Chennai: In perhaps the first case of a top bureaucrat being raided, the house and office of Tamil Nadu chief secretary was on Wednesday searched by Income Tax officials who claimed to have recovered Rs 30 lakh cash in new notes and five kgs of gold besides getting “disclosure” about Rs five crore of unaccounted income.
With about 35 personnel of CRPF providing security, around 100 Income Tax sleuths, launched the raids as early as 6 am at 15 places, including the office and the residence of Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao, his son Vivek and some relatives in Chennai and Chittoor in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, IT sources said.
A top Income Tax official said Rs 30 lakh in cash in new notes and five kgs of gold were recovered during the raids.
“Disclosure” of Rs 5 crore of unaccounted income allegedly by Vivek was also obtained, he added.
Rao or his son could not be contacted for their comments.
The IT action came in connection with a case related to the biggest cash haul of new notes post demonetisation after the department raided some sand mining operators of Tamil Nadu in Chennai.
“We proceeded (to carry out the raids) on the basis of evidence which includes documents, notings and others pointing to receipt of income by Rao and his son to the tune of about Rs 16 crore to Rs 17 crore,” the Income Tax official said.
The search locations included the residence of Rao here, his kin and associates, besides his chamber at the Secretariat, he said.
The searches, top IT sources said, were launched against Rao’s son Vivek Papisetty and his relatives, including his father-in-law based in Chittoor.
To a query on the type of evidence they had, the official said, “We have lots of evidence, otherwise, how we can conduct searches.”
He referred to the recent seizure of Rs 135 crore in cash and 177 kg of gold from sand mining baron Shekar Reddy and Srinivasulu and said “through that (operation) too we have evidence”, without elaborating.
Reddy and and his associate K Srinivasulu were on Wednesday arrested by CBI and remanded to judicial custody by a Chennai court.
First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 22:41 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The war of words between TMC and BJP over Mamata Banerjee’s hard stance against demonetization escalated on Sunday. BJP West Bengal President Dilip Ghosh had earlier claimed that Mamata Banerjee had ‘lost her mind’ because she lost ‘hundreds of crores’ due to demonetization. Continuing the attack, he told ANI on Sunday: “Jab woh Delhi mei natak kar rahi thi,hum chahte to unka baal pakad ke nikal sakte the;hamari Police hai wahan. Par hum aisa nahi karte. Ek CM iss tarah ke shabd PM ke liye istemal karti hain vo theek nahi hai.” (When Mamata was protesting Delhi, we could’ve dragged her by the hair, the Delhi police is ours. But we didn’t do it. A CM speaking like that about the PM is not right.)Hitting out at Ghosh’s comments, TMC’s Derek O’Brien said: “New low in politics, 3rd class politics; made dangerous, threatening, false & personal allegations against Mamata Banerjee.”Earlier, Ghosh had said Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee has lost her mind after the demonetization drive and that was the reason behind her recent visits to Delhi and Patna.Speaking at a meeting of the party’s youth wing held at Paschim Medinipore district’s Jhargram yesterday, Ghosh said Banerjee has lost her mind and is crying for losing thousand of crores of rupees in the recent demonetisation of higher currency notes.”…That was why she (Banerjee) is visiting New Delhi and Patna. And failing to achieve anything, she is sitting in Nabanna (Secretariat). We had thought that she will ultimately jump in the Ganges… this person (Banerjee) has lost her mind and we are not ready to see her insanity… the state’s people have realised their mistake of bringing in the change in West Bengal,” Ghosh said.Reacting sharply to Ghosh’s statement, the TMC said that after failing to fight Banerjee on her stand on demonetization, the BJP has started spewing “dangerous personal threats to the Bengal CM”.”The BJP cannot fight Mamata Banerjee on policy, good governance and her principled stand on demonetization on behalf of millions who are affected,” the statement released by TMC said. “BJP is desperate to silence the voice of the opposition. So how low do they stoop’ The Bengal BJP president spews deeply dangerous, threatening, abusive and completely false personal statements against her. A new low in politics,” it said.A day earlier Mamata Banerjee had claimed that PM Modi had no solution for the hardships of people due to demonetization. ‘Modi babu knows that #DeMonetisation now derailed. Except giving bhashan, he has no solution,’ Mamata tweeted.Prime Minister Modi had made an appeal to the opposition to help inform the masses that they do not need to stand in queue and can use mobile banking for cash transactions.”From the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel I want to share something with my friends in the opposition. Yes, during elections we have a lot of heated debates. But we all call for increased voter turnout. Likewise, yes, you can oppose me but do teach people about banking, using technology for financial transactions,” he said while addressing the farmers at a rally in Gujarat’s Deesa.The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo who from the beginning opposed the demonetization and demanded its roll back, earlier on Thursday sharpened her attack on the Prime Minister and said the latter must resign because the move has led to “economic disaster” in the country and he has “no moral right” to continue.Alleging the country’s growth and business have been hit due to demonetization, she said the Prime Minister “doesn’t trust” anyone and he “doesn’t understand” what is good for the country.She has also questioned the motives behind the government’s move, alleging that nobody but the Prime Minister and his aides have benefited from the scheme.With inputs from agencies
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>New Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu O Panneerselvam, who assumed office following the demise of J Jayalalithaa, will hold a Cabinet meeting on Saturday at the State Secretariat.The meeting will begin at 11.30 am as per the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party sources. Panneerselvam is expected to adopt a resolution to accord formal sanction for a suitably impressive memorial for Jayalalithaa. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister is yet to formally take his seat in his office at the Secretariat.Earlier, the Union Cabinet met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and condoled the death of Jayalalithaa who passed away on December 5 at Chennai’s Apollo Hospital. Panneerselvam took oath as the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa breathed her last at 11.30 pm last Monday at Apollo Hospital in Chennai. The oath taking ceremony took place at Raj Bhawan. Panneerselvam served as the Leader of Opposition during the DMK government in 2006. He has previously held the portfolio of Finance in every AIADMK government.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rich tributes were on Tuesday paid to the architect of Constitution, B R Ambedkar on his 60th death anniversary, observed as ‘Mahaparinirvan Din’ by thousands of followers from all over the state who converged at his memorial ‘Chaityabhoomi’ near Shivaji Park in Dadar.Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Education Minister Vinod Tawde were among the leaders who paid homage to Ambedkar at the ‘Chaityabhoomi’. At Mantralaya, the state Secretariat, floral tributes were offered to the late leader. At Vidhan Bhawan, Legislature staff paid tributes to Ambedkar.The city’s public transport wing, BEST undertaking, ran special buses between Dadar and Shivaji Park, an official said, adding food stalls were also being put up to provide free snacks. The BMC has installed temporary sheds, mobile toilets and six medical stalls at Shivaji Park, Dadar Station, at Rajgriha (Ambedkar’s residence) and Kurla Terminus.Drinking water arrangements were also made at Shivaji Park, the official said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking exception to the Trinamool Congress’ “coup” allegation after the Army’s presence at toll plazas in West Bengal, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said it is not in national interest to drag the armed force into controversies.”What is coup? And then, dragging the Army into controversy; it is not in the national interest. It is totally condemnable who ever has done it. Not only Trinamool, unfortunately Congress and others also, without knowing the full truth, they try to make it a big issue and what happened at the end? It has boomeranged on them.”So, let’s not drag Indian Army, which is the pride of our nation, into these controversies,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event here. The presence of the Army in West Bengal to which the Trinamool has taken exception was a routine drill and there was nothing new in it, he said. “It is a routine drill which is to happen every year. This year also it happened in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur and Assam. It happened in Bengal last year. It happened this year also. There is nothing new. There is nothing like deploying Army, coup, nothing like that. They are doing a false campaign,” he said.Presence of army personnel at toll plazas in West Bengal had kicked up a storm with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee remaining at the State Secretariat overnight in protest, asking was it an “army coup”.A false campaign was on over different issues as well, including that there was shortage of salt, that gold would be seized and that emergency would be imposed with Army being brought in, Naidu alleged.”Do not indulge such false campaign…about demonetization also,” he said. Acknowledging that people faced inconvenience following demonetization, the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister said initial difficulties would be there when there is a transition. “In any transition, in every transformation, there will be some initial difficulties. That is why we said temporary pain for long-term gain. That is why the Prime Minister said, ‘give me 50 days’,” he said. The idea of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to transform the entire economic system and check problems like terrorism, hawala transactions and other such offences, he said.”He (Modi) wants to transform the entire economic, financial system in the country. He wants to weed out black money, he wants to tackle terrorists, separatists and also people who are funding, aiding terrorism and also takecare of the hawala operators and people who are hoarding money. That is the idea of the Prime Minister,” he said.The citizens are applauding the Prime Minister’s move despite the difficulties they faced as they have become aware of the government’s intentions, Naidu said.
Hyderabad: Taking exception to the Trinamool Congress’ “coup” allegation after the army’s presence at toll plazas in West Bengal, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said it is not in national interest to drag the armed force into controversies.
“What is coup ? And then, dragging the army into controversy; it is not in the national interest. It is totally condemnable who ever has done it. Not only Trinamool, unfortunately Congress and others also, without knowing the full truth, they try to make it a big issue and what happened at the end? It has boomeranged on them.
“So, let’s not drag Indian Army, which is the pride of our nation, into these controversies,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.
The presence of the army in West Bengal to which the Trinamool has taken exception was a routine drill and there was nothing new in it, he said.
“It is a routine drill which is to happen every year. This year also it happened in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur and Assam. It happened in Bengal last year. It happened this year also. There is nothing new. There is nothing like deploying army, coup, nothing like that. They are doing a false campaign,” he said.
Presence of army personnel at toll plazas in West Bengal had kicked up a storm with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee remaining at the State Secretariat overnight in protest, asking was it an “army coup”.
A false campaign was on over different issues as well, including that there was shortage of salt, that gold would be seized and that emergency would be imposed with army being brought in, Naidu alleged.
“Do not indulge such false campaign about demonetisation also,” he said.
“What is TRP? You (Congress) people are doing it for TRP because you have become irrelevant. People have rejected your bandh call. They have rejected Akrosh rally. You are divided. You do not have arguments to put forth before the country. You are not allowing the House (to function),” he said.
He said the prime minister has taken a bold historic decision against the black money menace which is the need of the hour.
Naidu said the results of recent byelections and local polls have proved BJP’s popularity.
First Published On : Dec 3, 2016 16:22 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Finally leaving the secretariat office after 36 hours, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee came out guns blazing at the Centre as she threatened to take legal action against the Narendra Modi government if Army deployment is not removed from certain areas across the state. ‘If Government doesn’t withdraw army deployed in the state, we will fight legally,’ she said after emerging from the Secretariat. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief also branded the present regime as a ‘daku government’, further alleging that the Centre is looting the country. ‘Modi government has become ‘Daku government’, just want to say that Modi ji is looting people’s money,’ she added. Meanwhile, responding to Mamata’s ultimatum, Wing Commander S S Birdi of the Eastern Command CPRO said ‘the Army deployment (in West Bengal) won’t be called off as it is a routine exercise and will continue till midnight today.’Mamata has accused the central government of “deploying the army” along a highway toll plaza at the second Hooghly Bridge, about 500 metres from the secretariat ‘Nabanna’ in neighbouring Howrah district.Earlier today, TMC threw an open challenge to the Centre to come forth with the documents proving that the West Bengal Government gave the green signal for the deployment of Army troops in certain areas in the state.Speaking to ANI, TMC spokesperson Derek O’Brien asserted that no such document existed, adding that he would hang his head in shame if the government could prove him otherwise.Nevertheless, the Parliament again witnessed ruckus today as the opposition continued to corner the Centre over the army’s deployment in West Bengal. The Army on its part strongly rebutted Banerjee’s allegations that its personnel were deployed at toll plazas without informing the state government and were collecting money, saying the exercise was being carried out in coordination with Kolkata Police. The Army personnel, however, had left the toll plaza near the secretariat last night. TMC MLAs and ministers also staged a dharna outside Raj Bhavan in Kolkata. Banerjee left the state secretariat in the evening after she spent over 24 hours and fired a fresh salvo at the Modi government.Accusing the Modi government of making a “wrong and concocted” statement in Parliament regarding the deployment of Army, Banerjee said her voice could not be stifled by “hatching conspiracy and showing force”. Banerjee also said the state government will take legal recourse if there is no withdrawal of army personnel from all toll plazas in the state.Speaking to reporters late last night at ‘Nabanna’, the state secretariat in Kolkata, she said, “I will stay at the secretariat to guard our democracy”. “Is this a military coup’” she asked. She said that army personnel were there in different districts like Murshidabad, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, North 24 Paragans, Burdwan, Howrah, Hooghly etc. “The army is deployed without informing the state government. This is unprecedented and a very serious matter.” The issue was raised in both Houses of Parliament with main opposition Congress too seeking clarification on the army deployment at 19 toll plazas in West Bengal.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday launched a series of scathing attacks on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who objected to army’s presence in the state, saying her ‘unnerved mind has given way to hallucination, which certainly requires medical care.’ BJP says Mamata rattled by demonetization BJP leader Sidharth Nath Singh said that the Chief Minister’s mind has been rattled after the Centre demonetized Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes.While listing out the ‘chronology of Mamata’s rattled mind to hallucinating mind’ after the Chief Minister equated the mock drill by the army to a coup, Singh said.‘First calling it financial emergency and demanding complete roll back. Saying united opposition will march to the President, however few takers in the opposition ranks. Threatening of riots in the country and giving 72 hours deadline to the Prime Minister. Holding Dharnas in UP and Bihar, although poorly attended. Conspiracy of her being eliminated by not allowing aircraft to land on a low fusel. Recent, and the worst, creating panic that there is an attempt of army coup,’ Singh stated in an official press release.Singh further said it was unfortunate that the Indian army had to come up with a proof that they had informed the state administration much ahead of their routine drill.‘This is the lowest of the low for Mamata for which she must apologies to the Indian Army and her MPs to the nation for stalling the Parliament,’ Singh said .In Lok Sabha, Parrikar termed the deployment a “routine exercise not unique to West Bengal” and saying similar operations to collect information on heavy vehicle movement that can be used during national emergencies had last month being conducted in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and JharkhandAlong with West Bengal, similar exercise was carried out in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram, Parrikar said while responding to TMC and Congress MPs.He also stated that originally the exercise was planned for November 28-30 but was shifted to December 1 and 2 at the request of Kolkata Police as those dates were clashing with the protests against demonetisation.”It is shocking that a Chief Minister is saying this. The Army’s deployment was part of routine exercise which has been going on for several years, which has been going on for last 15-20 years. Even last year it was held on November 19 to 21.” “Concerned officials were informed in West Bengal. The original date was fixed for November 28 to 30 but due to Bharat Bandh the local police had advised the army to shift it to December 1 and 2,” he said. “Due to traffic congestion, the exercise is being done with the help of local police.” TMC leaders in both Houses alleged that neither the state government, nor local administration including police were taken into confidence on the exercise or their permission sought.Congress and BSP too wanted to know from the government how such an unprecedented move to carry out an army exercise without taking state government into confidence was done.”It was very unfortunate that army has been dragged into an unnecessary controversy,” Parrikar said. “It was political frustration rather than projection of correct situation.” The Army also released letters written to the West Bengal government on the exercise.”It is happening in nine states now across 80 locations,” GOC Bengal area (officiating) Maj Gen Sunil Yadav said.Reacting to Chief Minister’s allegations on collection of money, he said, “We deny all charges with all contempt.” “Allegations of collection of money by Army personnel are also totally baseless,” he added. Banerjee today said the Home Secretary has written to the Centre asking for the withdrawal of Army and even after that “they are not removed then the state will seek legal assistance”.”There must be constitutional earmark. The Home Secretary has written again (asking for the removal of the Army). But still if they are not removed and kept here forcefully we will seek legal assistance. Law will take its own course,” Banerjee said.”We will continue the people’s fight. Threatening them will not be able to stop them,” Banerjee said.With inputs from PTI and ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continued to stay put at the state secretariat on Friday protesting against army presence at toll plazas in several parts of the state and asked whether it was an “army coup”. Army personnel, however, had left the toll plaza near the secretariat on Thursday night.Speaking to reporters late Thursday night at ‘Nabanna’, the state secretariat, she said, “I will stay at the secretariat to guard our democracy”. “Is this a military coup,” she asked.She said that army personnel were there in different districts like Murshidabad, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, North 24 Paragans, Burdwan, Howrah, Hooghly etc. “The army is deployed without informing the state government. This is unprecedented and a very serious matter”, she had said.The TMC leadership has decided to raise the issue in both the houses of Parliament and also inform President Pranab Mukherjee about the incident. “We are talking to all political parties. We are planning to raise the issue in Parliament today. Lets see,” TMC national spokesperson Derek O’ Brien told PTI.A senior TMC leader on condition of anonymity said, “We are planning to meet President Pranab Mukherjee and inform him about the incident. The entire country should know, how BJP is engaged in vindictive politics,”.The senior TMC leader said they have spoken to Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and discussed how to counter this issue jointly. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel had called up Banerjee in the morning and inquired about the incident.BJP’s Siddharth Nath Singh responded to Mamata’s allegations saying, “Jo paisa unhone (WB CM) gavaaya hai, usse sadma unhe hua hai, uske baad wo apne maansik santulan mein nahin hain (She’s in mental distress about losing money). First WB CM had apprehensions about flight being low on fuel, then she related a regular army exercise to a coup.”A defence spokesperson had said that the army conducts bi-annual exercise throughout the country with an aim of getting statistical data about the load carriers that could be made available to the army in case of a contingency. “There is nothing alarming about this and it is carried out as per government orders”, Wing Commander SS Birdi had said. The Army had said they were conducting routine exercise with full knowledge and coordination with West Bengal Police.Derek O’Brien, however, said the army claim that the exercises were conducted in coordination with police was “incorrect”. “All respect for army, but must set record straight 1) Data is already available 2. Cannot do vehicle check, not authorized to do so. Saying exercise by @easterncomd was coordinated with police is absolutely incorrect. Also, troops were moved into districts even after midnight. Bengal CM kept watch from Secretariat overnight. She is still there,” Brien said on twitter.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has reportedly locked herself up in her office in the state Secretariat in Kolkata, citing the alleged presence of Indian Army trucks outside as the reason. She has further claimed that she would leave her office only once the army is asked to move.
Mamata had earlier alleged the large presence of army vehicles deployed at toll booths across highways, saying the state government was kept in the dark over this move.
“Army has been deployed in the state without informing the state government. This is a very sensitive issue. This is unacceptable. We do not know anything about it. It has never happened,” Banerjee told the media. “We want details. Federal structure has been disrupted and democracy twisted. Has Emergency been declared? We had no information.”
A Defence Ministry spokesman said there was “nothing alarming about this” and the exercise is carried out as per government orders. “The army conducts the annual exercise throughout the county with the aim of getting statistical data about the load carriers that could be made available to the army in case of a contingency,” said the spokesman.
The three-day exercise, now being conducted within the Eastern Command area, would end on Friday.
She iterated that a civil operation cannot be launched by the army without informing the state and claimed it was the result of a “political vendetta”.
“What was the magnitude of the incident that the central government didn’t inform the state government? This is a political vendetta,” she said.
Continuing her tirade against the Narendra Modi-led central government, she said: “Is it some kind of planning to start a war within the country? The road is ours and is administered under the state’s law and order although it is categorised under the Centre’s National Highway Authority of India.”
She claimed public is being harassed and their vehicles are being stopped along the toll collection points.
“Even if the Army carried out a mock exercise, the state government should have been kept in the loop. The public is panicking. If this is happening in a civil area in Bengal, this could happen in Bihar, next in Uttar Pradesh, then in Tamil Nadu and other states as well. It is a very serious situation and it is dangerous than Emergency. We are facing an extremely black day,” she said.
With inputs from IANS
First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 23:09 IST
The chief minister of a south Indian state believes a building is bringing him bad luck.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India is set to host the crucial global tobacco control conference on Monday for the first time, where it will push for incorporating smokeless tobacco as an agenda amid a presence of delegates from about 180 countries.The Seventh Session of the Conference of Parties (COP7) to World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to be held from November 7 to 12 at Greater Noida. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will be the special invited speaker at the conference, which will be inaugurated by Union Health Minister J P Nadda, Health Ministry officials said. Noting that there is a large number of people in India who are increasingly opting for smokeless form of tobacco, they said the country’s effort will be to put it on the agenda of FCTC.India has already implemented 85 % pictorial warning on tobacco products, but the issue of plain packaging, that refers to packaging that requires the removal of all branding “will still be on the mind” during the deliberations at the conference, they added. About 1,500 delegates are expected to participate in the conference from around 180 countries along with other observers in official relations with the WHO FCTC Secretariat in Geneva. India has provided a leadership role in the negotiations of FCTC and has also served as the regional coordinator for the South-East Asia Region. India ratified the treaty on February 27, 2005 and is obligated to comply with the treaty provisions and its guidelines to reduce tobacco consumption globally.It is the first occasion that a COP meeting is being held in India and signals a strong commitment of the government to increase international co-operation and awareness of the WHO FCTC globally and especially in the WHO South-East Asia Region, the Health Ministry said. The WHO FCTC is the first global evidence-based public health treaty that recognises the right of all people to the highest standard of health. The treaty was developed by countries in response to the globalisation of the tobacco epidemic. There are at present 180 parties to the Convention.
By Duff Wilson and Aditya Kalra
| NEW YORK/NEW DELHI
NEW YORK/NEW DELHI The leadership of a World Health Organization (WHO) treaty on tobacco control has proposed barring delegates with ties to state-owned tobacco firms from its conference next week, tightening its application of rules to shut out the industry from policy making.That would include delegates employed by state-owned tobacco companies or those otherwise “working to advance the interests of the tobacco industry,” according to an internal communication document seen by Reuters.The proposal, if adopted at the conference of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in India, could restrict delegations sent by countries like China and Vietnam, where governments own cigarette companies and have in the past sent representatives linked to the industry.Any such members of the 180 delegations at the Nov. 7-12 conference near New Delhi “would be requested to leave the premises”, according to the Oct. 17 “note verbale”, an official diplomatic communication, from the WHO FCTC secretariat on behalf of the treaty’s leadership group to its parties.The FCTC, the world’s first international public health treaty, states explicitly that health policies need to be made independent of tobacco industry influence.Its governing conferences have in the past ejected members of the public and the press after they were believed to have tobacco industry connections.Yet up until now, the treaty’s leaders had not moved to bar employees of state-owned tobacco companies.At the last WHO FCTC conference, in Moscow in 2014, China’s 18-person delegation had four members from the “State Tobacco Monopoly Administration”.At the 2012 conference, in Seoul, two of eight Vietnamese delegates were from the “Vietnam Tobacco Association”.
When asked about the letter, a Vietnamese government official who declined to be identified told Reuters there would be no industry representatives in their delegation.Reuters was unable to immediately contact China’s State Tobacco Monopoly Administration for comment out of office hours.FINAL DECISION YET TO BE MADE
FCTC secretariat official Guangyuan Liu on Thursday confirmed the “note verbale” was sent to parties recently.
When asked about the composition of China’s delegation, Liu, team leader for governance and international cooperation at the secretariat, said: “We are still in contact with China and a final decision has not (been) made yet.””The COP (conference of parties) eventually will make the final decision,” Liu told reporters in New Delhi.The proposed restriction highlights a growing battle between the industry and backers of the treaty, which went into effect in 2005 to guide national laws and policies in an effort to curb tobacco use, which kills an estimated 6 million people a year worldwide.The global tobacco industry is estimated to be worth nearly $800 billion this year. The International Tobacco Growers Association, a non-profit group partly funded by big international cigarette companies, said the proposal was “beyond the wildest imagination”.
António Abrunhosa, chief executive of the group and a Portuguese tobacco grower, said in an email to Reuters that such a step was “unthinkable for a United Nations agency”. John Stewart, deputy campaigns director at Corporate Accountability International, a Boston-based advocacy group that has supported tobacco-control efforts, praised the proposed restrictions.”The tobacco industry has really forced parties and the secretariat into a corner,” he said in an interview. “This is a bold good-government action to ensure that the treaty space, the place where public health policies will save millions of lives, is free of tobacco industry intimidation.”Issues for debate at the conference include alternative livelihoods for tobacco farmers, e-cigarette regulation and trade and investment issues.The secretariat earlier wrote to the treaty’s party nations asking them to exclude people with tobacco interests from their delegations.In the latest note, the secretariat said it then turned to a FCTC leadership group for guidance after receiving a number of nominations from countries that ignored the suggestion. (Additional reporting by Sue-Lin Wong in Beijing; Editing by Tom Lasseter, Robert Birsel and Mike Collett-White)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
United Nations: Diwali was commemorated for the first time at the United Nations, with the world body’s imposing headquarters lit up especially on the occasion of the Indian festival of lights.
The facade of the UN headquarters was lit in bright hues and the words ‘Happy Diwali’, along with the image of a traditional ‘diya’, projected onto the building.
“Lighting up. @UN lights up for #Diwali for 1st time,” India’s Ambassador to the UN Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.
“Happy Diwali! @UN celebrates Diwali for 1st time. Thank you @UN_PGA for this initiative,” Akbaruddin said in another tweet, thanking General Assembly President Peter Thomson for the initiative.
He also tweeted a picture of passers-by clicking photographs of the building as well as being themselves clicked against the illuminated UN headquarters in the background.
Thomson also tweeted a picture of the UN building lit up in bright blue for Diwali and said “Light over darkness, hope over despair, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil – the UN lights up. Happy Diwali!”
The UN Secretariat building will be lit up for Diwali from 29-31 October.
It is for the first time that the Indian festival of lights is celebrated at the world body after the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in December, 2014 that acknowledged the “significance of Diwali”.
Noting that the festival is observed in many UN member states, the resolution had called on UN bodies to avoid holding meetings on Diwali, declaring it a no-meeting day.
From 2016 onwards, Diwali was made an optional holiday for the UN, India’s Permanent Mission to the world body said in a special video message.
Earlier in June, the UN building was lit up on the occasion of the International Yoga Day, with images of Yoga postures projected on the imposing headquarters.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a move aimed at checking any possibility of leakage of information through hacking of communication devices, Union Ministers have been asked not to carry mobile phones in Cabinet meetings.The Cabinet Secretariat has recently issued a directive to private secretaries of the concerned ministers in this regard. “It has been decided that smartphones/mobile phones will henceforth not be permitted inside the meeting venues of Cabinet/Cabinet Committees,” it said.The private secretaries have been asked to appropriately brief the ministers on this.The move assumes significance as security agencies have raised doubts over the security of mobile phones which are prone to hacking.Official sources said the measure will ensure that the discussion, which is mostly sensitive, during cabinet meetings remains secret.Such an instruction has been issued from the government for the first time. Earlier, ministers were allowed to bring mobile phones with them which would be kept either on silent mode or preferably switched off.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five months after scrapping his ‘Janata Ke Durbar Mein Mukhya Mantri’ programme, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has decided to revive his interaction with the people in the form ‘Lok Samvad Karyakram’ (Public Interaction Programme) from December, an official said on Friday. The decision in this regard was taken at a cabinet meeting presided by the Chief Minister, Principal Secretary (Cabinet Secretariat) Brajesh Mehrotra said.Under the Public Interaction Programme, Kumar, along with his ministers, will interact with the people and hear their suggestions on first three Mondays of every month, he said. Mehrotra said the public interaction will take place at the Chief Minister’s official residence or at his Secretariat at Samvad or even in the districts.About 50 people will be invited for the interactive programmes, the Principal Secretary (Cabinet Secretariat) said. “A software named ‘Lok Samvad’ has been designed, under which the people can post their suggestions in approximately 200 words or send the same to the Chief Minister and the Cabinet Secretariat or make a presentation in person at the Pubic Interaction Programme,” he said.Shedding light on the agenda of the Public Interaction Programme, he said that suggestions on infrastructure, industries, building and construction, electricity, water, irrigation, etc will be heard on the first Monday of the month. On the second Monday the invited people will be heard on issues like police, general administration, urban and rural local bodies, cooperative.The Chief Minister and his ministers will be given presentation by the people on matters like improvement of health services, education and welfare of weaker sections on the third Monday, Mehrotra said. The exact date for commencement of the Chief Minister’s Public Interaction Programme will be announced in due course of time, Mehrotra said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Former Home Secretary RK Singh on Monday said India should have attacked Pakistan after the December 13, 2001 terror strike on Parliament.”After the parliament attack, we had mobilised troops, but did not act. We should have attacked Pakistan, as it was an act of war,” he said.Responding to the reports that the Jaish-e Mohammed may attack Parliament, the former home secretary said, “Just want to convey to them that this will be crossing of ‘red line’.”Indian intelligence agencies have received reports about Jaish-e-Mohammad’s (JeM) plans to execute a 2001 style attack on the Parliament to avenge the Indian Army’s surgical strikes along the Line of Control (LoC), reported by a leading dailyJeM may also target Delhi Secretariat, Akshardham and Lotus Temple, the report added.According to the report, Pakistan’s intelligence agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) has given a free hand to JeM to avenge the surgical strikes by the Indian Army.On September 18, four heavily armed JeM militants had stormed a battalion headquarters of the Army in North Kashmir’s Uri town in the wee hours, killing 18 soldiers and injuring 19.In retaliation to the attack, seven terror launch pads across the LoC were targeted by the army on the night of 28 September in a nearly five-hour-long operation during which heli-borne and ground forces were deployed.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP government in Chhattisgarh on Saturday transferred an IAS officer following his comments about the late Jan Sangh leader Deendayal Upadhyaya on a social networking site.A senior official of the state government told PTI that the officer, Shiv Anant Tayal, who was the CEO of Kanker Zilla Parishad, was transferred to the state Secretariat.BJP is currently celebrating the birth centenary of Deendayal Upadhyaya.Tayal, a 2012 batch IAS officer, had posted a critical comment about Upadhyaya’s contribution on Facebook on Friday, after which, BJP leaders demanded action against him.However, he had later expressed regret on the same networking site over his post.”The government is going to issue him a show-cause notice regarding the Facebook post,” the official said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government has asked former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma’s family to vacate the 34, APJ Abdul Kalam Road bungalow, which may become the new address of President Pranab Mukherjee after his tenure gets over in July next year, indicating that he may not get a second term in office.Currently, Sangma’s son Conrad, who is Lok Sabha MP from Tura in Meghalaya, is occupying the type-VIII Bungalow. The Urban Development Ministry has requested him to vacate the house since the first time MPs are not entitled to a type-VIII bungalow, the highest category of government accommodation, a source in the department said. These accommodations in the Lutyens Bungalow Zone are the most sought after.At the same time, the source said President’s Secretariat had also requested the Urban Development Ministry to look for a suitable accommodation for Mukherjee, whose term expires in July next year. The officials of the President’s Secretariat were shown the bungalow on APJ Abdul Kalam Road and they have agreeable to it becoming Mukherjee’s new home after he demits office, the source said.Mukherjee had defeated Sangma, who passed away in March this year aged 68, to become the 13th President of India. A retired President is entitled to rent-free accommodation anywhere in India with free water and electricity for the remainder of his/her life as per the President s Pension Rules, 1962.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan hinted that the next SAARC Summit in November could be postponed if India has refused to attend the regional gathering. “As per SAARC rules the Summit will not be held if any member-country refused to attend,” Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said.His statement came as it became evident that it was not possible to organise the summit after India and three other member-countries – Afghanistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh – informed the SAARC Chair, Nepal, their unwillingness to attend the summit that was scheduled for November 9-10. Aziz said it was not the first time that India was not attending the regional summit and that it had earlier also caused the summit to be postponed four times.Aziz said although it is possible to postpone the summit but the SAARC Secretariat has not officially informed the government so far. Earlier, Pakistani media reported that the government has decided to postpone the summit.Under the SAARC charter, the summit is automatically postponed or cancelled even if one member country skips the event. Tensions between India and Pakistan have increased after militants stormed an Indian Army base in Uri on September 18, killing 18 soldiers.Besides India, three other SAARC members – Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan – have pulled out of the summit, indirectly blaming Pakistan for creating an environment which is not right for the successful holding of the meet.The development a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided not to attend the SAARC Summit citing “the prevailing circumstances”.Founded in 1985, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) currently has Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka as its members. India said the SAARC Summit in Islamabad has to be postponed as it and three other countries have pulled out of the meet.Earlier, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said a formal announcement to this effect will be made by Nepal, the current Chair of the SAARC.The current rule is that if any one head of State or Government decides not to participate in the SAARC Summit, it has to be postponed. All eight Heads of SAARC countries must be present for the Summit, Swarup said, adding if any one country decides not to participate, the Summit has to be postponed.”In the current case, not just India but Bangladesh Bhutan and Afghanistan have also written to current Chair of SAARC, Nepal that they are unable to participate in the SAARC Summit, which means there is no option but to postpone it,” the Spokesperson said.The countries have pulled out of the SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November, indirectly blaming Pakistan for creating an environment which is not right for the successful holding of the meet.In the backdrop of the heightened tension with Pakistan over Uri terror attack in which 18 jawans were killed, India had announced late last night its decision to not participate in Summit, citing increased “cross-border”
Thiruvananthapuram: Normal life was affected on Wednesday by a dawn-to-dusk hartal called in the district by opposition UDF protesting the police action against Youth Congress activists, agitating over the private medical college fees and admission issue.
Stray ‘minor’ incidents of violence such as stone pelting were reported in parts of the district, police said adding there was no casualty.
Police had on Tuesday made a lathicharge and burst teargas after a march taken out by the YC activists over the fees hike in private medical colleges turned violent.
Shops and business establishments remained closed and the public transport was hit. Functioning of the education institutions was also badly affected, while government offices here reported thin attendance.
Police said the protesters briefly blocked the official vehicle in which state Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac was travelling in the city. They were removed from the scene immediately.
Incidents of stone pelting by hartal supporters were reported in some parts of the district especially in Parassala and Kattakkada, police said.
There were also complaints that hartal supporters forcibly tried to shut down shops, leading to tension in certain pockets.
Youth Congress is on war path for the last one week with its President and Vice President-Dean Kuriakose and C R Mahesh-holding an indefinite fast in front of the state Secretariat.
The marches, taken out by the activists of YC and Kerala Students Union, turned violent in many parts of the state especially in the capital since the leaders began the stir.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s remarks in the Assembly that those who showed blackflags against him as part of the protest were not YC activists but somebody hired by TV channels had infuriated the protesters and they have stepped up the agitation.
The fasting YC leaders were shifted to the Medical College hospital here yesterday after they complained of uneasiness when a teargas shell hurled by police burst near their protest venue.
Congress demanded scrapping of the agreement, entered between CPI(M)-led LDF government and self financing private medical college managements, holding that it had resulted in exorbitant fees hike.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s remarks against Youth Congress on Tuesday triggered protests in the Assembly as Congress-led UDF opposition members disrupted the proceedings by raising slogans and holding banners and placards. As the Opposition demanded withdrawal of the statement and declined to cooperate with the proceedings, Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan adjourned the House for the day.Mocking at the ongoing agitations of Youth Congress demanding the roll back of fees hike in private self financing medical colleges, Vijayan said those who waved black flag at him recently as part of the protest were not YC activists but somebody “hired” by television channels. He also said Youth Congress activists were disrupting normal life of people and trying to create law and order problem and tension in many places “purposefully” in the name of agitation.”Two people showed black flag at me when I went out of the Secretariat. Some television channel cameramen could also be seen at the other side of the road,” he said while replying to the notice for an adjournment motion by Shafi Parambil (Cong)) over the private medical college issue. “I think, those who waved black flag were not Youth Congress activists, but somebody hired by television channels. I do not think Youth Congress would come for a black flag protest with such less number of activists,” he said.Sticking to the government’s earlier stand that students were benefited by the agreement signed by the government with the managements of private self financing colleges, he said the CPI(M)-led LDF government would initiate strong action against those managements who demand capitation fee.As the Chief Minister continued his statement, a number of opposition MLAS trooped to the Speaker’s dais demanding withdrawal of the statement and squatted at the well and raised slogans against Vijayan and the government. Expressing strong protest over the remarks, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said Vijayan’s comments were “unbecoming” of the position he held. “Vijayan should not use in the House the language which he uses in party committees and in street. This language is unbecoming of the position which he holds,” he said, adding that the remarks should be expunged from the Assembly records.As protest continued and repeated attempts to send the opposition members back to their seats failed, the speaker took up other businesses slated earlier and adjourned the House for the day.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rights activist Irom Sharmila, who had expressed her desire to contest Manipur Assembly election next year, met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and sought his advice on how to defeat “major political parties” in her state.During the 45-minutes-long meeting at Delhi Secretariat, Kejriwal assured her of all possible support for fighting the election. “In the meeting, she sought the Chief Minister’s advice on defeating major political parties in Manipur which is scheduled to go for polls next year,” an official said. She also discussed political strategy with the chief minister and sought to know how he registered such a remarkable victory in Delhi, the official said. Sharmila also met Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. Although she did not talk to the media after the meeting, sources said she also took suggestions on other issues related to Manipur. On August 9, the 44-year-old ‘Iron Lady’ broke her 16-year-old hunger strike, the world’s longest such campaign, and declared that she wants to become the chief minister so that she could press for repeal of the contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Sharmila has already announced that she would soon float a new regional party under the banner of which she will contest the polls.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Activists of Youth Congress and Kerala Students Union, the youth and students’ outfits of the Congress party, on Saturday showed black flags to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan near the state Secretariat in Thiruvana as part of their agitation over the issue of fees and admission in private medical colleges.Police said some protesters showed black flags to the chief minister’s vehicle near the Cantonment Gate of Secretariat, the administrative hub, at the heart of the city. The protesters were immediately taken away by the police.Tension prevailed in front of the Secretariat after some protesters blocked the movement of Forest Minister K Raju’s vehicle in the morning as part of the hunger strike of Youth Congress state president Dean Kuriakose, along with another activist Mahesh, which entered the fifth day.Police chased the protesters with lathis and even used water cannons to disperse them. Reacting to the incident, Raju later said it was “quite unexpected” and should not have happened. He also claimed that the protesters banged on his car and waved black flags.In a similar incident in the northern district of Kannur, a group of Youth Congress activists showed black flags to state Health Minister KK Shylaja, police said. Meanwhile, two Congress MLAs — K Sabarinathan and M Vincent — staged a dharna in front of a police station demanding immediate release of party workers, taken into custody in connection with the incidents.Former chief minister Oommen Chandy and opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala condemned the alleged police action against the Congress activists.Chandy demanded a probe into the incident while Chennithala alleged that the police acted against the protesters “without any provocation”.The Youth Congress was demanding scrapping of the agreement between the state government and the management of private self-financing medical colleges, maintaining that the new fees structure was “very high” and alleging corruption.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An FIR was filed on Sunday against Leader of Opposition MK Stalin and other DMK MLAs who had protested inside the Tamil Nadu Secretariat and outside the Assembly premise.A case had been filed in Fort Police station as DMK MLAs gathered inside the premises without permission.DMK MLAs had protested inside the secretariat on 18th and 19th of this month to allow them inside the assembly premise to go Stalin office.The case was filed against 40 MLAs on 18th and 60 MLAs on 19th.On 17th August, the Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker expelled DMK MLAs for a week from entering the assembly for continuous disruption of proceedings.Leader of the House and state’s Finance Minister O. Paneerselvam moved a resolution seeking suspension of all DMK MLAs present in the House for a week, which was adopted by the House.The disruption triggered after one of the AIADMK MLAs Gunasekaran passed a remark on Stalin’s Nammaku Naame (We, Ourselves) roadshow.Marshals physically carried Stalin out of the assembly building where an army of reporters surrounded the entrance to question the opposition leader.’Today’s action by the speaker and the ruling party members is yet another example of the attitude the AIADMK (towards opposition),” Stalin told the media.
The recently declassified Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose files reveal that India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wanted to share Indian National Army or erstwhile Azad Hind Government’s gold, along with a sum of Rs 10 lakh, with Pakistan.The cash and jewellery were in the possession of the custodian evacuee property in Singapore.Nehru’s note of June 30, 1950, mentioned in secret file (no. 23 (156)/ 51-PM) in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) – ‘Disposal of Properties of Indian National Army (INA) in the Far East’ – mentions that “since it has been decided that the assets of INA/IIL funds should be divided between India and Pakistan in the ratio of 2:1, Pakistan might claim a part of this gold in which case it might lead to embarrassment if we were to take charge of it in its entirety now.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nehru, obviously, didn’t knew the value of the gold. In a letter dated November 12, 1953 he had asked the ministry of external affairs to take possession of the gold and inquire about its value. He also sent along a letter of authority as the gold and other funds of the INA, after Netaji’s reported death in a plane crash in 1945, were pledged under his (Nehru’s) name as PM of India.Subsequent inquiries done by the MEA revealed that the amount of gold was Rs. 37,956 at the then Singapore value. Plus, there was a sum of Rs.10 lakh which the Custodian of Enemy Property in Singapore held with him as property of the provisional government of Azad Hind.But as Nehru had gone ahead and done a lot of correspondence for the return of gold, he pursued further and got it back. As for the remaining and larger sum of Rs.10 lakh, Nehru finally decided to let it remain in Singapore and asked the MEA to use the interest accrued on it for giving scholarships for Indian students there, various correspondences in the file reveal.But an intriguing part of this file is that many of its papers were destroyed by Nehru’s PMO without mentioning any reasons, thus leaving out much of mystery about the INA treasure remain unsolved.The first two pages of the file clearly mention the reference numbers of various notes and letters that were destroyed and includes U.O.Note No. d/s-8666, dated August 24, 1953 from Prime Minister Secretariat (as PMO was then known) to Mohd. Yunus, Ministry of External Affairs, and U.O. Note No. D. 3788-8EA/53 dated August 27 from Mohd Yunus, MEA to PM’s Secretariat.It appears from the file that Mohd Yunus had sent another Memo No. 2/53/19713/601 (151) to Prime Minister Secretariat which was also destroyed.
The Fifth batch of 25 declassified files relating to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was released online on the web portal netajipapers.gov.in. The present batch of 25 files consists of two files from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) (1951 to 1953), 14 files from Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)(1956-2008) and nine files of the Cabinet Secretariat (1956 to 2006), which run into 2248 pages. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It may be recalled that first lot of 100 files relating to Netaji, after their preliminary conservation treatment and digitisation, were put in the public domain by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 23 2016, on the occasion of the 119th birth anniversary of Netaji. The second batch of 50 files, the third batch of 25 files and the fourth batch of 25 files were released subsequently on March 26, April 29 and May 27, 2016 respectively.With Wednesday’s release, 225 declassified files on Netaji have come into the public domain which includes nine files of the Cabinet Secretariat also. Netaji have come into the public domain which includes 9 files of the Cabinet Secretariat also.The present release of 25 files will further meet the continued public demand to access these files and this will also help scholars carry out further research on the doyen of the freedom movement. These files have passed the scrutiny of the specially constituted Committee with experts from the field of Archives who looked into the aspects: 1. To ascertain the physical conditions of the files and carry out necessary repair and conservation wherever needed, through Conservation Unit. 2. To verify the quality of digitisation for enabling the digitised records to be uploaded on netajipapers.gov.in. 3. To check if there is any duplication in the files are being released on the internet for use by the researchers and general public. In 1997, the National Archives of India had received 990 declassified files pertaining to the Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj) from the Ministry of Defence. In 2012, 271 files/ items pertaining to the Khosla Commission, and 759 files/ items of Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry, in total 1030 files/items were received from the Ministry of Home Affairs. All these files/ items are already open to the public under the Public Records Rules, 1997.
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy’s complaint about alleged breakdown of governance in Delhi has been forwarded to the Home Ministry by the President’s Secretariat.In a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee last week, Swamy had sought his intervention alleging that the AAP government was functioning in a “highly arbitrary, unreasonable and malafide” manner. Swamy had also alleged that Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung was playing a “mischievous” role of abetting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the behest of the Congress party and, at the same time, appearing to oppose the AAP leader in public.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The President’s Secretariat conveyed to Swamy that his communication has been forwarded to the Home Secretary. In the letter, Swamy had also mentioned about charges levelled by Kejriwal against BJP MP Maheish Girri in connection with murder of an NDMC official.Swamy said Jung should have categorically told Kejriwal that if he does not substantiate his allegations against Girri or apologise, he would recommend to the Centre dismissal of the AAP government. Swamy requested the President to ask the Union Home Ministry to issue a directive as per provision of the Constitution and seek a report asking on what basis Kejriwal and his colleagues have made allegations of murder against Girri.
Yoga, even though it originated in India, does not belong to the country anymore and became India’s gift to the world when the UN proclaimed the International Day of Yoga, renowned spiritual leader Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev has said.”We must understand that yoga is not an Indian (thing). If you want to call yoga Indian, then you must call gravity European,” Sadhguru said at a panel discussion organised on Monday by India’s Permanent Mission to the UN on the eve of the second International Yoga Day.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sadhguru said even though the idea of commemorating the International Yoga Day was mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it was “almost like the world was waiting for it” when 177 nations supported the UN resolution proclaiming June 21 as International Day of Yoga.Yoga is “not about you versus me. This is why I said yoga is not Indian because a science cannot be Indian. Yes, yoga originated from India and as Indians we are proud of it but it does not belong to India,” he said during the panel discussion ‘Conversation with Yoga Masters’ that also featured Tao Porchon-Lynch, 97-year-old Yoga Master and activist.”The very fact that the UN has declared it as International Yoga Day means India has gifted it (Yoga) to the world. It does not belong to India anymore,” Sadhguru said.Underlining that yoga must be understood as a science and the practice is not about “bending and twisting”, he told PTI that the most important thing is to release yoga from stereotype that it is a physical practice. Sadhguru, the founder of Isha foundation, said people assign specific times and days to do yoga but he does yoga 24 hours a day.”Anytime time is yoga time. If you bring that dimension, release it from its physical practice and bring it into a state of experience of life, that’s when it will become universal,” he said.”It’s not a yoga culture, it’s a yogic science. I am insisting on it being as science and technology because you don’t have to believe (in yoga), you just have to learn to use it. Like any technology, if you learn to use it, it works for you,” he said.With the UN proclaiming an international day for it, yoga now belongs to everybody and all the Indian teachers and gurus must understand that they have to remove the cultural elements attached to yoga.”However attached they may be to those cultural elements, they should keep that aside and teach yoga as a science and as a technology. This is most important because only then will it be internationally relevant,” he said.India’s Permanent Mission to the UN in association with the UN Department of Public Information will commemorate the second International Yoga Day with a special event today at the UN Secretariat Circle in front of the UN headquarters. President of General Assembly Morgens Lykketoft is the Chief Guest at the event.
In exactly 12 days from from Wednesday, Andhra Pradesh government’s offices are supposed to relocate from Hyderabad to the state’s transitional headquarters at Velagapudi in the capital region but not a single block of the new buildings under construction here is ready.But Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu exuded confidence that everything would be in place by June 27 to move “at least some offices” to the transitional headquarters. “On the 22nd we will notify the Secretariat departments that need to shift here in the first round,” the Chief Minister said after inspecting the construction activity here this afternoon. Already, offices of some heads of departments started moving to the capital region in Guntur and Vijayawada, he pointed out.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two days ago, the government had issued guidelines for the relocation of government staff from Hyderabad to Amaravati but did not specify the secretariat departments that would shift. In the meantime, the two construction majors–Shapoorji Pallonji and L&T — informed state Chief Secretary Satya Prakash Tucker that construction of the six blocks (of one lakh sqft each) would be completed only by August.
ALSO READ Should have moved to Amaravati earlier: Chandrababu NaiduThe original deadline set for them ended on Wednesday. Following this, the Chief Secretary announced that shifting of secretariat departments would be possible only by August.When asked about this, the Chief Minister remained evasive and only said they would announce on June 22 the departments that would shift in the first round on June 27. “When you are constructing a house, everything will not be ready at a time,” Chandrababu remarked.
ALSO READ Andhra Pradesh: CM Chandrababu Naidu promises 5-day week, 30% additional HRA for staffWhen pointed out that there is no proper road to reach the transitional headquarters, he said foundation for a new road would be laid on June 20. “We will first create one approach and later develop other roads according to the master plan,” the CM added.
New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday reviewed coastal security and other issues during a meeting with officials of various government agencies.
The minister said that issues relating to coastal security, discussed during the meeting of parliament’s consultative committee on home ministry in Goa earlier, and points raised in this regard by a parliamentary standing committee should be addressed at the earliest and an action-taken report submitted immediately.
Issues of biometric cards to fishermen and colour coding of fishing vessels were also discussed in the meeting, attended by officials of the home ministry, Inter-State Council Secretariat and the Registrar General of India, an official statement said.
The issues of mapping of coastal police stations, local police stations, fishing landing points, ports, customs and immigration checkposts in coastal areas of states and union territories were also discussed in detail, the statement added.
Singh told the officials that since these issues will be discussed with the states concerned on 16 June at Mumbai, all necessary actions should be taken this week itself.
The minister was told about the status of 131 coastal police stations sanctioned under Coastal Security Scheme Phase II, of which 108 stations have been already operationlised.
Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi also attendd the meeting.
A Delhi court on Tuesday dismissed a criminal complaint filed against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for using allegedly ‘defamatory and seditious’ words against Prime Minister Narendra Modi following the CBI raid at the office of his Principal Secretary.Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra fixed the matter for order after hearing arguments on behalf of complainant, an advocate.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Complainant-advocate Pradeep Dwivedi sought had Kejriwal’s prosecution under sections 124A (sedition) and 500(defamation) of IPC alleging there was ‘seditious intention’ behind the remarks which spread “hatred and contempt” against the Prime Minister.
ALSO READ No regrets: Arvind Kejriwal defends his ‘Modi is a coward and a psycopath’ comment He had argued that the remarks like ‘coward’ and ‘psychopath’ uttered by the AAP leader against Modi were “defamatory and seditious” and such statements could spread ‘disharmony’ and ‘disaffection” in the country.The complainant also alleged that when CBI had raided the Chief Minister’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar’s Delhi Secretariat office on December 15 last year, Kejriwal had made offensive remarks on his Twitter account against Modi.”On December 15, 2015, the accused posted the remarks on his Twitter account which reads as ‘Modi is a coward and a psychopath’. The remarks were made against the democratically elected PM of the largest democracy of the world,” it said.
An IAS officer who had praised Jawaharlal Nehru in a Facebook post, has been transferred by the Madhya Pradesh government.Ajay Singh Gangwar who was the Barwani District Collector, was transferred last night as Deputy Secretary in the Secretariat in Bhopal. Gangwar had been promoted to the IAS cadre from the state service in 2005.'”The state government has transferred Barwani Collector Gangwar as Deputy Secretary in the Mantralaya in Bhopal,” a state Public Relation Department official said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the Facebook post written in Hindi, which has gone viral on other social media platforms, Gangwar has written that “let me know the mistakes that Nehru should not have committed…Is it his mistake that he prevented all of us from becoming Hindu Talibani Rashtra in 1947?”Is it his mistake to open IIT, ISRO, BARC, IISB, IIM, BHEL steel plant, dams, thermal power? Is it his mistake that he honoured Sarabhai, Homi Jehangir in place of intellectuals like Asaram and Ramdev?”According to the government official, the FB post had not gone down well with the top officials as it was in “violation” of the service rules, following which an initial probe was conducted and Gangwar was transferred.Ever since the Facebook post had gone viral, there was talk that Gangwar could be shunted out of the district.However, his transfer order did not mention anything about his Facebook post on Nehru, the official added.
All private medical colleges will come under the ambit of common medical exams, NEET, Health Minister J P Nadda on Tuesday said after an Ordinance to keep the state boards out of it for a year was signed by President Pranab Mukherjee.Noting that the Ordinance has given a “firm and statutory” support to the common medical entrance test, he said the students in states will get an opportunity to appear this year (2016-17) for undergraduate exams.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”All private institutions and medical colleges will come under the ambit of NEET. The state governments will get an option to either conduct their own exam or go for NEET to fill UG seats. However, for PG courses, the exam will be held under NEET for 2017-18 session, in December this year.”The states will have an option. Approximately five states have undertaken their test. 6.5 lakh candidates have appeared in various state exams. 6.25 lakh have appeared in NEET 1,” Nadda told reporters here.”There are states which have deferred their exam like UP while Bihar has opted for NEET. They have an option. But these seats will be filled either by NEET or state governments,” he said.After having raised queries, the President today signed the Ordinance which has a provision for states to keep out of NEET for a year.Mukherjee signed the Ordinance this morning after Health Ministry officials returned with the file addressing all the queries raised by him.Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi was at the President’s Secretariat early this morning along with the top ministry officials to respond to clarifications sought by Mukherjee on the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).Nadda said that in the Ordinance, a provision has been made where an exemption has been given to state governments.He said, “The President today morning signed the Ordinance which was sent to him by the Union Cabinet. Following this, the legal procedure has been initiated. It will be notified today.”
Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday said he repented not having shifted his base to the state’s new capital region Amaravati immediately after taking charge in June 2014.
For a year since assuming office, Naidu operated from Hyderabad, the joint capital of AP and Telangana, and moved base to Vijayawada last June after a temporary office building was constructed.
Amaravati was chosen as the new capital in September 2014.
“I should have shifted to Vijayawada straightaway and started working from under the trees or tents. Had I moved here then itself, everyone would have followed. I am repenting now,” Naidu said.
His remark came to a question at a press conference on the shifting of government departments from Hyderabad to Amaravati by mid-June.
“It is bound to happen … may be in the third or fourth week [of June]. But, there is a suggestion that we move all departments and other offices in one grand (move), not in a phased manner as planned. We are looking into it,” he said.
“My main concern is about the academic year. We can’t afford losing one more year if employees don’t shift from Hyderabad in June. I am discussing this with all concerned and will take a call,” the Chief Minister added.
Referring to the apprehensions raised by employees over lack of proper facilities at Velagapudi where the state government transitional headquarters is coming up, he said some problems were bound to be there initially.
The state government is constructing the transitional headquarters at Velagapudi village in the capital region Amaravati and has set June 15 as deadline for completion of the structures.
The government’s plan is to shift the departments in the Secretariat in the first month followed by other offices in a phased manner.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Friday resigned from the post following the defeat of Congress-led UDF in the Assembly election.Chandy drove to the Raj Bhavan this morning around 1030 hrs and submitted his resignation letter to Governor P Sathasivam.He told reporters that UDF and Congress would be meeting next week to discuss the poll debacle and take stock of the situation.UDF, which was trounced by CPI(M) headed LDF in the May 16 polls, bagged only 47 seats against the rival front’s 91.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is only a temporary phenomena and Congress will come back with strength,” 72-year-old Chandy said, adding, “the party and Front have the responsibility for the setback, but as chairman of UDF, I have more responsibility”.On reports that he was not willing to take up the post of Leader of Opposition, he said, “It is a matter to be discussed at the party level. I have nothing more to say.” Chandy said that he would be going to the state Secretariat to meet his office staff and other employees.Chandy has the distinction of being the only Congress chief minister to have completed the five-year term in office.
Indicating a serious security lapse, a fake identity card bearing the designation of a joint secretary of Home Ministry was recovered from a Textiles Ministry officer, who was arrested by CBI and huge wealth allegedly acquired by him unearthed.CBI sources said the identity card was among the many cards which were recovered from the possession of Ashutosh Singh, a Deputy General Manager in the Textile Ministry. They said a forensic examination of the card will reveal how it was forged, adding it is a serious security issue as a genuine looking I-card bearing designation of a Joint Secretary (an All India Service officer like IAS, IPS) will give unprecedented access and a serious security risk.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The agency has also recovered an identity card in his name bearing designation as official on Special Duty to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat. CBI spokesperson said during searches the agency has recovered Rs 1.37 crore in cash from one of his flats in Mumbai, Rs 1.5 lakh cash from his car and FD investment to the tune of Rs nine crore. A sum of Rs 40.5 lakh (approx) in cash was also earlier recovered from his premises.Later, the sources said documents showing his ownership of a bungalow and a flat in one of the costliest localities in Mumbai — Versova, Andheri (West), five flats in Mira Road locality of Mumbai, one in Noida among others were found.They said the questioning of Singh who was arrested while allegedly bribing a Delhi Police official has thrown up a glimpse of the lavish lifestyle which the official in his late forties had.The sources claimed he allegedly used to maintain two high end Mercedes cars which were used to ferry high profile people and bureaucrats.Singh has purportedly worked in the personal staff of various political leaders during his service tenure which he allegedly “exploited” to liaison for various people like settling of private disputes, transfers, postings and other service related matters of bureaucrats, the sources said. They said the agency has also gathered information that Singh was allegedly in contact with about five-six young girls besides there are three woman who have claimed to be his wife.”CBI had arrested an Inspector of Delhi Police, posted at Police station Janakpuri, New Delhi and a Deputy GM of the Handicrafts and Handloom Export Corporation of India Ltd, Ministry of Textile (Govt of India) in an alleged bribery case of Rs three lakh,” the spokesperson said.She said the complainant had lodged his grievance with Delhi Police alleging that Singh had duped him of Rs one crore which he had taken from him for releasing of pending arrears/ wages from FCI.The police inspector had allegedly demanded a bribe to settle the matter. CBI laid a trap and the Inspector (Investigation) of Delhi Police was caught while accepting the bribe, the spokesperson said. She said identity/visiting cards in the designation of Joint Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Lok Sabha Secretariat, OSD to MoS (Home Affairs), OSD to Chief Minister (Government of Uttarakhand) and Secretary (P&A), Prasar Bharti, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting have been recovered from the residence of Singh.”During investigation, it has also come to light that he had earlier worked as OSD/ Additional PS to few then MoS including Labour, Home, Rural Development and Parliamentary Affairs,” she said.
CBI on Monday arrested an Inspector of Delhi Police and a Government official, who allegedly conned people posing as an IAS officer, in a case related to bribery of Rs 3 lakh.Kehar Singh, Inspector (Investigation), Police Station, Janakpuri and Ashutosh Singh, Deputy GM of the Handicrafts and Handloom Export Corporation of India Ltd, Ministry of Textile were arrested in an alleged bribery case of Rs three lakh, the sources said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is alleged that Janakpuri police was probing a complaint against Ashutosh Singh alleging that he had duped the complainant of Rs one crore which he had taken from him for releasing of pending arrears/wages from FCI.CBI alleged that Ashutosh was in touch with Kehar seeking relief in the matter. The Police Inspector had allegedly demanded a bribe to settle the matter.”CBI laid a trap and the Inspector (Investigation) of Delhi Police was caught red handed while accepting the bribe of Rs 3,00,000 from the Deputy GM. The Deputy GM was also arrested,” CBI spokesperson said on Monday.During the searches CBI found number of Ashutosh Singh’s visiting and I-cards mentioning him as Officer on Special Duty or Personal Secretary to Union Ministers. The agency also found cash of over Rs 40 lakh and number of properties in Noida and Mumbai.”Searches were conducted at seven places including Delhi, Noida and Mumbai at the office and residential premises of the accused persons. Cash of Rs 40.5 lakh (approx); documents including six immovable properties comprising of four flats in Mumbai; one flat at Noida and one bungalow in Mumbai,” the spokesperson said.She said identity cards/Visiting cards in the designation of Joint Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Lok Sabha Secretariat, OSD to MoS (Home Affairs), OSD to Chief Minister (Government of Uttarakhand) and Secretary (P&A), Prasar Bharti, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting have been recovered from the residence of said Deputy GM.”During investigation, it has also come to light that he had earlier worked as OSD/ Additional PS to few then MOS including Labour, Home, Rural Development and Parliamentary Affairs,” she said.
Problems arising out of Delhi’s Odd-Even scheme had their echo at an all-party meeting convened by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, where an MP sought relief from the Speaker saying some members were facing inconvenience due to it.Raising the issue, TRS leader A P Jithender Reddy said even Parliamentarians like him were facing problems in commuting in Delhi due to the scheme as they had only one car here and only one sticker was issued to them by the Lok Sabha exempting them. Sources said some other members at the all-party meeting supported the issue raised by Reddy, while Bhartruhari Mahtab of BJD did not agree saying members should cooperate and agree to the scheme that was aimed at reducing pollution and decongestion of the national capital.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Speaker is the custodian of Parliament and it was important to bring this issue at the meeting of leaders of all parties,” the MP from Mahabubnagar in Telangana said.His request found some favour from the Speaker who later said that she has asked the Lok Sabha secretariat to work out ways so that MPs do not suffer while commuting.”A request had come from some members. I have asked the Lok Sabhba Secretariat and Secretary General that we will try that we provide vehicles to members properly as per odd-even scheme. We will try members should not suffer problems for coming to Parliament. Some members rightly said that some members can face problems as only one of their vehicle is allowed. Even Parliament can face problems, as half the vehicles can be used at a time and half will not. Let us see and we will try and find a solution,” Mahajan told reporters.Reddy also said, “We who come from Lok Sabha live in Delhi for maximum 75 to 100 days and Parliament provides a small falat to us. Senior-most MPs get a big house. For coming to Parliament, only one vehicle is there and only one pass is issued for the members. We have requested to the Speaker that during our stay in Parliament here.”
A city court on Friday granted interim bail to a man who had hurled a shoe at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal here on medical grounds as he was suffering from acute hepatitis.Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra gave the relief to 28-year-old Ved Prakash, a national general secretary of Aam Aadmi Sena and who was in judicial custody, but directed him to “maintain peace in the society and maintain good behaviour”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court granted him bail for a month after considering his plea, filed through advocate Pradeep Rana, that Prakash was suffering from jaundice and needed specialised treatment. “From the report filed by medical officer, it is clear that accused Ved Prakash is suffering from acute hepatitis. I found merit in the submission made by the counsel that accused needs specialised treatment to cure the hepatitis and he needs to be cautious about food, water and other fluid intake,” the magistrate said.”Keeping in view the medical condition of the accused and without going into factual merits of the case, accused is admitted to interim bail on furnishing of personal bond and surety of Rs 25,000 each. During interim bail accused is directed to maintain peace in the society and maintain good behaviour,” the court said and fixed the case for further proceedings on May 20.In his plea, Prakash said he was suffering from jaundice and he was also hospitalised in judicial custody. The jail superintendent in his report also confirmed that the accused was suffering from acute hepatitis and there are grave chances of injecting liver.Prakash, who was arrested by the police on April 9, had interrupted Kejriwal’s press conference at the media centre of Delhi Secretariat on the odd-even scheme and then thrown a shoe at the Chief Minister, along with a CD of an alleged sting operation he claimed he had conducted. The court noted in its order that the medical officer of jail had stated that the youth was hospitalised from April 12- 16 and was diagnosed with the ailment. On April 11, it dismissed his bail plea while expressing its displeasure over the act and saying a strong deterrent is needed for such acts.Police had said he was a resident of Begampur in north west Delhi and a property dealer. A young woman had earlier thrown ink at Kejriwal at a public rally on January 17 here to celebrate the success of the first phase of odd-even scheme.
With operation of app-based taxis in the national capital on Delhi government’s radar due to surge pricing, some officials of taxi-aggregator Uber on Thursday met Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and apprised him of his business model.”Some officials from Uber today met the Delhi Chief Minister at Delhi Secretariat and discussed a range of issues including surge pricing, diesel cars and permits,” an official said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said that apart from surge pricing, government has objection on per minute charge and vehicles which are registered outside Delhi. Transport minister Gopal Rai today again clarified that ban on surge pricing will continue. On Wednesday, Kejriwal had termed as “daylight robbery” the surge pricing by app-based taxi operators, and said overcharging and blackmailing won’t be allowed in the national capital.”Surge pricing is daylight robbery. No responsible govt can allow that,” he had tweeted.He said some taxi operators were resorting to blackmailing, saying they would not provide cabs if they were not allowed to loot and made it clear that his government would not allow that.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday claimed that people are voluntarily following the second phase of odd-even scheme and there was no congestion on the roads in the national capital due to the road rationing rule.The Delhi CM also said that people have come up with their own solution due to which the second phase of odd-even scheme has been successful as per reports. “People are voluntarily following odd-even scheme. I want to thank people for following it. Due to this scheme, there are reports that there is no congestion on roads… “If people would not follow the odd-even scheme, there would then have been more violations of the scheme,” Kejriwal said here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the first day of the second phase of odd-even scheme, 1300 people were penalised while the second day 1,000 motorists were prosecuted for violating the same. Earlier in the day, Kejriwal and PWD Minister Satyendar Jain carpooled with Transport Minister Gopal Rai in his car to reach Delhi Secretariat which houses offices of all cabinet ministers.Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia today reached his office in an even numbered car with a UP registration number, which was provided by the organisers of an event that Sisodia had attended in Noida earlier in the day. Social Welfare Minister Sandeep Kumar travelled in bus to reach his office while Water minister Kapil Mishra boarded metro in the morning.Delhi Food & Supplies and Environment Minister Imran Hussain used his car to reach his office as his vehicle was even-numbered.
Officials said that Ved Prakash, the general secretary of Aam Aadmi Sena (AAS), has been admitted to DDU hospital even as an office-bearer of the outfit claimed she was “stopped” by police and hospital staff when she had gone to meet him.
“Prakash developed high fever last evening and was treated by jail doctors before being referred to the DDU hospital,” said a senior jail official.
AAS office-bearer Bhawna Arora, meanwhile, claimed she had tried to meet Prakash in the hospital but was “stopped” from doing so.
“I was prevented from meeting him although I just wanted to enquire about his health,” she said.
Arora claimed Prakash had told her following his arrest that he was thrashed by some persons after he had hurled the shoe at Kejriwal.
The jail official said there was no untoward incident involving Prakash inside the jail in which he might have sustained injuries.
Incidentally, Arora, who said she was in-charge of the Punjab unit of the outfit, had earlier thrown ink at Kejriwal at a rally at Chhatrasal stadium to celebrate the success of the first phase of the odd-even scheme, on 17 January.
Prakash was arrested for the shoe attack at the Delhi Secretariat on 9 April when Kejriwal was holding a press conference on the roll-out of the second phase of the odd-even scheme.
Later, his bail plea was rejected by a city court and he was placed in 14-days’ judicial custody on 11 April.
AAS is claimed to have been formed by a group of AAP dissidents in 2014.
A man who a hurled a shoe at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at a press conference has been arrested. Ved Prakash, the man behind the attack, claimed to be from a breakaway group of AAP, triggering angry reaction from AAP which sought to link BJP to the incident.The shoe did not hit Kejriwal as an official quickly shielded him and caught it. He is the national general secretary of Aam Aadmi Sena and was arrested after hours of nterrogation. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prakash, first interrupted Kejriwal when he was briefing reporters at the media centre of the Delhi Secretariat about the rollout of the second phase of the odd-even scheme and then threw the shoe and a CD at the chief minister. He said he was angry with Kejriwal for not taking action against those involved in alleged irregularities in distribution of CNG stickers.His action led to commotion. The shoe did not hit Kejriwal as it was quickly deflected by an official standing near the chief minister.The AAP was quick to blame BJP for the incident with Delhi Culture Minister Kapil Mishra alleging that the attacker had telephoned a Delhi BJP leader before the incident. The BJP, on its part, condemned the incident but said Kejriwal should introspect why he is facing such attacks repeatedly. AAP was quick to blame BJP for the incident with Delhi Culture Minister Kapil Mishra alleging that the attacker had telephoned a Delhi BJP leader before the incident. The BJP, on its part, condemned the incident but said Kejriwal should introspect why he is facing such attacks repeatedly.The attacker was thrashed by AAP volunteers before he was whisked away by police after the incident around 4:10 PM.AAP volunteers before he was whisked away by police after the incident around 4:10 PM. Police said the man is a resident of Begampur in North-West Delhi and is a property dealer. He has been detained for questioning. “The man is a resident of Begampur and works as property dealer in Karampura. He has a diploma in electrical engineering. He has been arrested under section 186,353 and 355 of the IPC,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Range) Paramaditya said.Prakash talked about alleged irregularities in distribution of CNG stickers which are required for CNG-run cars to get exemption from the restrictions of the odd-even scheme. He alleged that the stickers were being sold for Rs 1,000 each at a CNG station near CGO complex in Lodhi Road. He claimed he had done a sting operation about it on April 7 and that the CD contained it. Kejriwal, later, continued with the press conference. “Arvind ji one minute please, I have conducted a sting on CNG sticker scam. One CNG sticker is being distributed for Rs 1,000. Why are you doing this? Why don’t you take action against this?,” Prakash said before throwing the ‘CD’ and shoe.
New Delhi: A scheduled meeting between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Kanhaiya Kumar had to be cancelled on Thursday as the JNUSU president failed to reach the Delhi Secretariat on time, “upsetting” the CM who had waited for nearly an hour.
CPI National Secretary D Raja, who also waited for Kanhaiya along with the CM, said that the student leader could not reach as he got stuck in a “heavy traffic jam”, which apparently did not go down well with the CM, sources said.
Kanhaiya was supposed to meet Kejriwal at 6 PM for which Raja, accompanied by his daughter Aparajita who is also a JNU student, had reached before scheduled time.
“He could not reach on time as he got stuck in a traffic jam. By the time he reached near Supreme Court, the CM had already been waiting for nearly one hour.
“So they spoke over the telephone and agreed to meet most likely on Saturday. Kejriwal had prior engagements regarding the upcoming Budget so he could not wait more,” Raja said.
While Kanhaiya could not be reached for his comments, his party maintained that since Delhi Police could not provide him security for moving out of the campus, he got late and later got stuck in traffic near ITO.
However, a Delhi government official said that contrary to Raja’s statement, any future meeting between the two has not yet been agreed upon.
“Raja, despite being a national-level leader could reach on time but Kanhaiya could not. The CM was upset as he could not meet him and had to leave for prior engagements,” sources said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday claimed that CBI did not follow proper procedure for summoning his officials, a charge firmly refuted by the agency.ICC World Twenty20 2016: Afghanistan vs Scotland, Group B 2nd T20 Match Live Cricket Scores & Ball by Ball commentaryCBI sources said the questioning of personal staff of the Chief Minister’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar by the agency was approved by Kejriwal himself as mentioned in a written correspondence from the Delhi Secretariat yesterday. Rubbishing his claim that the officials were called for questioning over phone, CBI sources said all necessary formalities were done through correspondence.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The response came after Chief Minister took to Twitter to claim that his staff had been summoned “on phone without notice”. He also claimed 150 officers have been summoned so far in this manner. Citing the link of a newspaper report, Kejriwal tweeted, “CBI summons Delhi CM staff ‘informally’ on phone without notice. Staff of other ministers’ called earlier like this.” He said the government has nothing to hide, but CBI should follow proper procedure. In series of his tweets, Kejriwal said, “Which sec of CrPC empowers CBI to summon on ph? Till now, more than 150 officers summoned on ph(sic)”.”We hv nothing to hide. I hv told all officers to cooperate. But CBI shud follow law- summon thro proper notices(sic).” CBI sources said the response from authorities in the Secretariat said the questioning has approval from the Chief Minister.It also asked CBI not to seek their presence together as it will hamper the work, which was agreed to by the agency. They said said only the staff of Kumar has been called in connection with ongoing investigation into graft allegations against Kumar.
A local court on Friday issued a non- bailable arrest warrant against Congress leader Digvijay Singh in an alleged recruitment scam at Assembly Secretariat in Bhopal which took place when he was Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh.Special Sessions Judge Kashinath Singh issued the warrant after the Congress General Secretary, an accused in the alleged scam, did not turn up in the court where a 169-page supplementary charge sheet was filed on Friday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Rajya Sabha member was summoned by prosecuting agency – MP Police – to attend the court proceedings. The seven other accused, including K K Kaushal and A K Pyasi – who appeared in the court – were granted bail after they furnished a personal security bond of Rs 30,000 each. Kaushal and Pyasi were employees of the Secretariat. The Court fixed March 14 for hearing.Ahead of filing the charge sheet last year, police had grilled the veteran Congressman for five hours in connection with the scam. The scam pertains to alleged irregularities in recruitment in MP Assembly Secretariat here between 1993 and 2003 when Singh was Chief Minister.Last year, Singh had reportedly told investigators that all recruitments in the Secretariat during his tenure were done with the approval of State Cabinet and as per prescribed rules. The accused have been charged with forgery, cheating, conspiracy and misuse of office as well as offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
In a major policy decision, West Bengal Government has decided to allow paternity-cum-child care leave of 30 days for its male employees which can be availed either during child birth or until their children turn 18.Announcing this at the State Secretariat Nabanna, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the decision was taken at a cabinet meeting to enable male employees to discharge their parental responsibilities. The state government had earlier allowed maternity leave for 180 days and child care leave for 730 days to female employees of the state government and Panchayat Raj, besides other local bodies, boards, corporations, undertakings, companies, state aided universities, sponsored and non-government aided schools and colleges, Banerjee said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The scheme would be implemented with immediate effect, she added.
Senior IPS officer Malay Kumar Sinha was on Thursday entrusted with the responsibility of closely monitoring security arrangements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Sinha, a 1981 batch IPS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, as Secretary (Security) in Cabinet Secretariat, an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said. Sinha is presently working as Special Director in Intelligence Bureau.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Secretary (Security) is the administrative head of Special Protection Group (SPG) and is responsible for closely monitoring the security arrangements for the Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers and members of their immediate families in India and abroad. He is also the nodal authority in respect of policy relating to procurement of jammers by the state governments and central police forces.All operational proposals of SPG are approved and processed by Secretary (Security). It is pertinent to mention that Cabinet Secretariat has recently issued new guidelines for procurement of jammers.Senior IAS officer Sanjay Kumar Srivastava was holding the additional charge of the post. Srivastava is presently Secretary (Coordination) in Cabinet Secretariat.
The cost to construct Andhra Pradesh’s new capital city of Amaravati will reportedly be around Rs 52,547 crore, which will include infrastructure, government buildings, water, power supply and other works. Deccan Chronicle states that the AP Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) has recently sent the latest proposals with detailed subject-wise estimates to the state government. The proposals also include estimates for river-front development and flood management measures.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government buildings like Raj Bhavan, High Court, Legislative Assembly, Council, Secretariat, heads of departments and others, will need about Rs 2400 crore for construction. The daily reports that according to the CRDA, the CM’s residence, state guest houses, ministers’ bungalows, quarters for the MLAs, MLCs, chief justice and judges and residential quarters for government employees, is expected to cost Rs 1,473 crore.Putting in place drinking water supply to the capital city will cost about Rs 1,637 crore. Rs 7,500 crore will be needed for power distribution works, including development of smart power transmission and distribution system, additional transmission mains and different capacities of sub-stations, adds the report. To make the city green, the CRDA has allocated Rs 5,417 crore. Social infrastructure, like schools, hospitals and other such constructions need Rs 459 crore while housing for 14,000 homeless families in 29 villages of the capital city area would cost the state Rs 840 crore.
New Delhi: The Privileges Committee of Rajya Sabha has summoned lawyer Prashant Bhushan to appear before it on 10 February in connection with a breach of privilege notice against him for the alleged premature disclosure of a CAG report on allocation of D6 Block in KG Basin.
In a communication to Bhushan, a Supreme Court lawyer and a leader of the outfit, Swaraj Abhiyan, Deputy Director of Rajya Sabha, Vijay Kumar, has asked him to appear in person before the Committee of Privileges headed by Congress MP PJ Kurien.
The committee, which had met on 6 October, 2015 to discuss the matter, decided to summon him to hear his defence.
A privilege notice was given by JD-U MP KC Tyagi in this matter on 1 July, 2014.
In the letter to Bhushan, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat says “the Committee of Privileges is presently seized of a matter of breach of privilege of the House arising out of the alleged premature disclosure of a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India pertaining to the allocation of D6 Block in KG basin to the Reliance Group in the press before the same was laid on the table of the House”.
Kolkata: A phone call on Thursday claiming that a bomb had been planted inside the West Bengal secretariat ‘Nabanna’ that houses Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee‘s office, turned out to be hoax.
The call was received at the PBX of ‘Nabanna’ when the Chief Minister was present in her office on the 14th floor.
Police was immediately informed of about the phone call, Joint Commissioner Kolkata Police (Headquarters) Supratim Sarkar said.
Kolkata Police, its bomb detection and disposal squad, dog squad, special branch, detective department along with Howrah Police and other security agencies immediately rushed to ‘Nabanna’ and conducted a thorough search on all the floors, Sarkar said.
Senior police officers monitored the drill at the Secretariat which houses many important departments and offices of a number of ministers.
Along with different floors, the roof of the building too was checked throughly by the bomb and dog squads, besides the parking and other places around the building.
The call turned out to be a hoax as nothing was found in the hours-long search operation, Sarkar said.
Security in and around the entire Secretariat has been beefed up following the incident, he added.
Vigilance Court in Kerala on Thursday ordered registration of FIR against CM Oommen Chandy and Power Minister Araydan Mohammed in solar scam.Chandy was shown black flag by the protesters of DYFI and Yuva Morcha – the youth organisations of CPI(M) and BJP respectively, following which protesters were lathi charged.The protesters alleged that pepper spray was used against them. The protesters were lathicharged outside Kerala State Secretariat.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Alleging “political conspiracy” behind the bribery allegations made against him by a solar scam accused, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has blamed a section of the bar owners for it.The prime accused in the solar case Saritha S Nair had on Wednesday targeted Chandy and Power Minister Arayadan Mohammed while deposing before the Justice Sivarajan Commission in Kochi, probing the case, and had alleged that she had paid bribes to the tune of Rs 1.90 crore to a close aide of the Chief Minister and Rs 40 lakh to Mohammed. Both had denied the allegations.”The government has the exact evidence in this regard”, Chandy told reporters. The allegations made by Saritha yesterday are part of this conspiracy, he said and criticised CPI(M) stating that as they were unable to topple the government, the Marxist party was making all out efforts to ensure that the Congress-led UDF does not come to power in the coming assembly polls.The Marxist party had lost its face for seeking the government’s resignation after another solar case accused Biju Radhakrishnan had stated that he had a CD with incriminating visuals against the Chief Minister, he said. Chandy said former Government Chief Whip P C George had also played a role in yesterday’s allegations.Maintaining that there was no truth in the allegations, Chandy said the government had not lost even a rupee as alleged by the opposition in the scam and had not helped a company to gain even a rupee.
The Delhi government on Friday denied reports that the files related to 1984 anti-Sikh riots had gone “missing”, while attacking the Centre over delay in submission of its findings on the carnage.”The report of missing files is wrong. Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain held a meeting with his officials yesterday and discussed the matter,” said a senior Delhi government official. The government’s reaction comes after BJP accused the AAP dispensation of not being serious on the issue. Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay had alleged that the “missing” files indicated that someone in Delhi Secretariat was trying to “save” Congress leaders whose names must be in the file.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The issue came to the fore after a Delhi government circular claimed that the 1984 Sikh riots files were “untraceable”. Defending the circular, a government official said “untraceable does not mean that the files had gone missing. Soft copy of the same is available”.”A section of media is running wrong reports that the files related to 1984 riots had gone missing. The party wants to make it clear that no SIT was formed by AAP because the Centre, a day before Arvind Kejriwal took oath as the Chief Minister for the second time, had announced a committee under former IPS officer Pradeep Asthana,” senior AAP leader Ashutosh said.Jarnail Singh, AAP’s Rajouri Garden MLA and its prominent Sikh face, also alleged that over an year has passed, but the central government’s committee formed to probe the riots has not come up with a report. “It’s been a year that the investigation is going on. Around 230-232 cases require reopening or re-trial. CBI and the Delhi Police, working under the Centre, have not been able to arrest Jagdish Tyler, main accused in the case,” Singh said.
Perturbed over the CBI raids at the office of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s principal secretary, Delhi government on Friday charged the probe agency with conducting the searches under “undue political pressure” and “malafidely intruding” in its working.The AAP government, in its submission before Delhi High Court, also accused CBI of raiding the office of Rajendra Kumar, located next to the Chief Minister’s office in the Delhi Secretariat, in “unprecedented haste” and “indiscriminately” seizing documents, an act which smacked of “vindictiveness and arbitrariness”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposing CBI’s plea seeking stay and quashing of a trial court’s direction to return some documents seized by it during the December 15, 2015 raid, the AAP government said “CBI has filed the frivolous, baseless, vexatious and merit less petition with obtuse motives and the same is liable to be dismissed with heavy cost.”The Delhi government’s affidavit, which was filed after Justice P S Teji sought their stand on CBI’s petition, said the raid at Delhi Secretariat was “not only devoid of merit but also smacked of vindictiveness and arbitrariness”.”In the instant case, CBI proceeded and acted with unprecedented haste for the obvious obtuse reason under undue political pressure in as much as CBI failed to requisition the relevant files to verify the allegation, at first instance from Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of the concerned department which were under scanner in FIR/RC (regular case). If CBI was to follow the rules, law and laid down statutory procedures and guidelines, then there was absolutely no need to raid at the said premises and much less seize indiscriminately the documents unrelated to the case,” the 38- page reply, filed through Delhi government’s senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra and standing counsel Richa Kapoor, said.They said the petition filed by CBI was an “abuse of process of law, not maintainable and is liable to be dismissed at the threshold”.The trial court’s special judge on January 20 had also castigated the CBI for flouting its own manual by seizing documents without showing how they were related to the alleged graft case against Kumar.CBI, in its petition, had claimed that the Special CBI Judge had failed to appreciate that the Delhi government has already obtained photocopies of the documents seized and thus the order of returning the documents was “wholly misconceived”.CBI had claimed that the trial judge had also failed to appreciate that the right of investigation was its inherent right which cannot be curtailed by passing such orders.On the contrary, the AAP government said the agency has “miserably failed to explain the relevancy of the documents pertaining to Delhi government which are totally unrelated for the purposes of investigating, either before the trial court or before the High Court, seized indiscriminately by the CBI on December 15, 2015 from the office of the Chief Minister, under the garb of search warrants”.”In any event, the Special Judge had granted liberty to the CBI, if required, to seize back any of released documents in original during the investigation, in accordance with law”.Maintaining that the sole object of the raid was to “malafidely intrude, obstruct and dislocate” its working, it said “that inspite of allegation in the FIR/RC being specific to department such as Power, Delhi Jal Board, Health and Trade & Taxes relating to limited period from 2007 till August 2014, CBI still intentionally carried out indiscriminate search, firstly targeting the said premises and seized documents which were either unrelated to the case, nor were connected with accused persons but rather pertained to Delhi government.”Thus the order of January 20, 2016 being passed on sound reasoning, is totally correct on law and facts, requiring no interference. Hence the petition is liable to be dismissed,” the Delhi government said in their reply.It said the functioning of the “democratically elected government was sought to jeopardised when on December 15, 2015 CBI arbitrarily targeted to raid the office of Rajender Kumar and “indiscriminately seized the documents unrelated for investigation into the allegation of case registered against Kumar and other.””It is highly improbable that a person accused of an offence relating to abuse of his official position while functioning as erstwhile postings on previous occasions in different other departments, would carry with him all such files to the office of current posting where he is holding charges as principal secretary of Chief Minister,” it said.CBI had registered a corruption case against Kumar and others on the allegations that he had abused his official position by “favouring a particular firm in the last few years in getting tenders from Delhi government department.Yesterday, the High Court refrained from passing an order on CBI’s plea seeking stay of a trial court’s order and had listed the matter for further consideration on January 25. It had asked the Delhi government to file their response, which they did today. Now the agency will have to respond to the Delhi government’s reply by Saturday.The state government said the CBI petition was filed with “oblique motives in order circumvent the prescribed procedures of their own CBI manual which are binding in law, with intention to arbitrarily target the functioning of democratically elected Delhi government, is liable to be dismissed with heavy cost.”That apart from vindictiveness and targeted decision to search the said premises, raiding team of CBI in the instant case grossly misconducted themselves during the raid and caused indiscriminate seizure of documents, which are totally non-essential for the purpose of investigation under the garb of search warrants,” the reply said.”CBI has thrown to winds all procedure safeguards while conducting raid… which it had blatantly violated the provision of its CBI manual which is binding in nature and have statutory force,” it added.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday demanded an explanation from the PMO for the raid at Delhi Secretariat on the ground that it reports to the Prime Minister, on a day a city court directed CBI to return to the AAP government documents seized in the raid.Lashing out at CBI, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia even demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that the “politically-motivated” action was carried out at his behest to defame the Chief Minister’s Office. Sources said the Delhi government is contemplating to move court seeking “strict action” against the CBI officers who were part of the raid at the Delhi Secretariat on December 15.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Claiming that the court order is vindication of Delhi government’s stand on the raid, Sisodia demanded that there should be action against CBI officers who were part of the raid.”The Prime Minister should apologise to the country for the politically-motivated raid. Action should also be taken against the officers who misled the PM and raided Kejriwal’s office and took wrong files from there. The raid was to defame the office of Chief Minister.”Earlier, CBI came under a scathing attack from the city court which directed it to return documents sought by the Delhi government seized during recent raids on the office of Kejriwal’s principal secretary Rajendra Kumar, saying the agency “cannot be clothed with divine powers” to flout its own rules.”From the day one, we have been repeatedly saying that the CBI’s raid was politically motivated. With the court order today, it has been proved now. The court has also observed that this raid was at the CM’s office. In court, CBI failed to prove the connection between allegations relating to an issue from 2007 to 2013 to the files of 2015-16 based on which they carried out the raid,” Sisodia said.He claimed the files CBI had seized included those belonging to IT, Food & Supply and Transport Departments besides the In and Out registers of CMO and some files relating to transfer and postings.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday said the judiciary has vindicated his government’s stand that the raid at the office of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar at the Delhi Secretariat was ‘politically-motivated’.A special court asked the CBI to return some of the documents seized by them during the raid to the Delhi government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Today, the court has ordered returning of files that were seized by the CBI during the raid at the Delhi Secretariat. It vindicates our stand that the raid was politically motivated,” Sisodia said.”We have been telling this for long that the raid was carried out at the office of the Chief Minister in the name of Rajendra Kumar and it has been well observed by the court also,” he added.Sisodia further said the CBI failed to prove as to why they took away the documents of the year 2015 when they were investigating a matter that happened in 2007-2013.”The court has categorically observed that it was an illegal and improper exercise to seize the files,” he added.Sisodia further claimed that the CBI also accepted that the so-called scam had no relevance with seized documents. He sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s apology for falsely raiding the Chief Minister’s office and seizing wrong documents by the CBI since the agency was under him.”The Prime Minister should apologise for politically motivated raid on Chief Minister Kejriwal’s office, and we hope that action will be initiated against the officer who raided the office,” he added.While disposing of an application filed by the Delhi Government, seeking release of some of the documents seized by the agency, a special court directed the CBI to return some of the documents seized during the raid.
Goa Police is yet to trace the origins of the letter which threatened to harm Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.”We are still inquiring into the origins of the letter. The inquiry is going on,” Inspector General of Police (IGP) V Renganathan said on Wednesday. He said security has been beefed up across the state and all precautions are being taken.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When asked whether the letter purportedly signed by ISIS, could be a prank, he said a probe is underway into all aspects but the threat has been taken seriously. The postcard letter was received last week by State Secretariat in Porvorim with ISIS written at the bottom. The Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) has already begun the probe and the letter has been sent to all police stations across the coastal state.Meanwhile, BJP has condemned the act. “If the threat is true then it is sending very bad signal for the country,” BJP Goa spokesman Dr Wilfred Mesquita said. Congress party has also demanded a thorough investigation into the source of the letter. “Threat letter received by Goa government should be investigated. Defence minister’s weekend visits to the state without proper security in place is also posing threat to the people of Goa as he is getting vulnerable for such attacks,” Congress’ Goa spokesman Durgadas Kamat said.”But the incident can also be looked at from a different angle whether this has been done deliberately by the elements who want to divert the attention of the citizens from Goa government’s misdeeds on the governance front,” he commented.
Fresh protests on Wednesday rocked the Hyderabad Central University over the alleged suicide of a Dalit student even as several politicians headed to the city including YSR Congress leader Y S Jaganmohan Reddy and CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury.A group of students carrying placards and raising slogans protested in the tense University campus this morning.Besides Hyderabad many cities across the country including in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Chennai were rocked by protests yesterday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reddy and Yechury are scheduled to meet the protesting students of the University.The suicide by the dalit student Rohith Veluma has snowballed into a major issue with BJP’s rivals wading into it and demanding the removal of Union Ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya, accusing them of being responsible for the death.Rahul Gandhi had on Tuesday led the multi-party charge attacking the government and the Vice Chancellor Appa Rao, saying, “The VC and the Union Ministers in Delhi have not acted fairly. This youngster was put in so much pain that he had no option but to kill himself.”Though he did not name Irani, who had just over the week attacked Rahul in his constituency Amethi of failing youths there, the reference was obvious to her against the backdrop of ministry’s action which is blamed for the suicide by the dalit research scholar on Sunday night.Various political parties and leaders have blamed Labour Minister Dattatreya’s letter of Aug 17 last year to Irani seeking action against the “anti national activities” of a students union and the alleged assault of an ABVP leader and a series of five communications from the HRD Ministry between Sept 3 and Nov 19 demanding follow up action for the suicide.The HRD ministry, however, has rejected allegations that it had put any pressure on the University relating to either suspension of Rohith or keeping him out of the hostel.The communications, it maintained, was not aimed at putting pressure but was in compliance with the standard protocol adopted in accordance with the Central Secretariat Manual of Procedure whenever a “VIP Reference” is received.
“After the death of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, the situation has been tense. We will form the government very soon” Even if there is a delay by a day or two, there will not be any problem,” he added. Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta has said that the Budget Session called by the previous government stands cancelled as of now, and added that a decision in this regard would be made only after discussion with the new Chief Minister. “I don’t think Budget Session will commence on schedule. Any decision on the Session will be taken only after discussion with new Chief Minister’s swearing-in ceremony. I don’t think it is possible to have Assembly session from January 18,” Gupta said”After the death of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, the situation has been tense. We will form the government very soon” Even if there is a delay by a day or two, there will not be any problem,” he added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uncertainty over budget session of the Legislature, which had been called by previous Government headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed from January 18, has ended with cancellation of the session. The new budget session will now be called by the next Government after it assumes the office.According to the provisional calendar issued by the Assembly Secretariat, there would be a 52-day-long Budget session with 36 sittings. Chief Minister Sayeed was scheduled to reply to debate on Motion of Thanks to Governor’s Address on January 21.
The capital woke up to a predominantly ‘odd’ day on Friday morning – the first day of the Arvind Kejriwal government’s much-debated and discussed odd-even car formula.While most Delhiites followed the rule – especially in the first half of the day – their efforts did not reflect much on the air quality index data.It continued to be severe at some of the most polluted locations till late Friday evening.According to Central Pollution Control Board figures, at 8.30 pm, one of the most polluted localities of Delhi –the industrial area of Anand Vihar –showed an air quality index (AQI) of 470, categorised as ‘severe’.RK Puram had an AQI of 459, Punjabi Bagh 419 and NSIT 440, all considered severe. Mandir Marg area had an air quality of 333, and Shadipur 304, considered ‘very poor’. Civil Lines and the IGI airport fared better with moderate AQI.On Friday, dna went around some of the congested locations such as ITO, Connaught Place and Pusa Road to carry out a reality check on the plan.The day began on a promising note with fewer vehicles and traffic congestions.Officers from the environment department, however, said that with heavy pollution levels on December 31, the impact is likely to be felt only after a few days.dna had earlier reported that with the exemption of two-wheelers and the NTPC’s Badarpur thermal power plant yet to shut, pollution levels might come down only slightly, even after 15 days of the plan being implemented.An overwhelmed chief minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed that the response has been good. “I hope Delhi will show the way to the rest of the country,” Kejriwal told reporters before he car-pooled with his ministers and staff to work.”Delhi has done it! Reports so far v encouraging. Delhiites! U give me hope that U are capable of achieving big challenges (sic),” he tweeted moments later.Those travelling from the Malviya Nagar area of south Delhi to the Central Secretariat said the commuting time was a mere 25 minutes compared to the usual 45. Similarly, commuters from Anand Vihar to CP via Laxmi Nagar also had a smooth journey.The first violation took place at ITO junction, about 33 minutes after the restrictions became operational.The offender, who was slapped a Rs 2,000 fine, told police that he was heading towards his office and there was no convenient transportation facility from his residence. “I had no option,” he said.Traffic constables positioned near the ITO traffic signal told dna that there was at least a 30 per cent reduction in vehicles on Friday afternoon. Since it was New Year day, the massive office-going crowd was missing.Rickshaw-pullers outside the Pragati Maidan metro station –one of the busiest stations–said that they have hardly had a customer since morning with many Delhiites going out an extended holiday. The real test would be on Monday when most people resume work.However, as the day progressed, the plan seemed to have lost steam. Late afternoon, the office-going crowd was replaced by groups out on streets to celebrate January 1.Around 4pm, ITO and CP were crowded with several even-numbered private cars, seemingly making a comeback on Delhi’s streets, after a relatively disciplined morning. An hour later, traffic cops were clearly missing on the roads and the violators had a smooth ride, without paying any fine. Most civil volunteers too had disappeared by then.Bharatiya Janata Party MP and former Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh was allegedly stopped at India Gate on Friday for travelling in an even-numbered car. Initial reports claimed that Singh’s vehicle was not issued a challan, but the traffic police handed him a leaflet with car-rationing rules. Singh had won the 2014 general elections from Bhaghpat in Uttar Pradesh.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>