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Lt Gen Rawat takes over as Army chief, Air Marshal Dhanoa takes charge as IAF chief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lt Gen Bipin Rawat on Saturday took over as the 27th chief of the 1.3 million strong Indian Army succeeding Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, who retired after 42 years of service.Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa also took charge as the 25th Air Force Chief replacing Anup Raha.Gen Rawat superseded two senior most Lt Generals, Praveen Bakshi and P M Hariz.Lt Gen Bakshi, who heads the Kolkata-headquartered Eastern Command, announced “full support” to the new chief and told theatre officers through video conferencing he will continue to lead with “full professional sincerity as hither-to-fore”.”I convey my best wishes and full support of Eastern Command to Gen Bipin Rawat on having taken over as the Chief of Army Staff,” he said.Earlier, there was speculation that Lt Gen Bakshi may resign or take premature retirement. He had also met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar recently.He requested that speculation and trolling in media and social media should stop and everyone should focus on contributing their best to the betterment of the army and the nation.The Eastern Commander called the new Army chief to congratulate him on taking over the reins of the army.Speculation is rife that Lt Gen Bakshi may be given the new post of Chief of Defence Staff pertaining which Parrikar will meet Prime Minster Narendra Modi next month.Sources, however, have indicated that no such development will take place.Gen Suhag, who superannuated today, said army is prepared to meet any challenge as he thanked the government for “providing a free hand” and implementing the One Rank One Pension scheme.He said that infiltration bids had increased during the year and the number of terrorists killed was nearly double the previous year.The General said the army focused on operational preparedness during his tenure.Suhag said that when he had taken over he had asserted the response of the army to any action against our interest would be immediate, adequate and intense. “Indian Army has done that in the last two-and-a-half years,” he said.Later at noon, he handed over the charge to Rawat, who was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978 from IMA, Dehradun. He was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’ at the academy.Earlier in the day, Gen Suhag and Air Chief Marshal Raha paid tributes at Amar Jawan Jyoti and inspected the guard of honour.The new IAF chief, Air Marshal Dhanoa, had developed the country’s aerial targeting philosophy against potential adversaries and transformed the concept of air operations of the air force into contemporary war fighting practices.He has mainly flown Kiran and MiG-21 aircraft though he has the experience of flying the entire spectrum of fighter aircraft from Jaguar to state-of-the-art MiG-29 and Su-30 MKI.The Air Marshal has many feathers in his hat. As the commanding officer of a frontline ground attack fighter squadron, he led the IAF punch during the “Limited War” against Pakistan to drive the enemy out of their “dug in” defences in the icy heights of Kargil region.During the conflict, under his leadership and supervision, the squadron devised unique and innovative methods of bombing at night at altitudes never before attempted in the history of air warfare, the IAF said.Prior to the attack, the squadron had been adjudged as the best fighter squadron of western Air Command for its high degree of professionalism and peace-time training. After the conflict, it emerged as the most decorated IAF unit of Kargil War.He also holds the highest flying instructional category in the IAF and was handpicked to establish the “IAF Training Team” abroad.Gen Rawat has vast experience in high altitude warfare and counter-insurgency operations.He commanded an infantry battalion, along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern Sector, a Rashtriya Rifles Sector and an Infantry Division in the Kashmir Valley, a Corps in the Eastern theatre and the Southern Command.He has tenanted instructional appointments at Indian Military Academy and at Army War College, Mhow.Gen Rawat has held important staff appointments at Directorate General of Military Operations and Military Secretary’s Branch at Army HQ.He has also been Major General General Staff (MGGS) at HQ Eastern Command.The General commanded a Multinational Brigade in a Chapter VII mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC). While serving with the United Nations, he was twice awarded the Force Commander’s Commendation.An alumni of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, he has been awarded various medals of high honour for gallantry and distinguished service in a span of over 38 years in uniform.He also attended the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, USA.Academically inclined, Rawat has authored numerous articles on national security and leadership, which have been published in various journals and publications.He was awarded M.Phil in Defence Studies from Madras University. He has a Diploma in Management and another Diploma in Computer Studies.Gen Rawat has also completed his research on military media strategic studies and was awarded Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D) from Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut in 2011.

Demonetisation: 56% of Kerala’s economic activity in doldrums, finds govt panel

The NDA government’s surprise demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has hit both leading and struggling sectors of the Kerala economy hard, pulling the state’s economy down and affecting potential resource mobilisation, a study by a panel has found.

The committee, set up on 23 November, is headed C P Chandrasekhar of the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning of the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

“Cash-intensive sectors such as retail trade, hotels, and restaurants and transportation account for over 40 percent of the Kerala economy, and the primary sector accounts for another 16 percent of the economy. Thus, 56 percent of the economic activity of Kerala is immediately affected by the withdrawal of specified bank notes,” an interim report submitted by the five-member committee has said.

According to the report, the impact of demonetisation in terms of the cash deficit and its consequences has been particularly severe in the state also because of the distinct character of its banking sector, where the cooperative sector and the primary agricultural cooperative societies (PACS) play a central role.

Prime minister Narendra Modi on 8 November announced the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, sucking out about 86 percent of Rs 15.44 lakh crore currency in circulation. As the RBI was not ready with the replacement currency, this resulted in a cash crunch, which has negatively impacted the daily lives of common people across the country and in turn the economy.

People have been given time until 30 December to deposit their old notes at banks and RBI counters. The government had also allowed exchange of these notes during the period, but did a U-turn and withdrew the facility from 25 November.

According to the Kerala government panel’s report – the first study on demonetisation and its impact – the notifications issued by the RBI, particularly the one that was issued on 14 November, which kept the cooperative banks and societies out of the note exchange process, were particularly damaging for Kerala.

The study estimates that there are about 14,000 co-operative societies in the state, including the state co-operative bank, the state agricultural and rural development bank, district co-operative banks, urban banks, primary agricultural and rural development banks and primary lending societies. These institutions are central to financial intermediation and inclusion in Kerala, the report has said.

Around 60 percent of all deposits are in the co-operatives in the state, according to the report.

Rolling out the figures, the report said besides not being allowed to exchange the notes, the access of PACS to currency was cut off. This forced these institutions to shut down their operations.

As far as the fisheries sector is concerned, cash crunch has hit the payments for fish auctioned at the point of landing, payments of wages by boat owners, supply to wholesalers and retailers, etc.

“As business has declined, workers get less work and lower earnings, and have had to get into debt to meet their daily expenses,” the report said.

In the tourism sector, the report estimates that the domestic tourist arrivals in November fell by 17.7 percent on year and foreign tourist arrivals by 8.7 percent. In October, the tourist arrivals had seen 5.2 percent and 6 percent increase respectively.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 15:48 IST

Viral Acharya, ‘Poor man’s Rajan’, new RBI Deputy Governor

New Delhi: Government today appointed Viral V Acharya, a New York University economics professor who once called himself ‘poor man’s Raghuram Rajan‘, as new Deputy Governor at the Reserve Bank of India.

The 42-year-old Acharya’s appointment for a three-year tenure was cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. He is taking over at a time when the central bank is facing criticism for repeated changes in the rules related to deposit and withdrawal of money, post-demonetisation.

He will fill the post that fell vacant after Urjit Patel was made RBI Governor to succeed Rajan with effect from 4 September. The existing three Deputy Governors of RBI are S S Mundra, N S Vishwanathan and R Gandhi.

Viral Acharya - RBI Deputy Governor. Image courtesy - NYU-Stern.Viral Acharya - RBI Deputy Governor. Image courtesy - NYU-Stern.

Viral Acharya – RBI Deputy Governor. Image courtesy – NYU-Stern.

Like Rajan, Acharya also comes from an academic background and has also co-authored in the past at least three papers with the former RBI governor. These papers included ‘Sovereign debt, government myopia, and the financial sector’, ‘The Internal Governance of Firms’ and ‘Government Myopia and Debt in a Dynamic Setting.

Acharya has often praised Rajan for his works and once said “Raghu has been a great source of inspiration for me”. While giving a Deutsche Bank Prize in Financial Economics plenary lecture in 2013, Acharya had narrated an incident when someone asked him on a flight whether he was Raghuram Rajan, after seeing him, an Indian, with papers on banking and crisis.

He quipped that was the day when he realised that if he had Rajan as a “role model” and could get even 5-10 percent of him, he could have easily passed off as “poor man’s Raghuram Rajan” on flights.

Just like Rajan, Acharya has also been a strong votary of the independence of central banks and favoured them being “democratically accountable, yet be operationally independent from political influence”.

Acharya is known for his research in theoretical and empirical analysis of systemic risks of the financial sector, its regulation and genesis in government-induced distortions, according to the profile on the NYU website.

The research areas also span across credit and liquidity risks, agency-theoretic foundations as well as their general equilibrium consequences, it says.

Acharya is the C V Starr Professor of Economics in the Department of Finance at the New York University Stern School of Business (NYU-Stern).

An alumnus of IIT, Mumbai, with a degree of Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science and Engineering in 1995 and PhD in Finance from NYU-Stern in 2001, Acharya was with the London Business School (2001-08) and served as the Academic Director of the Coller Institute of Private Equity at LBS (2007-09) and a Senior Houblon-Normal Research Fellow at the Bank of England (Summer 2008).

He has also served as Director, NSE-NYU Stern Initiative on the Study of Indian Capital Markets, and has been a member of Sebi’s International Advisory Board.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 17:54 IST

8 students suspended from JNU for disrupting Academic Council meeting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The JNU administration has suspended eight students and withdrawn their hostel facilities for allegedly disrupting an Academic Council meeting, a move protested by the students’ union of the university. The meeting was chaired by VC Jagdesh Kumar on Monday. The university administration has also identified two former students who were allegedly involved in the incident.”Eight students who were identified to be involved in disruption of the meeting have been suspended and their hostel facilities have been withdrawn with immediate effect. A proctorial inquiry has also been instituted in the incident,” a JNU official said.The JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) “condemned” the move saying it will “resist” the suspension orders at all costs. “JNUSU condemns the suspension order against students. It will resist at all costs the suspension orders,” said the students’ union.Notices have been sent to the accused students by the proctor, the university official said, adding that action was taken as per preliminary findings and it will remain in effect till the inquiry is completed. A group of students was protesting outside the room where the Council meeting was underway. They allegedly “broke open the latch of the meeting room door” and came inside and “shouted at” the VC, the university said in a statement.The students belonged to Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA), Democratic Students’ Union (DSU), Students’ Front for Swaraj (SFS) and United OBC Forum. They were demanding that the Academic Council reconsider its decision to “adopt” a UGC gazette notification, dated May 2016, whereby interviews became the sole criterion of admissions to MPhil and PhD admissions. Earlier, JNU administration had suspended three students including Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and Mujeeb Gattoo for their involvement in a February 9 event on the campus where alleged anti-India slogans were raised.

Check: Osmania University Degree Supply Results October 2016 declared at osmania.ac.in

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The long wait of anxious candidates are over. Osmania University has declared the Supply Results October 2016 of Under graduate Bachelors of Arts (BA), Bachelors of Science (B Sc) and Bachelors of Commerce (B Com) and Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA). It was declared on December 27 at Osmania University’s official website – osmania.ac.inHere’s how you can check the results: 1. Log on to the official website – osmania.ac.in2. Click on – Degree Supply Results 20163. You will be directed a new page.4. Select your course.5. Enter your hall ticket number.6. Your result will be displayed. You can take a print out for future reference.About Osmania University:Osmania University was established in 1918. It is the seventh oldest university in India and the third oldest in south India.All the best to the candidates.

Demonetisation: PM Modi to discuss jobs, agri woes with NITI Aayog officials, experts

Prime minister Narendra Modi will meet NITI Aayog officials today to discuss the demonetisation impact on the economy and also to plan for the Union Budget to be presented on 1 February, according to media reports.

The government’s surprise decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on 8 November has impacted the consumption demand resulting in a cash crunch. A section of experts think the government or the RBI was not prepared to handle the situation effectively. The currency printing presses under the central bank and government had not printed enough cash of smaller denomination currencies even as the move sucked out about 86 percent of the currency in circulation.

Prime minister Narendra ModiPrime minister Narendra Modi

Prime minister Narendra Modi

The prime minister’s meeting with experts assumes significance as the cash crunch persists even as the deadline of 30 December, when Modi has promised the pain will end, is nearing.

The shortage has resulted in huge job losses in the informal sector, with construction workers being laid off in hordes.

Textile, tourism and jewellery sectors also have witnessed deep impact as slowing demand is pulling down the sales. Also, agriculture is another sector that has been crippled as farmers are holding back rabi sowing because of their inability to buy seeds and pay for the labour owing to the persisting cash shortage situation.

Many brokerage houses and economists have already reduced the GDP growth target for the current year, citing sluggish economic activity after the demonetisation announcement.

Meanwhile, the government’s efforts to push for transition into cashless economy has not paid off due to various issues including low internet penetration and speed.

According to a report in The Times of India, agriculture sector and jobs will be the focus area of the prime minister’s meeting today with NITI Aayog, which is expected to start at 11 am in the morning.

The meeting will be attended by 13 experts, including finance minister Arun Jaitley, NITI Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya, secretaries and a few others from outside, said reports in ToI and the Business Standard. The theme of the meeting, the ToI report says, is ‘economic policy: the road ahead’.

Apart from those mentioned above, according to the CNN-News18 report, the experts include Vivek Dehejia, professor with Carleton University in Canada, economist Surjit Bhalla and NITI Aayog chief executive Amitabh Kant.

The BS report says the team will have an initial discussion in the morning and they will split into three groups, who will again deliberate on the issues. They will again present their discussion outcomes in front of the PM in evening.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 10:24 IST

Demonetisation: PM Modi looting poor and serving the rich says Rahul in Almora rally

Almora: Escalating the attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi on Friday said his note ban decision is not a fight against black money or corruption but is an “economic robbery”.

Addressing a public rally at the University Campus College Grounds here, the Congress vice president said the Prime Minister has put “99 percent people” in the country to hardships and not targeted the “1 percent super rich” who “held all the black money”.

He said his party wants to eradicate corruption and if “Modiji takes any step against the menace, Congress party will lend its hundred percent support”.

“But this note ban step is not a decision against black money and corruption. This note ban is an economic robbery. It is an attack on the pooor of the country,” he said.

File photo of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

File photo of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Gandhi asked the Prime Minister to name those “thieves” who own the black money stashed in Swiss banks.

“The Swiss government has provided the list of all black-money holders to the Modi government. Why does he not place the list of thieves before the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha? We want to know who are these thieves. You should put their names before the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha,” he said.

“Why didn’t you bring back (Vijay) Mallya and Lalit Modi from London?” he asked.

Gandhi accused Modi of snatching away the hard-earned money of the country’s poor and giving them to banks to write off bad loans. He said demonetisation was introduced to waive Rs 8 lakh crore loans the “super rich” owe.

“Gareebon ka paisa kheencho, amiron ko seencho. 99 percent imaandaar ka paisa kheencho, 50 pariwaron ko seencho. Yeh hai notebandi ki sachhai, (Take away the money from the poor and help the rich. Take away the money from the 99 percent honest people and help the 50 super-rich families. This is the truth of note ban).” he said.

He used an Amitabh Bachchan song to attack Modi and said his motive is “Ram naam japna, garibon ka maal apna”.

“Suck the poor and serve the rich – this is the reality of the suit-boot wali sarkar,” he said.

He also accused the central government of being callous to people’s suffering and claimed the Opposition was not even allowed to mourn the “death of 100 people due to demonetisation”.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 18:44 IST

Check wbresults.nic.in for Calcutta University BA, B.Sc, B.Com Part II (Honours,General and Major) results 2016

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The long wait of anxious candidates are over. The University of Calcutta has released the result of the Bachelors of Arts (B.A), Bachelors of Science (B.Sc) and Bachelors of Commerce (B.Com), Part II, (Honours, General and Major) Examination 2016 results.It was declared at 1.00 pm on 23rd December. Here’s how you can check the results: Log on to the official website, wbresults.nic.in.Click on the link relevant for the candidates.You have to put your roll number to access the results.Click on the submit button after filling the relevant information.Take a printout of the results for future reference.All the best to the candidates.

PM Modi afraid of Rahul Gandhi’s ‘earthquake’ revelations: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress Party on Friday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is afraid of Rahul Gandhi’s earthquake-like revelations, otherwise he would have accepted the challenge and ordered an inquiry into the claims made by the latter.”Definitely, to us, there is an earthquake and that earthquake took place in the minds of all BJP workers. The common people have started thinking that our Prime Minister is not a clean personality; otherwise, he would have accepted the challenge given by Rahul Gandhi. The Prime Minister is afraid of Rahul Gandhi, that is why, he could not say that he is ready to face the enquiry,” Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya said.Addressing the Banaras Hindu University faculty and students on Thursday, Prime Minister Modi said, “They (Congress) have a young leader (Rahul Gandhi). He is learning to speak. From the time he has learnt to speak, there is no end to my joy.””If he had not spoken, this country would have had to bear a huge earthquake, but it is good he has started to speak, because now, we know there is no chance of an earthquake,” he added.In reply, the Congress vice president said, “Make fun of me as much as you want, but answer the questions of the youth of the country. Everyday our farmers are committing suicide; we went to the PM with these problems, but he did not say even a word.”Gandhi further accused Prime Minister Modi of aiding the loan defaulters in escaping the country by bringing forth the name of Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya, who both absconded due to indulgence in corrupt practises.

Calcutta University tells colleges to hold union elections by January 31

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The University of Calcutta has declared the date for the college union elections, reports TOI. All colleges have been instructed to hold the elections by January 31 by the Calcutta University. Kolkata with the maximum number of colleges (65) will have polls on January 27, 28, 30 and 31. South 24-Parganas with 30 colleges will hold elections on January 31. Hooghly, with seven colleges too will have polls on the same date. Howrah which has 20 colleges will hold polls on January 19. Poll dates for various campuses of CU will be announced later.Inspector of colleges (IoC), Debashis Biswas has said that poll date for each college in Kolkata will be announced in the coming week. He also said that colleges with multiple shift will have more than one election dates.

25 Punjab villages won’t vote over water pollution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a time when river water-sharing agreement with Haryana has become an emotive issue for political parties in poll-bound Punjab, but remain silent on water-pollution, residents of villages in Jalandhar and Kapurthala have united to raise the issue of polluted river waters of the state.Residents of as many as 25 villages in Jalandhar which lie along the banks on Kala Sanghia drain which flows in the region have asserted that they will not vote in the Assembly elections until the problem is addressed.One of the major tributaries of Satluj river, Kala Sanghia drain merges with Satluj through Chitti Bein. It then goes to Harike, from where drinking water is supplied to Malwa region.“It has been 10 years since residents are bearing the brunt even as effluents from tanneries, electroplating industries are being continuously discharged into the drains. At least one person in every family is suffering from some disease due to this,” said Punjab’s noted environmentalist, Balbir Singh Seechewal who has been spearheading the campaign with residents.Apart from the stench that remains hung in air all through the day, the industrial discharge has also polluted the groundwater in the region. Ludhiana being the industrial hub, the effluent from all the major industries, including leather industries, electroplating is all discharged into the rivulets and drains.Pressing upon the urgency of the issue, Seechewal said, “The government has raised alarm about depleting water-levels, but nothing is being done to prevent the existing water bodies from poisons. The manifestos of the political parties are silent on this issue, but this time, we have vowed to make it a poll agenda.”As per the environmental water quality index prepared by Central Pollution Control Board, water in 58.8 per cent of water sources in the state are not satisfactory. Ecologists highlight that presence of heavy metal is also leading to Cancer, skin diseases, birth defects and other deficiencies.“It is an issue of grave concern, especially for villages situated along the river banks. Various scientific studies have proved the presence of heavy metals, including lead and chromium, beyond permissible limits. The solution is not only setting up of more sewage treatment plants, but effective functioning of the existing ones,” said Professor V K Garg, Centre for Environmental Science and Technology, Central University of Punjab.

AAP v/s LG: Najeeb Jung’s sudden resignation leaves bete noire Arvind Kejriwal ‘surprised’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, whose nearly three-and-a-half-year tenure was marked by frequent run-ins with the AAP government, sprang a surprise by resigning from his post on Thursday, triggering speculation whether he was asked to quit. The sudden announcement that the 65-year-old former bureaucrat had quit took political circles by surprise since only a few days earlier he had written to the Centre that he was going on leave to Goa during Christmas and had even scheduled a meeting with Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi.Jung’s clash with the AAP government headed by Arvind Kejriwal that frequently reached the doors of judiciary led to speculation whether his decision had anything to do with the anticipated Supreme Court judgement next month on the powers of an elected government. He had often overruled decisions of the Kejriwal government and the Supreme Court had even observed in one of the hearings that an elected government should have some powers. Jung had invited criticism that his run-ins with the AAP government often brought governance in the capital to a standstill.The speculation ranged between the Centre asking him to quit and the possibility of some embarrassing disclosures that could have persuaded him to put in his papers but his top aide Ajay Choudhury maintained it was purely personal. In a brief statement, Jung’s office said he has submitted his resignation to the government and that he would be returning to academics, “his first love”. Before becoming LG, Jung had headed the Jamia Millia Islamia university as Vice Chancellor.
ALSO READ LG v/s AAP: A timeline of the battle between Najeeb Jung and Arvind KejriwalMehrishi said Jung had given no indication two days ago when he had a meeting with him. “The LG met me day before yesterday but he did not give any indication of submitting his resignation. Another meeting of mine with the LG is scheduled for tomorrow (Friday)… I have come to know about his resignation only from the media,” Mehrishi told reporters. Jung thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his help and cooperation and Chief Minister Kejriwal for his two-year “association”.Sources close to Jung said that his resignation has nothing to do with his acrimonious relationship with the AAP government and he was contemplating to quit for last few months. “His decision to quit was not at all related to his relationship with the AAP government. It was purely a personal decision which he was mulling over for quite some time,” a source said.
ALSO READ Home Secretary met Najeeb Jung two days ago, was unaware of his resignationThe names of former Home Secretary Anil Baijal, Kiran Bedi and BS Bassi are doing the rounds for filling the vacancy caused by Jung’s decision. Reacting to Jung’s resignation, Kejriwal said the decision surprised him and he was ready to work with the new Lt Governor.While BJP was guarded in its reaction, Congress said the Centre must explain why Jung was “unceremoniously removed and whether it was done to bring someone to the top administrative post who is ideologically close to the RSS”.
ALSO READ Despite bitter-sweet experiences, we did a good job in Delhi with Najeeb Jung: Manish Sisodia Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said despite several “bitter-sweet experiences, I can say that we have worked very well for Delhi with Jung. Good wishes for his future”. Kejriwal has been alleging that Jung was siding with the Centre as he was eyeing the post of Vice President, election for which is due in the middle of next year.A 1973-batch IAS officer, Jung had assumed charge as 19th Lt Governor of Delhi on July 9, 2013, five months before the Delhi Assembly elections. The then Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had played a role in appointing Jung to the top post in the city administration.He had run the city for nearly one year during President’s rule after the AAP government had quit on February 14, 2014 after a short stint of 49 days.In the statement, his office also said “Jung also thanks the people of Delhi for all their support and affection, especially during the one year of President’s Rule in Delhi, when he got unstinted support from them and which in turn helped run the administration in Delhi smoothly and effortlessly.”Normally governors are appointed for a five-year term but there is no fixed tenure for Lt Governors.Born on January 18, 1951 Jung did his post graduation in History from Delhi University and later did MA in Social Policy and Planning from London School of Economics, UK. He had joined Indian Administrative Services (IAS) in 1973 and served in Madhya Pradesh government and at several key positions, including as joint secretary in the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, in the central government.A literary enthusiast, Jung had also worked with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies of Oxford University on energy-related issues. Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said Jung’s decision appears to be his personal one, adding he served Delhi quite well.Raising questions over Jung’s sudden resignation, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken demanded that the Centre should explain the reasons behind his “unceremonious exit”, saying there is more to it than meets the eye. Maken also suggested that Jung’s sudden exit may be the result of a “deal” between Modi and Kejriwal. “We want to know whether there was any deal between Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal in the sudden resignation of Jung as he was apparently under pressure, or whether the BJP and the central government want to bring in an RSS-connected or RSS-supported person as the LG of Delhi. “The Centre must explain the circumstances leading to Jung’s exit,” he told a press conference.The AAP alleged Jung worked under the “influence” of the Modi dispensation and questioned whether the power tussle between the Centre and Delhi government will continue even after the appointment of a new LG. “Modi government promotes its people. We hope he gets a better posting after this. I am unhappy that his tenure was disgraceful. Now that he has gone, good luck to him. “Najeeb Jung’s behaviour was not his. He was under the influence of someone. We hope the next LG gives priority to issues concerning people and does not work under anyone’s influence,” AAP’s Kumar Vishwas said.

Charges against Narendra Modi deserve proper response, impartial inquiry: Sitaram Yechury

New Delhi: Hitting out at Narendra Modi over his remarks against opposition on note ban, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury on Thursday said such utterances are best “abandoned” after one becomes Prime Minister and demanded an impartial inquiry into the “serious allegations” against him.

Sitaram Yechury. AFPSitaram Yechury. AFP

Sitaram Yechury. AFP

Without making direct mention of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi‘s allegation against Modi that he took money from Sahara and Birla groups when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat, Yechury said that the charges deserve a proper response.

“Serious allegations deserve impartial inquiry and a proper response. This language is best abandoned after becoming PM,” Yechury tweeted.

Speaking at a function in Banaras Hindu University today, Modi attacked opposition for allegedly stalling Parliament over demonetisation, saying they were trying to rescue the corrupt like Pakistan gives cover fire to terrorists.

Addressing a rally in the Prime Minister’s home state Gujarat on Wednesday, Gandhi had alleged that in the Income Tax records there are notings of Sahara officials’ claims that they had paid nine times to Modi between October, 2013 and February, 2014.

Similarly, as per documents with Income Tax department, the Birla group also paid Rs 12 crore to Modi when he was Chief Minister, Gandhi had alleged. BJP had rejected the charges as “baseless, shameful, and mala fide“.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 16:49 IST

Congress should clarify if it thinks of Afzal Guru as terrorist or nationalist: Anurag Thakur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Alleging that Rahul Gandhi sides with those who raise anti-India slogans, senior BJP leader Anurag Thakur today said Congress should make it clear whether it thinks of Afzal Guru as a “terrorist or a nationalist”.”Gandhi sides with those who shout anti-India slogans in Jawaharlal Nehru University. It speaks about Congress’ ideology,” he said addressing the students of law college here. “Events are organised in JNU in support of Afzal Guru and Congress leaders can be spotted there. The party should make it clear if it thinks of Afzal Guru as a terrorist or a nationalist,” Thakur said. He said Congress was a “sinking ship” and it was evident from the result of various elections post demonetization.”In Chandigarh municipal corporation polls, BJP won 20 out of 26 seats. It shows people are with BJP and Prime Minister,” he said. Thakur said the Modi government is focusing on skill development programmes to help youths bag jobs. State Health Minister Kalicharan Saraf was in for some criticism from the students when he claimed that the Vasundhara Raje government gave jobs to more than 11 lakh youths.Hooted at by students, the minister said “they are not willing to listen to him” and returned to his seat.

Demonetisation: Chidambaram may be right in calling note ban a non-reform, but he shouldn’t forget the past

P Chidambaram, four-time finance minister and a senior Congress leader, has been an aggressive critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 8 November demonetisation drive, much like his colleagues in Congress party such as former PM Manmohan Singh and Vice president Rahul Gandhi. On Tuesday, inaugurating the Prof T D Lakdawala lecture series at the University of Mumbai, with a talk on ‘Twenty five years of Economic Reforms and Challenges Ahead’, Chidambaram escalated his attack by stating that the authors of note ban lacked elementary knowledge of economics.

“Whoever planted the idea of demonetisation should enroll in a graduate school of economics,” said Chidambaram. Chidambaram argues why demonetisation is not an economic reform but a ‘man-made tragedy’. To support his argument that why note ban isn’t an economic reform, the former FM said an economic reform can be defined as a new model whose effectiveness could be measured with its outcomes. “A reform can be judged on the parameters of enhanced output, efficiency and distributive justice,” Chidambaram said.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambram. AgenciesSenior Congress leader P Chidambram. Agencies

Senior Congress leader P Chidambram. Agencies

Some of the landmark reforms of last 25 years Chidambaram picked in his speech include 1991 foreign trade policy, doing away with industrial licences, moving away from fixed exchange rate to a market determined rate, direct reforms, private public partnership, capital market reforms, initiating Aadhaar-based direct benefit transfer.

Chidambaram concludes his reform talk saying the aim of many of these reforms was to end poverty. “Given the capital, the technology and the human resources available in the 21st century, if any country is poor, it is because of its own faults and failures,” said Chidambaram is quoted as saying by the Indian Express. Pro-demonetisation economists will cry foul with Chidambaram terming demonetisation as a non-reform. Note ban critics will cheer him.

Strictly going by Chidambaram’s definition, i.e if a reform is measurable by tangible output and efficiency of implementation, then demonetisation may not qualify to be called as an economic reform. Some of the stated gains of this exercise—rejuvenating the economy by recovering black money, ending corruption involving cash exchange, choking terror funding and as an effective trigger to nudge the society to non-cash transactions—can be evaluated only in the long-term. Reports of fresh cases of black money, fake currency seizure and terror attacks even before the demonetisation exercise over casts shadows on the effectiveness of the demonetisation exercise on these fronts.

As this writer had pointed out in an earlier article, it is naïve to imagine that swapping currency alone would kill illegal cash build up in the system, curb corruption and end organized terror. Also, at this stage, any tangible, meaningful gains for the exchequer out of demonetisation look doubtful considering the massive pain it will inflict on the economy in the approaching quarters.

A 1.5-2 percent slowdown in the GDP on account of cash-ban resulting in paralysis will be a major drag on the economy. The impact of job losses, slowdown in manufacturing and services will have cascading impact across the economy. Apart from the quantifiable impacts, the pain on the common man on account of prolonged cash crunch too should be taken into account when one does the final cost-benefit analysis of the demonetisation exercise. Unless positive results are proven in the long-term, not many can dispute Chidambaram if the former FM refuses to call the note ban an economic reform. It is more of a cleansing exercise and an economic experiment. Till hard results are visible, the fate of Modi’s demonetisation gamble, hangs in balance.

But, the problem with Chidambaram’s Tuesday talk arises where he begins to sermonize on the eradication of poverty as the end result of any major reforms and criticise the failure of the state for its failure to end poverty despite having all tools—capital, the technology and the human resources—at disposal. This is where the Harvard educated lawyer-turned-politician should perhaps also introspect the success of the UPA-regime in the last decade or so to achieve this critical end result. Facts should speak rather than political claims and counter claims. One of the major characteristics of that regime was a phase of jobless GDP growth.

According to a 2013 paper — ‘Joblessness and Informalisation: Challenges to Inclusive Growth in India’–by the Institute of Applied Manpower Research (IAMR), a think-tank of the erstwhile Planning Commission, not only has India witnessed jobless growth during the UPA’s tenure, it has also seen millions pushed to become casual labour with little social security. One cannot deny the link of unemployment trends to the poverty graph.

Between 2005 and 2010, the manufacturing sector saw the loss of 5 million jobs, it said. Also, the services sector, which witnessed 18 million jobs between 2000-2005, added only 4 million additional jobs in 2005-2010. Though the larger consensus is that poverty reduction has been quicker in the three-years to 2011-12 but going by the C Rangarajan panel, the fact is that one third of India (29.5 percent) remains poor, way above 21.9 percent estimated by Tendulkar committee. While there are no accurate estimates of poverty in the country, various indicators show a good number of Indians still lack access to labour, shelter and formal financial system.

This raises a key question. Despite the critical economic reform steps initiated in last several decades and despite UPA initiatives to increase social spending, provide employment through MGNREGS, how far India has achieved the desired results to end poverty is a matter of larger debate. While Chidambaram’s remarks on demonetisation are indeed valid, a counter question to him, thus, is why a significant chunk of Indians still live in poverty despite a series of economic reforms and having all tools of poverty eradication at disposal for long.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 14:49 IST

Whoever planted the idea of demonetization didn’t know elementary economics: Chidambaram

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming demonetization a “monumental tragedy” and an “anti-poor” measure, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said whoever planted the idea should enrol in an undergraduate course in economics.”I don’t think demonetization is a reform. It is a monumental tragedy which is anti-poor and has put millions in misery and hardships,” he said at an event at the Mumbai University. By demonetization, the Modi government created a myth that all cash is black money and all black money is cash, he said. Stating that the government did not know, either before November 8 or afterwards, the estimate of the black money in the system, Chidambaram said it is akin to a surgeon carrying out an operation without doing homework.”It is like a surgeon operating upon a patient without knowing whether the patient has any disease at all, which part of the patient is affected and what kind of surgery is required,” the former minister said.Asserting that all cash is not black money, the senior Congress leader said black money is the income that has evaded tax, and there are large sections of the people who have cash but who do not evade income tax.Agricultural income is not subject to taxation, income of charities is exempted, as is the income of religious trusts.Also, the people of Northeastern states do not have to pay income tax and they have cash in hand, he said. “Is that all black money? Is the money in the hands of farmer black money?” he asked. “I think whoever planted the idea of demonetization did not know elementary economics. He should be asked to enrol in an undergraduate school of economics,” Chidambaram quipped. If a farmer has some cash in hand, it is not black money, but when he pays, say, Rs 1,000 as fees to a doctor or a lawyer and does not get a receipt, then this Rs 1,000 becomes black money, Chidambaram said.But if the doctor or lawyer goes to a restaurant and buys a meal and the restaurateur gives him a bill for Rs 1,000, then the same Rs 1,000 note again turns ‘white’, he said. “People who did not understand the elementary economics have authored demonetization,” he said, adding that all the Rs 15.44 trillion of banned notes will come bank to banks by December 30. Demonetization was the worst thing that could have happened to the economy as it crippled the farmers, self-employed, small businessmen and daily wage earners. “It is an unmitigated tragedy…certainly has nothing to do with economic reform,” he said. Demonetization is generally resorted to only in two circumstances, Chidambaram said. “One, when there is hyper inflation…you demonetize your currency because it is worthless. Secondly, when there is currency instability and to bring about stability, you demonetize,” he said.”We are in the distinguished company of Zimbabwe, North Korea, Libya and now Venezuela (which demonetized currency). Do you want India to be in the company of these countries?” he asked. As long as there is demand for black money, it will be generated, he said. “demonetization is no answer for black money. The answer is to stamp out corruption, stamp out the sources which generate black money,” Chidambaram said. The sectors which demand black money are construction, jewellery, licensing and permission granting, he added.

Higher GDP growth a ‘statistical illusion’, inconsistent with other indicators: P Chidambaram

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the new GDP series based on gross value added, which shows a growth of 7-7.5 per cent, is “flawed” as it is based on a “statistical illusion”, and claimed the country is expanding at just 5-5.5 per cent. “GDP estimates are flawed. If you go by simple measurement, the way it is measured, gross value addition at 7-7.5 per cent, appears to be correct, but it is inconsistent with every other economic indicator that we have,” Chidambaram said at an event at the Mumbai University. As per the new GDP reading based on GVA, the economy grew at 7.2 per cent in the first half of the current fiscal.While the GDP clipped at 7.3 per cent in Q1, in the second quarter ended September it expanded at 7.1 per cent. He said other economic indicators that we should look at include credit growth, which is now at a 20-year low, core sector growth, that is only about 2-2.5 per cent, and investment, which is at an all-time low. “I go by harder numbers – credit growth, investments, stalled projects. Those are hard numbers, real numbers and I think those are the numbers we should look at. Looking at these numbers, my gut feel is that we are growing at about 5- 5.5 per cent a year,” the Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra said.He said the GVA number at 7-7.5 per cent may be statistically correct but does not reflect the true growth of the economy. He said this number is constructed by using the deflector, which many people have seriously questioned, and there is a “statistical illusion” in this number. Citing an example, Chidambaram said, “Raghuram Rajan (former RBI Governor) pointed out that exports minus imports adds to GDP. We all know exports in 2015-16 was lower than 2014-15.”Exports declined but imports declined more. Therefore, exports minus imports in 2014-15 was say number A and exports minus import in 2015-16 is B. Exports declined and imports declined even further but B is larger than A shows growth. Therefore, B upon A shows growth,” said the former Finance Minister. He said there are lot of conundrums in this and hence he does not go by these numbers.

JNU missing student case: Delhi Police search university campus for Najeeb

New Delhi: Police on Monday reached the sprawling Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus in search of a student who went missing over two months ago.

Crime Branch personnel searched different parts of the campus with sniffer dogs in a desperate bid to find out what happened to Najeeb, whose disappearance had led to unending protests in the university.

Representational image. CNN-News18Representational image. CNN-News18

Representational image. CNN-News18

A police officer said Najeeb’s hostel, classrooms, rooftops and other deserted places were scanned.

“A search operation is on in various parts of the JNU campus to get clues which can help police locate Najeeb,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Ravindra Yadav said.

The search began as police have been unable to get any trace of the missing Najeeb, who went missing on 15 October following a scuffle the previous night with members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP). The ABVP has denied any involvement in Najeeb’s disappearance.

Police have raised the reward amount for providing information that could help locate Najeeb from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh.

The Delhi High Court has directed the police to scan the entire JNU campus.

The court said the police were also free to search Jamia Millia Islamia where Najeeb was reportedly dropped by an auto-rickshaw driver after he left from JNU campus.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 16:11 IST

Himalayan earthquakes can rattle big cities: Iain Stewart

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During his recent visit to India, eminent geologist Iain Stewart paid a visit to Mumbai’s St Xavier’s College, where he spoke about potential natural disaster risks India faces. Stewart was on a lecture tour across India covering eight cities, organised by the British Council of India.Stewart, often described as the rock star of Geology, focuses on building communication bridges to spread awareness on the natural risks of life on the planet. India has two levels of risks, Stewart said at the event. “Over the centuries, foothills of the Himalayas have had several big earthquakes. In peninsular India you can get rogue events like the 1983 Latur quake or the Bhuj earthquake in 2001. But, in terms of risks, the real threat lies in the Himalayan region. If the Himalayan earthquakes are big enough, they can rattle some big cities in India, including Delhi” says Stewart.According to Steward, while India has some fantastic earthquake specialists, his major concern is public preparedness for a potential earthquake or a tsunamis or super cyclones that Mumbai may be predisposed to.“Climate change is altering the storm paths and intensities of cyclones, so the risk factor goes up. We already know that the Indian Ocean can have tsunamis. But the public, already grappling with manyissues, will probably get tired if we talk about a greater tsunami risk. They would just add it to the list as they go about managing their day-to-day struggles. This makes communicating the risks a major challenge,” he points out.A Fellow of the Geological Society of London and President of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, he teaches Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth. Stewart has also hosted programmes for the BBC, including the BAFTA-nominated Earth: The Power of the Planet.

SC to hear plea of murder-accused DU professor Nandini Sundar today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday will hear the plea filed by Delhi University Professor Nandini Sundar, who has been named as an accused in the alleged murder of a tribal person in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.The Chhattisgarh government had earlier assured the Supreme Court that it will not arrest Sundar. The state government told this to the apex court division bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur and also comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel while replying to the plea filed by Sundar.While telling the court that no coercive action would be taken against Sundar, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the state would submit to the court its report in a sealed cover before the next date of hearing on November 15.Earlier, refuting charges of murder Nandini Sundar said it was part of the state police’s vendetta against all researchers, journalists, lawyers and activists who have been critical of their fake encounters and mass gang rapes, adding that she would take up the matter legally. “It’s part of the Chhattisgarh Police’s vendetta against all researchers, journalists, lawyers, activists who have been critical of their fake encounters, their mass gang rapes of women and the complete lawlessness of the police. This FIR against us is absurd. We haven’t even been to the area for five months. We will be taking it up legally,” Sundar said.Sundar and 10 others have been booked for the murder of a tribal in Sukma. Sundar has been named in a complaint by the wife of Shamnath Baghel, who was killed by Maoists last Friday in his village in Maoist-hit Bastar.Baghel had been leading a campaign against Maoist activities since April and had recently formed the ‘Tangiya (axe) group’.Baghel and other villagers had in May lodged a complaint against Sundar and others for allegedly inciting tribals against the police.

The toxic waters of religion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as numerous steps are being taken towards cleaning the Ganga, Yamuna, and other rivers, researchers continue to suggest that various religious practices are responsible for polluting the holy waters on a much larger scale than toxic industrial waste.While yagnas (fire rituals), days of fasting, and walking barefoot to the shrine make up most Hindu activities, taking a ‘dip’ in ‘holy water’ to wash away the sins of mortals is a ritual often followed during various festivals. Even the immersion of deities after keeping them for days at home is another ritual causing damage to rivers.Every time a pilgrim takes a ‘holy’ dip in those river, they swallow copious amounts of toxic material flushed from power plants or the waste thrown in the river.In the latest trend, Chath puja in Delhi was observed by taking a dip in the pond at India Gate or at the already polluted Yamuna where huge idols of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Kali are also immersed every year. During the month of September, devotees flock to the beaches of Mumbai with thousands of Ganesh idols for immersion, days after which the idols often wash up on shore.Also, cremated remains are floated in the river, believing the dead will not attain salvation if the last remains are not immersed. This practice is adding to the woes of the rising problem of water pollution. According to a Rishikesh based NGO, Ganga Action Parivar, “When the river in Har Ki Pauri, Haridwar is cleaned for two months we collect a large quantity of wastes like matki, plastic bags, garlands, coins, etc. Not only this, Hindu’s mostly cremate ashes here. But these don’t harm the river as much as the idols made of cement, plastic, and other non-eco friendly things does which are dumped in the river. It resists the flow of water and makes it stagnant. The only way to prevent this is to use eco-friendly idols.”Poor Hindu pilgrims stand at their makeshift campsite. Devotees believe that taking a holy dip in the Ganges washes away their sins and paves the path to salvation. —Getty Images There are some religions which follow the practice of floating the dead bodies in the river which are then eaten by crocodiles. But with the increasing pollution even the habitat of crocodiles has been disturbed hugely. As a result, bodies now get stuck in the river plants or float to the banks adding to the degradation.“The bodies that are floated in the water to make sure it gains eternity, actually get stuck on the banks and infect the river and creates an imbalance to the ecosystem of the river,” said Vineet of Ganga Action Parivar.The Ganga was known to have self-cleansing effect but with the continuous abuse the losing its charm. According to Rakesh, a taxi driver from Uttar Pradesh residing in Mumbai, there is nothing wrong with the Ganga. “It is always needed and is done for good. Ganga can never be dirty, it is holy. Ganga water is used to cure all types of diseases and wash away sins,” he said.Water pollution experts estimate that around 32k human corpses are cremated each year in the Ganges river, Varanasi — GETTY IMAGESExpressing dismay over the deteriorating condition of Ganga, Saurav Tiwari a student of Benaras Hindu University said, “The Ganga river is not in a good shape. Along with industries, various religious practices have also joined hands in slowly poisoning the river.”Not only Ganga but the Yamuna in Delhi and the Mula Mutha in Pune get religiously polluted in the months of September and October.India’s chief sources of water are becoming increasingly unsafe for drinking and for aquatic life. The idea of implementing artificial ponds for devotees to take a dip and other alternatives have never seen the light of the day.

Wanted Lashkar coomander gunned down

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dreaded Lashkar-e-Tioba suffered a major blow on Wednesday when security forces gunned down one of the most wanted militant Pakistani commander and its north Kashmir chief in the apple rich town of Sopore in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district.Elsewhere an engineering student-turned-militant was killed by the security forces in Bewoora village of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.Abu Bakar, a 27 year old Pakistani divisional commander who was operating in north Kashmir since 2009, was killed in an encounter with security forces in Bomai village of Sopore.Police said the commander , who had broken security forces cordon several times, was the main coordinator for the infiltration from across the LoC into Kashmir.”It is a great success for the security forces. Abu Baker was distributing and transporting the militants to south and other parts of Kashmir after their infiltration from across the LoC”, Harmeet Singh, senior superintendent of police, Sopore, told DNA.Singh said he was involved in attacks of security forces convoys and firing since 2009. “He had also fled from many encounters in the past”, he said.Operating in Lolaab, Kupwara and Sopore, Abu Baker had established Lashkar network across north Kashmir and he was one of the most wanted commanders for the security forces.In another incident, a local militant was killed in a brief encounter with security forces at Bewoora Marhama village of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.Basit Ahmed Dar alias Sameer, 24 year old B.Tech student had become militant just two month before. Son of a bank manager, he was had a student of Islamic University of Science and Technology Awantipora before he went missing and joined militancy post Burhan Wani’s killing.”Our highly qualified youth who prefer to join the freedom struggle instead of their luxurious and comfortable life, is a slap on those who weigh these unparalleled sacrifices in terms of roads, buildings, bridges and other developmental assets”, said Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani

JNU’s ‘Freedom Square’ barricaded by steel wall, students cry foul

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) barred its students from organising protests at its administration block, the varsity barricaded the space on Monday.The area outside the administration block is popularly known as “Freedom Square” after the February 9 incident, when anti-national slogans were allegedly raised by a few students, following which three were arrested, including the then students’ union President Kanhaiya Kumar.The varsity administration has been at loggerheads with students following the mysterious disappearance of MSc student Najeeb Ahmed, who went missing on October 15 after a scuffle with ABVP members at the Mahi Mandavi hostel.Students said they noticed the barricade late on Sunday night when they reached the spot after organising a protest march over the varsity’s alleged attempt to shield Najeeb’s “assaulters”.”We were returning after a protest march against the Vice-Chancellor’s attempt to shield ABVP members who assaulted Najeeb at about 1 am on Sunday when we saw the barricade obstructing Freedom Square,” said JNU Students’ Union President Mohit Pandey.Terming it as an attempt to crush students’ freedom to dissent, Pandey said, “The VC is constantly trying to crush the voices raised against him and his administration. First they sent us notices telling us not to organise protests at the administration block, and now they have turned it into a jail-like structure.”The administration officials, however, claimed the decision was taken due to a space crunch at the building. The barricaded space will now be used for official purposes only. “The fence has been put up on the inner side of the block to make some space,” an official said.Recently, the VC’s office issued notices against some students, including Pandey, for putting up posters at the administration block. They has also barred students from organising protests in the area.

Campus placements in full swing at IIT-Bombay?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to details of​​ campus placements that have taken place at IIT-Bombay till December 9, Intel Technologies, Samsung R&D, Goldman Sachs and Citi Corp Services India Ltd were companies that hired the most number of students for domestic jobs, while Yahoo, NEC and Murata hired the most students for international jobs.Start-ups like Uber, Paytm, and Ola cabs have already hired IIT-B students, and a few other companies are likely to visit the campus in the next few days.According to the placement cell, reputed educational institutions and universities across India will be in the campus for interviews this week.The highest base package amongst the Japanese firms were from Works app at 60 lakhs JPY/annum, Yahoo at 37.52 lakhs JPY per annum, Rakuten at 37.20 lakhs JPY per annum and Toyo Engineering at 35.16 lakhs JPY per annum. The highest base package amongst the US firms were from Uber at USD 1.10 lakhs per annum, Microsoft at USD 1.06 lakhs per annum and Oracle at USD 1 lakh per annum.The highest base package for domestic roles were from Blackstone at Rs 35 lakhs per year, Schlumberger at Rs 28 lakhs, World Quant at Rs 25.20 lakhs and Xerox Research at Rs 22 lakhs.The top five recruiters, in terms of number of offers made, were Intel Technologies with 29 offers, Samsung R&D with 28, Citi Corp with 20, Goldman Sachs with 15 and Qualcomm with 13.In 2015, the top recruiters were Goldman Sachs with 23 offers, Microsoft with 20, Dar Al Handasah Consultants with 19, Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan University with 17 and Citi Corp with 15.Last year, the top recruiters for international jobs were Yahoo and NEC, and for domestic jobs were Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Citi Corp and Intel Technologies.According to IIT-B, during the current placement season, all profiles are in demand.

Demonetisation impact: Will it help the economy and reverse jobless growth?

So what is demonetisation? Is it, as former finance minister P Chidambaram declared on Tuesday, “the biggest scam of the year”? Or is it, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been at pains to insist, a move that will curb black money, bring more into banking sector, widen the tax net and push us towards a more digitised economy? Does this, as the former finance minister claimed during a news conference, make poor people even poorer or will it, as Modi promised, create more jobs and diminish poverty?

In the heat and dust of a debate, often the larger points remain unnoticed while we squabble over perceptions. Demonetisation has unleashed a beast so strange and powerful that politicians, economists, media and every other stakeholder have since turned into blind men trying to describe an elephant.

S Gurumurthy. File photo. Reuters

S Gurumurthy. File photo. Reuters

While economists remain sharply divided over its impact (Amartya Sen and Larry Summers, for instance, have trashed it while Jagdish Bhagwati and Ken Rogoff see it as a bold, audacious move and a major reform), politicians bicker and commentators get tethered to their prejudicial divides, an interesting perspective has been offered by RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy.

A chartered accountant by profession and a commentator on matters economic and political in his own right, Gurumurthy, who is said to have the prime minister’s ear, has presented demonetisation as a much-needed remedy against “economic mismanagement” of the UPA years where sharp growth was accompanied by a rather strange fall in jobs.

His contention is that the economy under former prime minister Manmohan Singh, a noted economist and a former RBI governor, was fuelled by asset inflation that resulted in the creation of huge amount of black wealth. This unmonitored cash, according to him, drove up the real estate prices, stock market and gold that eventually pushed up the GDP but did little to create jobs and hence was not beneficial for the common man.

Speaking to CNN-News 18 during the sidelines of a seminar on Monday, Gurumurthy said that under Singh and Chidambaram, “the quantum jump in illicit cash in the economy fuelled an asset price bubble in gold, stocks and real estate, which reflected as high GDP growth in the UPA years and continuing till now. However, that growth couldn’t create jobs because it was black money spirited out of India and round-tripped back in the form of investment in assets,” he said.

In his column for Tuesday’s edition of The Hindu, the research professor of legal Anthropology at SASTRA University provided some figures to elaborate on his theory a little more, comparing the economies under NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and UPA 1 under Manmohan Singh.

“During the NDA rule (1999-2004), real GDP grew by 27.8 percent, annually 5.5 percentage points. Annual money supply, that fuels inflation, by 15.3 percent. Prices by 23 percent, annually 4.6 percent.” He then goes on to calculate the rise in various metrics: stocks 32 percent; gold 38 percent and a “phenomenal” rise in jobs by almost 60 million. Under Manmohan Singh‘s UPA, however, says Gurumurthy, “real GDP grew by 50.8 percent, annually 8.4 percentage points — one-and-a-half times that of NDA’s,” but only 27 lakhs jobs were generated as against 600 lakhs during NDA’s 5 year-term, he writes.

He explains this jobless growth arising out of “asset price inflation, not production,” and goes on to add that stock and gold prices recorded a three-fold jump whereas property prices “doubled every two-three years.”

In his critique of demonetisation in Friday’s column for The Hindu, Singh had admitted that India’s cash to GDP ratio “is very high vis-à-vis other nations.”

What explains this high circulation of cash? Gurumurthy puts it on a rise in high denomination notes (HDNs) which make it easier to generate black wealth. He writes that while in 1999 cash with the public was 9.4 percent of nominal GDP, by 2007-08 it had jumped to 13 percent. This is an unusually high figure because rising bank and digital payments should have made the figure come down. HDNs in the hands of public, he writes, shot up from 34 percent in 2004 to 79 percent in 2010 and touched 87 percent the day Modi announced the decommissioning of notes.

During the Nani Palkhivala Memorial Lecture in Chennai on 30 November, Gurumurthy had cited celebrated French economist Thomas Piketty to say that the economic growth during 2004-2014 did not improve the lives of the poor because of “Piketty effect” and the higher GDP failed to haul people out of poverty,” according to another report in The Hindu.

How accurate is the RSS ideologue’s contention that Indian economy during UPA years was awash with “unmonitored cash”? Is it true that these years actually saw a fall in jobs despite high growth?

The Institute of Applied Manpower Research (IAMR), a think-tank of the Planning Commission, in a research paper published in 2013, found that not only did India witness jobless growth during the UPA tenure, it also saw millions pushed to become casual labour with little social security.

The authors, according to The Times of India report, revealed through their research that despite a phenomenal 8.5 percent growth in GDP, “employment in total and in non-agricultural sectors” did not grow. “This jobless growth in recent years”, they found, “was accompanied by growth in casualisation and informalisation”.

According to the study, as cited by The Times of India report, manufacturing sector saw the loss of 5 million jobs between 2005-10. The services sector witnessed only 4 million additional jobs in 2005-2010 (as compared to a massive growth of 18 million jobs during 2000-2005). This, the report said, was odd considering the growth period is often called that of ‘service-led’ growth.

If this points to a crippling problem that falsified growth while making it jobless, by sucking out extra, unmonitored cash, demonetisation may help the economy do a much-needed course-correction.

So the choice before the Modi government was to either maintain status quo — a combination of illicit cash fuelled high GDP and joblessness — or to reboot the economy through demonetisation that would trigger initial hardships but eventually restore real growth and jobs. Gurumurthy feels the government did the right thing by choosing the latter option.

As Columbia University Professor of Economics and Law Jagdish Bhagwati pointed out in his article (co-authored by Pravin Krishna and Suresh Sundaresan) for The Times of India, “Although the process is inconvenient, and subjects many households to hardships, it forces the cash from the black economy to be deposited into the banking system, potentially increasing transparency and expanding the tax base and revenues to the government from taxes and surcharges.”

The jury is still out on perhaps India’s most disruptive reform. But just as it would be foolish to tout demonetisation as a magic bullet, it similarly makes little sense to call it India’s biggest scam.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 17:16 IST

Missing JNU student: Delhi HC slams cops for failure to trace him

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court slammed the police on Friday for remaining clueless about missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who has remained untraced for 55 days, asking how can a man just “vanish suddenly”.Maintaining that it was concerned with the recovery of the boy whose mother has been running from pillar to post to be united with her son, the Court said a situation, in which a missing person has not been traced for over 50 days, would create a sense of insecurity among the people. “It is over 50 days. Still you (police) do not know about his whereabouts. How can somebody vanish suddenly and police has no clue about it? Even if we think of the worst, something has to be found out. We are pained that the missing person has not been traced till date,” a bench of Justices GS Sistani and Vinod Goel said.Najeeb went missing from JNU’s Mahi-Mandvi hostel on October 15 allegedly after an on-campus scuffle between him and some members of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The ABVP has denied involvement in his disappearance. The bench said, “We are not concerned with the scuffle. We only want that the boy is recovered and he returns to his house. We are concerned that the mother should get her child.”The court’s oral observation came after the police and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) informed it that Najeeb has remained untraceable till date and they were making all efforts to locate him. The varsity and the police were responding to the habeus corpus plea filed by Najeeb’s 45-year old mother Fatima Nafees who was also present in the court today. She has sought directions to the authorities to trace her 27-year-old son who was pursuing MSc in Biotechnology from JNU.During the brief hearing, senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra, appearing for the police, told the bench that the Crime Branch was exploring all angles to trace Najeeb and even issued advertisements. “We are diligent, We will do whatever is to be done at our level,” Mehra said.

Mumbai University officials welcome Maharashtra Public Universities Bill, 2016

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mumbai University officials and principals have welcomed the Maharashtra Public Universities Bill, 2016, that was passed on Thursday in the state legislative assembly during the winter session in Nagpur. The Bill is expected to not only improve quality of higher education but also help fill important vacant posts in Mumbai University. This is the first time since 1994 that the Maharashtra Public Universities Bill, 2016, has been modified and education experts, officials and senate members from Mumbai University feel it will bring a lot of positive changes. According to a Mumbai University official, important posts like the Pro-Vice chancellor in Mumbai University will get filled soon, student elections will be back and students’ grievance cells will be constituted.Dr MA Khan, Registrar of Mumbai University welcoming the Bill said, “Mumbai University was facing a lot of difficulties in the absence of full fledged authorities. I am happy that the Bill is being passed and will be converted into an Act in a month or so.”Dr Rajpal Hande, Principal of Mithibai College and Former Director Board of College and University Development (BCUD) University of Mumbai, said, “We welcome the new MPUA. It has a number of innovative sections for the betterment of students, teachers, colleges and Universities. It is progressive for higher education in the new era of globalization. Promotion of autonomous colleges, cluster universities will enhance the quality of academics. Overall it is innovative, progressive and inclusive of all stake holders of society.”Pradip Sawant, ex-senate member of Mumbai University said, “Student elections that were banned many years ago will be back in colleges. We welcome the bill that has been passed which was pending since a long time.”

JNU’s missing student: How can a man suddenly vanish, asks Delhi HC, slams cops for remaining clueless

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday slammed the police for remaining clueless about missing Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Najeeb Ahmed, who has remained untraced for 55 days, asking how can a man just “vanish suddenly”.

Maintaining that it was concerned with the recovery of the boy whose mother has been running from pillar to post to be united with her son, the Court said a situation, in which a missing person has not been traced for over 50 days, would create a sense of insecurity among the people.

“It is over 50 days. Still you (police) do not know about his whereabouts. How can somebody vanish suddenly and police has no clue about it? Even if we think of the worst, something has to be found out. We are pained that the missing person has not been traced till date,” a bench of Justice G S Sistani and Justice Vinod Goel said.

Najeeb went missing from JNU’s Mahi-Mandvi hostel on 15 October allegedly after an on-campus scuffle between him and some members of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The ABVP has denied involvement in his disappearance.

The bench said, “We are not concerned with the scuffle. We only want that the boy is recovered and he returns to his house. We are concerned that the mother should get her child.”

The court’s oral observation came after the police and the JNU informed it that Najeeb has remained untraceable till date and they were making all efforts to locate him.

The varsity and the police were responding to the habeus corpus plea filed by Najeeb’s 45-year old mother Fatima Nafees who was also present in the court today. She has sought directions to the authorities to trace her 27-year-old son who was pursuing MSc in Biotechnology from JNU.

Delhi High Court. AFP

Delhi High Court. AFP

During the brief hearing, senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra, appearing for the police, told the bench that the Crime Branch was exploring all angles to trace Najeeb and even issued advertisements. “We are diligent, We will do whatever is to be done at our level,” Mehra said.

On the other hand, JNU’s counsel Monika Arora submitted before that “since day one, the university is in regular contact with the Delhi police obtaining updates and providing relevant information to the police regarding the incident.

“It is also stated that university has carried out its own search operation in the hostel and the campus of the JNU. Moreover, the security guards alongwith police teams have been coordinating in search of Najeeb in the adjoining and adjacent forest areas of the JNU campus,” Arora said, adding that “the university’s Vice Chancellor has written to the senior police officials and SHO concerned to expedite the search of missing student Najeeb”.

To this, the bench said, “this is something very serious. If a person disappears and remains untraced, it would create a sense of insecurity in the public of the city.”

The bench asked the police to “explore all angles” and listed the matter for further hearing on 14 December .

Arora, in a status report, said soon after the incident, the hostel warden had called a meeting including Najeeb and other persons involved in the altercation.

“All persons involved in the altercation including Najeeb were called by the warden, some disciplinary measures were taken after Najeeb admitted his mistake for initiating the brawl/altercation with his fellow students. The said issue was resolved in presence of JNUSU President and other college staff and students,” JNU submitted.

It also told the bench that the students involved in the scuffle on the fateful night have been identified and their immediate transfer from the hostel was recommended.

The counsel said the office of the Chief Proctor has acknowledged that there was a scuffle and submitted the Proctorial Board report on the incident at the hostel.

“After Najeeb is found, the disciplinary action awarded to these persons will be again looked into,” the court was told.

On 28 November , the High Court had sternly asked the city police to “cut across all political barriers” and find Najeeb.

First Published On : Dec 9, 2016 18:56 IST

Denial of rights to women against sharia: MJ Akbar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Denial of gender rights is against the sharia law and no state can be modern without gender freedom, Union Minister MJ Akbar said on Thursday.”You cannot deny gender equality to any being. Denial of gender rights is against the sharia. Anyone who has a deep understanding of the Koranic law will never have the courage to argue. He will simply not,” he said.”What you have done is, you have turned the law into male aggression, something which the Koran specifically forbids. No state can be modern without gender freedom and progress. It is simply not possible,” Akbar said.The Union Minister of State for External Affairs was speaking on the occasion of SAARC Charter Day at the SAARC University here.He said apart from gender equality, freedom of thought, expression, political articulation or non-political articulation is essential for a modern state. “Freedom of faith includes the freedom to be non-faithful, it includes the freedom of atheism.

Demonetisation will not put an end to black money-generation, says economist Arun Kumar

Weeks after the government startled all with the demonetisation move, black money continues to be the biggest talking point in the country. However, much of the discussion on the subject is less than informed and it confuses more than it enlightens the lay person.

In an exclusive interview with Firstpost‘s, Debobrat Ghose, Prof Arun Kumar, noted economist and author — The Black Economy in India, , who is an authority on the subject of black money said that the government’s move would not be a sledgehammer blow to generation of black money. Instead, he believes that it would leave the economy in trouble and people harassed.

Here are the five major takeaways from the interview:

Professor Arun Kumar, Centre for Economic Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.Professor Arun Kumar, Centre for Economic Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Professor Arun Kumar, Centre for Economic Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Hoarded money is not necessarily black money
The demonetisation move may demobilize only a small part of the stock of black wealth held in the form of cash, but it won’t stop the flow. The need is to stop black income generation which results in generation of black wealth. Income needs to be distinguished from wealth, and so black money should be distinguished from black income. Black money is only a tiny part of the black wealth that has been accumulated. Black income generation will continue due to the existence of a large large number of mechanisms by which it is generated, such as businesses resorting to under and over invoicing; manufacture of spurious drugs; charging of capitation fee for admission in school and colleges; adulteration of food, etc.

Black money is largely circulating in businesses. It’s black wealth that is parked. First, we need to understand the difference between black money, black income and black wealth. It’s not the same. Black money is possibly less than 1 percent of the black wealth.

The demonetisation move won’t put an end to generation of black wealth. The actual people behind black wealth are not being targeted. The misnomer is that black economy means cash. That is where the understanding of the government is lacking. They are thinking that if they demobilize the cash, the black economy will collapse. It won’t.

Demonetisation is no silver bullet against fake currency
Demonetisation won’t end fake currency problem either. According to the RBI, fake currency amounts to only Rs 400 crore of the total currency in circulation of Rs 17.5 lakh crore—which is a minuscule amount. Fresh printing and import of counterfeit currency will not stop with demonetisation. Counterfeit currency is used to finance terrorist activities and those involved in it ensure that it is constantly generated. The printing of fake currency has to be stopped. If the old notes could be counterfeited, so can the new ones too, despite having advanced features. So, extinguishing fake currency one time is not going to help.

Move will leave the economy hobbling
The Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denomination currency notes constituted 86 percent of the currency and it has been sucked out of the system. It’s like taking out 86 percent of blood from a person’s body. Imagine, what will be the effect! He will die. Same is with the economy. New currency is only slowly trickling in, which is inadequate to restore the flow of incomes. There’s a decline in footfalls in malls; small traders are unable to sell goods; circulation of income is slowing down; the farmers, households, small producers, transport sector – all are hurt due to fall in demand. The poor, the daily wage earners in the unorganized sector are the worst sufferers. If the situation continues for a longer period, it’ll have a cascading effect on the economy. The cash shortage will not be sorted out early because of inadequate printing capacity. So, demand will be affected for much longer than 50 days. This can result in irreversible changes setting in like increase in NPA, unemployment and decline in investment, so that India may head into a recession and not just a decline of GDP by 2 percent.

The circulation of money is like blood flow in the body. If there is a shortage of that, then there is a problem. In the coming months, newer problems will crop us as a result of demonetisation.

Scale of operation is the problem; may not be the intent
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rightly said that black money menace is the source of poverty, flight of capital and corruption. But, it needs to be clarified why such a drastic step like demonetisation is not the solution, but will jeopardise the economy instead. It’s a wrong move.

In 1978 when Rs 10,000 and Rs 5,000 notes were banned, it didn’t make any noise. The common man wasn’t affected because these high-value currency notes were not used by them. It was with the super rich and it constituted a very small portion of the currency. What was being circulated then were Rs 10 and Rs 100 denomination notes. So, it didn’t touch the day-to-day lives of people. In contrast, at present the common man, including lower middle classes had been using Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes. The Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denomination notes constituted 86 percent of the currency—worth Rs 14.5 lakh crore. The government, in a single stroke has scrapped such a large volume of currency, which was in circulation, without having an alternative arrangement in place. It has created chaos and panic.

Due to lack of advance preparation, almost every day there is a change in policy related to exchange of old notes. The banks and the ATMs are still not equipped to dispense the volume of cash needed by the people. Even today, almost after 30 days, there are long queues at bank branches and outside the ATMs. The salaried class and pensioners are facing a tough time to withdraw their salaries and pensions.

Lingering cash pain
With liquidity sucked out of the system, even if temporarily, money supply has become a problem. Replacing 86 percent of the currency may take many months. You have to replace quickly the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes worth Rs 14.5 lakh crore printed over the years. If you are printing Rs 100 notes, you need to print 10 times more notes than for a Rs 1,000 note and that will take a lot more time. Had the government prepared properly and managed to create enough supply of cash, this pain would have been less. But given the hoarding of currency and printing of small denomination currency notes and shortage of ink and paper, it can take even a year for the supply of currency to become normal.

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 13:03 IST

Timeline: A chronicle of J Jayalalithaa’s life

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa passed away in Chennai on December 5, a day after she suffered a cardiac arrest while admitted in Apollo hospital. ‘Amma’ as she was fondly addressed, had been in the hospital since September 22 after she complained of a fever and dehydration. She was later treated for sepsis and her condition was said to have improved before she went into cardiac arrest on Sunday. The last rites of the chief minister will be performed in Chennai on Monday evening. Biographical TimelineJayalalithaa Jayaram, an Indian actress-turned-politician, was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu and General Secretary of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party. She was sworn in as the chief minister on May 23, 2016, her sixth term, a record. She was only the second female chief minister of Tamil Nadu. Her followers fondly call her “Amma”, meaning mother, and “Puratchi Thalaivi”, meaning revolutionary leader. Jayalalithaa was a famous South Indian film star before she joined politics in 1982.She had appeared as a lead actress in various films in Tamil, Kannada and Telugu languages. She even acted in one English and a Hindi film. She was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1984 and served in this post till 1989. Personal LifeJayalalitha was born in Mysore (now in the state of Karnataka) at a place called Melukote on February 24, 1948. She hails from a Tamil Iyengar family. Her father Jayaram, a lawyer by profession, passed away when she was just two years old. Consequently, Jayalalithaa and her brother Jayakumar had to shift to Bengaluru along with their mother. Her mother, Vedavathi, started working in Tamil cinema with the screen name Sandhya.
ALSO READ AIADMK chief & Tamil Nadu’s beloved Amma J Jayalalithaa passes away‘Jaya’, meaning ‘victorious’, was a prefix commonly used in their family — Jayalalitha; her brother, Jayakumar; father Jayaram, and many other in the family. This indicated the family’s association with the Wodeyar Dynasty of Mysore, which dates back to 1880-1920 when Jayalalithaa’s grandfather, a surgeon by profession, used to serve the Mysore Kingdom.Jayalalithaa completed her schooling from Bishop Cotton Girls’ High School, Chennai, and Sacred Heart Matriculation School, also popularly known as Presentation Church Park Convent, in Chennai. She was a very good student and received scholarship for higher studies from the Government of India after completing her matriculation in 1964. However, she took up films shortly after that. Her career saw her working in films of different languages, including English, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu.
ALSO READ RIP Amma | From PM Modi to President Mukherjee: India bids adieu to J Jayalalithaa She is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and has proficiency in other dance forms like Kathak, Mohiniyattam and Manipuri as well. She has also lent her voice as a singer in some of her films. She has proficiency in English, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam. Her brother, Jayakumar, passed away in the early 1990s. Jayalalithaa’s Disproportionate Assets CaseShe was acquitted in the infamous 18-year-old disproportionate assets (amounting to Rs 66.65 crore) and corruption case by the Karnataka High Court on May 11, 2015. A trial court had convicted and sentenced her to four years of jail as well as a fine of Rs 100 crore on September 27, 2014. Jayalalitha filed an appeal challenging the decision in the Karnataka High Court. These charges were held “not sustainable” by the special bench of the Karnataka High Court. Earlier, the five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was held guilty by a special court in Bengaluru in a disproportionate assets case and had to vacate her post as a consequence. The charges were levelled by Dr Subramanian Swamy in 1996. She was convicted under IPC 109 and 120 (b) along with 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
ALSO READ Jayalalithaa’s demise has left a huge void in Indian politics: PM ModiJayalalithaa’s professional background before entering politicsAt the behest of her mother, Jayalalithaa started working in films at the age of 15 when she was still in school. Here’s a chronicle of her acting career:► Her first film, ‘Epistle’, was in English language and released in 1961.► In 1964, under the direction of BR Panthulu, she made her debut in Kannada film ‘Chinnada Gombe’ as the lead actress.► In 1965, she made her debut in Tamil film ‘Vennira Aadai’, which was directed by CV Sridhar. Jayalalithaa was the first heroine in Tamil films in the mid-1960s to appear in short-sleeved dresses, skirts, gowns and woollen suits.► In 1966, she made her debut in the Telugu film ‘Manushulu Mamathalu’.► Jayalalithaa acted opposite Shivaji Ganesan in the film ‘Pattikada Pattanama’ in 1972, which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil.► In 1973, she received three Filmfare Awards for Best Actress for her performance in the films ‘Pattikada Pattanama’, ‘Suryakanthi’ and ‘Sri Krishna Satya’.► The first Tamil film that India submitted for the Academy Awards in the category ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ was ‘Deiva Magan’. It featured Sivaji Ganesan and her.► The 1960s and 1970s saw a number of successful films with Amma opposite MG Ramachandran.► ‘Izzat’, one of her notable Hindi films, saw her paired opposite Dharmendra.Jayalalithaa’s journey in Indian politics► In 1982, Jayalalithaa became a member of the AIADMK, a party founded by MG Ramachandran. It marked her entry into politics.► She gave her first public speech, Pennin Perumai (the Pride of Women), at the conference of the party that year.► She was made the Propaganda Secretary of the AIADMK in January 1983. As was chosen by Puratchi Thalaivar MGR, Jayalalitha conducted her first election campaign in February, 1983, for the party as a candidate in the by-election from the Tiruchendur Assembly Constituency.► Jayalalithaa was elected for the first time as a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1984 and she retained the seat till 1989.► In 1984, MGR fell ill and moved to the US to undergo medical treatment. In his absence, Jayalalithaa came to the forefront during the elections to the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assembly in Tamil Nadu in December 1984. That year, the alliance of Congress (I) and AIADMK secured a massive victory.► Puratchi Thalaivar MGR expired in 1987, after which the AIADMK was split into two parties. The election symbol of the party, “Two Leaves”, was frozen by the Election Commission of India.► Jayalalithaa was elected as a member of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly in 1989 from the Bodinayakkanur constituency.► Jayalalithaa was the first lady to become the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu.► The two factions of the party reunited in February 1989 under the leadership of Jayalalithaa, who was unanimously elected as the General Secretary of the united AIADMK.► The election symbol of the AIADMK party, ‘Two Leaves’, was restored by her in 1989.► Jayalalithaa directed the Congress (I) and AIADMK alliance to a historic victory in the 1989 General Elections to the Lok Sabha in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu.► Under her leadership, the AIADMK secured victories in all the subsequent by-elections from the constituencies of Peranamallur, Madurai East and Marungapuri to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.► A landslide victory was secured by Jayalalithaa in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections held in 1991, when the party and its alliance won 225 out of the total 234 seats. She contested from two constituencies, Kangeyam and Bargur, and won both the seats comprehensively.► On 24 June 1991, she became the youngest ever and the second female Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. She held the position till May 12, 1996.► She swept the 1991 General Elections by securing a complete victory for the AIADMK and its alliance partner INC in the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, thus creating history.► The 1998 general election of the Lok Sabha saw the AIADMK and its alliance securing 30 out of 40 seats.► The 2001 Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections saw her leading the alliance to a win of 195 seats out of the 234 and her party, the AIADMK, alone secured 132 seats.► On 14 May 2001, Jayalalithaa became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the second time and held the post till September 21, 2001.► In February 2002, she was elected from the constituency of Andipatti.► She remained the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu from March 2, 2002 to May 12, 2006.► The AIADMK alliance won 69 seats in the 2006 Legislative Assembly elections and Jayalalithaa served as the Leader of Opposition.► Again in the 2011 Legislative Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK and its allies bounced back, winning 203 seats out of 234, with the AIADMK securing 150 seats on its own. The new government was formed on May 16, 2011 and Jayalalithaa became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the fourth time.► Jayaram Jayalalitha had to step down from her post of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in September 2014 when a trial court in Karnataka held her guilty in an 18-year-old disproportionate assets (amounting to Rs. 66.65 crore) and corruption case. The court had sentenced her to a four-year jail term with a fine of Rs 100 crore, but she challenged this verdict in Karnataka High Court.► On May 11, 2015, the Karnataka High Court acquitted Jayalalithaa in the Disproportionate Assets case.► J Jayalalitha was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for a record-equalling fifth time on May 23, 2015.► On April 25, 2016, she filed her nomination papers in RK Nagar ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.► She created a history of sorts by becoming the first chief minister since 1989 to return to power for a second consecutive term.► She took oath as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for a record sixth time on May 23, 2016.Awards and honours won by Jayalalithaa► In 1972, the Government of Tamil Nadu honoured her with the Kalaimamani Award.► A degree of Doctor of Literature (LittD) was conferred upon her by the University of Madras in 1991.► A degree of Doctor of Science was conferred upon her by Dr MGR Medical University in 1992.► A degree of Doctor of Letters was conferred upon her by Madurai Kamaraj University in 1993.► A degree of Doctor of Science was given to her by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in 2003.► A degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris causa) was conferred upon her by Bharathidasan University in 2003.► She was invited by the House of Lords, London, in 2004 to receive the “Woman Politician of the Decade” Award from the Asian Guild Awards.► The Golden Star of Honour and Dignity Award was conferred upon her in 2004 by the International Human Rights Defence Committee recognising her services in protecting the weaker section of society and in the field of gender equality in Tamil Nadu and India.► In 2011, a resolution was passed by the New Jersey General Assembly to appreciate her exemplary excellence and dedication as a leader and in service to the people of Tamil Nadu.

Delhi HC reserves verdict on foreign publishers plea in book photocopy case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court on Monday reserved its judgement on a petition by leading foreign publishers against a single judge verdict allowing sale of photocopies of textbooks published by them by a shop located at the Delhi University (DU) campus.A bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Yogesh Khanna concluded hearing arguments in the matter during which the DU came out in support of the photocopier, saying public interest of students should be given priority over private interest. However, the publishers – Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press (UK), Cambridge University Press India Pvt Ltd, Taylor and Francis Group (UK) and Taylor and Francis Books India Pvt Ltd – sought reversal of the single judge September 16 order contending that sale of photocopies of books published by them affect their market share.Their submissions was opposed by senior advocate Aman Sinha, appearing for DU, on the ground that “object of Copyright Act is to increase knowledge and not to impede it”. “We are developing country with limited resources and huge population and public interest comprising of students, teachers, education has to be given priority over private interest of only handful of copyright owners for financial gains,” he told the bench.Sinha referred to the provisions of the Copyright Act 1957, and said language of the statute is “clear and unambiguous” and section 52(1)(i) has been specifically incorporated for the benefit of students. “Thus, a beneficial legislation has to be construed and interpreted in a manner which will benefit the students who are the purported beneficiaries of this legislation,” he said.Countering the submissions, senior advocate Pratibha M Singh and advocate Saikrishna Rajgopal, who appeared for the petitioners, said their clients also provide customised content and sale of photocopies of books published by them affect their market share. “The university, colleges and photocopiers should take a licence before xeroxing material published by petitioners,” Singh said, adding that petitioners are not just publishing textbooks but are providing content online and provisions of the Act have to be interpreted as per “digital exploitation” of the material. “Simply by arguing public interest, copyright cannot be trampled upon. The section 52(1)(i) of the Act has to be interpreted correctly in law,” she said.The publishers have approached the division bench against the September 16 order claiming Rameshwari Photocopy Service in DU was infringing upon their copyright over the text books. The order, which brought cheers to many students by rejecting the publishers’ 2012 plea against the sale of photocopies of their textbooks, said copyright in literary works does not confer “absolute ownership” to the authors.It also lifted a ban on the shop from selling photocopies of chapters from textbooks of foreign publishers to students. In their plea before the division bench, the publishers have contended “we seek assurance that copyright law in India will balance the interests of those creating learning materials here in India as well as globally, with those requiring access to them in a fair and sustainable manner”.

Jadavpur University student found hanging in hostel room, family alleges foul play

Kolkata: An MA student at Jadavpur University was on Sunday found hanging in his room in the varsity’s main hostel, police said, even as his family alleged foul play in the incident.

Jadavpur University. File photo. IBNLive

Jadavpur University. File photo. IBNLive

Soumitra De, an MA second year student of philosophy, was found hanging from the ceiling fan of his room in block B of the main hostel after fellow students broke open the door when their repeated calls went unanswered at around 11 am, an officer of the Jadavpur police station said.

The deceased’s family members, who came down to the city from Bankura in the afternoon, alleged the boy was murdered and then hung from the ceiling fan.

De, who hailed from Bankura district’s Joypur, had been taken to the MR Bangur Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. His hostel room’s door was locked from inside and when De’s body was pulled down, it was found that the student was wearing a headphone, attached to a cell phone, the officer said.

Asked whether there was any foul play in the death of De, the officer said, “It is too early to draw a conclusion in this regard. We need to wait for the post mortem report. But, going by the circumstantial evidence it seems this can be a case of suicide,” he said.

Initial probe indicated that the boy, known as a bright student, had been in depression for some time, the
officer added.

First Published On : Dec 4, 2016 20:45 IST

A touch of the special

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>From three to a million lives,” is how Mithu Alur describes the long journey of the NGO ADAPT, formerly called the Spastic Society of India (SSI), on Friday evening. Sitting a few feet away from her in the drawing room of their Colaba home is daughter Malini Chib, an employee with Tata Consultancy Services. Malini, who suffers from cerebral palsy (CP), has come down from London to attend the launch of Alur’s book A Birth That Changed a Nation: A New Model of Care and Inclusion, which was released on Saturday, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. SSI owes its birth to Malini. She is one of the many success stories of the 44-year-old organisation that was set up in 1972 in Colaba, Mumbai, at a time when in India the word spastic was often confused with plastic, and ignorance and discrimination went hand-in-hand.A Birth… of sensibility“The main purpose of the book was to alleviate the sufferings of millions of children tucked away in the remote corners of the country who do not have access to quality health-care services. At the core of this book is a new scientific method of rehabilitation and care developed by SSI in the early 1970s for children with multiple disabilities like CP as well as other physical disabilities, says Alur. After reading this book, Alur feels, parents, especially the mother, should be able to understand what to do with the child — how to carry the child, how to feed him/her and how to teach a kid suffering from a chronic neurological disorder the 3 R’s (reading, writing and numbers). At the same time she emphasises that to reach out to a wider audience, A Birth That Changed a Nation: A New Model of Care and Inclusion needs to be translated in regional languages.One of the key points in the book is the human aspect of being disabled in India, about those who have suffered years of neglect in this country. It narrates stories of how children with a slight modification in curriculum and examination systems, with a little help from skilled teachers and therapists and a close partnership with parents, passed examinations effortlessly. A shining example in this regard is Alur’s daughter Malini, who is an academician with a Master’s degree in Gender Studies from the Institute of Education, University of London.Government policiesIt is important to view SSI’s work against the backdrop of government policies for the country’s disabled population. Curiously, in India, no proper statistics regarding the prevalence and incidence of disability are available.The National Sample Survey Organisation survey in 2002 put the figure of the population suffering from disabilities at 1.85 crore, which was then considered a gross underestimation by experts. The 2011 Census puts the figure at 2.68 crore, a marginal increase from the 2.19 crore estimated after the 2001 head-count exercise. United Nations’ specialists believe that disabled people comprise 10-15 per cent of the current population. Even by conservative estimates, there are 10 lakh spastics in India. Activists have long railed against the raft of legislations such as National Trust Act (1999), Persons With Disability Act (1995), Rehabilitation Council of India Act (1992) and Mental Health Act (1987), as they are essentially discriminatory in nature. The Disabilities Bill, supposed to replace the PDA, is still languishing in cold storage. It has been reported that although the Integrated Child Development Scheme, under the Women and Child Development department, targets disadvantaged population, it has conveniently left out children with disabilities. This has resulted in the exclusion of nearly five million children in the age group of 0-5. This winter session, the Lok Sabha is also scheduled to vote on the Mental Health Care Bill (2013), which is slated to replace its 1987 predecessor. The new Act protects the rights of persons with mental illness and pushes for their access to mental healthcare. Even today in India, a majority of services for the disabled child is delivered through the voluntary sector. Where there are state-supported schools for the specially-abled, it defeats the government’s policy of integration of these children into the educational system. In the absence of institutional support, it is NGOs like SSI that have become crucial to cater to kids with special needs. From the bungalow in Colaba, SSI has spread to 21 centres across India, including the four metros and smaller cities like Pune, Baroda, Tepur, Guwahati, Allahabad and Cochin.SSI and their aim“SSI was built from scratch and it brought about a sea change in an environment where apathy, indifference, hostility and ignorance reigned supreme,” says Dr Samiran Nundy, a renowned surgeon. He is the chairman of the Institutional Review Board set up by Alur to critique the performance of the organisation under 10 domains such as education, treatment and rehabilitation unit, child and parents’ partnership, training of teachers or therapists, and capacity building in the community. Nundy’s wife started SSI in northern India and his mother was instrumental for setting up a centre in Kolkata. “SSI focuses on a multi-disciplinary approach involving a team of doctors, psychologists, special educators, physiotherapists, job counsellors for the overall well being of the child,” says Dr Nundy, who is also Alur’s brother-in-law.SSI is considered a trailblazer for the unique model it developed over the years. It draws inspiration from what Alur witnessed in England when she took Malini for treatment in 1968 since there was no proper facility in India.“The doctors there treated my daughter with love and affection. Their whole approach to us changed our lives. They said Malini has a 150 IQ. Gradually she began walking with a walker, rode a tricycle, swam with a tyre, and began to read and write,” recounts Alur. “In the six years I was in England, I worked hard to get a diploma as a special educator so that I could take proper care of Malini,” she said. Inspired by the principles of nation-building, her relatives closed ranks with her and with the help of the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, she got the premises in Colaba to set up SSI. Nargis and Sunil Dutt became ardent champions of the cause.Right from the birth of SSI, the focus was to train and educate the parents and counsel them for which we introduced a course called home management, she says. “Our approach also emphasises on love and compassion, without which no amount of expertise will work. When the parents became experts, they became equal partners in the initiative. With our input and their input, the kid started registering improvement. Gradually, a whole cadre of people came together only because they wanted to do the right thing for their child.”From Colaba, SSI branched out to Kolkata and then to Delhi. It subsequently spread to different parts of India after people who took the teacher training programme from the NGO-opened centres in their respective towns and cities. “That’s how SSI reached Chennai through my first student Poonam Natrajan whose son Ishwar suffers from CP,” recalls Alur.Coming togetherTo fill the shortage of trained manpower, SSI began training teachers, therapists, social workers and psychologists in 1977. The first postgraduate diploma course in the education of the physically handicapped was set up in the country in 1978. It was renamed to Postgraduate Diploma in Special Education Multiple Disabilities: Physical and Neurological in 2003. The curriculum was developed in collaboration with specialists from the British Council, Spastics Society of UK and the Institute of Education, University of London. Its aim was to develop the skills, abilities and knowledge of teacher trainees to meet the physical, educational, social and emotional needs of persons with physical and neurological disability. Over 400 teachers across the country have received training.While looking back at her life and work and the unstinted support she has received from various quarters — from celebrities to commoners — Alur quotes lines from Rabindranath Tagore’s poem ‘The Little Lamp’. “Who will do my duties?” asked the Setting Sun… “I shall do what I can, my Master,” said the Little Lamp.“I have tried to light as many lamps as possible so that special children can be part of the society and not be treated as outsiders. Though there has been marked improvement in the attitude of the people, India still practices discrimination at both crude and subtle levels,” she says. Alur’s book, replete with photographs, shows what her untiring efforts have yielded — the many happy faces of children and their mothers who fought to overcome their limitations.

Bihar’s univ recommend cancellation of degree of former AAP Minister Jitendra Tomar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University (TMBU) Syndicate, the top decision making body of the university, on Saturday recommended cancellation of law degree of former Delhi minister Jitendra Singh Tomar.”The University Syndicate accepted decision of the Examination Board and recommended cancellation of law degree of Aam Aadmi Party MLA and former Delhi minister Jitendra Singh Tomar,” Pro-Vice Chancellor of TMBU A K Rai told PTI. The Syndicate recommendations would go to Chancellor of the Universities, who is the Governor of Bihar. The Syndicate also recommended action against 14 employees of the University, seven of whom have retired and one died, in connection with acquisition of fake law degree by Tomar, Rai said.Among those whose name has been recommended for action includes lecturer Janardan Yadav and head clerk of Examination department Krishnanad Singh of Biswanath Law College at Munger where the former Delhi minister was falsely registered as a student. Tomar, who was Law minister in the Arvind Kejriwal government was earlier arrested last year on the charge that degree was fake. He was forced to resign as a minister after the issue hogged national headlines in 2015. Tomar is currently out on bail.In the probe it was found that the migration certificate of the former Delhi Law Minister was fake. The controversy relates to the acquisition of Law degree by Tomar on the basis of a doubtful enrolment at Biswanath Law College in the academic session 1994-95. He had claimed to have passed the law examination in 1998-99.

Exclusive – U.S. standards council to investigate New Oriental after Reuters report | Reuters

By Steve Stecklow
| MIAMI

MIAMI A U.S. standards-setting body said it would investigate New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc (EDU.N) in the wake of a Reuters report that detailed allegations of academic fraud at the company.The American International Recruitment Council, which certifies agencies that recruit foreign students on behalf of U.S. colleges, will investigate the company in response to the report, said Jeet Joshee, AIRC’s president-elect. “It’s concerning, highly concerning,” he said of the allegations in the report.The article can be read here: reut.rs/2gHWbwZShares of New Oriental plunged after the council told Reuters of its plan to open a probe. The drop in the stock, as much as 24 percent at one point on Friday afternoon, wiped out more than $1.8 billion from the company’s stock market value at its lowest point. It was last down about 14 percent at $42.16.AIRC is a non-profit membership organisation comprised of 289 colleges and universities and 78 agencies that refer foreign students to U.S. schools often for a commission. It establishes best practices for international student recruitment and certifies agencies in a process that includes inspections.

Joshee said AIRC certified New Oriental’s counselling division -– Beijing New Oriental Vision Overseas Consultancy Co — about three or four years ago. He said AIRC could revoke the certification if the fraud accusations are confirmed.Reuters reported today that eight former and current New Oriental employees had told the news agency that the Beijing-based company had helped to write college application essays and teacher recommendations, and had falsified a high school transcript. A New Oriental student contract reviewed by Reuters stated that its services included “writing or polishing” parts of applications. The contract also said New Oriental would set up an email account on behalf of the client for communicating with colleges, keeping sole control of the password. Several former employees said some students never even saw their applications.

“It’s most concerning that they would actually handle the whole application for a student,” said Joshee, who chairs AIRC’s certification body. Joshee also serves as associate vice president for international education at California State University, Long Beach.New Oriental denies condoning or wittingly engaging in application fraud. The publicly listed company, with annual revenue of $1.5 billion, is China’s largest provider of private education services.The company’s American Depositary Receipts, which trade on the New York Stock Exchange, were down $1.02 Friday afternoon at $47.97 a share, off 2.1 percent on the day.

In addition to offering college counselling services to thousands of Chinese students seeking to study in the United States, New Oriental has contracts with colleges including Arizona State University, the University of Cincinnati and Temple University. Those colleges pay New Oriental commissions when it refers students who enrol.Two New Oriental employees at AIRC’s annual convention in Miami told Reuters the company had “relationships” with about 100 U.S. colleges and universities. They declined to say how many of those schools pay commissions to New Oriental.Joshee said his school – California State, Long Beach – signed a contract this year with New Oriental, although it has not provided any students to date. He said the university normally pays agents $1,500 to $2,000 for each student who enrols. He said his university would await the results of AIRC’s probe before taking any action. (Edited by Michael Williams and Lisa Shumaker)

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

First Published On : Dec 3, 2016 00:30 IST

National Anthem verdict: Nationalism is not something which can be enforced by a song

In this theatre of the absurd around nationalism, let’s not slight one more absurdity: Rabindranath Tagore, author of the national anthem, whose rendition the Supreme Court has now made compulsory before the screening of every film, was among the most passionate critics of doctrinaire nationalism. Tagore, were he to witness the goings–on in contemporary India, would surely have rebelled against such a top–down imposition of nationalist ideology. He would perhaps have penned an impassioned essay interrogating the wisdom of such a decision that imposes nationalism through a dramatic fiat.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

This Wednesday, the apex court ordered that “all the cinema halls in India shall play the national anthem before the feature film starts and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the national anthem.” This is part of the citizens’ “sacred obligation”, ruled the court, dismissing in the process, “any different notion or the perception of individual rights”. The screen at the movie hall, the court said, must show the image of the national flag, and doors of the hall must remain shut during the anthem.

Through the 1970s and the 1980s, cinema halls across the country did play the national anthem at the end of films. But that ritual (through which many in the audience nonchalantly walked out) did not seem to have “instilled” any deepened sense of nationalism among people. If anything, the territory of nationalism – the way the idea is experienced and perceived by different sections – has become far more contested and far more complex in the decades since then. The apex court on Wednesday dismissed “different notions and perceptions” of nationalism. But the question still remains: is it possible to homogenise nationalist sentiment and outlaw all interpretations that vary from the State’s? Does such an effort not smack of all those abusive words we like to hurl at political opponents – ‘Stalinist,’ ‘Orwellian,’ or even ‘totalitarian’?

We have been now handed a legal cure to what seems to be an endemic illness engulfing large parts of the country and large numbers of citizens. It’s as if all it takes to turn a rebellious soul into a patriot is exposure to off–key strains of the national anthem.

Moreover, this latest event is not an isolated one. Similar occurrences have gained momentum over the last couple of years. When Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) was at the centre of the debate on nationalism earlier this year, the Narendra Modi government decided that flying the national flag at the top of a 207–feet mast in all central universities would cure strands of critical dissent. According to a report in the Hindustan Times: “The first such flag will be unfurled at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), which is on the boil over the arrest of a top student leader for alleged anti-India demonstrations and sloganeering.”

The decision was taken at a meeting of all central university Vice Chancellors. “The flag will symbolise the unity and integrity of the nation, under which higher education would flourish,” the report had then quoted a source as saying. One wonders whether the heathen turncoats have since transformed into nationalists of the highest order that the government would approve of. If the cure is so simple, why waste crores of rupees stationing troops in Kashmir or in the North East? Why not play the national anthem instead?

Interestingly, around the same time that the Supreme Court came out with this order, a similar drama around the national flag was unravelling in the US. A controversy erupted in the country when President–Elect Donald Trump tweeted : “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail.” What should draw our attention, however, is the position adopted by the US Supreme Court on the issue of burning the national flag. On more than one occasion, the court has upheld the right to burn the national flag as a First Amendment right guaranteed by the Constitution.

Responding to burnings of the flag at demonstrations against the Vietnam War, the US Congress passed the first federal Flag Protection Act in 1968. Over the years, 48 of the 50 US states passed similar flag protection laws. The turning point came in 1989 when the Supreme Court overturned these statutes by 5–4 vote in the Texas v Johnson case. The apex court found the state statutes to be unconstitutional restrictions of public expression. Though the Congress responded by passing a federal Flag Protection Act, the Supreme Court reaffirmed its decision by the same 5–4 majority in United States v. Eichman in 1990. The court declared flag burning to be part of the constitutionally protected free speech.

We in India, who want to always ape the West in all matters – from demonetisation to privatisation – would perhaps do better to imbibe these more uncomfortable lessons that might actually lead us to question cherished ideals instead of blindly reinforcing them.

First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 08:59 IST

Anna University exams cancelled due to Nada

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Area Cyclone Warning Centre Director, S Balachandran, made an announcement on Wednesday wherein he declared that a depression over Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm and cross the north Tamil Nadu coast early on December 2, bringing heavy rainfall in its wake.As a result of which, Anna University engineering college examinations which were to be held on December 1 (Thursday) have been cancelled. The schools in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Thiruvallur, Cuddalore and Nagapattinam have also declared a two-day holiday in the wake of cyclonic storm ‘Nada’.
ALSO READ Heavy rains in TN and Puducherry for 2 days, Nada to cross on Dec 2The weather office said the depression over southeast Bay of Bengal moved west-northwestwards and intensified into a deep depression and lay centred about 830 km of southeast Chennai, 780 km east-southeast of Puducherry and 490 km east-southeast of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka. “The system is very likely to continue to move west-northwestwards and intensify further into a cyclonic storm (Nada) during next 12 hours. It is very likely to cross north Tamil Nadu coast between Vedaranyam and Chennai close to Cuddalore by early hours of December 2,” it said.In its warning, the weather office forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall over Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on December 1 and 2. The fishermen were also asked to return immediately. In Chennai, rains are expected to start early Thursday morning and intensify gradually, adding to spells of heavy to very heavy rain are likely in the city, Balachandran added.”With PTI inputs

Demonetization is a despotic action that undermines trust: Amartya Sen attacks Modi govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has called Modi government’s demonetization move “despotic action that has struck at the root of economy based on trust”.”It (demonetization) undermines notes, it undermines bank accounts, it undermines the entire economy of trust. That is the sense in which it is despotic,” Sen told NDTV. He further said his immediate point of view on demonetization is on its economic aspect. “It’s (demonetization) a disaster on economy of trust. In the last 20 years, the country has been growing very fast. But it is all based on acceptance of each other’s word. By taking despotic action and saying we had promised but won’t fulfil our promise, you hit at the root of this,” Sen, also a Bharat Ratna awardee, said.Noting that capitalism has many successes that have come from having trust in businesses, he said if a government promises in promissory note and breaks such promise, then it is a despotic act. “I am not a great admirer of capitalism. On the other hand, capitalism has many successes… It’s despotic in the sense that if a government promises in promissory note that when given, we will give you this amount of compensation for it and to break such a promise is a despotic action,” Sen, who is currently Thomas W Lamont University Professor at Harvard University, said.The demonetization issue has also rocked Parliament as both Houses have been witnessing disruptions and adjournments due to noisy protests by Opposition parties for the past several days.

Delhi University adopts UGC amendments; teachers say it can lead to job loss

New Delhi: Delhi University on Tuesday adopted recent University Grants Commission’s amendments, which teachers claim could lead to around 4,000 temporary teachers losing their jobs due to changed workload.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

DU’s academic council on Tuesday met to discuss 3rd and 4th amendment of UGC and recommendations of a vice-chancellor appointed committee on the issue of appointments and promotion of teachers in colleges and departments, amid protests from teachers.

The agenda was to “consider a proposal to adopt the gazette notifications issued by University Grants Commission (UGC) on 4th May 2016 (3rd Amendment) and July 11, 2016 (4th Amendment) regarding minimum qualification for appointment of teachers and other academic staff”.

DU Registrar Tarun Das released a statement late night and said, “Today the AC deliberated upon the issue of 3rd and 4th amendments of the UGC Regulation in all its ramifications and adopted the same amendments in principle.”

Teachers, however, claimed that the decision has been deferred and their demand to expand the committee was accepted.

“The existing committee is not representative as there are no elected teacher members. The committee will be expanded and will give its recommendations,” said Nachiketa Singh, an academic council member.

The university statement said the expanded committee will look into the operational aspects in context of DU and its colleges.

Teachers had earlier this year boycotted the evaluation process against the UGC guidelines on their service conditions. The protest was also against the Academic Performance Indicator (API)—the point system which determines their promotion levels. Teachers claim the UGC notification makes the API stringent.

In May, the Delhi University vice chancellor had appointed a three-member committee to look into the issue of appointments.

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 07:33 IST

Indian women less likely to get medical attention, even in last moments of life

By Devanik Saha

More Indian men are likely to be admitted to hospital during the last moments of life than women–62.5 percent to 37.5 percent–a statistic revealed in new government data on deaths certified by a medical professional.

Of 1.06 million certified deaths in 2014, 667,000 were male; 400,000 were female, according to Medical Certification of Cause of Death: 2014, a census department report, about 11 percentage points more than the male proportion (51.5 percent) of India’s population.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

For every 1,000 men whose death is certified by medical professionals, the corresponding figure for women is 600.

Four in five deaths in India were not certified by medical professionals in 2013, India Spend reported in February 2016.

In Jharkhand, 1 in 128 deaths certified, lowest rate in India

One in every 128 deaths in Jharkhand is certified by a medical professional–the worst record of any Indian state and an indication of the absence of healthcare in India’s second-poorest state by per capita income.

Of 132,099 registered deaths in Jharkhand–carved out of Bihar in the year 2000 and currently ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party–1,028 were medically certified (0.8 percent), 19.7 percent lower than the average for India, where 20.5 percent of death are certified. As many as 5.21 million deaths were registered in India in 2014, of which 1.06 million were medically certified.

Though certified deaths doubled in Jharkhand from 458 in 2013 to 1,028 in 2014, the improvement did not move the state of 33 million from the bottom rung. Up to 37 percent of Jharkhand’s population lives below the poverty line, according to this June 2014 report of the erstwhile Planning Commission; 50 percent of Jharkhand’s districts have poverty levels above 40 percent.

No new hospital was opened since the creation of Jharkhand 16 years ago. The state’s population surged by more than five million between 2001 and 2011, India Live Today reported in September 2016. No new college opened either over the last 15 years, and existing colleges were not expanded.

10 states/UTs report decline in medically certified deaths

Ten states/union territories reported declines in absolute number of medically certified deaths in 2014 over the previous year: Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Punjab and West Bengal.

Source: Medical Certification of Cause of Death Report 2014.

As many as 99.5 percent deaths in Goa were certified–the highest among all states/UTs–followed by Lakshadweep (98.3 percent) and Puducherry (77.6 percent).

From 0.9 percent in 2013 to 21.9 percent in 2014, Assam registered the largest maximum percentage increase in certified deaths.

Circulatory system disease deaths top killer, cancer deaths rising

Diseases of the circulatory system–or heart-related diseases–accounted for more deaths than any other, claiming in equal proportion the lives of men (31 percent) and women (32 percent).

Source: Medical Certification of Cause of Death Report 2014.

Death from circulatory system diseases rose from 24 percent of deaths in 1999 to 32 percent in 2014, an increase of eight percentage points.

After heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the second-most common affliction, IndiaSpend reported in October 2016.

As many as 23 percent deaths in India between 2010 and 2013 were due to heart-related diseases, according to 2013 census data; 21 percent in rural and 29 percent in urban areas.

Deaths due to neoplasm (cancer) increased from 3.6 percent to 5.4 percent and deaths due to infectious and parasitic diseases declined from 14.7 percent to 12 percent.

The prevalence of breast cancer increased by 166 percent between 1990 and 2013, prostate cancer cases rose 220 percent, deaths due to ovarian cancer 123 percent, and deaths due to mouth cancer among men 134 percent, IndiaSpend reported in June 2015.

Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, is estimated to have the largest number of cancer cases in 2014. Maharashtra ranks second, followed by Bihar, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, IndiaSpend reported in June 2015.

Saha is an MA Gender and Development student at Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 10:40 IST

JNU missing student case: Something more to Najeeb’s disappearance, HC tells Delhi police

New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Monday sternly asked the city police to “cut across all political barriers” and find missing Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Najeeb Ahmed, saying there could be “something more” to his disappearance as no one can just vanish from the heart of the national capital.

Expressing concern over the whereabouts of the student who has remained untraceable for 45 days now, the court also raised several questions, including why the alleged on-campus scuffle between Najeeb and some members of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the injuries sustained by Najeeb was not mentioned in the Delhi police’s status report.

A bench of justices GS Sistani and Vinod Goel said if a person disappears from the national capital and remains untraceable, then it would create a “sense of insecurity” in the people here and asked the police to explore all angles.

“This is the heart of India, the national capital. No one can just disappear from here. It creates a sense of insecurity in people. If he disappeared, then there is something more to that. All angles have to be explored. Forty five days is a long period for someone to be underground,” it said to the police which is of the view that Najeeb was “not forcefully abducted”.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

After perusing the status report of Delhi police, the court asked why was Najeeb taken to the Safdarjung hospital in an ambulance if he had no apparent or visible injuries, as this detail was missing from the police report.

It also asked why the report does not say anything about the alleged on-campus scuffle between Najeeb and some members allegedly of ABVP who are alleged to have brutally beaten him up and only mentions that the missing student had slapped one of them.

The judge questioned why the police waited till 11 November to interrogate those persons with whom Najeeb allegedly had an altercation on the night of 14-15 October, prior to his disappearance on 15 October and against whom a criminal complaint was lodged on 17 October .

“Cut across all political barriers. Get him back. You will get your answers at either of the two places, Jamia or JNU. No need to go to Aligarh or any other place so far,” the bench told the police, which said that an auto driver has claimed to have dropped off Najeeb at the Jamia Milia Islamia University.

The court was hearing a habeus corpus plea filed by the student’s mother 45-year old Fatima Nafees, who was in court on Monday and was in tears during the hearing. She has sought directions to the authorities to trace her 27-year-old son who was pursuing MSc in Biotechnology from JNU.

During the hearing, the bench said it did not want to tell the police what to do but it can easily “shadow” some of the persons involved in the matter to know what was going on and to “fearlessly” tell the court what it has found out.

The court was also not pleased with the “attitude” of the JNU Vice Chancellor for not assigning anyone in the matter despite being served a copy of the petition. “He does not think it is an important matter? This is not a good attitude,” it said and directed JNU to file a response to the woman’s plea by the next date of hearing.

The court also asked the varsity to reconsider Najeeb’s expulsion from the hostel, if not already done so, and to advertise in newspapers that they will reconsider his punishment once he returns. It asked Najeeb’s mother to issue a statement asking him to return and directed the management and students of JNU to assist and cooperate with the police to trace him.

During arguments, the police said its crime branch was exploring all angles, including that Najeeb’s disappearance had something to do with his “illness of mental depression” for which he was under medication since 2012. It was also of the view that he was hiding as he was probably ashamed of being expelled from the hostel.

Senior advocate Colin Gonzalves, appearing for Fatima, argued that he was “disappointed” by the manner of probe as the agency was not exploring the possibility of Najeeb being abducted as he was allegedly threatened by the ABVP members.

The court said someone getting beaten up in a college hostel was “not unusual”, but no one disappears over it. It also took note of the steps taken by the police, like uploading his details to the Zonal Integrated Police network, putting up notices across the city and issuing advertisements in newspapers, apart from enhancing the reward from Rs 50,000 to Rs five lakh for information leading to his recovery.

Najeeb’s mother, in her petition filed through advocate Ali Qambar Zaidi, sought the setting up of a “court appointed Special Investigation Team of impartial officers of proven integrity from outside the state of Delhi” to take over the entire investigation from crime branch of Delhi police.

She has also alleged that her son was beaten up by members of ABVP “which is affiliated to the RSS and therefore, closely connected with the BJP which is the party in power at the Centre and since the Delhi police comes under the control of the central government, it is not likely that any progress will be made in the investigation”.

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 19:39 IST

Israel’s experience and technologies can help transform agriculture in India

Israel President Reuven Rivlin was in India in November on a six-day visit. The two countries pledged cooperation in the fields of agriculture, research, trade, defence, tourism and education. Ram Fishman writes about the importance of young Israelis and Indians working together to change the perception of agriculture in India.

Over the last 10 years, I have had the good fortune of meeting hundreds of small-scale farmers all over India. I came to appreciate their hard work, eagerness to progress, and the difficult physical and economic environment in which they work.

Farmers bitterly complain about these hardships, but they always light up when I mention that I am Israeli. Even in the remotest of villages, farmers are somehow well aware and appreciative of Israel’s agricultural achievements. Unfortunately, however, very few of those who adore Israel’s technologies also use them in their own farms. A tremendous potential therefore remains largely unfulfilled.

Indian agriculture has made incredible progress over the last few decades, but it needs to undergo a deep transformation. It must make more efficient use of scarce water resources, lest they deplete. It must make more efficient use of nitrogen fertilizers, lest they continue to pollute water and sicken children. It must make more judicious use of pesticides, lest they continue to poison farmers. And it must diversify.

File photo. AFP.

Representational image. File photo. AFP.

Israel’s experience and its technologies can help, so the growing agricultural cooperation between the two countries is heartening. Several Indian states have opened Centres of Excellence with the Israeli government. Cooperation in the private sector is also growing.

Last week, an Israeli business and academic delegation, led by President Reuven Rivlin, was hosted by President Pranab Mukherjeein Agro Tech 2016 in Chandigarh. President Rivlin declared that “when Israeli companies and Indian farmers meet, they can mage magic happen”. In a seminar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry and Tel Aviv University, called ‘Digital Pathways in Indian Agriculture’, Israeli and Indian scientists and businessmen introduced exciting new technologies with the potential to transform the Indian agricultural landscape.

As exciting as technological innovations are, making them impactful will require a broadening of perspective. Agronomists and plant scientists have made incredible progress in understanding what crops need in order to flourish. Now, we need to develop a similar understanding of what farmers need in order to flourish. Without such an understanding, even the most revolutionary technologies will likely remain unused by the hundreds of millions of smallholders who grow India’s food.

Take drip irrigation, the most famous Israeli agricultural technology. Drip irrigation is proven to deliver the dual benefit of increased production and reduced water, fertilizer and herbicide requirements, exactly what so many Indian farmers need. Why then does the market for drip irrigation, while growing, still represent only a small fraction of Indian farmers?

The answers to this and related questions have to do more with economics than with agronomy, and more with farmers than with the crops they grow. The problem is that finding business models and government policies that can spread improved technologies sustainably has simply turned out to be as difficult a puzzle as developing these technologies in the first place.

It is therefore not for lack of effort or resources that a country that has mastered nuclear and satellite technology is still struggling to replace antiquated farming practices or lift its farmers out of poverty. The challenge is much more complicated than it may seem. And I don’t mean to suggest no programmes are successful. For example, in some states, like Gujarat, drip irrigation has been spreading rapidly in recent years, likely thanks to effective administration of the national drip subsidy programme. But we know too little about what works and what doesn’t and why and when.

We need to direct the same kind of energies that we put into the “crop” aspect of the challenge into the “human” aspect of the challenge. Frankly, it doesn’t help that the majority of India’s brightest and most ambitious young direct their brainpower to the fields of engineering, medicine and information and communication technology, while so few choose to take on the challenge of sustainable rural development (of course, there are wonderful exceptions, but they are too few).

India can surely succeed in transforming its agriculture, and we in Israel are eager to help. Let us begin by recognising the importance of not just the “technical element”, but also the “human element”. Let us build a bi-national, long-term and systematic programme that brings together academia, the public sector and the private sector; engineers, agronomists, plant scientists, social scientists, policy specialists and entrepreneurs. Let us harness the amazing brainpower, entrepreneurship and creativity of our two countries’ young generations, and get them involved. And most importantly, let us not shy away from leaving our offices and our labs and our experimental farms and stepping into farmers’ own fields.

Academia can have a powerful role to play. My own institution, Tel Aviv University, is leading the way by forging alliances with leading Indian universities and working with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to carve new paths forward. We can use these collaborations to create a prestigious programme for outstanding, brilliant young Israelis and Indians to work together in small inter-disciplinary teams, and develop and test, in fields and villages across India, new approaches and models for adapting and disseminating relevant technologies to farmers. Governments can provide support and then scale up and implement those approaches that prove to be effective.

I believe a programme of this kind can radically change the perception of agriculture by young Indians from a thing of the past to a science of the future, and attract bright, dedicated and idealistic students from both India and Israel. These students will forge personal ties that will strengthen our relationship as countries, and achieve something that only they, if anyone, can do: help make Indian agriculture a model for the other emerging economies who are facing similar challenges.

(The author is a professor at the Department of Public Policy, Tel Aviv University)

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 14:28 IST

Delhi Queer Pride Parade: LGBTQ community rally for a ‘life without fear’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Draped in rainbow colours, hundreds of people on Sunday marched in the heart of the national capital for the 9th Queer Pride Parade to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community in making a united call for equality of gender and sexuality and seeking “a life without fear”.Organised by the Delhi Queer Pride Committee, the march kicked off from the corner of Barakhamba Road and Tolstoy Marg here, and saw members of the community as well as their friends and family members turn out with placards, masks and costumes.”Pride is an inter-mingling of many movements – feminism, anti-caste movements, for free speech, so this march is important as it is a united call for a prejudice-free India,” one of the participants said, requesting anonymity.Another participant, Delhi University student Esha, said unlike earlier occasions, it is important for queer people this year to shout back equally louder to combat “noise from homophobic groups and an unfriendly government”.”I’m not out yet so I tend to keep a low profile at LGBTQ events, but this year pride is important as a show of strength more than ever because noise from homophobic groups and an unfriendly government seems to have become louder. It is important that we as queer people should shout back equally louder,” Esha said.One of the organisers, Rituparna Borah, said this year’s parade saw a greater participation than the last year, with around 800-1,000 people turning out.”People from all walks of life, identifying with different sexual orientations and genders took part in the parade, that culminated at Jantar Mantar,” another organiser said.While the focus of the ‘pride’ has been the repeal of Section 377 that criminalises same-sex unions and the demand for dignity for people who do not conform to society’s ideas of sexual orientation or gender, different movements joined the parade this year in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.This year’s march was also in support of Dalits, Muslims, women, disabled, Kashmiris, people in the North-East, Adivasis, academics, filmmakers and students, according to an earlier statement on the Facebook page created for the event.The march saw demands being voiced by a wide section of society – from the demand to live free of fear to calls to break down patriarchal mindsets.”More than ever, we assert that our pride is inextricably tied to a broader demand for freedom and dignity for all,” a statement said.A participant, who works with a private company here, said, “We want to live without fear of any kind of repercussion from our family and from the workplace because of the gender we identify with. It is important to live a life without fear.”

Nalanda Varsity chancellor Yeo resigns

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four days after dissolution of Nalanda Mentors Group cum Governing Board, its second chancellor George Yeo also put in his papers on Friday protesting a “surprise” top administration reshuffle.In a strongly-worded letter to President Pranab Mukherjee, also the visitor of the varsity, Yeo expressed surprise as to why he was “not even given a notice” before taking the decision. “When I was invited to take over the responsibility last year, I was repeatedly assured that the University would have autonomy. This appears not to be the case now,” he said in his resignation letter. Yeo’s resignation coincides with NU’s foundation day.It may be recalled that Mukherjee on November 21 had dissolved NU’s founding Governing Body, comprising Nobel laureate Amartya Sen as well as Lord Meghnad Desai and Sugata Bose as its members, and consented for the constitution of a new Governing Board. NU’s founder vice chancellor Gopa Sabharwal was also asked to demit office in November 24, the last day of her extended term.“The order of dissolving the Governing Board and creating a new one came as a complete surprise to me and to most members of the old Governing Board. I was neither involved in the preparation nor consulted beforehand,” Yeo said in his opening remarks.At the time of his appointment in July 2015, Yeo said he was told that a new Governing Board would be formed under an amended Nalanda University Act. “For reasons not entirely clear to me, the Government of India has decided to form the new Governing Board with immediate effect before the Act is amended,” he said.Yeo said, “Despite difficult circumstances, the university has made remarkable progress through the tireless effort of VC Gopa Sabharwal and her colleagues. However, the board’s decision to extend the VC’s tenure till the appointment of a new one was also overridden by the visitor.”Bihar CM Nitish Kumar too expressed worry over the incident saying it has created an environment of uncertainty at the university. “Both Sen and Yeo have served the university well. NU has a historical and international, importance. The Centre should take positive steps to preserve and continue the institution’s glorious history and take necessary action in the issue to accelerate NU’s development,” Nitish said on Friday.

Jamia didn’t allow lecture on demonetization: Students

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Jamia Milia Islamia on Friday reportedly barred its students from organising a lecture on demonetization in the campus, saying “they don’t want to turn Jamia into JNU”, following which the agitated students organised the lecture at the varsity’s main gate. Students claimed that they had sought the proctor’s permission for the event.”We had approached the proctor on Wednesday, seeking permission to organise a lecture on demonetization in the open areas of the sociology department on Thursday. The next day, they asked us to reschedule the lecture,” said a student.On Thursday, the varsity administration gave a nod for the lecture but directed the students to hold the event inside the auditorium, saying they didn’t want to turn Jamia into JNU.On Friday morning, the students claimed, they were denied the permission to hold the lecture altogether. “We were made to sit in proctor’s office for more than 3 hours but the proctor didn’t turn up. We were not given any reason for this denial,”a student saidDelhi University professor Radhika Menon, who was the speaker at the event, claimed that she wasn’t even allowed to enter the campus. “Universities should provide open spaces for debates and discussions. I don’t understand why Jamia did not allow a lecture on a topic that is affecting so many people,” she said.The university administration, however, denied all allegations and said no one sought any permission from the proctor.”Some students are trying to create propaganda out of nothing. We did not receive any written application from the organisers. There is a process for assigning university spaces for events. We can’t allow anyone randomly coming to our campus to deliver lectures or seminars,” Jamia PRO Saima Saeed said.

Government and cops get notice after Najeeb Ahmed’s mother moves HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than a month after Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Najeeb Ahmed went missing under mysterious circumstances, his mother Fatima Nafees on Friday filed a Habeas Corpus petition in the High Court, expressing dissatisfaction over the police investigation in the case.The matter was listed before the Division Bench comprising Justices G S Sistani and Sunita Gupta, which issued notices to the Delhi government and the police, asking them to come up with explanations. The Bench also directed the Delhi Police to come up with their investigation report within three days.Najeeb Ahmed, a resident of Badaun district in Uttar Pradesh and a first-year MSc student at JNU, has been missing since October 15 following an altercation with some ABVP members on the night before at the Mahi Mandavi hostel.In her petition, Nafees expressed dissatisfaction with the way the Delhi Police have been conducting the investigation and accused the varsity administration of “shielding the persons responsible for her son’s disappearance”.The case was recently transferred to the Crime Branch of Delhi Police from the special Investigation Team formed by the Commissioner of Police, Alok Kumar Verma.Last week, the Crime Branch traced the initial movement of Najeeb, stating that he had taken an auto-rickshaw from outside JNU for the Jamia Millia University after calling his mother.The revelation came after the sleuths managed to trace the auto driver who ferried Najeeb. The driver even took the police to the spot where he dropped the student. Before shifting to Mahi Mandavi hostel in JNU campus, Ahmad was living with his relatives in Jamia.Earlier, the Delhi Police had raised the reward from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh for anyone providing information that could help locate Najeeb.The issue had almost paralysed the functioning of the varsity with agitating JNU Students Union keeping Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar and other university officials under siege for over 20 hours.Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung had also pulled up the force and asked the CP Verma to make all efforts to trace the missing student.

Nalanda University Chancellor George Yeo quits

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nalanda University Chancellor George Yeo resigned on Friday, protesting changes made in university management without taking him into confidence.Yeo submitted his resignation letter to the Visitor, President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, reported The Hindu. “I was neither involved in the preparation nor consulted beforehand. With deep sadness, I have submitted my letter of resignation to the Visitor,” Yeo wrote.Yeo also said that when he took over from Professor Amartya Sen last year, he was repeatedly assured that the University would have autonomy. “This appears not to be the case now.,” he added.“The circumstances under which the leadership change in Nalanda University has been suddenly and summarily effected is disturbing and harmful to the University’s development,” Yeo said.Former Foreign Minister of Singapore George Yeo was appointed Chancellor in July 2016, over two months after Nobel laureate Amartya Sen withdrew his candidature to the post for a second term.60-year-old Yeo, who was conferred Padma Bhushan in 2012, was serving as a member of the governing board of the prestigious university at Rajgir area of Bihar.In February, Sen withdrew his candidature as Chancellor for a second term saying that the Narendra Modi government did not want him to continue, a contention which was rejected by the government.Sen, who has long been a critic of Modi, had blamed the absence of government’s approval for his re-nomination for the delay in the nod from President Pranab Mukherjee for his name.

Find Najeeb in a day or I’m going to UP cops: Mother to Delhi Police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than a month after Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Najeeb Ahmed went missing under mysterious circumstances, his mother Fatima Nafees has challenged the Delhi Police to find her son within 24 hours, or she will knock the doors of the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Police.”This is really shameful. The Delhi Police have not been able to trace my son even after 38 days. I challenge them to get him back to me within 24 hours or I’ll file an FIR in UP,” she said during a protest at the Parliament Street on Wednesday. “If I had known that the Delhi Police was this inefficient, I would have contacted the UP Police in the beginning only,” she added.Najeeb Ahmed, a first-year MSc student at JNU, has been missing since October 15 following an altercation with some ABVP members the night before at Mahi Mandavi hostel.Najeeb’s kin and some JNU students had met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on November 20, seeking his intervention in the case. “The Chief Minister had assured us of taking all possible measures top trace Najeeb. He also said he will rope in the UP Police in the matter,” Nafees said.Last month, a SIT was formed to trace Najeeb following a direction from Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who also announced a reward of Rs 2 lakh for any information on the student. The reward amount was later raised to Rs 5 lakh.

Panjab University welcomes Parliamentary Committee’s decision on Manmohan Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Panjab University is looking forward to Manmohan Singh’s visit as his interaction with students will be a source of “inspiration” to them, its Vice Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover said on Wednesday, a day after a Parliamentary Committee paved the way for the former prime minister accepting a teaching assignment there.Singh cannot be disqualified as a Rajya Sabha member if he joins his alma mater, the Panjab University, which has offered him a prestigious teaching assignment, said the Joint Committee on Office of Profit. Grover has welcomed the development, the University’s Director Public Relations Vineet Punia said. “The University is looking forward to his visit at PU (Panjab University). His interaction with the students and the faculty would be a source of inspiration to all at PU,” added the Vice Chancellor.Panjab University had offered Chair Professorship to Singh as also some other personalities, Punia said.Soon after receiving the offer of Jawaharlal Nehru Chair Professorship from the University, Singh had approached the Rajya Sabha Chairman in July seeking advice as to whether accepting the position will attract disqualification under the provisions of Article 102(1)(a) of the Constitution for holding an ‘office of profit’.

There be no Hindus left in Bangladesh in 30 years: Dhaka University professor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>No Hindus will be left in Bangladesh 30 years from now if the current rate of “exodus” continues as on an average 632 people from the minority community leave the Muslim-majority country each day, according to an eminent economist. “The rate of exodus over the past 49 years points to that direction,” Dhaka Tribune quoted Dr Abul Barkat, a Dhaka university professor, as saying.There will be no Hindus left in the country three decades from now, Barkat said in his book ‘Political economy of reforming agriculture-land-water bodies in Bangladesh’ which was published on November 19, the paper said.From 1964 to 2013, around 11.3 million Hindus left Bangladesh due to religious persecution and discrimination which means on an average 632 Hindus left the country each day and 230,612 annually, he said at the book launch ceremony at the Dhaka University (DU).From his 30-year-long research, Barkat said he found that the exodus mostly took place during military governments after independence in 1971, its said.Before the Liberation War, the daily rate of migration was 705 while it was 512 during 1971-1981 and 438 during 1981-1991. The number increased to 767 persons each day during 1991-2001 while around 774 persons left the country during 2001-2012, the book says.DU professor Ajoy Roy said the government grabbed the properties of the Hindus during the Pakistan regime describing them as enemy property and the same properties were taken by the government after independence as vested property, the report said.According to the book, these two measures made 60 per cent of the Hindus landless. Retired Justice Kazi Ebadul Haque said the minorities and the poor were deprived of their land rights. DU professor Farid Uddin Ahmed said the government has to ensure that the indigenous people would not be affected or harmed, the report said.Former National Human Rights Commission chairman professor Mizanur Rahman said there was no accurate estimation of the indigenous peoples living in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Adivasi Forum President Santu Larma said, “we need a people-oriented government. But the reality of state mechanism does not allow this to happen”.Larma, also the chairman of the CHT Regional Council, claimed that over 50 indigenous groups were on the verge of extinction, but they want to live with dignity with the remaining indigenous groups.Barkat dedicated the book to his childhood friends who belonged to ‘Buno’ indigenous group, but now remain traceless.”I have not heard about them since long… May be they were forced to leave the place by the land grabbers and have gone to India and took a different name,” Roy added. PTI CPS AKJ

Freedom business offers Indian sex workers alternative to red light district | Reuters

By Anuradha Nagaraj

CHENNAI, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – An Indian quilt and bag company which employs women trapped in the sex trade has appointed two former sex workers to its board, its co-founder said, calling the move a first in the industry.Sarah Lance, who helped to set up Sari Bari a decade ago to provide sex trafficking victims with alternative means of earning a living, said the company had also invited 19 of its women workers to become shareholders in the firm.The company, located on the fringes of Sonagachi, Kolkata’s red light district, employs 120 women to stitch old saris together to create quilts and bags – with each item named after the woman who made it.”It is their company,” said Lance, who won the 2016 Opus prize for non-profit innovation and humanitarian work.The 10-year-old company, which calls itself a “freedom business”, is one of many enterprises in India that aim to help by providing economic opportunities for victims of sex trafficking. “The idea of the business grew in response to the fact that girls who were rescued and sent to shelter homes were asked to leave after they turned 18 or once their cases were over,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “They went back to the same situation which made them vulnerable to trafficking.”

Initially, the women had to be convinced to work for Sari Bari.”Now we have a waiting list of women wanting to join us,” Lance said, adding that the company planned to hire another 150 women in the next five years.In September, the National Crime Records Bureau said cases of human trafficking in India increased to 6,877 cases last year, from 5,466 in 2014 – a jump of more than 25 percent.

Cases of minors being sold into prostitution increased by 53 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year, with West Bengal state, where Kolkata is located, accounting for 82 percent of the total cases registered in 2015.Former sex workers Chaya and Supriya, who asked to be identified only by their first names, were unanimously voted to Sari Bari’s board at a meeting in September.Campaigners said providing survivors of human trafficking with an alternative source of income to sex work was crucial in preventing them from being re-trafficked.Cultivating pride in new skills was also important in helping survivors to recover from their ordeal, experts said.

“That sense of pride is actually very important,” said Sarfaraz Ahmed Khan, an assistant professor at the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences who has written manuals on efforts to combat trafficking.Khan said it was difficult for sex trafficking survivors to do “just any other job”.”Besides economic stability, they are looking for a dignified life. These opportunities give them that,” he said. (Reporting by Anuradha Nagaraj, editing by Alisa Tang and Katie Nguyen. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

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

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 19:24 IST

JNU missing student row: Students Islamic Organisation seeks action against Najeeb Ahmed’s assaulters

New Delhi: Members of the Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) of India held a protest march on Monday demanding action against those who assaulted Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) scholar Najeeb Ahmed prior to his disappearance in October.

The protesters, who included students from JNU, Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), among others, were accompanied by Ahmed’s mother Fateema Nafees.

Representational image. Image courtesy: News18

Representational image. Image courtesy: News18

“We want JNU authorities to punish the three students — Vikrant, Sunil and Ankit — for assaulting Ahmed, a fact which has been acknowledged in the Proctorial inquiry as well,” Sadat Hussain, an SIO member from JNU told IANS.

The SIO is the students’ wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.

“We also condemn the police for still not being able to find Ahmed, who is missing for 36 days now,” Hussain added.

Najeeb Ahmed, a first-year MSc student at the School of Biotechnology in JNU, reportedly went missing after allegedly being beaten up by some students comprising ABVP members, who had gone campaigning to his room for hostel elections on the intervening night of 14-15 October.

A Proctorial Inquiry formed to identify the assailants had found at least one student named Vikrant to be guilty of assaulting Ahmed. He was served a showcause notice on 7 November and asked to reply within seven days.

Another student told IANS that apart from seeking justice for Najeeb, this protest is also against the changing face of the nation under the current dispensation.

“This protest is against fascist forces, against Una lynching and fake Bhopal encounter,” he said.

The protesters marched from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar where Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, along with several other political leaders and members of civil society, was scheduled to address them.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 18:39 IST

Amid renewed hostilies with India, Pak army chief says ready for ‘conventional wars’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Battle-hardened Pakistan army is “equally ready” to fight conventional wars after registering an “unprecedented level of successes” in its war against terror, army chief General Raheel Sharif has said. Visiting troops and war veterans at Sulemanki Sector yesterday, Raheel, who is expected to retire from service later this month, said that the military has always measured up to any challenge. While interacting with the troops, Raheel said that Pakistan Army proudly carries its heritage and tradition of soldiering and chivalry. “Taking inspiration from our war heroes and their spirit of sacrifice, Pakistan Army has always measured up to any challenge. With an unprecedented level of successes in war against terror, we have become the most battle-hardened Army and are equally ready for conventional war,” he was quoted as saying by a press release issued by the Inter Services Public Relations.On Monday, Raheel had attended the funeral of seven Pakistani soldiers who were killed during border skirmishes with the Indian army. The Pakistan army chief had warned India that Pakistan army “will continue to respond effectively, leave no stone unturned to defend motherland.”He appreciated the troops for keeping vigil along the Line of Control, working boundary and international border. Raheel is due to retire on November 29 after a three-year stint.Earlier on Friday, General Raheel visited Government College University (GCU) Lahore, his alma mater and interacted with the students and faculty members.To revive his old memories, he visited various sections of the premier institute specially those parts where he had spent his days as a student. He emphasised on the youth to always focus on 3Cs (Character, Courage and Competence) and strive for honour and dignity through hard work and faith in Allah. Raheel, while expressing his optimism of a brighter future of the country, said that Pakistanis are a great nation and its human resource was its real asset.He also referred to the ‘Zarbe Azb’ military operations against militants in 2014. Pakistan’s military launched the operations in North Waziristan to clear the area of militants and the successful campaign has laid a strong foundation for peace and progress in Pakistan, Raheel said.

Menopausal hormone therapy can improve bone health: Study

London: Women who undergo hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes can not only increase bone mass, but also can improve bone structure, according to a new study.

According to previous studies, menopausal hormone therapy can have positive impact on bone mineral density.

The new study showed that menopausal hormone therapy also can improve bone mass and structure and that the bone health benefits persist for at least two years after women stop treatment.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“When used specifically, in postmenopausal women younger than 60-years-old for whom the benefits outweigh risks, menopausal hormonal therapy is effective for both the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis,” said lead author Georgios Papadakis from the Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland.

Osteoporosis is a progressive condition in which bones become structurally weak and are more likely to fracture or break. Menopause, which usually occurs when a woman is in her 40s or 50s, significantly speeds bone loss.

For the study, the team conducted a cross-sectional analysis on 1,279 women aged 50 to 80.

The researchers found higher trabecular bone scores — used to predict fracture risk in post-menopausal women — in those who used the therapy, compared to women who had never used it.

Past users of the therapy exhibited higher bone mass density and a trend for higher bone micro architecture values compared to women who had never used menopausal hormone therapy.

The findings can help optimise the use of menopausal hormone treatment in menopausal women at risk of osteoporosis, the researchers noted.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

First Published On : Nov 18, 2016 22:50 IST

Scientists & researchers, here’s a chance to test your communication skills

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Young scientists, researchers and engineers, here’s your chance to make yourselves heard, especially if you are the kinds who can demystify complicated scientific subjects by making them easy to understand and interesting. For the first time, the British Council in India is accepting applications for FameLab, it’s international science communication training programme.“It’s a training programme in a competition format to get people to talk about science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine,” says Sharon Memis, Director West India, British Council. “It’s a bit like The X-Factor but with an intellectual slant.”Conceived as part of the Cheltenham Festival in 2005, FameLab partnered with British Council in 2007. More than 7,000 researchers from 30 countries across Europe, Asia and Africa have participated in the global competition thus far. The 2017 edition of FameLab is open to Indian participants for the first time, the deadline for which is November 15, 2016. “The year 2016 has been celebrated as the UK-India Year of Education, Research and Innovation, so it became the right time to bring this event to India now,” says Memis.The nine British Council offices across India have reached out to academic institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISERs), as well as to private universities. While officials at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre were unaware about the competition, Memis says they’ve already received 220 applications from India.To participate (see below), applicants will have to upload a three-minute video in which they’ll have to present a concept from their field of study in a manner that enthrals the viewer and the panel of judges. “Make it funny, make it dramatic, make it jaw-dropping, eye-opening, lightbulb-poppingly brilliant,” advises Memis. “It’s about how creative a participant can get. A panel of judges will shortlist those who can shine in content, clarity and charisma. Therefore the presentation has to be scientifically accurate, easy to understand and presented with a wink and a smile.”Following regional workshops and regional finals, a shortlist of 120 applicants will be selected, who will win a spot on the science communication workshop by Indian and UK facilitators. Three final winners will emerge from the national finals to be held in January 2017.Last year, the competition winner was Dr Abhimanyu Veerakumarasivam from University Putra Malaysia. The cancer researcher defeated 26 finalists for his explanation of the cell cycle and why a disruption in it leads to metastasis of cancer tumours. His presentation highlighted the importance of science communication in making public health issues accessible to commoners as well as creating awareness of how cancers can be prevented through lifestyle changes. “Veerakumarasivam’s talk was informative and inspiring, winning the judges over on content, clarity and charisma,” adds Memis.How to apply for FameLab— Researchers, scientists, engineers over 20 years of age have to fill an application form available on www.britishcouncil.in/famelab website and attach a short video of their presentation. Applications are open until 15 November 2016 on the website— A panel of judges will review the applications and come up with a shortlist of the top 30 participants from four regions — North (8-10 December at IIT Delhi), South (27-29 November at University of Kerala), East (4-6 December at KIIT Bhubaneswar) and West (13-15 December at IIT Bombay) India.— These 120 applicants will then be part of a two-and-a-half day residential workshop on science communication conducted by expert Science Communicators from the UK along with Indian facilitators.— Winners from the regional rounds will also win a masterclass training programme before completing at a national final. The national winner will compete at the FameLab International Grand Finals in June 2017 at the Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK.

Despite anti-immigration sentiments, number of Indian students going to US rise by 25% this year: Report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite anti-immigration sentiments during and after the heated presidential polls in the United States of America, number of Indian students going to United States has gone up by 25% in 2015-16, reveals the latest “Open Doors” report released in US on Monday.Nearly 1,66,000 students are studying in various US universities at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at present compared to only 1,33,000 lakh students a year ago.On the other hand, only 4,438 US students came to India (a drop from 4,588 from the previous year), that too for short-term and semester-long courses, says the report.The Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange is published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.India accounts for one out of every six international students in the United States. Approximately three-fifths of Indian students are at the graduate level and three-fourths are in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics studies.While China remains the top country of origin of international students in the US, increasing by 8% to 328,000, India’s growth outpaced China’s second year in a row. Both the countries account for nearly half of the overseas enrolment in the US.“Students from China and India remained the leading countries of origin and accounted for 84% of the growth in international students in 2015-16. For the second year in a row, the largest growth was in the number of students from India, primarily at the graduate level and in optional practical training (OPT).” says the report. Richard R. Verma US Ambassador Higher education continues to be the bedrock of our people to people ties. More students from India studied in the United States than ever before – at all levels – and I am especially pleased to see the record back-to-back, year-on-year growth in student numbers.Overall, US saw 7% rise in the number of international students in 2015-16 with more than one million overseas students studying in US varsities. International students bring nearly $36 billion to the US economy.Slow pace of reforms in the Indian higher education sector and the skewed number of world class institutions are supposed to be two main factors behind increasing exodus of Indian talent to US and other countries.Moreover, increased efforts of US varsities in wooing Indian students is another major factor behind this jump, say experts.Indian government has started ranking of our institutions, have opened new IIMs and IITs but these are too little too late, say academicians.“The government announced a slew of measures but they are yet to be delivered. New education policy is yet to be implemented. None of our institutions figure in the list of top 200 Universities in the world. Reforms in University education seems is still far away making youngsters anxious and looking for better options abroad,” says a professor of Mumbai University. “Unless we expand quality University education, we would continue losing out a higher number of bright brains to the west along with foreign reserve,” said an India student currently studying in a Stanford University. However, International politics expert give credit of this steep rise to the improvement in diplomatic relations between India and US recently due to personal cordial relations between the two state heads-Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and outgoing US president Barack Obama.There are other factors too such as a decline in interest for universities in UK. “US varsities have gained on a declining interest of Indians for UK Universities in last three years mainly due to the introduction of stricter visa norms by the UK government,” says an overseas education expert.

US Consulate’s election bash ticks the right boxes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The US Consulate in Mumbai held a special live streaming of the election results at Worli’s Hard Rock Cafe on Wednesday morning. There were people dressed up as Uncle Sam, the Statue of Liberty and Rosie The Riveter—an American icon representing women who worked in shipyards and factories during World War II—at the event.As the US election results filtered in, there was as much anticipation and enthusiasm as in the US. People participated in a mock voting process, clicked pictures at selfie corners, got their sketches done, and posed with life-size cut-outs of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Though Clinton lost the election, she won by a considerable margin when the results of the mock voting were announced. Although she emerged as the clear favourite at the event, Trump managed to emerge victorious in the US. “I expected Hillary to win. Although Trump had the lead, it was neck and neck throughout,” said Saloni Vyas, a law student who attended the event. “For us, it was a learning experience. I have a module on international relations in college, and the election helped shape my political views,” said Bhushan Thakore, a student of civics and politics at the University of Mumbai.The guest list also featured staff from the consulate, and members from other consulates. “This is a great opportunity for us to meet people from other consulates,” said Juergen Isenberg, Airline Liaison Officer at the German Consulate.When the dust settles on the election, the important question to ask is how much of a bearing will it have on US-India relations. “No matter who occupies the Oval office, US-India relations will forge ahead in terms of trade and security. We share values and interests. I am convinced that there will be continued interest,” said Thomas Vajda, US Consul General in Mumbai.

The Research

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The monsoons were about to begin. The agricultural land was tilled. The monsoon showers offered no mercy to the clayey black soil. Amidst the forest, Feroz was busy writing her story in a diary that her grandpa had gifted her. The first page of the diary carried the words “don’t let anyone take it, you own it already.” “You must find yourself a job, Feroz,” said Hamid as he came close and sat next to her. Feroz could notice his blue shirt and the yellow jeans. The combination was quite inharmonious, according to her. “I just found it,” said Feroz. “Strange,” said Hamid as he narrowed his eyes and looked at her. “What is it?”“I should continue writing in it,” said Feroz giving him a wide smile. “My diary doesn’t bother you?”“Honestly, no,” said Hamid. “I have come here to inform you something. Next week Abba is taking us to Delhi.”“DELHI! That sounds amazing. When will you come then?”“After two months or… maybe not.” He sighed as he spoke the words. Hamid’s words sent shivers down her spine. She closed her notebook and started towards home. The silence was expected yet intolerable for Hamid. He couldn’t find ways to have a conversation with Feroz which was always easy earlier. “It has been 15 years, Feroz. Do you still have hope?” asked Rabab. “Sometimes, you need to live with hope only,” said Feroz.A knock on the door disturbed their conversation. “Excuse me; does someone named Feroz live here?”“I am Feroz, what do you want?” asked Feroz as she took notice of his golden-brown hair neatly oiled and combed. The beard was trimmed and the yellow shirt with blue pants suited his complexion. His eyes sparkled through his round spectacles. “Oh, well and good. My name is Dr H Fatima, I am from Cambridge University and I have come here to talk to you regarding your research. Well, it is the first time that the university has sent a professor, you should feel lucky, and we must appreciate your skills as the whole of our department is impressed by your research. We are inviting you to continue your research with us.” As he finished, he looked at Feroz with an expectation of excitement. “Hamid?” said Feroz coyly and went closer to him.“How did you come to know, Feroz?” said Hamid and went to hug her. The 15 years of patience ended there. “Oh, Hamid, look at you!” said Feroz trying to stop her tears. “You are a successful person now and have even improved your fashion sense!”“Fashion sense? You have been always good at insulting me. Now come to my place. Your research has bore fruit for you.” said Hamid.“Yeah sure, it has,” said Feroz and quickly went to her room to pack her things up.Have a story to tell? Write to [email protected]

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