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes will cease to be legal tender. Till date, the government has made several changes to the norms.After reports on crop sowing taking a hit due to no availability of cash, the government allowed the farmers to buy seeds with old Rs 500 currency notes. A November 17 announcement allowed the farmers to withdraw up to Rs. 25,000 per week from their KYC-compliant account.Following reports on abuse of Jan Dhan accounts, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) capped the withdrawal limit to Rs 10,000 per month.On November 17, the government made more modifications to the existing rules. Families could now withdraw up to Rs. 2.5 lakh for weddings. The currency exchange limit was reduced from Rs 4,500 to Rs 2,000 per person.The traders in agricultural mandis were permitted to draw up to Rs 50,000 in cash per week to pay for sundry expenses like wages.Also, government employees up to Group C could draw Rs. 10,000 salary in advance in cash.The demonetization decision has also taken a toll on the common man, with reports of some dying while standing in queues to collect money. In between all this, Prime Minister Modi has continued to address the nation at various public gatherings and through his ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio programme.Making an emotional appeal at an event in Goa on November 13, Prime Minister Modi asked the “honest” people of the country to bear the hardships for another 50 days.Exactly two weeks later on November 27, the Prime Minister urged the farmers and small traders to go cashless at his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ address. “The common man will be trouble free if they are made aware of the digital financial transaction options,” he said asking the youth to lead the change.The opposition cornered the government during the Winter Session of Parliament over the inconvenience faced by the nation post-demonetization.

Mumbai: 3.5 year-old girl abducted, killed by two 16-year-old boys for ransom

Mumbai: In a shocking incident, a three-and-half-year-old girl was allegedly abducted and murdered by two minor boys for a ransom of Rs 1 crore in South Mumbai, police said on Sunday.

The incident came to the fore on Saturday mid-night after the girl’s body, which was cut into pieces, was recovered from Kazipura, Haji Kasam Chawl in Nagpada area.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The two accused were also placed under arrest in the wee hours, they said.

According to police, the victim had gone missing since 5 December and a case was registered by her parents in this regard with the J J Marg police station.

Victim’s parents had received a call from unidentified persons, demanding Rs 1 crore as ransom. Unable to shell out such a huge amount, the father agreed to pay Rs 28 lakh to the alleged kidnappers, DCP (Zone 1), Manojkumar Sharma said.

The abductors had later asked the girl’s father to come with ransom sum at Kalwa in neighbouring Thane.

During the course of investigation, a 16-year-old boy, who lived in the neighbourhood of the girl and had passed on the information of kidnapping to the parents, was detained and quizzed by the police.

Further interrogation revealed that the boy and his accomplice, also aged 16, had abducted the girl on 5 December and later strangulated her with a cell phone charger wire on the very same day, the official said.

Both the accused were arrested in the wee hours and further investigations were on, Sharma said, adding that the body has been sent for postmortem.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 10:18 IST

Dinanath Bhargava who sketched national emblem dies at 89 in Indore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dinanath Bhargava, a co-artist in the team that sketched the national emblem ‘Lion Capital of Ashoka’ and decorated the pages of the Constitution’s manuscript, died at the age of 89 in Indore.Bhargava was suffering from cardiac ailments since the past decade.His daughter-in-law Sapekshi Bhargava said that he breathed his last on Saturday. “He is survived by four children including two sons,” she added.Born on November 1, 1927 at Multai in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh, Bhargava was chosen by noted painter Nandlal Bose, then the Principal of Kala Bhavan Shanti Niketan, in the group for designing the pages of the Indian Constitution’s manuscript.Bhargava was pursuing a 3-year Diploma in Fine Arts at Shanti Niketan at that time.The national emblem of India was adapted by the Government of India on 26th January 1950.

Odisha: Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik creates 1,000 Santa Claus sculptures on Puri beach

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Internationally acclaimed sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik on Sunday said that creation of 1,000 sand sculptures of Santa Claus by him and his students at Puri sea beach on the eve of Christmas has become a record to feature in Limca Book of Records.Pattnaik said Senior Editor of Limca Book of Records, Arthy Muthanna Sindh has congratulated him on the feat through an e-mail communication and has confirmed it as a world record that would feature in Limca Book of Records.The Santa festival started at Puri on Saturday evening and will continue till January 1, he said. With 1,000 Santa Clauses, Sudarsan was eyeing to break his 2012 Limca Book record of sculpturing 500 sand Santa Clauses.Sudarsan said it took him and his team of 35 students from his sand art school four days and about 1,000 tons of sand to carve thousand sand Santa Clauses. “I am extremely happy it has become a record to find a place in the Limca Book of Records,” said Sudarsan.He said he wanted to create awareness about global happiness through sand Santas.

Kashmir Valley experiences slight relief from cold

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kashmir Valley experienced a slight relief from intense cold as the minimum temperature went up in the region while the mercury plummeted in Ladakh by several degrees.Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 2.2 degrees celsius which is an increase of over two degrees from the Saturday night’s minus 4.4 degrees celsius, an official of the MET department said.He said along with the capital city, the night temperature marked an increase across the Valley, except the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg, in north Kashmir, where the mercury went down by nearly three degrees to settle at a low of minus 4.6 degrees celsius. The resort had registered the low of minus 2 degrees celsius on the previous night.Pahalgam hill resort, in south Kashmir, witnessed a low of minus 2.9 degrees celsius, which is an increase of nearly two degrees from minus 4.6 degrees celsius 24 hours earlier.”The night temperature in Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir Valley, went up by over four degrees from Saturday’s minus 4 degrees celsius to settle above the freezing point at a low of 0.3 degree celsius,” the official said.He said Kokernag, in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 1.2 degrees while Kupwara, in north, registered the minimum of minus 4.5 degrees celsius. Kargil, in Ladakh region, was the coldest recorded place in the state as the night temperature there went down by nearly six degrees from the previous night’s minus 4.1 degrees celsius to settle at a low of minus 9.9 degrees celsius, the official said.He said the nearby Leh town recorded a low of minus 9.4 degrees celsius, a decrease of nearly eight degrees from minus 1.5 degrees celsius.Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ considered the harshest period of winter, when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably.’Chillai-Kalan’ which began on December 21, ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues.The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).

23-year-old techie from West Bengal hacked to death in Pune

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 23-year-old woman from West Bengal, who was working with an IT firm here, was allegedly hacked to death by an unidentified person on the outskirts of the city, police said on Saturday.Antara Das was attacked with a sharp-edged weapon at around 8 PM yesterday when she was returning home from work near Tathwade area, a senior police official of Dehuroad Police Station said.”Das was rushed to a nearby hospital. However, she was declared dead on arrival,” he said.According to the officer, robbery angle has been ruled out as the valuables the woman was carrying were intact.A case was registered in this regard, police said, adding a probe was underway.

Protesting on 100 ft high mobile tower since last 50 days, Punjab teacher finally climbed down

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 50 days after he climbed a 100-ft high mobile tower near Punjab Chief Minister, Prakash Singh Badal’s residence in Chandigarh to demand a government job, Deepak Kumar, 35, an elementary school teacher from Fazilka in Punjab finally called off his protest and got down from the tower after he was given the appointment letter on Saturday.Kumar, 35, had climbed the tower in Sector 3, Chandigarh on November 3, along with another teacher, Rakesh, 31, from Gurdaspur and had been atop the tower ever since. Both the teachers had passed the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) conducted by the state government to fill posts of elementary teachers for Class 1 to 5, but were not shortlisted for the jobs.Over 300 such teachers under the banner and ETT Pass Unemployed Teachers Union had been protesting in various parts of Punjab, including Bathinda and Jalalabad demanding jobs. However, the government asserted that TET was an eligibility test and did not guarantee a job. The posts which are left vacant are those of reserved categories including that of ex-servicemen quota and freedom fighters, but the protesting teachers demanded that the seats be de-reserved and they should be hired.As others continued the sit-in protest on ground, Kumar sustained on a minimal supply of food and water on the tower, and bore the winter chill as temperatures dropped during the night. He sat determined, not to get down until he was given the appointment letter. Various attempts by the police to convince him to get down had failed to deter him.On Saturday morning, when the government issued a joining letter, he agreed to climb down.”Deepak has called off the protest after he was given an appointment letter by the government. But, there has been no decision on the other 360 teachers who are still waiting for jobs. We have decided to continue our sit-in protest till our demands are met,” said ETT Union President, Amarjit Singh Kamboj from Bathinda. The teachers have been demanding that all the candidates who had qualified the TET during 2011-16 be given government jobs.

PM speak: Thorns for corrupt, roses for the rest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that after the deadline of 50 days (from November 8 when demonetization was announced), inconvenience faced by honest people would mitigate and trouble would increase for the dishonest.The war against black money will not be called off until victory is achieved, he said. But he offered the dishonest a chance. “There is still some time left and they can still bring themselves into the mainstream of honest ones,” he said. Though the government does not want to destroy such people, it cannot spare them if they loot the common man’s money, Modi said. The Prime Minister was addressing a public rally at the MMRDA ground here after laying the foundation stone for the Arabian sea memorial of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The recent local body elections in Maharashtra, where BJP has emerged as the largest party, prove that people are with the demonetization drive, he said. He said 125 crore people backed his decision. “There are very powerful people, who have enjoyed many benefits in the last seven decades, trying to defeat the demonetization drive. But the country cannot be defeated by such people,” he said.“Some people thought that they can escape by convincing bankers, but those who tried this route not only endangered their future but also that of the bankers,” he said. These people will have to ultimately bow down before 125 crore Indians who would not tolerate dishonesty anymore, he said. He said that 125 crore Indians have now become the baton holders of the war against black money and that is the reason why this war will not stop, he said.

Modi says necessary decisions in the past would have avoided discomfort

Pune: In a veiled attack on Congress for opposing demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the “sins” of benami properties would not have happened and people would not be standing in queues now had necessary decisions been taken in the past.

“In 1988, Parliament passed Benami Property Act but it never got notified and implemented. The papers had got lost somewhere in a stack of files. It was me who re-opened it. Sins of benami properties would not have happened had the law been implemented,” he said after the inauguration of Pune metro.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Image courtesy PIBPrime Minister Narendra Modi. Image courtesy PIB

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Image courtesy PIB

“Should I let the situation be as it is or should I change it? Should the wrongdoings be undone or not? If decisions were taken years ago, I would not have had to make people stand in queues. I have taken this step because I made a promise to save the country,” the Prime Minister said.

Modi warned those possessing black money to come clean now or they will stand no chance to save themselves.

“Some people thought all governments are the same and this government of mine will be no different. They thought they can put their black money in banks and convert it into white. Money did not become white but their faces turned black,” he said.

“There is still time where laws can help you. Come on the right path and sleep peacefully. If not, I will not sleep. I have started this war against corruption, black money, terrorism, naxalism with a lot of ‘jigar’ (heart),” he said.

The Prime Minister said that due to the demonetisation decision, income of urban bodies have increased by 200-300 percent and people, who were used to breaking rules at one point of time are now made to stand in queues.

Modi said that urbanisation is taking place at a fast pace today and stressed on generating employment and improving the quality of life in villages to stop migration to cities.

“Only then will the run from villages to cities will slow down. If we think in pieces and for immediate political gains, we can never overcome problems,” he said.

Modi said the Centre has started with a ‘Rurban’ mission which focusses on ensuring that that villages close to cities have the soul of a village and facilities of a city.

“Our Digital India campaign is not just meant for cities but for rural areas as well. We have decided to launch metro projects in more than 50 cities. Had we done so in bits and pieces, projects would have become costlier, more problems would have arisen and the projects would have had lagged even after we putting in money,” he said.

Modi said benchmarks of development need to become modernise and transform with changing times.

“Infrastructure is not just roads, rail and air transport but also highways and I-ways (information ways), for which we need an optical fibre network. We need to work on water grid, digital network, gas grid and space technology,” he said.

Modi said Pune Metro should have been visualised and implemented much earlier. “Previous governments have left a
lot of work for me to do,” Modi said.

First Published On : Dec 24, 2016 22:45 IST

Parrikar floats demonetization theory behind possible alliance among Cong, SP and RLD

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Amid talks of the grand alliance for upcoming Uttar Pradesh polls, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday had a dig at the Congress, Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal, saying demonetization by Narendra Modi has left them in no condition to contest on their own strength.”Demonetization has caused such a powerful impact that none of these parties could be able to contest the UP Assembly polls independently,” Parrikar told reporters in response to a query over the talks about formation of ‘Mahagatbandhan’ with SP, Congress and RLD as its constituents. The minister was here to attend the 62nd national convention of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) here.Parrikar said demonetization of high value currency notes has curbed “several illegal activities” in the country.”People may be facing some problems due to demonetization, but the common man is ready to face such problems, given the good impact of this move in the long run,” the BJP leader said. Parrikar evaded direct reply on the controversial AgustaWestland Helicopter deal, saying the matter is being investigated by CBI which doesn’t work under his ministry. “We have provided all information to CBI in this matter. I could not make any comment on this issue,” Parrikar said.On escalation of tension on Indo-Pak border, Parrikar said peace is prevailing at the border to an extent as of now.

Thane: Third body recovered from landslide site

Sat, 24 Dec 2016-06:16pm , Thane , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With recovery of a body of a 27-year-old youth on Saturday morning, the death toll in the landslide mishap at Ghodbunder area of the city has climbed to three, official from Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) said. Chief of the Regional Disaster Management Cell (RDMC) Santosh Kadam informed that the body of the victim Lokeshwar Vishwakarma (27) which was trapped under the debris was pulled out by the rescue team and sent for postmortem. The land caved in at the site burying the workers who were working at the spot on Friday afternoon.A total of seven persons were safely pulled out of the debris after the landslide at the construction site. In a related development Kasarwadavali police have booked the owner of Gayatri Constructions and others following the mishap in which three lives were lost.

AMU students union claim Akhilesh Yadav govt has paid ‘lip service’ to Muslim quota demand

Sat, 24 Dec 2016-05:40pm , Aligarh , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AMU Students Union has threatened to launch an agitation against Akhilesh Yadav Government if it fails to fulfil its promise of granting 18% quota to Muslims, made at the time of last Assembly elections. In a memorandum sent to the Chief Minister on Saturday, the Students’ Union said SP government has paid only “lip service” to the long standing demands of Muslims and has failed to even implement the recommendations of the Sachar Committee. “What is worse, it has made no serious attempt to fulfil even those commitments which were a part of the SP’s election manifesto in 2011,” the Union said.Earlier on Friday, members of the Union held a protest march to highlight their anger over Samajwadi Party’s failure to safeguard the interests of minorities in the state. The protesters marched up to the gate of the District Collectorate, raising slogans against state government. The President of the AMU Students’ Union, Faizul Hasan told media persons that it was ironical that while the SP had recently decided to include 17 fresh OBC castes in the SC quota list, Muslims had to remain content just on empty promises and lip services.

Militant hideout raided in Bangladesh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The sound of an explosion and several gunshots were heard in the Bangladeshi capital on Saturday as police’s elite counter terrorism unit laid siege to a three-storey building where heavily-armed militants, belonging to a Islamist group behind the July 1 terror attack, are holed up.”The inmates have vowed to fight us with grenades… we are repeatedly asking them to give up,” Dhaka s police commissioner Asaduzzaman Mian told reporters at the scene at Ashkona area of the capital. He said two women already came out from the three-storey building with their children.Police said three militants believed to be operatives of neo-Jamaatun Mujahideen Bangladesh (neo-JMB) were inside the building.”One of the three is a son of a slain neo-JMB leader but we are yet to know the identity of two others,” Mia said.The outfit, said to be inclined to the Islamic State, was behind the July 1 terror attack on a Dhaka cafe in which 22 people, including 17 foreigners, were killed. The commissioner has said police wants to capture the militants alive without using force “as any miscalculation could appear deadly in this densely populated neighbourhood”.Another official at the scene said one of the two women who surrendered was the wife of a slain renegade ex-army major who was killed on September 2 this year in a police encounter during a nearly identical raid at Dhaka’s Mirpur area. The other woman was the wife of a neo-JMB leader.Witnesses said police was repeatedly asking the inmates to surrender using megaphones but they were threatening to detonate grenades tied to their bodies. Ambulances and fire fighting units were kept stand-by outside the building while elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and plainclothesmen cordoned off the area.

PM Modi giving amnesty to convert black money into white: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Escalating it attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress party on Saturday alleged that the former has given amnesty to convert black money into white through demonetization.Congress spokesperson Rizwan Arshad told ANI, “The Prime Minister, through demonetization, had withdrawn 15 lakh 50 thousand crore rupees from the market, and today, six days before December 30th deadline given by the prime minister, more than 15 lakhs crore rupees has been deposited. From where has this money come from? It came from the market, from the farmers, this money came from small traders, from labourers, from house wives,” he saidHe wondered as to how come the income tax department during their raids seized new currencies and the common man still standing in long queues to get their due share of money.”So, in a way, the Prime Minister has given amnesty to convert the black money into white through this demonetization. As a result wherever the IT department is raiding they are finding hundreds of crores of new currencies. How can you get hundreds of crores of in new currencies and a common man is standing in the queue for his 2000 rupees? So, this is a huge scam conducted by the Prime Minister,” Rizwan added.

Attacks like Berlin rampage ‘purely religious threat’: Donald Trump

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>US President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday claimed that attacks like the one in Berlin is a “purely religious threat which turned into reality” as he referred to the suspected attacker’s video in which he talked about slaughtering crusaders who had come to kill Muslims.”The terrorist who killed so many people in Germany said just before crime, ‘by God’s will we will slaughter you…’ This is a purely religious threat, which turned into reality,” Trump tweeted in two tweets. “Such hatred! When will the US, and all countries, fight back?” Trump asked. The alleged Berlin attacker Anis Amri, 24, from Tunisia posted a video prior to the attack on social media.During the two-minute, 42-second video, Amri, who was killed by police in Milan yesterday, is shown speaking directly to a camera and pledging allegiance to the ISIS group. He also declared his desire to avenge Muslims killed in air strikes and called for attacks against “Crusaders”.Earlier this week, Trump told reporters that they “know my plans” when he was asked about his campaign statements about banning Muslims from entering the country.

Harish Rawat bribery case: Unfortunate the way Centre treats CBI, says Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress party on Saturday accused the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and his government of misusing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to corner Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Harish Rawat on alleged and unproven bribery charges.’There is some role of the institutions in a democracy, but it is wrong to misuse it. They (Centre) are just perturbed by the allegation put forth by Rahul ji,’ said Congress leader, Husain Dalwai. ‘It is unfortunate the way CBI has been treated’, he added.CBI has asked Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Harish Rawat to appear before it on December 26 in connection with a probe into the purported sting operation involving him.
ALSO READ CBI summons Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat again in sting CD caseThe CBI had registered the preliminary enquiry on April 29 to probe a sting operation that purportedly showed Rawat offering bribes to rebel Congress Member of the Legislative Assembly​ (MLAs) to support him during the floor test. The agency had summoned Rawat for examination on May 9, but he had sought more time.The case was handed over to the CBI​ when President’s Rule was imposed in the state. The notification was withdrawn immediately after Rawat proved his majority in the assembly and his government was restored.

Delhi fog: 52 trains delayed, five rescheduled

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Poor visibility due to dense fog encompassed the national capital on Saturday as around 52 trains have been delayed, five rescheduled and one train has been cancelled.With this thousands of passengers were left stranded at New Delhi Railway Station due to dense fog conditions in several parts of North India.Poor visibility due to dense fog has also been reported in Kanpur.

BJP has surrendered to PDP on the issue of West Pakistan refugees: Ex-minister Pawan Gupta

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former minister and Udhampur ​Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Pawan Gupta on Saturday accused Bharatiya Janata Party​ (BJP) of surrendering before Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (​PDP) on the issue of West Pakistan refugees to stay in power.”BJP’s lust of power led it to surrender before PDP to promote the agenda of separatists, while denying the citizenship rights to West Pakistan refugees despite their domicile in Jammu and Kashmir for the last seven decades,” Gupta claimed.Gupta, who was a minister in the Mufti Mohammed Sayeed- led coalition was dropped from the Cabinet when Mehbooba Mufti took over the reins of the state, alleged BJP has betrayed the people of Jammu region.Gupta also accused BJP of aligning with the separatists and PDP to scuttle the establishment of Kashmiri Pandits’ and Sainik colonies in Kashmir. Gupta said the fundamental right of the West Pakistan refugees has been infringed even after they were promised domicile certificates.”Now BJP has taken a U-turn despite its announcement of issuing domicile certificates to the refugees and ridiculously reducing the same to merely issuance of I-cards, thus depriving them any chance of livelihood,” he said.

Preparations in full swing for PM Modi’s Mumbai visit on Saturday

Fri, 23 Dec 2016-09:42am , Mumbai , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Preparations are on in full swing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mumbai on Saturday, where he will lay the foundation stones for major infrastructure projects like two new Metro lines, Mumbai Trans Harbour Link and Kalanagar flyover.The new Metro routes, 23.5-kilometer long DN Nagar to Mankhurd corridor and the 32- kilometer Wadala-Thane-Kasarvadavali Metro-4 corridor are likely to reduce overcrowding in local trains and vehicular traffic on Mumbai’s roads.Meanwhile, the 22- kilometer long Mumbai Trans Harbour Link project will establish connectivity between South Mumbai and main land and will help develop parts of Raigad District.The flyover project is aimed to provide seamless connectivity to the business hub of Bandra-Kurla Complex.

Morari Bapu’s Ram katha makes space for transgenders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Renowned guru Morari Bapu’s popular week-long Manas Ram Katha was special this week. The katha that started last Saturday in Thane, is dedicated to the transgender community.Called Manas Kinnar Ram Katha, this is the first time this community has been included in a spiritual milieu.Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, the popular Thane-based transgender activist, present at the Katha says, “No spiritual or religious leader in the world has ever done this kind of a community event for us and for that, I’m grateful to him.” The community lauds the non-judgemental attitude that Morari Bapu has; relating everything strictly from the religious texts, pulling out references from the books and texts of the past.One such reference was Tulsi Das’ mention of ‘kinnar’ in the Ramayana. The dedication of this Rama Katha has been widely appreciated by the members of the transgender community. Bapu says, “We all need to make efforts to involve them (the transgender community) in every aspect of our society. There’s one member here who has come from Lucknow who aspires to contest the elections in UP. And why not? It’s time we all support them.”Considering that this has been the first time ever in the history of India, that such an initiative has been adopted, people from the transgender community from across the country have ensured their presence here. A delighted Shamabai from Akola says, “It is unbelievable that Bapu has done this for my community, and made provisions for food and stay. I’m overwhelmed. Listening to him is like listening to Lord Ram.”“We all are enjoying this, and I feel that this the golden moment for the transgender community. We are hoping that after this, more and more people, especially the Chief Minister of Maharashtra looks into grassroot problems of the community,” says Lachitai, a transgender activist from Pune.Bapu has suggested that Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, noted transgender activist, should get the community to conduct a Ram Katha. “The day a person from the transgender community conducts a Ram Katha, I will light the diya and offer my team of musicians to the katha.”

BJP slams Uttarakhand govt for declaring special 90-minute Friday break for Muslim employees

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP on Monday slammed the Uttarakhand government for declaring a special 90-minute Friday break for Muslim employees, saying it will set a wrong precedent and accused the Congress of “communalising” the state’s politics ahead of the assembly polls.Accusing the Congress of pursuing a divisive agenda in its greed for power, the party said few people will be left working in the government offices if Hindus, who observe different forms of pujas across the month, are also given a similar concession. BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma told reporters here that Congress has a history of “dividing” people on communal lines in its greed for power and what it has done in Uttarakhand is an attempt to hide the Harish Rawat government’s failures.”There is no issue with people of different faiths offering prayers of their choice. But this decision will set a wrong precedent on the matter of principle. From Monday to Saturday, faithfuls in our culture worship different Gods and offer prayers. “If everybody is to be given a favour like this, then who will work in government offices. It is an attempt to communalise the state’s politics ahead of the polls as the government has failed on all fronts. It has nothing to show to people for its work and is attempting to hide its failures under its communal agenda,” he said.Congress has given communal colour to terrorism in its greed for power, Sharma alleged, claiming that the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had gone on to say that minorities have the first right to the nation’s resources. For BJP, the poor have the first right, he claimed. The Uttarakhand government has announced a special 90- minute break will be given to the government employees from the Muslim community in the state for Friday prayers.

Controversial remark: NCP seeks EC intervention, demands action against Raosaheb Danve

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Monday urged the Election Commission to take cognizance of Maharashtra BJP chief Raosaheb Danve’s remark that ‘lakshmi’ comes a day before polls and said if proper action is not initiated on this matter then there will be no democracy left in the state.NCP leader Nawab Malik said Danve’s remark proves that the BJP has spent black money in the local bodies polls, adding the complaint filed against one of the BJP MLAs for demanding liquor from the Excise Department makes the matter more serious.”This is misuse of power. His remarks prove that there was distribution of liquor in the local bodies polls. We will meet the Election Commission in this matter and demand a probe into the matter. The Election Commission must take this matter seriously otherwise there will be no democracy left in the state,” Malik told ANI.Danve had last week said that the day before polling was an important one as ‘lakshmi’ comes home a day before the elections and one should accept it.”Do not refuse it and be determined to cast your vote,” he said while addressing a rally at Paithan in Aurangabad district on Saturday.The Maharashtra Election Commission later issued a showcause notice to him for his remark.

Mumbai: Deadly stunt takes youth’s life as bike catches fire after accident

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A teenager died on Saturday night while performing daring motorcycle stunts near Bandra on Western Express Highway in Mumbai when one of the bikes involved in performing the stunts crashed and caught fire.The deceased, who has been identified as 22-year-old Abhijeet Gurav, died on the spot, while Aakash Rajput and Jafar Sheikh were seriously injured. They have been admitted to Babha hospital for treatment.According to a report, the group of bikers perform dangerous stunts at Bandra Reclamation, Nariman Point and Bandra Kurla Complex, every Saturday and Sunday night. The report also said that these bikers did not fear the police and would beat up any person who would attempt to stop them from performing stunts.

To end black money in political funding, Modi govt must do more than blame old law

On Saturday, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley embarked on a spree of damage control mode by issuing a statement on the Narendra Modi government’s stance on political funding and black money. Political parties have not been granted any exemption after demonetisation and the introduction of Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2016 which came into force on 15 December, said Jaitley.

He added: “Income and donations of political parties fall under the purview of Section 13A of the Income Tax Act 1961 and there is no change in its provisions. In this era of instant outrage, a 35-year-old law is presented as a new law being passed by the NDA Government.”

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

This statement came in response to media reports and a political storm brewing among certain Opposition parties after the revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia said, “If it is a deposit in the account of political parties, they are exempt. But if it is deposited in any individual account, in anyone’s account, that information will definitely come on our radar.” Adhia’s statement drew immediate media and political attention in the context of the ongoing demonetisation exercise. The plan, originally announced on 8 November gives time to deposit old, invalidated Rs 500, Rs 1,000 currency notes in banks till 30 December (in bank branches) and 31 March (at Reserve Bank of India counters).

Going by Adhia’s statement, political parties could have deposited any amount without paying taxes or facing any investigations. Hence, the possibility opens up for tax cheats to approach a registered political party to make their loot legit with an understanding that the money will be returned at a later date — with a cut going into the pocket of the agent (in this case, the political party).

Under the current rules, no political outfit needs to show the source of funds for cash donations under Rs 20,000. Hence, parties have a logical opportunity to show a majority of their deposits under this category by creating thousands of backdated receipts and can, thus, launder black money with no questions asked. Typically, political parties do not even keep receipts for donations.

According to an analysis of political funding by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) in the past few years, around 75 percent of such funding in India remains opaque and falls in the anonymous donation category.

Here, we have a serious problem.

Political parties have a clear option to print backdated receipts and launder black money. This is a major hole in the implementation of demonetisation, one of the main goals of which is to unearth the black money in the system. What the finance minister clarified in his carefully-worded statement on Saturday is absolutely true to every word. Exemption to political parties is not a law that was created by the Modi government. This is a law that has been in existence for a while.

But, there are few things of which the government has to take note:

First, whether the law is old or new, the fact is that political parties presently enjoy a big loophole to make their black money white openly. They do enjoy immunity from paying tax and tax scrutiny/prosecution if these outfits show that money came through small donations. This is what Adhia probably meant and what the finance minister reiterated in his statement when he said that the income and donations of political parties “fall in the purview of Section 13A of the Income Tax Act of 1961” and that “there is no change in its provisions”.

The question is given that the Modi government has waged an all-out attack on black money, shouldn’t it have plugged this loop hole before demonetising 86 percent of the currency in circulation, risking serious economic and social repercussions? The government managed to amend the income tax law for individuals, why didn’t it expand the purview for political parties? The demand of the Election Commission, seeking an amendment of laws to allow exemption from tax only to parties that win seats in elections and ban anonymous contributions of Rs 2,000 and above to parties, should be an eye opener to the Modi government and prompt it to ponder over the holes in the black money war plan.

Second, it is true that under Section 13A of the I-T Act, political parties have to submit audited accounts, income and expenditure details, and balance sheets as Jaitley says in the clarification. The finance minister also says that following demonetisation, no political party can accept donations in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes since they were rendered illegal tender. Any party doing so would be in violation of the law. “Just like anyone else, political parties can also deposit their cash held in the old currency in banks till 30 December, provided they can satisfactorily explain the source of income and their books of accounts reflect the entries prior to 8 November,” he said.

Here, isn’t Jaitley himself giving a clue to political parties how to deal with their black money — that parties can still take invalidated higher denomination currency notes (including those from black money hoarders for a decent cut) and make thousands of backdated receipts to show the funds arrived before the cut-off date?

If the parties choose to act as conduits of ill-gotten wealth, isn’t it almost impossible for the government and taxman to track down the tax cheats?

Third, at a time when the Modi government is aggressively pushing for electronic transactions (cashless), why is the government silent on making political funding can’t be made cashless including that of the ruling party? According to PTI, there are 1,866 registered political parties in India as on August, 2015, including six national parties. Many of them haven’t even contested elections. There has been a rush for registration of political parties, with as many as 239 new outfits enrolling themselves with the Election Commission between March 2014 and July this year, taking their number to 1,866.

According to data compiled by the EC, in the last Lok Sabha election in 2014, 464 political parties had fielded candidates. The present figure could be much more than 1,866 since 2015, many more parties would have joined the club. Political parties get massive donations from individuals and institutions. They need funds for those who contest elections from their parties and spend substantial funds on administrative, functional expenses. There are no official records for most of these transactions. The possibility of crooks launching political parties solely with the aim of laundering funds is high.

Four, what prevents the government from asking banks details of deposits done by political parties in the months prior to demonetisation (remember the sharp surge in bank deposits between July and September) and after 8 November, including those of the BJP and thereby, setting an example? Asking party members to hand over details of bank deposits to party president alone wouldn’t suffice if clean transparency is the goal. Given the radical nature of the demonetisation exercise and considering that banning 86 percent currency in one go isn’t a conventional step, the government shouldn’t hesitate in going the whole hog to attack all sources of black money. Unarguably, the most critical part of the black money battle is tackling political funding, which is missing here.

Jaitley’s clarification that the I-T Act that protects politicians is an old law and the Modi government had nothing to do with it is not a valid argument

It was the responsibility of this government to plug the necessary loop holes before attempting a big gamble to hunt tax cheats, who have been looting the country. The government should have foreseen that crooks will think far ahead and use one of the 1866 political parties as black money laundering machines to make a mockery of the system. If that happens, isn’t the pain and trauma forced up on the common man who has, by far, stood by the Modi government on this move going in vain?

When it comes to political funding and black money, the Modi govt could surely do much more than blaming an old law and hoping tax cheats will follow the rules of the game.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 11:53 IST

Pampore attack despite strong intelligence warning

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>About 24 hours before a convoy of Rashtriya Rifles was ambushed near the Kadlibal area in Pampore town on Saturday afternoon, intelligence agencies had dispatched information of a “possible terror attack” on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway.While intelligence agencies based in the Valley have, on multiple occasions, dispatched similar inputs, it is the brazenness of this particular ambush that has security forces, especially in areas close to National Highways, concerned.Officials told DNA on Sunday that not only has the highway crossing through Pampore area become increasingly vulnerable to such ambush, but the elaborate planning that takes place before such attacks is a growing concern.For instance, the intelligence input before the Pampore attack on Saturday, in which three Rashtriya Rifles personnel lost their lives, had stated that proscribed outfits were planning a major stand-off with the Indian armed forces on the highway. It even had specifics that there was a strong possibility that convoys would be targeted using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).According to a senior security official in Kashmir, at 12.30 pm on Friday, a message based on human intelligence was dispatched. It warned security forces of the possible attack.”Credible input suggests that militants have planned IED blasts followed by firing on NHW or a major town today (Friday). Take all necessary precautions,” read the portion of the input.According to some senior officials of the Jammu and Kashmir police, all precautions were being taken but the race against time was lost when around 2 pm, three motorcycle-borne gunmen ambushed the convoy. The exchange of fire lasted around 10 minutes, following which the militants escaped.What has the security establishment now thinking is the elaborate ambush plans, starting from planting IEDs, surprise attacks on convoys and a well thought-out escape route.Sources say areas in city outskirts like Pampore in south Kashmir is considered more vulnerable to such attacks, especially since the Entrepreneur Development Institute (EDI) is located near Sempore. The EDI, too, has come under attack on more than one occasion and the area is one of the link roads that connects south Kashmir with Srinagar city.The area is strategic for militant activities as it is located between Tral, Pulwama areas like Kakapora, Ratnipora and Khrew. On the other side of the river are open vast fields, which provides a good escape route.”The presence of militants in Pulwama and in areas close to the banks of Jhelum river is the reason that the highway has witnessed so many attacks,”said a senior J&K police official.This year alone, seven major attacks on the Srinagar-Jammu highway, mainly in south Kashmir, have taken place, with Pampore being the fourth such attack in the Valley since August.What is more troublesome is the indication that emanates from ambush. They suggest the capability and network of groups like the Laskhar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), which are suspected to behind the Saturday attack.IEDs are an added worry. Sources say the use if IEDs had decreased since the armed insurgency erupted in Kashmir in late 80s.One of the first IED blasts that announced the arrival of insurgency was in July 1988 in the Lal Chowk area of Srinagar. Over the years, convoys have witnessed the same tactics. However, the counter-insurgency witnessed in the Valley in the past three decades had rendered the usage of IEDs to a minimal, with militants resorting to attacks using grenades.A senior intelligence official told DNA that local youth who who joined HuM or LeT in the past few years did not get training in making IEDs, but now some of them are trained by “foreign militants, “referring to Pakistani nationals fighting under LeT. It is likely that local militants, who mostly make the Hizb ranks, might have received training in making IEDs as well.Last month, a bullet-proof ‘Rakshak’ jeep of the police came under attack in Awantipora of Pulwama district, which injured three police officials.

Uttarakhand: Prayer break on Fridays for Muslim govt employees

Sun, 18 Dec 2016-07:32pm , Dehradun , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A special 90-minute break will be given to the government employees from the Muslim community in Uttarakhand for Friday prayers, official sources said. A cabinet meeting on Saturday, chaired by Chief Minister Harish Rawat, decided that a special break from 12:30 PM till 2:00 PM will be given to the employees from the community, they said.The Congress government made other decisions like consent for a detailed project report for metro which has been given to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). The state government also posed a penalty of Rs 2 crore and Rs 2.5 crore for PG doctors for violating bond of 5 years with the state for essential service. The state goes to poll next year.

Afghan migrants taken to hospital as Croatia arrests Bulgarians over trafficking | Reuters

BELGRADE Dozens of migrants, mainly from Afghanistan, have been taken to hospital in Croatia after police stopped a van carrying 67 people, and arrested two Bulgarian citizens suspected of human trafficking, the police said. The van, with British licence plates, was halted on the highway between the Serbian and Slovenian borders on Saturday evening during routine traffic control, according to the police. Forty-two migrants were taken immediately to hospital and some were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning, health minister Milan Kujundzic was quoted by the Hina news agency as saying. He said two of the 42 were boys aged 10 to 12, while the others were between 15 and 20. “Some of them were unconscious, some vomited when they were found,” Kujundzic said. “They were in serious condition, dehydrated and apparently have not eaten for five days.”

Some 650,000 people passed through Croatia from September 2015 to March this year on the so-called Balkan route used by migrants, mainly from Syria, heading towards western Europe, especially Germany.The route was largely shut down in March after a series of border closures.

Many migrants have turned to smugglers to help them cross borders illegally.

Austrian police found 71 dead migrants locked into a lorry in August 2015, and many officials fear another similar disaster. (Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; Editing by Andrew Bolton)

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

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 19:24 IST

Pampore attack: Army conducts intensive search, cordons off three villages after militants kill three jawans

Following the Saturday’s attack on an Army convoy in Pampore that claimed the lives of three soldiers, the Indian Army on Sunday conducted a house to house search in the area in a quest to nab the militants behind the attack.

According to a report by India Today, the Indian Army has cordoned off three villages in the region and a massive search operation is on in the region.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

In the lethal attack on an army convoy on Saturday, three Indian soldiers were killed, while two other jawans were injured. The attack was staged at a place crowded with civilians in Pampore of Jammu and Kashmir on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway.

According to a report in PTI, army sources said that the militants were able to inflict casualties as the forces exercised restraint and did not retaliated in order to avoid civilian casualties.

The army convoy was on its way from Jammu to Srinagar when the attack took place in Pampore.

Preliminary investigations suggest that the militants might have used motorcycles to carry out the deadly attack and search operations were going on in the surrounding areas since Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army on Sunday payed tribute to the martyrs: Naik (Gnr) Ratheesh, Gunner Farate Sourabh Nandkumar and Gunner Shashikant Pandey.

In a solemn ceremony at Badami Bagh Cantonment in Srinagar, many senior officials from security agencies including Jammu and Kashmir Police, CRPF, BSF and SSB, joined General Officer Commanding, Chinar Corps, Lt Gen J S Sandhu and all ranks in paying homage to the martyrs. Many officials from the civil administration, including Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmed Khan were also present on the occasion.

“Martyr Naik (Gnr) Ratheesh C (35) had joined army in 2001 and hailed from Kotolipram, Kannur district in Kerala and is survived by his wife and a son,” an Indian Army official told PTI.

He said 33-year-old Gunner Farate Sourabh Nandkumar of Bhekrai Nagar village in Pune of Maharasthra had donned the uniform in 2004 and is survived by his wife and twin daughters.

Gunner Shashikant Pandey (24) had four years of service and was on his way to join his unit in the Valley. Hailing from Zharian area of Dhanbad district in Jharkhand, he is survived by his parents, the official said.

The mortal remains of the martyrs would be flown for last rites to their native places where they would be laid to rest with full military honours, he said.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 17:54 IST

Election Commission seeks ban on anonymous contributions to parties above Rs 2000

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking to stem the flow of blackmoney in polls, the Election Commission has urged the government to amend laws to ban anonymous contributions of Rs 2000 and above made to political parties.There is no constitutional or statutory prohibition on receipt of anonymous donations by political parties. But there is an “indirect partial ban” on anonymous donations through the requirement of declaration of donations under section 29C of The Representation of the People Act, 1951.But, such declarations are mandated only for contributions above Rs 20,000.As per the proposed amendment, sent by the Commission to the government, and made part of its compendium on proposed electoral reforms, “anonymous contributions above or equal to the amount of Rs two thousand should be prohibited.”On Saturday, the government had said that political parties depositing old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes in their accounts will be exempt from income tax provided the donations taken are below Rs 20,000 per individual and properly documented.Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said the government is not tinkering with the tax exemption available to political parties and they are free to deposit old 500 and 1000 rupee notes in their bank accounts. But these deposits will, however, be subject to the condition that individual donations taken in cash do not exceed Rs 20,000 and are properly documented with full identity of the donor.The Commission has also proposed that exemption of Income Tax should only be extended to political parties that contest elections and win seats in Lok Sabha or assembly polls.Section 13A of the Income-tax Act, 1961 confers tax exemption to political parties for income from house property, income by way of voluntary contributions, income from capital gains and income from other sources.Only income under the head ‘salaries and income from business or profession’ are chargeable to tax in the hands of political parties in India.

AP official found in possession of assets worth Rs 5 crore, Rs 7 lakh in new notes seized

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A senior official of Excise and Prohibition Department has been allegedly found in possession of assets worth about Rs five crore and Rs seven lakh in Rs 2,000 notes were also seized from him, Anti Corruption Bureau sources said on Sunday.Raids on the properties of Additional Commissioner K Lakshman Bhaskar were conducted at 11 places in AP and Telangana on Saturday and Sunday that led to unearthing of huge assets worth about Rs five crore, they said.New currency notes of Rs 2,000 denomination worth Rs seven lakh was also recovered from the accused.Several crucial documents relating to Bhaskar’s properties and his benamis were also seized during the raids, the ACB sources said.The sleuths are yet to open his lockers in various banks, which could reveal more treasure, they said.He was apprehended and taken to Visakhapatnam as part of investigation of the case, the sources said.Bhaskar, a native of Ramanapalem area in West Godavari, had worked in various Excise Department in Visakhapatnam.The raids were conducted in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Hyderabad, Rajahmundry and his hometown Ramanapalem, they added.

Rs 66 lakh in new notes seized in Hyderabad, Rs 18 lakh in Noida, 3 arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income Tax department has seized Rs 66 lakh cash, all in new Rs 2000 notes, as part of the anti-black money crackdown operations in Hyderabad, while Rs 18 lakh in new currency notes were seized in Delhi.The first incident, that occurred in Hyderabad on the night of December 16, was reported at the Telugu Academy in Himayatnagar when an I-T team intercepted few people who ran into a nearby apartment on seeing the team.”Search of the apartment led to recovery of Rs 36 lakh cash, all in Rs 2000 denomination. Sources of the cash are being probed into,” I-T sources said.In the second incident in the same city on December 17, department investigators along with police intercepted a speeding Honda Activa in the Tank Bund area.”Cash of Rs 30 lakh in Rs 2000 denomination was found with two persons.The case is being probed,” they said.The three accused in Noida case –Vinay Kumar from Jind, and Mahendra Kumar and Praveen Kumar from Hisar–were arrested on Saturday evening by a team of Uttar Pradesh Anti Terrorist Squad and Income Tax Department.”The arrests were made following a tip off that some people were carrying a huge amount of counterfeit currency in Bhishanpura village in Sector 57,” Deputy Superintendent of Police UP ATS (Western UP Wing) Anoop Singh said.The team searched the car of the accused following which Rs 18 lakh in new currency notes of Rs 2000 was found, he said.No counterfeit or old currency notes were found. The car has also been impounded, the DSP said.The team is interrogating the accused and more arrests and seizures are expected on basis of the information, he said.

Demonetization: Will chalk out strategy to counter PM Modi’s ‘farzi’-cal strike, says Lalu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dubbing demonetization as a ‘furzical (fake) strike’, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad Yadav on Sunday said after a meeting of various political parties, they will chalk out a future course of action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘big failure’.”The Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said before the parliamentary election that black money will come back and Rs.15 lakh will be deposited in every bank account, but nothing has happened. We can see that he has failed in every step,” Yadav told ANI.”Demonetization is a big failure of the Modi Government, and so, it is not a surgical strike on black money, but rather a ‘furzical’ strike,” he added.Speaking about the strategy to counter demonetization, Yadav told ANI, “After a meeting of various political parties, we will chalk out a future course of action against the Modi government.”The government’s decision to demonetize notes has drawn flak from all political parties.On Saturday, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said at a rally in Belgaum, Karnataka, “As there is a man-made disaster, similarly demonetization is a Modi- made disaster.”He further said that Prime Minister Modi had attacked the economy by announcing demonetization.”More than 100 people have died because of demonetization drive and PM Modi is responsible for it,” Rahul said, adding that the Modi government has been attacking the poor for the last two-and-a-half years.”Nothing will happen in 50 days. The Prime Minister will give your money to rich. Modi wants to waive off bank loans,” he added.National Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar said “We went and met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other officials to request them to allow deposit of old notes in district banks but got no answer.””Later, we moved the Supreme Court, and, I am happy that the apex court has ordered district banks to accept old notes. Also new currency must be made available to district banks so that they can lend loans to farmers,” he added.”Now that the Kharif season is completed and soon the Rabi season would commence, banks would need enough currency to dispense loans. If the banks don’t have enough money to dispense, what the farmers will do, where will they go,” he added.Pawar further said that demonetization is an attempt to disrupt the entire channel of banking and the farmers would be the worst affected.

Making youth self-reliant is our govt’s priority: Vasundhara Raje

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Saturday said that making the youth self-reliant by equipping them with skill was the priority of her government.”For this, we would be launching the Mukhyamantri Kaushal Anudaan Yojana from the January 1, 2017 to make our youth skilled and employable,” she said.Under this new scheme, youth can avail the loan of up to Rs 1 lakh to get high quality skill development training. The state government will provide interest subsidy from 4 to 6 percent on this loan, she said.Raje was addressing a huge gathering at Umaid Stadium in Jodhpur after laying foundation stone and dedicating to public various developmental projects on the occasion of completion of three years of the state government.Reaffirming her commitment to serve the public of state, she announced the holding of the Mukhyamantri Shahari Jan Kalyan Shivirs next year. These camps shall focus on regularization of residential plots, houses and issuing of lease deeds in urban areas.While presenting the report card of 3 years of governance, Raje said “our three years’ achievements have left far behind the works of the previous government”.The Chief Minister while mentioning the flagship Bhamashah and Skill Development programmes said, Rajasthan was the first state in the country to set up ITIs in Government sector while on second position in setting up ITIs in private sector.She said that Rajasthan would now be the first state in the country to have two Skill Development Universities, first one in government and the second in private sector, she added.”We are focused on development, so we have no time for politics while the previous government had no time for development works as they were indulged in doing politics,” the chief minister said.Raje also announced policy and act for conservation and protection of cows.

Mere development not enough to win election: Subramanian Swamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP MP Subramanian Swamy on Saturday said mere development of the society or nation was not enough to win the election and BJP can never win an election until it pushes forward Hindutva as it’s core agenda.Addressing a gathering in the Ruia College here, he said, “People often say that the governments should focus on developmental works, which should be, but our history says something else. It says that whichever government focused on only development in India could never win the election.”Swamy was here to release the book “Sachchai” written by Shivsena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut.”Be it Narasimha Rao who abolished licence raj, Rajiv Gandhi who introduced industrial revolution in the country, Morarji Desai who brought down the prices of rations or N Chandra Babu Naidu, the reformer of Andhra Pradesh…All these people lost in subsequent elections,” Swamy added.”And we should not forget Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji too … who put forth India Shining slogan. Of course India was shining at economic front, but he could not win the election and number of seats were reduced to half,” the BJP leader added.”And this is why I emphasise that developmental works for a government are necessary but not everything,” Swamy said.”We won 2014 election on two basis. Putting forth the Gujarat model of governance and people set aside their caste perception, rose above it and voted for Hindutva. This is why I always moot Hindutva as a core issue to address and govern our country which is predominantly Hindu,” he added.

India, Pakistan should resolve issues through peaceful means:Russia

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Russia wants India and Pakistan to resolve all their differences, including the Kashmir issue, through peaceful means, the Russian envoy said in Islamabad on Saturday. Replying to a question, Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Y Dedov said his country wants Pakistan and India to resolve all differences, including the Kashmir issue, through peaceful means. He said Pakistan and Russia are also closely cooperating in efforts for restoration of peace in Afghanistan, Radio Pakistan reported.Talking about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, Dedov said Russia strongly supports the project as it is crucial for Pakistan’s economy and regional connectivity.He pointed out that CPEC is component of China’s Silk Road and his country was also working on a similar Eurasian Economic Union and China and Russia are holding discussions to merge the two projects. Asked about North-South gas pipeline project of Pakistan, the Russian Ambassador said they are eager to realise the project at the soonest.The Ambassador said the two countries are closely cooperating in different areas but there is need to enhance the volume of bilateral trade. Russia and Pakistan rebuilding their ties after decades of mistrust during the Cold War and have recently given gestures in deepening ties.

Several politicians have become beggars after demonetization: Manohar Parrikar

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

Bhushan backs Kejriwal demand for probe into source of funding of political parties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Swaraj Abhiyan leader Prashant Bhushan on Saturday backed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s demand for establishment of a commission to probe the source of funding of political parties, saying the move to exempt them from paying tax while depositing old notes will make them a medium to convert black money into white.Bhushan also accused the central government of “constantly lying” on the issue of demonetization and said the figures of old 500 and 1000 notes in circulation is being changed constantly. Addressing a news conference, Bhushan said the central government is not serious about taking any decision to tackle the menace of black money. “By allowing them to deposit old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 will make political parties a means to convert black money into white,” the activist-lawyer said, as he questioned the lack of transparency in funding of political parties. Bhushan, who is known to be an ardent critic of his one-time friend Kejriwal, said the formation of the commission as demanded by the Delhi chief minister is very important.”There is already an existing loophole that is being exploited by most of the major political parties to convert black money into legitimate political donations up to Rs 20,000.”Taking advantage of this clause, most parties declare an overwhelming majority of their income as cash donation under this limit and escape scrutiny of the source of its donations,” Bhushan said.Yogendra Yadav, president of Swaraj India, political arm of Swaraj Abhiyan, claimed that the government has a list of blacklisted tax haven countries, but they have now removed Cyprus from the list with retrospective effect from 2013.”So there will be no scrutiny of funds which have been channeled from the country,” Yadav said. Swaraj Abhiyan also announced a ‘Halla Bol’ rally at Jantar Mantar tomorrow against black money and corruption.Yadav claimed the rally will attended by “anti-corruption crusaders” Justice (retd.) Santosh Hegde among others.

Rajiv Jain appointed as new IB chief, Anil Dhasmana to head RAW

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jharkhand cadre IPS officer Rajiv Jain was on Saturday appointed as the new chief of Intelligence Bureau (IB) while Anil Dhasmana will head external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).Both the officers will have a tenure of two years. Jain, who is at present serving as the Special Director in the IB, will take over on January 1 after the incumbent Dineshwar Sharma completes his two-year tenure on December 31. A recipient of President’s Police Medal, the 1980-batch officer has served in various departments of the IB including the sensitive Kashmir desk.He was advisor to the previous NDA government’s interlocutor on Kashmir K C Pant when talks were held with separatist leaders like Shabbir Shah. In another appointment, Anil Dhasmana will take over the reins of the Research and Analysis Wing, an organisation which looks after the external intelligence of the country. He succeeds Rajinder Khanna who completes his tenure this year end. Dhasmana, a 1981-batch officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, has been with RAW for the last 23 years during which he has served on important desks including Pakistan.

Need to concentrate on some states lagging behind in education: Prakash Javadekar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> There is a need to concentrate on states like UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, MP and Rajasthan which are lagging behind in the education sector when compared to the other states, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Saturday. Inaugurating the 29th All India Urdu Book Fair at the powerloom town of Bhiwandi in the district, the Minister said “As far as education is concerned, statistics reveals that Muslim, Hindu and other community members progressed in states of Kerala, TN, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat while it was not so in other states. There is a dire need to pay attention to this.” He said that the present government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken up several measures to promote Urdu language and various steps have been taken in this direction.The minister, who praised Urdu as a lovely language and the script as nothing but an example of calligraphy, said the Urdu Academy and Council have come out with several publications. Even the Wikipedia has an assistance in Urdu which was not there previously. On standard of education in government schools and on issue of dropouts, the Minister said, “The government has decided to take several measures to ensure that the standard of education in the government schools in the country improves and the issue of dropouts is addressed.”He appreciated role played by various educational institutions, universities, research centres in addition to the NGOs in promoting Urdu language. He said plans are afoot to go in for online teaching of Urdu where every one can take education in their spare time. The Minister said the World Urdu Conference will be held in Delhi in March 2017. On the occasion, Javdekar gave slogan — ‘Sabko Siksha, Aachi Siksha’. “If the ‘Talim’ (teaching) improves everything improves and the country makes progress,” said Javdekar.

Army convoy attacked on Srinagar-Jammu Highway in Pampore, 3 soldiers dead

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Militants on Saturday attacked an army convoy by opening fire on it at Pampore on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.According to initial reports, three soldiers have been killed in the attack. Two others are injured The terrorists fled after the attack and a manhunt is on to nab the culprits. Preliminary investigations suggest that the militants might have used motorcycles to carry out the deadly attack, according to an army official quoted by PTI. The ultras opened fire on the army convoy at Kadlabal in Pampore town of Pulwama district this afternoon, a police official said. Security forces have cordoned off the adjoining residential area and launched search operation to track down the militants, he added.With agency inputs

Sonia Gandhi prefers ‘non-polluted’ Goa over Delhi: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said on Saturday that his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi preferred Goa over Delhi, as she felt that there was “no pollution” in the state and the people were “very good”.”Goa me akar mujhe bahot khushi hui hai…kuchh hi din pehle Congress president bhi yahan aayi thi. (I feel happy being in Goa. Few days back Congress president had also come here),” Gandhi said while addressing an election rally last evening at Fatorda village, around 30 kms from here.”Jab Delhi wapas aayi to maine unse puchha ki kaisi hain aap, to kehti hai mai Goa wapas jana chahti hu. (When she returned to Delhi, I asked her how she was and she said she wants to go back to Goa),” Rahul said at the beginning of his speech.”Unhone kaha, mujhe Goa ki hawa achhi lagi, Goa me koi pollution nahi hai…Goa ke log bahot achhe hai. (I like Goa’s air. There is no pollution there and people of Goa are very good),” he said.Mid-November, Sonia Gandhi visited the coastal state, where she lived in a starred resort in South Goa. During the stay, she has paid a visit to private museum without any security hassles. The Congress president had also visited a temple at Fatorpa village, 30 kms away from Margao.

Nothing vindictive against Robert Vadra, but he should face the law: MoS Finance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Swatting away charges that the Centre has vindictive intentions against Robert Vadra, Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal on Saturday asserted that the attack was not personal, but added that Sonia Gandhi’s son-in law must face the law on the Bikaner land purchase controversy.”Robert Vadra had started purchasing lands in those states which were ruled by the Congress-Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan. When land was purchased in my constituency, it was found out that the government has given permission for solar power plant. A normal probe takes place if a common man purchases land violating the Ceiling Act,” Meghwal said.Asserting that the law will do its job, Meghwal said the government is not doing anything with any vindictive approach. “We are just saying that if a common man would have bought lands, he would not have been allowed. If he would have purchased, probe would have followed. So, why is he scared of investigation? He should go to the Enforcement agency,” he added.The remarks from the Union Minister come close on the heels of media reports that the Rajasthan High Court has rejected plea of a firm related to the case and directed the Enforcement Directorate to continue its probe into the land deal.The plea was made against summons by the Enforcement Directorate.According to reports, the officials and those associated with Skylight Hospital, a firm linked to Robert Vadra, would be also questioned by the Enforcement Directorate. The controversial land deal and subsequent probe are related to the alleged purchase of 275 bigha land allegedly by the company in Kolayat area of the border town of Bikaner.The Enforcement Directorate had registered a criminal case of money laundering in this case last year, taking cognisance of FIRs filed by the state police after the local Tehsildar had made a complaint.

St. Stephen’s College faculty helps families of drowned students

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing deep sorrow over the death of three students on their trip to Kerala, St. Stephen College Principal, Professor John Varghese on Saturday said that the College faculty is helping the families of the students in every possible way.”The members of the faculty present there are assisting the families to handle the procedures and whatever possible from their side. We hope that the bodies will be handed over today sometime,” Varghese told ANI. He further expressed his gratitude to the Kerala government, the alumni and staff members for their support in this hour of need.Three students of the college, who were on a holiday trip to Kerala, drowned in the Periyar River in Ernakulam district on Friday. A local resort owner who was with them drowned as well. The incident took place when Anubhav Chandra from Jehanabad district of Bihar, Aditya Patel from Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh and Kenneth Jose from Kerala’s Wayanad had moved away from their group of 13 students, to visit the location by the side of a private resort in the evening. Anubhav and Aditya were third year Sanskrit students, while Kenneth was a first year Chemistry student.

Take note of LK Advani’s concern over Parliament washout: Shiv Sena to BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Needling BJP over the washed out winter session of Parliament, ally Shiv Sena on Saturday asked the ruling partner to take cognisance of its party patriarch LK Advani’s “tears” and called for a special session to discuss the demonetization issue.Terming Advani as the ‘Bhishma Pitamah’ of Indian politics, the Sena said he has raised a question mark over parliamentary democracy in the country. “It should be noted that Advani is not a Congress leader. One must bear in mind that he has been at the forefront of the anti-Congress politics,” an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said. It recalled that in May 2014, while entering the Parliament building, PM Narendra Modi had knelt and placed his forehead on the green carpeted steps and also shed tears. “But due to the ‘tamasha’ of parliamentary proceedings in the last two years, the soul of the Parliament (building) has lost and it is shedding tears,” it said.”Parliament is meant to debate serious issues of concern to people. But the opposition raises questions and creates chaos, while the government runs away from these issues. This is the picture today,” the Sena said.”People are standing in queues for Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000. However, crores in ‘pink’ (new Rs 2000) notes are being recovered from the houses of the rich. “If the government is not going to say anything on this, if the PM is not going to respond, then a special session of Parliament should be convened and the RBI Governor should be summoned in Parliament,” the editorial said.”Nowadays, the Prime Minister sometimes gets emotional. It will be nice if cognisance is taken of the tears shed by Advani on the state of affairs of Lok Sabha and democracy,” it said.The Sena remarks come after Advani, for the second time during the Winter Session of Parliament, expressed anguish and concern over the way the session was a washout with daily adjournments.He reportedly even told a few MPs that he felt like resigning from Lok Sabha owing to his distress at the proceedings, adding that “Atalji (former PM Vajpayee) would have been very upset seeing this”.

11 Oppn MLAs suspended from Telangana Assembly

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nearly a dozen members of the Congress and TDP were suspended from the Telangana Legislative Assembly on Saturday over their demand for debate on defection of Opposition MLAs into ruling TRS.The suspension of nine Congress and two TDP MLAs for the day came as the Opposition members entered the well of the house.Talking to reporters after suspension, Congress MLA M Bhatti Vikramarka alleged that their suspension and alleged defection of Opposition members into TRS was against principles of democracy. The ruling TRS MLA G Suneetha told reporters that the Congress members tried to stall the House as they did not want the good work being done by the government to be discussed in the House.It was decided to take up any adjournment motion after Question Hour but Congress members tried to stall the proceedings, she said.Congress and TDP adopted double standards on defection as Opposition YSR Congress members have joined the ruling TDP in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh now and Opposition members were admitted into Congress when Y S Rajasekhar Reddy was Chief Minister in undivided Andhra Pradesh, she alleged.

Chennai: Rahul Gandhi to meet ailing Karunanidhi today

Sat, 17 Dec 2016-09:45am , Chennai , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi will meet the ailing DMK president M Karunanidhi on Saturday, who underwent tracheostomy at the Kauvery Hospital here to optimise his breathing.On Thursday night, the former chief minister was admitted to the hospital for the second time in the last three weeks. He was first admitted to the same hospital on December 1 for optimisation of nutrition and hydration and was discharged after he improved substantially The hospital issued a statement saying Karunanidhi was readmitted with breathing difficulty due to throat and lung infection, adding that he was stable and being treated. Karunanidhi’s daughter and Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu Kanimozhi said that he had some lung infection and breathing difficulty, adding that he was much better now.

Kerala girl commits suicide after trip to the police station

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 19-year-old girl from Kerala killed herself reportedly after she was taken to the police station along with a female friend ‘for suspicious behaviour’ on Saturday, last week. Athira, who is a native of Kottayam district, was a member of the paramedic department at KMC Hospital at Kuttiyadi in Kozhiode, reported the News Minute.Athira and her friend Shabana J were picked by cops who found their behaviour ‘suspicious’. They were picked up at 2:30 AM near the hospital. The police took them in after they found their statements contradictory. While the women were let off after 30 minutes, she went back to the hospital, rushed to her room and consumed poison. She was taken to Kozhikode Medical College, where she died on Sunday.Her death led to protest marches by women’s groups who demanded an investigation. A special investigation team has been set up to investigate the matter.

Ahead of New Year, excise department seizes liquor worth Rs 35 lakh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of new year celebrations in Mumbai, the Konkan division of the state excise department on Saturday midnight seized illicit foreign made liquor worth Rs 35.7 lakh in a tempo in Vadkhal Naka in Raigad district. The liquor was being transported in the tempo from Goa to Mumbai, officials said.Excise officials called it a big seizure. “We received information of liquor being transported from Goa to Mumbai. We laid a trap and during a check of vehicles, the tempo was caught with the liquor,” said Nilesh Sangde, SP, Raigad excise department. The seizure was carried out under the supervision of the newly appointed excise commissioner V Radha.According to official of the excise department, every year, ahead of the New Year, supply of illicit and sub-standard liquor to the city increases, which results in revenue loss of the state.The excise officials seized over 500 boxes of foreign made liquor from the tempo and arrested the driver, who has been identified as Santosh Pandurang Deulkar, 25, a resident of Sindhudurg. “Deulkar has been sent to excise department custody for four days after being produced at a court in Pen in Raigad district. Now, we are carrying out further investigation as to where the liquor was supposed to be declared,” said Sangde.The driver of the tempo has been booked under section 65E, 108 and 83 of Bombay Prohibition Act.About two months ago, the excise department had caught a truck in Rasayani in Panvel on the Mumbai-Goa highway and seized a total 1,900 boxed illicit liquor worth Rs1.1 crore.

Demonetisation impact: Telangana, Andhra Pradesh compete with each other to go cashless

In these troubled times, the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have seen opportunity. As demonetisation and the subsequent cash crunch hit the country hard, chief ministers of AP and neighbouring Telangana are vying with each other to become ‘digitally enabled’, a move being seen as key to insulate themselves politically and beef up their already deficit state economies.

Chief Minister of Telangana K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) and N Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of AP are offering themselves up as role model ‘Digital CMs’ to the Narendra Modi regime and have designed strategies individually.

Naidu launched ‘AP Purse’ last week, a government sponsored payment platform with 13 mobile banking and 10 mobile wallets. In turn, KCR launched an e-wallet enterprise in collaboration with ICICI Bank. “Why should we oppose demonetisation blindly? If Telangana has to survive, we have to go for cashless transactions to increase our revenue by five times,” said KCR at the Secretariat on Saturday.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The idea behind trying to push the cashless transactions agenda is a banal one. Both states are hopeful of enhancing the prospects of central assistance for their mega infrastructure development agenda. Hence the push to leapfrog financial platforms — in an effort to project their states as the choicest destinations for infusion of global investment, technology and project monetisation in the near future.

AP Purse

Launching the new platform AP Purse on Tuesday, Naidu said that the government introduced Marpu Nestam (Friend for change), to educate people on digital financial literacy. The government will pay incentives to agents who train people in digital financial literacy.

AP Purse is an app which will provide links to 13 mobile banking and 10 mobile wallets with Aadhaar card to pay bills and purchases to retail traders and vendors in a cashless way. “We will train engineering students to enlighten the traders, vendors and also the common man on use of bank accounts and ‘RUpay’ cards,” he said. He made 90 lakh DWCRA (self-help groups of women) members and 70 lakh beneficiaries of the MGNREGS to open bank accounts in villages.

Naidu, who interacted with bankers and RBI representatives, said that Rs 2,472 crores was available with banks and that they would get another Rs 1,100 crores in December to tide over the cash crunch but emphasised that a cashless regime by 2017 was a stark reality. A document released by the CMO ahead of the launch of AP Purse said that there were only 46,126 (rural) and 60,173 (urban) banking outlets with internet facility, out of a total of 3.83 branches. There were only 10,516 ATMs of which nearly 6,250 were in urban areas. The Naidu government has let loose a blitzkrieg of advertisements in newspapers, Telugu TV channels and radio on use of cards, particularly the RUpay card of Jan Dhan accounts.

Telangana e-wallet and the Siddipet experiment

KCR has introduced the e-wallet in collaboration with ICICI Bank to address grievances of farmers, traders and Jan Dhan account holders.

KCR said that the state was geared to go digital at all levels. To begin with, stamps and registrations, civil supplies, excise and all government payments, including salaries to govt employees, would be on cashless platform of UPIS (Uniform Payment Interface System). “It will not be possible to change people’s habits overnight. Cash transactions are part of our life and culture. Initially all transactions above Rs 500 will be cashless,” he said.

The Telangana government has introduced a cashless transaction model in Rythu Bazaars (farmer markets) for the benefit of vegetable vendors in Hyderabad and Siddipet in collaboration with HDFC Bank. Customers can buy daily vegetables with tokens linked to their Aadhaar and HDFC cards. Besides Siddipet, the facility of Aadhaar linking for debit cards has been launched in Gajwel and Warangal market yards as well. “This is a temporary arrangement until the change crisis is resolved and banks’ link to markets is completed,” says T Harish Rao, state marketing minister.

Telangana has 5,200 bank branches with one bank for every three to four villages and has one lakh POS machines. “For a complete cashless regime, Telangana needs 20 lakh POS (swiping machines),” says a state finance ministry official. He said Rs 75,000 crores of cash was in circulation in the state before demonetisation, accounting for 86 percent of the total money in the state but so far only Rs 35,000 crores in banned notes were deposited in banks and the Centre has pumped in Rs 12,500 crores.

“Telangana has fewer banks and ATMs than Andhra — 5,212 bank branches and 10,000 ATMs. Hardly one tenth of banks and ATMs are in rural areas and Hyderabad accounts for 90 percent of branches and ATMs. Internet connectivity is very poor and only 60 percent of ATMs function in Hyderabad,” said Mohammed Ali Shabbir, Opposition leader in the Telangana Legislative Council. He also termed KCR’s claim of achieving cashless regime by 2017 as deceptive since there was only one bank branch to service 10 villages and just 88 lakhs people out of 4-crore population had bank accounts, he said.

The Effect

Opposition criticisms apart, Hyderabad and many towns of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada and Rajahmundry witnessed public furore with large queues in front of ATMs and banks. “Satrol ho gaya (business has gone kaput)” say wholesale traders at Goshamahal, Feelkhana, Begum Bazar, Siddiambar Bazar, Monda and Pathergatti where traders took cash from retailers for bulk purchases. “We had roaring business with 80 percent in cash and 20 percent on cheques and now everybody is demanding credit,” says Syed Aneesuddin, a bulk goods trader at Feelkhana.

Many traders say business is down now as they cannot give discounts to retailers – thanks to online payments, they have to pay Goods and Service Tax. According to RBI figures, there are about 13 lakh POS units in Telangana and the demand was for a minimum of 54 lakh.

The decision to go digital immediately by the two states is to get the early bird benefits from the Centre and also to improve their monthly revenues. “If we prove to be enabled for cashless transactions, our credentials in international markets will be benchmarked for big global investments,” Naidu told reporters on Saturday at Vijayawada.

Both these revenue-starved states are willing to go to great lengths in order to increase fund inflow — even at the cost of spending heavily on improving infrastructure and reducing liquidity in the market. While AP claimed that it had lost over Rs 1,300 crores in revenue generation in just one month, Telangana says it lost nearly Rs 800 crores. Both the governments have promised lavish welfare measures and freebies. Coffers cannot be empty for too long. And so the Telugu speaking neighbours have decided to join the Centre’s chorus on encouraging cashless transactions.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 14:05 IST

PM Modi an expert on misleading people: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress on Monday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is misleading the nation by diverting attention towards demonetization.”Prime Minister’s statement (in Bahraich) is another attempt to mislead people. He is an expert on misleading people. He has failed miserably in bringing back black money from abroad, so he has diverted people’s attention through demonetization. Again, he is playing the same game,” said Congress leader PC Chako.On Sunday, the Prime Minister while addressing the rally in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, via phone asserted that his fight against black money and graft would go on. He also used the occasion to lampoon the opposition for not allowing him to speak on demonetization in parliament.”They (opposition) come to the Well of the House…threw paper at the Speaker. We want to put forth the government’s view point…but they are not allowing us to do so,” he said.On Saturday, he said, “Government has always said we are ready to debate. I am not being allowed to speak in the Lok Sabha, so I am speaking in the Jan Sabha.””From the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, I want to share something with my friends in the opposition,” Modi said.